“... she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." 1:20-21
Friday, January 26, 2018
Salvator Mundi (Savior of the World) by Leonardo Da Vinci
After considering the topic of God in several posts it might be helpful to look at the other end of the spectrum to the role of Jesus. We looked into the life of Jesus in some detail previously.
Jesus is regularly referred to as a savior. Mainstream churches use the catch-cry, “Jesus Saves”. Really! What does he save? Some say, “He saves me from my sins.” I cannot believe that every time I sin Jesus will save me – and everyone else who is sinning. What would be the point of that! What would we learn from it – it seems to me that when people say that they are not really thinking it through.
If I have learnt anything about the Bible, it is that every word single makes an important point. The Bible is so clever that no translator has been able to skew the real meaning. So what is the true meaning of referring to Jesus as a savior?
The idea of Jesus saving is first mentioned in the New Testament in Matthew chapter 1, when the angel announces the birth of Jesus to Joseph.
Nativity by Giotto
The meaning of the name Jesus is savior or deliverer. The question is: does the savior do the actual saving? A deliverer simply takes something from one place to another. It seems to me that we must save ourselves now made easier because Christ was able to unite himself with this earth; in fact, Jesus delivered him here!
We might be able to make more sense of this if we understand the word ‘sin’ See post about sin. The Greek word for sin is hamartion and means ‘to miss the mark’. Imagine if we had a quiver full of arrows, and these arrows represented our thoughts, how often would we hit the mark because our thoughts were true? We must admit that, left to our own devices, we don’t know what to think about certain things. There are many things in this world that we don’t understand. Essentially, the birth of Jesus heralded in a new era of human consciousness. Unless we understand that human consciousness changes we cannot understand the significance of the birth of Jesus, or the crucifixion of Jesus so that he could receive the Christ spirit into himself fully, and the subsequent resurrection.
In a nutshell, before Christ (BC) we didn’t think our own thoughts. Whatever thoughts we had were instinctual and we depended on the tribal leader for guidance. We did not have the ability to make our own concepts from all that we saw in our environment. This instinctive process began to fade away and we started being able to put two and two together in our own minds, a process that has reached its zenith in present day sciences.
David by Michaelangelo
Now many scientists are admitting that they see concepts that are beyond their ability to prove. We could say that a higher instinct is entering into human consciousness, but this time it must be thought through. We could call this awareness higher imagining, higher inspiration and higher intuition. These three represent our ability to create pictures from our own ideas, our ability to hear new ideas echoing within us, and our ability to experience something new so that we know it intimately. Many people who invent things will tell us that this is how they came to understand their invention in the first place.
So the term “Jesus Saves!” doesn’t mean that we can sit back and hand over responsibility to him. It means that we must understand what he did, and the implication of his deed for our consciousness. We could say that Jesus has saved us from the abyss between the death of unthinking instincts by instigating the birth of these higher faculties of picturing, hearing and experiencing beyond what physically meets our five senses.
Thursday, November 23, 2017
When reading the first chapter of Genesis it is good to ask questions. Perhaps not so much to get answers, but rather, to open ourselves up to different ideas. God’s creation is described in this book, which begins with:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Gen 1:1
We delved into the meaning of this text in Who or What is God?
Towards the end of chapter 1, after the outer world was ‘created’, we come to the first mention of human beings.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Gen 1:27
We should take this text literally, “male and female he created them.” In other words, in the beginning human beings were male AND female, not male OR female. In other words, these human beings were hermaphrodites. Human beings didn’t become male or female until the rib story in Chapter 2.
So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Gen 2:21-22
The big question to ask now is this. Did life as we know it start in the Garden of Eden? Is this the beginning and end of God’s creation? At the same time, we should also ask: when Eve spoke to the snake and surrendered to temptation was that really the downfall of the human race? See Genesis 3
The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise JOHN MARTIN (1789–1854)
The main problem with understanding what actually took place is that we think that human beings were the same then as they are now. How could that possibly be! For a start, who can talk to snakes now? Seriously, we need to understand the true evolution of the human being in body, soul and spirit. St Paul gives us many clues in Corinthians 15. Let’s take a closer look at verses 44 to 46.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual which is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 1 Cor 15:44-46
In the Greek it actually says if there is body soma and soul psuche, there is also spirit pneuma. The word natural is not there. Then it says that the first man, protos anthropos, became a living soul, zao psuche. This describes a soul that is alive and breathing and we could take it to mean that the first Adam was able to exist for the first time in the atmosphere of this physical earth as soul-being with a physical body that breathes. Paul tells us that this is a crucial step in the process, the first step.
The last Adam, which is a reference to Christ crucified, became spiritually alive, pneuma zoopoioun. So this story tells us in detail about the evolutionary process of human beings pointing out that God’s creation evolves. If we are to fully understand ourselves as members of the human race, we need knowledge about how these three areas; body, soul and spirit, function. There is a process going on in which we can participate.
At this stage in our evolution we are very aware of our body, our senses are alive and we spend a lot of time seeking physical pleasure – from food, from contact with others, by keeping comfortable and warm etc. We have a dim awareness of our soul, as if in a dream, and we are mostly unaware of our spirit. Until we can wake up our soul and become consciously aware of its functioning, we will never be able to experience the life-giving spirit of which Paul speaks. It took me 25 years of study and six years of writing to put this information into a format that we can work with in our daily life – you will find it in my book I Connecting.
If we ever wonder what is wrong in the world today it is that these guiding principles are virtually unknown. Once we start to work with these three areas of our being, we have greater control of the way we respond to life bringing us to the experience of true freedom. This is why St John reports Jesus’ words in Jn 8:32 “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (See full quote Jn 8:30-32) Another road to freedom is to become aware of the principles the disciples represent in our being [link]. Then we will understand the ways in which God’s Creation evolves.
If you are interested in interpretations of the bible see Kristina's books on Amazon
Saturday, November 11, 2017
Creation of Adam by Michelangelo
When we are called to praise and worship God, where exactly is God at the time? And, is it important to know where God is for our praise and worship to have effect?
When we enter into the activity of praise and worship there is a sense of raising ourselves up, and therefore we usually look up. Do we think God is up there somewhere?
Often we enter into this activity when things are not going so well. Sometimes it seems that prayer is a way of escaping from ourselves when we defer to a higher being outside ourselves. It takes the pressure off, but we should ask if this deals with the cause of the pressure.
We don’t have to look very far to see that we live in a society of people that thrives on placing things outside themselves. If we trip on a step and break our leg the first thing we do is look for the fault in the step, it is much more difficult to accept that we were not paying attention to where we placed our foot. Each time we experience misfortune our instinct is to place blame elsewhere. Doesn’t worshiping God fall into this same category? Certainly in the face of misfortune, many people question the presence of God.
What if God is actually within us? St Paul seems to think so.
“For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will live in them and move in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” 2 Cor 6:16
Conversion of Saint Paul by Giordano
Paul is the one who opposed Jesus Christ until he had a firsthand experience of the presence of Christ, which caused him to fall to the ground and become blind -we could say that he fell off his under-stand-ing and he could no longer look outside himself. This is how it is recorded in the Bible.
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do." The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Acts 9:1-7
Through this experience, Paul became aware that each human being can be the temple of the living God! How amazing.
What does this really mean in terms of everyday life? Naos, the Greek word for temple, refers to the inner shrine or sanctuary of the temple, the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. A more accurate translation would be, “We are a holy place of a living God.”
Then we can ask, what is a living God? The word ‘living’ is zao, has a connection to the resurrection. It was the resurrected Christ Jesus that Paul experienced. He spoke of this in Colossians “the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col 1:27 The living God could be Christ and Christ is IN us, we are his temple. So, instead of placing our issues at the feet of an external God perhaps we should be dealing with our issues within us to make our temple, our inner shrine, the perfect dwelling place for Christ, the living God.
See previous blogpost “Who or what is God?”
Sunday, October 8, 2017
Thirty Three by Umbra Perchiazzi
Unlocking the Bible requires all the necessary tools. The most important tool is to have a clear understanding of who we are as human beings. This could be why the image of a physical man nailed to a cross who then goes through a resurrection is burned in our consciousness. The truth about human nature has been blurred for centuries, by the church and by science. For this reason many texts in the Bible don’t make sense, especially when we look at the fundamental meaning of the Hebrew or Greek words.
When we begin to understand the makeup of a human being we can also begin to know ourselves more deeply. There are many ways to approach this but let’s start with our physical body. How strongly do we identify with our physical body, thinking that this is who we are?
Then we hear mention of the soul. Where is this soul and what does it do? We can also hear a confused mix of expressions about our soul and our spirit. The way these terms are used can lead us to believe that they are interchangeable. Certainly the translators of the Bible confuse these terms.
The Greek terms are as follows: body soma; soul psuche; and spirit pneuma. If you search these terms in the Greek interlinear Bible you will be surprised to see how a text can have a different meaning if these words are translated accurately.
It doesn’t take a lot to understand that difference between our body, our soul and our spirit. I have written a book about the difference between these, and many who read it and study it have come to know and understand themselves in a way that assists them to take greater charge of their lives.
We will start with a quick overview of how the human being is a being of body, soul, and spirit. Then we can discover how each of these three aspects has three functional parts. We can put it simply in this way:
- The body is physical, it grows, and it moves.
- The soul feels, it thinks, and it has intentions (will).
- Through the spirit we develop higher faculties of imagination, inspiration, and intuition.
All of these elements within us are governed by what the Bible refers to as the I AM. We can call this I AM the Higher Self. The way the I AM or Higher Self interacts with us is mostly unconscious and it is our job to develop a conscious awareness of it.
We hear about this I AM in the second book of the Bible when Moses has his famous conversation with God. Moses asks God what his name is (Exodus 3:14) and the response is Ehyeh asher ehyeh I AM that I AM. In the New Testament we meet the I AM in the Greek expression ego eimi.
The ancient Greek Philosopher Philo wrote of this event which speaks of the I AM and of God.
There was a bush or briar, a very thorny plant, and very weak and supple. This bush was on a sudden set in a blaze without any one applying any fire to it, and being entirely enveloped from the root to the topmost branch by the abundant flame, as though it had proceeded from some fountain showering fire over it, it nevertheless remained whole without being consumed, like some impassible essence, and not as if it were itself the natural fuel for fire, but rather as if it were taking the fire for its own fuel. Philo
Burning bush by Arnold Friberg
So what is this I AM, is it God or is it human? Well, simply put, it is both. The I AM is that part of God that is in us. We often hear that God is the Creator, and the main thing the I AM does is make us creative. Whenever we express our talent, in those amazing moments when we do great things, it is the I AM expressing itself in us and in this way we can become aware of it. A powerful example about this is from a conversation between Michael Parkinson and Paul McCartney which went like this:
“This is just me in here. Paul McCartney is some guy over there doing amazing things. If I thought that was me constantly it would blow my head off.”
Our I AM is certainly a mysterious and powerful thing. Knowledge of it has been hidden from us by the churches and secret societies down the ages. The time has come for us to become aware of it and to use it to the fullest possible effect in our lives. The trickiest thing is that we have to discover it ourselves, no one can teach us what it is, they can only point to it, and then we must experience it firsthand.
The Bible is one of the best handbooks I know to assist with this discovery as I reveal in all my books. I must stress here that this is NOT about any specific religion; each religious expression is a path up the mountain to the pinnacle of knowledge about the I AM. The way I explain the I AM is also not about dogma and definition, this knowledge can only live in us if we strive to experience the reality of our own being when we are motivated to really know ourselves. In this way we learn how to know others too.
Thursday, September 7, 2017
Peace is such a popular word, we use it frequently as a Christmas greeting, we use it daily when stressed, and we use it in response to war.
The strangest thing about peace is that there is always an expectation that it will come from an external source, “I send you Peace and Joy,” or “Give me some peace!” or “We want peace!”, or “Let us declare peace!” This kind of peace comes with a price: the price of compromise and protracted negotiations. It usually calls for a peace treaty, not only between governments but also in personal relationships - a contract that imposes conditions of agreement.
When we really understand what peace is we realize that this view of peace is superficial. To deepen our understanding of peace we can explore its meaning in the Bible where we find terms life Prince of Peace or Lord of Peace. Why is Jesus Christ referred to as the Prince of Peace or the Lord of Peace? His path to the cross was less than peaceful. Only when we ask the question: is peace given to us? or is it up to us to find this peace? can we begin to discover the true meaning of peace.
Stillness by Haris Tsappis
Eirene is the Greek word for peace and indicates freedom from disturbance, stillness. Shalom is the Hebrew equivalent and means soundness. This means that peace means to be still, to be sound, to experience inner harmony. This is a personal experience, not something that comes to us through others. We harmonize all that is discordant within us. Indeed, we can say that the noblest response is for us to be peaceful in the face of adversity, and the lowest response would be to expect someone else to do something so that we experience peace.
Imagine what it would be like if people took up the responsibility to achieve harmony within themselves, to be still, to achieve their own peace whenever their peace was disturbed.
I have written about this process before where I suggest that each time our equilibrium is disrupted we can place ourselves in the upper room. To achieve this we create the imagination of the disciples meeting in the upper room after the crucifixion, and Christ appears among them. It says that he walked through the wall (because the doors were locked), and the disciples experienced intense fear. To help build a vivid imagination read the story in the Gospel of St John, Chapter 20:19-31. Three times Jesus says, “Eirene humin,” “Peace to you” which essentially means remove the disturbance within you and reinstate soundness.
Appearance of Christ in the Upper Room (Cenacle) by James Tissot
If we try to do this when something fearful happens to us we know how hard it can be. The human condition is one of fear (which we will explore another time) and therefore we need all the help we can get to deal with fear. I have suggested that whenever we experience inner disturbances that we create in our minds an image of Jesus standing before us saying, “Peace to you.” This reinforces our own ability to reinstate inner harmony. By repeating this practice over time, it will become second nature and be of great assistance whenever we are alarmed. When we do this with success, we know that we have to create peace within ourselves. If we wait for it to approach us from outside we will never experience it.
This is one of the most powerful stories I have ever read about peace and love.
“In May 1945, immediately after the end of World War II, George Ritchie, a young American soldier, found himself with a group of American physicians in a German concentration camp near Wuppertal.'" They offered medical assistance to the thousands of former prisoners who were close to dying of starvation. In the midst of this unimaginable misery, Ritchie encountered a man who made a profound impression on him. He stood out among the other prisoners because, in contrast to them, his bearing was bolt upright, his eyes clear, and he had a virtually inexhaustible energy.
Since he spoke five languages fluently, the Americans appointed this man interpreter, in the course of which he was tirelessly busy helping people for 15 to 16 hours a day. He radiated an atmosphere of love and compassion from which others drew nourishment. Ritchie called this man, a Polish Jew, 'Bill Cody'. To Ritchie's astonishment he had apparently spent many years in this camp, during which he lived on the same starvation diet as all other prisoners and slept in the same disease-infested barracks. But unlike the others he did not look like a living skeleton.
Each group in the camp seemed to regard him as their friend. If a quarrel erupted he was called to arbitrate and mediate. He also continually talked with the former prisoners, who were so locked into hatred that they wished to shoot every German on sight, and urged them to forgive their enemies. When Ritchie comments that this will not be easy for them after all they have experienced, Cody tells him his own story, as follows:
We lived in the Warsaw ghetto, my wife and I, our two daughters and our three small sons. When the Germans reached our street they put everyone against the wall and opened fire with their machine-guns. I begged to be allowed to die with my family, but because I spoke German they put me on a forced-labour crew. He pauses for a moment and continues: At that moment I had to decide for myself whether to hate the soldiers who were responsible for this or not. It was in fact not a difficult decision. I was a lawyer. In my practice I had seen all too frequently what hatred can do to people's body and spirit. Hatred had just cost the lives of the six most important people in my life. This is why at that moment I decided that for the rest of my life—whether this was a few days or many years—I would love everyone I came in contact with.
Ritchie suddenly realized that this—love for everyone—is the force that had kept this man, Bill Cody, so healthy and fit despite all the misery and deprivation he experienced.”
Quoted from “Time for Transformation - through Darkness tothe Light” by Margarete Van Den Brink and Hans Stolp.
First published on HuffPost
First published on HuffPost
Sunday, August 6, 2017
The Angel Of The Annunciation by Lorenzo Lotto
In 2009 the results of a survey about what people believe in was published in an Australian Newspaper. In this survey (which of course is never representative) it says, “51 per cent of respondents say they believe in angels”. I would like to ask those 501 people what exactly they think angels are.
The Greek word angelos means messenger. We know that a messenger takes a message from one place or person to another and the purpose of a message is to inform. Therefore, we must ask several questions.
2. In what form of communication can a message be conveyed to us?
It would be over-simplifying the situation to say that the Angel carries a message from God. In another post Who or what is God? I discussed that there are different ‘gods’ or spiritual beings who have certain responsibilities in the universe to keep everything in balance. Dionysius the Areopagite listed them, and in later posts I will explore them further.
Angels feature often in the Bible, in this quote bringing a message about the birth of Jesus.
But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; Matthew 1:20
One reason for this communication between Joseph and the Angel is the fact that Angels are the closest spiritual beings to man. They are the interface between the physical and spiritual worlds. Angels are beings who are one stage higher than human beings, as animals are beings one stage lower than humans. As we care for our animals, so Angels watch over us. Archangels like Gabriel and Michael are one stage higher than Angels, putting them two stages higher than humans.
We could say that Angels are like human beings without a body. This assists us to understand these beings but we should also know that when we no longer need a physical body we will be greater beings than the present Angels are now. This is because we are in a different evolutionary stream. The difference between Angels and human beings is that human beings have the I Am, the element which makes us unique. St Paul tells us about our relationship to Angels in Hebrews:
Thou didst make him for a little while lower than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, Hebrews 2:7
The present task of the Angels is to be intermediaries who help and guide the evolution of human consciousness. We could even say that they are interpreters of what higher spiritual beings want to convey to us; what they ‘say’ is then made intelligible through the Angels. Of course, they wouldn’t use language; they speak to us in images – the universal language. For example, the image of a tree means the same thing to every human being on earth.
Genealogy Tree by Vladimir Kush
While some people might doubt the validity of these ideas, I could point out that animals communicate with each other, and with us, in ways we do not fully understand either. Communication is an important topic for human beings at present. We live in unsettling times where fake news is a thing. We could ask ourselves if we are willing to believe fake news without any fact checking, why can’t we also believe in Angels?
If we can remain open to ideas about the presence of Angels and other spiritual beings not visible to our physical senses, we will be surprised by the new insights we will have. We each have a Guardian Angel watching over us. The messages we can receive from the Angels can give us an inner sense or feeling that confirms something is true. Not that we should just believe anything, the ideas we receive should be continually tested. In this way, we can be lifted out of the present darkness that our mind cannot penetrate. For each of us this is a personal experience, we do not need to convince others of it; we can only hope that others come to their own experience of the angelic beings in this universe.
Friday, July 28, 2017
When someone knocked on my door wanting to explain the Bible to me, I told him that I was already a student of the Bible, at which point he enthusiastically suggested that he come in to compare notes. As I was thinking about how he would not enjoy that, he quoted St Paul to me. I responded saying, “St Paul didn’t like women.” He looked shocked and quietly left. I wonder if he has been studying 1 Corinthians ever since to try and work out why St Paul speaks about women the way he does.
Take this verse for example:
"the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home." 1 Cor 14:34,35
How can such a doctrine stand today when the importance of gender equality is broadly recognized? A closer look at the actual Greek words St Paul uses reveals quite a different meaning, especially if we apply them to what goes on within our consciousness. After all, it is within our consciousness that we recognize gender equality.
The Greek word translated as church is ekklesia from ekklētos meaning called, from ekkalein to call out, from kalein to call. In what circumstances do we call out? We can call out for help, we can call out to get someone’s attention, or we can make a call to challenge in some way. Behind the word ‘call’ is the activity of bringing attention or awareness to something.
What are we called to become aware of? Primarily, we are called to become aware of the activity in our soul; our feelings, thoughts, and intentions. So many thoughts, feelings and intentions are active in our consciousness in a robotic, impulsive way. It can be quite a shock to become aware of them. When we call them out (ekklesia) we gather or assemble them in a focussed way. This sounds like a church doesn’t it?
Now we must ask: what is the wife and the husband within us? In a very basic, generalized way we know that the feminine nature is the nurturer, filled with feeling. The male nature is more practical, more pragmatic, based on thinking. Our task is to encourage these two to work together so that feeling warms the coldness of our thinking and thinking guides our feeling to be practical.
With these ideas in mind, a new picture of what St Paul is saying emerges. When St Paul used the word ‘subordinate’, which in Greek is hupotasso where hupo means under, and tasso means to arrange, we can understand that he is saying we arrange our feelings under our thoughts and in this way we keep our emotions under control.
Then St Paul says,
“If there is anything they (women) desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home."
Continuing on with the idea that Paul is speaking about the activity in our consciousness; we can ask questions of our thinking in the privacy of our own home, i.e. our inner being. This should always be the case, to question our thinking, which in turn makes us aware of our thoughts. This is when we can discover how often they are negative, fuelled by our emotions. With this awareness, we can keep them silent, “not permitting them to speak.”
What does this say about knocking on people’s doors with our own ideas about what the Bible means! Unlocking the Bible is now up to each individual person. Asking the husband-thoughts within us to assist us to make sense of sacred texts, and not letting our wife-feelings run away from us, is important work for every human being.
As published on Huffington Post