If some people in the military feel disrespectd by your actions isn’t that legitimate? Just because you say you are not being disrespectful does not make it so.
Freedom in a nation of Laws is a relative term. To say we in The United States are “free” is using a very narrow element of that word. Own your own business and you will quickly discover how “free” you are not. We are a nation, a society of LAWS and PUNISHMENTS that dictate almost every aspect of our living. LAW is not freedom. Law is needed when a people choose to live together as a society or is it? Could it be that Law is needed because people have not yet evolved to a place of living together in freedom?
Over 2400 years ago Siddhartha, Jesus and Paul spoke and wrote in opposition to religious laws over internal faith. Living from within, or as it was referred to as “laws written on the heart”, instead of living controlled by external laws of morality.
Freedom is a birth-reality and the mystics of many different traditions all teach that religions should be a place where that “internal knowing” our natural moral and creative compass is nurtured, supported and explored.
Moving minds from external laws to internal freedom is not an easy or quick process but it is the goal of progressive religion to do just that. This is the meaning in the words “you must be born-again” and “I will put my laws in their hearts”. A baby is born free but without understanding of what freedom is. An adolescent and adult both come to understand law, both experience it everyday, telling them how fast to drive or what is appropriate to wear and often loose the connection to the free voice within them.
In today’s world, Advertising tells us what we can’t live without, entertainment news tells us what we should be upset about, our education systems teach us how to do certain tasks and religion gives us a connection to the past and each other through tradition? But what do you, without any of those influences, want? What do you, without any of those influences, think? Without the input of the external world, who are you?
Laws are a function of government and could it be that today’s government’s are simply a crutch used in the evolutionary process of human beings much the same way that training wheels are first used to learn how to ride a bike. Each of us was born with the ability to balance; the training wheels just keep you from falling over as you discover and manifest the ability to balance on the bike. Freedom like balance is not a function that government can produce. At best the government can keep us from destroying ourselves as we discover who we actually are in freedom and what we can be free together.
The highest a functional government can be is serve the will of the people and let freedom be. How can a government be the servant of the will of a people who don’t live from the freedom they are born with? How can one expect “good government” when its people’s minds are controlled by something other than the freedom they possess within.
The top rated show today is “The Walking Dead”; a show about people fighting and killing people who have become zombies and fighting others who are killing to survive and have more. It’s based on the thought of the survival of the fittest which is the base or lowest of human collective thought – us and them. If a people’s collective thought is centered on the “us and them”, and the will of the people is to “destroy them”, what kind of a servant government will be produced?
Raising consciousness i.e. connecting to your inner knowing is the role of both our religious, educational and possibly even our entertainment systems. Today many of our religious systems teach tradition instead of introducing you to higher thought. Our educational systems teach methodology over free-thought and entertainment is more about fighting and competing than cooperating.
If government is just the “will” of its people, then, in order for the government to change, first the people need to know who they are, and what they really want. People need to rediscover the freedom they were born with so they can live from it and be free.
Growing up in church whenever I heard the story of the prodigal son it always seem to be told from the perspective of someone who strayed away from the Lord and then comes back. I don’t know how many parents I have heard hold onto that story as hope for their children who grew up in church and then left it. Now the Parable Jesus told that we title “The Prodigal Son” is one of my favorite parables. I could probably speak a different message from this parable for a whole year. The beauty of the Parables of Jesus is that they don’t have only one meaning but many depending on what you are conscience of and what you are able to see. So here goes another perspective.
The story is found in Luke 15:11-32
It starts with “A man had two sons “. We begin with three people, a Father and two brothers one older one younger. The younger one asks the Father for what he has coming to him, his inheritance and with his inheritance in hand he goes and travels to a distant country.
Anyone familiar with the Old Testament should recognize immediately the motif here. Abraham left home to search for God, Jacob left home in search of God, Joseph leaves home in search of God, Moses leaves home in search of God. Jesus left home and went into the wilderness to be tested by God, Paul leaves home for Arabia to discover God. The idea of leaving home goes all the way back to Adam who is sent out of the garden of Eden to discover……….
When you leave home you are leaving what you “know” or think you know to go to the unknown.
Whenever someone goes in search of God he is headed to the unknown.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. Heb.11:8
The story continues by describing the living style of this younger son as simply foolish and wasteful. After this wasteful living a famine strikes and this young son finds himself so hungry that he begins to crave the waste food given to the pigs but no one would even give him that.
The next statement is the big one here – the scriptures say “ When he came to his senses” The Greek word here is ἑαυτοῦ “heautou” and it means “himself” HE CAME TO HIMSELF who he really is and always was.
Self discovery is not about discovering yourself apart from the whole but discovering that you are part of the whole and always have been.
Wither it be Abraham, Moses and even Jesus each one when they leave home they return with a knowledge of God yes, but that knowledge is one with the knowledge of who they really are. After Jesus Baptism and wilderness testing he returns home and enters the synagog and reads Isaiah’s description of the Messiah and Jesus says “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk.4:21). To leave home, go to an unknown place and return home is the story of all those who seek God’s kingdom, who seek the reality of what is.
Back to the story – He comes to himself and says “’How many of my father’s hired hands have more than enough food, and here I am dying of hunger! I’ll get up, go to my father, and say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired hands.’So he got up and went to his father.” This son sees for the first time the love of his Father – He always had know the facts of what his Father did but he hand not known the reality of the wholeness that he had with his Father. When stripped of everything he was able to see what things really were and how his Father had been a vital part of his life that he could not longer deny or be without.
So the younger son begins his return home, the same person but no longer foolish and wasteful but one who has gained understanding about himself his Father and the wholeness of life. He left a young boy but was retuning a mature man.
It was not only the son who could no longer live without the Father but the Father also did not relish life without his Son. As this younger Son is still finding his way back the Father runs to meet him and it says he was filled with compassion this is the experience of complete empathy where you feel what the other feels and like magnets you are drawn together to form the whole that is so needed in that moment.
The younger son realizes he is not worthy or equal to his Father.
You see Oneness is not about equality its about unity, wholeness, community.
From the smallest to the greatest everything and everyone is needed and wanted. Nothing is left out, nothing is wasted everything has a purpose and need.
Of Jesus it is said: “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,” Phil.2:6,8,9
The response of the Father to his younger son was “this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate. The comparison of the Prodigal to Jesus is too rich, Here is a story of revelation, growth, wholeness and love. This from a man who left everything he knew only to discover the riches he had always had but never realized. In order to know the glories of light you must experience the depth of darkness all of it is needed and for your own good. God did not cast Adam out of Eden as a punishment he did it so Adam could discover what he needed to see and understand and then return to the wholeness that is. The choice to walk down the path of good and evil is a choice to walk down the path of what is good and worthy what is bad and waste.
Back to the story, Now the older brother over these years had been working even slaving away for his Father. Sacrificing his fun to do work for his Father, he never disobeyed any of his Fathers laws. He was the most righteous of all men. He was returning from work when he heard a celebration of music and dancing so he asks one of the servants what was happening and was told that his younger brother had returned and his Father had slaughtered the best cow he had for a feast. At this the older brother became enraged and would not be a part of the celebration.
Ego is a powerful creation of man’s fleshly mind. Ego creates an understanding of the way things are and should be. When things are not as they should be Ego raises its head, and with a hissing sound declares itself to be Lord and judge of what is happening. Ego considers itself to be equal with God to be equal with Life itself. You see Life is God’s creation and the Ego is man’s creation. Life display’s what is and Ego redefines what it wants it to be and declares what it should be and shouldn’t be with no regard for what actually is.
Back to the story – Just as the Father had gone to meet his younger son the Father goes to meet his elder son. The scripture says he” pleaded with him” but instead of the elder son coming to his scenes or coming to “himself” he lets his Ego speak and the Ego lays out what is ‘Look, I have been slaving many years for you, and I have never disobeyed your orders, yet you never gave me a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your assets with prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’
Ego does not operate in the world of wholeness it has no place or purpose for darkness that Life has. Life does not look at the assets wasted on prostitutes but as a necessary event of the less honorable. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen 1Cor.12:23
In the world of the Ego there is much waste and much that is unwanted. Equality not unity is what the Ego desires. Sacrifice not love is Ego’s action. Law is Ego’s way not Life – Law is what you follow and as long as you don’t break it you are good. The Law declares that home is the place you are to be so you could never leave it like the younger son did. The Ego earns everything it has where life accepts everything it is given. In wholeness and unity its not about earning its about living life together realizing that each part is important and needed and when one is lost or hurt we all suffer and when one is found we all celebrate. If life where about earning then the bigger and stronger parts could get more than they even need leaving the smaller, weaker parts of the whole without and in fear of death. If the weaker parts die off then what would happen to the whole?
Back to the story – The Father then replies to his elder son “ ‘Son,’he said to him, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ”
The Ego is incapable of accepting something undeserved in its own estimation. The reality of love and wholeness is not able to be seen in the world of good and evil, black and white, God and Satan – the world of the Ego.
Life sees purpose in everything
the Ego only sees purpose in good, white and God. The Ego is separated from life itself because it dissects life and takes the parts it wants and leaves the parts it does not deem worthy. The Ego comes up to you and says I like your hair, your eyes, your chin, your waistline and your feet but the rest needs to go and walla you are a clump of hair with eyes,chin, waist and feet dead on the ground because although Ego, with its lack of wisdom and understanding did not like the other parts they were necessary to sustain your life here on earth.
You see in the parable of the prodigal son the elder brother is left outside the party not because he is bad but because Ego will never be at the party. The Ego, your minds creation is what has to die in order for you to come to yourself and be who you always have been but were not allowed by Ego’s orders. Ego calls you a sinner and undeserving of your Father’s love. But the Life of your Father within you sees you as the needed part you are. He does not think as Ego does in division and unworthy waste. In Life all is needed all have a part.
Men with Ego’s have titled this story the “Prodigal Son” even though Jesus only called him the younger brother. Ego’s will attack what it deems unworthy and unnecessary. Are you willing to walk down the path of unworthiness? The Prodigal Son left home and discovered who he was and what the meaning of Life is. Are you willing to be a Prodigal Son to the Ego’s of the world and a younger brother to Christ?
What is True -Websters definition 1 a: fidelity, constancy b :sincerity in action, character, and utterance 2 : the state of being the case : fact : the body of real things, events, and facts : actuality : a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality
In english we express the concept of total truth by saying that something is true “from A to Z” In Hebrew the word for truth is Emet (spelled alef-mem-tav). Its first letter is the very first letter in the Hebrew alphabet (alef). The last letter is (tav), the end of the Alef-Bet. The exact middle of the 27 letters of the Hebrew alphabet is the (mem).
Truth demands total accuracy from start to finish, including every point in the middle as well. pg.61 The secret of Hebrew words by Blech
In simplest of terms “Truth is what really is”
To really understand the meaning of Truth we need to look at what Truth is not.
Truth is not an idea
It is not a concept – concepts are not real, they are just mental play things
It is not a thought – a thought is simply a mental exercise
It is not something taught – teaching can at best introduce you to truth
It cannot be given to you – Truth is never not apart of you
It is not a standard – Again, truth is never detached from you
It is not something that is divided in any way. Truth is the whole, complete totality of everything.
So what are we to do with Truth?
Jesus said: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
What does it mean to “know the truth”?
Know – Websters Dictionary says – verb (1) :to perceive directly :have direct cognition of (2) :to have understanding of (3) :to recognize the nature of :discern
The greek word for know is 1097 ginṓskō – properly, to know, especially through personal experience (first-hand acquaintance)
Both truth and knowing have this one thing in common with each other, they both are contained within the person and are not something that can be given to another. It is direct personal experience not second hand. A teacher at best can give you secondhand knowledge only you can experience “true knowing” yourself.
Jesus therefore said to those Jews that had believed him, If ye abide in my word, then are ye truly my disciples; And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Jn.8:31,32
To abide in my word meant to to wait, to ponder the words Jesus used to describe the things He had seen with His Father and had demonstrated before them. Jesus was speaking and demonstrating before his disciples the Way to Truth. This Way he called “The Keys to the Kingdom” (Matt.16:19)
Jesus was the closest thing anyone had experienced to seeing the unseen with physical eyes. He was making the invisible God visible and even with this, the reality of a second hand experience displays itself to Jesus when he says:
John 8:43,45 “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.
Even the words of Jesus spoken to physical ears was not enough to set men free – To see, hear and even believe Jesus was not the same as knowing the truth that could set you free. To know thew truth for yourself and not through second hand knowledge required what Jesus refereed to as “waiting upon the Lord” and after days of waiting….
Acts 1:4;2:2,4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, you have heard of me. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders. Lao Tzu
This first hand experience changed these men and women who had been in bondage to what they thought was truth but was not. – This personal experience that happened when they were waiting upon the Lord set Peter free from the fear that had gripped his being. For the first time Peter came face to face with Truth and like Jesus said “and you will know the truth and the truth shall make you free”
The truth will shall make you free – Will make Free: 1659 eleutheróō – properly, set free, release from bondage
How can we know that Peter was set free?
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said to them, You men of Judaea, and all you that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known to you, and listen to my words: Acts 2:14
We can know because he acted as a man without fear – He displayed the Truth he now knew!
You may ask
“What truth did he learn to be set free”?
It was not a metal knowledge that had set him free but a release of the Spirit of God within his own being. Peter had found the treasure of truth that had been buried deep within him – the pearl of great price was not something outside but was within him. This had been Jesus message all along. In the upper room while they were waiting they pondered the words of Jesus and these words worked like a shovel removing the teaching and concepts they had heard and believed since they were but small children. Layer upon layer the teachings and concepts about God had buried the reality of who Peter really was, simply put, a child of God. A being in the very image and likeness of God or as Jesus said it “I and the Father are One” . This discovery of oneness with no separation, this face to face intimacy, this realization of truth sets men free! And like a mighty rushing wind it explodes from within the deepest regions of your being and burst forth from your mouth in praise of the reality of I AM.
You want to mess up the minds of your children? Here’s how – guaranteed! Rear them in a legalistic, tight context of external religion, where performance is more important than reality. Fake your faith. Sneak around and pretend your spirituality. Train your children to do the same. Embrace a long list of do’s and don’ts publicly but hypocritically practice them privately… yet never own up to the fact that its hypocrisy. Act one way but live another. And you can count on it – emotional and spiritual damage will occur.
Charles (Chuck) Swindoll
Insight For Living
Following a set of rules is not freedom
Living by a standard is not freedom
To be fearful is not freedom
To live in terms of good and evil is not freedom
To believe that my identity is “sinner” is not freedom
To be divided internally and externally is not freedom
Paul said: I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. (Rom.7:15)
A life of Integrity –
IntegrityDefinition of INTEGRITY
3: the quality or state of being complete or undivided :
Only those who have discovered the Truth can live in Integrity.
Only they know the state of being complete and undivided.
As John said: If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 1Jn.4:20
To know the Truth is to know God to know yourself and to know your neighbor. This is the great mystery the one new man. Bad Religion makes men pretend to be something they don’t believe they are – True Religion help men discover who they are. Bad Religion demands conformity – True Religion leads you to transformation.
How does one live a life of Integrity? It starts with honesty
Honesty – Websters says – adherence to the facts
To know something is different than knowing facts about something. Honestly ask yourself “Do I know who I am?”
Do I know who I am without realigning on what I have been told or read about from others. Do I say I am a child of God because the Bible told me so or because I have met God face to face in a way that I know because I know.
Ask yourself – Why do I do what I do? It it because I think I am supposed to or it it because I really want to?
Until we can be honest with ourselves we will never be open to hear or experience Truth face to face.
“He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.” -Lao Tzu
This above all, to thine own self be true. ~ William Shakespeare
What is a “Naked Relationship”? It is a relationship where there is no fear of the destruction of that relationship because of something you might say, do or think. In other words it is a relationship based on unconditional love i.e. God’s love. A Naked Relationship with another human being is impossible without God. The very foundation of a naked relationship is the triune nature of it, Adam-Eve-God. The denial of any aspect of our being is a denial of our very being.
The vast majority of human relationships are mental and materially based. They are mental because they incorporate your belief systems, what you like or dislike, what you judge to be good and evil. They are material because they are based on physical connections such as a brother or sister, Mother or Father.
In order to move beyond materially based relationships we must begin to know ourselves. There can be no knowing of ourselves without knowing God who is the source of all life.
Knowing God is not knowing an image of Him but to know Him as He is right here and now. To often we look to past expressions or images of God and miss what God is right here and now. Paul talked about this very thing when he wrote: From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know Him like that. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. 2Cor.5:16-17 (HCSB)
It is often man’s way to judge things according to their belief systems instead of what is. Jesus pointed this out in his parable about the good Samaritan. He asks the question: “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” “The one who showed mercy to him,” he said. Lk. 10:36-37 (HCSB)
It was the Jews who pre-judged the Samaritan as a sinner because of their understanding of God’s laws. Their belief system kept them from seeing what was true in the here and now. Jesus was trying to open their eyes to what was through his story.
Almost of all Jesus parables do this exact thing – remove you from your belief system and place you in the here and now to see love.
We will choose our belief system over love in other words we will choose our image of God over God Himself.
This exact fact was demonstrated in the life of Jesus on earth. It was the Jews who choose their understanding of the Laws of Moses over the Life of love Jesus lived before them. If we are ever able to live naked and unashamed we must not be ones who hold on too tight to our understandings of God, doctrines and belief’s. As the scriptures say: Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths. Prov.3:5
There is a difference between relying on your own understanding and meditating on the Lord as you walk daily in your life. One comes from a remembering of the past the other is found within us in the moment of need. One from Law the other from the Spirit of Love.
A Belief system is like clothing we put on. We think it looks good? We trick ourselves into believing that it defines us. Two Christians meet and often one of the first conversations might go like this: “Where do you go to church? I go to First Baptist, Oh your Baptist I am a Methodist.” What does that do except bring about separation. No one is a Baptist or Methodist – at best these are words to describe a belief system you adhere to or at least try to appear that you adhere to. We do this because we don’t think Christ is enough. For a church or a people to say I am of Christ is not good enough. For someone to show love is not good enough, I need to know what you say you believe. I need to know that you cloth yourself with the same rags I use (Isa.64:6).
Paul wrote in the very first letter of the NT: There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal.3:28 (HCSB)
In Genesis we find recorded: This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame. Gen.2:24-25 (HCSB)
When there is only one there is no shame to be just as you are, no need to add anything. It is to look through the material world and see what is. What is? An eternal spirit manifested in many forms but still only one spirit. This is how two are one and how Christ brought about peace. In doing away with the law (the belief system) the Jews would be able to love the Samaritan and see them as they are, children of God just like the Jews. No longer to be judged according to the fleshly laws, (there clothing) but to be accepted just as they are.
For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh, He did away with the law of the commandments in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. [He did this so] that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it. Eph.2:14-16 (HCSB)
How many laws or belief’s of yours to you put on others?
Do you accept people who don’t believe like you?
Do you allow others to explore in ways you don’t think is right and proper?
Can people tell you things without fear of you judging them?
The other day a sister shared with me in private a book she was reading. She shared it in private because she knew that if some of her friends found out that they would judge her.
It was the Pharisees named Nicodemus that came to Jesus at Night (Jn.3:1-21) so that none of the other Pharisees would know.
Can you be Naked with the group of Christians you meet with?
Or, Like Nicodemus, do you seek out and explore Christ in the middle of the night where none of your friends can see you?
Nicodemus was not wrong, he was seeking truth. He knew that if he did it in the open he would be persecuted by those who claimed to love God and follow his ways.
Do the people you gather together with unconditionally love you i.e. love you with God’s love? Or do they like you because they think you are like them in your belief system, your clothing?
Its a little odd that in today’s Christian Church in order to be considered a member you must agree on certain beliefs, that Christ’s acceptance of you and your expressed love for Him is not enough.
Do you have “Naked Relationships?” if you don’t you will never know intimacy or experience the joy of oneness.
The first step is to follow the words of Jesus when he said “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Lk.6:37 (HCSB)
Are Christians like Jesus or the Religious Jews?
Then the elders and pastors brought a woman caught in adultery, making her stand in the center. “Teacher,” they said to Him, “this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. The Bible says: (Matt.5:27-29 “You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. … For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.) So what do You say, is she going to hell?” They asked this to trap Him, in order that they might have evidence to accuse Him. Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with His finger. When they persisted in questioning Him, He stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw her into hell.” Then He stooped down again and continued writing on the ground. When they heard this, they left one by one, starting with the older men. Only He was left, with the woman in the center. When Jesus stood up, He said to her, ” Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, Lord,” she answered. “Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”Jn.8:3-11 in today’s language.
This was a woman caught in the very act of adultery, she was probably brought to crowd naked and yet Jesus accepted her as she was, he did not need to know what she believed, or if she was guilty or not – he did not judge her or condemn her he simply forgave her without her even asking.
If we cannot accept others exactly as they are do we really believe that God accepts us as we are? If we can’t accept others nakedness it means we can’t accept our own. We like Adam and Eve before find the leaves of belief’s (the knowledge of good and evil) to cloth ourselves rejecting both the message and blood of Jesus Christ.
Can you be naked, unashamed and intimate with God and all your brothers and sisters?
Do you have or want Naked Relationships?
Paul in his letter to the saints with the overseers and deacons in Philippi writes:
Philippians 4:8 (The Message)
8-9Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
Paul asks the saints to fill the mind and meditate on things true…… Why?
Vs.6 Paul says: Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray.
To fret or worry is a condition that plagues many today. Part of the problem is that we accept this mental and emotional condition as normal and just a part of everyday life. Often we enter into a time of prayer because we are feeling “worry” of some kind. The reality is many prayers are not answered because the one petitioning the Lord does not know how to pray. His prayer is not of faith but of fear and worry.
How did Jesus make his Petition Prayer known to the Father?
Mark 4:37-40 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? (KJV)
Jesus was speaking not only to the Sea but to Peter and the other disciples as well and said “Peace, Be Still”
It was in the Psalms that the words: Be still, and know that I am God Ps 46:10 (KJV) were spoken.
Through faith Jesus remained in stillness and was the very expression of Peace on earth this is how he would Pray.
Vs.7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
How do we allow The “Peace of God” to guard both heart and mind?
Paul addresses this very issue in his letter: Finally brothers,
whatever is true
whatever is honorable
whatever is just
whatever is pure
whatever is lovely
whatever is commendable
—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.
To dwell is from the greek word λογίζομαι 3049. logizomai to reckon, to consider
to reason, decide, conclude; think, suppose. logízomai (the root of the English terms “logic, logical”)
Paul asks us to think about, meditate on and consider Truth. Truth is not a doctrine but the reality that is right inside of you. Jesus said “the kingdom of God is within you” and “you shall know the Truth and truth will set you free” Jn.8:30-32 What more can you ask for?
Consider if you are a true disciple of Jesus? Its not enough to just believe he is the son of God, even Satan believes that. Do you believe and have faith in the words he spoke?
These are not just saying but realities that we can experience now, today as we dwell on His gospel, the good news of what is right now!!
If you believe what Jesus has said why do you still have fears? Jesus words were Mark 9:23-24 “Everything is possible to the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe! Help my unbelief.”
How is our unbelief helped?
Meditate on what is lovely – as we consider what is lovely our hearts are filled with love and joy – no longer do we find room in our hearts for fret, worry and unbelief because it has been overwhelmed with love, joy and peace. Isaiah knew this experience when he wrote the words:
You will keep in perfect peace the mind [that is] dependent [on You], for it is trusting in You. Isaiah 26:3 (HCSB)
When one is filled with fear he cannot find God who is love. This is why the scriptures say: 1 Jn.4:18 There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear……..(HCSB)
Paul knew that if the saints in Philippi practiced what he had taught them about how to meditate on the lovely and commendable things they had experienced that they would know the love and Peace within themselves:
Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9 (HCSB)
When you think about or meditate through faith on God’s lovely creation or a commendable act that a brother or sister has done your heart is filled with love and truth not fret or worry and you are able to approach the Lord in peace and faith then, and only then, can you: ….in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Phil 4:6 (HCSB)
The first Adam stood naked and unashamed before God. Together, God and Adam were One. Adam turned away and left the image of God, the one community, to an existence of material laws of good and evil no longer in community with the Spirit. In the last Adam we see the restoration of that community and communion with Spirit. This last Adam is a man who “does nothing of His own” but everything in communion with the Father of Spirits. It is at the end of his material life on earth Jesus declares that “It is finished”. It is here we find the last Adam both physically and spiritually naked and yet unashamed. Why?
Nakedness is not a state of physically being unclothed but an expression of the “I Am”. It is the state of the being who remembers the One Spirit that God breathed into his good and perfect creation. It is remembering who we are, the image of God. Clothing is an adding to, its foundation is the idea that as you are is not good enough. This is the great lie of the enemy that you “need to become” like God. As long as you are trying to “become” you will always be clothing yourself with fig leaves, living in fear of God and man and trying to justify your existence.
What does it take to know yourself?
Gen.2:25 Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame. (HCSB)
The thought of being naked in front of a group of peers is the classic dream of dread. The idea of this sends shivers down most peoples spines and yet it describes the first human relationship mentioned in the Bible. Not only were they naked but even more important was the fact that they felt no shame. This “Shameless Nakedness” describes a key component in human relationships it also describes the state of being when man was first in relationship with God.
Naked – ST. 5903. erom or erom; naked, nakedness
Original Word: עֵירֹם: erom or erom
The root word is “ur” it means to be exposed or laid bare.
Nakedness is the state of nothing being between two beings. In essence nakedness is oneness.
Gen.3:7-11 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid themselves from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. So the LORD God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” Then He asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I had commanded you not to eat from?”
I was afraid because I was naked – why does Adam make this statement? Adam went from naked with no shame to naked and afraid.
We see an indication to the reason in God’s response – Who told you, you were naked?
Who told you? Here are two ways of learning. One is through experience, you experience a life situation and through the experience you discover what is. The other is to be taught or told what is, how things are, and why to respond in a certain way. This way is known as law – Law is the statement of what is good and what is evil. It is grace that allows a person the time of wilderness wandering to discover through experience and it is law that demands you blindly follow a certain way without the means of discovery.
What was Adam told that caused him to be aware of his nakedness and to have a problem with his nakedness?
Gen 3:4-5 “No! You will not die,” the serpent said to the woman. “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
“if you do this you will become like God”
or in other words – You are not like God and need to do something to become like Him.
Remember the introduction to the enemy was Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the LORD God had made.
Cunning = St 6175 – from arom Definition; crafty, shrewd, sensible, prudent and subtle.
The enemy planted the seed of a lie telling the children of God that in order to be like God they needed to do something. Instead of just organically growing up they needed to add to what God had already done. For the enemy God’s creation was incomplete and still needed to be perfected.
Gen 1:27 So God created man in His own image
Image = 6754. tselem Original Word: צֶ֫לֶם
form , image , likenesses.
TWOT says:– God’s image (He who is Spirit) obviously does not consist in man’s body which was formed from earthly matter, but in his spiritual, intellectual and moral likeness to God from whom his animating breath came.
So Adam and Eve were like God spiritually, intellectually and morally but unlike God they dwelt in body or material form. They were babes i.e. spiritual beings without material experience.
The writer of Job describes it this way – Job 10:11 You clothed me with skin and flesh, and wove me together with bones and tendons.
The image of God finding a home in the flesh.
Your eyes will be opened
Gen 3:6-7 Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate [it]; she also gave [some] to her husband, [who was] with her, and he ate [it]. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
The question is what eyes were opened? As we see in the verse “the woman saw that the tree was good for food” She had sight, she had certain understanding.
They knew – St 3045 yada – to know (properly, to ascertain by seeing); used in a great variety of senses, figuratively, literally, euphemistically and inferentially
In other words “to ascertain by seeing” = To use the material eyes to determine what is truth. Those who live by the Spirit “ascertain truth” by the Spirit and not by the natural eye. The eyes that were opened were the natural eyes for judgment – it was now the natural eyes that would determine what was good and what was evil. Up until this point it was the voice of God that they lived by i.e. the Word of God. But when they believed and followed the words of the enemy they were led down a path where they would use their material eyes, brain and senses to determine what only the Spirit of God can truly see and know.
Instead of living life as the God-Man (God’s nature in a material form i.e. the image of God) they choose to live a fleshly life as Man with his 5 senses apart from the Spirit of God. When they choose for themselves this path their spiritual eye closed and they could see what only the fleshly eye can see. And what did they see? Flesh, nakedness, the material world without the ability to see the spiritual world.
Adam and Eve had been spiritual beings living in material bodies but when they choose to live as material beings they lost sight of God, they no longer knew who they were spiritually. They became lost, spiritually blind and for the first time, incomplete, fearful and ashamed.
“I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”
Afraid – 3372 to fear Original Word: יָרֵא yare’ – external dread.
Shame – 954. bosh; to be ashamed; to fall into disgrace; be put to confusion when things go contrary to ones expectation.
To go from a state of a spiritual and material world into a state of only the material produced confusion and a dread that led to fear. Instead of hearing God in Spirit he now was hearing Him only through the flesh and God is only one with man in Spirit not in flesh – To Adam God is distant and a stranger. God is spirit and man had chosen to live as flesh this difference brought confusion and man became afraid and ashamed.
They sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
Loincloths 2290 Original Word: חֲגוֹר chagowr apron, armor, girdle
When mankind chose to walk in the material world his answers were all material but his problem was spiritual. He found himself naked and his answer was to take a leaf and make an apron – material covering material this was their answer. His deep sense of loss led to a feeling of lack, it was Adam who tried to fix this lack by covering himself with leaves.
It was Adam & Eve’s spiritual life that died that day. They had lost and forgotten the image of God. They had become like the animals, so, God clothed them in animal skins.
Gen.3:21 The LORD God made clothing out of skins for Adam and his wife, and He clothed them.
God met them where they were, in their material flesh and began to make a way for mankind to return to what he left. Mankind was now to discover the path he choose, a path of the material, 5 senses, fleshly way. And what is the way of the flesh? LAW, The knowledge of Good and Evil.
Jesus Comes the Last Adam and Life-Giving Spirit Returns
1Cor.15:45,49 So it is written: The first man Adam became a living being ; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit. And just as we have borne the image of the man made of dust,we will also bear the image of the heavenly man.
Jn.10:10 A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.
Paul calls Jesus the “Last Adam” because Adam being the first man was the one who choose for mankind a life in the fleshly 5 senses without spiritual eyes or ears. Jesus, the last Adam came to return to mankind what was his to begin with. He came to show man the way back from his state of spiritual darkness and being afraid, confused and lost. Jesus came to show what it was like for a man to walk not after the material, fleshly “LAW” way but to walk after The SPIRIT.
1 Sam.16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.”
Often times I have heard this passage to describe what the Lord sees and what man is unable to see, but this is not the case. It is not that man is unable to see what God sees. It is that Adam chose to live only in the flesh and as such was limited to the material world. We see that the last Adam is not limited in this way He has chosen to live not only in the flesh but also in the Spirit, in union with God.
Jn.2:25 He did not need anyone to testify about man; for He Himself knew what was in man.
John & Jesus – The end and beginning.
Jn.1:29-34 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the One I told you about: ‘After me comes a man who has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’ I didn’t know Him, but I came baptizing with water so He might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I watched the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He rested on Him. I didn’t know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One you see the Spirit descending and resting on—He is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. ‘I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God!”
John represented the pinaacle of what a man following the Law could accomplish. A man is his message and the message of John was one of repentance; a turning away from one way to walk another. And of this other way John did not know but he said to follow the one who did. It is John who stands declaring a new way that not of the Law but of the Holy Spirit.
John 1:17,32-33 for although the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. And John testified, “I watched the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He rested on Him. I didn’t know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One you see the Spirit descending and resting on—He is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.
Water Baptism = The Death of one way and the desire for a new way. It is the act of faith like Abraham leaving his home not yet knowing where he is going.
Spirit Baptism = The power of the New Way, it is the trans-formative renewal process of a mind that is bent to live in the knowledge of good and evil.
Eph 4:17,18,20-24…. You should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their thoughts. They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts….But that is not how you learned about the Messiah, assuming you heard Him and were taught by Him, because the truth is in Jesus: you took off your former way of life, the old man that is corrupted by deceitful desires; you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; you put on the new man, the one created according to God’s [likeness]
Renewed is to “make new again” the old man or first Adam choose to walk alone without God who is Spirit. The New man is in the image of God i.e. Spirit and Spirit is community and oneness. One body many parts but one body. The man created in God’s image was Adam and Eve; One man, two parts male and female. God’s image is the many but always the many are still One.
Before sin had entered the world, before Adam choose a path with God, God declared something not good in his creation.
Gen 2:18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is like him.”
The image of God was never to be alone – the image of God is community – oneness with many.
Adam and Eve were the visible expression of the community of God and man. Man walked away from this community but God waits for his return.
Heb.7:11,15-19 If, then, perfection came through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there for another priest to arise in the order of Melchizedek, and not to be described as being in the order of Aaron? (And this becomes clearer if another priest like Melchizedek arises, who doesn’t become a [priest] based on a legal command concerning physical descent but based on the power of an indestructible life. For it has been testified:You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. So the previous commandment is annulled because it was weak and unprofitable (for the law perfected nothing), but a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
The law perfected nothing – In other words the law could never make the flesh, Spirit. Flesh-Man alone is not good, it is the body that was prepared for the Spirit not to be alone.
Heb.10:1 Since the law has [only] a shadow of the good things to come, and not the actual form of those realities, it can never perfect the worshipers by the same sacrifices they continually offer year after year.
The reality is in Spirit not Law which is only a shadow of Spirit activity. A shadow is form with no actual substance or life in it.
Heb 10:19-21 Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He has inaugurated for us, through the curtain (that is, His flesh); and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled [clean] from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.
The new and living way that Jesus inaugurated for us is life in the Spirit, life in union with God. Which means hearts full of faith and clear consciences with no fear. No longer walking in confidence with our knowledge of good and evil but walking by faith in God, that is hearing and doing that which is spoken by the voice of God within our hearts.
Heb.10:16-17 I will put My laws on their hearts, and I will write them on their minds, [He adds]: I will never again remember their sins and their lawless acts.
It was Jesus who inaugurated this way of listening to a heart and mind that has been saturated even baptized in the Spirit.
Jn.5:30 “I can do nothing on My own. I judge only as I hear, and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
Jesus did not judge according to the law of the knowledge of good and evil – Jesus judged according to what His Father said his will to be.
Jn.14:10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own. The Father who lives in Me does His works.
It was the first Adam who made the choice to walk in the commandments of the Law of good and evil. This way was alone, independent from the Father. It is the Last Adam who choose to walk in the word of the Father, and invites us to join Him in this New and living relational Way. The Father’s commands are his internal instruction and counsel within us, Christ asks us to listen and obey what is declared within us just as He listened and obeyed the counsel of His Father within Him.
Jn.14:15-21 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. “In a little while the world will see Me no longer, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live too. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me.
Naked and Unashamed
It was the first man, the first Adam who stood naked and unashamed before God. Together they were One. Mankind turned away from the image of God, the one community, to an existence of material laws of good and evil no longer in community with the Spirit. In the last Adam we see the restoration of that community and communion with Spirit. This last Adam is a man who “does nothing of His own” but always in communion with the Father of Spirits. It is here at the end of his material life on earth that we find the last Adam physically and spiritually naked and yet unashamed.
Luke 23:33 -37 When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. [ hen Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” ] And they divided His clothes and cast lots. The people stood watching, and even the leaders kept scoffing: “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked Him. They came offering Him sour wine and said, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!”
Jesus was not in confusion here nor had things gone contrary to his expectation. Jesus was willingly being the end of Adam’s rebellion against God – The end of an independent existence lived out in the knowledge and laws of Good and Evil. Jesus lived in oneness with the Father and oneness with everyone he ever met. He never saw two, simply one as he demonstrates on the cross. He says: Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.”
Jesus knew the state of man and that sin is because of ignorance but on the cross Jesus the light had come to enlighten the understanding of the darkened mind of man.
Jesus was not hiding behind any laws or pleading for justice because of his innocence. He did not cover himself with anything, he felt no need for justification in anyway. Jesus knew who he was. He knew who mankind was. Jesus was naked, unashamed declaring to all humanity that mankind is the child of God, His very image and that we can remember that we are One. We don’t need to try and justify why God should love and accept us – we simply need to believe and receive. Openly, nakedly and intimately receive the love and acceptance of God who declares himself One with us.
Our nakedness is not a state of material being it is an expression of the “I Amness” of mankind of the I AM of God. It is accepting God’s creation as good and perfect. It is a remembering of who we are, the image of God. Clothing is an adding to, its foundation is the idea that as you are is not good enough. This is the great lie of the enemy that you “need to become” like God. As long as you are trying to “become” you will always be clothing yourself with fig leaves, living in fear of God and man and trying to justify your existence.
When Jesus was tempted by the enemy the first two temptations were a challenge to prove identity. “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” In essence he was asking Jesus to put on the clothes of the miraculous in order to justify and prove his being the son of God. The response of Jesus was a declaration that man lives on every word that comes from the mouth of God. And what had just come from the mouth of God was “This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!” The word of God was what Jesus experienced, sustained his life, and nothing else needed to be added to that. Before the enemy he remained naked (adding nothing to what was) and unashamed.
Jesus lived life as he was, never falling into the trap of trying to justify his life but lived a life Naked before God and Man adding nothing to what already is. If you live life trying to be justified, Christ’s life, message and death is meaningless but to those who see the Light know that the Just live by Faith alone i.e. Naked before God and man. These are the ones who come to fully know themselves as God knows them, these are the ones who experience knowing Love.
1 Cor.13:12 For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known.
Heb. 11:35-39 Some men were tortured, not accepting release, so that they might gain a better resurrection, and others experienced mockings and scourgings, as well as bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they died by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted, and mistreated. The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts, mountains, caves, and holes in the ground. All these were approved through their faith.
A follow up to “Is the Jehovah Moses speaks of the Heavenly Father of Jesus?”
You know when you are putting something together and the pieces just don’t quite go together but the directions say it should or at least you think they do. In my younger days I was the one who would make it work only to find out later how it was supposed to be. Over time you learn that if does not fit don’t force it just be patient. Well this approach has also become the way I have begun to reexamine my faith, the Bible and my life. In Religion we are often given these nice neat packages that have already been assembled but when we begin to use them or examine them we find that everything does not fit all that well or it does not even work, but because we need to get it done we do whatever it takes to get it ready to use. In my questioning of the relationship between Biblical stories some brothers were fine with it others felt it could be dangerous to tamper with it especially in a public way. I guess it is good that both types of brothers exist – for some they need to have these things tampered with but for others it might be dangerous. So I guess I write for those who like myself are not new to the study of the scriptures but are unsatisfied with their own present understanding and are willing and ready to be challenged.
I love the internet for one things in particular – you find writings, old ones that if not for the internet you never would of found them. Three days ago I was surfing the net and came across a book on Google docs entitled Babel and Bible by F. Delitzsch. Recently I had been reading a lot about the Sumerian texts so the title caught my eye but the fact it was written by F. Delitzsch was even more interesting. All through my Bible College the OT commentary I used was by Keil and Delitzsch which was the standard by which I was taught. Well it ends up that Babel and Bible was a book that came out of two lectures that were given by the Son of F. Delitzsch in 1902 and 1903. Friedrich Delitzsch. These two lectures were given before a very pretentious audience and caused a great uproar. You see Friedrich Delitsch was a German Assyriologist one of the best in his field at that time. As Wikipidia says “Friedrich Delitzsch specialized in the study of ancient Middle Eastern languages, and published numerous works on Assyrian language, history and culture. He is remembered today for his scholarly critique of the Biblical Old Testament. “
Introduction – “So far, at any rate, the conviction has steadily and universally established itself that the results of the Babylonian and Assyrian excavations are destined to inaugurate a new epoch, not only in our intellectual life, but especially in the criticism and comprehension of the Old Testament, and that from now till all futurity the names of Babel and Bible will remain inseparably linked together.” pg.2
This was said over 100 years ago – this shows you how long it takes for “FACTS” to even begin to change the way we think.
“The Old Testament formed a world by itself till far into the last century. It spoke of times to whose latest limits the age of classical antiquity barely reached, and of nations that have met cither with none or with the most cursory allusion from the Greeks and the Romans. The Bible was the sole source of our knowledge of the history of Hither Asia prior to 550 B. C.” pg.3
Here is a quote from the story of Sargon I who lived in the third or fourth millennium before Christ and before Moses. – “In Azupiran, on the banks of the Euphrates, she bore me in concealment; she placed me in a box of reeds, sealed my door with pitch, and cast me upon the river, which conveyed me on its waves to Akki, the water-carrier. He took me up in the kindness of his heart, reared me as his own child, made me his gardener. Then Ishtar, the daughter of the King of Heaven, showed fondness for me and made me king over men.”” pg.11
We read in Numbers vi. 24-27: “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”
Countless times has this blessing been given and received! But it was never understood in its full depth, and import until Babylonian usage informed us that ” to lift up one’s countenance or eyes upon or to another,” was a form of speech for “bestowing one’s love upon another, for gazing lovingly and feelingly upon another, as a bridegroom upon a bride, or a father upon a son.” This ancient and glorious benediction, therefore, invokes on man with increasing emphasis God’s blessing and protection, God’s benignant and gracious consideration, and lastly God’s own love,—finally to break forth into that truly beautiful greeting of the Orient, “Peace be with thee!” pg.29-30
Yet the greatest and most unexpected service that Babel ever rendered the philological interpretation of the Bible must yield the palm for wide-reaching significance to the fact that here on the banks of the Euphrates and Tigris as early as 2250 B. C. we find a highly organized constitutional state. Here in these Babylonian lowlands, having an area not greater than that of Italy, yet extraordinarily rich by nature and transformed by human industry into a veritable hotbed of productiveness, there existed in the third millennium before Christ a civilization comparable in many respects with our own. pg.30
Origins of the Sabbath, Babylonian?
“When the twelve tribes of Israel invaded the land of Canaan, they entered a country which belonged absolutely to the domain of Babylonian civilization. It is an unimportant but characteristic feature of the prevailing state of things that a Babylonish garment excited the avarice of Achan when the first Canaanite city, Jericho, was stormed and plundered (Joshua 7:21). And not only the industry, but also the commerce and law, the customs and the science of Babylon were the standards of the land. Knowing this, we comprehend at once why the systems of measures, weights, and coins used in the Old Testament, and the external form of their laws (“if a man do this or that, he shall be punished after this manner or that”) are Babylonian throughout. So also the sacerdotal customs and the methods of offering sacrifices were profoundly influenced by Babylonian models; and it is a remarkable fact that Israelitic traditions are altogether at variance in their accounts of the origin of the Sabbath,— as will be rendered apparent by a comparison of Exodus 20:11 and Deuteronomy 5:15. But now the matter is clearer.
The Babylonians also had their Sabbath day (shabattu], and a calendar of feasts and sacrifices has been unearthed according to which the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th days of every month were set apart as days on which no work should be done, on which the king should not change his robes, nor mount his chariot, nor offer sacrifices, nor render legal decisions, nor eat of boiled or roasted meats, on which not even a physician should lay hands on the sick. Now this setting apart of the seventh day for the propitiation of the gods is really understood from the Babylonian point of view, and there can therefore be scarcely the shadow of a doubt that in the last resort we are indebted to this ancient nation on the banks of the Euphrates and the Tigris for the plenitude of blessings that flows from our day of Sabbath or Sunday rest.” pg.37-38
The Flood Story Babylonian
The Babylonians divided their history into two great periods: that before the Flood and that after the Flood. Babylonia was in the true sense of the word the land of deluges. Like all alluvial lowlands bordering on great streams that flow into the sea, it was exposed to floods of the direst and most unique character. It is the home of the cyclone or tornado, with its accompaniment of earthquake and cloudburst. Only twenty-five years ago, in the year 1876, a tornado of this character gathered in the Bay of Bengal, and amid the crashing of thunder and with a violence so terrific as to dismast ships distant nearly two hundred miles, approached the delta of the Ganges, met the ebbing tide, and engulfing it in its own titanic tidal-wave, hurled oceans of water over an area of 141 square leagues to a depth of 45 feet, drowning 215,000 human beings, and only losing its strength as it broke against the highlands that lay beyond. Now the credit belongs to the celebrated Viennese geologist, Eduard Suess, for having discovered the exact and detailed description of just such a tornado in the Babylonian story of the Flood inscribed on this tablet from the library of Sardanapalus at Nineveh and committed to writing 2000 years before Christ. The sea plays the principal part in this flood, and therefore the ark of the Babylonian Noah, Xisuthros, is cast back upon a spur of the Armenio-Medean mountains; but in other respects it is the same old story of the Flood, so familiar to us all.
Xisuthros receives from the god of the watery deep the command to build a ship of certain dimensions, to coat it thoroughly with pitch, and to put on board of it his entire family together with the seeds of all living things. The ship is entered, its doors are closed, it is cast adrift upon the devastating waves, and is finally stranded upon a mountain bearing the name of Nizir. Then follows the famous passage : ” On the seventh day I took forth a dove and released it; the dove flew hither and thither, but finding no resting-place returned.” We then read that a swallow was sent forth; it also found no resting-place and returned. Finally a raven was sent forth, which, noticing that the waters had subsided did not return. Xisuthros then abandons his ship and offers sacrifices on the summit of the mountain. The sweet odor was scented by the gods, etc., etc. This entire story, precisely as it is here written, afterwards travelled to Canaan, but owing to the totally different conformation of the land in this latter country, it was forgotten that the sea had played the principal role, pg.39-40
The Creation Story – Babylonian
In the primordial beginning of things, according to this epic, down in the gloomy chaos, surged and u ‘aged the primeval waters, the name of which was Tiamat. When the gods declared their intention of forming * an orderly cosmos out of the chaos, Tiamat arose (usually represented as a dragon, but also as a seven-headed , serpent) , and made ready for combat to the death. Monsters” of all descriptions she spawned from her mighty depths, especially gigantic venom-blown serpents; and in their company she set forth bellowing and snorting to her conflict with the gods. The Celestials quaked with terror when they saw their direful foe. The god Marduk alone, the god of light, of dawn, and of the vernal sun, came forward to do battle with her, his sole stipulation being that sovereign rank among the gods should be accorded him.
Then follows a splendid scene. First the god Marduk fastened a gigantic net to the East and the South, to the North and the West, lest any part of Tiamat should escape. He then mounted in shining armor and radiant with majesty his celestial chariot, which was drawn by four spirited steeds, the admired cynosure of the eyes of all the surrounding gods. Straightway he made for the dragon and her dread embattled train, sending forth his challenge for the contest. Then Tiamat shrieked loudly and fiercely, till her deepmost foundations trembled and shook. She opened her maw to its uttermost, but before she could shut her lips Marduk made enter into her belly the evil hurricane. He seized his lance and pierced her heart. He cast her carcass down and placed himself upon it, whilst her helpers were taken captive and placed in close confinement. Thereupon Marduk cut Tiamat in twain, as cleanly as one would sever a fish, and of the one half he made the roof of heaven and of the other he made the earth ; and the heaven he inlaid with the moon, and the sun, and the stars, and the earth he covered with plants and animals, until finally the first man and the first woman, made of mingled clay and celestial blood, came forth from the hand of their creator. .
Since Marduk was the city-god of Babel, it is quite intelligible that this story found widespread diffusion in Canaan. Nay, the poets and prophets of the Old Testament went so far as to attribute directly to Yahveh the heroic deeds of Marduk, and to extol him as the champion that broke the head of the dragons in the water (Psalms 74:13 et seq.; 89:10), and under whom the helpers of the dragon stooped (Job 9:13).
Passages like the following from Isaiah 51:9: “Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of Yahveh; awake, as in the days of old, in the generations of ancient times. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab in pieces and pierced the dragon?”
or passages like that from Job 26:12 “He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth the dragon,”
read like explanatory comments on the little image which our expedition found representing the god Marduk, of the powerful arm, the far-seeing eye, and the far-hearing ear, the symbol of intelligence clad in majestic glory, with the conquered dragon of the primeval waters at his feet pg.41-42
The priestly author that wrote the first chapter of Genesis took infinite pains to eliminate all mythological features from his story of the creation of the world. But since his story begins with the gloomy, watery chaos which bears precisely the same name as Tiamat, namely Tehom, and since this chaos was first divided by the light, and heaven and the earth appeared afterwards, and heaven was set with the sun, the moon, and the stars, and the earth was covered with flowers and with animals, and finally the first man and woman went forth from the hand of God, it will be seen that there is a very close relationship between the Biblical and the Babylonian story of the creation of the world; and it will be obvious at the same time how absolutely futile all attempts are and will forever remain, to harmonise our Biblical story of the creation with the results of natural science. pg.45
The Fall of Man
The question as to the origin of the Biblical story of the Fall of Man is of the utmost importance from the point of view of the history of religion as well as from that of the theology of the New Testament, which, as is well known, contrasts with the first Adam by whom sin and death were brought into the world, a second Adam.
May I lift the veil, may I point to an old Babylonian cylinder-seal, on which may be seen in the center a tree bearing pendent fruits, to the right a man,
distinguishable by his horns, which are the symbol of strength, to the left a woman, both with their hands outstretched toward the fruit, and behind the woman the serpent? Is it not the very acme of likelihood that there is some connection between this old Babylonian picture and the Biblical tale of the Fall of Man?
The serpent again? That has an unmistakably Babylonian ring. It was doubtless the same serpent, the primordial foe of the gods, that sought to revenge itself on the gods of light by seeking to estrange from them their noblest creature? Or was it the serpent of which it is once said that it ” destroyed the dwelling-place of life” ? pg.47-48
Is it from God or Babylon?
This drastic intrusion of Assyrian antiquity upon our own days naturally fills us with amazement, and yet it is nothing more than what has happened in the intellectual domain. When we distinguish the twelve signs of the zodiac and call them Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etc., when we divide the circle into 360 parts, the hour into 60 minutes, and the minute into 60 seconds, and so on,—in all this, Sumerian and Babylonian civilization still lives with us to-day.
And possibly I have also been successful in my endeavor to show that many Babylonian features still cling, through the medium of the Bible, to our religious thinking.
The elimination from our religious thought of the purely human conceptions derived from these admittedly talented peoples, and the liberation of our thought generally from the shackles of deep-rooted prejudices, will in no wise impair true religion and the true religious spirit, as these have been taught us by the prophets and poets of the Old Testament, but most sublimely of all by Jesus; on the contrary, both will come forth from this process of purification far truer and far more intensified than ever they were before. pg.59-60
Yahveh know and written about by the Babylonians
Clay Tablets Containing The Words ” Yahveh is God.”
(Time of Hammurabi or Amraphel. British Museum.)
But more! Through the kindness of the director of the Egyptian and Assyrian department of the British Museum I am able to show you here pictures of three little clay tablets. What, will be asked, is to be seen on these tablets, fragile broken pieces of clay, with scarcely legible characters scratched on their surface? True enough, but they are valuable from the fact that their date may be exactly fixed as that of the time of Hammurabi (1790 BC – around the same time as Abraham) (Moses is given the Law in about 1313 BC) , one of them having been made during the reign of his father, Sin-muballit; but still more so from the circumstance that they contain three names which are of the very greatest significance from the point of view of the history of religion. They are the words :
la- hn~ um- ilii
Yahveh is God. Yahveh, the Abiding One, the Permanent One (for such is, as we have reason to believe, the significance of the name), who, unlike man, is not tomorrow a thing of the past, but one that endures forever, that lives and labors for all eternity above the broad, resplendent, law-bound canopy of the stars,—it was this Yahveh that constituted the primordial patrimony of those Canaanite tribes from which centuries afterward the twelve tribes of Israel sprang. pg.62
The Prophet Ezekiel’s Visions – Babylonian?
The Prophet Ezekiel (chap.’1) in his visions of his Lord saw God enter on a living chariot formed of four winged creatures with the face of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle, and on the heads of these cherubim he saw (10:1) a crystal surface supporting a sapphire throne on which God was seated in the likeness of a man, bathed in the most resplendent radiance. Noting carefully these details, can we fail to observe the striking resemblance which his vision presents to the representation of a god which has been found on a very ancient Babylonian cylinder-seal ? Standing on an odd sort of vessel, the prow and stern of which terminate in seated human figures, may be seen two cherubim with their backs to each other and with their faces, which are human in form turned to the front. Their attitude leads us to infer that there are two corresponding figures at the rear. On their backs reposes a surface, and on this surface stands a throne on which the god sits, bearded and clothed in long robes, with a tiara on his head, and in his right hand •what are apparently a scepter and a ring: and behind the throne, standing ready to answer his beck and call, is a servitor of the god, who may be likened to the man “clothed with linen” (Ezekiel 9:3, and 10:2) that executed the behests of Yahveh.
Lecture two continues more into these points but I will just bring up one found on page 101 about laws of God??:
It will be the business of future investigators to determine to just what extent the Israelitic laws both civil and levitical are specifically Israelitic, or general Semitic, or how far they were influenced by the Babylonian code which is so much older and which had certainly extended beyond the borders of Babylon. I think, for instance, of the law of retribution, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, of the feast of the new moon, the so-called “shew bread,” the high priest’s breast plate, and many other things. For the present we must be thankful that the institution of the Sabbath day, the origin of which was unclear even to the Hebrews themselves, is now recognised as having its roots in the Babylonian Sabattu, “the day par excellence.”
On the other hand, no one has maintained that the Ten Commandments were borrowed even in part from Babylon, but on the contrary it has been pointed out very emphatically that prohibitions like the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh spring from the instinct of self-preservation which is common to all men. In fact, the most of the Ten Commandments are just as sacred to the Babylonians as to the Hebrews: disrespect for parents, false witness, and every sort of covetousness are also punished severely in Babylonian law, generally with death. Thus, for instance, we read in the very third paragraph of Hammurabi’s code: ” If in a law suit any one on the witnessstand utters falsehoods and cannot support his testimony, he shall himself be punished with death if the life of another is involved.”
Friedrich Delitzsch ending of second lecture said: –
For my own part, I live firm in the belief that the early Hebrew scriptures, even if they lose their standing as “revealed” or as permeated by a “revealed” spirit, will nevertheless always maintain their great importance, especially as a unique monument of a great religio-historical process which continues even into our own times. The lofty passages in the prophets and the psalms, filled with a living confidence in God and with longing for repose in God, will always find a living echo in our hearts, despite the particularistic limitation of its literal text and its literal meaning, which are largely obliterated anyway in our translation of the Bible. Indeed, words like those of the prophet Micah (6:6-8) : “Wherewith shall I come before Yahveh, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will Yahveh be pleased with thousands of rams, or ten thousands of rivers of oil? Or shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth Yahveh require of thee, but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God! “—words like these, insisting on an ethical manifestation of religion in the life (and which are also found in Babylonian writings), come, as it were, from the very soul of all sincerely religious people today.
But on the other hand, let us not blindly cling to antiquated and scientifically discredited dogmas from the vain fear that our faith in God and our true religious life might suffer harm!
Let us remember that all things earthly are in living motion and that standing still means death. Let us look back upon the mighty, throbbing force with which the German Reformation filled the great nations of the earth in every field of human endeavor and human progress! But even the Reformation is only one stage on the road to the goal of truth set for us by God and in God. Let us press forward toward it, humbly but with all the resources of free scientific investigation, joyfully professing our adherence to that standard perceived with eagle eye from the high watch-tower and courageously proclaimed to all the world : ” The further development of religion.” pg.114
Friedrich Delitzsch took a lot of persecution for giving these lectures and even still to this day. As a German living in 1903 his research is disregarded by many as the misguided work of a anti-Semitic German of his time. Here we sit 107 years later and still Christians today know so little about the origin and nature of the book they claim to follow.
The book Bible and Babel can be found free on-line here at Google books –
Is the Jehovah Moses speaks of the Heavenly Father of Jesus?
One of Jesus main teachings and actions, something that made Jesus stand out among Teachers was his teaching and demonstration of love not only for friends but also of his enemies.
Jesus said in his famous Sermon on the Mount: “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
“If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48
Was this Love of enemies demonstrated by Jehovah in the books of Moses?
The Flood, here it seems we see Jehovah taking care of the ones he likes
Gen.6:5-13 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth…..The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, ……I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, …..But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. ……Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.
Sodom and Gomorrah, here it seems Jehovah takes care of his friends but what about his enemies?
Gen.19:13-24 for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the LORD that the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, and said, “Up, get out of this place, for the LORD will destroy the city ” But he appeared to his sons-in-law to be jesting. …….Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven,
Mt Sinai and The Children of Israel, here it seems a very angry God who needs a man to talk him out of destroying even his friends.
Deuteronomy 9:13-14,18-23“The LORD spoke further to me, saying, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed, it is a stubborn people. ‘Let Me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.’ “I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you had committed in doing what was evil in the sight of the LORD to provoke Him to anger. “For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure with which the LORD was wrathful against you in order to destroy you, but the LORD listened to me that time also. “The LORD was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him; so I also prayed for Aaron at the same time. ….”Again at Taberah and at Massah and at Kibroth-hattaavah you provoked the LORD to wrath. “
Joshua and the Promised Land, here it seems Jehovah is a God who hardens hearts so the people would fight and be destroyed.
Joshua.11:19-20 There was not a city which made peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living in Gibeon; they took them all in battle. For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.
The words in the books of Moses do not seem to display the Heavenly Father that Jesus displays.
The Command of The Lord is –
Lev.24:17-23 ‘If a man takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put to death. ….. fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him. …… for I am the LORD your God.'” Then Moses spoke to the sons of Israel, and they brought the one who had cursed outside the camp and stoned him with stones. Thus the sons of Israel did, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.
The expression of the Father through Jesus says – “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. Matthew 5:38-42
Did Moses or whoever wrote Leviticus misunderstand or misquote “The Lord” ? Jesus is quoted as saying “You have heard it was said” “But I say” then he also says he only speaks his Fathers words not his own.
Was Jesus correcting a misquote?
So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. John 7:16
The disciples of Jesus agree with Jesus
Peter writes – “Do not return evil with evil, or insults with insults. Instead, pray for blessing. You were called in order to inherit blessing,” 1Peter 3:9.
Paul writes – Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Rom.12:17
Now “The Lord” says – Mal.3:6 “For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
Now if Moses followed the Lord Jonah interacted with I don’t think we have any conflict. The “Lord” of Jonah (as recorded in the book of Jonah) is a loving and forgiving Lord that seems more in line with the Father that Jesus expressed.
It does not seem that the “Lord” described in the 5 books of Moses always depict or express the non changing Heavenly Father of Jesus.
Some may say “It was a different time or dispensation” that may be true for man but not for God. God is not affected by time – He is the same yesterday, today and forever. At least this is true of “Jesus Christ Heb.13:8.”
The turn or burn message sometimes preached today seems appropriate to the Lord of Moses but not the merciful Heavenly Father of Jesus Christ. Moses himself seems to display more the attributes of the Heavenly Father of Jesus than the Lord of Moses does.
Jesus said “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” John 14:7
The Father of Jesus was not well known when Jesus walked the earth. It was the Law that was read, studied and known.
Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! John 9:28
Of the Law Jesus said: Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me. John 7:19
Notice he says “Moses gave you the Law” not “My Father gave you the Law”
In the recorded words of Jesus written by John you can feel the desperate exasperation of Jesus toward a people he loves that simply won’t listen. Here is a people who search the writings of other men instead of receiving the Father’s Love. These people simply refuse to know the Father for themselves they fight among themselves about the meaning of different prophets words and refuse to have an encounter of their own.
“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life. “Your approval means nothing to me, because I know you don’t have God’s love within you. For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God. “Yet it isn’t I who will accuse you before the Father. Moses will accuse you! Yes, Moses, in whom you put your hopes. If you really believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. But since you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?” John 5:39-47
Jesus knocking on the door of a Bible study
So, Is the Jehovah Moses speaks of the Heavenly Father of Jesus?
My answer is NO and Yes. Moses in some ways knew and expressed the Heavenly Father but at other times, like many of us, he expressed the “law and thoughts of Moses” not the Law of the Heavenly Father. Jesus expressed his Fathers Law in these words ‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matt.22:37-39.
So when reading Moses rejoice when he writes about your Heavenly Father but remember just because Moses says “you have heard it said” it does not make it the words or actions of your Heavenly Father.
For Ron! – The biggest stumbling block for the mystic way is our thoughts – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. Isa.55:8
This is Spiritual warfare and it is one that is waged inside of all Mystic’s – Most Religion goes the way of the Mind which is doctrine, teachings and traditions. It is the Mystic that goes the way of the Spirit – “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (Christ Jesus – John 3:8) So the way of the Mystic is in Spirit and it drives those who need doctrine, proof texts, and traditions crazy. Just see how the religious reacted to Jesus the Mystic.
Mysticism (from the Greek μυστικός, mystikos, an initiate of a mystery religion) is the pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness of an ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. Wikipedia’s Definition
Ps.46:10 Be still and know that I am God
What I have been doing or practicing is a move from my mind and thoughts about God, Jesus, the Bible to my knowing Spirit. Spirit is not flesh it is the “Heavenly Treasure in Earthen Vessels” To study or focus on the Vessel is not very productive to living by the Spirit. One passage of Paul’s really struck me when he said:
(note: I find only one real purpose for the scriptures – To help remove any and all stumbling blocks that keep you from going within and having face to face intimacy with God – that’s it! The scriptures were not written to teach you but to point you within – it is inside you that the knowing already is – you just go within and discover or become conscience of what is.)
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know Him like that. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.
Over my life I have spent way to much time studying about the human Jesus Christ and not enough time getting to know the Christ within me. Now I thought I was getting to know the life within me by studying about Christ, his nature and ways but in reality I was reading and trying to act like what was in me instead of living by what was in me. Big difference! Doing something because you think you are supposed to and doing something because everything in you wants to is like night and day. Getting to the point of trusting the spirit within your heart over your thoughts is the difference.
Col.1:23,27…This gospel has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become a minister of it….. this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Following Jesus (the human vessel that contained Christ) I discovered was not where I needed to place my hope but in following the gospel of Jesus I discovered something different. We seem to always look to things outside of our-self’s for guidance even though we all know the counselor was given to live within us. It seems may just think of the Spirit as the interpreter of the Bible for us instead of the voice and guidance of the Lord to us.
18 The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me
to proclaim freedom to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free the oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
…….”Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.”
“I must proclaim the good news about the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because I was sent for this purpose.”
* My Spirit has been captive to my fleshly nature i.e. ego (what I think of things)
* My Spiritual eyes and ears have not been used much (spiritual eyes and ears are found and can be physically felt within your heart and at your forehead)
* I as Spirit have not been able to function because of the fleshly nature
(the fleshly nature is one of judgment – what is right and wrong, good and evil – right doctrine- wrong doctrine)
* The kingdom of God is not anywhere in creation but within me. (Its not in this church, that church, this group, that group – it is an individual thing between you and God)
The quest for me was not to try and act like Jesus in so many ways, but one – to see and listen to the voice of the Father within. This is the “Way” he showed mankind to live. This is why he told his disciples that they know the Way – they had watched him do it for 3 years.
Jesus said: So the things that I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” Jn.12:50
Jesus said: I do nothing on My own. But just as the Father taught Me, I say these things. Jn.8:28
Jesus said: because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. Jn.5:30
All we really know of Jesus was that he did the Fathers will. Everything we read that he said or did was from following the Father.
When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray he taught them to say: “…..Thy kingdom come they WILL be done on earth as in heaven.”
Doing the will of the Father was the life Jesus lived out before man and it is what he asks us to follow.
Instead many have made him the Savior God who has come down to save us little helpless humans and not Son of man who came to show us how to live a victorious life in relationship with the Father by doing his perfect will. Jesus said: Be perfect as my heavenly Father is perfect – we say: He is not speaking literally.
Paul goes on to say:
Col.2:2-8 have the knowledge of God’s mystery – Christ….all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden… walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, …..Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ.
Christ is the Spirit within you speaking the words and will of the Father. (Scripture does say that the same Spirit that dwelt in Jesus now dwells in you – not a similar one-the same one – If Jesus the man was able to hear and walk in the will of the Father why can’t we – unless you don’t think that Jesus was really a man as most Christian don’t)
Why are you doing what you are doing – If because of doctrine, the Bible says…., human tradition, religious tradition – if it is not from within you then it is from without in other words it is from the world.
What I discovered was that what I really know to be real is what I have experienced for myself – just because someone told me or I read it in a book means nothing. If my relationship is based on what I have read or what someone else has told me it means I don’t really have a active relationship with the one I claim to love and follow.
Real knowing is intimacy not the accumulation of information and facts.
Having Intimacy takes spending time together.
How do I practice this intimacy?
Here are a couple of basic ways
Silence and Stillness I have found to be a wonderful environment for the operation or moving of the Spirit. I have a room that I have made where I can go and spend 20-30 min in silence or with sounds like a crystal singing bowl or meditation tapes with sounds.
I also practice the 15-20 sec every hour where you close your eyes and just listen to your breathing, or the ringing in your ears (also know as the song of the Lord) Still yourself and your thoughts. In stillness this you create space for the Spirit within yourself. You will always be filled to the capacity that you can hold.
If you take a way candle and light it you will see that over time it creates a cavity and the light can be seen burning through the wax. The same is true of the Spirit operating within man.
I like to describe this time (the 20-30 min) with the Lord as “on the couch snuggle time” – its not necessarily a time where we are being taught or talking but simply a time spent together, just enjoying each others presence. In these practices you will begin to notice your awareness of the Lord increase – You will begin to see Him, hear Him and find Him in places you never thought possible.
Mind renewal is not accomplished through study – that’s like trying to fix the mind with the mind. Mind renewal takes place as your mind is allowed to observes what the Spirit reveals through spiritual eyes that begin to see God everywhere and ears that hear Him speak through everything. Its not a discovery of something new its a seeing of what already is but in light and not darkness. Our fleshly mind is dark but the Spirit is light walk in the Spirit, walk in the light and you live like never before.
To begin to intimately know God as He is and not as our minds conceive is a mind blowing experience that changes the way you see everything. The Mystic is the one called to this kind of knowing. Like Moses he ventures up the mountain where other fear to go and like the children of Israel other desire to hear from what he has experienced. The Mystic’s life is not for every Christian but for those who have to its a call for face to face encounters with the Lord of Love. The experiences are life changing and ones that take you from the depths of despair to the heights of a knowing love that fills to abundant overflowing.
A book that might help some or might not is called Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer by Gregg Braden. Its a small book that gives an interestingly real perspective on Prayer.
“There are beautiful and wild forces within us.” With these words, the mystic St. Francis described what ancient traditions believed was the most powerful force in the universe – the power of prayer. For more than 20 years, Gregg Braden has searched for evidence of a forgotten form of prayer that was lost to the West following the biblical edits of the early Christian Church. In the 1990s, he found and documented this form of prayer still being used in the remote monasteries f central Tibet. He also found it practiced in sacred rites throughout the high deserts of the American Southwest.
Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to. Don’t try to see through the distances. That’s not for human beings. Move within, but don’t move the way fear makes you move. – Rumi
Remembering Eternity is the function and expression of the Spirit of Truth. Within us all is the Spirit it is what binds us to each other and to God our Father. Paul wrote “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Rom.8:11
The Spirit within us is not a different Spirit than the one that was in Jesus when he walked the earth. Everything that Jesus, Paul, Peter, Mary or anyone has experienced in Spirit we have accesses to through the one Spirit within us. Again Paul wrote “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit” 1Cor.12:13. So its not many Spirits that are at work but One Spirit from which we can live. This living in Spirit is not individual because the Spirit is not individual the One Spirit is in the many making all One. As we live from the Spirit we live in the community of all who live from the Spirit. Again the words of Paul “But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you”. Rom.8:9. Having the Spirit within you is one thing but the challenge or opportunity before us all is living within, by and through that One Spirit. This is what growing up or maturing is all about. Again Paul: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God”. Rom.8:14. To be led or be conscience of the One Holy Spirit that dwells within us is our way to freedom and liberation from our fleshly nature or ego. It is our false concepts, lies and false limitations that can bind us to a limited consciousness. Through the One Spirit we become conscience of what is or the “I AM”. Unity is in Spirit not in agreed upon truths or understanding but in lives led by the Spirit. Trying to attain unity is impossible but by being led by the Spirit is the expression of real existing unity by all who are engaged in such activity. As the One Spirit expressed in different human bodies our spiritual reality is no more visible to us than be the vision of one of the individual cells in my body seeing the totality of the whole body it is one with. Jesus knew this and said: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26. This remembering did not only occur with the disciples of Jesus but with all disciples of the Christ that dwells within us. As the Christ was remembered in the one body of Jesus today we remember our oneness in Christ as we take the symbolic portions of the physical body of Jesus. As each of us take a piece of the bread we see that the piece came from one whole. In the same way as I live from the One Spirit within me I can also see that you can live by the same One Eternal Spirit within you. And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. Luke 22:19
Its been little over a week since we got back from our trip to South India. During our two week stay we met a lot nice sweet people who live in terrible bondage. What do I mean by “terrible bondage” Well you see the people we met in India live by the traditions handed down to them. These traditions include men and women never touching in public, men and women never sitting together in public, women wearing a sari whenever leaving the house, the cast system (a system by which you are born to a certain status in society), arranged marriages, the family of a daughter getting married paying a dowry to the husbands family (you don’t want a lot of girls if you are Indian). These are just a few of the traditions that the Indian people we met live by. As American we have our traditions that we live by. Privacy, not showing up to someone’s house expectantly, boys and girls dating, public displays of affection, the weekend for entertainment, driving everywhere, shopping malls, lots of church buildings, watching TV. Traditions in and of themselves are not necessarily wrong so what makes a tradition evil?
Matt.15:6-9 he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:
8 ‘BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.
9 ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME,
TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’”
As an American in India it was fairly easy to spot some of the “precepts of men” that were being taught as Doctrines of God – but seeing the same thing in America is a little bit harder. In India one of the Pastors was rewarding some of the older women in the church because of the scarred knees that they had – the scarred knees were a sign of their dedication to God in prayer – this is obviously a “precept of men” who think that God wants you to suffer while speaking Him. One pastor, during the cold winter in the north had taken a blanket form an elderly gentleman that he was discipling. He told the disciple “You should only need the Fire of the Holy Spirit to keep you warm” the older man’s son begged for the blanket from the pastor but the pastor refused saying “We need men who are dedicated and on fire for the Lord.” This old disciple died the following week from illness. “All we need is the fire of the Holy Spirit” – Doctrine of God or precept of man?
The American Dream is to have a good job, own a nice house, have a nice car and a wife or husband and maybe 2 children one boy and one girl. This is American Tradition but is it “The Doctrine of God or precept of man?” The foundation of our nation is build upon a document called “The Declaration of Independence”. And we are a very independent people but is our independent culture invalidating the word of God for the sake of our tradition. As Christians we say we are “One in the bond of love” but do we really live this reality out. If I read about the early church I read about Oneness not just in word but in action – they shared everything they had with each other. Our culture calls that kind of life-style a cult. Is our American independent, capitalistic culture, Christian? Or is it a precept of man that is opposed to the very nature of God? I know many Christians who link Republican with Christian – Is the Republican platform a precept of man or the doctrine of God, not just parts of it, all of it, remember that a little leaven leavens the whole lump.
In India it was easy to see Traditions that were against God because I was coming for a different tradition but the challenge for me is to see the equally harmful traditions that are right here at home. I don’t want to be one that Isaiah was talking about when he says: ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’”