It seemed that I had no sooner asked the question, when an impression popped into
my head. Evangelical
Christians who believe in the Holy Spirit as an active principle in the life of
the genuine believer would call this impression that seemed to just be implanted
in my mind a “word of knowledge.”
When I posed the question, immediately the biblical story of Jacob and
the angel came to mind. As I opened my mind, the unfolding of the story appeared to me very clearly.
“That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two
maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he
had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was
left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak” (Gen 32:22-24 NIV).
name Jacob means supplanter, or one who replaces a thing with something else.
Jabbok means to empty -- and since it is the ford of the Jabbok, I
reasoned that it would mean to empty through cleansing.
The sign of the fish then popped into my mind.
It was shown to me that the fish, which is one of the earliest of
Christian symbols, represented the total immersion of the flesh in the cleansing
of the Spirit -- and I understood that it was this total cleansing which the
Bible says is absolutely necessary in order for the Light to fully manifest in
the life of the disciple.
the biblical account I saw that Jacob was cleansed by ridding himself of all his
worldly possessions -- which in mind, equates to his beliefs and carnal way of
thinking. When Jesus said “…it
is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to
enter the kingdom of God” (Matt 19:24 NAS), he was speaking more of ones
beliefs that were acquired through worldly thinking and manmade religious
doctrine, than of money as we perceive his words today.
I understood that from a biblical perspective, it is our carnal mindset
and our way of thinking -- a manner of thinking that we acquire from the culture
in which we live -- that inhibits us from receiving what Paul called the “meat”
of the Word. What I saw in
the biblical account of Jacob was that he put all his worldly possessions on the
other side of the river, and then crossed over the body of water which means “to
empty”. From my
Christian mindset, I saw this as a type of baptism and cleansing that released
Jacob from the things of this world, and a change of mind that enabled Jacob to
be purified by God's Spirit. I
also realized that it did not matter whether the story of Jacob has an
historical or other significance, what mattered was that a force within me was
using this biblical account to guide me into a manner of thinking that was very
important in my quest for Truth.
the biblical story of Jacob it states that he was alone.
Thus, I questioned: If he was alone, where did the man he wrestled with
come from? The word here
translated man, which in Hebrew means mortal, represents not only Jacob's human
nature, but also his conceptions about himself and God.
Once it is recognized that Jacob was indeed alone, and it was within
himself that he wrestled, the sacred truth that unfolds is that Jacob sought to
rise above and beyond his physical nature and form in his quest to know God, his
Source of being. In the
baptismal cleansing, he overcame his carnal nature and its attachments to the
world, and immersed himself in his spiritual nature that was and is the true
source of his being.
message was clear to me: I realized that I had to somehow go beyond the world of
opinion, church doctrine, controversy, superficial facts, and find out the truth for myself.
I wanted very much to believe, but what should I believe in? I recognized that from a biblical perspective, I would
be self-condemned if I were to just accept whatever doctrine sounded good to me,
and I would in effect be unfaithful to God.
If the scriptures are correct, and I had it within my power to literally enter
within the Spiritual Temple of God which the Apostle teaches is within all of
mankind, then I could not even consider myself a Christian if I did not begin
the journey into The Way! At that point in my life I learned the true meaning of faith -- i.e., it
is when one begins to live in strict accordance with the scriptures because they
believe the Word of God, even though they possess no first hand knowledge with
regard to the results.
the Bible there is a paramount warning that what appears to the mind of carnal
man to be right, is not -- and man's own misplaced faith and belief becomes his
folly that will cause his own demise.
For the most part this warning is ignored because it is not understood.
A truth that I will continually explore throughout my writings is the fact
that it does not make sense to the mind of man that God would publish a book --
the Bible -- and permit the Word of God to be encrypted with a hidden doctrine
that is beyond the comprehension of the average person. Yet, the flaw in man's reasoning is found in his
inability to recognize the true requirements of the scriptures -- which
requirement is for mankind to become complete.
In this respect, the very purpose of physical life itself is exactly the
same as the pattern in which the Bible is imbued with -- i.e., for man to mature
and grow to a state of spiritual perfection.
my quest to comprehend the spiritual meaning of the Bible, I was well aware that
scriptural interpretations that sounded right to me, and made perfect sense to
me, was vehemently rejected by others.
In the beginning this lack of agreement was both perplexing and
disconcerting. My contact
with many different Christian sects caused me to recognize the fact that
different groups could read the same scriptures, and arrive at sometimes
completely opposite conclusions.
dedicated Bible readers were not exempt from the confusion that seemed to spring
forth from the pages of the Holy Word.
Jehovah's Witness studied the scriptures daily, and they were looked upon
as heretics by Evangelical Christians.
The Evangelical Assemblies of God spoke in tongues and claim to move in the
spirit, while many Evangelical Baptists questioned what spirit was moving them
-- and even suggested that they were demon-possessed.
What is today called mainstream churches -- mainstream because they are
more in tune with our modern culture -- look upon both the Jehovah's Witnesses
and the Evangelical Christians as extremists in their interpretations of the bible. Even among Bible scholars there was no agreement --
just a never-ending mountain of conflicting opinion and theory.
the beginning of my own search to understand the meaning of the scriptures I
found this total lack of agreement on almost any biblical point to be
disturbing. I could easily
sympathize with the prevailing viewpoint that God would not ordain a Holy
Writing that was beyond the average person's ability to comprehend.
Yet, it was difficult for me to ignore the fact that the Bible itself
warns the reader that only a very select few will ever perceive the true meaning
of the written word. Thus, I had encountered another paradox that I did not
at the time possess the answer to understand -- and it was my quest to find the resolution
to this paradox that eventually gave birth to a higher perception of life
my perspective, I was left with only one option.
Borrowing a well known scientific principle, I first recognized that two
things could not occupy the same space at the same time: i.e., I could not know
truth if what I believed was error. The
Bible clearly taught that if what I believed was founded upon any falsehood
what-so-ever, that the whole of what I believed would be in error (Matt
7:24-29). I understood the
Apostle's definition of how a believer is supposed to fulfill the requirements
of the Christ in the words that they should be “...blameless and innocent,
children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse
generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil 2:15 RSV).
recognition of these biblical messages which the Apostle said was absolutely
essential in the life of the disciple, I therefore posed the all important
question from a scriptural perspective: How could I even begin to fulfill these
requirements, if the very foundation of what I believed was not what was taught
by the Son of God? In coming
to terms with this problem, I therefore came to understand that if fidelity to
the Lord was contingent upon adherence to the Lord's Truth, then blind belief in
the doctrines of men was in every way unfaithfulness to the Lord.
Two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time: I cannot know
Truth if I believe error -- therefore, I cannot be faithful to the Lord and
cling to the precepts of men.
I pondered my conclusions, I recognized the enormity of the task that confronted
me. Like the biblical account
of Jacob, I had to cleanse myself from the things of this world; wrestle and
overcome what was carnal; and open the door of what the Bible proclaims is my
innate spiritual nature -- a nature that I knew nothing about -- in order to
inherit the promise of the scriptures, and see the Face of God more clearly.
Initially it seemed that I was confronted by the impossible.
In reading the scriptures it seemed that I was required to somehow divest myself of everything I had been taught -- rid
myself of all unconfirmed beliefs -- overcome my physical sense and reasoning,
and ask the Lord to teach and direct me into his Truth and Light.
Moreover, I had to somehow supercharge mere faith and belief in God, and
drive it to new heights of higher manifestation -- i.e., I had to demonstrate
perfect faith and belief -- I had to become possessed by the concept that God
has not abandoned mankind -- but rather, in their adherence to the carnal
doctrines of men, mankind has abandoned God -- and I had to prove the validity
of the Gospel of Christ, which is founded upon the concept that it is within the
ability of man to learn all truth directly from the hand of the Lord.
In my quest for truth I came to realize why the Apostle placed such great
importance on faith -- which from his elevated perception of man's plight in
this world, can only be defined as the power to overcome and prevail during
that time when one is unsure of the results.
I thought on these things my mind envisioned the great obstacle that confronts
every disciple who seeks to know God.
I knew absolutely nothing first hand: Everything I knew, or thought I
knew, had either been taught to me, or was based upon what someone had taught to
me. Like most people, I had
adopted a certain set of beliefs because they felt right to me -- and yet the
Bible itself warns man that he cannot rely upon carnal feelings to guide him.
In recognition of these things, I asked the question: How was I going to
rid myself of what I felt and believed, if everything in my head was secondhand
unsubstantiated assumptions and conjecture?
I contemplated what on the surface appeared to be insurmountable obstacles, I came to understand that the
very word faith is in fact multidimensional, and can be seen from more than one
perspective. There is static
faith when one holds firm to their present position, and awaits for an event to
happen. From a scriptural
perspective, I realized that the words of Jesus did not affirm a static faith.
Everything that he taught embodied the very concept of a very active and
recognition of these two types of faith -- static and active -- I understood why
Paul was condemned as a heretic by the Messianic Jewish followers of Christ --
which flaw in his presentation was in fact the root cause observed by many
biblical scholars who were of the opinion that different people authored the
epistles that we today attribute to Paul.
In the Epistle to the Romans it is written: “What does the Scripture
say? Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. Now when
a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.
However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked,
his faith is credited as righteousness.” (Rom 4:3-5 NIV).
Paul is writing here is that a man who professes faith in God, and does no works
to manifest and demonstrate that faith in his life, is credited as righteousness
by a God who justifies the wicked. The
problem is that Paul often contradicts himself, as seen in the statement: “For
if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do
mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom 8:13 KJV).
To mortify the deeds of the body takes work -- a great amount of work --
and this work cannot be accomplished through a static faith. This great conflict in doctrine and religious concept
is found throughout the Epistles accredited to Paul, and is the basis of the position of many biblical scholars regarding Paul: “Some
indeed assume that Paul ceased really to progress beyond the point represented
by Romans, and that certain of his later writings, if they be his at all, show a
certain enfeeblement of grasp upon principle” (Encyclopedia Britannica;
1998 electronic edition).
our quest to perceive the essence of the Word of God, modern Christians must
recognize that among the authors of the various books of the New Testament, only
Paul even suggests the doctrine that static faith can be seen as righteousness.
Moreover, it must also be recognized that this doctrine which has been
drawn directly from these epistles attributed to Paul with respect to the
concept that man is saved through static faith, is directly condemned by James,
the brother of Jesus, and first leader of the New Covenant Church, as
demonstrated in the words: “Was not our ancestor Abraham considered
righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see
that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made
complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham
believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called
God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by
faith alone” (James 2:21-24 NIV).
direct opposition to the doctrine of static faith that was preached by Paul,
James confirms that Abraham was not considered righteous until after he
manifested his faith by following the dictates of God by offering his son Isaac
on the alter. What James said
was that if Abraham did not follow through and accomplish what God required of
him, thereby manifesting his faith and belief in his willingness to do God's
Will, he never would have been deemed righteous.
What James points out is that faith and works must be merged together in
the life of the disciple in order to overcome the trials of this world.
this perspective, I saw the story of the biblical Jacob as the answer to my
dilemma. Faith and works had
to become merged -- as if they were married -- and like a marriage, my faith had
to become manifest in what I physically did in my life.
The message that I saw in the scriptures was that I could only prevail in
my quest for truth by embracing a faith that enabled me to go beyond my human
nature -- beyond human perceptions of life and reality -- and surrender myself
only to the Word of God and nothing else.
Under close examination, though, I must admit that these conclusions were
Paul wrote the words: “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if
ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live”
(Rom 8:13 KJV), the author of these words did not envision the static faith
which is the core of modern Christian doctrine today.
In coming to this conclusion, I recognized that the message I saw in the scriptures was one of first
which first principles embraced the absolute necessity of cleansing the mind of erroneous beliefs
in the words: “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the
outside also will be clean” (Matt 23:26 NIV).
The easy answer to the cleaning of the inside of the cup would be baptism
-- but what baptism? All the
many sects which embraced a never-ending array of conflicting opinions and
doctrines of belief which overwhelmed Christendom today, are all
heralded by baptized believers. I,
myself had been baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and
yet I could see very clearly in the message of the scriptures that I was still
in need of cleansing.
I pondered these things it
seemed as if the fulfillment of the requirements of the New Testament scriptures
was insurmountable. How does
one even begin to overcome their carnal nature?
One cannot just cease to be the person they are.
In desiring to fulfill the requirements of the scriptures, St. Jerome
took the Apostle’s words to task where he commanded: “I beat my body and
make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be
disqualified for the prize” (1 Cor 9:27 NIV) -- wherein, he moved out to
the desert and beat himself with a whip every time he had an impure thought.
though St. Jerome went to the desert with good intentions, he did not succeed in
his quest. Perhaps even more
extreme measures are demonstrated in Jesus’ command to pluck out an eye, or
cut off a limb if one sees or does evil. And even if a believer actually could inflict these
punishments on themselves, would this have any effect on the cause of the
problem? In examination of
these passages of scripture, I did not believe the answer was found in living an
existence of physical hardship in order to overcome one’s carnal nature?
Yet, I also recognized that these words were spoken in solemn accord with
the requirements of the New Covenant theology that Jesus taught -- and
therefore, cannot be just ignored in the manner that Christians do in our
has been said in many ways that just because you have silenced a man, that does
not mean that you have conquered or changed him.
I therefore reasoned that if I attempted to sever myself from my carnal
nature -- either through mental censorship, or the infliction of physical
hardships -- my true condition would not be changed because I would still be entombed in this body of flesh and desire.
And as I searched for meaning in these passages of scriptures that seemed
to promote the abuse of the body, it dawned on me that what I was observing was
very much another pattern which portrayed both division overcome, as well as
singleness of mind. This
truth is demonstrated in the words of Jesus when he said: “The light of the
body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full
of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.
heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole
body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of
light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light”
(Luke 11:34-36 KJV).
is Jesus conveying to us in these words? In view of the fact that we
have two eyes -- and these two eyes are representative of the dualism found
throughout all of Creation -- and that only when we merge these two natures into
the third force are we able to look out into the world with a singleness of
vision, are we even able to begin to get a sense of what Jesus is attempting to
convey to his followers. Once again great light can be shed upon the
essence of what is being taught by understanding the application of the words
found in two important
recent Christian archeological discoveries known as the Oxyrhynchus Papyri and
the Gospel of Thomas -- which words are also found in the Nazirene Gospel -- and
in like manner are affirmed by St. Clement, the disciple of Peter, as an
authentic teachings of Jesus in his The Second Epistle of Clement where
he writes: “Let us expect, therefore, hour by hour, the kingdom of God
in love and righteousness, since we know not the day of the appearing of God.
For the Lord Himself, being asked by one when His kingdom would come, replied,
'When two shall be one, that which is without as that which is within, and the
male with the female, neither male nor female’”.
idea of singleness of eye can only be achieved when the "two shall be
one" -- when our vision and presence of "that
which is without (us is in total harmony) as that which is within"
-- when the division of polarity within us is overcome and it can then be said
that "the male with the female, neither male nor female".
This great truth that must be embraced by all who call themselves Christian is
confirmed when we understand that the word which is above translated "evil",
has a root meaning "which indicates a degeneracy from original
virtue", as indicative of our divided nature which results from our
journey as the prodigal sons into the "far country" --
as well as a "plural" element. What
these important teachings convey is the reality of an inner Armageddon, and the
spiritual birth of the disciple in the Kingdom within. And on a
different level, this concept of overcoming division was merely an extension of
the very first words of Adam with respect to the need to again become One in
man was saved by faith apart from works, as is believed in our churches today,
then our doctrines of belief are in fact attempting to negate one of the most
severe and profound warnings of Jesus contained in the Bible, as seen in the
words: “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to
enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire
that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not
quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to
enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire
that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not
quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to
enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into
hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark
is because of these major differences between the gospels and the Epistles of
Paul that Martin Luther rejected the witness of Matthew, Mark and Luke.
The idea that it would be better to cut of a hand or foot, or pluck out
an eye in order to be saved, simply did not resonate with what Paul appeared to
preach. I also reasoned that
if the Apostle envisioned the static faith that we embrace today, then why would
he convey to us the need to beat the body to make it a slave? If man was saved by static faith, then why would Jesus say it
is better to pluck out an eye, or cut off a limb, rather than permit these
members to do evil, and destine one to hell (Mat 5:29-30).
The commentary Barnes’ Notes captures the mindset of Jesus for these
passages of scripture where it writes: “The right hand is selected for the
same reason as the right eye, because it is one of the most important members of
the human body. The idea is, that the dearest earthly objects are to be
sacrificed rather than that we should commit sin; that the most rigid
self-denial should be practiced, and that the most absolute self-government
should be maintained at any sacrifice, rather than that we should suffer the
mind to be polluted by unholy thoughts and impure desires.”
man saved by static faith, or the mere profession of belief?
I believe the answer to this question is found in the very words of Jesus when
he said: "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men"
(Matt 15:8-9 NKJ).
In my own quest to embrace the ever present spiritual message of the
scriptures, I recognized the fact that I had no other choice than to fall back
on biblical first principles in search of an answer to these looming questions.
When those who were with Jesus were amazed at his words, and asked him
regarding the hardships that confronted the disciple: “Who then can be
saved?” I realized that my
success depended solely on the words of the Lord: “With men this is
impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Matt 19:25-26 KJV).
Regardless, then, of the obstacles, or how difficult the problem, I
realized that the key to success was to have total and complete faith in God --
and complete faith is not static. In
order to succeed I needed to go beyond the baptism of man -- and seek the
baptism of the Lord to cleanse me, and free me from the limitations of my own
mind. I needed the promise
and power of God to make me better than I was, and raise me above the very human
nature that imprisoned me in this body of flesh.