Monthly Archives: February 2018

IN THE WORDS OF JESUS–Part 1583

ON LOVE; PART MCCXXII

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GoodWill IS Love in Action

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FIRST IS THE GREAT COMMANDMENTS: “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).

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WHAT THEN IS LOVE? In a general sense love is benevolence, good will; that disposition of heart which inclines men to think favorably of their fellow men, and to do them good. In a theological sense, it includes supreme love to God, and universal good will to men. While this IS from an older definition of Charity, which IS rendered in the King James Bible from the same Greek word agape which IS generally rendered as Love, we should amend our own definition here to include the idea that in the reality of Love a man will accord to ALL men ALL things that he would accord to himself and to say that Love IS our thoughts and attitude of the equality of ALL men regardless of their outward nature or appearance…that ALL ARE equally children of Our One God

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PLUS THE EVER IMPORTANT AND HIGH IDEAL TAUGHT TO US BY THE CHRIST: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).

In our last essay we discussed the spiritual possibilities in the Life of everyman who will keep his part of the New Covenant which IS essentially to keep His words. That doctrinal thinkers DO NOT see this idea of keeping His words as that covenant IS of no moment to us and if one would research the doctrinal ideas of the New Covenant across denominations and sects, one would find that there IS little agreement on just what this New Covenant IS. Far too much emphasis IS placed upon the Jewish religion of 2000 years ago when defining the New Covenant in terms of the death and the blood of Christ. From their chosen perspectives doctrines see the idea that “almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22) as this IS extending the idea of sacrifice from the Jew’s law on the killing of animals to Christ.

Others translate this idea differently rendering it as “And according to the law, I may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and apart from shedding of blood there is no remission” but this change DOES NOT affect their point that blood IS required. This idea from the writer of the Book of Hebrews however IS intended for the Jew’s in that day….intended to show a dynamic link between their reliance upon sacrifice according to their law and the death of the Christ as that same sacrifice by which sins ARE forgiven. If we could understand that the Jew’s sacrifice was intended to deter men from sin in order to avoid such sacrifice, then perhaps we can see that Jesus’ death and His resurrection ARE at most similarly intended.

The sacrifice was a price that had to be paid by the Jew to remain under the law and it was ONLY by way of this eradication of one’s sin that one could continually see himself as that he does “hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments” (Deuteronomy 28:1). For many this becomes a licence to sin as so long as one paid the price, he could remain in the covenant….at least in his own thoughts. We should try to see that so much of the writings of the apostles, and especially the writer of Hebrews, IS intended to show a link between the Old Covenant and the new reality brought by the Master, a reality that IS built in His words and His example and NOT ONLY His death.

While the New Testament writers DO write much of their words to the Jew’s directly in an attempt to attract them to Christ, this idea IS NOT seen by most who translate and comment on their writings. Rather than understand such ideas as we have from Hebrews above in this sense, doctrines have used it to enforce their view of the death and the blood of Christ, that it IS by these that ALL sins ARE forgiven and, in some doctrines, forgiven ad infinitum. Much of the problem in ALL of Christianity IS the idea of forgiveness which IS rendered from the kindred Greek words aphesis and aphieme. Aphesis IS rendered in the King James Bible as remission, forgiveness, deliverance and liberty according to our lexicon, while the lexicon linked to the New American Standard Bible shows aphesis rendered as forgiveness, free and release with the rendering of deliverance being part of the Master’s recital of the words of the Prophet Isaiah.

The idea of forgiveness has been taken by doctrines to show that the Lord will forgive the sins of men but here we should try to see that the weight of sin IS ever upon one’s own heart and this whether he realizes a sin as such or not. It IS the heart, the consciousness of a man, that IS weighted down by sin and lifted up by his Repentance; one will NOT see this however in the light of doctrines that teach that the Lord IS the forgiver. Strong’s defines aphesis as freedom and then figuratively as pardon 9a but we should try to see here that the figurative ideas ARE based in the presumed usage of the word; here we should understand that even the idea of remission as we commonly understand this IS remiss. If we apply the defining idea of freedom to the teaching of John the Baptist, a teaching which Jesus fully picked up, we can then perhaps see the deeper ideas.

The Apostle Mark tells us that “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4) while the Apostle Luke tells us that the Baptist’s “father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying….thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins” (Luke 1:66, 76-77). Here we should try to see and to understand that it IS in Repentance that one IS freed from the weight of one’s own sin and it IS in this process, and the process of Transformation, that one can gains such “knowledge of salvation” which IS ever part of coming to “know the truth“; it IS in this that one can realize that it IS “the truth” that “shall make you free”.

The key IS ever in the reality of Repentance, NOT as this idea IS commonly understood, but as Vincent shows us saying: Repentance, then, has been rightly defined as Such a virtuous alteration of the mind and purpose as begets a like virtuous change in the life and practice 4. This IS the reality of Repentance as the Master uses this idea in such sayings as “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17); in this Repentance one looks away from the world and onto His Kingdom and this in the understanding that “whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God“. This IS the True depth of the ideas of Repentance and remission: in focus upon the world one IS weighted down by the reality that such focus IS “the friendship of the world” which “is enmity with God”  (James 4:4).

The idea here of friendship IS a bit misleading; the Greek word philia, which IS from the same root word as IS phileo which IS rendered in terms of Love, means fondness according to Strong’s 9a and this idea takes away the connotation of friend and replaces it with the idea perhaps of preference….that one prefers the world. It IS in Repentance then that one IS freed from this burden, this weight on the heart which ever intends to focus upon the Truth but which IS at the same time caught in the “bondage of corruption“, a bondage from which remission becomes his freedom. Here we should see Thayer’s primary definition of aphesis saying: release, as from bondage, imprisonment 9.

In ALL this we should try to understand that the doctrinal ideas of the New Covenant fail when we look at them in the reality of remission and against the apostles’ motivation to enable the Jews to see the crux of their law in the death and the blood of the Christ. It IS with this motivation that much of the Book of Hebrews IS written with its numerous references to the idea of the ‘high priest’, an idea that has been taken up by Christian doctrines which need NO ‘high priest’ and then made to be Jesus. This can be further seen in the writer’s words about Melchisedec who IS mentioned but once in Genesis and then referred to by David in a psalm.

There ARE many opinions about just who Melchisedec IS and what IS his relationship to Jesus the Christ. If we can see this in terms of showing the Jews that  “we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God” (Hebrews 4:14) while Jesus IS not of priestly lineage, but rather that He IS “an high priest after the order of Melchisedec“(Hebrews 6:20), we can then better understand the reference. While the admixture of the new with the old IS purposeful in the Book of Hebrews as an effort to attract the Jews to Jesus from a historical and religious perspective, this admixture was never intended to become Christian doctrine and it is against this mingling of the old with the new that the Master speaks. This IS the point of Jesus Parable of New Wine into Old Wineskins which IS recorded in the three synoptic gospels which we read saying:

From Matthew’s Gospel: “No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved” (Matthew 9:16-17).

From Mark: “No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles” (Mark 2:21-22).

From Luke: “And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better” (Luke 5:36-39)

These three renditions of the parable ARE ALL quite similar but we should note that Luke IS more explanatory in his presentation. The three ALL follow upon the question of why Jesus’ disciples DO NOT fast as did the disciples of John the Baptist and the disciples of the Pharisees. Both Luke and Mark tell this as that it IS the scribes and Pharisees who ask this question while Matthew tells us that it IS “the disciples of John” (Matthew 9:14) that ask. Many believe that it IS in the context of Jesus answer that the reality of the parable lies, that the parable has to DO with the idea of NOT fasting when in the presence of the bridegroom, but if we can look at the total context we can perhaps see that the reality of the parable lies in the question.

While the Master’s words about the bridegroom and the children can explain the immediate reason for Jesus’ disciples NOT fasting as He asks “Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them?” (Matthew 9:15), this should NOT be confused with the more complete answer that IS the parable. And we should remember that Jesus DOES teach us a thing about fasting which should be related to the way that this IS practiced by the Jews; Jesus tell us “when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” Matthew 6:16-18). Perhaps here we can see why Matthew frames the idea of fasting as mourning while the other writers DO NOT.

Such fasting IS apparently a Jewish tradition practiced by the ruling class and their disciples as well as by the followers of the Baptist who, by his being a Truly religious Jew, followed this tradition. We should understand here that fasting IS NOT a part of the law, save for the fast on the Day of Atonement each year; it IS a tradition and we should remember that it IS against the Jew’s traditions that the Master rails. If we could see Jesus’ words here as saying that the new should NOT be appended to the old as would be in the example of putting “a piece of a new garment upon an old“, we can then see the Master’s idea which IS effectually what happened in the Christian religions….that “both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old“. Perhaps we can see this clearer in Mark’s report of Jesus’s words saying “the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse“.

The point here IS that the Master IS teaching us to leave off of the old and to embrace the new without the Jew’s doctrinal thoughts and the ideas against which the He continually spoke. In the 2000 year history of Christianity however the Old Testament along with many of the Jew’s thoughts and ideas about it have become a major part of Christian theology; instead of being a reference work to be used with the New Testament, it became nearly as doctrinally important as the New. We should look at the idea of the new wine in old wineskins in the same way; we should try to see that the very foundation of the Old Testament CAN NOT hold the very different nature of the New and here we should try to see that the result of this combination IS the failure of both the container and the contents.

Jesus’ examples ARE pertinent to the time in which He gives them and while the early church, the formulators of doctrine, DID better understand these ideas in their context, they nonetheless DID NOT understand His point. Yet today there ARE many different doctrinal ideas regarding the meaning of this parable and in the days when these ideas were debated, those which seem to us to be the closest to the Truth were among those that were called heretical. Luke adds the ending idea regarding men’s preference for the old and here we should understand that Jesus’ point IS found in the difficulty of the established Jew to accept the new teaching of the Master….for him the “old is better“, it IS what he KNOWS. This ALL has naught to DO with the hypocritical ways that ARE attributed to the Pharisees and the other religious rulers of the Jews; this ALL has ONLY to DO with the Master’s caution that the new should NOT be appended to the old and that the new should NOT be placed in the old….that the new should NOT be built upon the old.

This IS Jesus’ message as He instructs us in ideas that ARE foreign to the way of the Jews’ doctrines and traditions, Jesus instructs us in ideas on Love and on the expression of that Love to ALL men as the new Path to the Truth. The law. especially the Jews’ interpretation of the law, were to give way to the teaching of the new Path to Truth and this teaching IS clearly identified for us in Matthew’s version of the Sermon on the Mount where comparisons ARE made….comparisons that ARE NOT become a part of the fabric of Christianity as was the Master’s intent. We should try to see that ALL such comparisons of the law to Jesus new revelation of the meaning of the law ARE concerning some aspect of agape as the unconditional Love for ALL….Love with NO “respect to persons” (James 2:9).

Here we should see that the relationship between killing and anger, Raca and belittling one’s brother ARE equally contrary to agape. Jesus’ further message in this context IS reconciliation which IS an expression of Love. (Matthew 5:22, 24). We should see the next idea in a similar way; the Master says “Agree with thine adversary quickly” (Matthew 5:25) and while He explains the potential results of NOT DOING so, the greater message IS that such agreeing IS an expression of Love which IS akin to another of His instructions….that men should ‘turn the other cheek’ as this IS commonly understood but seldom practiced. Next Jesus teaches us on adultery and here the idea IS specific to the reality of sexual interaction; Jesus shows us how that to merely think such thoughts IS contrary to agape and, according to His words on divorce, have far reaching consequences which can and DO hurt many others.

Any reading of Jesus Sermon on the Mount should reveal to us that ALL IS about agape and NOT just Jesus’ most specific words on agape which Luke shows us as  “Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:27-31). It IS these words about agape that frame the New Covenant which in the end ARE the essence of His words, the essence of what IS everyman’s responsibility in keeping His words and attaining the True rewards which ARE found throughout His words as well as in our trifecta which we repeat here again saying:

  • “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).
  • “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
  • “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me” (John 14:21-24).

In Truth the essence of the covenant DID NOT change….it was and it still IS that men should keep His words and this regardless that it IS the words of the Lord through Moses or the words of the Christ who reminds us that “the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me” as we read in our trifecta. If we can see that the foundation of the law IS Love; that the law deals with the interrelationships of men with men and of men with God, we can perhaps grasp the larger reality that has eluded men for 3500 years. The words of the law expounded by Moses played to the barbaric and superstitious people of the day, words which have been adapted to the doctrinal sense of men ever since. Neither the words of the prophets nor the words of the Master have swayed men; they DID NOT sway the Jews who remain stuck in their religious past and they DID NOT sway the early church who interpreted Jesus’ words through the prism of the Old Testament.

The message has always been about Love and about the True meaning of agape which far surpasses the deepest ideas spawned by the human mind and emotions. This however IS been lost to the doctrines of men and to humankind as whole and this despite the phrasing of the Truth of Love in the Great Commandments and the explanatory offered by the Master in the Golden Rule. We should note here that the very nature of the Ten Commandments, the Decalogue if you will, embodies the Truth of the Great Commandments and,  to be most clear, these ideas ARE repeated for us in Deuteronomy and in Leviticus. And we should note as well that these same ideas ARE the message of the prophets whose parabolic words ARE little understood.

Again, Jesus shows us that the law and the words of the prophets ARE concerning agape which IS the reality of the Great Commandments and the Golden Rule; He tells us concerning the Golden Rule that “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12) and of the Great Commandments He says “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:40). While there IS NO mystery here the whole of the doctrinal ideas on the law and on the words of the prophets have looked past this Truth of Love; and they look past it yet today without ever realizing the great Truth that the Apostle Paul shows us in our selection from his words on the Truth of Love which we repeat again saying:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not agape, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not agape, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not agape, it profiteth me nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). 

Agape suffereth long, and is kind; agape envieth not; agape vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Agape never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

Men have continually interpreted the Truth into ideas that fit their own view of Life which IS the doctrinal approach of men. Here we should see that those who have taken authority, the Pharisees, scribes, lawyers and the priests of the Jews, have, among themselves, decided the course of the Jews religion as it emerged from the Jew’s captivity; and this in much the same way as the kings and their advisors dictated its course before them. And the same IS True of the early Christian church where the church fathers decided among themselves that they best understood the human condition as they recast the Master’s words to their own use establishing rites and rituals that have come to replace the Truth. This continues through the formation of every denomination and sect, this continues through the Reformation and beyond as men and groups of men have taken authority over the spiritual lives of those who would follow them without ever seeing that they DO the same to the Christian as the Pharisee and his ilk DID to the Jew.

None Truly understand agape nor the Power of Love in this world of men and this despite the apostle’s words that show us that importance above and those which show how that it IS one’s expression of agape that allows one to Truly keep His words as we read in Paul’s words again saying:

“Owe no man any thing, but agapao one another: for he that agapao another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt agape thy neighbour as thyself. Agape worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore agape is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed”  (Romans 13:8-11).

We will continue with our thoughts in the next post.

Aspect of  God

Potency

Aspect of Man

In Relation to the Great Invocation

In relation to the Christ

GOD, The Father

Will or Power

Spirit or Life

Center where the Will of God IS KNOWN

Life

Son, The Christ

Love and Wisdom

Soul or Christ Within

Heart of God

Truth

Holy Spirit

Light or Activity

Life Within

Mind of God

Way

 

Quote of the Day:

Let the peace of God rule in your hearts

  • 4 Word Studies in the New Testament; Marvin R Vincent D.D. 2nd edition
  • 9a The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible on blueletterbible.org
  • 9 Thayer’s Greek Lexicon on blueletterbible.org

Those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.  

Voltaire, Writer and Philosopher

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Filed under Abundance of the Heart, Born Again, Bread of Life, Children of God, Christianity, Disciple of Christ, Eternal Life, Faith, Forgiveness, Light, Living in the Light, Reincarnation, Righteousness, Sons of God, The Kingdom, The Words of Jesus