HOW WOULD WE RECOGNIZE
Something that is not realized by the modern Christian is the fact that there is still another element to the controversy which should be carefully considered by every modern Christian in their search to better understand the very depths of what they believe. It has long been recognized that the central theme of the Gospels are very different at numerous points than what is presented in the Epistles of Paul. Informed people are also aware that the disciples of Christ, as well as the Messianic Hebrew/Christian believers over the first four centuries of our Common Era, condemned Paul as an apostate -- and defiler of the essence of New Covenant teachings. When presented with these facts, the position of the Gentile Church has always been that Paul conveyed the teachings of Jesus more clearly. Yet, the Book of the Revelation was not only written after the Epistles of Paul, but is presented to the reader as the words of Jesus spoken directly to the Apostle John while he was taken up into the Heavenly Kingdom. To ignore this fact, is nothing less than spiritual suicide to the modern believer.
Who do we believe? Jesus or Paul? For the most part, the very reluctance of the church to expound upon the Epistles of Jesus demonstrates conclusively that modern Christianity has embraced the teachings of Paul -- teachings that have been responsible for misleading a great many believers throughout all of Christian history -- while totally rejecting the teachings of Christ. The problem is that Paul is not wrong, and we must understand his doctrine of faith as a part of the Gospel message, rather then the whole of the Gospel message. The faith that the Apostle Paul writes about, then, is not seen as the fulfillment of the Word -- but rather, the force that enables us to move onward in our endeavor to perfect the Word within ourselves. The problem is that in the creation of our hard and invariable doctrines of belief, we have not only ignored the words that Jesus spoke directly to us, but to our own demise we have further ignored numerous important warnings contained in the Epistles of Paul.
The great truth that we must come to terms with is that we have become alienated from the essence of the Gospel because we have followed the doctrines of men -- i.e., Constantine, Justinian, Luther, etc.. The result is that modern Christians believe in a different Jesus than the one proclaimed by the first century followers of Christ. We therefore do not even know how to embrace the very words that Jesus spoke directly to us! In acknowledgement of this fact, we must pose the great question that each of us must confront in our search for truth: If the prayers of the many faithful believers were answered today -- and the second coming of Christ came to pass -- and our Lord and Savior again physically walked the earth -- how would he be recognized? How would we know it was him, and not some impostor?
Would we recognize him if he performed miracles? The scriptures caution us that if we rely upon signs and wonders, we will be seduced by the Devil himself. In this respect, the Bible warns us that the Anti-Christ can also perform miracles, and that "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light" (2 Cor 11:14 NIV). Even the Lord himself foretold that: "false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect..." (Matt 24:24 NIV).
If Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light, and false Christs and prophets will perform great signs and miracles that will deceive even the very leaders of the Church, how then will we recognize the true Messiah when he comes? The scriptures tell us that there is only one true test we can use to judge whether the Messiah has again returned -- and this test will not be by miracles or signs which Satan can use to deceive us -- but rather, the true Messiah is the only one who will inaugurate the Kingdom of God.
Jesus himself warned us that: "So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it" (Matt 24:26 NIV). Why, we ask? If the Christ has again come -- and is physically walking among us -- why should we not believe he is there? Because all scriptural prophesies foretell that: "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him" (Jude 1:14-15 NKJ). Thus, Jude, who was Jesus’ own brother, confirms that when the Lord returns, it will be to bring judgment upon the earth.
Informed bible students know that the above quotation from Jude has always posed a number of very serious problems from a doctrinal standpoint. Why? Because Jude is not himself declaring this great truth -- but rather, he is mealy quoting a prophesy that is attributed to Enoch -- as seen in Jude’s words: "Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying..." (Jude 1:14 NKJ).
Though Jude makes reference to these words attributed to Enoch, our Bibles today do not contain even one word pertaining to any prophesy that was made by this great man of God who never died, as seen where the scriptures state: "Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away" (Gen 5:24 NIV). When it is realized that Enoch was a man who walked so devoutly in the ways of God, that God did not permit him to die -- but rather, God took him -- it must also be realized that Jude was correct when he asserted that Enoch also knew the future of mankind as revealed to him by God.
If Enoch was indeed such a great prophet and man of God -- so much so that God did not even permit him to die -- and Jude, the very brother of Jesus is correct when he writes that Enoch prophesied about the coming of the Messiah and the great day of the Lord -- then why are the prophesies of Enoch not found in the modern Bibles that we use? Today, more than at any time in the past, this question should be asked in view of the fact that among the Dead Sea Scrolls there were more copies of Enoch found than any other single writing.
The reason for raising this point is not to have the Book of Enoch added to our Bibles -- it is important for us to more clearly understand the true mindset of the Jews at the beginning of our Common Era. If Enoch was the most prevalent book found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, then it is imperative that we recognize the fact that the Jews at the time of Jesus were not only looking for the Messiah to come, but they were using the same exact scriptural test that we are expecting to use today: When the Messiah comes, he will inaugurate the Kingdom of God.
If the Lord again walked among us, recognizing him would present a problem: The scriptures warn us that the working of signs and wonders mean absolutely nothing, because the Devil himself can duplicate these signs and wonders. The scriptures warn that even those who are called leaders in the Church will be deceived. Thus, the scriptures teach us that we are to ignore signs and wonders, and we cannot depend upon our religious leaders to recognize the return of the Christ.
This means the modern believer is confronted with a very serious problem that each of us must come to terms with. Once we acknowledge that we can neither rely upon either signs or our religious leaders, we are then left solely dependent upon our own wisdom and perception of the Word of God -- which ultimately means, we must use the same exact test as did the Jews to recognize the true Messiah when he comes. This presents a problem -- in that, the only valid test which is ordained in the scriptures is to look for the one who will inaugurate the Kingdom of God.
Does the words of Enoch have something to tell us today? In view of the fact that the Book of Enoch is contained in some of our oldest copies of the Bible that also contain the same New Testament scriptures we use today, and is quoted by the Lord’s own brother, we should perhaps ask ourselves why it was removed? The second century Church Fathers Irenaeus, Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria unquestionably quote Enoch as sacred scripture. Whole blocks of text from Enoch are found contained in our present New Testament scriptures. Tertullian writes of the book that it was written by the "most ancient prophet, Enoch", and was preserved by Noah in the ark. "But as Enoch has spoken in the same scripture of the Lord", writes Tertullian, "and ‘every scripture suitable for edification is divinely inspired,’ let us reject nothing which belongs to us". He then goes on to explain: "It may now seem to have been disavowed by the Jews like all other scripture which speaks of Christ" (Tertulian; On Female Dress). Thus, it is easily demonstrated that Enoch was accepted as an inspired writing that was used by the Essenes, the Messianic followers of Jesus, and the first Gentile Christians.
Why was the Book of Enoch -- a book revered by the earliest of Christians as one of the most sacred of God’s revelations to man -- a book that is contained in a number of our oldest Bibles -- rejected by the fourth century Roman Church? A few of the most important reasons is that it demonstrated the intimate connection between the Essenes, Jesus, and the earliest of Christians -- it fully anticipates the essence of New Covenant teachings prior to the advent of Jesus -- and it also brought to light the fact that there were Jews at the time of Christ who were waiting for the coming of the Lord. Moreover, like us, these Messianic Hebrews who were awaiting the coming of the Lord were warned by the scriptures that they would recognize the appointed one by his ability to bring about the one thing that Satan -- a supernatural being who deceives the people with miracles and signs -- cannot do, which is to inaugurate the Kingdom of God.
The Bible warns us that Satan can appear as a being of light. Satan can work signs and wonders. Satan can even deceive the very leaders of the church. Satan has ministers who are in the church of this world. Satan can do everything that Jesus did -- with the exception of one thing, which is the inauguration of the Kingdom of God.
In the realization of this fact, every Christian should ask himself what they would do today if we were confronted with the same exact problem as were the Jews at the beginning of our Common Era? What if a great teacher came and claimed to be the Messiah -- performed miracles and signs -- healed and raised the dead -- and yet he failed to fulfill the most important prophecy of scripture, and inaugurate the Kingdom of God upon the earth? Would we open our arms to him -- hear his message -- and alter our lives in accordance with his teachings? Or, would we point to the warning of the scriptures, and like many of our Jewish brothers say: If you are indeed the Messiah -- the Chosen One sent by God -- then fulfill the scriptures, and inaugurate the Kingdom as the Bible foretells.
In view of the fact that the Bible itself predicts that even the very leaders of the church will be deceived, if the Lord was to return, you may have to judge for yourself if he is truly the Christ. How will you recognize him? As Christians, you of course would say that: Unlike the Jews, you would recognize the Lord -- you would believe in him, and welcome him into your congregation. And to this I would reply: The Christ that you search for is among you this very day -- and you see him not! Why? Because, like your Jewish brethren in the Gospel, you look for him in the expectations and patterns of your beliefs -- rather than with the open heart and mind of a disciple of the Christ.
In the same exact manner of the Jews at the beginning of our Common Era, Christian leaders today point to the Bible and affirm to the people that what is written is clear and obvious with regard to the message of the scriptures. Like the Jews, believers today already know what the Christ will do and say at the time of the second coming. You have read many books that decipher every prophecy of scripture that foretells of the great events which will transpire. You have listened to a countless number of sermons where the imminent occurrences of the great and fearful day of the Lord was presented to you in every minuet detail. Your leaders in the gospel have used the scriptures to choreograph every event that will be witnessed by the faithful flock of believers. Jehovah’s Witnesses stand on street corners handing out pamphlets declaring the events of the end of this age. Self appointed doomsday prophets use loud speakers to warn you of the quickly approaching day of the Lord. In very much the same way as the Jews at the beginning of our Common Era, believers today are just waiting for the great celebrated day to arrive when they will go to glory, and the infidel will be cast into the hellfire that they deserve.
Perhaps one of the great insights of man is that regarding the relationship of history to the present: "If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience!" (George Bernard Shaw; The Revolutionist’s Handbook). What is the saying: He who does not learn the lessons of the past, is condemned to repeat them.
In analysis of the crucial relationship of the past to the present: It is my assertion that the majority of present-day Christians would condemn and reject the Lord if he openly reappeared among us today. They would call him a heretic! They would pursue him in an attempt to silence him! In seeking his blood, many modern Christians would view his death as a benefit to mankind! Why? Because they hold very similar views regarding the coming of the Messiah as did the Jews when the Lord physically walked the shores of Judea at the beginning of our Common Era.
In order to understand the problem that confronts us, we must perceive that the essence of Christian and Jewish expectations with respect to the coming Messiah are ultimately the same. Based upon the predictions of the Bible, the Jews at the time of Christ believed that the Messiah would come -- that he would unite all of Israel -- that he would lead the battle against the forces of evil in the world -- that he would defeat all other oppressors of the chosen people -- and that he would fulfill the prophesy of the scriptures, and set up God’s Kingdom upon the earth. It is not very difficult to place these same biblical concepts directly into our present time where Christians today believe that Jesus will return a second time, do battle with Satan and the forces of darkness, inaugurate God’s Kingdom, take his place as the supreme ruler, and his chosen people will reign in the Kingdom forever.
Again I pose the question as to how modern believers will recognize the Messiah? Throughout the history of the world there have been many men who have claimed to be the Messiah -- the Anointed of God. When it is realized that the followers of the Rev. Moon, David Koresh, Jim Jones, and many other such personalities all felt the spirit move them, and believed that they were in the presence of the Messiah, each and every Christian should search deep within themselves for the answer to the question. After all, the Messiah cannot be just anyone who lays claim to the title.
The majority of faithful Christians will conclude that they will know the Messiah because he will come in the image of the biblical predictions. In view of he fact that the Jews at the time of Christ also read the scriptures, and ardently searched for the chosen one who would come in the name of the Lord, our own spiritual well-being demands that we understand why they failed to recognize Jesus?
Setting aside the fact that Jesus offended the religious authorities -- i.e., the Sadducees, Pharisees, priests, scribes and accepted interpreters of the Law of Moses -- it is important that we recognized the core belief that both Jews and Christians hold in common is the fulfillment of the biblical prophesy that this age will come to an end, and God’s Kingdom will be inaugurated upon the earth. If Jesus had indeed inaugurated the Kingdom in the manner that was anticipated and predicted by the secular Jewish authorities, they would have instantly become his followers.
In this respect, if Jesus was to return today, and even begin to fulfill the biblical predictions pertaining to the coming Messiah, the entire Jewish world would immediately become his believers and followers. In recognizing this fact, what the majority of Christians fail to realize today is that the Jews throughout history have not accepted Jesus as the Messiah because he did not fulfill the most important biblical predictions -- and it is this same exact biblical prediction that the Christian world is waiting for him to fulfill in our present day and time.
Something we fail to be cognizant of is that every generation of Christians for the past two millenniums have ardently believed that the Kingdom would come at any moment, and because they ignored the error of their Jewish brethren, and adopted the same exact vision of the scriptures as did the Sadducees and Pharisees, they died in the poverty of their false doctrines. In recognition of this indisputable fact, every Christian today should ask themselves if they want to bring upon themselves the very same fate of the carnal Jews of whom Jesus said: "Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God" (Matt 22:29 KJV).
Were the Jews wrong? From the perspective of the Bible, Jesus did not live up to the biblical standards of the expected Messiah -- and the Jews rightfully reasoned that if they were to be faithful to the Word of God, the scriptures itself demanded his rejection. Throughout history many have laid claim to the title of teacher, prophet, and Messiah -- are we therefore expected to believe these claims? The question is posed in the Bible: "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?" By God’s own word spoken to the people, all prophets were to be judged by the same standards: "If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken" (Deut 18:22 NIV).
Are you a sincere Christian? If you believe in the Bible and the Word of God, then these questions are as valid today as when they were originally put before the people. How will believers be able to recognize the predicted Messiah from the great many men who have continually portrayed themselves to be the Anointed One -- men such as the Rev. Moon, David Koresh and Jim Jones? The resounding truth is that there is only one true test that must be employed in order to know the false, and embrace the genuine Messiah. Moreover, if they are to remain true to the Word of God, Christians today will be forced to use the same exact test as did the Jews at the beginning of our Common Era. Based upon the predictions of men such as Hal Lindsey, Pat Robertson, and a whole host of other modern-day prophets, the primary test which the modern Christian would use today is exactly the same as what was employed by the Jews to judge the Messiahship of Jesus -- i.e., the Bible. The fundamental question that Christians will ask the man who lays claim to the title of the Messiah is this: When will the scriptures be fulfilled, and God’s Kingdom will be inaugurated upon the earth. In fact, the concept of the imminent enfoldment of God’s Kingdom upon the earth is so dominant in the Bible, that it can be concluded that this is the solitary reason the Messiah will come.
In accordance with the commonly held beliefs of both Jews and Christians, the first thing the Messiah must accomplish will be to change the order of things in this world. The ordination of the Kingdom upon the earth will mark the end of time as we know it. The chaos of the present age will come to an end -- Satan, his legion of angels, and all the evil people since the dawn of time, will be judged and punished for their disobedience to God. The Messiah will then set up rule upon the earth -- the Kingdom of Heaven on earth will begin -- all of mankind will know and worship the one true God -- and there will be peace on earth forever more.
From a Christian perspective, it is important to understand the unity of belief with our Jewish brothers -- and the fact that if we remove the Jesus equation, the beliefs of the Jews and the Christians are very much one and the same. The only exception is the Christians anticipate the return of Jesus, while the Jews expect that the predicted Messiah will be a descendent of King David. In view of the fact that Jesus was of the linage of David, it can further be asserted that present-day Jews would accept the return of Jesus as God’s Messiah -- so long as he does the one thing that will prove him to be the genuine Messiah -- which is to fulfill all biblical predictions pertaining to the inauguration of the Kingdom.
Throughout the Christian churches today the second coming of the Messiah is the paramount doctrine that is being preached on a world-wide global basis. Tens of thousands of books have been written on this central theme alone. An uncountable number of sermons have been preached. Religious groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Evangelical Christians have passed out an untold amount of literature announcing the imminent return of the Messiah -- what he will do, and the horrible fate that will be the destiny of the unbelievers. These almost infinite number of books, pamphlets, sermons, and media bites, have deciphered every biblical prediction pertaining to the day the Messiah returns. The result is that, like the Jews at the beginning of our Common Era, Christians today expect the Messiah to come, that he will fulfill the Word of God, and carry out the predicted biblical prophesies.
Again, the warning of Jesus himself is applicable here: "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God" (Matt 22:29 KJV). If, then, we truly desire to evade the fate of the historical Sadducees and Pharisees -- whereby we would fall into the same proverbial pit -- then we must perceive the very serious flaw that exists in our present-day thinking. We can begin to accomplish this when we recognize how very little actually separates Jewish and Christian thinking on the matter of the coming of the Messiah. Key to evading their fate is to perceive the Messiah from the Jewish perspective -- which means that we must admit that the great Jewish minds are capable of studying their own scriptures, and they are not the fools that Christians have imagined. It is therefore paramount that we understand the fact that Jesus failed to fulfill the most important of the biblical prophecies pertaining to the coming of the Messiah.
Going one step further, it was because Jesus failed the most crucial test from a biblical perspective, that the majority of Jews today refuse to acknowledge him as anything more than a rather unique and inspired Jew who attempted to deceive the multitude of believers in his day. The fact that men such as the Apostle Paul succeeded in convincing the Gentiles that Jesus was the Messiah -- and even God -- does not impress the Jewish biblical scholar. As an embodiment of the sun-god, they believed that Jesus was born and died with the seasons. They believe that Jesus had previously lived as Krishna, Wittoba, Osiris, Attis, Indra, Prometheus, Mithra, Dionysius, Hesus, Aesculapius, Adonis, Apollonius of Tyana, and would be continually reborn throughout the cycles of the earth and the heavens. The Gentiles who embraced Jesus were Pagan to the very core of their thinking -- and their religions were the product of a long history of a heathen superstitions embraced by a people who worshiped the sun, moon, stars, animals, idols, and everything else under the sun. That they accepted Jesus as the re-embodiment of their sun-god meant virtually nothing from the perspective of man’s higher reality.
To the Jew who had been reared from birth on the sacredness of the scriptures and the manifestation of the Divine Word, the fulfillment of the prophesies was the true sign that the Messiah had come. In our attempt to understand the essence of the controversy, we must therefore pose the question as to whether the Gentiles saw something in the scriptures that the Jews did not? The fact is that the conversion of the Roman Empire had nothing to do with a spiritual awakening, a search for truth, or a hunger for the revelation of the Word -- but rather, because the people were given a tax exemption and an allotment of money when they converted to the religion of the Emperor in the fourth century. Therefore, the fulfillment of biblical prophesy in accordance with the Word of God meant absolutely nothing to the Pagan convert -- and since the change was politically motivated, neither was it of any great importance to the Roman Church hierarchy.
When the later Roman Church was called upon to defend its doctrine in light of the scriptures, the Christians proposed the idea that the Old Testament prophesies concerning Jesus indicated two Messianic traditions instead of just one. The first is widely known today among Christians as the suffering Messiah, which takes into account all the biblical prophesies that Jesus did fulfill. The second is the reigning Messiah, who Christians use to defend their position by saying that this Messiah is still to appear in the consummation of this age.
In view of the fact that Jesus clearly failed to fulfill the most important biblical prophesies concerning the Messiah -- which is the inauguration of God’s Kingdom -- Christians have proposed that here will be a second coming, and it will be at this time that the prophesies concerning the commencement of God’s Kingdom upon the earth will be fulfilled. One of the major problems with this doctrine is seen in the fact that, in the same way Jesus failed to fulfill many of the Old Testament prophesies concerning the Messiah, he also failed to fulfill both his own, as well as the many predictions of his disciples.
Are Christians correct in their assertion that the Jews did not accept Jesus as the Messiah? Or would it be more factual to say that Jesus failed to live up to his own predictions that he set before the people? What modern believers fail to realize is that the answer to these questions are of paramount importance to Christians today. In fact, it is not until we truly begin to understand the thinking of the Jew who lived at the time of Christ, that we can even begin to comprehend the spiritual plight of generation upon generation of Christians over the past two thousand years with respect to why their predictions have continually failed, and their Savior has not appeared.
The majority of modern believers are under the grave misconception that if the Jews had accepted Jesus, they would have become Christian. What they fail to understand is that at no time did Jesus preach a new religion -- nor did he tell his followers to start a new Church. Those who believed in the Messiahship of Jesus were exactly what they were supposed to be -- Jews, who embraced The Way -- which was a teaching that formalized a series of Universal Truths that are indigenous to the very nature of man himself. This great truth can only be comprehended when we begin to understand both the dynamics and differences between the Living Spiritual religion that Jesus revealed, and the institutionalized carnal religion of this world which was created by the Roman Emperor Constantine. That the two are thought to be one and the same, is merely the result of our failure to perceive the true depth of such teachings as the parable of the prodigal son, the sower and the seed, the marriage feast, and the spiritual essence of man himself.
When Christians say the Jews killed Christ, we should ask the question as to what Jews are they speaking of? The true essence of who -- or more appropriately what put the Christ to death -- was a carnal mindset that breeds a carnal perception of the Word of God. The ultimate truth which the Bible reveals, is that it is this carnal perception -- regardless of whether the people are called Jewish or Christian, or by any other name -- that puts the Christ to death.
While it is true that the council of Jews known as the Sanhedrin adamantly opposed Jesus, it must also be recognized that this counsel was strongly influenced by the Sadducees -- a sect that was comprised of the most political and worldly of all the Jews at that time. In view of the fact that their perception of the Word of God was of a very carnal nature, it is easy to understand why they opposed Jesus -- the revealer of The Way. The essence of the problem is seen in this great fact: Institutionalized churches of this world are always in conflict with the True Spiritual Church of God, because in a genuine spiritual religion, their priests have no political power over the people.
The teachings of The Way is exactly what is portrayed in the scriptures: It is the revelation of the gate and pathway between this world and the Kingdom of God. A genuine believer is one who has faith that the witness of the prophets is true, and the presence of this gate is concrete and real -- as real as the very bodies that we presently dwell in. In this respect, there is nothing in the Bible which even remotely suggests that Jesus intended what he taught to be believed in a philosophical manner. That Jesus taught a course of action is readily seen in his words: "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matt 7:13-14 NKJ). In this respect, modern believers are no different than the Jews at the time of Christ -- in that, each has lost sight of The Way that Jesus declared.
With regard to the historical Jews, the Bible itself tells us that not all members of the Sanhedrin were in opposition to Jesus. Joseph of Arimathaea serves as just one example. According to Matthew, Joseph "had himself become a disciple of Jesus" (Matt 27:57 NIV), and of this same Joseph, Mark wrote that he was a "promanant member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God" (Mark 15:43 NIV). In fact, the words of Mark encapsulate the very reason why Jesus is not known today as the Messiah of the Jews. In the same way that Mark wrote of Joseph of Arimathaea that he was "himself waiting for the kingdom of God", so too was all the Jews who believed in the Messiahship of Jesus.
The fact that there was so great a number of Jews who accepted Jesus is demonstrated in the reality that the Sanhedrin -- which was ruled by the Sadducees – "were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people" (Luke 22:2 NIV). This fear of the people especially continued after the death of Jesus where it was said: "At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them" (Acts 5:26 NIV).
To what extent a great number of Jews accepted the Messiahship of Jesus is further seen in the writings of Clement, the first century disciple of Peter, where it is written: "Nevertheless, the truth everywhere prevailed; for, in proof that these things were done by divine power, we who had been very few became in the course of a few days, by the help of God, far more than they. So that the priests were afraid, lest haply, by the providence of God, to their confusion, the whole of the people should come over to our faith".
What the scriptures and other writings of the time confirm is the fact that there were a greater number of Jews who believed in the Messiahship of Jesus, than Jews who disbelieved. Contrary to the deception portrayed by the later Roman church, the Jews who believed were not converted to a new religion, because the disciples of Jesus did not start a new religion. There was no other religion -- and they were simply Jews who were "waiting for the kingdom of God" (Mark 15:43 NIV).
In this respect many of the Jews were not much different than Christians today. They were employed in various occupations. They raised and provided for their children. They attended religious services where the same New Testament concepts of religion that are taught today was preached. And most importantly, a great number of them eagerly awaited the promised return of Jesus and the fulfillment of the scriptures.
When they spoke to their Jewish brethren who did not readily accept the Messiahship of Jesus, they stood in witness to the Gospel that had been preached to them. What did they say to their non-believing Jewish brothers and sisters? Jesus is the Messiah -- he spoke with the true Wisdom of God -- he healed the sick and raised the dead -- and they affirmed their faith that the promises that Jesus made to them will be kept, and the scriptures will be fulfilled.
Which of the two groups of Jews were correct? More than anything else, what the scriptures themselves demonstrate is that it was the non-believing Jews -- the ones who rejected the Messiahship of Jesus, who were correct -- and it was the Jews who believed in Jesus who were proved to be in error.
It is important for us to recognize the fact that when Jesus taught the people about the Kingdom, and proclaimed that it was at hand, there was absolutely no thought or concept that it would arrive in two thousand or more years. This can especially be demonstrated in the fact that the Apostle Paul warned the believers at Corinth that the imminent return of Jesus was so close, that they should not get married, or even have sex with their wives. "What I mean, brothers", Paul preached, "is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none" (1 Cor 7:29 NIV).
To a truly questioning and perhaps rational mind, this above quotation alone by Paul would prompt a clear thinking person to categorize him with the likes of David Koresh – who himself predicted the second coming would begin when the government attacked his religious compound in Waco Texas. When is acknowledged that church authorities such as Martin Luther fundamentally rejected the message of the gospels, and adopted only the teachings of Paul as the foundation of Protestantism, failed predictions such as this should greatly concern believers today. In like manner, modern Christians embrace a faith-based religion over the original Messianic Jewish religion, because it has been the assertion of the church that only Paul perceived the true message of Christ. In fact, it has been an article of faith among modern Christians that the Apostle Paul was in constant communication with the risen Jesus. It has been proclaimed by the Gentile Church that this communication between Jesus and Paul is demonstrated in an elevated knowledge of Christ – an elevated knowledge which the church has maintain that the other Apostles who continued to embrace the Jewish culture did not possess. It was for this reason that Luther rejected the synoptic gospels, even calling the Epistle of James, the brother of Jesus and first leader of the New Covenant Church, a "straw epistle", with the result being that Protestantism was founded almost exclusively upon the Epistles of Paul.
If the witness of the Apostle was true, as the modern Christian believes, then it is reasonable to assert that when Paul preached that the time of Jesus’ return was so close, that "those who have wives should live as if they had none", if we are to believe that Paul was an authentic biblical authority, then the basis of this adherence to the Apostle’s words would have to based upon the assumption that Jesus himself would have had to have told Paul exactly when this imminent return would be.
The modern Christian must acknowledge the fact that the message of Paul is so plain -- i.e., husbands, the time of the second coming of Christ is so close, that we should live in a state of constant watching -- not even returning to our wives, lest we miss witnessing the promised event. The modern Christian must also conclude that we can in no way construe this to mean that Paul was speaking of an incident that would transpire some two thousand years in the future. Thus, in accordance with our present-day perception of the Word, it would appear that Paul was in grave error, and could not have been in communication with Jesus, as is commonly believed by Christians today.
In his Epistle to the Hebrews Paul again stated that there would be no delay at all in Jesus’ reappearance (Heb 10:37). Paul told the Thessalonians that the time of Jesus’ return to earth was so close, that they should not even sleep (1 Thes 5:6). Jesus’ own brother James, the leader of the early Jerusalem Church, told believers that the time of the Lords return was at hand (James 5:8). The Apostle John wrote in the Book of Revelations that the fulfillment of the prophesies and the return of Jesus would be very quickly (Rev 22:20). The Apostle Peter wrote that Jesus was to return at that very time (1 Pet 4:7).
Jesus himself said that some of the people in his day would live to see the Kingdom of God come (Lk 9:27). Jesus further promised that all Old Testament Biblical prophecies concerning the Kingdom of God would be fulfilled in the generation in which he was living: "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place" (Luke 21:32 NAS).
What does it mean when Jesus said that "all things would take place" in the time-frame of the people’s lives who listened to him speak these words? What is being referred to is all the many scriptural prophecies that pertain to the biblical events that had not yet been fulfilled -- which prophecies Jesus clearly said would be fulfilled in the lifetime of the people who were living in the first century. When we perceive what was being preached by Jesus and his disciples, we must be cognizant of exactly what it was that Jesus said would take place: The Messiah, who we presume to be Jesus, would destroy all evil, inaugurate God’s Kingdom, and rule the world.
A great number of Jews believed that Jesus was the Messiah who the scriptures predicted would come. They believed that his crucifixion at the hands of the very political Sanhedrin was merely the beginning of the fulfillment of the scriptures. They also believed -- and had faith -- in the words that both Jesus and his disciples said: That the events foretold in the scriptures would take place in their lifetime. Like the modern Christians today, they believed -- and they lived their life awaiting the fulfillment of the scriptures and the imminent return of Jesus.
Fundamentally, the Roman Church promoted a series of flawed doctrines in an attempt to explain away the failure of Jesus to fulfill the most important of biblical predictions. The foundation of their false doctrine was that Jesus came to condemn and reject the Jews as the people of God -- that the Jews were to be considered apostates because they rejected Jesus -- and they then promoted these falsehoods in an attempt to explain away why Jesus both failed to fulfill the predictions he and his disciples made, as well as the biblical prophecies pertaining to the Kingdom. Further, this great misconception that had been promoted by the Roman Church has made it convenient to explain why God rejected the Jews and accepted the Gentiles as his new body of chosen people.
For strictly political purposes, the Roman Church used the Jews to their own advantage, and in the process they fostered a great deception among the Gentiles. This deception was in fact so great, and the lie so outrageous, that Christians continue to believe it to this very day. In part, it is this deception that has kept the modern believer from possessing a more accurate understanding of both the gospel, and the enfoldment of the appointed Kingdom.
Yes, there is truth to the assertion that the political Jews rejected Jesus -- but they did so for the exact same reason that man has always rejected those whom God has sent to us. Not to perceive this fact will lead to our own undoing! In this respect, the words of Jesus’ brother James was true of the Jews -- it was also true of the Christian Church that eventually evolved out of the Gentile world -- and it very much remains true even in our present time when he said: "You adulterous people", writes Ames, "don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God" (James 4:4 NIV). This same message is repeated by the Disciple John when he wrote: "If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 Jn 2:15 NIV). Perhaps the Apostle Paul said it best when he wrote: "For to be carnally minded is death... Because the carnal mind is enmity against God" (Rom 8:6-7 KJV).
From the perspective of the Apostle Paul -- whose epistles are the foundation of our faith-based religion today -- to be carnally minded meant only one thing: That the professing believer does not truly have faith in God. One of the great flaws in our perception of the Apostle’s epistles is our failure to comprehend that the faith which Paul proclaims will save us, is the faith that empowers the believer to cling to the spirit, while still dwelling in this world. From a biblical perspective, those who hear the Word, and continue to cling to the things of the flesh, are a faithless people.
The events that transpired in the first century were no different than the conditions among believers at present. There were carnally minded Jews who loved the world. These carnally minded Jews maintained an alliance with the Romans and the Greeks who ruled the land at that time. These carnally minded Jews are perhaps best portrayed by the Disciple John when he wrote: "I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan" (Rev 2:9 KJV).
The problem from a biblical perspective, though, is that a great number of Jews believed that Jesus was the Messiah, and just like Christians today they waited and watched for Jesus to keep his promise. What was the promise that Jesus made to them? Jesus avowed in their own presence that in their lifetime, he would return and inaugurate the Kingdom of God upon the earth. Moreover, contrary to what we have been told by the Roman Church, these Jews literally died waiting for the Lord’s return. It is also understandable that when these faithful believers died, their children had no other recourse but to view Jesus as one of many inspired Jewish teachers who failed to fulfill the one biblical prophesy that Satan could not -- which prophesy was the very test that was foretold in the scriptures which the faithful believer was told to use in order to judge the true Messiah from the false.
One of the great traps that ensnare modern Christians is the fact that believers today neither understand the Jews, or the Jewish biblical accounts of the Messiah. To this day the Jews remain a people who are waiting for the promised Messiah to come. There is nothing in their scriptures that requires them to believe -- they already believe – and they believe in the fulfillment of their scriptures. And what is it they believe? That the true Messiah will fulfill the promise of God and inaugurate the Kingdom upon the earth. There is nothing in their scriptures that says they should believe in anything or anyone other than God. What their scriptures say is that when the Messiah comes, and he fulfills the biblical predictions and inaugurates the Kingdom, they should believe that the Day of the Lord is at hand. Moreover, nowhere in their scriptures does it say they should worship a Messiah -- or believe in a person they think is a Messiah. Their scriptures state that when the Messiah comes, he will bring about the new age, and all will believe, see and worship God.
When Jesus said the Jews should believe he was the Messiah, he was in effect asking them to believe he was the appointed one who would inaugurate the Kingdom. Both the New Testament Gospels, the Epistles of Paul and the other disciples, as well as the inspired writings of the time, all confirm that a great many Jews believed -- had faith -- and lived their lives awaiting the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus that he would return. How many Jews and Gentile converts ceased even to have sex with their wives -- not even returning home to their families -- because they believed the witness of the Apostle Paul with respect to the time being so close?
Once these facts are truly recognized, both Jews and Christians alike must begin to embrace the very essence of all religious controversy -- i.e., what if the Christians, like the majority of Jews, have failed to perceive the true nature of the scriptures? What if the first followers of Jesus were correct in their assertion that the Bible is not an historical narrative -- but rather, a spiritual roadmap that was left here to instruct the prodigal sons of the Father how to return back home to the Kingdom? What this would mean is that all those Jews who awaited the promised return of the Messiah, all waited in vain for an event that could -- and would -- never take place.
When I previously made the statement that if the Messiah returned he would be rejected, the reason the Messiah -- or Christ -- will again be rejected, is easily demonstrated and predicted by a more careful examination of the Bible. Because neither the multitude of carnal Jews, or their Christian brothers in the faith, perceive the true spiritual nature of the scriptures, they fail to understand the symbolism of the second coming in the language of the soul and spirit. Once this is understood, it is then easy to predict that the Messiah will again be rejected for exactly the same reasons he was rejected in the first century -- i.e., he will not perform in accordance with their beliefs regarding the inauguration of God’s Kingdom.
All Jesus had to do to be heralded as the true Messiah and king of Israel, was to fulfill the predictions of the scriptures. Unless Christians today are ready to believe in anyone who claims to be the Messiah or Christ, it is reasonable to predict that certain biblically based requirements will be expected. It is for this reason I assert that Christians today have no other choice but to judge anyone who claims to be the Messiah by the same exact biblical standards as did the Jews. If someone among us today claims to be the Messiah, Christians will be forced to test that person and say: If you are truly the one that is predicted to come, then fulfill the scriptures, and inaugurate God’s Kingdom upon the earth as promised.
In recognition of the fact that a countless number of books have been written on the subject of the second coming -- the holy war that will transpire -- and the defeat of the enemies of God -- Christians today, like the Jews of the past, believe they know exactly what the Messiah will do when he comes. And yet, in the manner of the carnal Jews, the majority of Christians ignore the fact that Jesus himself said that this expected war of all wars in high spiritual places will never come about in the manner that believers expect. In consequence of this biblical fact, it is then easy to predict that the Christians will reject the Christ -- and their rejection will be for the exact same reasons the Jews rejected Jesus -- i.e., not because Jesus was not the Messiah, but because the greater majority of both Jewish and Christian believers alike do not perceive the spiritual nature of the very scriptures they profess to abide by. Predictably, each will again turn upon the One that God sends to save them from their eventual fate at the hands of the god of this world.
There is, though, another element to what will eventually transpire: Unlike the Jews, the Christians do not have as good of an excuse for looking -- and expecting the kingdom to come -- in all the wrong places. The question of the coming of the Kingdom, though clearly answered by Jesus himself in the Bible, is generally ignored, misinterpreted, or doctrinally misunderstood. At Luke 17:20-21 in the New International Version we find: "Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you."
The looming question that is being set before all Christians is whether they truly believe the Bible? That the Kingdom, as well as Jesus’ teachings on this most important subject are for the most part ignored and misconstrued, is clearly seen in the attempt by many translators to say that the kingdom of God is "in their midst" -- as if to say that Jesus himself was the coming of the Kingdom. Thus, in this example of the intentional mistranslation of the scriptures, the realization of Jesus’ own words are again fulfilled in his assertion that believers will be deceived by the very people they look to as religious authorities and leaders. On the basis of the preceding verse alone, it can be easily demonstrated that such a translation is in error. If Jesus was the coming of the kingdom, then surely he was not only seen with observation, but people could have said: Here he is, or, there he is.
In analysis of this great biblical controversy, Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament writes: "What Jesus says to the Pharisees is that they, as others, are to look for the kingdom of God within themselves, not in outward displays and supernatural manifestations. It is not a localized display ‘Here’ or ‘There.’ It is in this sense that in Luke 11:20 Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God as ‘come upon you,’ speaking to Pharisees". The article then goes on to add that the only other instance of the Greek word "entos" being used in the New Testament, is at Matthew 23:26, where the Pharisees are told to clean "the inside of the cup". Moreover, the Wescott and Hort Greek text, as well as most other authorities, render the translation of this word: "inside of you is".
The Jews in the time of Jesus, like the multitude of Christians today, expected the Messiah to come, to defeat the enemies of God’s Kingdom, and to affirm the chosen people. This grave misconception was -- and continues to be -- the result of the people’s attempt to interpret spiritual symbols in a carnal, or physical sense. That the conflict and the coming of the Kingdom can never transpire in a carnal sense, is further confirmed when Jesus was questioned by Pilate, where he explained: "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place" (John 18:36 NIV).
What Jesus is saying to us is this: If the kingdom was to come upon the earth in the manner that both carnal Christians and Jews predict, then in his own words, his "servants would fight to prevent [his] arrest". But, as two thousand years of Christian doomsday prophecy has proven, because the Kingdom will never come upon the earth, and in fact already exists in "another place", the great battle in heavenly places that both the carnal Jews and Christians expect, will never take place in this realm of existence. Moreover, like their Christian brothers in the faith, the modern Jews continue to await the blessed event even to this very day.
The Bible tells us that there "was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council" (John 3:1 NIV), who came to Jesus and asked him about the Kingdom. Jesus did not say it would come soon -- or in two thousand years. It is therefore important that we perceive the essence of Jesus’ words when he told Nicodemus that if he desired to see the Kingdom come, it would be necessary for him to be born again. Nicodemus, who was evidently surprised at these words, expected the Messiah to tell him when the biblical predictions regarding the Kingdom would be fulfilled. And in response to Nicodemus’ carnal perception of the scriptures, Jesus said: "You are Israel’s teacher... and do you not understand these things?" (John 3:10 NIV).
In view of the fact that we are presented with the same exact problem in our present time, it is important for us to recognize that one of the main focal point of Jesus’ question was how Nicodemus could call himself one of Israel’s teachers, and not know the kingdom of God exists in a parallel realm -- and to enter it, he must be born again into the spiritual Kingdom. In the same way that Jesus expected a ruler of the Jews to know the inner spiritual meaning of the scriptures with regard to the entrance into the kingdom -- and the fact that one must be born a second time to manifest one’s spiritual nature -- this same requirement will be expected of those who call themselves (Christian) leaders in our own time.
Are you a Christian? Do you believe that in your near future there will come a time when you stand before the judgment seat of the Lord? Do you believe that you will be required to give an accounting for what you accomplished in this life? How will you justify the fact that you belong to a church that condemns the Jews for their heresy, when there is essentially very little difference between what both Christians and Jews believe with respect to both the Messiah and the coming of the Kingdom?
Today we have many people who call themselves born again on the basis of words or a prayer that they have spoken. In essence, they are speaking in philosophical terms, and making the process that Jesus spoke of mean little more than a theoretical change in the course of their life, rather than a profound spiritual experience that far eclipses and exceeds their physical birth into this world. In the same way that no woman who has experienced the drastic changes in her physical body when she carried a child for nine months, and endured the process the scriptures call the "pangs of birth", will speak of the events of birth in a philosophical manner, neither is the second birth that Jesus spoke about to Nicodemus a philosophical birth which is accomplished with ones words!
Unbeknown to the modern Christian who professes to be (philosophically) born again, in these words of Jesus we have the very essence of Christian Mysticism with regard to a Gnostic perception of the Gospel. Moreover, on this subject which is the very foundation of Christian Spiritual thought, the Bible clearly depicts the struggle of man’s entrance into the Kingdom as he strives to overcome his own carnal nature -- and his birth in spirit can only come about with tribulation that far exceeds his entrance into this realm.
Even though many of the more profound teachings regarding the Kingdom were removed by the Roman Church, there still exits a common theme that Christians who read the Bible should have recognized. What Jesus said to Nicodemus was in fact no different than what Jesus told the Pharisees at Luke 17:20-21. In both instances, Jesus was asked when he would fulfill the biblical predictions pertaining to the Messiah, and inaugurate the Kingdom of God. In Luke, Jesus said that the Kingdom can never come in the outward manner carnal men believe it will come, because the Kingdom is a parallel realm which already exists -- and each of us has the innate ability to find it, because it is within us. In both instances the essence of the words of Jesus must be understood -- i.e., that the only means to enter into God’s Kingdom, was to be born a second time in the Spirit.
That this second birth was the means by which man is to enter into the Kingdom is further demonstrated by the witness of the Apostles in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. When the disciples themselves became Anointed (Christ) by the Holy Spirit, it was written of them: "They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them" (Acts 2:3-4 NIV).
The Bible then says of the Jewish holy men who were present: "Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs -- we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues! Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, What does this mean?" (Acts 2:5-12 NIV)
By today’s doctrines of belief, the reply of Peter to this question should be alarming: "Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’" (Acts 2:14-21 NIV).
What Peter is saying should astound the modern believer: By virtue of the Anointing (Christ) of the Holy Spirit, the disciples have themselves experienced the coming of the Kingdom and the end times that was predicted in the scriptures. What Peter is witnessing is clear: All these signs and wonders which Christians today associate with Armageddon, and would take place at the coming of the Day of the Lord -- better known today as the second coming -- took place within the mind and being of the disciples. Moreover, what is described here is another way of presenting what was said by Jesus at Luke 17:21 with regard to the Kingdom being within, and again to Nicodemus in the third chapter of John where Jesus states that one must be born from above (born again) in order to enter the Kingdom.
If we know and believe that the Jews of a secular-carnal mindset did not understand the true meaning of the scriptures, then why do we adopt their same error? This rather profound reality is expressed by the church historian Eusebius when he wrote: "Many [Christians] were led astray by reading the allegorical contents of the scriptures literally in the method of the Pharisees and Sadducees" -- as demonstrated in the words: "Jesus answered and said to them, Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?" (Mark 12:24 NKJ).
The profound truth that is revealed to Nicodemus is directly related to the spiritual significance of the second coming -- i.e., once properly comprehended, the second coming must be understood from the perception of our second birth as we emerge out of the womb of this physical realm, and into the Kingdom that Jesus told us he will help us find. Again, the Anointing of the Holy Spirit and the second birth equate to the end times prophesies which are presented in the words of Peter: "…this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams… I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy… before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord’" (Acts 2:14-21 NIV). In the same way that the birth canal from which we are physically born into this realm is narrow, Jesus portrayed the walk in The Way as being narrow -- so narrow that we can take nothing with us from this world.
In this paradoxical vision, the whole focus of our present-day understanding of the religion of Jesus with regard to the Kingdom is negated, especially when it is realized that this other all-important and all-pervading dimension to the controversy is not even perceived at all by the modern believer. Moreover, what few Christians today comprehend is that the mysteries and truths that are being portrayed to us in this scriptural exposé, is literally floating upon the sea of Law that is established and embedded in the Old Testament scriptures -- and it was for this reason that Jesus expected a leader of the Jews to know about the second birth.
Every aspect of our physical existence from the time we were conceived in the womb, and developed in accordance with a predefined genetic pattern, to our birth, our interaction with the forces of nature and the indigenous laws within which all of Creation is in a continual state of subjective movement, it is the true man of spiritual wisdom who has the perception to embrace the natural order of things. This wisdom was conveyed to us in the words of Jesus when he affirmed the need to keep the Law as seen when he said: "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).
In our quest for greater understanding, we must ask what is being said to us in these words? What Jesus confirms is that every concept of the New Covenant is in total and complete harmony with the Law that was given to Moses, and that his followers must keep and observe the ordinances of the Law in a more pure and complete manner than the scribes and Pharisees. We must come to understand that it is not an accident that Jesus was crucified on the Passover. It was not an arbitrary occurrence that Jesus remained with his disciples for a period of forty days (Acts 1:3). Neither is it a measure of distance and time when after the period of forty days it is written that the trip to Jerusalem was said to be a Sabbath days journey (Acts 1:12). These occurrences are of the highest importance to the disciple who is seeking to be born in the spirit.
Christians must cease to read the scriptures in the error of the Sadducees and Pharisees! From a biblical perspective, it is not descriptive of an historical event that the disciples stayed in an upper room for a period of three days until the day of Pentecost. When the Bible states that there were one hundred and twenty names from which the replacement of Judas was drawn, what is conveyed in the numbers has more to do with the spiritualization and completion of the twelve -- i.e., twelve times twelve -- than of any historical enumeration of people. The presence of the mother and brethren, as well as all the other elements of the story, all hold a spiritual significance to those who possess the eyes to look beyond the cloak of the narrative. It is not by chance that the replacement for Judas -- which if properly translated would be Judah, from which the name Jew is derived -- was Matthias, which means the" gift of God". What is portrayed to the disciple is not an historical event, but more appropriately, the evolution of mind in its quest for completion.
From a spiritual perspective we see the conversion and transformation of one of the spheres of the Tree of Life -- as represented in the portrayal of the twelve disciples -- from that of a Jew, to the gift of God. More importantly is the fact that these things took place within the above portrayal of (spiritual) events -- from the Passover to the time of Pentecost -- that have been incorporated into the narrative of the scriptures. What is being conveyed to the reader throughout this biblical story has absolutely nothing to do with historical events -- but rather, the interaction of the mind of the disciple with the Laws of God in the opening and Anointing of the mind.
Men of wisdom realize that historical events mean absolutely nothing in the life of the believer. There is no spiritual edification or uplifting in the life of the modern Christian if he is able to memorize what appears to be a recital of historical events. Unless we can intimately participate in the spiritual reality of what is being portrayed, it will have very little effect on our own quest to embrace the Light. It is for this reason that Origen taught: "Scripture contains an unhistorical element inwoven with the history, in order that the worthlessness of the latter may drive us to seek the spiritual meaning" (Origen; The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics). Why? Because it is only when the believer is able to look beyond the vail of the scriptures, and perceive what is being conveyed with regard to the movement of mind within the Laws of God to bring about the Anointing of the Light, that he begins to possess the knowledge that is of a great importance in the life of the disciple.
From a spiritual perspective, there is essentially no difference between the Old Testament and what is known today as the New Testament. The Bible is not a history book -- and what appears on the surface to be history, is merely the vessel that is necessary in order to manifest and convey the inner spiritual truths that are for the edification of the disciple in his search of the Light. This is seen in the words of the Apostle where he wrote: "Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech -- unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart" (2 Cor 3:12-15 NKJ).
The error of the Sadducees and Pharisees was seen in the fact that they read the scriptures as history, and not as a portrayal of the transformation of the mind. That the inner truths are veiled by virtue of their presentation as historical events, is in essence the only thing that was ever done away with by the New Covenant scriptures. Nothing in the Law has ever been negated -- the problem is that when the Law is interpreted in an historical manner, we embrace the error of the Sadducees and Pharisees. Thus, when the Apostle states: "But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart", Paul would say to us today that because we have embraced the error of the carnal Jews, we have permitted the veil to be re-established upon our hearts and minds.
That when we turn to the spirit, and seek the revelation of the Light, that the garb of history is stripped away, is the message of Paul in the words: "Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor 3:16-18 NKJ).
The phrase, "when one turns to the Lord", does not convey the idea that if we turn to traditional religious dogma that is based upon an historical perception of the Gospel, the veil will be removed -- because such an interpretation of scripture equates to little more than a more modern version of the same error embraced by the Sadducees and Pharisees. To "turn to the Lord", means that we reject historically based church dogma and the doctrines and partial explanations of men, and come into the presence of the Light by transcending the three-dimensional limitations of this world and learning from the Source of all True Knowledge. That this Source of revelation that pierces through the veil is within us, is seen in the words: "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord". Thus, within our own transformed image we will perceive the Light that teaches us the true meaning of the scriptures.
In order to "turn to the Lord" in truth, we must begin to embrace the scriptures in an intimate manner. Thus, everything that is portrayed in the garb of history in the Bible, conveys a meaning with respect to our own quest to come into the Presence of the Light. When the Bible states of the Jewish holy men who were present at Pentecost: "Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven" (Acts 2:5 NIV) -- we should immediately question how this could be.
At that time in man’s history there could not have been Jews living in every nation under heaven -- but from the perspective of the disciple, the very presence of Jews from every Nation, rather then idol worshipers and heathen from every nation, conveys a profound truth that impacts the rest of the text in a way not perceived by the people of the simple faith who interpret the scripture in its literal meaning. Once this is properly understood, what would be presented to us as an historical impossibility in a literal sense, is very important to us from a spiritual perspective -- and conveys the idea of totality and completion.
Where the people of the simple faith just read the words without perceiving the depth of what is conveyed, the person of spiritual insight understands that the whole account at Pentecost is contingent upon this one very important sentence. In fact, for those believers who truly desire to be born again, and thereby gain entrance into the Kingdom, what we are presented with here is an image of the condition of the mind that is necessary to bring about the second birth they yearn for.
In the Bible, the people of the Nations were always included as an integral part of the development of Israel -- the Chosen People of the Lord. As portrayed in the scriptures, man’s depth of consciousness has the capacity to reach down to the level of the beast, or soar with the angels in the heavens -- and what we fail to comprehend is that our own natural mind is multi-dimensional, and these realities exist simultaneously in both our perception and expressions of life. From a biblical perspective, our personality is made up of a host of personalities that independently manifest in accordance with momentary conditions of life.
In addition to our own multi-dimensional mind that manifests an almost infinite number of individual personalities which remain part of the whole in the manner of a community -- some of which would be represented in the symbols of the animals and beasts on the lower spectrum, in addition to every other level of potential of human consciousness right up to the angelic -- with the problem being that these segments of our divided personality remain independent of each other, and can only interact and become manifest across the dimension of time. In the same way that we are created in the image of God, and from God the One Source the many has emerged, we possess this same exact pattern within ourselves. Thus, unless we have seriously embraced religious disciplines that make us very conscious of our own personality shifts, we will remain unaware of our own divided nature. When we begin the process of internalizing the scriptures, we will then perceive the inner meaning of the text: "Then He asked him, What is your name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion; for we are many" (Mark 5:9 NKJ). The potential for this Legion exists within all of us, but for the most part, we remain unaware of our own divided nature.
Where we erroneously view the mind as static and singular in consciousness, we not only possess an animal nature that is often portrayed to us as the beasts and lower creatures in the narrative of the scriptures, but even on a human level we possess a multitude of personalities in our natural mind that remain segmented and independent. Moreover, we also have inner dimensions of consciousness that comprise our soul and spiritual natures -- which again are not only independent, but exist as conscious entities that dwell in parallel realities beyond our ability to perceive. From a biblical perspective, because these inner levels already exist, and each level can be envisioned independently from the next, they can and are often portrayed in any number of scriptural combinations that the natural consciousness of man would not recognize as indicating a deeper level of his being.
Because natural man is hypnotized and drawn into the images and elements of this realm, he remains for the most part unaware of his animal and gross carnal nature that draws him downward into the abyss of the earth -- his many human personalities that are segmented and divided -- as well as the more profound inner states of reality and consciousness that inspires him to raise himself above the temporal elements of this world. Woman, being more intuitive by nature than her male counterpart, possesses a much greater awareness of man’s inner reality -- but to their own detriment, few males are even capable of embracing the female vision of life.
When the scriptures speaks of the unity of twelve disciples who have been Anointed by the Holy Spirit, it is making reference to a highly evolved and illuminated mind. When the scriptures speaks of Jews being assembled from all the nations of the world at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, along with the presence of the Gentiles assembled in the worship of the One God, we are speaking of a highly enlightened state of Being. Whatever follows in the text of such a sacred writing, is teaching the disciple in search of Ultimate Truth about the manner he must deal with his own outer levels of consciousness that is still influenced by sensual and carnal desires. That these great truths can be made applicable by placing them in an historical context, means that such a sacred writing can be used by believers at every level and stage of development. Such a writing is truly written to the glory of God.
Even when examined historically, the spiritual design can be envisioned: What has in fact been portrayed is the conversion of the people of the Nations into Jews -- God-fearing Jews -- who are residing at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, which is the day that Moses received the Law on Mount Sinai. We have the Messiah who was resurrected on the true Passover of the Lord. We have the twelve together in an upper room at Jerusalem. The conversion of the Nations into Jews -- and all this taking place at Jerusalem. What is being conveyed to us is the total fulfillment of the Law, and the manifestation of the Anointing (Christ) by the Holy Spirit.
Those people who believe that the Book of Acts is making reference to a people called Jews -- or that the twelve disciples were present in an upper room -- or that this event took place seven weeks and one day after the Passover -- and do not relate these symbols to a condition of mind that is necessary to receive the Anointing of the Holy Spirit -- simply do not possess the spiritual eyes and ears to perceive the true reality of the scriptures. In what appears to be an historical event that is virtually meaningless in the life of the people of the simple faith, the disciple who has become spiritual looks beyond the vail of the narrative, and perceives the promise of the New Covenant manifest -- as seen in the words of Peter: "‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’" (Acts 2:14-21 NIV). What Peter is stating is that this is the second coming of Christ.
One of the problems that confront the people of the simple faith is seen in the lack of continuity between the Old and New Testaments. The fact that those who make our Bibles have failed to translate the Greek meaning of the word Pentecost into English, as is done with the word Christ and many other such words, is merely representative of our refusal to embrace the Word of God as portrayed in the manifestation and fulfillment of the Law. The Thayer’s Lexicon defines the meaning of the Greek word pentekoste as "the fiftieth day"; and says that it is "the second of the three great Jewish feasts, celebrated at Jerusalem yearly, the seventh week after the Passover, in grateful recognition of the completed harvest". The completed harvest is the spiritual birth into the Kingdom by the disciple.
Under the heading of Seven, the Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary tells us it is "A sacred number to the ancient Hebrew people. The word is used often in the Bible to symbolize perfection, fullness, abundance, rest, and completion". That the celebration of Pentecost, or the Feast of weeks, equates to the first day following the period of seven times seven, in addition to all the other sacred symbols and numbers conveyed in this account, conveys to the disciple a number of great truths that he must perceive in relation to the Law, in order to bring about the Anointing of the Light -- and it is this understanding that is conveyed in the spiritual understanding of the "harvest".
To the modern Bible reader, the word Pentecost represents an historical event – whereas, to the disciple, the meaning of Pentecost conveys a spiritual event that they must understand in order to bring that condition of consciousness about in the own lives. In the same way that everything in this world is controlled by God’s Laws, so too is the workings of our mind and being in relation to the division of personalities, the soul and spiritual natures, and what Jesus called the inner Kingdom. Like a house, these divisions and levels of consciousness exist as rooms and floors under the domain of a single unit or roof. In the same way that a room or floor in a dwelling is separated by walls and levels, these walls of separation within our own consciousness are maintained by laws -- God’s Laws -- and these Laws are portrayed to us in the garb of history in the scriptures.
As the disciple begins to progress in his development beyond the elementary knowledge of the Gospel, and commences his journey of walking in The Way, the Spiritual Christian embraces a fundamental knowledge of these Laws as they are manifest and working within his own mind and consciousness. If we truly believe the witness of Jesus and his disciples, and we start to recognize the validity of his teaching that the Kingdom is within us, then we must begin to understand that there is an obstacle -- i.e., a barrier between realms -- that inhibits us from sensing and perceiving the presence of this inner Kingdom.
The modern Christian must begin to open their eyes and come to terms with the reality of Creation. We are able to predict the seasons -- the weather -- the appearance of comets -- the movement of the heavenly bodies of the universe -- birth cycles -- the interaction of the sexes -- the offspring of each after its own kind -- because everything in Creation is subject to certain immutable laws -- and these laws have been set in motion to bring about a certain destiny that was orchestrated and ordained by our Creator God. Just as the Law of gravity keeps us held to the earth, there are forces at work that keep our consciousness focused in this physical dimension of reality. In the Old Testament, these forces are portrayed as historical events in order to spark a light in the mind of the reader, that those who possess the spiritual eyes to see, the spiritual ears to hear, and the spiritual perception to understand, will begin to perceive the manner in which the disciple must interact with the forces within himself, in order to move beyond the barriers and limitations of this physical dimension of Creation.
That the disciple must be able to envision his movement of mind within the Laws of God, is further represented in the understanding that Pentecost is in fact portrayed in the Old Testament as the day that Moses received the Law from God. Thus, the perceptive Christian will begin to perceive the connection between Pentecost and the words of Jesus when he said that "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".
When the Gentile converts proclaimed that the Law did not apply to them, and this ignorance of the true meaning of the Law was doctrinally passed down to the modern believer today, the result is that we have totally alienated ourselves from the knowledge that we must possess in order to open the gate that leads us in The Way, and enables us to walk in pursuit of following in the Lord’s footsteps. Because we fail to translate words such as Pentecost, and fail to convey the connection between these sacred observances -- labeling them Jewish, instead of conveying that they were Ordained by God -- we only embrace the Bible in a philosophical manner. The result is that we have rejected the very symbols of life that we must interact with in order to experience the second birth. Moreover, because we have replaced these higher symbols with lesser Pagan symbols, we remain confused because the symbols can’t invoke the forces of higher consciousness within us, and we dwell in a state of spiritual stagnation and death. It is therefore impossible for us to experience the second birth into the Kingdom as portrayed in the story of Pentecost, because instead of the Nations being converted to Jews, and coming together in the New Jerusalem with the fulfillment of the Royal Law of God, we stand in the Jerusalem of this world waving the banners and symbols of the Nations in the worship of the anti-christ -- the christ of the flesh of this world.
If we had embraced biblical first principles -- purified ourselves and our thinking -- and had endeavored to first become a spiritual people before looking to the scriptures to learn about God, we would not have fallen into the error of the Sadducees and Pharisees. Again the words of the Church Father Origen with regard to the nature of scripture: "It is sufficient however, to represent in the style of a historic narrative what is intended to convey a secret meaning in the garb of history, that those who have the capacity may work out for themselves all that relates to the subject." And with regard to what would otherwise be historical symbols and events that would appear to us as the knowledge of superficial episodes of the past, Origen writes: "I believe that every man must hold these things for images, under which the hidden sense lies concealed" (Origen - Huet., Prigeniana, 167 Franck, p. 142).
What Origen states is nothing different than what is contained in the Zohar, which is one of the books used frequently in Jewish Mysticism, where it states: "The narratives of the doctrine are its cloak. The simple look only on the garment, that is upon the narrative of the doctrine; more they know not. The instructed, however, see not merely the cloak, but what the cloak covers".
These great truths are again demonstrated in the words of Moses Maimonedes, one of the most respected of Jewish theologians, historian, and Talmudist, where he writes about the nature of scripture: "Every time that you find in our books a tale the reality of which seems impossible, a story which is repugnant to both reason and common sense, then be sure that the tale contains a profound allegory veiling a deeply mysterious truth; and the greater the absurdity of the letter, the deeper the wisdom of the spirit".
These same truths are again conveyed to us in the words or the Church Historian Eusebius where he writes that: "Many [Christians] were led astray by reading the allegorical contents of the scriptures literally in the method of the Pharisees and Sadducees". Which is confirmed in the words of the Apostle Paul when he wrote: "For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory" (Gal 4:21-24 KJV).
It is spiritual suicide for us to ignore the words of the Apostle when he admonishes us that the story of Abraham -- the very foundation of the scriptures -- is an allegory! Fundamentally, it is exactly as was described by Origen in his celebrated work De Principiis where he wrote concerning the factualness of the literal narrative of the scriptures: "Where the word found that things done according to the history could be adapted to these mystical senses, he made use of them concealing from the multitude the deeper meaning; but where in the narrative of the development of super-sensual things, there did not follow the performance of those certain events which were already indicated by the mystical meaning, the scripture interwove in the history the account of some event that did not take place, sometimes what could not have happened; sometimes what could but did not".
What this means to us is this: "The Scriptures were written by the Spirit of God, and have a meaning, not such only as is apparent at first sight, but also another, which escapes the notice of most. For those (words) which are written are the forms of certain mysteries, and the images of divine things. Respecting which there is one opinion throughout the whole Church, that the whole law is indeed spiritual; but that the spiritual meaning which the law conveys is not known to all, but to those only on whom the grace of the Holy Spirit is bestowed in the word of wisdom and knowledge" (Origen: De Principiis).
If we could see the New Testament scriptures, and especially the Book of Acts in their original form, we would see that all the concepts that Jesus taught were tightly woven within the structure of the biblical observances and holy days. In fact, the Gospels in their literal word conveyed great truths regarding the spiritual understanding of the Law. The problem was, though, that the Gentile converts who misunderstood the writings of the Apostle Paul, rejected the knowledge of the Law, and attempted to sever Jesus from the very foundation out of which he immerged. Since we are dealing with the Book of Acts, let us again review what the Britannica writes: "Codex Bezae... has a text that is very different from other witnesses. Codex Bezae has many distinctive longer and shorter readings and seems almost to be a separate edition. Its ‘Acts, for example, is one-tenth longer than usual’". Regarding this serious problem presented by Codex Bezae, Dr. Vincent Taylor writes that: "It is characterized by a series of remarkable omissions in Luke, especially in chapters XXII and XXIV, and by many striking additions and variations in the Acts" (The Text of the New Testament, Dr. Vincent Taylor).
The looming problem that we fail to acknowledge today is raised by Bart D. Ehrman in his book The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament (Oxford Univ. Press, 1993). What Ehrman brings to light is the very human nature of the biblical copyists when he writes that they "were deeply rooted in the conditions and controversies of their day" (p.3). In the same way that sources of information today are colored, and often tailored to suit the needs of the authority, the historical evidence confirms that the biblical copyists did not approach their task in a neutral manner -- but rather, they edited the manuscripts to say what they already believed was the genuine message of the Bible. Thus, Ehrman states the "...theological disputes, specifically disputes over Christology, prompted Christian scribes to alter the words of scripture in order to make them more serviceable for the polemical task. Scribes modified their manuscripts to make them more patently ‘orthodox’ and less susceptible to ‘abuse’ by the opponents of orthodoxy" (p.4).
Ehrman then demonstrates that it was the so-called orthodox scribes, rather than those groups who were considered heretics, who were responsible for the alteration of the scriptures: "…it was the perception of their opposition that led scribes of the proto-orthodox party to change the sacred texts that they transmitted" (p.14). Ehrman then demonstrates how the term "heresy" was in many instances the original teachings of Jesus, which later Gentile Christians who called themselves orthodox opposed. When it is remembered that over the first three centuries there existed many conflicting sects and opinions, the more the Gentile converts embraced the Pagan culture, the more the original narrative of the scriptures was edited to oppose the Pure Spiritual form of Christianity in support Pagan Christianity. Thus, throughout his book Ehrman demonstrates his assertion that the scribes "altered the words of their sacred texts to make them more patently orthodox and to prevent their misuse by Christians who espoused aberrant views" (p.x).
We cannot even begin to understand what transpired until we are ready to admit that in its original state, what has emerged today as Christianity is a carnal reinterpretation of what was at its essence a purely spiritual religion. The original intent of the scriptures was to lessen ones consciousness and presence in this world, in order to open the door to the parallel dimension that Jesus declared as the Heavenly Kingdom. The first Gentile converts were the Gnostic Christians -- i.e., those who perceived the spiritual depth of Paul’s Epistles -- embraced the Mysteries that Paul warned could not be revealed to the carnal mind -- and transcended the barrier of this realm in order to be with Christ in the Kingdom.
What we must understand is that in their original form, the Gospels supported the position of the Spiritual Christian -- who were called Gnostic, because they received their knowledge directly from their intimate connection with God. The people of the simple faith who called themselves orthodox, and continued to live in the manner of the culture which Jesus himself had labeled heathen and Pagan, were unable to perceive the true spiritual meaning of the scriptures.
In surveying the many places in the New Testament biblical manuscripts where the text has been deliberately altered, the Bible scholars have continually observed that in those instances where the scriptures supported a spiritual or Gnostic perception, it was edited and changed to make the written word better reflect a carnal sense. Where the body of the scriptures interwove and moved within Old Testament symbolism of Law, holy days of observance, or any other teaching that the Gentile Christians considered too Jewish, they were again altered to reflect the doctrines they believed and accepted.
Harsh reality is found in the words of Ehrman when he wrote that the "…Scribes modified their manuscripts to make them more patently ‘orthodox’ and less susceptible to ‘abuse’ by the opponents of orthodoxy". It is a well documented historical fact that the Messianic Jewish believers such as the Ebionites continued to observe the Law, while accepting Jesus as the Messiah. Great disputes arose when many of the Gentile converts held that Jesus absolved them from observing the Law, and the Ebionites and Jewish Christians were labeled Judaizers, and condemned as heretics.
At the time that the controversy arose, the Book of Acts more faithfully reflected the words of James, the brother of Jesus and the leader of the Jerusalem Church when he said of the Gentile converts: "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements" (Acts 15:28 NIV) -- which requirements were put forth in this form: The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ that have been known for ages. It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath" (Acts 15:15-21 NIV).
What James is stating is that the Gentiles who were turning to God, should only be expected to fulfill the minimum -- entry level requirements -- that would begin the process of walking in The Way. What is also clear is that as they began to mature spiritually, they were to progress in the study of the Law, as seen in the words: "Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath". Why would James, after conferring with the Holy Spirit, say that the Gentiles should study Moses? If we believe the Bible is a valid spiritual oracle that reveals the True Word of God, then we also must believe that James had a valid and inspired reason for asserting the need to study the Law. The answer to this perplexing question is that, as with all disciples of the Light, the Gentile converts will need this sacred knowledge in order to understand the Laws that are at work in their own mind and being -- Laws that obstruct their perception of the parallel Kingdom that lie within them beneath the surface of their consciousness.
In every way, the Gentile converts were seen a babes in Christ who, in the beginning of their turning to God, should not have burdens placed upon them at a time when they could be stumbled. That all souls must evolve through every level of development is seen in Jesus’ reply to the person who asked him what he must do to inherit eternal life: "If you want to enter life, obey the commandments" (Matt 19:17 NIV). In the same way that the Apostle Paul stated that he could only give the Gentile converts the "milk" of the Gospel, these lesser requirements were deemed as sufficient for the time by James after he conferred with the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:28). If you claim to believe in the Bible, then you have no other alternative than to acknowledge this truth.
Perhaps we can understand what is being said here when we look at the contrast between James, the leader of the Jerusalem Church, and what he said were minimum expectations for the Gentile Christians. In the eyes of everyone who knew him, James -- or more appropriately, Jacob in Hebrew -- was said to be a true holy man -- a Nazirite, or one who was consecrated to the Lord. Eusebius quotes Hegesippus and writes of James: "He drank no wine or strong drink, nor did he eat meat. No razor came near his head, nor did he anoint himself with oil, and he did not go to the baths". Reluctantly I add the witness of Eppiphanius, who adds that he abstained from sex, and embraced – "life-long virginity" -- and he did not wear wool, only linen. Yet James, who everyone considered a true holy man -- a man who was known to be in constant prayer and communion with God -- a man of whom is was said that he embraced all people with his Godliness -- if we are to perceive the mark of his true greatness, then we must acknowledge that he required perfection of himself, and did not expect the Gentile converts to embrace such a lifestyle as he, himself, lived.
In order to even begin to comprehend the great truth that is being presented here, we must understand the thinking of the historical person who spoke these words. If this entry level manner of life which was conveyed to the Gentile converts was all that was required to walk in The Way, then why would James continue to live the austere lifestyle that he embraced? Here was a man who was the brother of Jesus -- surely they had an uncountable number of conversations on the subject of the manner in which the faithful believer is to live their life. Further, if we believe the witness of the scriptures, then we must also believe that both the risen Messiah and the Holy Spirit communicated with James with respect to what was required, as seen in the words: "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements" (Acts 15:28 NIV).
What is being said here is very much in accord with when Jesus was asked about eternal life: "And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" (Matt 19:16 KJV) Jesus then answered this question from the perspective of what is required of an entry-level believer -- i.e., "but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments" (Matt 19:17 KJV). Jesus said nothing about faith and belief -- the need to say a prayer and accept Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. In fact, a great number of modern Christians would be found in opposition to what Jesus said in reply to this question. Why? Because the total focus on man’s ability to gain eternal life is placed upon his ability to "keep the commandments".
Why didn’t Jesus just answer the question in the manner that modern Christians would and say to the man: Profess your desire to repent -- believe that Jesus is the Son of God -- and accept him as your personal Lord and Savior. The most important reason that is simply beyond the comprehension of the modern Christian is the fact that we cannot come to the Son of God on our own accord -- this blessing must be given to us from the Father.
What is being presented here goes to the very core of the teachings of The Way and man’s quest to be born into the realm of higher reality and enter into Life. Only those who the Father ordains are worthy to believe and come into the Presence of the Son of God. A constant theme throughout the Gospel of John is the great truth that the followers and disciples of Christ are chosen even before they enter into this life -- i.e., "All that the Father gives me will come to me" (John 6:37 NIV). Thus, we are presented with another core New Covenant teaching that is not understood in the words: "It is written in the Prophets: They will all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me" (John 6:45 NIV).
The problem is seen in the fact that we cannot be "…taught by God", or "…learn from Him", unless we have proven ourselves worthy by "…keeping the commandments". Thus, that one must first prove themselves worthy -- that they must prepare their mind and body-vessel to permit entrance of the Son of God by living in accordance with the Royal Law and Commandments of the Most High -- and only those who are found worthy are permitted to enter into the Presence of the Son of God -- is an important concept that has been totally removed from modern Christian understanding. The beginning of faith and belief in the Son of God is demonstrated in a life where the person lives and observes the Commandments of the Lord throughout every aspect of their lives. In like manner, James, who had been counseled by the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:28), invoked the same process as did Jesus when he was asked how one can inherit eternal life, as seen in the words: "It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath" (Acts 15:19-21 NIV).
This was in preparation for being found worthy that the Father might permit those Gentiles who proved their faith and belief to come into the Presence of the Son of God. They were therefore initially required to "…abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood". Further, they were to learn the Law as revealed through Moses where it was "…read in the synagogues on every Sabbath." These entry-level requirements would then prepare the Gentiles to become a disciple of the Light, and enable them to truly begin the journey of walking in The Way.
The transition from carnal to spiritual is a process that must be embraced one step at a time. The idea that we can simply say a prayer and be born again, is a philosophical doctrine of belief which is promoted by the modern-day churches, and does not reflect the reality of the process of the second birth in the Kingdom. "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22 NAS) -- and in the knowledge of this fact the Holy Spirit counseled James "…not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God". James and the disciples knew and understood the futility of an entry-level convert attempting to live in the manner of a mature spiritual being. Therefore, neither did James or the disciples expect the Gentile converts to live the biblically centered lifestyle that was ordained among the congregational body of the Jerusalem Church.
That less was expected of the Gentile converts is true -- but is the allegation of the Gentiles valid when they made the charge that the Ebionites and Nazareans were Judaizers who were unable to perceive the essence of the teachings of Jesus, because they continued to observe the Law and live in the manner of Jews? From a spiritual and biblical perspective, this is perhaps one of the most ignorant statements ever devised by the Gentile Church. More appropriately, these spiritually matured followers of Jesus embraced a similar mindset as that demonstrated by James towards the Gentile converts. From our perspective today, it is important that we fully understand the spirit that moved these true people of God.
If we are genuine Christians, then we have no other choice than to acknowledge that the many biblical concepts that modern believers would consider extreme, were not placed in the Bible because the author of our scriptures thought they sounded good. The purpose of the teachings of The Way is to first awaken a person to their soul and spiritual nature, and then develop their true essence and maturity. Throughout the scriptures it is continually suggested that carnal man dwells in a kind of stupor -- hypnotized by the forms and sensual realities of this world. Some places in the Bible represent this condition as sleeping, others as death -- i.e., "Another disciple said to him, Lord, first let me go and bury my father. But Jesus told him, Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead" (Matt 8:21-22 NIV).
Throughout his epistles the Apostle Paul writes that the carnal mind is dead to reality. In this respect, we can see the concept of waking up from this stupor, sleep, or death, in the words: "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matt 12:36 KJV). To be consciously aware of "every idle word", is to be in total control of oneself. To "...take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Cor 10:5 NIV), is even more difficult. To "...bridle the whole body" (James 3:2 KJV); or "...beat my body and make it my slave..." (1 Cor 9:27 NIV); or to "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature" (Col 3:5 NIV) -- represent concepts that would be considered extreme and fanatical from a carnal perception of the Word.
In our present-day doctrinal manner of thinking, there would be no reason to even attempt to live such an austere lifestyle. Our perception of man is that he is a congenital sinner -- incapable of saving himself. Why, then, would he want to beat his body? In like manner we would question what Paul was thinking when he commanded Christians to make every thought obedient of Christ. This would equate to no career, no television, no movies, no sex, and not much of anything that relates to the normal mainstream Christian life in our present day. Was he just writing these words because they were inspiring, and sounded good? If man is a carnal being -- saved by faith, and faith alone -- then why would he want us to put to death our earthly nature? Is such a thing even possible? And what would be left of us if we succeeded?
What these biblical verses confirm to the believer is the teaching of Jesus and the disciples -- as well as the Apostle Paul -- that the true Christian is the one who totally abandons the thinking, mindset, traditions and customs of this world in which we presently dwell. Admittedly, this is not an easy task, but it is the true goal of a spiritual religion. Moreover, there will come a time in the existence of every soul where they will view these religious concepts not as extreme, but being very reasonable with respect to the rewards that await us.
If the core of our being is spiritual -- and this spiritual nature is lessened and even dormant when our physical and carnal nature consumes and controls us -- then we must so alter our life to first lessen the influence of our physical self, and then harmonize our divided natures as we endeavor to manifest our latent indwelling soul and spiritual natures. To the young man who is sowing his wild oats, the idea that he should stay at home with one woman -- his wife -- and spend his days at work in order to support the needs of his family, such a lifestyle would be too restrictive. Yet, many mature men gladly exchange such a free and liberated lifestyle for one of depth and genuine substance with one woman. Moreover, there are some men who have so totally immersed themselves in the covenant of marriage -- never going out with the boys, and going through the requirements of the work day in anticipation of returning home to his family -- that they would much prefer never to depart from the family environment.
What we must understand is that a young man who is sowing his wild oats would view the life of a dedicated husband and father as too confined and restrictive. Moreover, a great number of men even after getting married, continue to live the greater part of their life as if they were single. The present rate of divorce demonstrates that many men are simply incapable of being married even in the secular sense of the word. More women are beaten and killed by their husbands and lovers, than from any other predator. This is not to say that there are many men and women who genuinely love and care for each other -- and mature their union into something special. But from a spiritual perspective, few men and women are able to become so immersed in the life and essence of their spouse, where they can evolve a relationship to the biblical level where they are truly ONE in body, mind and spirit.
True Spirituality, then, as with every aspect of life, must be perceived as a measure of the inner depth of the individual. The religion of the Hebrews was based upon the knowledge that the destiny of mankind was a union and marriage with God -- man’s genuine Source of Being. They understood that such a feat was not an easy task -- more difficult in fact than being truly married to a wife or husband. In the same way that many men are simply incapable of marriage even in a superficial secular sense of the word, neither are natural men and women capable of being in total union and harmony with their inner Source of Being. The destiny of man is embraced one step at a time -- as the disciple matures and finds greater substance in a life and marriage with God, then in sowing their oats in the outside world. In biblical times, James was known as such a man.
In order to make the transition from carnal to spiritual, the religion of the Hebrews developed the body of believers by creating a lifestyle where they would "meet with God in all experiences of life". From the perspective of the scriptural concepts put forth by both Jesus and Paul, how else can the people begin to be conscious of every idle word, and capture every thought to Christ?
At the time the Old Testament scriptures were written, the people often lived in nomadic tribes -- worshiping a plurality of elemental gods and powers of this world -- sacrificing animals, people and children to these gods -- and living a very sense-bound, carnally driven existence. In contrast to the heathen multitudes, there have always existed a very small number of people who have gazed out at the world and sought to know more about themselves and the lives they were living. Instinctively, they knew that something was missing in the sensually driven lives of their fellow man.
Again we fail to comprehend the very essence of these ancient religions, because we are unaware of the Kingdom within us. Like the Pagan Gentiles who are of a carnal mind -- people who await the coming of the next savior-god -- as well as the whole concept of a purely spiritual religion, makes no sense to them. They have no idea that their physical consciousness is very much like the tip of the iceberg, and the wonders of both themselves and Creation can be explored by seeking out the Source of their Being.
Through the process of becoming cognizant of the movements of the forces of Creation, the currents of biological life, developing their intellect, and exploring their own spiritual nature, the ancient wise men were able to look beyond the three-dimensional barrier of this physical world. In their quest to see more, they developed disciplines and a way of life that enabled them to perceive Creation with a greater understanding. To their amazement, they did not have to learn more, in the manner that we educate people today -- but rather, they learned that there existed a greater source of knowledge than could even be envisioned by the sensual people of this world -- a knowledge that could be embrace as they learned to connect with a pre-existent part of their own selves that already dwelled in these other dimensions of consciousness that man calls spirit and heaven. The religion which they developed, then, was not something that they contrived and made up, as Atheists and Secularists imagine today -- but rather, they took Divine concepts and realities that was the very forces and building-blocks of Creation, and embodied them in a series of forms and symbols that the carnal people of this world could embrace and incorporate in their lives.
All of Creation emanates from a Single Point or Source -- and it is from this Supreme Being that we all originate from. It is because the Hebrew holy men and women became conscious of the Source of all Life that each of is an emanation of, that we today have a monotheistic perception of God. Is God a personal God, as many Christians believe? The answer is found in the question: Do we have a personality? Then so does God. Is God a Dynamic Force or Power as others claim? God is all these things -- and again like us, is a great deal more than carnal man is capable of contemplating. In the paradoxical nature of Creation, one truth does not negate another.
In order to prepare the people to enter into a true union with God, the Hebrews had to begin the process of what Jesus and the Apostles said was absolutely necessary -- which was to abandon this world of superficial illusion, and become intimate with man’s indwelling soul and spiritual nature. The transformation had to be accomplished in steps. This was carried out by bringing the consciousness of the people into Oneness -- which is a paramount and all pervading concept of the Bible.
They had to first replace the worship of the many gods with the concept of the One God. Through the process of incrementalism, they had to focus the worship of the people into one location -- the Temple. In view of the fact that all of nature is a symbol of consciousness, each object and animal in this world represents a thought, action, or concept, and is perceived by man in a multidimensional manner that the carnal mind is not consciously aware of. Thus, the Hebrew people were only permitted to eat certain animals -- vegetarian animals rather than the beasts of the wild -- and these tempered and domesticated animals had to be raised and slaughtered in accordance with certain standards. From the perspective of the seers and prophets who were the embodiment of the Spiritual Nation of Israel, this was transitory, because all truly holy and consecrated men and women of the Light are vegetarians.
In like manner, the Hebrews were no longer permitted to sacrifice any animal, but only certain animals -- at certain times and phases of the earth’s cycles and movements within the seasons. This, again, was transitory, because those who were the genuine and faithful people of the Most High did not shed the blood of the innocent creatures of the earth -- and they understood that it was their own animal/lower nature that had to be sacrificed upon the alter of their inner Temple.
The Hebrews learned that the mind is divided into a multitude of personalities, divided powers, and opposing realities that must be brought into harmony. At its highest level the mind is controlled by twelve separate spheres that must both independently and in harmony with each other in order to manifest its full potential. What this means is that the biblical outline of the children of Israel where each of the twelve tribes was both segregated and still harmonized within the embodiment of the whole of the Nation of Israel, was not historical -- but rather, a portrayal of the pattern of mind which was necessary in order to begin the process of developing the carnal mind as it begins to evolve into man’s higher reality. Thus, the Hebrews perceived the absolute need for both the segregation and harmony of the twelve spheres of mind which comprise the symbols of the Tree of Life. In order to convey this knowledge to the people of the simple faith, they portrayed the power of oneness and purity by not mixing different types of seeds when they planted their fruits and vegetables. They did not wear two types of cloth in their simple manner of dress. Men did not wear the garb of women, and neither did women wear the garb of men -- meaning that each of the sexes immersed themselves in the role that was natural to their polarity of the Divine Pattern of Creation itself.
Step by step the people of the simple faith were taught that the physical body was a sacred vessel which was foundational to man’s indwelling spiritual nature. Great care was taken to imbue the people with a sense of cleanliness and holiness. They embraced the sacredness of life. They did not squander their sexual energy in unions that did not bring spiritual growth. Woman, who has the power to transmute man’s sexual energy and raise it up to a higher level, was taught the absolute need for faithfulness to her husband. Having any form of relationship with the women of the Nations was frowned upon -- i.e., because they lived and dressed provocatively, embraced the customs of the outside world, were undisciplined, and lived without spiritual standards, an intimate sexual relationship with these women caused the loss, rather than the inner channeling and transmuting of the sacred Creative Energy that men are bestowed with from their Creator God. In everything the Hebrew holy men and women did, they sought the highest expression of the Divine in their every-day existence. In their division into groups that represented the twelve spheres of mind, they manifested in their lives the very symbolism of what makes up what the Bible portrays as the Tree of Life.
In the formation of their society, the Hebrew sages and wise men incorporated the knowledge of the Divine Laws of Creation into the symbols of life in a manner that all the people could embrace. In their quest to connect with the Source, and "meet with God in all experiences of life", everything became God centered. The people of the simple faith ate only the animals that were considered clean. They touched only what was clean. Every step -- every breath -- every aspect and phase of their lives, became connected with God. Fidelity in marriage was necessary. Sex itself took its rightful place as an intermingling with the Creative Forces of God. Their daily lives revolved around the sequences of Divine Numbers and occurrences. The very language they developed represented the embodiment of the Laws that act as conduits which dynamically inhibit and control the vital life-forces through the spheres of mind that we call the Tree of Life. What this means is that every Hebrew -- regardless of whether or not they were conscious of the Divine drama they were manifesting in their daily lives -- each participated in an organized form and element of Creation and the Laws that control and bring all things into being.
Their society was created in the image of the Divine Pattern of Creation itself. The people of the simple faith are as the outside form of the physical body -- the seeker who is embracing the concepts of mind and walking in The Way, is as the organs of the body -- the true holy men who have themselves matured into an elevated level of God-consciousness, are as the glandular system of the body -- and the leader was the Anointed One (Messiah in Hebrew and Christ in Greek). By forming their society in this manner, the people at every level of their culture was constantly immersed in the Divine Symbols of Creation.
The Hebrews did not invent or have a patent on wisdom -- and neither was this higher vision of man’s reality bestowed exclusively upon them. As I have already demonstrated, the sacred writings of the philosophers contained many of the same truths that were embodied within the Hebrew holy books. Moreover, men of wisdom the world over sought to align themselves with the inner essence of life, and their religions were embellished with these same universal truths which the Apostle in the first chapter of Romans writes that every person that is alive is responsible for understanding.
The major difference, though, was that the Hebrews were not philosophers and religious speculators, as was the greater majority of the people of the Nations. The children of Israel were called the Chosen of God, because they went beyond all other human efforts in their quest to know God. They created a culture, a language, and a way of life that embraced man’s higher reality in every aspect of the people’s existence. Unlike the philosophical speculations of the poets, the lives of the Hebrew people were literally immersed in the symbols of higher consciousness. This foundational culture had permitted the Hebrews to advance beyond the level of the other religions of the world, with the result being that they not only developed a much more clear perception of the Sacred Secrets of God, but they also comprehended one of the great secrets that was the failing of the rest of the religions of the world to grasp on such a wide scale.
Few of the Gentile converts who became enmeshed in the writings of the Hebrew prophets when they began to embrace Christianity, ever came to truly comprehend the true depth of the Old Testament scriptures. Even Origen, the man known as the Churches greatest theologian, only comprehended a certain level of the true depth of such profound spiritual Hebrew writings such as the Book of Enoch, and the Hebrew version of Matthew.
In order to progress through the stages of carnal Jew to spiritual Jew, and then to an Israelite, the disciple had to literally rule over their mind and being in the manner of the requirement set forth by Paul when he commanded to "...take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Cor 10:5 NIV). This same exact requirement is set forth in the Book of Joshua where it is written: "Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful" (Josh 1:7-8 NIV).
The major obstacle is seen in the fact that this requirement is impossible for people who are of a carnal mindset, and who live in a worldly culture. Knowing this fact, the Hebrew holy men built their culture upon the foundation of the very symbols of higher God-centered Consciousness. In order to "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature" (Col 3:5 NIV), a system had to be created that would alter the consciousness of the people from that of a tribe of lawless heathen idol worshipers, and develop them into the true people of God -- i.e. "Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exod 19:5-6 NIV).
By immersing the lives and thinking of the people in the symbolism of the universal forces of Creation, the Hebrews were able to make the majority of people consciously aware of higher thought, and begin the process of detaching the minds of the more religious from servitude to this world as the revelations of man’s spiritual reality began to dawn and mature within them. Within the Torah, or five books of Moses, is contained the knowledge of the laws that must be overcome in order to transgress the barrier that separates this world from the heavenly spiritual realms. This requires cleansing, discipline, faith, knowledge, and a love of God. In view of these requirements of body, mind and spirit, we ask the question: Was Moses an historical man? Or does he represent the consciousness that has been cleansed through the initial baptism of the Word. Moses means one who is born from water.
Were the children of Israel ever the slaves of the Egyptians? In the scriptures the word Egyptian means the house of bondage. Until the children of Israel were released from bondage by the one who was born from the spiritual cleansing of the Word, they were very much as people are today -- in bondage and slavery to the powers of this realm. In this respect, the greater majority of American Jews are in bondage to the Egyptians, even in our present time.
The marching through the wilderness for forty years until all the original people had died, and only the children were left, is representative of a conversion of mind. The feeding of the manna from heaven to the people is the receiving of the bread -- the spiritual food which represents the Knowledge of the Kingdom. It is this Knowledge of man’s higher reality and the Mysteries of God that is portrayed in the Old Testament Scriptures where it is written: "Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens; he rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven. Men ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat" (Ps 78:23-25 NIV). And after the conversion of the children of Israel in the wilderness was complete, and the Law as represented in the person of Moses was overcome (as seen in the death of Moses), Joshua (Jesus/Yehshua) was present to take the children of Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land.
In many respects Christians possess a great advantage over their Jewish brothers in the Gospel. The New Covenant Scriptures were written in order to do away with the system of archaic forms and symbols which was employed by the authors of the Old Testament Scriptures. In the New Covenant Scriptures the means by which men are to seek knowledge and salvation is set before the reader in a very clear and obvious manner. But the Church of Constantine fell into the same error as the carnal Jews, as conveyed to us in the words or the Church Historian Eusebius where he writes that: "Many [Christians] were led astray by reading the allegorical contents of the scriptures literally in the method of the Pharisees and Sadducees". Which is confirmed in the words of the Apostle Paul when he wrote: "For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory" (Gal 4:21-24 KJV). If Abraham, the father of the Nation of Israel is not an historical person --but rather, in the words of the Apostle an "allegory", then so is everything else contained in the Bible.
The higher wisdom has been set before us, we just refuse to embrace the very Knowledge which the Lord has placed in our hands. Again, the wisdom conveyed to us by the Hebrew mystics in the Zohar: "The narratives of the doctrine are its cloak. The simple look only on the garment, that is upon the narrative of the doctrine; more they know not. The instructed, however, see not merely the cloak, but what the cloak covers". And this wisdom is exactly the same at that conveyed by the greatest of Christian theologians when he wrote: "The Scriptures were written by the Spirit of God, and have a meaning, not such only as is apparent at first sight, but also another, which escapes the notice of most. For those (words) which are written are the forms of certain mysteries, and the images of divine things. Respecting which there is one opinion throughout the whole Church, that the whole law is indeed spiritual; but that the spiritual meaning which the law conveys is not known to all, but to those only on whom the grace of the Holy Spirit is bestowed in the word of wisdom and knowledge" (Origen: De Principiis).
Once one begins to understand the spiritual language which the scriptures are written in, then they begin to realize that there is nothing in the New Testament that is not already present in what we call the Old Testament Scriptures. In fact, if we would endeavor to translate our scriptures more faithfully, we would be better able to perceive the connection between the Old and New Testaments. The proper translation of Jesus is Joshua -- or Yehshua. That Jesus said that only the children can enter the Kingdom, and only Yehshua can bring about the spiritual transformation that takes both Jew and Christian alike into the promised land, is the same exact message in both the Old and New Testaments. Moreover, what is portrayed in the symbolism of the scriptures is the revelation of Ultimate Truth. Was Joshua-Yehshua an historical man? Of course he was -- but the very name Yehshua/Joshua/Jesus in scripture, also represents both a vibration and state of Perfected Completion that is necessary for the prodigal sons of the Father-God to return to the Kingdom. Thus, the words of Origen: "Where the word found that things done according to the history could be adapted to these mystical senses, he made use of them concealing from the multitude the deeper meaning; but where in the narrative of the development of super-sensual things, there did not follow the performance of those certain events which were already indicated by the mystical meaning, the scripture interwove in the history the account of some event that did not take place, sometimes what could not have happened; sometimes what could but did not".
That the Hebrew holy men and women came to understand the Royal Law of the Most High and the inner journey into The Way of man’s return to the Paradise of Eden, is seen in the description of the beliefs of the Hebrew Messianic followers of Jesus where the early church writer Hippolytus tells us: "They live conformably to the customs of the Jews, alleging that they are justified according to the law, and saying that Jesus was justified by fulfilling the law. And therefore it was, (according to the Ebionaeans,) that (the Savior) was named (the) Christ of God and Jesus, since not one of the rest (of mankind) had observed completely the law. For if even any other had fulfilled the commandments (contained) in the law, he would have been that Christ. And the (Ebionaeans allege) that they themselves also, when in like manner they fulfill (the law), are able to become Christs; for they assert that our Lord Himself was a man in a like sense with all the rest of the human family" (Hippolytus; The Refutation of All Heresies, Bk 7, Ch 22, Doctrine of the Ebionaeans).
That the indwelling Son of God Anoints (Christ/Messiah) the mind of all who are the faithful disciples who walk in the teachings of The Way, is demonstrated in the unedited and uncorrupted copy of the New Testament as found in the Nazirene Gospel where it states: "And Jesus said to them, You have heard what men in the world say concerning me, but whom do you say that I am? Peter rose up with Andrew his brother and said, You are the Messiah, the First Begotten Son of the Most High, who descends from the Highest Heavens and dwells in the hearts of them who believe and obey The Law" (NG 44:2).
Again, it is for this reason that Paul said that belief in the historical Jesus of the flesh must be done away with, because salvation can only be achieved when one seeks the Christ of the Spirit: "Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according o the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer" (2 Cor 5:16 NAS). And again this spiritual Christ, over the historical Christ in the flesh, was what biblical scholar Rudolf Bultmann was speaking of when he concluded that the "…Christian faith is, and should be, comparatively uninterested in the historical Jesus and centered instead on the transcendent Christ" (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998 electronic edition).
Unlike the Old Testament, in the New Testament Scriptures are meant to convey great spiritual lessons in the literal meaning -- and this would become quickly apparent if the Gentile converts and the fourth century Roman Church hadn’t altered and corrupted the biblical texts we use today. To some degree we can therefore see that the portrayal of the Sacred Word in the historical significance of the New Covenant Scriptures are true -- the soul/mind of the scriptures are true -- as well as the most sacred spiritual meaning of the scriptures are also true. If we fulfill the commandments of the Lord, and take the yoke of the Christ upon us, then we become the body of Christ, the mind of Christ, and the Spirit of Christ. Isn’t this exactly what Jesus required of us, his followers, when he said: "Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you" (Luke 11:36 NIV). When your body is full of light, "and no part of it dark", then you will be the Light.
What Christian or Jew today is attempting to live a life wherein their "whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark"? Admittedly, this state of perfection is not easily accomplished -- but regardless of our doctrines of belief, it has been set before us as a requirement by the Bible itself!
The modern Jew and Christian alike is presently barred from entrance into the promised land, because neither group believes in the genuine Yehshua/Joshua/Jesus who is the only one who can bring them across the Jordan, and into the Promised Land. Moreover, neither perceives the spiritual truths embedded in the symbolism of their respective scriptures. And with respect to the conclusion of the modern Christian who rejects the wisdom of the ancient holy men with respect to the threefold nature of the scriptures, and believes that the Holy Spirit would not compose a set of sacred writings written in code -- but rather, would communicate openly with all believers -- because the New Testament was composed much more open and plain in its revelation of spiritual truths, the most important teachings and symbolism of higher mind was edited when the Bible was cleansed of all Gnostic (Spiritual) influences.
The result is that because the Old Testament is written in a more cryptic and obscure set of symbols, it still contains the knowledge of the laws that must be overcome in one’s endeavor to open their mind to higher reality. That these laws are represented in the symbols of male and female, master and slave, man and animal, rulers and subjects, earthly and heavenly armies and forces of nature, is merely representative of the attributes of mind that the disciple must conquer in their endeavor to walk in The Way.
An all-important concept that I will only briefly touch on at the present time is the necessity to understand the polarities of God and Creation. When it comes to the Bible, it is often astounding when it is realized how little people actually think. How can there be a title Father God, without there also being a Mother God? How can there be a Son of God, without the Son being the offspring of a Father and Mother. Moreover, if, as it is written, that "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Gen 1:27 KJV), then it is reasonable to at least contemplate the possibility that God Himself must possess these same masculine and feminine -- positive and negative -- qualities, that are imbued in mankind, and throughout all of Creation.
In the writings of Clement, the first century disciple of the Apostle Peter, there is still contained one of the foundational principles that portray the divisions of heaven and earth where it is written: "But the world that now is, is temporary; that which shall be, is eternal. First is ignorance, then knowledge. So also has He arranged the leaders of prophecy. For, since the present world is female, as a mother bringing forth the souls of her children, but the world to come is male, as a father receiving his children from their mother, therefore in this world there come a succession of prophets, as being sons of the world to come, and having knowledge of men".
Thus, Peter, through the writings of his disciple Clement, states that this world is female in relation to the dimension that we call spirit. And in this we can begin to perceive both the dynamics of Creation, as well as one of the great concepts that set the religion of the Hebrews apart from the rest of the world’s religions. In their writings, the philosophers were speculators of the Divine workings of life and Creation. There is nothing wrong with this, and many of them were able to raise both themselves and their disciples to an elevated level of mind and spirituality. In many ways, the same can be said of the eastern religions.
This spiritual perception which is almost uniformly embraced by the religions of the world, is easily demonstrated in the doctrines professed by those people historically known as the Christian Gnostics. What they said was that an evil god created this realm, and everything in this world is inherently evil. Their position was that man must rise above and transcend this world by exclusively embracing man’s spiritual nature. Where did the Christian Gnostics get this idea? Directly from the man we know today as the Apostle Paul -- i.e., there is no doubt today with regard to the historical Gnostics claim that they were Paul’s disciples, and received their foundational doctrines directly from the Apostle to the Gentiles. Throughout Paul’s writings he warns the readers of the powers of the god of this world -- the sin of carnal lust and desire -- and the need to abstain from the things of this world. What makes the problem difficult is the fact that philosophically, Paul is correct in everything he states -- but there is a whole other dimension to the controversy that is simply not represented in any of the Epistles of Paul.
The problem is that neither Paul nor his Gnostic Christian disciples were necessarily wrong -- they possessed great wisdom and insight -- but there was an element to the controversy that they overlooked. In the first place it must be remembered that, unlike the followers of Jesus who were Essene/Ebionites, Paul was a Pharisee, and he lacked the foundation the other Apostles of Christ possessed. But, when it is realized who he was sent to preach the Word to -- the heathen -- this is not only understandable, but it was for a very good reason that Paul was chosen.
To understand the oversight of Paul, the Christian Gnostics who were his followers, the Greeks and the authors of the mystery religions, as well as the Eastern religions, we must look to the heart and essence of what we know about the very patterns of life itself. If we reduce the sexes to the level of genetics, a woman has "XX" chromosomes, and a male has "XY" chromosomes. Now this can be looked at in two ways. In one respect, the woman has a double dose of one of the genetic elements of mankind -- and in view of this fact, it is also true that she totally lacks an element which is possessed only by the male. The result is that while the male has the innate capacity to be more balanced, but the cost of this balance is seen in the manifestation of a certain weakness in those areas where women dominate.
If we were to study Hebrew Mysticism we would see these same truths played out in the unfolding of the creation story. Adam was made before Eve, and the original perception and understanding of the primary Adam was that he was both Adam and Eve in one unit. The feminine polarity is always reflective. Thus, when Eve was eventually separated from Adam, she was imbued with this reflective polarity. Adam, on the other hand, retained at least in potential, his reflective or negative polarity.
The Hebrews, who possessed a higher perception of God and Creation than did the poets and Eastern religions, understood that the female, negative, or reflective polarity, was not evil, as was the understanding of the male dominated perception of the wise men of other religions, but was incomplete because of her separation from her own male, or positive polarity. But the Hebrews went even one step further -- i.e., they recognized that the power of true transformation was actually in reverse of the (male dominated) speculation of the philosophers and wise men the world over. In their more clear vision of God and Creation, they understood that it was the very female power that would raise man up to that level of spiritual maturity which we today call the Perfected Son of God. This can especially be seen in the above statement of the Disciple Peter to Clement where he conveys the truth that this world is female in relation to the Kingdom -- and is therefore as the womb of Mother God bringing forth Her Children.
Unlike the Gnostics, Buddhism, the philosophers, or any of the other religions of the world, the Hebrew was able to perceive that it was not that this world was evil -- but rather, it was in a state of separation from its male polarity. More than this, though, the Hebrew holy men were able to see that ultimate perfection could only be attained when the two polarities of Creation are again brought together in a state of singular unity, and from this unity the Son of God is born within the life of the people.
In order to study the mystical teachings of Israel, it is said that a Jew must first be of a certain age, and be married. This is significant because, unlike the other religions who most often embraced celibacy and the denial of all carnal desire, the Hebrew holy men were not only required to be married, but it was expected that his discipline and manner of life were working together in order to raise his inherent carnal desires up to their highest level of Godliness. Instead of trying to escape this world through systems of meditation and denial, the Hebrew worked in reverse and purified his body and natural desires to the level that -- like a true goddess, the masculine -- or spiritual polarity was first attracted, and then consumed by its intoxication for completeness. In other words, the Hebrew understood that the spirit must come to the flesh, rather then the flesh attempt to escape this world and return to spirit. Why? Because there was another dimension called the Kingdom that could only be entered when the two -- i.e., heaven and earth -- are again joined in Oneness.
By nature, the male is a fickle being. He will transverse land and sea and any obstacle to have sex with a whore, but he is happiest when he is in the presence of a goddess whose virtues and purity he can worship. Thus, it is in this understanding with regard to the purification and consecration of the flesh -- to the degree where the feminine polarity has again claimed its status as a virgin that is undefiled by the world -- that the primary forces of Creation can again be merged in the harmony that is commanded and required in the scriptures.
What we fail to comprehend today is the fact that the spirit and mindset of any given society attracts the character of its souls that enter into it. It is a well-established fact that the Essenes and Hebrew holy men all believed in the pre-existence and rebirth of the soul. In his Antiquity of the Jews, the Jewish historian Josephus, who had lived among the Essenes, and was a contemporary of the man Jesus, stated that the Essenes: "…resigned up their souls with great alacrity, as expecting to receive them again. For their doctrine is this, that bodies are corruptible, and that the matter they are made of is not permanent; but that the souls are immortal, and continue for ever; and that they came out of the most subtle air, and are united to their bodies as to prisons, into which they are drawn by a certain natural enticement; but that when they are set free from the bonds of flesh, they then, as released from a long bondage, rejoice and mount upward...".
What we are presented with here is one of those foundational Christian truths that are totally lacking in our understanding today -- the absence of which creates a great void in our comprehension of the Word, the Law, and the Destiny of Man. Essentially, it is this same void that was responsible for the error of Darwin, which now serves as the very pattern of thinking that makes our modern culture spiritually destitute and barren. In fact, if we could mature our comprehension enough to understand this fundamental doctrine that served as the very foundation of New Covenant thought and its far-reaching ramifications that envelope every aspect of our present-day lives, our whole perception of reality would be radically altered.
The predominant viewpoint of our Darwinist founded mindset today is that everyone’s position in life is an accident of birth -- a chance encounter in nature -- and the result of human genetics. In our way of thinking, if a different egg had been fertilized by a different sperm in our mother’s womb, we would not be alive today. It can also be speculated that in accordance with our present-day philosophy, every egg that is not fertilized, and never develops into a fetus that matures into a baby, represents a potential human that had been deprived of the opportunity of life. These Darwinist speculations are foundational to our manner of thinking today, and both are in error.
All of our modern-day philosophy that is being taught to our children today would be totally undermined by merely introducing the truth that, regardless of which egg was fertilized by which sperm, the life of the soul of mankind is not dependent upon the egg and the sperm -- ancestral evolution, or even human genetics. Our whole concept of how life begins is flawed. Moreover, what neither Darwin, nor our present-day culture is able to envision, is that being born into a religious society such as the Essenes was not an accident of birth -- but rather, a privilege that the soul had to earn. In relation to our modern culture, this can be compared to the fact that it is not an accident that one is admitted into Harvard or one of the many other elite universities.
It is not until we begin to comprehend life as a course of instruction that we -- our soul -- has enrolled in, and the fertilized egg is the attire that we use in order to be in attendance in God’s university, that we can get a more correct understanding of the very experience of life that we are presently living. In the same way that certain conditions must be met in order to become a student in one of the nations top colleges, the circumstances that permitted our entrance into our present life is not by chance, but in accordance with a set of laws. Not everyone can go to Harvard -- and if we relate this fact to our experience of life itself, our entrance into this world is in accordance with a set of predefined requirements.
Once we begin to understand these higher facts of life, we begin to understand that it was not an accident of birth that enabled a soul to be born an Essene -- or any number of other highly advanced spiritual societies. Only a very selective group of souls who met the prerequisite requirements could enter into life as an Essene-Ebionite. As with our present-day universities and career opportunities, the predefined criteria that must be met is in many ways comparable to the Laws of God that control the manner in which the soul enters into any given life.
Three grave misconceptions that the modern Christian clings to is that God moves in strange ways -- that God is an unknowable Mystery -- and that Christians are exempt from the Law. It is not a mystery that some students are admitted into the best universities with a scholarship. In order to accomplish this scholastic achievement, they ardently applied themselves in the endeavor to not only meet, but exceed the requirements of the university. Again we can get a sense of this fact if we begin to analyze the Apostle’s statements in the fist chapter of his Epistle to the Romans -- i.e., by observing the manifestation of Creation itself, the astute disciple can learn about the Mysteries of God and the workings of the immutable forces that control all of life.
Mankind and all of life is literally immersed in Natural Law -- i.e., the Law of God. Man is born in accordance with Law -- he lives in accordance with Law -- and he dies in accordance with Law. What Christians call grace, then, is when one begins the process of change, and is deserving to rise to the upper levels of the Laws they were born and live their lives under the dominion of. Grace is bestowed upon the faithful believer in order for him to make the most of his opportunity of life.
In our Darwinist mindset that is prevalent today, we have a difficult time in understanding what Josephus wrote about the beliefs of the Essenes: "For their doctrine is this, that bodies are corruptible, and that the matter they are made of is not permanent; but that the souls are immortal, and continue for ever; and that they came out of the most subtle air, and are united to their bodies as to prisons, into which they are drawn by a certain natural enticement...". Where in our Atheistic mindset we would view this as speculation and philosophy, the Essenes believed this because many of their leaders had spiritually matured to the level where they were permitted to see the journey of the soul in this and all other lives.
The flaw in the perception of Josehpus is seen in his rather vague words with regard to "certain natural enticements". In most instances, the soul is drawn, and sometimes forced into a particular body in accordance with the Natural Laws that control the destiny of mankind. The soul has a destiny that must be embraced, and it is the laws of Creation that mandate the souls completion in relation to this ultimate destiny. To the average person, the words of Jesus make little sense that "...every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matt 12:36 KJV). This is because we fail to comprehend the very reason for life itself -- which is to advance the soul towards its destiny.
When a society becomes too liberal in its thinking -- rejecting standards of behavior and accountability -- defining right and wrong, truth and error, and morality in accordance with a carnal perception of life -- it becomes unraveled, and begins to self-destruct from within. Step by step, each time that the standards are lowered, and immorality and lawlessness becomes the norm, the society moves away from a clear vision of the very purpose of life itself.
What Jesus said with regard to the people having to give account for every idle word can be better understood when it is seen from the perspective of our modern culture. Again, we are being presented with a great variation of what is expected of the individual -- and these expectations can only be understood with respect to the fact that our accountability in life is in relation to the gifts that were bestowed upon us with respect to our own more distant past life achievements. While it is true that for the masses of people, sin is an unloving act towards our brothers and sisters; for the believer, and especially those who have the gift of opportunity given to them, more is expected, and sin is further understood as our failure to take advantage of the opportunity that has been bestowed upon us.
If a student attends class, and fails to reasonably participate in the curriculum -- socializing with other students -- carrying on romantic liaisons instead of doing the work -- spending their class time in contemplation of leisure pursuits -- failing to do homework and assigned tasks -- making plans for winter recess, spring break, and summer vacation -- then they will have failed to take advantage of the learning opportunity they have been enrolled in. In the same way that a parent would view such behavior as wrong, even being upset over such complacent and apathetic behavior, when we squander our opportunity of life and make ourselves spiritually stagnant, this lost opportunity is viewed as sin from the perspective of the soul and man’s destiny.
The student who defines their standards of morality and behavior in accordance with the desires of the moment, has lost sight of the very goal of why they are in school. From the perspective of the indifferent student, they are only having fun. They see no fault in their behavior -- they view their parents and the educational authorities of the school as being too restrictive and confining -- and they manufacture a countless number of reasons why they have the right to do as they please, what they please, when ever they choose to engage in whatever behavior suites them at the moment.
In the same way that when students loose sight of the goal they squander their educational experience, people who reject or loose sight of God and the purpose of life squander away the very opportunity of life itself. Where they are only hanging out, and see nothing wrong with their behavior, squandered opportunity and unlawfulness is always a sin from the higher perspective.
What all the sacred books of all the major religions warn us is that you are in this life to learn about yourself, God, and the reasons for life itself. In the same way that when a student squanders their educational opportunity they fail to make the grade, and are therefore not prepared to move on to the next level, the same is true with regard to life itself. The level of achievement is as a law that we must overcome and master in order to attain the goal. As seekers of Truth and Light, the spiritual Jews and Christians endeavored to understand the requirements of life -- i.e., the laws they must overcome in order to attain and inherit the goal -- the return of the prodigal son to the Kingdom -- the paradise of Eden -- which is the promise of God to His children.
The Laws of God, then, can be compared to the constraints that parents, educational authorities, and society itself places upon a child in order to bring about the goal of higher development and realization. Very often we loose sight of the idea of sin, because we fail to perceive the sin in relation to the reason for life itself. It is not wrong to watch television -- but it is wrong to watch television instead of doing one’s homework. It is not wrong to socialize -- but it is wrong to socialize when one’s attention is supposed to be focused on one’s schoolwork. In modern educational systems they have begun to embrace an agenda of zero tolerance for violence and the infringement of others rights -- yet we reject this same assertion when it is made in relation to God’s curriculum of life.
In our society we see street gangs, violence, vice, immorality, and many people who deny and reject the authority of law and order. Fundamentally, they reject the standards and authority of society, and live in accordance with their own vision of life. In the same way that the unbeliever rejects God in order to live according to their own standards of behavior, those who reject the standards of society simply do not accept the authority of society itself. Generally, we imprison these people because they refuse to live their lives in accordance with the laws of society -- and yet, we reject this same concept when men of wisdom attest to the fact that God does the same thing we do when we reject His Authority.
What the Bible says is that holy men -- i.e., those who have endeavored to use the opportunity of life to the highest level of achievement -- have been permitted to sit in at the Counsel of God. Having developed the perception and understanding in accordance with the purpose and destiny of life itself, they have been continually sent back into the world to speak to those who will listen -- instruct them -- and guide them along The Way. What they have said is that we are all children of the Most High and Source of Life itself -- and that if we embrace the learning experience of life in accordance with our Mother and Father’s guidance, we will mature and take our place in the Kingdom. If, on the other hand, we are disobedient children, and fail to take advantage of our opportunities of growth and learning, we will be stagnant -- and the inheritance of our birth-right will be delayed until which time we have spiritually matured and come of age.
In order to guide each of God’s children into the promised land, a curriculum and syllabus has been created to help us. In the University of Life which this world is, this curriculum is manifest in the immutable laws that controls and moves all the elements and events of Creation. In the same way that a student excels when he knows the rules and the agenda of the educational institution, we excel when we live in accordance with the designs of God’s university of life.
What the Bible states is very clear -- i.e., that those who overcome the tests and requirements which have been set forth before us, inherit the diploma and graduate, and go on and enter into the Kingdom of our Father. Those who squander their opportunity -- live in accordance with their own standards, ideas of life and morality -- not only do not graduate, but they get to live in accordance with their own vision of life and the world they have created.
In this we must be very careful: Carnal man looks out at the world and arrives at his own conclusions of good and evil. Most often he creates his standards of behavior with respect to what is acceptable based upon whatever is stimulating -- whatever he desires -- and whatever serves his individual interests he affirms as being good. Sadly, this even applies to people he ordains as religious leaders. The words attributed to the Apostle Paul at Romans 8:1 – "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (NIV) -- have been used by men who put themselves forth as priests and clergy, to preach to equally disordered people to accept the doctrine that Christians can live in any manner of lifestyle they choose.
As an interesting sidelight to this verse, not even the Greek biblical texts agree on the message this statement conveys, and in some texts these words are found: "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (Rom 8:1 NKJ). If we turn this around, what it conveys to us is this important message: Those people who call themselves Christians, and still walk according to the flesh, and remain carnal, are condemned -- while there is no condemnation or requirements of the Laws of this realm for those who have matured into Spiritual Christians.
What both believers and non-believers alike fail to realize is the life they are presently living is a test -- and if the result of the test was immediately revealed and brought upon us, then the whole design of life in this realm would be undermined. The Bible declares that all men will reap what they sow (Gal 6:7), and he who lives by the sword will die by the sword (Rev 13:9-10). The problem is that we generally ignore these many warnings in the Bible because we do not perceive immediate retribution and punishment.
Crime is generally greatly reduced in an Islamic nation where punishment is immediate and severe. If a man steals, his hand is cut off. If a man is a drug dealer, he is hanged. If a man and women commit adultery, they are stoned. If a man brings harm to another person, he is immediately dealt with in accordance with his own actions. If a man is not a productive member of society, he is cut off. Such a culture makes people extremely cognizant of their behavior -- they become self-discerning -- and they do not generally embrace a lifestyle where they are seen to violate the laws of society.
The problem with the Islamic solution is that, because this manner of crime-free living is not the result of individual choice, the societies manner of dealing with law-breakers does little to bring about the perfection of the people. That is not to say the Islamic people are wrong in their quest to achieve zero tolerance of evil and the violation of their standards, but I believe they would achieve much greater results if they expelled all who violate their laws from the society -- rather then avenge the wrong themselves.
The point is that if God permitted the Laws of Creation to immediately bring about retribution and punishment, the whole system that was designed to bring about the perfection of man would be undermined and of little purpose. In the same way a teacher does not correct each and every question as the student writes the answer -- because in many instances the answer to one question impacts another, or even a whole multitude of questions -- it is equally important that we are not permitted to view the answers to life while we are in the process of taking the test. In order to grow to perfection through the trials of life, it is important that we possess at least the illusion of freedom.
If the majority of us could see the long-term results of our actions, we would immediately embrace a lifestyle very much as the people who live under Islamic Law. The problem is that because under the Islamic solution we would be afraid to do wrong, this fear does not make us good. A true test of good and humanistic values can only be achieved when these qualities are brought about by personal choice. In like manner, if evil was immediately struck down by God, then the tests of life would be negated, and these same tests could not be brought about for other people. The test in life is measured not only in the manner we respond to evil, but also over the course of time. Again I quote the words of Barry Goldwater: "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"
In order for man to embrace his destiny and become a true son of the Most High, it is important that he be imbued with the illusion of freedom and choice -- thereby enabling him to make the choice from his heart, rather than because of fear of reprisal. If all the evil in the world was immediately struck down, then the majority of the people would be deprived of the opportunity of responding to it, with the result being that both the purpose and the test of life would be negated. When we close our eyes to immorality, corruption, iniquity and sin, then our responses to the test of life are counted with those who themselves commit these evil deeds -- and because we have ourselves failed the test of life, our own future will be in direct accordance with the circumstances of life that we have embraced with our own complacency and apathy to the good.
What this boils down to is the great truth that it is impossible for man to fool the system of Laws that God has Created and Ordained to bring about our eventual perfection. The Bible teaches that "Jesus knew their thoughts..." (Matt 12:25 NIV). This reality of mind is again presented in the words of Jesus when he said: "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). That each of us is judged in accordance with our own thoughts, is conveyed in the words: "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he" (Prov 23:7 NKJ).
Each of us is presently in the process of taking a test -- and this test is not only tailor made for us as individuals, but it has been designed and patterned in accordance with our own past thoughts and deeds. If we were permitted to see our actions in the past that have created our present life-agenda in the form of remembrance of our previous lives, then the purpose of this life would loose its value because our present test would be negated. In like manner, if we were able to see the eventual future results of our thoughts and actions in our present life, then the test and purpose of life in this realm would be negated. We have the Bible, the written wisdom of the sages from the past, and we have our conscience to guide us.
Again, it is because we refuse to listen to the message of the scriptures, and fail to explore the reality of the inner Kingdom that Jesus proclaimed exists within us (Luke 17:20-21), that we permit ourselves to be chained to lives of suffering and ignorance in servitude to the powers of darkness that rule this world. Regardless of what you believe with regard to heavenly truths -- truths that few men have the ability to fully understand -- there is one great concept that the voice of the Bible continually says to us: "Rid yourself of all man made doctrines and perceptions of the Word; cleanse yourself from the defilements of this world; put on the cloak of purity in an undivided fashion; and live the Word of God in word, thought and deed". Only when we begin to embrace the Word in every aspect of our life, and do the deeds that is required, can the Lord even begin to reveal to you the answers to the test of life and gaze upon what the Bible refers to as the Mysteries of God and the Gate to the Kingdom of your Father.
What I have stated is nothing more than what is written in the parable of the sower and the seed (Mat 13:3-23; Mk 4:2-20; Lk 8:5-15). What this essential teaching of Jesus conveys to us is that many will hear the Word -- many will proclaim the Word with their lips -- many will even live their outward life in a manner that makes them appear to have embraced the Word -- but only those who live the Gospel in word, thought and deed, and bring forth the Light and Spirit in the manifestation of Godliness in their lives, are those who will inherit the Kingdom. The rest will remain in the "outer darkness" -- as taught in the parable of the wedding feast: "And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen" (Matt 22:12-14 RSV).
The Bible is not a history book! Dispel this thought from your mind! Men of the spirit are not historians, and they do not write about the past. Spiritual men are consumed with one objective -- i.e., walking in The Way -- and they write about the means by which man is to open the door to the Kingdom. If their writings appear to embrace an historical sense, it is only to make the message adaptable to the multitudes who are too carnal to embrace the Mysteries of God. In reality, the Bible is a collection of sacred writings about us -- you and me and everyone else alive today -- and not about someone else who lived in the past. The Bible is about our present time, and not that of a past age. What the Bible is stating is that we are presently dwelling in the "outer darkness" that Jesus spoke about. Why? Because we have not yet put on the required "wedding garment" that is necessary for entrance into the Kingdom. Moreover, we are looking for the answers to the test of life by cheating on the quiz -- i.e., copying the answers off someone else’s test paper by embracing the culture of our society.
When we look outwardly -- to the kingdom of the citizen of this world -- and we adhere to the many doctrines of those who preach the word of the anti-christ in the form of the doctrines of men, we fall into error. What does the Bible say to us about the Word? Within his own mind and being, the prodigal son already knew of the Kingdom, because he previously immerged from it. When Jesus spoke of the Word, he did not speak of it in the sense that it would be taught outwardly, where it could be defiled by the god of this world. But rather, inwardly, as seen in those who received the Word, but were by the "wayside" -- or, out of The Way: "And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts" (Mark 4:15 NKJ).
The essence of New Covenant thought that is not realized today is the fact that the Word has already been sown in the hearts of all of mankind. What this means is that you do not need Jesus to teach you the Word -- but you do need Jesus to demonstrate the means by which you can find the Word revealed in your heart. But sadly, it is "the attractions of this world and the delights of wealth, and the search for success and lure of nice things come in and crowd out God’s message from their hearts, so that no crop is produced" (Mark 4:19 TLB).
Only when we begin to understand why Jesus condemned the Sadducees and Pharisees, and not the Essenes -- who were almost as numerous as the Pharisees -- will we begin to understand the biblical assertion that the Word already exists at the core of our being, and has been truly sown in our hearts. The problem is that when we put on the garment of the Sadducees and Pharisees, instead of the true spiritual "marriage garment", we cannot enter the Kingdom of God -- and the words of the Lord will continue to apply to us where he said: "‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen" (Matt 22:12-14 RSV).
What these biblical passages reveal to us -- i.e., the parables of the prodigal son, the sower and the seed, and the invitation to the marriage feast -- is that the true essence of believing is not a passive acceptance of the Lord -- but rather, it means that when we hear the Word, we embrace it by doing it in word, thought and deed -- and that we do it in such a way that we bring forth the manifestation of Godliness, as seen in the words: "Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop -- thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown" (Mark 4:20 NIV).
Thus, we see the requirement of works with respect to the true believer in the words that once the Word is received, they "produce a crop". They take what was given in the Gospel message, and magnify it one hundredfold. Those who receive it, and do not "produce a crop" in the form of good works, remain spiritually stagnant.
What we fail to comprehend today is that the Word already exists in our heart and spiritual nature. The same seed of the Word was sown by the way side, on rocky ground, among the thorns, as was the seed that fell upon what the Bible states was the good ground. What the New Covenant proclaims is that the final result of the sowing of the Word is in our hands -- and our hands alone. It is us who must cultivate and consecrate the ground upon which the seed has already been sown. By working the works of the spirit, we make ourselves a fit environment for the Sacred Plant of Truth to grow within us.
What the Bible reveals to us is that we already have the answers to the test of life -- a test we are presently in the process of taking. If we live in accordance with the culture of the society in which we are currently dwelling, regardless of what name we all ourselves, we will have failed the test -- and we will die. If, on the other hand, we embrace the written word of the scriptures, and seek the Word that has been implanted in our hearts -- always embracing the highest biblical standards that we are capable of -- we will know the answers to the test by becoming the good ground that enables the seed to grow to its highest potential. The promise of the Gospel is that as we grow, and fully embrace the Light, we will emerge from the realm of "outer darkness", and we will receive the "marriage garment" of purity that is bestowed upon those who consecrate themselves the spouse of the Lord (Matt 22:12-14).
What we should perhaps fear the most is the reality that we will inherit our own thoughts and deeds -- thus, the reality of the essence of the doctrine of predestination that is especially propounded in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. What this means is that our present life, as well as every life we have ever lived and are yet to live, have been orchestrated in direct accordance with what we have accomplished with our previous opportunities of life, the debts we own, as well as our individual needs with respect to bringing about our eventual destiny. What this means is that all our trials of life, as well as our successes, have all been orchestrated by our own hand, and we have no one to blame but ourselves.
The Bible continually states that when we reject the Word, and fail to embrace the Divine Pattern of what is ultimately in our best interests, it is the Laws of God that grants us the fulfillment of our desires -- i.e., we get to live in accordance with our own vision of life. Is this fair? Though many people will immediately reject the concept, once understood we must admit that it is unquestionably fair. Men of great spiritual wisdom have conveyed to us the highest ideals of life. They have universally stated that if we embrace these higher ideals, we will ourselves achieve the highest rewards of life. Yet, because we have been given the gift of free will, we can either accept or reject their wisdom -- but, and here is the but that we don’t like, as seen in the fact that these same men of wisdom have warned us that when we reject the Authority of our Creator, we get to live in accordance with our own actions and vision of life.
This is represented in scripture in the parable of the prodigal son who leaves his father and gets to live in accordance with his own choice in the far country. The true ingenuity of the system is seen in the fact that while he is in the far country, he is accorded a certain level of personal freedom -- i.e., he gets to make his own rules -- squander his inheritance in any manner he chooses -- live in accordance with any philosophy that accommodates his thinking -- and has the ability to indulge in any behavior that seems right to him. He can curse his father -- deny his birthright -- and travel in the company of the most ignorant and loathsome examples of humanity that this world has to offer him as companionship. In the parable, the father does nothing, except permit the son the freedom to seek his own destiny. Thus, what this equates to is actually a fate worse than death itself!
As the divine offspring of God, we have the ability to be a god unto ourselves, and create our own world. The problem is, though, we get to live in this self-created world. This is called the laws of action and reaction as set forth throughout the Bible in the words that we reap what we sow. Where we truly become unhappy, and curse God, is when our past actions and desires come back upon us, and we get to live in accordance with the philosophy we created and the manner of life we have lived. The result is that when we dwell in the darkness and the suffering of this world, we are permitted to disown our own spiritual heritage, and blame God for our circumstances of life.
So long as we embrace the concepts of men such as Darwinism, and believe that everything in this life is brought about by what would appear to us to be either an accident or natural selection, we can never come to comprehend either our plight in this world or our eventual destiny -- a destiny that we are powerless to evade. Again, the answer lies in gaining a greater understanding of the Apostle’s words in the first chapter of Romans when he states that the Mysteries of God are discernable by observing the blueprint and manifestation of Creation itself, in conjunction with the first three chapters of First Corinthians where Paul tells us that we must look beyond a surface perception of what we see. In this respect, the key to connecting these two important concepts is found in the original mindset of the Hebrew people who Jesus taught when they asked him: "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" (John 9:2 NIV).
In order to even begin to comprehend the world in the wisdom of the ancients, we must not only commence to perceive all events and occurrences as the interaction of the Two Great Forces of Creation -- but more importantly, we must understand the movement and the manifest nature of the Third Force that brings all things into being. In relation to the first chapter of Romans, we must not only recognize that what we see in Creation can reveal God, but we must also recognize that the unseen Mysteries that are brought about by pre-existent forces that are working to balance out the past, which is female -- the future, which is male -- and the active force of mind that harmonized the two, which is the third force of Creation that brings all things in this world about.
When the disciples asked Jesus about the man who was born blind, they were in effect applying the very essence of what he had been teaching them with regard to the Mysteries of God -- i.e., that nothing in this world is either a random event, or an accident -- that God bestows upon all people the fruit of their own desires and actions -- and everything that we observe is brought about by the interaction of the three forces of Creation. As they walked with Jesus, their teacher (Rabbi), they saw the man who was born blind from birth, and they wanted to clarify the workings of the Law in relation to this example.
What was the cause of his blindness? With respect to the Laws of Creation, either the man had to have sinned in a previous life, or the sin of the parents could have been responsible for the blindness of their offspring. If there are no random events or accidents in life, and everything is brought about to balance pre-existent conditions that each of us has created for ourselves, then the disciples were asking their teacher the cause of what they observed.
The problem is this all-important and all-pervading concept can only be understood when we are able to grasp the urgency in the teachings of Jesus, his disciples, as well as Paul, with regard to the absolute necessity of consciously taking hold of the moment -- i.e., the very second in time that one is dwelling in -- in one’s quest to enter the Kingdom. A person cannot change the past -- they can only accept that pre-existent conditions of their own making has brought it about. Regardless of the self-created philosophical picture of life we chose to embrace, a person cannot alter the vision and purpose of Creation with respect to the common destiny of mankind -- they can only quicken or delay their entrance into the Kingdom by walking in The Way (of Light), or the broad-way (of darkness). Paul teaches the necessity of capturing every thought to Christ (2 Cor 10:5) -- and Jesus warns us that we will be held accountable for every idle word (Matt 12:36) -- they do this in order to convey to us that as we walk and move in this world, we are on the very pinnacle of Creation itself -- the creation of our own conditions of life that will become predestined in our future.
In our quest to walk with the Lord, we must BEGIN to manifest the third force of Creation by becoming extremely conscious of our own presence moving within the interworking three-fold creative force in every aspect of our lives. When Jesus said to "let the dead bury their dead" (Matt 8:22 KJV), and the Apostle writes "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead" (Eph 5:14 NIV), it is because carnal man in his natural state dwells in a stupor -- unconscious of higher reality -- hypnotized by the god or power of this world -- his mind continually racing in contemplation of things and events that have no real meaning from the perspective of his soul -- and is very much dead to his own indwelling spiritual nature. Moreover, this state of spiritual death causes him to function at a mere fraction of his potential of mind.
Throughout many places in the scriptures we are told to wake up, or stay awake and be constantly watching. In the case of the twelfth chapter of Luke, Jesus commands his disciples and followers not to be as the people of the nations who concern themselves about what they shall eat, what they shall wear, and spend their time concerned with the temporal things of this world. In Jesus’ words we can see the embodiment of New Covenant thought -- which is the Gnostic/Spiritual mindset that enables the disciple to walk in The Way, as seen in the words: "Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour" (Luke 12:31-40 RSV).
Again we are presented with the great truth that we must seek the Kingdom, and it is "your" Father -- not Jesus’ Father -- who will be happy to give you this Kingdom. In order to find this Kingdom, our treasure -- or that which we value and seek after – we must ourselves be spiritual, and not of this world. What is important to comprehend is that this Kingdom does not come in two thousand or more years, or when we die, but when we have ourselves followed in the Master’s footsteps, and walked in The Way. What this means is if we fail to enter into the Kingdom in this life, then we will never be able to enter into it after we die.
It is important that we are cognizant of the terms "Let your loins be girded", which means that we are in a state of readiness to travel -- "and your lamps burning", which means that me must have the Light manifest in our lives – "and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast", which marriage feast is the union of opposites – "so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks", which I have already demonstrated throughout this book that it is the inner door to the Kingdom -- the spiritual door within our own minds -- that the Lord knocks on, and that we must open.
Again we see the universal symbols in the words: "Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them". To be awake, we must not be in a carnal stupor where our minds are dwelling on the temporal things of this world -- but instead, we must be in control of our minds, and conscious of everything that is transpiring from a multidimensional perspective. Again we see that the Lord will provide us the food of the Kingdom -- the Knowledge -- while we sit at the table that only the children (of Israel) can sit at.
The Apostle Paul commands us to capture every thought to Christ (2 Cor 10:5) -- but what does this mean? From a biblical perspective, those who are not totally awake and conscious of the source and cause of even the minutest of events in their lives, are unable to merge the polarities of past and future, and are therefore unable to embrace the present in the endeavor to navigate their destiny. In fact, because we fail to realize that it is our own past thoughts and actions which have created the conditions, events, and even the mindset of the life we are presently living, we are not even prepared to embrace change. Dwelling in a hypnotic stupor, and we fail to realize that we are living in a world that we ourselves have created in our own past -- resulting in the fact that we are not even prepared to begin the journey of walking in The Way and making the return trip to the Paradise of our Origination. Thus, in our sleeping state we are unaware of the voice of the Lord calling to us from the inner Kingdom, and therefore we permit the thief to break in and plunder their house -- i.e., rob them of their divine inheritance as in the manner that the prodigal son squandered his inheritance in the far country, and came under the dominion of the citizen of that country.
What we are talking about is fundamentally beyond human conception to even envision. Where we look upon ourselves as being alive and a manifest being in the scheme of Creation, it never dawns on us that we have only just begun the process of birth, and if we fail to complete the process, our end will not be in accord with what we believe. We will of course say: How can this be? We are alive and manifest in the world! Others will say that God loves us, and would not permit our demise! Thus, we ignore the wisdom of the Apostle when we warned us: "if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know" (1 Cor 8:2 NKJ). Actually, the reality of the situation can easily be seen and presented in the scenario of the unborn fetus that is ripped from it’s mother’s womb during an abortion -- i.e., from the perception of the fetus it could reason that God wouldn’t let this happen to me! Meanwhile, our laws attempt to rationalize the death of the unborn by saying that it is a woman’s right to choose -- after all, it might be inconvenient to be pregnant and bear a child at that time. Yet, because we fail to realize that we are merely at another stage of fetal development -- and when we were born into this life we merely emerged from a physical womb to a mental womb, wherein we must continue to develop through the next two stages of birth, it is our ignorance with respect to the reality of life that causes our own demise.
Christians will oppose such a concept of life and counter that God loves us -- and yet, this misconception is again founded upon our own ignorance with respect to the true reality of life. Where is God’s love when Jesus warned his disciples: "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matt 7:13-14 NIV)? The Apostle Paul warns that "Destruction and misery are in their ways" (Rom 3:16 NKJ).
That Paul speaks of the next stage of birth which he has still to achieve as the resurrection from the dead, is seen in his words: "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things" (Phil 3:10-19 NIV). Thus, Paul presses on to achieve what he has not yet attained -- which is the next stage of birth. Further, once again we see the warning that those whose "…mind is on earthly things" are in fact "…enemies of the cross of Christ" whose "…destiny is destruction". How can this be? What we fail to realize is that because these people have been enticed off The Way by the cares and things of this world, their end will be their own destruction because they will have failed to complete the process of birth.
Paul even goes so far as to relate the process to that of physical birth when he writes: "But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation" (1 Thes 5:1-8 NKJ).
Take note of Paul’s description of the people of the world -- i.e., "For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them… You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep as others do …For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night". What we fail to comprehend is that it is our spiritual nature, which is the essence of our being, that is the offspring of God. It is our soul, or higher mind, that is the accumulation of all our individual experiences since the dawn of time as we understand it. We are a projected embryonic image of our soul and spiritual natures which uses the physical body as a vessel in the endeavor to return to to the Paradise of Eden. When we emerge into this world and fail to manifest the essence of our being, and instead become a child of this world who, being severed from our own soul and spiritual natures are portrayed in the scriptures as sleeping and even dead, because that part of us which is the offspring of God remains undeveloped and unmanifest, the Bible correctly portrays our end as "sudden destruction".
While it is true that God loves us, it is also true that because we perceive life in reverse of our true reality, we are unable to even begin to comprehend God’s love for his offspring. Again, our failure to understand our own reality is seen in our adoption of a quasi-Darwinist perception of life that is founded upon the counterfeit doctrine that we came into being at physical conception and birth. While this belief is partially true from the perspective of our embryonic self which came into existence at the time that our physical body was formed, in failing to manifest the true spiritual being that we are, and instead developing along the lines of our temporal culture and society, our life becomes an expression of servitude to what the Apostle calls the god of this world -- a condition whereby we permit ourselves to be ruled by the (animal) consciousness of the physical body that is merely the vessel for the soul and spirit, resulting in the fact that there is very little to virtually nothing in the substance of our personality that reflects our true self that is the offspring of our Heavenly Father. Because our consciousness is of the earth and is therefore temporal, while the true being we are has remained dormant and undeveloped, the person we think we are merely passes with the death of the physical body.
Jesus knew full well that the process of becoming alive and awaking to our innate soul and spiritual nature is not an easy thing to do. What he therefore promised was that all who are truly his disciples, and are willing to embrace his instructions and teachings (commandments) in word, thought and deed, he will assist in their journey into The Way of Life. All the cleansings, detachments from the things of this world, purification from sensual desires, and the process of becoming in the world but not of it, which things are a constant theme throughout the scriptures, are all focused upon teaching us to conserve our vital life-force in order to direct our energies towards the goal of becoming acutely aware of everything that is transpiring in our life at every moment. Jesus taught us that the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a seed that has been planted within us -- and it is the faithful disciple who focuses his whole life on the growth and development of that seed. Thus, we must literally gather together the forces of nature that are present in our life, and redirect them inward to grow our consciousness in the quest to learn about ourselves, what events are transpiring in our life, our soul, and God, our Source of Being.
In our modern-day society sexual immorality has become an industry -- we even teach it to our young impressionable children -- and yet, even our churches ignore the words of the Apostle when he warns "It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles…", stating that their immorality will "…deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh…" (1 Cor 5:1-5 KJV). Where many modern Christians now look upon the sexual morality of Paul as old fashioned and not in accord with our more enlightened culture, it is as if they reason that since God loves us, then He wants us to have fun, and it is therefore permissible to fornicate with whoever we desire.
Was Paul old fashioned and out of touch with reality as many imagine today? Once it is realized that our soul and spiritual natures are as an embryonic seed that must be grown and developed by the vital life-force that is the inheritance from our Heavenly Father which Jesus taught the prodigal son squandered away while living a riotous life in the far country, we can immediately begin to see the great flaw in our cultural mindset. One of the paramount questions that every student of the Bible should ask with respect to the parable is: What is the inheritance which the prodigal son received from his father that he squandered away in the far country? While the simple answer would be money -- once we begin to recognize that what is portrayed in the scriptures is more properly understood from an internal perspective of mind and spirit, we must commence to open our minds to a higher reality that few of us have ever before pondered in our search for the meaning and purpose of life.
In the same way that in order for a fetus to conceived and formed -- developed in the womb and born into this world -- nourished with the proper food -- physically maintained and developed as the child’s body evolves through the many phases of growth -- that at every stage of development the child not only requires specific environmental needs, but also physical, emotional and psychological needs and necessities -- the same is also true with respect to the next stage of human development and birth.
When Origen wrote regarding the symbolic forms and the threefold nature of the allegorical language in which the scriptures are written in, that: "It is sufficient however, to represent in the style of a historic narrative what is intended to convey a secret meaning in the garb of history, that those who have the capacity may work out for themselves all that relates to the subject" -- what he was making reference to was the fact that the universal and omnipresent elements of the written word enabled the truly sincere and genuine believer to begin to perceive the soul and spiritual meaning as they began to incorporate the Royal Law of the Most High in their daily lives. What this means is that every day we embrace these same forms and symbols within the context of our own allegorical lives -- which ultimately means that the spiritual language of the scriptures is indigenous to the essence of our own lives.
In part, the Apostle Paul’s doctrine of faith is based upon his enlightened perception of the Divine Pattern of all of Creation. What he said to the Gentile converts was that they did not need the rituals and sacrifices of the carnal Jewish sects of the Sadducees and Pharisees, because each of us is in fact immersed in the patterns of higher consciousness, and all we need to do is begin to live our lives in accordance with the Royal Law of the Most High. That from Paul’s enlightened perspective the Revelation and Word of God is universally proclaimed to all of Creation is demonstrated in the first chapter of his Epistle to the Romans where he writes: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…" (Rom 1:18-22 NKJ). Ultimately, what this means is that each of us has no excuse with respect to the knowledge of the Word of God, because all of Creation moves within the pattern of Higher Mind and the teachings of The Way.
Once it is realized that we have a threefold nature -- and our physical birth into this world is merely the first phase of the birth process -- then the more we begin to study and comprehend the patterns of the first phase of our own physical conception, birth, and development, the more we will begin to perceive and comprehend the next two stages of birth that evolves us into a state of completion. In fact, it was this very enlightened perception of the pattern of life that was the bases of Origen’s statement that "…those who have the capacity may work out for themselves all that relates to the subject" -- and Paul to write that "…what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them… so that they are without excuse".
As a society and culture, perhaps Paul’s most enlightened statement that is paramount today is his words: "Professing to be wise, they became fools…". Because we have created an artificial society which is founded upon a counterfeit culture not in accord with the Patterns of Creation, we have in fact alienated ourselves from man’s higher reality, and severed ourselves from our own true selves as manifest in our pre-existent indwelling soul and spiritual natures. And if we inquire as to the result of our failure to embrace and seek out the meaning of the Patterns of Creation, Paul again enlighteningly provides us a perception of the fruit of our endeavors in the words: "Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them" (Rom 1:24-32 NKJ)
Again, as a society we question the motives of a God who would impose such wrath upon mankind -- many of whom are innocent children who are born into the society -- and we erroneously conclude that God would never do such a thing to the people. Yet, what we fail to comprehend is that when the scriptures speak of God as imposing either blessings or wrath upon a people, the Supreme Creator does not sit back upon His lofty throne deciding the fate, fortune or doom of either the individual, a society or nation, or even the community of man the world over -- but rather, we dwell in what is portrayed in the Bible as the "outer darkness" or the "far country" -- resulting in the fact that all movement in this realm is controlled by a series of natural laws and established body of ordinance that is invariable, immutable and incontrovertible from the perspective of man in his natural organic and carnal state of existence.
Again, if we place the words of Paul into the structure of the teachings of the Two Ways as presented to us throughout the Bible, what this means is that if we utilize our inheritance received from our Heavenly Father in the endeavor to walk in The Way, then the natural patterns and movement within the construct of the laws, will bring about a certain developmental result that is in fact the basis of the Apostle Paul’s doctrine of faith. If, on the other hand, we utilize our inheritance in the manner of the prodigal son in the far country, then it is the reverse side of these same laws that control all of Creation which will have the opposite effect of bringing about a very different and predictable set of results -- results which the Apostle portrays as a life immersed in the darkness and unknowing of this world which causes the people to live in servitude to the god of this world -- a lifestyle which the Apostle portrays as one where the laws themselves force the people into what he describes as a degenerate manner of living.
What this means is that the Personage of our Supreme Creator has nothing to do with the results -- God neither blesses some while bringing wrath upon others -- and other than being the Original Author who put the curriculum of life in place that is designed to bring about our perfection and eventually lead us upon the road to our return to the Paradise of Eden, God is neither responsible for either the sorrows or blessings that befall mankind. Moreover, once these laws are properly comprehended and understood, it is perceived that they are merely the means by which the vital life-force which is the very vibrant elements which energizes all of material, mental, spiritual and etheric substances that form the building blocks of Life itself, moves between the Two Great Dynamic Polarities of Creation. In simple language what this means is that because we cannot channel our own source of vital life-force within ourselves in the endeavor to power and illuminate our potential of mind beyond the ten percent level which corresponds to the natural functioning of our physical bodies, the greater part of this vital life-force is lost to us as it goes out into nature and returns to its Source by other means. What is the saying: What you don’t use, you loose -- which means that because we can’t direct our inheritance (vital life-force) in a positive direction within us, it is lost to us as we burn it up in our lust for sensual, materialistic, political and rudimentary pursuits that relegates our life to that of a human-animal presence at the level of merely a creature-component in the organic consciousness of this world. Because our level of consciousness is limited by the natural organic functioning of the body in which we dwell, the scriptures speak of us as asleep -- in a hypnotic stupor -- and even as being dead from a soul and spiritual perspective.
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