THE CHRISTIAN JUDAS!
THE PLIGHT OF THE CHURCH AS THE
This article is authored by a Christian Mystic and Disciple of TheWay who was himself permitted entrance into the Kingdom -- and has returned to warn modern Christians that many of their foundational beliefs are totally alien to the original teachings of Jesus. This fact is easily demonstrated in the very first principles of the New Covenant -- Jesus did not come to promote belief in the Messiah/Christ -- neither did he come to promote the worship of Messiah/Christ -- Jesus came to teach the people TheWay to become Messiah/Christ, and fulfill the vision of a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation of Anointed (Messiah/Christ) Disciples who are set aside for the service of the Most High God that Jesus taught was the Father of all of mankind. But the majority of the Roman and Greek followers were not interested in a life of genuine change and spiritual transformation, so they made Jesus their God so they didn't have to pick up their own cross and follow in TheWay. Thus, the Church itself betrayed and crucified Christ when it immersed itself in the way of the heathen, and worshiped the messenger instead of imitating the pattern and example that Jesus set as the required standard for all those who called upon the name of the Lord.
PART 1: THE ADOPTION OF PAGAN CREEDS AND RELIGIOUS CONCEPTS
PART 2: CHRISTIANITY EXISTED PRIOR TO THE BIRTH OF JESUS
PART 3: HEBREW NEW COVENANT VS PAGAN GENTILE CHRISTIANITY
PART 4: EPISTLES OF JESUS AND THE REVELATION TO THE CHURCHES
PART 5: HOW WOULD WE RECOGNIZE THE MESSIAH/CHRIST?
PART 6: GENUINE RELIGION IS MARRIAGE -- THE DNA OF GOD -- SEX AS A SPIRITUAL SACRAMENT
One of the predominant warnings of the Bible that is truly dangerous for us to ignore, is continual assertion that natural manís perception of what is real and genuine is defective (see Mystery Of The Kingdom), and what man views as important is of little value in the eyes of God. We can observe this fact in Jesusí condemnation of the Pharisees: "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in Godís sight" (Luke 16:13-15 NIV).
What are the far-reaching implications of the words: "What is highly valued among men is detestable in Godís sight"? One of the first thoughts that these words should convey to us is that God does not share our view and perception of life. What we consider important, God does not -- and what we consider trivial and of little account, God considers of the utmost importance.
Perhaps the answer to these words can be envisioned if we attempt to empathize with God: If we were the supreme power that ruled the universe, we would want our flock of believers to be rewarded for their faith and allegiance. Look around us and we can easily see great tabernacles and temples that have been built to the glory of manís image of God -- and yet, no where in the New Testament is it suggested that God even approves of our actions: "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else" (Acts 17:24-25 NIV).
There are three key thoughts present in the above quotation from Luke, and from the perspective of actually picking up oneís own cross and walking in The Way, this all-important New Covenant teaching is an essential element for a believer to observe in their every-day life: You cannot be a servant to the god of this world -- its manner of thinking, desires, appetites and goals -- and still be faithful to Christ. Therefore, the test of faithfulness is not in what we say, but what is in our hearts. And what is highly valued and important in the eyes of man, is of little importance at all in the eyes of God. Where we place great emphasis on majestic temples, songs of praise, fancy robes, solemn rituals and prayerful petitions where we call upon the name of the Lord, this type of worship was common to the Sadducees and Pharisees, and not the people of the New Covenant.
Fundamentally, to be in the world and not of it as Jesus commands, a sincere believer must be as a man who is truly married -- i.e., one flesh -- in that, he can interact and move in the outside world, but it is his wife and family that must possess his every thought and aspiration of his heart. Moreover, this concept which will appear extreme by todayís religious and moral standards, is exactly the same as when the Apostle commanded "...take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Cor 10:5 NIV). What will perhaps shock the modern Christian is the fact that the state of Christ-awareness which the Apostle makes reference to in these words, is a necessary condition in the life of the genuine believer and disciple.
It is in this understanding -- the absolute union and marriage to the indwelling Christ -- that we must use as the standard to judge the validity of what we believe. It is further this understanding that we must use to judge the validity of the church throughout history, as well as today. In the same way that the wife who is truly married does not speak in terms of faith and belief with regard to her husband, neither does the genuine Christian use these weak terms with respect to his marriage to Christ.
Bishops Of Christ: In examining these fundamental New Covenant Truths there are a number of questions we must answer: Do Christians today truly know Jesus -- or do they believe in a Jesus that was created in the minds of men by the Emperor Constantine and the Roman Church? We say we are the people of the New Covenant -- but does a covenant relationship even still exists between the Christian Church and God? Are our present-day religious beliefs pure from the defilements of this world? Something that the modern believer generally fails to realize is that, in the third and forth centuries, there was no discernable difference between the religion of Mithraicism and what had evolved into Christianity. In fact, from an historical perspective, comparing Mithraicism and Christianity was in every way the equivalent of comparing a Methodist and a Presbyterian. This is demonstrated in the remarkable declaration of St. Augustine himself when he wrote: "I remember that the priests of the fellow in the cap used at one time to say, ĎOur Capped One is himself a Christianí" (Quoted in The Gnostics and Their Remains, by C.W. King, p.119).
Perhaps the most astounding observation of the times is preserved in a letter by the historian Vopiscus in his work, the Life of the Tyrant Saturninus, where it is written: "Those who worship Serapis are likewise Christians; even those who style themselves the bishops of Christ are devoted to Serapis. The very Patriarch himself... is forced by some to adore Serapis, by others to worship Christ" (Ibid, p.161). If Jesus was sincere in his statement that absolute fidelity would be required of those who call themselves his followers, then it is to their own spiritual demise when the modern believer ignores these statements of historical fact.
No doubt, modern religious authorities are no longer devoted to Serapis and the gods of the Roman Empire, but the question must be asked with regard to what degree the customs, doctrines and mindset of the Pagan world is still a part of the church today? And when we ask the question as to why is this important? In the same way that we can judge the validity of a marriage by the faithfulness of the husband and wife, this same biblical test can also be applied to the Church. From an elementary perspective, being a follower of Christ requires adherence to a certain set of standards and manner of behavior. Perhaps the classic and deciding verses on this issue are found in Jesusí words when he said: "If ye love me, keep my commandments", says the Lord (John 14:15 KJV). "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46 KJV).
From a biblical perspective, there is a great looming question that hangs over the head of all Christians today as to whether they -- apart from living in accordance with the standards that Jesus prescribed and ordained -- can even call themselves the followers of Christ. If we are faithful to the scriptures and the teachings of The Way, then we must abide by the biblical commandments, and not permit ourselves to walk in the way of either the carnal Jewish sects, or in the way of the Nations. If we claim to be followers of Jesus, then we must be willing to embrace a lifestyle where we are in the world and not of it -- which means that, only that culture which is acceptable and present in the Heavenly Kingdom, represents the acceptable culture and mindset that the believer is permitted to embrace during his life on earth -- which mindset is that of the Original New Covenant. In fact, it is to those who claim to be the followers of Jesus, and yet do not live in accordance with his teachings, of whom Jesus said: "And then I will declare to them, ĎI never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!í" (Matt 7:23 NKJ).
Where many present-day Liberal and New Age Christians ignore these numerous warnings throughout the scriptures, and twist the Apostle Paulís doctrine of faith to embrace a spiritually apathetic and complacent lifestyle, it is dangerous for us to ignore the fact that the followers of Christ are required to live in strict accordance with the manner of living that Jesus prescribed in the Bible. When Jesus commanded those who would be called his followers: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt 5:16 KJV); in order to accomplish this requirement, one has to live in such a way so that the Light of God manifests in their life.
If the allegation is true that the Christian Church became very Pagan over the course of the first four centuries, and the teachings of Jesus were reinterpreted from a Pagan perspective -- i.e., the religion of Mithraicism established under the color of the New Covenant -- then we must recognize that it is the impurity of our modern-day doctrines of belief that inhibit our ability to enter into the Divine Union, and manifest the Light in our life. Thus, what the Bible very strongly conveys is that we must live in the manner of a man who is truly married Ė i.e., what this means is that we must become extremely discerning with regard to our behavior and intensions with respect to other women who we encounter. The Law is that we cannot be "one flesh", while we desire or long for someone outside of the one we are married to. From a religious perspective, the equation is the same -- i.e., we cannot be of God and of this world.
Christians today believe they can live in accordance with the culture of this world, and they are saved by faith and the blood of Christ -- but are they? From a biblical perspective, the American people live like kings, and are rich beyond even what could be envisioned by the authors of the Bible. The problem is that we are not only rich in things of a purely monetary and materialistic nature, but even more damaging is the fact that we are rich in the thinking, manmade doctrines and mindset of our very worldly culture. Are we therefore saved by faith regardless of how we live? Timothy is told that a genuine Christian must keep the Commandments of the Gospel "Öwithout spot or blame" (1 Tim 6:14 NIV).
In our quest to live in absolute fidelity to the Lord, we must question everything associated with the name Christ -- and the article of faith with which everything must be judged by is seen in the words: "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire" (Matt 7:17-19 KJV).
One of the fatal flaws which has been brought to light by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls is the idea expressed by many Christians that because of the doctrine of Apostolic succession, where the modern-day church is Christís Church by virtue of the fact that it has existed since the first century, is greatly flawed. Why? Because once a covenant or marriage has been defiled by virtue of an adulterous relationship, it ceases to exist in the eyes of God.
From a New Covenant perspective, forgiveness and repentance is for babes in Christ who are entry-level believers -- mature Christians must enter into a Covenant with God, and are required to dwell in the Light of the Lord. This fact is demonstrated throughout the scriptures, but can be seen directed to the followers of Jesus in the words: "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men" (Matt 5:13 RSV).
In biblical times salt was used to make pure, preserve and sustain life. The followers of Christ were intended to be the salt of the earth. If, though, they cease to be in spiritual Union with the Word, and embrace the ways of this world in the manner of an adulterer and unfaithful spouse -- and thus have lost their purity, then Jesus warns that they will be rejected -- i.e., cast down from their lofty position, cursed, and made the scourge of mankind. If believers today desire to be a genuine disciple of Christ, and enter into a Covenantal relationship with their Creator God, then they can no longer continue to ignore these many warnings throughout the scriptures.
From a Biblical perspective, the facts of the matter is this: When the Church of Rome made a covenant relationship with the Pagan Emperor Constantine -- installing him as the head of the church -- and adhering to the long embraced Pagan doctrines that he ordained -- the church made itself an adulteresses -- and in taking its place as the whore of the god of this world, no longer had any claim to a covenant relationship with Jesus of Nazireth. In no longer possessing the purity necessary to bring forth the fruit of the spirit, the shadow church of the Roman Empire was then severed from its spiritual essence and cast into the dark abyss of this world. There it has fundamentally remained to this very day -- calling upon the Lord of The Way in name, but never actually bearing the burden of the cross and the Covenant that is required of them.
While the church of this world converts men into believers who embrace factional and sectarian doctrines, the True Church of Christ transforms carnal men into mature spiritual Children of God. There is nothing in the scriptures that conveys the present-day doctrine that faith in Jesus replaced the need to live in accordance with the lifestyle that manifests the Light in oneís life. Fundamentally, Jesus taught mankind a manner of living their life that would make them approved by God. If you did not live in accord with His Commandments, then you were/are not a believer -- but rather, one who proclaims the name of the Lord with their lips, while denying Him in their hearts. What we fail to understand today is the fact that every word which Jesus spoke was in accord with a set of foundational standards that could only be defined in the terms of right and wrong thinking and behavior -- black and white -- and there was no room for the various shades of gray that have been continually introduced into the church throughout every age. While it is true that Jesus walked among the common sinners rather than the quasi-religious heretics who were the impostor children of Israel, it is also truth that there is absolutely no thought in the scriptures that Jesus embraced or accepted their sin. What he very clearly said was that it was necessary for them to change their sinful manner of living, and sin no more.
Unlike our modern liberal and New Age perception of the word that many people who call themselves Christian today have adopted, sin was recognized as a flaw -- a fatal flaw which was the result of spiritual sickness -- and was seen as an outward effect that was predicated upon an inner condition of heart and mind, as seen in the words: "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matt 5:28 NIV). It is for this reason that Jesus put forth a standard for those who would call themselves his followers -- i.e., he said that the righteousness of those who would call themselves his disciples must eclipse and exceed the purity and righteousness of the carnal Jews, as seen in the words: "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 5:20 NIV).
Contrary to our modern-day perception of the word, there was no room in the teachings of Jesus for liberal gray -- i.e., a condition where believers define their standards in accordance with their lifestyle, carnal desires, customs or traditions. From the perspective of Jesusí teachings, sin is understood as a defect of mind -- and, like a marriage, regardless of the name that one proclaims, the manifestation of sin in the form of physical deeds and actions is indicative of a spiritually corrupt mind that has been turned out of The Way.
From the perspective of Jesusí teachings, a life of sin and adherence to the culture of this world is indicative of manís disconnection from God. The guiding rule for Christians should be that if a mindset, custom or tradition is not biblical, then it should be immediately questioned. There is no gray -- i.e., if a believer desires to be a genuine disciple of the Christ, then they must live their lives in strict conformity to his teachings. In the same way that a man who professes to be a Christian, and yet lives in the manner of the heathen cannot be called a follower of Jesus, neither can a Church that embraces Paganism and heathenism be sanctified by the Son of God.
In the teachings of Jesus sinners were called to repentance. The good news was preached to them so they would change, and sin no more. After healing those who were struck with the infirmities and diseases of this world, Jesus said: "Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee" (John 5:14 KJV). At no time did Jesus sit with the sinners and those who were lost and convey to them that so long as they believed and had faith in him as the Son of God, that they could continue to live in sin.
In todayís world the Christian religion is viewed as a means of redemption. Upon entering our churches we hear it being preached: One must repent of their sins and call upon the name of the Lord to be saved. These things are necessary -- but there is nothing in the scriptures that promotes a lifestyle of perpetual redemption. Contrary to modern Christian doctrine, the Apostle warns the believer that if they partake of the body and blood of Christ in an unworthy manner, without being cleansed from the sin and the defilements of this world, they will be judged and punished: "So if anyone eats this bread and drinks from this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, he is guilty of sin against the body and the blood of the Lord. That is why a man should examine himself carefully before eating the bread and drinking from the cup. For if he eats the bread and drinks from the cup unworthily, not thinking about the body of Christ and what it means, he is eating and drinking Godís judgment upon himself; for he is trifling with the death of Christ. That is why many of you are weak and sick, and some have even died. But if you carefully examine yourselves before eating you will not need to be judged and punished" (1 Cor 11:27-31 TLB).
Yet, this is not the message that is preached in our churches today! From the Apostle Paulís perception of the Christian life the followers of Jesus were commanded to "make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof" (Rom 13:14 KJV). What this means is that, whatever desire, custom, tradition or manner of thinking that is not in strict conformity to the teachings of the New Covenant, and does not support the believers endeavor to become spiritual and receive the knowledge of the Mysteries of the Gospel, must be rejected. Why? Because it is sinful to squander our opportunity of life on things of little meaning! It is sinful to throw away our inheritance from our Heavenly Father on riotous living. Would we not say the same thing of a man who gambles away his earnings before coming home to his wife and family?
In accordance with the teachings of the Apostle, it is the manner in which one lives their life that enables the believer to move into harmony with the Spiritual Christ, and enter the Kingdom -- and every desire and custom of this world that does not support the discipleís entrance into the Kingdom, should be discarded. When a believer fails to do this, and continues to cling to the elemental, sensual and materialistic things of this world, the Apostle states that they bring "Godís judgment upon himself".
What is clear when we study the actual teachings of Paul rather than what most churches interpret what he supposedly said, is that the focus of the religion that is presently called Christian has been severely shifted from its original intent and purpose. In view of the facts, though we claim to believe in the Apostleís doctrine of faith, it must be concluded that the position of the modern Church is in direct opposition to what Paul actually taught was necessary for one to even be counted as a believer. And while sincere Bible studying Christians read and contemplate the Apostleís words today, the looming problem which remains is that it is difficult to change the religious traditions and beliefs we have inherited from previous generations of people who called themselves Christian -- but were not! The result is that we ignore the Bible -- we totally disregard the very essential teachings of The Way -- and the modern-day Church perspective could be summarized by asserting that: No matter what proofs are offered, the Church will continue to hold fast to its present system of beliefs without regard to the historical and biblical evidence that would demonstrate the defectiveness of their position.
Genuine religion is a Covenant or Marriage with God! Again we can compare the plight of the church to that of marriage and state that, even when ordained in a secular fashion, it is true that God will bless any union where the two people love one another. In fact, this is the very assertion that is presently being made by those who champion the cause of homosexual marriages -- i.e., God will ordain whatever is carried out in love. To some extent they are not wrong -- God recognizes the power of love -- but there are other elements that come into the picture in order for us to grasp the higher reality -- elements that have more to do with the moving beyond the limitations of this world and gaining entrance into the Kingdom.
Many sincere Christians today believe that if it was true that the church was altered from its original course, and both our Bibles and beliefs are no longer pure and approved by God, then God would move upon the hearts of the believers and change them. For the most part this is the same mindset adopted by the homosexual who says: God made me this way -- if He wanted me to be different, then He would change me -- and He loves me just the way I am. The great truth that the modern church is simply not prepared to come to terms with is this: God permits -- and even ordains -- the errors and inconsistencies that exist in Christian doctrine today for the higher good of mankind. This fact -- that God would permit the modern church to dwell in error and incompletion -- is simply beyond the comprehension of the modern day believer.
Fundamentally, the reason God permits the church to dwell in the abyss of error is twofold: (1) To reach out to the people of our present-day culture; (2) and to place roadblocks in the path of believers that must be overcome. Once again it is because we embrace a quasi-Darwinist perception of Creation -- seeing things in reverse -- that we are unable to come to terms with the facts and realities of life. In the same way that the prodigal son must fall under the control of the citizen of the far country in order to learn the lessons of life and grow to maturity, man needs a corrupted form of the Gospel in order to begin to walk upon the road which leads to the true teachings of The Way. God therefore permits and even ordains these inconstancies -- not to confuse the believer -- but rather, so they will first come to the Word, and then see the worthlessness of seeking to know God in the flesh, and turn instead to the sprit.
The problem is this: Our present-day lifestyle and manner of thinking is so far removed from what would be considered spiritual, that it can be asserted that it would be near impossible for the culturized Christian today to live and worship from the perspective of a first century community of the followers of Jesus. The thinking of the disciples of Christ would be so opposite and diametrically opposed to our quasi-Darwinist mindset that we are imbued with today, that the modern-day believer would be unable to even begin to make the transition. If we are able to comprehend this fact, then we must pose the all-important question: Should the Lord simply abandon His children who have become lost in this world? In view of the fact that it would be impossible for the people who are imbued with the thinking of this world to perceive manís higher reality, it then serves the needs of the Lord to permit totally flawed and corrupted churches to continue to preach a defective gospel as an outreach to those who dwell in darkness.
In what on the surface may appear to be an oxymoron, it can be asserted that the more the church embraces the customs, traditions and beliefs that are non-biblical, and even Pagan and heathen, the more effectively is the Word of God presented to the multitudes, and the easier it is for the Lord to guide the true disciples into the Light. During the Middle-Ages it is said that the Gnostic/Spiritual element in the Roman Church which literally bloomed in the monasteries and religious centers nearly overthrew the seat of power at the Vatican. Why? The church was so absolutely corrupt, that it was easy for the Spiritual Christians to demonstrate the counterfeitness of the church. Again, we can see the condition of the church in Martin Lutherís letter to Pope Leo X on September 6th, 1520 where he wrote of the Christianity of his day, that the church, "Öonce the holiest of all, has become the most licentious den of thieves, the most shameless of all brothels, the kingdom of sin, death, and hell. It is so bad that even Antichrist himself, if he should come, could think of nothing to add to its wickedness" (Quoted in: The Great Thoughts; compiled by George Seldes).
If the church had been pure and undefiled, then it would have no place among a heathen and Pagan people. The fact that the church reflected the thinking and the lifestyle of the people, also meant that it provided a means for individuals within the society to embrace the essence of the Gospel message. We would better understand this great truth if we were able for a moment to open our minds to manís higher reality, move beyond our quasi-Darwinist perception of life, and recognize that when religious symbolism is presented to a soul who has developed under these symbols in the past, that the symbols themselves begin to open the door to manís higher reality. To some respect St. Jerome in his 94th Epistle to Avitus revealed an element of truth which we fail to understand today when he wrote: "A divine habitation, and a true rest above, I think, is to be understood, where rational creatures dwelt, and where, before their descent to a lower position, and removal from invisible to visible [worlds], and fall to earth, and the need of gross bodies, they enjoyed a former blessedness. Whence God the Creator made for them bodies suitable to their humble position, and created this visible world and sent into the world ministers for their salvation".
We fail to understand this concept expressed by one of the most orthodox authorities of the post-Nicean church today, because we are unable to comprehend the relationship of the pre-existing soul. We fail to understand that prior to our entering into this present life, an embryonic image of our soul descended into a "Ölower position, and removal from invisible to visible [worlds], and fall to earth". Why? Because a part of our souls which was undeveloped, remained in a gross state corresponding to the lower kingdoms of nature (mineral, vegetable and animal), and the only means that the soul is able to develop that part of itís mind and move on to completeness, is to enter this world where these grosser elements of mind are physically manifest. Moreover, in order to help these souls whose lower nature is lost in this world, more developed souls enter into this world in order to guide their lost brothers and sisters out of the darkness of this realm -- i.e., the words of Jerome as seen in his statement that "ÖWhence God the Creator made for them bodies suitable to their humble position, and created this visible world and sent into the world ministers for their salvation".
The modern believer and non-believer alike are unable to comprehend even the very elementary spiritual foundational concepts conveyed by Jerome in relation to the essence of New Covenant teachings, because we see both ourselves and life itself in reverse (reflected) of our true reality. Very clearly St. Jerome acknowledges that the soul pre-exists the formation of the physical body in this life. Going one step further we can see this understanding of the cycles of life presented in Jeromeís words: "The doctrine of transmigration (reincarnation) has been secretly taught from ancient times to small numbers of people, as a traditional truth which was not to be divulged" (Hyeronym., Epistola ad Demetriadem; Quoted in Reincarnation an east-west anthology by Joseph Head and S.L. Cranston).
If our soul had pre-existed the physical body, and is the embodiment of the accumulated knowledge and experiences since the very dawn of time as we understand it, then when we link these words of Jerome with those of the Church Father Origen in his famed writing De Principiis, we can begin to comprehend the true dilemma of man where Origen writes: "But all the narrative portion, relating either to the marriages, or to the begetting of the children, or to battles of different kinds, or to any other histories whatever, what else can they be supposed to be, save the forms and figures of hidden and sacred things? As men, however, make little effort to exercise their intellect, or imagine that they possess knowledge before they really learn, the consequence is that they never begin to have knowledge; or if there be no want of a desire, at least, nor of an instructor, and if divine knowledge be sought after, as it ought to be, in a religious and Holy Spirit, and in the hope that many points will be opened up by the revelation of God -- since to human sense they are exceedingly difficult and obscure -- then, perhaps, he who seeks in such a manner will find what it is lawful to discover".
The most important element of thought in the above words of Origen -- the man who the Encyclopedia Britannica calls "Öthe most prominent of all the church fathers"; and was considered by St. Jerome to be "the greatest teacher of the Church after the Apostles"; and St. Gregory of Nyssa called him "the prince of Christian learning in the Third Century" -- is the profound truth that "ÖAs men, however, make little effort to exercise their intellect, or imagine that they possess knowledge before they really learn, the consequence is that they never begin to have knowledge". The true purpose of the Bible and other sacred writings is not to relate meaningless historical traditions, customs, and doctrines of belief -- but rather, to provide those in search of genuine knowledge with the universal symbols and forms of creation that opens the inner door to the Source of Pure Knowledge that is beyond the comprehension of carnal man in his natural organic state of being.
Where the undeveloped soul views the biblical narrative in a historical/literal manner, the more spiritually advanced soul understands that the symbols portrayed in the form of marriages, the begetting of children, the many battles and confrontations, and even the very names of animals, places and people, all present to the mind of the reader the struggle of the indwelling soul in the its endeavor to overcome its own lower nature -- i.e., to bring about Armageddon and the next stages of birth in the life of the individual. If the symbols of higher reality as portrayed in the scriptures did not exist in a written form, then the shepherds and caretakers of the lost would not be able to raise themselves up in order to guide their lesser developed brothers and sisters. That both the church and the scriptures exist in a corrupted form when placed in the hands of a corrupted culture and society, is merely the reality of life that we must begin to comprehend. That these defiled and corrupted scriptures remain spiritually viable in the hands of more highly developed souls -- even during those times when they literally dwell in the darkest corners of this world -- is merely a demonstration of the ingenuity and genius of the system of development that has been ordained by our Creator God. In order to be effective, the church itself must be on the same level as the people it serves. In the manner of our educational systems, in order to accommodate the transition of the believer from the thinking of this world to that of discipleship, the church itself must have an entry-level doctrine that attracts those souls who are sinners and hopelessly lost in this world. If, on the other hand, the modern church was in fact more pure, then it would not be effective in serving its intended purpose in both the past, as well as our present cultural climate.
Only when one begins to surrender to the Light, and is able to perceive the difference between a Spiritual Church from a carnal church, does one begin to see the Hand of God at work in ways not recognized by the people of the simple faith. Christian sects such as the Jehovahís Witnesses take great pride in the fact that they do not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity -- they do not celebrate Christmas, Easter, and a whole host of other religious celebrations that are of a Pagan origin, and like most Protestant sects neither do they pray to saints who represent the Pagan gods of the ancient world. Yet, what the body of Jehovahís Witnesses are totally unable to comprehend is the reality that God not only permitted the adoption of Paganism by the fourth century church, but ordained the fall of the teachings of The Way in their pure form -- i.e., it was a necessary step in the greater goal that is only now being realized.
Anyone even remotely familiar with the Old Testament recognizes the fact that it was the Hand of God that brought the Children of Israel into lives of servitude to the Egyptians. It was again the Hand of God that permitted the Children of Israel to again be overcome by the people of the Nations, and carried away into captivity. Ultimately, the result was to drive the Word into the outer layers of the Nations -- thereby reaching out to the people of a carnal mindset.
All people innately have a longing to manifest the essence of their being -- which is spiritual -- but because their outer carnal self is so divided and attached to the things of this world, they are only capable of embracing their spiritual essence in a very superficial manner. In the endeavor of satisfying this innate spiritual hunger while still maintaining their cultural driven lifestyle, they always deviate from biblical/spiritual standards and requirements. Yet, since the objective is their eventual development and maturity, the Hand of God uses these deviations in a two-fold manner -- first as a door to entry-level Christianity -- and secondly as signs to the genuine disciple that clearly mark the path not to follow.
Genuine religion is synonymous with a genuine marriage. What this means is that there are marriages, and there are marriages in the deeper sense of the word, and there are marriages of such a profound and committed nature, that what was two becomes truly One! Thus, genuine religion and marriage embrace realities beyond the scope of the physical, and has the ability to manifest both man and Godís higher spiritual reality in this three-dimensional realm. That all marriages are not made in Heaven, is synonymous with the fact that the many religions of man do not embrace the Spiritual Essence of the Word of God. Again, it is only when we begin to understand life as a school -- wherein our soul enters this realm in order to develop, grow and mature to our full potential -- that we can even begin to realize why the world around us appears to be so chaotic and confusing. This is especially true in our own present-day culture where because of the homogenizing effect of our educational system, the entertainment media, and the far-reaching tentacles of our social-democratic government, it is as if we are dwelling in a one-room schoolhouse.
In our educational systems we possess sufficient wisdom to segregate and separate students who are learning at various levels of instruction. Experience tells us that if elementary, middle, high school and college students all attended the same school, and attempted to learn in a common classroom, that very little would be accomplished with regard to the process of actual education. We therefore not only segregate students in accordance with their age, but also their level of scholastic achievement. In order to make the most of the learning experience, even in the same grade the advanced students are generally placed in different classes than average students, who are again separated from students who learn at a slower pace.
The problem is that we fail to use the same common-sense wisdom we employ in the development of our students, and we attempt to manifest a diverse culture by homogenizing our communities -- believing we will make everyone the same by forcing them to dwell together in the same learning environment. Though the governments throughout the ages have always attempted to dictate the mindset of the people -- often using the very power of religion to control the thinking of the masses -- the politically elite of the past could not even begin to imagine the success of our present day culture which employs both a universal and compulsory educational system, as well as an all-pervading media that is piped into almost every home across the nation.
In the same way that only our most advanced students are able to make the highest use of the educational opportunity that our school systems provide, the Word of God is intentionally presented to the people in this same manner. When we understand this universal wisdom that we employ ourselves in our endeavor to educate and mature our children, we can begin to understand that the Mysteries of God are delivered in steps and levels -- and only those who fulfill the Gospel message in word, thought and deed, are ever permitted to embrace advanced spiritual studies, which enables them to gaze beyond the barrier of this world and behold the Kingdom of God. In Jesusí own words we are warned: "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it... for many be called, but few chosen" (Matt 7:13-14 NAU; Matt 20:16 KJV). The narrow gate represents the door through the barrier of mind that enables the disciple to move beyond the three dimensional limitations of this world.
The problem is that the reality of these words cannot even be envisioned, until we begin to perceive life from the perspective of our pre-existent soul who develops over the course of many lifetimes in this realm of existence. This very thought and reality is presented to us in the Nazirene Gospel where Jesus states to Nicomedus: "Blessed are they who suffer many experiences, for they will be made perfect through suffering; they will be as the angels of God in heaven and will die no more. Neither will they be born any more, for death and birth have no more dominion over them". It is these diverse and many experiences that develops our lower animal and carnal nature to the degree where it begins to serve and reflect our own soul and higher spiritual nature -- and this can only be accomplished over the course of many lifetimes in which the soul continually re-enters this realm in a condition suited to both its debts which are owed under the Law, as well as a means to overcome the conditions and raise itself up above the gross consciousness of this realm.
To those who dwell in accord with the Royal Law of the Most High, and are worthy to know the Mysteries of God, the opportunities of life are both incomprehensible from a carnal state of mind, and endless. Thus, the gate which Jesus speaks of can only be entered by graduate students who have passed the many tests of this life. What this means is that in order to be truly effective, it is absolutely necessary that the Word be presented in a level-appropriate manner. To reach out to the few who are able to embrace the Word of God on a graduate-level -- and in solitude are able to open the narrow gate while the great multitude of believers unknowingly walk upon the broad-way of life -- it therefore suites the purposes of God that the people of the simple faith are blind to the fact that they do not perceive they are not in accord with the true teachings of The Way. Further, in order to preserve the New Covenant teachings, it is absolutely necessary that the sinners and those who are lost in their attachment to the sensual and elemental things of this world, embrace an entry-level doctrine that enables them to begin their walk with the Lord. This fact we already know -- i.e., in order to educate a child, it is absolutely necessary that they begin the process in kindergarten and the initial levels of primary school instruction.
From the perspective of the indwelling Spiritual Church, when the people of the simple faith begin to truly repent, and sincerely commence to examine themselves in relation to the life that Jesus ordained, they will immediately begin to see that their religious experience is superficial. Southern Baptists take great pride in the allegation that they are religious extremists because they cling to fundamental biblical principles. The Southern Baptist reasons that because the mainline churches embrace the gospel in a philosophical manner -- endorsing sin and servitude to the elemental and sensual powers of this world -- these worldly churches are simply unable to apply biblical principles in their every-day life.
Are these mainline churches turned out of The Way? If the preachers of the culturized mainline church stood before the congregation and said they must repent from their carnal ways and begin to live in accord with the New Covenant scriptures, the majority of the people would simply walk out of the church. They want a gentler kinder God who is both all-inclusive, and accepts them the way they are. Since it is easily observed that the mainline churches have become totally enmeshed in our modern-day culture, and from a biblical perspective are spiritually indolent, it gives the Southern Baptist a great sense of achievement to be called an extremist.
The problem is that though the Southern Baptist is not wrong in many of their assessments of mainline churches, because they attempt to view everything in black and white, they fail to perceive reality from the higher vision of the pre-existent soul who develops over the course of many lifetimes. Thus, the great truth which is not understood by nearly all Christians today, is that in a similar manner which we employ in our own educational systems, the Lord needs teachers of the Word at every stage of development in order for all men to one day become a disciple of the Light. In the same way that we cannot take an elementary school student and send him to graduate school, it is absolutely necessary for all grades and levels of Christians to be present throughout every aspect of life. Contrary to the vision and judgment of the Southern Baptist, the Jehovahís Witnesses, or other more rigid sects, this is absolutely necessary in order to embrace the higher objective of life, and transition man from a carnal believer into a spiritually mature Son of God.
The average Jehovahís Witness takes great pride in the thought that they are in the truth because they do not embrace the latent Paganism that remains a foundational principle of modern Christian doctrines of belief -- they therefore judge themselves to be in the truth because they can see the error of others. The average Southern Baptist takes great pride in the allegation that he is an extremist -- knowing that our hedonistic culture is in total conflict with the message of the Bible. The Seventh Day Adventist views themselves as more biblically aligned because they worship on the Lordís Sabbath, rather than the Pagan day of the sun. The average mainline Protestant views their very liberal manner of thinking as an attribute -- after all, they reason, it is wrong to be judgmental and Godly to be accepting of the flaws of their brothers and sisters. Each and every person is therefore able to justify their lifestyle and manner of thinking, and in their own way see themselves as being approved by God. Yet, each group embraces this manner of flawed thinking because they not only view life in reverse of manís true reality, but they lack any sort of comprehension of the Divine Plan of our Creator-God which will eventually drive us on towards perfection.
In the same way that we do not hold elementary school students to the same standards of achievement that is required in the higher grades, in order to lead all of mankind into the Kingdom, it therefore does not suit the designs of God to have the carnal believer loose faith. After all, this would totally undermine the purpose of the Gospel in relation to those who truly desire the Light and the Truth. For this reason, the Laws of God which control this and all other realms, hardens their heart in order that His Higher Will is served, and the people of the simple faith continue to live so as to make it appear that they are fulfilling the Gospel message. The system of development works, because as each individual begins to desire Truth above everything else, their hearts and minds will be opened in accordance with the level of truth they are able to live.
What this ultimately means is that each of these diverse groups of believers not only possess an element of truth in their thinking and doctrines, but that the very existence of these groups helps not only the body of believers in which they serve as an outreach support organization -- but just as importantly, they provide the more advanced souls with morsels of truth that can be brought together in their quest to embrace the greater Truth that only a very few are capable of comprehending. The Jehovahís Witnesses are right -- i.e., the church not only became thoroughly immersed in the Paganism of Greece and Rome, but this Pagan foundation continues to haunt the body of the church to this present day. In like manner, the Southern Baptists are correct in their assertion that the mainline churches have been overcome by the cultural thinking of our present-day society. The Seventh Day Adventists are correct in their assertion that it is important to hold fast to biblical principles. The Unitarians are correct in their rejection of Platoís doctrine of the Trinity. The Universalist are correct in their assertion that our perception of hell and eternal damnation is flawed. The Mormons are correct that man possesses a pre-existent soul. The liberal mainline churches are correct in their assertion that we should not be judgmental of our brothers and sisters. Unity Church is correct in its assertion that the scriptures possess a meaning beyond what is realized by the body of Christian believers. The Quakers are correct that man must seek and learn from the indwelling Light by quieting the physical mind through meditation and prayer. Bring all these elements of truth together and add a desire to live in accordance with the Royal Law of the Most High, and learn from the One Teacher of all Truth, and one begins to possess the tools necessary to walk in The Way.
Again we can see this same pattern of development employed in the manner in which our own educational systems function today. In order to educate a child, the curriculum must not only be balanced with respect to diversity of discipline and subject matter, but must be at the level appropriate for the student. Moreover, in order to be effective, those who teach the child must function at the same level as the student. If a first grade teacher decides he or she wants to instruct students at a more advanced level, the teacher moves on to a higher grade, but the curriculum remains the same for the first grade students. Wisdom conveys to us the reality that if the first grade curriculum was to change, then it would no longer be appropriate for the instruction of entry-level students. Ideally, advancement in our educational systems should be in relation to the achievement level of the student -- which is fundamentally the same as with Godís Spiritual University of Life. If this is unfair, they we employ the same exact unfairness to our own children!
What the Bible teaches is that as a disciple is able to live and manifest a greater level and awareness of truth in their daily life, more truth is given: "For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him" (Luke 8:17-18 NIV).
The reality of life is that there is nothing hidden from us -- we just do not possess the spiritual eyes and ears to perceive what is beyond the barrier of these three-dimensions of the world in which we are presently restrained. When the Lord commands us to "consider carefully how you listen", we must not only open our minds to the three-fold meaning of what is being said, but we must mold our everyday life and thinking around the Masterís words of instruction.
Because it is important for the truly faithful and religious person to develop in accordance with the Divine Plan, the Lord does one more thing to insure the success of the system of spiritual revelation -- i.e., He makes the doctrines of the simple faith to appear chaotic. For the most part the common believers fail to perceive this great truth, because natural man can only see and hear in accordance with a carnal level of perception and understanding -- resulting in one of the major problems confronting the Christian Church today -- i.e., the church has become so accustomed to ignoring the grave and profound inconsistencies that overwhelmingly exist in the very foundation of its doctrines of belief, that if Jesus Christ himself returned and did not say what many believers wanted to hear, they would turn upon the Lord, as they have all His emissaries that He has previously sent to the Church to warn them that what they believe as an article of faith is only a shadow of what He taught.
The reality that I am presenting to you is this: God continually sets before the people the path to the Kingdom that begins with a change in heart. This is seen in the parable where Jesus conveys to us: "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son" (Matt 22:2 NIV). Thus, regardless of the fact of whether we recognize that the invitation has been presented to us, it has. That we refuse to go is demonstrated in the words: "He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come". (Matt 22:3 NIV). Why do we refuse? "Then he sent some more servants and said, Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet. But they paid no attention and went off-- one to his field, another to his business" (Matt 22:4-5 NIV). Thus, we are too busy to attend the marriage feast.
In the next verses we are presented with another reality that has been true throughout the history of man: "The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city" (Matt 22:6-7 NIV). Carnal believers killed the prophets -- they crucified Jesus -- the Pagan Christians killed the Spiritual Christians -- throughout the Middle-Ages the rulers of the church sent forth armies to wipe out the Gnostic/Spiritual element of the church -- and even today we continue to crucify the Christ within us by clinging to a quasi-Darwinist perception of life, and adhering to our present hedonistic culture. Thus the result of our unfaithfulness to the Gospel is seen in the words: "The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city" (Matt 22:7 NIV).
That all people are invited, but few take advantage of the opportunity that has been presented to them, is demonstrated in the words: "Then he said to his servants, the wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find. So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. Friend, he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes? The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are invited, but few are chosen" (Matt 22:8-14 NIV).
What this means is that unless we put on the wedding garment which in the scriptures is portrayed as the robe of perfection and completeness, we cannot gain entrance into the Kingdom, and will once again be cast into the outer world of spiritual darkness -- which is where we presently dwell. Moreover, the robe of perfection is not put on by singing songs of praise, or a prayer, or by telling God how great and wonderful He is -- but rather, by overcoming our carnal nature, and merging our physical, soul and spiritual natures into One.
The problem is seen in the fact that in order to become genuine spiritual Christians, one must themselves become genuine. In stating these words, we must immediately recognize that the liberal mind which attempts to view truth as being subjective, will immediately reject this statement. They will say: Who can determine what is genuine? They will then say that what is true for one person, may not be true for another. Again we are presented with a paradox of life -- in that, they are both simultaneously right and wrong. Because each of us are at varying levels of spiritual development, truth will appear to be subjective -- but because all of Creation is the outgrowth of the One Source of Being, there is also a Standard of Truth that is higher than the perception of natural man.
We can begin to envision the reality of this paradox when we recognize that what is taught in elementary school is subjective with respect to the understanding of the student. In order to be of any real value in the development and perfection of the soul, truth must be subjective to the life of the individual. The fundamentalist who views all of life in black and white with no shades of gray, cannot even begin to envision that truth can be subjective, because they view the world as the ultimate test of life, rather than the ultimate learning experience. Again, the problem is seen in the fact that the fundamentalist is not wrong, but in their very limited perception which has been brought on by the adoption of their quasi-Darwinist doctrines, they fail to grasp the big picture of life -- that each of us is the prodigal son who, in the outer walks and reaches of life in this, the far country, each must begin the journey home from the perspective of their own individual condition.
It is this same inability to perceive the big picture that causes the Evangelical Christian to define the biblical concept of being "saved", without recognizing that this term is again both simultaneously subjective and cast in stone. Define the term "saved"? Again, it is our failure to recognize that both realities of the paradox can and do exist that limit our perception of both the scriptures and the purpose of life itself. Because we fail to see life from the perspective of our pre-existent soul, we do not perceive the reality that Jesus taught the concept that each of us comes into this life with different expectations: "To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability" (Matt 25:15 NIV). What was the determining factor in the distribution of talents in accordance with each manís ability? Because we continue to embrace the quasi-Darwinist mindset of the doctrines of the Roman Church, we fail to recognize that each man in the parable was rewarded in accordance with what they accomplished with the talents, and the reward was again subjective to what was expected of the individual on the basis of their previous merits.
One of the most important truths conveyed to the reader in this parable that is continually ignored by both the believer and non-believer, is that we are not all playing on a level field, as seen in the words that each person was given "according to his ability". These words are so important to everyone reading this book, that they can be considered a defining mark and standard with regard to each personís level of achievement and spiritual awareness. Because we fail to understand the very process and means by which the soul is perfected, and the words that "each of us must be as perfect as our Heavenly Father", it is as if we grouped together all the students in our educational system today -- i.e., elementary, middle, high school, college -- and said to the students that we are going to give you a comprehensive test that will assess your abilities with respect to whether you have developed and refined your skills to a graduate level of academic perfection, without respect to age or individual level of scholastic achievement.
The soul who has matured and become consciously aware of manís true higher reality, is a soul who perceives the great truth in Jesusí words when he said that each man receives in life "according to his ability". In order to comprehend the far-reaching ramifications of these words, we would have to embrace the system of beliefs originally embraced by the Messianic followers who Jesus himself taught -- and this is impossible so long as we continue to cling to the doctrines of the Gentile Church which evolved through Pagan Rome. We would first have to acknowledge that in order for a person to enter into life and receive "according to their abilities", part of them -- their soul -- had to have existed prior to their physical birth. Only then can we even begin to understand that life is a school, and you cannot expect an elementary school student to perform at the same academic level of a graduate student.
To the woman who had been caught in adultery Jesus said: "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more" (John 8:11 NKJ). Jesus did not condemn her even though she had violated the Law of God, because he understood that it is impossible for immature souls not to sin. With respect to the Royal Law of the Most High, those who are at an elementary level of spiritual development behave in the manner of immature souls. That we fail to comprehend this great truth, and we are unable to understand many of the foundational concepts of the Bible -- which is a school textbook for developing souls -- because we are blinded by our quasi-Darwinist doctrines of belief and church dogma that severely limits our perception of both life and the true depth of the scriptures. Being blind to manís own greater reality, we are unable to perceive that we are not on a level playing field because each of us has been given "according to his ability".
The result is that in our failure to perceive the plight of mankind as developing souls who are destined to be gods, we run afoul of both the New Covenant teachings and the Laws that control this world. We fail to differentiate between the person who was given more, as portrayed in the case of when the one who received five talents, and we become judgmental of the person who was given either two or one talent. This is more clearly portrayed in Jesusí warning: "That servant who knows his masterís will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked" (Luke 12:47-48 NIV). Thus, the great flaw in our perception is seen in our inability to comprehend that some souls are greatly advanced when they enter into this life -- others are just beginning to embrace their indwelling spiritual nature -- and still others have continually lived meaningless lives in servitude to the sensual, materialistic and elemental powers of this world, and have not even begun to manifest their spiritual nature.
Those people who walk in The Way, and are following in the Lordís footsteps, should know that souls exist at every level of development, and immature souls -- in the manner of pre-school and those in the elementary grade levels, not only are unable to live in accordance with the Royal Law of God, but in the manner of immature children, they are often unruly, chaotic and disordered. What we therefore see as the sins of our brothers and sisters, is in many instances mealy the outgrowth of their immaturity. That we fail to understand this fact is indicative of our own spiritual immaturity. It is for this reason we are commanded not to judge our brothers -- to turn the other cheek -- and "recompense to no man evil for evil" (Rom 12:17 KJV).
The reality that confronts us is seen in the fact that the flaw is in our own vision of the purpose of life -- and in the same way that we would not expect a toddler or young child to behave with maturity, and neither would we expect a first grader to pass a college graduate exam, when we judge the immature souls in the world by our own standards, it is often our own judgment that is in error. Admittedly, the requirements of the Gospel are not easy to live up to. To turn the other cheek in the face of persecution -- not to judge sinners -- not to judge unbelievers and those who are hostile to the Word of God -- not to return evil for evil -- not to condemn those who obstruct our path and inhibit us from following in the footsteps of the Lord --walking in The Way, and attempting to live our lives in accordance with the Light in a world of darkness, is not an easy thing. It requires true spiritual maturity -- which is something that can only be born from genuine knowledge and an enlightened perception of Creation -- which elevated state of mind can only be achieved when one lives in absolute harmony with the Word.
What the Bible warns us is that we cannot make the journey into the Kingdom and walk in the "narrow way", while attempting to carry the burdens and baggage of this realm with us. When we judge our lesser brothers and sisters, we in turn make ourselves debtors to the Law -- resulting in the fact that because we make ourselves violators of the Commandments of the Lord, we entangle ourselves in a state of servitude to the lower reality of this world. The problem does not have a simple solution -- i.e., it is very difficult not to judge when we lack knowledge and understanding of why the chaos, ruthlessness and depravity of this realm is permitted to continue. In perceiving the Word of God and the Gospel of Peace, we canít help but conclude that if everyone lived in accordance with the Royal Law of the Most High, then all of manís woes would be immediately resolved. If everyone treated their neighbor as they themselves want to be treated, then the world would be a much better place. The problem we encounter is our failure to realize that it is impossible for the multitude of people to live in accordance with the Royal Law of the Most High! Thus, it is impossible to walk in The Way and raise ourselves above the limitations of this world, when we are unable to comprehend why this world functions in the manner that it does.
In the utopian vision of the modern liberal social-democrat who sincerely believes that mankind can make this realm a better place, it is truly a difficult thing to deal with the reality of this world. They ask: Why canít people simply talk over their problems and arrive at a workable solution? Why canít all people respect the rights of others? Why canít all people be accepted regardless of race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, and every other diverse possibility?
We are foremost a being of mind and spirit -- and in order to develop and grow to maturity, we must embrace the Light and Higher Reasoning of the Word of God and the Order of Creation. Unless the believer is ready to search for truth, and truth alone, and leave everything else behind, then it is the Laws which control this world that will lead the people into the way of confusion and error. This is brought about to both preserve the entry-level doctrine, and make the indolent believer an example of what not to be, in order for the pure in heart who desire only the Light and the Truth, to more easily move beyond their system of casual belief.
The Bible very clearly warns us that we cannot simultaneously be faithful to our Heavenly Father and the god of this world. The Jewish sects of the Sadducees and Pharisees were condemned by Jesus for putting their own traditions and manmade doctrines above the Word of God -- will Christians be exempt from this same condemnation? Words without actions are empty. Regardless of the fact that the people call upon the name of the Lord, and praise the name of God, their worship of Him is near meaningless, so long as they refuse to do the Will of God. Therefore, to make it easy for the person in search of truth to recognize what is false, God moves the carnal believers to adopt non-biblical traditions and doctrines, and incorporate what is in conflict with the scriptures into their mode of worship.
Christians who profess that Christ is the one and only way into the kingdom must come to terms and confront their own doctrine. Which Christ is the Way? In view of the fact that I have already demonstrated that the Greek word Christos -- or Christ -- was already a widely used term to denote the Anointed prior to the birth of Jesus -- and this term was used in reference to many of the Pagan deities -- and the term Christian was a word used to describe their followers, we must pose the question: Did Plato who wrote about the Logos or Word, and the doctrines of the philosophers who wrote about the Christ, all know the teachings of The Way?
During the Middle Ages when the majority of Christians were permitted to view the scriptures for the first time in over a thousand years, they were shocked at how different their religious practices and thought was from what was presented in the Bible. One of the great themes of the Reformation was to rid the Christian religion of Roman Pagan influence in order for the essence of the teachings of Jesus to be more faithfully embraced. Thus, we have no other choice than to recognize the fact that the opposition to the Roman Church was not only valid, but the very existence of Protestantism is evidence of the infusion of Paganism into Christianity.
Martin Luther was a priest in the Roman Church. It was not his intention to start a new religion! What he wanted to do was make the church more in line with the original biblical message, and rid itself of its Pagan foundation. To what extent did Luther and the Reformationists succeed? This question can only be answered by judging the success of their results as to what degree the Paganism of the Roman Empire still remains grafted into the gospel today -- resulting in the continued corruption of the original message? If Luther and the Reformers had been successful, and the original message of the Gospel had been restored, then the Biblical scholars such as A. Powell Davies, who studied the Dead Sea Scrolls could never have said these words: "Biblical scholars were not disturbed by what they found in the Dead Sea Scrolls because they had known all along that the origin of Christianity was not what was commonly supposed to have been" (quoted by Millar Burrows in More Light on the Dead Sea Scrolls). What is being conveyed in these words is the fact that what we believe today has little in common with what was taught by the Son of God in the first century.
For the disciple in search of the Truth and Light, the answer to these questions are of the utmost importance. The Lord has commanded us to clean our house of all worldly defilements in the endeavor to embrace the things of the spirit. The Lord did not place the Gospel in our hands, so that we could alter it in the endeavor to make it more compatible with our culture of lifestyle. The New Covenant is just that -- a Covenant and Marriage that must be embraced in sacred observance and fulfilled to its utmost potential. In the same way that in the eyes of God there is no room for another woman in the life of a married man, and the mere act of looking upon another woman with lust is adulterous, if we are faithful to the Lord, then there can be no room in our lives for manmade doctrines, traditions, customs and beliefs.
From a purely outward perspective, there are many indications of just how far present-day Christianity has drifted away from the scriptures and the original Word of the Lord. As an example: One of the focal points of the biblical based religious teachings is the observance of the Sabbath. In Exodus 20:8-11 it is written as part of the Ten Commandments: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy... the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God". It was further the biblical commandment that "whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death... It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever" (Ex 31:15-17).
Do we believe the Bible? Or do we embrace tradition to the degree where we believe that the Bible does not really mean what it states? Or, perhaps more appropriately, do we believe that what the Bible states does not apply to us? Like the carnally minded Jews, the true choice that has been set before us is between tradition -- i.e. Pagan tradition -- and the Word of God.
The scripture clearly portrays the Sabbath as a sign between God and his people "forever". In Numbers 15:32-36, a man found gathering sticks on the Sabbath day was ordered put to death. Sabbath observance is even noted in the Book of The Revelation at 1:10, where is states that "I was in the Spirit on the Lordís day". Of all New Testament writings, it is said that the Book of Revelation was the last to be written -- and in this book the Lordís day was the Sabbath.
Instead of observing the Lordís Sabbath on the seventh day, as did Jesus and his disciples, Christianís worship on the day of the sun, the high holy day of the Pagan sun worshipers. Why? According to the fourth century church historian Eusebius in his Life of Constantine, the Roman Emperor Constantine, a sun worshiper who brought about the conversion to Christianity, had as other heathen kept the Sun-day, and publicly ordered this to supplant the Biblical Sabbath. From our perspective today, it is important to realize that Constantine would have only been moved to do this because, in his time, the genuine followers of Jesus were still celebrating the biblical Sabbath. Thus, we see how the great Pagan festival in honor of Sol the invincible was transformed into a Christian holy-day, and why Christianity today still follows the religion of the Roman Empire rather than that of the scriptures.
In one of the oldest manuscripts of the New Testament a statement by Jesus is found that has also recently been confirmed in the newly discovered Gospel of Thomas. At Luke 6:4 the text reads: "On the same day, He (Jesus) beholding a man laboring on the Sabbath, said to him: Man if thou knowest what thou doest, blessed art thou; if however thou dost not know, cursed art thou and a transgressor of the law". This and many other references to the Sabbath was removed from the scriptures by the Church of Constantine when he made the edict that the day of the sun would supplant the Lordís Sabbath. Nonetheless, in view of the fact that the Christian world today labors on the Sabbath, and they do not -- in the words of Jesus, "knowest what thou doest" -- Christians today would in the words of our Lord be "cursed... and transgressors of [Godís] Law". In knowing this fact, we have no excuse. Yet, our hearts are hardened, and we do not believe that God would disown us, as He did the Jews -- even though, with the possible exception of the Seventh Day Adventists, we have failed to be faithful to His Word with regard to the all-important Sabbath.
Following this same exact verse in the Nazirene Gospel is the words: "And again Jesus said to His disciples, what shall be done to these servants who, knowing their Lord's will, don't prepare themselves for His coming, neither do according to His Will? They that know their master's will, and don't do it, will be beaten with many stripes. But they who don't know their master's will, and don't do it, will be beaten with but few stripes. To whomsoever much is given, of them is much required; and to whom little is given, from them is but little required." Anyone who opens the Bible immediately sees that the Sabbath is to be observed and kept holy -- and yet the majority of Christians prefer to observe the day of the sun which was forced upon them by the Pagan Emperor Constantine.
In the Nazirene Gospel there is still many more references to Sabbath observance which was removed from our present-day Bibles by the Roman Church. Thus, Jesus taught: "You will purify yourselves daily and rest the seventh day from labor, keeping holy the Sabbath and the festivals of your GodÖ And I say to you, Except you fast from the world and its evil ways, you will in no wise find the kingdom; and except you keep the Sabbath and cease your haste to gather riches, you will not see the Father-Mother in heaven". Can we even begin to call ourselves faithful believers when we reject the teachings of the Lord, and embrace the traditions of Pagan Rome?
The prophet Isaiah, like Jesus, condemned the sacrifices and the keeping of the Law in the manner of the Sadducees and Pharisees. Yet, with regard to the Sabbath, there is a biblical reason to speculate that when we fail to observe the day correctly, a spiritual door is closed to us. This is seen at Isaiah 58:13-14 where it states: "If you turn your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken". The New Testament scriptures document that Jesus kept the Sabbath -- though not quite in the manner as did the Sadducees and Pharisees. When Jesus healed or taught on the Sabbath, he considered this doing the will of God, which should have been the pattern for all Christians to follow.
Today we make excuses for observing the Pagan day of the sun over the Lordís Sabbath. We say that every day should be a Sabbath -- and yet, we know in our hearts that the Pagan high holy day is held in higher esteem than is the Sabbath appointed by God. Further, in practice, we no longer make any day a Sabbath. We therefore do not truly keep even one day holy in accordance with biblical standards, and consecrate it unto the Lord.
There is nothing in the scriptures changing the Sabbath from that appointed by God to the Day of the Sun. Nowhere in the Bible is Sunday referred to as The Lordís Day. Nowhere in the Bible are we told not to work on the first day of the week. Nowhere in the Bible is there any threat of punishment for working on the first day. Nowhere in the Bible are there any blessings promised for observing the first day. There is not a word in the Bible about the Father and/or the Son resting on the first day -- or even observing the first day of the week. In the scriptures, the seventh day is never referred to as the Jewish Sabbath, and neither is the first day of the week referred to as the Christian Sabbath. There is not a word in the Bible that authorizes anyone to set aside Godís Sabbath in order to observe any other day. When Jesus met with his disciples after the crucifixion, there was not a word spoken with regard to a change from the biblical Sabbath to the first day of the week. It is a fact that the followers of Jesus continued to observe the biblical Sabbath while he was with them, as well as after their minds were enlightened by the Holy Spirit.
At Mark 2:27-28 Jesus affirms that the Sabbath was made for mankind, and that He was Lord of it -- it was never the intention of Jesus to be Lord of the Pagan day of the sun. It is well documented in both the Book of Acts as well as the writings of the early church, that the first Christians observed a biblical Sabbath -- not in the manner of the Sadducees and Pharisees who Jesus condemned -- but rather, in the manner taught by Jesus and his disciples. In fact, the whole concept of resting from the toils of this world was founded upon the premises that, on the Lordís Day, only the works of God can be performed.
Jesus condemned the manner in which the Sadducees and Pharisees celebrated the Sabbath -- not serving their fellow man and dedicating the day to the works of God as seen in the words: "Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath" (Matt 12:12 NIV). What Jesus taught was the proper manner in which the Sabbath was to be observed.
Christians today erroneously believe that Jesus did away with both Sabbath observance and the Law that was revealed by Moses. Is this true? What did Jesus say to the Sadducees and Pharisees regarding the observance of the Law? A key passage is found in Matthew: "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices -- mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law -- justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former" (Matt 23:23 NIV). The doctrine that Jesus abolished the Law as professed today by modern Christians is founded upon a defective understanding of the scriptures. In Jesusí own words he said that the Pharisees "should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former". In other words, the more important elements of the Law is "justice, mercy and faithfulness". These things should have been the primary focus and duty of those who were teachers of the Law -- and they should have practiced these "without neglecting" the other observances of the Law. There is no other explanation for these words that Jesus spoke.
From a biblical perspective, fault was never found with the Commandments and Law of God -- but rather, fault was found in the manner in which the people observed Godís Sacred Oracles: "Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them" (Ezek 22:26 KJV).
That Jesus affirmed the keeping of the Law is seen in his words: "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 5:18-20 NAS).
What is clearly demonstrated is that the followers of Jesus were not exempt from observing the Law, as is commonly believed today -- but rather, the followers of Jesus were not only supposed to observe the Law, but they were required to fulfill it more perfectly than the scribes and the Pharisees who failed to demonstrate "justice, mercy and faithfulness".
With regard to those who "annuls one of the least of these commandments", James, the brother of Jesus writes that "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all" (James 2:10 NAS). Unless you believe that James -- the brother of Jesus, and the first leader of the Church -- a man who was acknowledged to be a true holy man and saint by all who knew him -- a man who was Anointed by the Holy Spirit -- unless you believe that he did not know what he was talking about, you must acknowledge that there can only be one answer: The modern church has been turned out of The Way that was the foundation of the genuine New Covenant teachings. From the perspective of the very first leader and holy man of the Church, modern Christians, who do not observe the fourth commandment, and profane Godís Sabbath, are therefore guilty of violating the whole Law of God.
Are we Godís faithful people today? Godís people were to "observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant" (Exodus 31:16 NIV). This means that the Sabbath -- which was instituted by God in the beginning -- was to continue to be observed throughout all time. "How blessed is the man who does this" proclaim Isaiah", and the son of man who takes hold of it; who keeps from profaning the Sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil" (Isa 56:2 NAS). Even the Gentiles were to keep the Sabbath, as seen in the words: "Also the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant" (Isa 56:6 NAS).
Even in the future Kingdom that is to come, the Lordís Sabbath will be observed: "As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me, declares the LORD, so will your name and descendants endure. From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me, says the LORD" (Isa 66:22-23 NIV).
Throughout his entire life Jesus never kept the Sabbath on any other day than that prescribed in the Ten Commandments -- the seventh day of the week. Jesus expected his disciples to keep the Sabbath: "Pray that your flight will not take place... on the Sabbath" (Matt 24:20 NIV). Luke writes at Acts 1:1-3 that he wrote about "all" of Jesusí teachings -- he wrote often about keeping the Sabbath, and nothing about keeping the Pagan Day of the Sun.
The problem is that by putting the Day of the Sun over the biblical Sabbath, we follow in the footsteps of Constantine and his flock of sun worshipers, rather than The Way designated by the Lord. The result is that, in defense of our Pagan and lawless ways that we have adopted, we fundamentally proclaim that God has repented from his old, narrow manner of thinking, and has eliminated almost every requirement that the Bible places upon mankind.
What we fail to see is that, because we have adopted our own way, rather than fully embracing biblical commandments and principles, Christians have deceived themselves into believing that Paul did away with the Sabbath. Yet, we should question this wisdom once it is realized that Paul himself kept and affirmed the observances of the Law. When the accusation was made against Paul that: "we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes" (Acts 24:5 NAS), Paul defended himself by affirming his allegiance to the Law: "But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law, and that is written in the Prophets"(Acts 24:14 NAS).
When questioned, he did not say that with the advent of Jesus the Law was done away with. He did not say that Jesus freed us from adhering to the requirements of the Law and the Sabbath. Neither did he say that the Lordís Day was changed to the day of the sun. What he did say was that he believed and observed "everything that is in accordance with the Law, and that is written in the Prophets". This is demonstrated conclusively where the scriptures say of Paul: "And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath... And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God... And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks" (Acts 13:42,44; 18:4 KJV).
Modern Christians who do not observe the Lordís Sabbath make excuses for following in the way of Constantine, and they reason that in Acts the Bible states: "And on the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to depart the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight" (Acts 20:7 NAS). Yet, this reasoning is defective in that, the first Christians broke bread every day, as seen in the words: "And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart" (Acts 2:46 NAS).
The first day of the week, under the biblical way of rendering of time, begins at sundown on what we call Saturday night. Paul would not have begun his journey until the Sabbath had ended. At sundown all the people came together to break bread to celebrate the completion of the Sabbath. And this is seen in the words that Paul "prolonged his message until midnight". Paul observed the Sabbath, came together with the people at sundown on Saturday night, broke bread as was the custom, talked with them until midnight, and then began his journey. If Paul believed that the first day of the week was the Christian Sabbath, as was later declared by Constantine, then Paul never would have traveled on that day.
The whole issue of Sabbath observance is best summed up in The Library of Christian Doctrine, as seen in the words: "You are a Protestant, and you profess to go by the Bible and the Bible only; and yet in so important a matter as the observance of one day in seven as a holy day, you go against the plain letter of the Bible, and put another day in the place of that day which the Bible has commanded. The command to keep holy the seventh day is one of the Ten Commandments; you believe that the other nine are still binding; who gave you authority to tamper with the fourth? If you are consistent with your own principles, if you really follow the Bible and the Bible only, you ought to be able to produce some portion of the New Testament in which the fourth commandment is expressly altered" (The Library of Christian Doctrine, page 3,4).
Serious students of the Bible know that there is nothing in the scriptures that does away with the fourth commandment. The truth of the matter is that Christians do not "really follow the Bible and the Bible only" -- and their failure to adhere to the fourth commandment is merely an example of the fact that they cling to their own traditions which were adopted as a result of the infusion of Paganism into the religion.
When confronted with the facts, Christians proclaim that Jesus freed them from the requirement of living in accordance with Godís Word. What does the Bible say about these things? The scriptures warn that: "Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it" (Deut 12:32 NAS). The Bible teaches that "Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar" (Prov 30:5-6 NIV). And in the words of Jesus himself: "But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men" (Matt 15:9 NAS). For the Lord has said: "If ye love me, keep my commandments" -- rather than the commandments of Constantine (John 14:15 KJV).
The Pagan Origin Of Christmas And Easter: In our churches today we teach little children to celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th -- but this date was never recognized as the birthday of Jesus -- but rather, the traditional birth of the sun god. Prior to being called Christmas, this day was known as the Pagan celebration of Saturnalia. It is the day the sun begins its movement towards the earthís northern hemisphere -- which to the Pagans, was related to the birth -- or rebirth -- of the sun. The winter celebration of Saturnalia -- the rebirth of the sun god -- was even condemned by the early Christians up until the fourth century when Constantine forced conversion of the empire through imperial edict.
The Pagan custom of decorating a tree on December 25th, the forerunner of the Christmas Tree, was even condemned in the scriptures: "Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven... For the customs of the peoples are vain; for one cutteth a tree out of the forest... they deck it with silver and gold" (Jer 10:2-4). Interestingly enough, the Christmas celebration was outlawed by the first colonial settlers on the American Continent who viewed it as a Pagan defilement of the teachings of Christ, and the work of the devil.
Of the relationship of Saturnalia and Christmas, the Encyclopedia Britannica writes: "One of the best-known festivals of ancient Rome was the Saturnalia, a winter festival celebrated on December 17-24. Because it was a time of wild merrymaking and domestic celebrations, businesses, schools, and law courts were closed so that the public could feast, dance, gamble, and generally enjoy itself to the fullest. December 25th -- the birthday of Mithra, the Iranian god of light, and a day devoted to the invincible sun, as well as the day after the Saturnalia -- was adopted by the church as Christmas".
The celebration was grounded in the Pagan belief in the transmutation of animal into man, and man into animal. This is seen under the heading of Animals and Plants in myth, where the Britannica writes that: "In many societies, ritual change involves a transition period in which boundaries are broken and chaos rules, only to be overcome as order is restored. This is common in festivals in which the social order is temporarily suspended or reversed (as in the ancient Roman Saturnalia and the carnival celebrated in many Roman Catholic countries) and in rites of passage (such as initiation). Animal and plant transformations play a significant role in such ceremonies, both as negative symbols of chaos (e.g., return of the dead in animal form to mingle with the living; ritualized combats against the primordial dragon) and as positive symbols of the breaking through of bounds and the release of the forces of life (e.g., the presence in many of these ceremonies of young males dressed as animals who engage in sacred sexual intercourse). Prominent in such Saturnalian traditions are deities such as the Greek god Dionysus, who can assume vegetable, animal, or human forms at will, who is a god of sudden, dramatic epiphanies (manifestations) and license, and whose devotees, through orgiastic rituals, participate in his freedom to break all bounds in order to recover the boundless vitality and fecundity of primordial chaos. A new life for the cosmos, society, and the individual is supposedly obtained through the abolition of the order of the old".
As can be seen, Christmas-Saturnalia was an observance of lawlessness -- where man acted out his animal nature in total abandonment of higher morality in his religious celebration that invoked every manner of sexual-sensual extreme. This is in fact the foundation of the Pagan philosophy that has been imbued in the Christian Church today, and is the core principle of the doctrine that Christians are not required to keep and observe the Commandments of God. By necessity, this philosophy had to be adopted in order to make the teachings of Jesus accommodate the Pagan mindset and celebrations. Though today we no longer have church sanctified orgies and binges of extended perverse carnal heathen festivities, the Pagan philosophy remains very much a foundation of our thinking, and causes us to be unfaithful to the Word of God that Jesus revealed.
Does tradition impact us? Just because we have changed the name from Saturnalia to Christmas, this does not mean we have altered the nature of the beast. Writing on why a Christian canít faithfully perform the duties of a teacher in a secular type of school, the third century Church Father Tertullian writes: "The Minervalia are as much Minervaís, as the Saturnalia Saturnís; Saturnís, which must necessarily be celebrated even by little slaves at the time of the Saturnalia. New-yearís gifts likewise must be caught at, and the Septimontium kept; and all the presents of Midwinter and the feast of Dear Kinsmanship must be exacted; the schools must be wreathed with flowers; the flamensí wives and the aediles sacrifice; the school is honored on the appointed holy-days. The same thing takes place on an idolís birthday; every pomp of the devil is frequented. Who will think that these things are befitting to a Christian master, unless it be he who shall think them suitable likewise to one who is not a master?"
With regard to Paulís statement that he was all things to all people, Tertullian writes: "ĎAs Ií, he says, Ďplease all by all means.í No doubt he used to please them by celebrating the Saturnalia and New-yearís day! [Was it so] or was it by moderation and patience? by gravity, by kindness, by integrity? In like manner, when he is saying, ĎI have become all things to all, that I may gain all,í does he mean Ďto idolaters an idolater?í Ďto heathens a heathen?í Ďto the worldly worldly?í But albeit he does not prohibit us from having our conversation with idolaters and adulterers, and the other criminals, saying, ĎOtherwise ye would go out from the world,í of course he does not so slacken those reins of conversation that, since it is necessary for us both to live and to mingle with sinners, we may be able to sin with them too. Where there is the intercourse of life, which the apostle concedes, there is sinning, which no one permits. To live with heathens is lawful, to die with them is not".
From a biblical perspective, what Tertullian writes is in strict accordance with what both Jesus and Paul taught. It is one thing to speak and eat with idolaters, heathens, the worldly, adulterers, and criminals whose lives are not in accordance with the Law of God, but it is quite another thing to do as sinners do, and even adopt their ways into the Christian lifestyle. Jesus commanded his disciples to be in the world and not of it. Jesus walked, ate, and talked with the sinners, but at no time did he indulge in sin and their manner of life. While Jesus sat and taught the sinners to change their life and sin no more, he did not alter the Word of God so as to make it compatible with the sinners manner of living. Holding true to the spiritual ideal of Jesus, Tertullian writes that Paul might have spoken to the people who were celebrating the Saturnalia and the Roman New Year, but he in no way would have joined in their manner of observance -- much less adopt it as Christian.
Instead of celebrating the Lordís Passover - the true environment of the bread and wine of the Lordís Supper -- and the washing of the feet, of which Jesus said "ye also ought to wash one anotherís feet" -- the present day Christian world celebrates Pagan high holy days in the manner of the heathen. In our analysis and understanding of the meaning of our religious practices, we should ask the question as to where the word Easter came from? In view of the fact that it appears nowhere in the scriptures, has modern Christians ever thought to investigate the source of its origination?
The celebration of the goddess of spring was a high holy day in the Pagan world. "Savior-gods and fertility-goddesses", writes William Harwood, "held their resurrection festivals at the full moon following the vernal equinox. Christianity celebrated its resurrection feast on the same date. One of the best-known fertility-goddesses was Easter, also spelled Ishtar, Astarte and Ashtaroth" (William Harwood, Mythologies Last Gods: Yahweh and Jesus).
The name Easter is synonymous with the Angelo-Saxon goddess Eastre, the West Semitic goddess Astarte, and the Babalonian goddess Ishtar. The Funk and Wagnallís encyclopedia writes that the name and celebration originates from: "...a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, to whom was dedicated a month corresponding April. Her festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox; traditions associated with the festival survive in the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored Easter eggs, originally painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring, and used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts. Such festivals, and the stories and legends that explain their origin, were common in ancient religions. A Greek legend tells of the return of Persephone, daughter of Demeter, goddess of the earth, from the underworld to the light of day; her return symbolized to the ancient Greeks the resurrection of life in the spring after the desolation of winter. Many ancient peoples shared similar legends. The Phrygians believed that their omnipotent deity went to sleep at the time of the winter solstice"[Saturnalia/Christmas],"and they performed ceremonies with music and dancing at the spring equinox to awaken him".
When modern Christians, therefore, celebrate Easter, they are in fact commemorating the festival of Ishtar, the spring goddess and the "resurrection of life in the spring after the desolation of winter". Of these spring goddesses the Encyclopedia Britannica under the heading of Ishtar writes: "Ishtarís primary legacy from the Sumerian tradition is the role of fertility figure; she evolved, however, into a more complex character, surrounded in myth by death and disaster, a goddess of contradictory connotations and forces: fire and fire-quenching, rejoicing and tears, fair play and enmity. The Akkadian Ishtar is also, to a greater extent, an astral deity, associated with the planet Venus: with Shamash, sun god, and Sin, moon god, she forms a secondary astral triad. In this manifestation her symbol is a star with 6, 8, or 16 rays within a circle. As goddess of Venus, delighting in bodily love, Ishtar was the protectress of prostitutes and the patroness of the alehouse. Part of her cult worship probably included temple prostitution, and her cult centre, Erech, was a city filled with courtesans and harlots. Her popularity was universal in the ancient Middle East, and in many centres of worship she probably subsumed numerous local goddesses. In later myth she was known as Queen of the Universe, taking on the powers of An, Enlil, and Enki".
A sincere Christian who desires the purity of the Word -- a person in search of genuine truth -- would immediately question what the name Easter means, and where does it come from? When it is recognized that the celebration is Pagan, and anti-biblical, they would immediately ask whether God desires His people to be calling on the name of Pagan deities, and celebrating Pagan festivals. When they begin to realize the sexual nature of the celebration -- that it is fundamentally a day where the people who worship the powers of the earth encourage the lesser elemental gods to procreate, in order to bestow upon them a bountiful harvest -- the question as to the biblical authenticity of this Pagan festival that is carried out in the name of the Lord is easily answered.
Easter was the goddess of orgies and unrestrained sexual licentiousness that heathen man celebrated in order to induce the gods to fertilize the earth and provide them a bountiful crop. Every element pertaining to the festival -- the rabbit, colored egg, etc. -- are all images of fertility and sexual excess that we today claim to be ordained by God.
Until the time of Constantine, the early followers and disciples of Jesus all observed Godís Passover. In the early Christian writing known as the Acts of the Holy Apostle Thaddaeus, One of the Twelve, it is written: "For year by year they came together to the Passover, and again he imparted to them the Holy Spirit". In the writings of Melito, Bishop of Sardis, [A.D. 160-170-177], it is written: "When Servilius Paulus was proconsul of Asia, at the time that Sagaris suffered martyrdom, there arose a great controversy at Laodicea concerning the time of the celebration of the Passover, which on that occasion had happened to fall at the proper season". In The Narrative of Zosimus Concerning the Life of the Blessed, it is written: "But when the time of the holy Passover comes... the feast of the resurrection of the Lord is performed with much watching, for we continue watching for three days and three nights".
From the Book concerning the Passover, by Claudius Apollinaris, Bishop of Hierapolis [A.D. 160-180.], it is written: "There are, then, some who through ignorance raise disputes about these things (though their conduct is pardonable: for ignorance is no subject for blame - it rather needs further instruction), and say that on the fourteenth day the Lord ate the lamb with the disciples, and that on the great day of the feast of unleavened bread He Himself suffered; and they quote Matthew as speaking in accordance with their view. Wherefore their opinion is contrary to the law, and the Gospels seem to be at variance with them".
Bishop Apollinaris then goes on to enlighten these ignorant believers with regard to the Passover: "The fourteenth day, the true Passover of the Lord; the great sacrifice, the Son of God instead of the lamb, who was bound, who bound the strong, and who was judged, though Judge of living and dead, and who was delivered into the hands of sinners to be crucified, who was lifted up on the horns of the unicorn, and who was pierced in His holy side, who poured forth from His side the two purifying elements, water and blood, word and spirit, and who was buried on the day of the Passover, the stone being placed upon the tomb".
What Bishop Apollinaris describes is the Passover of the New Covenant where, in accordance with biblical requirements, the Passover is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the biblical month of Abib. In place of the Passover lamb, the Christian was to observe "the great sacrifice, the Son of God instead of the lamb". Ultimately, what this also means is that the first Christians reckoned time and seasons of the year in accordance with the Bible, and rejected the Roman calendar that we use today.
When the Church of Constantine began to supplant the biblical Passover with the Pagan celebration of Easter, there arose great opposition from the Eastern Church. Eusebius, in his Eccleastical History writes: "But the bishops of Asia, led by Polycrates, decided to hold to the old custom handed down to them. He himself, in a letter which he addressed to Victor and the church of Rome, set forth in the following words the tradition which had come down to him: We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lordís coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna. Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead? All these observed the fourteenth day of the Passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ĎWe ought to obey God rather than man.í"
Polycrates then writes: "Endeavor also to send abroad copies of our epistle among all the churches, so that those who easily deceive their own Souls may not be able to lay the blame on us. We would have you know, too, that in Alexandria also they observe the festival on the same day as ourselves. For the Paschal letters are sent from us to them, and from them to us: so that we observe the holy day in unison and together".
Perhaps those who desire a greater understanding of the Word should ask the question: Are we the followers of Jesus? Modern Christians who celebrate Easter in observance of the Pagan goddess of spring, reverse the witness of the Apostles quoted by Bishop Polycrates and say: "We ought to obey man rather than God" (Acts 5:29) -- and are those who, in the words of Polycrates, "deceive their own Souls". At Matthew 13:12 Jesus promises that more will be give to him who has the Word -- but how can more be given, when we refuse to be faithful to what we have?
As an excuse to follow in their own ways instead of Godís, the Pagan Christians claimed that they did not want to celebrate the religious observances of the Jews. This self-deception is dispelled by the Church Father Origen in his Commentary of the Gospel of John where he writes: "Observe that in the law we never find it said, ĎYour Passover;í but in all the passages quoted the phrase occurs once without any adjunct, while we have three times íThe Passover of the Lord.í To make sure that there is such a distinction between the Passover of the Lord and the Passover of the Jews, we may consider the way in which Isaiah speaks of the matter: ĎYour new moons and your Sabbaths and your great day I cannot bear; your fast and your holiday and your new moons and your feasts my soul hateth.í The Lord does not call them His own, these observances of sinners (they are hated of His soul, if such there be); neither the new moons, nor the Sabbaths, nor the great day, nor the fast, nor the festivals".
The great truth that Origen conveys to us is that when sinners attempt to celebrate biblical observances, these liturgies are spoken of as "your new moons and your Sabbaths", instead of Godís. Origen then goes on to explain: "And in the legislation about the Sabbath in Exodus, we read, ĎAnd Moses said unto them, This is the word which the Lord spake, The Sabbath is a holy rest unto the Lord.í And a little further on, ĎAnd Moses said, Eat ye; for today is a Sabbath unto the Lord.í And in Numbers, before the sacrifices which are offered at each festival, as if all the festivals came under the law of the continuous and daily sacrifice, we find it written, ĎAnd the Lord spake unto Moses, Announce to the children of Israel, and thus shall thou say unto them, My gifts, My offerings, My fruits for a smell of sweet savor, ye shall observe to offer unto Me at My festivals. And thou shall say unto them, These are the offerings which ye shall offer unto the Lord.í"
In clarification Origen writes: "The festival set forth in Scripture He calls His own, not those of the people receiving the law, He speaks of His gifts, His offerings. A similar way of speaking is that in Exodus with regard to the people; it is said by God to be His own people, when it does not sin". We can then see that by biblical standards, when we adopt Pagan customs, the question must be raised whether the modern church can even be called the true Church of God. In addition to their sin, they celebrate Constantineís Sabbath, Constantineís Saturnalia, and Constantineís observance of the goddess of spring. In view of the fact that they observe Easter, without so much as a change in name as that accorded the Saturnalia/Christmas celebration, Christians are literally making Jesus the high priest of the day they observe the holy day of Ishtar.
In clarification of the manner in which Christians celebrate the Passover, Origen quotes the Apostle Paul regarding the observance of the Lordís Passover and writes: "Another feature of the Jewish festival is unleavened bread; all leaven is made to disappear out of their houses; but Ďwe keep the feast not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truthí". This means that the third century Church Father Origen kept the Lordís Passover -- not in the manner of the Jews, and he did not observe the Pagan celebration of Easter.
The manner in which many of these Pagan festivals came to be infused into Christianity is contained in a remarkable passage which Mosheim, the ecclesiastical historian, has preserved for us in The Life of Gregory. The passage reads: "When Gregory perceived that the simple and unskilled multitude persisted in their worship of images, on account of the pleasures and sensual gratifications which they enjoyed at the Pagan festivals, he granted them a permission to indulge themselves in the like pleasures, in celebrating the memory of the holy martyrs, hoping that in process of time, they would return of their own accord, to a more virtuous and regular course of life" (Mosheim, vol i, cent. 2, p.202). All the pagan holy days and festivals were given a Christian dress, or had Christian signification attached to them in the endeavor of drawing the heathen into the religion. The problem was that the heathen were not converted to the religion of Jesus, but rather the religion of Jesus was itself drawn into Paganism.
Both Easter and Saturnalia were widely celebrated in the time of Jesus. In view of the fact that the Christmas/Saturnalia celebration on December 25th is the rebirth or reincarnation of the sun god -- and Easter, which is the first day of the sun following the first full moon after the vernal equinox (when the sun passes over the equator from the southern to the northern hemisphere) -- and in view of the fact that Easter is the very name of the Pagan goddess of spring, and is in celebration of the resurrection of the sun god, we must ask the question of whether Jesus would inaugurate these Pagan observances?
The Christians who came to this country in the endeavor to seek religious freedom actually outlawed the celebration of Christmas because they understood it to be a Pagan holy day. From their perception, it was against the biblical principles of the New Covenant. Yet, modern Christians keep these Pagan holy days in violation of the Bible itself. The scriptures warn the people not to be "dismayed at the signs of heaven..." -- which is the true foundation of all these Pagan observances. In the case of Easter, we havenít even given it a new name, as was done with the Saturnalia. We have simply made Jesus the son of the Pagan goddess of the spring. Nothing else was changed. The sunrise worship on Easter morning, the colored eggs and the bunnies are all Pagan symbols of fertility. The only element missing from the original Pagan celebration is the copulation in the fields by the people -- which was intended to encourage the diva, the gods of the vegetable kingdom, into the process of crop fertilization.
In view of these facts, how can Christians today condemn witchcraft and the ancient religion of Wicca, when the church itself calls upon the goddess of fertility, and observes these same Pagan religious festivals? On the day of judgment, will Christians be seen as being righteous in their condemnation of the earth religions, when they do the same thing under the guise of worshiping the Son of God? What reason will we give for rejecting the biblical Passover in order to worship in the way of the Nations? Would Jesus commemorate the goddess of spring? If he wanted his followers to celebrate these festivals, or to rename them in his honor, then he would have himself inaugurated them as Christian holidays. But he did not, and he instead demonstrated to his followers the sanctity of the Passover.
Our days of the week and months of the year are not those ordained in the scriptures, but are instead dedicated to Pagan gods. Our New Year is not the New Year of the Bible -- Godís New Year -- but rather that of the Pagans. Our reckoning of time is not that of the Bible -- Godís reckoning of time -- but that of the Pagans. In view of our failure to follow the Bible, and our departure from the essence of the Gospel, it is significant that we do not even call upon the true name of the Son of God. No person of Jewish origin was ever named Jesus -- neither was his mother named Mary, or his brother named James. Thus, we must ask: Do we not owe the Lord the same respect we would extend to an acquaintance - and address him by his correct name?
With regard to the fact that the goddess of spring was part of an "astral triad", there have been those throughout history who have knowingly expressed the opinion that the name Jesus itself is a syntheses of the gods Zeus and Eastre or Ishtar. The true name of our Lord is Yeshua, which in English is translated Joshua. Again, there is no letter "J" in the Hebrew language. Moreover, until recently, neither was there a "J" in the English language. The letter "J" was incorporated into the English from the French language. In view of the fact that Jesus sounds nothing like Yehshua, and there are historical witnesses to the Zeus-Isis creation of a Pagan "astral triad", do we even know the name we are calling upon when we call the Lord?
Every day we can turn on the television and observe televangelists preaching that the Lord spoke to them, and told them what to say. Isnít it strange that these people who claim to have communicated with the Lord do not even know his name? If the religious leaders of our day were truly in touch with the historical man who was the Messiah born in Bethlehem, and desired to know him, they would exhibit sincerity and legitimacy in approaching him. First, they would imitate him, and keep his commandments and the Law of God. In their approach to the Messiah, they would address him by his true name, and not use an erroneous Greek name that barely resembles the name his disciples and original followers used to address him.
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