H. David Blalock
In the years following my discovery of the rich reward of active pursuit of spiritual truth, I encountered numerous references to unorthodox belief and disparate opinion. Organized, orthodox belief has exerted its weight in the mind of mankind without question for so long because of the threat of the religion called Science. Yet, there are great and wonderful things hidden in the history of human thought and belief that make today's dogmatic acceptance of church doctrine seem almost backward. True, there were plenty of philosophies that deservedly died with their originators or enjoyed only the briefest of followings. Most of these do not deserve resurrection except as a warning against repetition of those mistakes.
In this book, I have attempted to present how I have come to understand the Truth of Christianity regarding the natures of God, Christ, Man, and Satan. Each of these entities interrelate in fascinating and sometimes confusing ways. It is not my intent to state that what is written here is the last and most complete understanding of God. I merely felt it worth the attention of today's thinking Christian to have material available that engendered serious reconsideration of blind belief.
It is my sincerest hope that this book will answer more questions than it generates, and will perhaps enlighten the reader.
H. David Blalock
FOREWORD TO SECOND EDITION
Although little has changed since Metanoia first was published in 1997, this edition has some updates and minor corrections to the original text. At its base, the concepts, ideas, and conclusions remain the same. The intervening years have done nothing but strengthen my understanding of the information I first discovered in my studies.
Since its first appearance, Metanoia has reached several people through print and online. It is my fervent hope this work helped someone of those to better understand or at least further investigate their own spirituality and standing in God.
H David Blalock
Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.
--- Giordano Bruno (1548-1600)1
Were Adam and Eve two separate beings created by the Hand of God from the dust of the earth on the sixth day of Creation? Did Noah actually build an ark, survive a worldwide flood and become the ancestor of all humanity? Was Abraham really promised by God he would be the father of a multitude, in spite of the fact he was well advanced in years?
"A good Christian does not ask such questions," I have been told. "The Bible says it is so, and therefore it is so."
But does The Bible say that?
The Bible is such a universally accepted authority in Christianity that it is often quoted out of context to lend weight to an otherwise vague argument. Although to some The Bible is the only legitimate and acceptable source of spiritual knowledge, there are factions who insist this is not the case. Spiritual knowledge, or rather, knowledge of God and His activity in the earth past, present, and future, is claimed by every religion in the world, and each argues convincingly that theirs is the only true knowledge of God, given supernaturally and miraculously. Whether The Bible is the only source of the Word of God to Man is a hotly disputed point. The Roman Catholic Church gives equal weight to its own tradition as it does to The Bible. The Pope, considered the emissary of God on Earth, is capable of being a source of further spiritual revelation for the Church. Indeed, the Canon is simply organized thought and belief of the earliest days of the Church exalted by ecumenical edict.
Since the Holy Spirit is eternal, it seems reasonable to assume that He deals with each person today as much as He did during Paul's time. Exactly how much weight such revelations should be given is a point of contention throughout the body of Christianity.
There are definite ideas expressed in The Bible, but are those ideas expressed in today's Christian ethic? Have we, as modern Christians, held true to the original intent of Christianity, or are we more concerned with the dogma and doctrine generated over the last 2000 years? How does what is generally assumed about The Bible compare to its letter?
It is commonly asserted that The Bible is perfect. If this is so, then why does The Bible itself say the Word of God is the only perfect thing? As a guide to understanding basic Truth, The Bible is indispensable. As Truth itself, it is a mere glimmer in the brilliance of God.
It is maintained that The Bible is the Word of God. This is so in a way, but the true Word of God is Jesus Christ. The Bible, no matter how sacred it may seem, is still merely a book: paper, print, and binding. Christ is the Living Word of the Living God. We must be aware that the needs of all men were met when Jesus went to the cross. God provides, not The Bible.
The intent of this book is to help Christians grow spiritually, not create disruption. But remember this: God is infinite. We are finite creations of an infinite mind. How can such creations create or convey perfection?
We do not know what God is ... because He is infinite and therefore objectively unknowable ... Therefore, nothing can be predicated of God literally or affirmatively.
--- John Scotus Erigena (810-877 AD)2
The Bible is the best, most reliable source of information we have concerning the Truth, and yet even it has suffered in translation. Recent renditions and revisions drawing on the oldest manuscripts have corrected this unfortunate circumstance to a large extent, but there is much yet to be done. Almost 2000 years of "explanations" and interpretations of The Bible have given rise to literally hundreds of schools of thought on Christianity. Yet, The Bible testifies that the Christians of the first generation were "all of one accord and one mind."3 What has changed to generate so many doctrinal differences?
The mind of man.
In his attempt to organize the universe so he might better understand it, Man made the mistake of setting aside a cubbyhole for God. As it became evident this cubbyhole was not large enough, Man made more cubbyholes and placed a bit of God in each, creating a piecemeal, manageable deity that performed as required. When this deity showed power beyond that assigned Him, it was either disbelieved, re-catalogued under different headings, or ignored. God became finite and predictable, defined by Man. But, what about the time before the construction of this elaborate catalogue? If there were those who saw God as an infinite God, would they not have expressed it?
Indeed, the best witness for an unbounded and all-powerful God is The Bible itself as the Holy Spirit opens it to the Christian sincerely wishing to understand God. The best way to approach this understanding is to read The Bible without preconception. A student of The Bible will always encounter confusion and questions if he begins from other than the beginning, which is a proper attitude towards the basics in the study of The Bible.
First and foremost to remember is that there are no human authorities on The Bible, no matter how ancient or lettered or honored they may be by others. God's personal message to you cannot be interpreted by another in its fullest implication. Martin Luther (1483-1546) said, "I acknowledge no fixed rules for the interpretation of the Word of God."4 One should never approach any subject for study expecting to discover certain facts. This leads to confusion and frustration. Maintain an objective and impartial attitude to the information without regard to your own expectations.
Seek simplicity. Complicated explanations of biblical verse serve more to obscure the meaning and intent of a passage than give revelation.
Bible study should be in whole subjects. The Bible was not written as separate verses which were then compiled. It was written to address whole subjects in depth. Unless a single statement can summarize the entire thought, it is best to study several chapters around a reference.
Never assume that a verse has been quoted in context. The Bible is a personal communiqué from the Spirit of God to you. Learn to read it for yourself. The intent of the serious student is not to complete the study, but to better understand God. It's worth the effort to do for yourself what others are only too willing to do for you: interpret the "true meaning" of The Bible.
I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.
--- Thomas Paine (1737-1809)5
Is it right to look for evidence of God outside The Bible, or is that blasphemy? Considering the fact that our God is a God of the living, not the dead, it is fair to assume that the term "living" includes more than just those people associated with The Bible. There are those who insist that God spoke only through the writers of the Canon, yet The Bible tells us that the Spirit will lead us into all Truth, and Christ Himself taught that the Comforter would bring to remembrance everything He had taught His disciples. The Apostle John in his gospel admits that, were all the facts and teachings of Jesus to be recorded, there were not enough books to hold them.6 Where, then, are we to find the balance of the information of which Jesus spoke?
We could be receptive to the Spirit in study, learn His voice and accept His gentle teaching. This is the best way, the way Jesus recommended. But some of us have difficulty dealing with the idea that the Spirit of the Almighty God can speak directly to us personally, much less discern His voice from the clamoring around us. For this reason, the Spirit moved men in times past to write hundreds of books on spiritual growth. Some are garbled, confused and uncertain renditions of basic truth, products of innocent ignorance. Some are deliberate alteration of truth to fit established doctrine. Some are honest attempts to plumb the depths of the Spirit while fighting off prejudices ingrained in the author. These writings eventually defined the concept of orthodoxy and heresy, drawing an often arbitrary line between the two, then reinforcing that line until the orthodoxy was not just protected from discordant ideas, but imprisoned its own attributes. The security offered by orthodox Christianity is not only necessary but vital to those who seek nothing more from religion than a promise of the extension of that security beyond death. This is not, of itself, wrong. The exercise of this mindset in daily life, however, is to bring death into life, and is unnatural. In spite of the contemporary move within the community to relate to "modern issues" of social import, the attitude and motivation remains how the problems and issues addressed relate to sin and death.
Sin is not a genetic trait. One does not inherit sin through the DNA. It is action, omission of action, or behavior that violates a code of ethic. Traditionally, sin has been considered the infraction of God's tenets and laws. Original Sin was the action of Adam in disobedience to God. However, unless the author or enforcer of the code takes offense at the infraction or violation, there is, strictly speaking, no violation. The nature of the action is one of violation, but the consequences do not relate to the consequences of a violation; in other words, sin is sin only if God calls it sin. God took offense at Adam's action, therefore it was sin. However, since the Resurrection, there has been no Law, Christ having fulfilled and redefined its commandments. God no longer sees Man (Adam) but Christ in Man, and therefore there is no recognition of sin. Since the mind of God is the ultimate definer of reality, the eternality of everything stemming from its recognition by God as being existent, and since God forgave Adam's sin through Christ's sacrifice, Adamic sin has ceased to exist. Sin continues only in the mind of man, an offense against Man's accepted limits of behavior, not God's. It is fitting man should now define sin, enforce its punishment and seek its destruction, since it is Man alone who is the manifestor of sin. Since man manifests sin, he can uncreate it, and does so in a process called repentance.
Repentance is a change of mental attitude and physical response from one set of values to another, usually from an amoral or immoral code to a moral and aesthetically superior code. The most beneficial set of moral codes is of God and readily recognized by all cultures, since it forms the basis of civilization. True and developed repentance's result is, therefore, easily recognized by any religion or culture as beneficent and all religions strive for it in their adherents.
The process to full repentance, the full transference from one code to another, is variously called transformation, growth, and evolution. Transformation can be defined as a metamorphosis from form to form. The transformation of the mind is the aim of true repentance and real religion; a healing process whose end is peace and security. Evolution is a growth within a certain form from incomplete to complete; a maturing process, as in the development of a child. These terms are more familiar to the non-Christian community because the concepts are related to both the physical and spiritual, whereas the Christian view is to ignore or deprecate the physical. By expanding the view of orthodox Christianity to include instead of exclude the physical, by taking the tenets of Christ's great commandments and applying them to everyday life instead of discussing them philosophically on Sunday, by making God a real and continuing part of your life, you become spiritually and physically a healthy person. The first step in this process is simply learning how Man sees God.
Omnipotent. The Bible bears witness to the power of God; a boundless, limitless power in perfect control of a perfect Spirit. To men, absolute power may corrupt absolutely, but to the incorruptible God, it is the tool of His expression in men's minds and hearts.
Omniscient. Without wisdom to direct knowledge, knowledge is impotent. Without knowledge to channel power, power is useless. Knowing all does not merely mean to know all that is, was, and is to come. It also means to know what is not, what never was, and what never can be. Wisdom is not merely ability to direct knowledge, but to direct it beneficially, effectively, and efficiently.
Omnipresent. Without existence in the world of the physical, spiritual, or the mind, there is no receptacle for wisely directed power and knowledge, and therefore no manifestation. Being present in all spheres allows manifestation of omnipotence and omniscience in all spheres.
The combination of these three aspects make up our understanding of God. No other description more fully explains Man's perception of the Eternal, yet even this falls far short of description of the true nature of God. Man's understanding of God is shaped by his education. Usually, the more intellectually oriented the education, the more structured, ordered, and limited becomes the vision regarding God. This is because academics is in actuality not the dispensation of Truth, but of socially acceptable interpretation of the Truth. Just as the nutritional value of fruit juice suffers in the fermentation process, Truth left to fester in an atmosphere of prejudice and preference becomes less than Truth. The basic structure is the same, but the taste is bitter and hard on the palate educated to accept simpler fare.
Self-Evident Truth is one Thing and Truth the result of Reasoning is another thing. Rational Truth is not the Truth of Christ, but of Pilate.
--- William Blake (1757-1827)7
Man's understanding of God has become as a thin, weak, bad wine. Without bouquet or body, it retains only the faintest identification with its Source. It is a mere shadow of the Reality. Some would rather assume Man created God in his own image, thinking this somehow assures Man's dignity, yet, as has been so eloquently said,
They that deny God destroy man's nobility; for certainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body; and if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature.
--- Francis Bacon (1561-1626)8
The image is Man and the Reality is just at the outer limits of perception.
God is beneficent, but the good is also beneficent. It is natural therefore that the true nature of the good should be in the same region as the true nature of God.
--- Epictetus (c. 50-120 AD)9
The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image; ... Hence, it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who are filled with the highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as Atheists, sometimes also as Saints.
--- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)10
God is the Source. Uncreated, He is self-existent. Therefore, God can, by definition, create everything but God. Since God is Light, as indicated in the book of I John,11 Genesis 1:312 must refer to something other than creation. Indeed, the division of light and darkness is unique in that this was not accomplished as was the remainder of the universe. Nowhere does Genesis say "God created Light." This is not in the English, the Septuagint, the Masoretic, not even the original Hebrew. It does say "God said, ‘Let light be.'" God called forth the Light from the Dark.13 "And God saw the Light, that it was good." God never called the Dark good, only the Light. By this distinction, He showed a preference for the Light. "And God separated between the light and the darkness." The Hebrew here is very interesting, as the inference is that God put God between the light and the darkness. Where did all this light and darkness originate?
There is only one source for all things: God. Yes, that is indeed saying there was darkness in God. Since He is the Source of all things, there must have been. We must not, however, allow our human consciousness to judge whether there was good or evil in the Dark of God. It simply existed, defined by His Preference for the Light, and was a part of Him. This portion was active and creative, even working in concert with the greater goal, which was the reconciliation of the Unpreferred (Dark) with the Preferred (Light). Jesus Christ summed it best by saying He had "come to save that which was lost."14
Through the Unpreferred, God instructed Man about sin, unprofitable motivation, and the wages of foolishness. The Mosaic Law was given not only to define Hebrew social standards, but to show the limits of the Dark; to define its shape and fruit and to warn of its effects. Even before the Law, the Dark was defined in terms Man could understand. Cain, the Nephilim, the generation of the Flood and of Babel, and Canaan were examples of the manifestation of the Dark in the world.
Man, physically a creature of flesh and blood, seldom knew what was "preferred," lawful, or profitable. The result: Man fell. He was now a part of the Darkness as well as the Light, no longer able to fully benefit from what God wanted for him. God, with His face only to the Light, searched for Man in vain, for Man was behind Him in the Dark.
And the Lord said unto Moses ... Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live ... Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: and I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
--- Exodus 33:17-23
The Darkness in which men walked was as much a part of God as the Light Jesus brought.15
And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.
--- Exodus 20:21
And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord. Then spoke Solomon, The Lord said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
--- I Kings 8:10-12
Man had separated himself from the face of God, but not from God Himself. God could still speak to him, but only through outside means, since the inner man of Adam no longer functioned. Because of this separation, Man saw God as a vengeful, vicious, petty, jealous God of strict Law and absolute power. The truth is, it was the observer, not the Observed, who walked in darkness. Unable to understand the Truth in the nature of God, Man saw His warmth as wrath, His love as judgment, and His wisdom as vengeance. God became a target of fear; the only One who would ever work to aid all men seen as the fire in the furnace built for the consumption of the dross. Still, He worked steadily toward the goal of Redemption. Much as one walks into the wind during a thunderstorm, resisted on all sides by the very men He sought to recover, He doggedly pushed against the flow that would have led all into chaos and disorder. Because of His determination, He was perceived as unfeeling and inflexible. Because of His nature, He was seen as judgmental and full of anger. Through all this, in spite of the slander and misinterpretation, in spite of the fear and trepidation of men who saw only their own foibles reflected in His perfect mirror, He worked for their redemption.
God is a God of honor, truth, and justice. Once the covenant was struck, He would abide by it, no matter how miserably the Hebrew behaved toward Him. We must break the chain of thought that God is fixed and immutable. If that were so, He would be finite. A fixed God, unchanging, is a finite God. A God of change and abstraction is infinite. God can, did, and does change His mind. God can, did, and does change His manner of dealing with Man. It is the very changeability of God that allowed a New Covenant to come about. If God is immutable, He would only deal in one way with Man. If God is immovable, His first word would have been the last. This is not so, for righteousness for Man changed through Jesus Christ. Not all doctrine and dogma is wrong, but the misapplication of the truth can lead to bondage as surely as a lie.
The thing from which the world suffers just now more than from any other evil is not the assertion of falsehood, but the endless and irresponsible repetition of half-truths.
--- G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)16
Love, Light, Life, Truth, Resurrection: all are names of God. All were incomprehensible to Man without the sacrifice Jesus made. From the Darkness of the Old Covenant, the Light of God appeared a consuming fire, blindingly brilliant and awe-inspiring. From the Light of the sacrifice of Jesus and His Resurrection, the Light of God is warmth and love. A new world, birthed from the tomb of the old, flourished under the tutelage of the Lamb.
And men began to see God's face again. Now able to understand the truth of the intent of God to Man through Jesus, men began to accomplish His will on earth.
What is God's will? What it has always been: to bring all Man to Him. Not by physical or psychological force, not by persuasion of words, signs, or miracles are men to come to God. No other way would be satisfactory to God or Man but that the person come to grips with God personally and truly commit out of love. Any effort to bring someone to God through threat of hellfire and damnation, promises of prosperity and health, guilt, remorse, envy, or any emotion other than love is doomed to fail, for they can be thwarted by any number of circumstances. God's love, once recognized and appreciated, is the ultimate evangelist. Infallible and unalterable, it is God in Man through His Love that makes a true and lasting difference in a person's life.
We live today in the Light of God. His New Covenant, based on living promises and love, supports us spiritually when our own understanding is darkened by ignorance and fleshly indulgence. Redemption is a part of our heritage, something we are born into and never need worry about losing. It cannot be revoked or stolen. Redemption and salvation are not synonymous.
Redemption is a one-time act.
Once in the end of the world has he appeared to put away sin by sacrifice of himself ... Christ was once offered up for the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time unto salvation.
--- Hebrews 9:26b-28
We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once ...
--- Hebrews 10:10
Here we see the redemption in the sacrifice, but salvation is something subsequent. The Bible repeatedly asserts that salvation is visible evidence of God at work, visible to men because other men walk in it. The New Testament is a testament of salvation. It tells of the manifestation of the will of God in the world of men.
... work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which works in you both to will and do of his good pleasure.
--- Phillippians 2:12b-13
As we are changed from what we are to what Jesus is,17 we see the vision of others toward the same end. The world's salvation is Jesus, the Light of God, and He now exists in all men, having become the second Adam, the progenitor of all men's spirits.
Because we share in the nature of Christ, all men are redeemed. All men. Jesus did not die only to redeem those who would believe in Him. He died for all men, for God is the God of all Mankind. Because, through Christ we share in the nature and eternality of God, all men are saved. All men. Those living at the time of the Resurrection were saved through God's grace, showing that salvation according to their faith. From the moment of the Resurrection, those born were born sons of God by birthright, of the generation of the Risen Christ, their elder brother.
In order to accomplish this, God needed a vehicle to communicate His intent to men. Though acting of necessity, God would never delight in the use of the flesh to the remission of sin of the flesh, and promised a better covenant to an uncomprehending people.
... but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol ...
--- Isaiah 66:2-3
In the beginning, God created a perfect system, a perfect kosmos without spot or blemish. He called it Eden, which means Pleasure, and placed Adam there to tend it, care for it, and enjoy its fruit. In the midst of the garden stood two trees: the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God, in His justice, having given Adam freedom of choice, placed them there. The nature of God required that He give Adam freedom of choice, for God is Love, and Love seeks an object. It is most satisfying when the object of the Love returns that love out of free will, without coercion and unprogrammed, and if Adam was to return God's Love, he must know the extent and the lack of it.
Adam's finite mind could not comprehend the infinity of God, however, and thus never fully understood the choice. Christ's mind is infinite, and thus His understanding of the choice was perfect. He, wrapped in the same flesh that clothed Adam, subject to the same temptations, would make a more informed and lasting choice.
But Christ came also for God.
The whole Christian system ... goes to pieces upon the problem of evil. Its most adept theologians, attempting to reconcile the Heavenly Father of their theory with the dreadful agonies of man in His world, can only retreat behind Chrystotom's despairing maxim, that "a comprehended God is no God."
--- H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)18
Jesus was the conduit to bring God's Light into the Dark, and in Him we see what Adam was supposed to be. Because of what Jesus did, we are all free to be what we elect to be, but the important thing is that we can now be what we were created to be: gardeners.
Jesus Christ was the architect of the Kingdom: the cornerstone, the keystone, and the foundation of the New Jerusalem. He set precedents in worship, prayer, praise, living, witness, and fellowship. Without His influence, these key points would have crumbled out of the lives of His people within the first generation. As He spoke in the earth, He exercised the creative power of God. With each pronunciation of "the Kingdom of Heaven is on this wise ... ," He laid another stone in the tomb of the Old World and the foundation of the New.
Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Those weaned from the milk, drawn from the breasts. For precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little: for with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to his people ... the word of the Lord was to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little; that they may go backward and be broken and snared and taken.
--- Isaiah 28:9-11,13
Through the gradual introduction of the Light to Man, God eventually would bring him back to grace. Much as the newly sighted man's bandages are slowly unwrapped, so Man was to slowly come to the knowledge of God as his companion and creator. Typical of this process are these passages:
... in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.
--- Isaiah 29:18
I the Lord have called thee in righteousness and will hold thine hand and will keep thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
--- Isaiah 42:6-7
I will bring the blind by a way they knew not; I will lead them in paths they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them ... who is blind, but my servant? or deaf as my messenger I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lord's servant? Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears but he heareth not.
--- Isaiah 42:19-20
In the Messiah, God was bringing His Light to Man. Speaking to Christ and His Church, He says:
... In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves.
--- Isaiah 49:8-9a
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
--- Isaiah 9:2
In like manner, for the thousands of years involved in the plan, God repeatedly reminded Man of his eventual reconciliation.
When the breed of iniquity is shut up, wickedness shall be banished by righteousness as darkness is banished by the light. As smoke clears and is no more, so shall wickedness perish forever and righteousness be revealed like a sun governing the world ...
--- Dead Sea Scroll fragment19
In the Old Covenant, man obeyed God out of fear, duty, and respect. He felt he must appease God through sacrifice, fasting, and observance of holy days and jubilee, hoping that, through strict adherence to the Law, God would favor the righteous and punish the wicked. However, God Himself promised deliverance from sin, oppression, wickedness, and iniquity. He promised establishment of a New Covenant, the advent of a Redeemer, a passing of the Law from use, and the personal indwelling of His righteousness.
Since the Resurrection, God is obeyed out of love and gratitude. One pleases Him through meditation of His Love. While the Old Covenant put the righteousness of Man equal to his works, the New Covenant far surpassed that by imputing the righteousness of God on Man through Jesus Christ. Man began to see love, compassion, tenderness, and gentleness as preferable qualities to the unforgiving, overbearing dominance of his Old Covenant mentality.
When Jesus was asked about the commandments, He explained that the greatest and most important was to love the Lord your God with all your mind and soul and heart and to follow His commandments. He then summarized the commandments, saying, in essence, "Love thy neighbor as thyself; do unto others as you would have them do unto you; this is the full intent of the Law."20 By this statement, Jesus showed that God's intent had always been to bring men to Him, not by bringing them together, but rather by taking their eyes from each other and putting them on God. The Law's ultimate aim was to shift final authority to God for all things, moving the attention of Man from himself to God. Unfortunately, more emphasis was placed on who received than Who gave the Law, and the result is the checkered history of the Israelites and their fellows that continues to this day. It was not until the New Covenant was given that this intent of God's to gather all men to Him through love was understood. It was not for lack of effort on God's part. He continually called to Israel, the microcosm of the fallen world, to return to Him, illustrating the stubbornness and obnoxiousness of Man through often shocking example in the actions of His prophets.
The time was important. God had not only promised Man reconciliation and redemption, He had outlined where, how, why, and when He would do it. There are over 300 specific messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, all of which were fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ. From the famous "seventy weeks" of Daniel21 to the actual pronunciation of the name of the Savior in Zecheriah;22 from the most blatant to the most obscure, from the easiest to fulfill to the most difficult; all the prophecies culminated in the biography of Jesus Christ.
Jesus entered a society whose entire structure was geared to technicality and legalism. Formulae for living were the order of the day, and if there was the slightest deviation it was dealt with most severely. There was little of the Love of God shown through Israel. Even Rome, not known for its purity, was more tolerant of difference, allowing the continuance of a conquered peoples' worship to go untouched as long as proper respect was paid to the emperor. The Jews, the last remnant of a once proud and prosperous race, had become little more than a bothersome thing to be dealt with as a necessary part of the Roman governor's duty. Particularly difficult, the Jewish Sanhedrin was a constant source of aggravation to Rome and, were it not for other considerations, Rome might have pulled out of Judaea entirely. The Jews couldn't have ruled themselves better than the Romans, probably less well. They were known worldwide for their squabbling.
Small wonder, then, that the disciples that flocked to Jesus early in His ministry quickly fell away. There were so many factions, so many divisions of belief, that the merest statement of any belief would be enough to alienate one or another of the followers.23 Since the greater portion of the followers of Messiah were militant, a ministry such as Jesus' would quickly suffer not only loss of membership, but persecution from within the family of Israel. All of this was apparent to Jesus before the inception of His ministry, and He tried to explain this to His disciples before it happened, seldom successfully.
When Jesus began His ministry, the Kingdom began to come into the earth. With each question answered, each healing accomplished, each deliverance given, even each witness of Jesus as the Son of God through the mouth of an unclean spirit, the Kingdom grew in strength and permanence in the souls of His disciples.
They asked for a formula for prayer,24 their minds geared to the working of the Law, and He gave them one, but this formula took great liberties with the piety of the Law and God. He spoke to God as father, from whom He had a right to petition, rather than as a servant to master begging for boon. He insisted that prayer be personal and private rather than public and repetitive.25 He revealed that God, not sacrifice, was the source of forgiveness of sin. He allowed that each man could bring his own faults to God for forgiveness without the intermediary priest.
His disciples asked Him to teach them of the coming Kingdom, and He taught them, but His teaching was hard to understand and oblique in meaning. He said the Kingdom would be universal, with no difference of Jew and Gentile, that it would be eternal and ruled only by the authority of God Himself, without Sanhedrin. He promised the Kingdom would be at peace throughout eternity.
They asked Him to teach them how to reach this Kingdom, to tell them what they must do to have eternal life, and He showed them. But this was the hardest of all, for to convey this lesson He went to the Cross and gave up His life for them.
When He stretched His arms out on the Cross, He taught them more than they could immediately understand. He showed them how, although He would originally be rejected by those He'd come to save, the Gentiles would be the first to appreciate His sacrifice. He showed how the Spirit of the Law, its structure and inner meaning, would not be broken by circumstances. He showed them pain was part of the change from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant way of thinking, that there would be those who would lament and bemoan the passing of the old law in preference to accepting the new order. He showed them men would try to immobilize His instruments for salvation, exalt the image of Him dead on the Cross, venerate the outer trappings of the message of the sacrifice rather than the inner meaning of the Crucifixion. Through others at the Cross, He showed how there would be those who would choose to turn a blind eye to Him rather than follow His example, and how their rejection would keep them in Darkness, shake their foundations and cause disruption and conviction. He showed them He would be ridiculed even after the Cross as the followers would vie for control of the trappings of the Church while the Spirit of the Church cried out for their attention. Through those around Him, He showed how those who originally accepted Him would doubt and feel abandoned at times, that no man's faith would be sufficient to maintain God in his life, but that God would provide for him. And, by His burial, He showed them that He would be interred in their souls in a place unsullied by other conviction, a place separated and apart, from which He would rise to do His work at the proper time.
When God called Him forth from the tomb, He showed them how the life of God is unconquerable, a victorious and glorious manifestation of His Love, overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to return with the gift of life to share. As He spoke to them in the upper room, where they huddled in fear of all the world, He taught them the meaning of courage, filled them with the strength of the Spirit, and charged them with bringing His image into the world.
After His Resurrection, His disciples' eyes were opened, and they began to appreciate the lessons He had taught. For forty days, He stayed with them to insure their understanding of what needed to be done in the manifestation of His image in the world. Satisfied, He ascended unto the Father's arms with one last promise and prophecy, changing the station of all God's people from mere puppets to beings of initiative, will, and volition to be used in the wisdom given them by the indwelling of His Spirit.
Since the coming of Christ, the very creation itself has begun a spontaneous regeneration. In the face of continuous opposition to the message of Jesus, Man's own body stubbornly pushes toward that goal of immortality promised by God, that eternal life already a part of the spirit and soul, and by all rights part of the physical body. The glorified body of which so much is spoken is ready for manifestation at this time, were it not for the mindset that refuses its existence due to the evidence of the eye.
"We walk by faith, not by sight." The glorified body does just that, but the mind of Man seems to have conditioned itself to accept circumstances through the physical as indicating limits on the spiritual, binding and crippling Christian growth. Though the Christian confesses the victory of Jesus over death, sickness, and sin, he often walks in all three for lack of understanding that Jesus conquered those things that he, the Christian, might not have to operate in them. Jesus did not conquer sickness to wield it over the wicked as a weapon. He did not conquer death to use it as an extortion over the sinner. He did not conquer sin to remember it to all who exercise it. Jesus won over all these to put them away, to remove them from use, to purge them from men's minds. Did He ever intend to recover these things for future use? God, in the time of the Old Covenant, promised:
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember their sins.
--- Isaiah 43:25
After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
--- Jeremiah 31:33-34
In bringing Christ into the world, He was fulfilling those promises. Through the death of Jesus, the Old Covenant came to fruition. From the beginning, the days of the Old Covenant were numbered. Through His prophets, God relayed the number of those days and gave ample warning of the coming of the end. He taught Israel the method and import of the ending through institution of sacrifice, sabbath, and fasting. He revealed the time,26 place27, lineage28, and name29 of the Savior through His prophets. He outlined the proper action and reaction to the Savor in His Law and prophecy. No part, no bit or portion of the purpose and ministry of the Savior was ever to be a mystery.30 Had Israel listened with a whole and fervent heart to God's voice, there would have been no confusion at His coming, but God knew of Israel's expectations.
Wherefore, the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near unto me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their most prudent men shall be hid.
--- Isaiah 29:13-14
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak what we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you of earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
--- John 3:11-12
Then, in spite of, or perhaps because of, the expectations of the children of Israel, He did what He promised, and to this day works to convince a world still living in the memory of the Old Covenant of the blessing and prosperity of the New Covenant.
The intention of Christianity was to change everything.
--- Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)31
As part of the work of the reconciliation, Christ was to be the coup de grace, the blessed assurance. Through Christ, the world would end and begin anew with a rebirth of the spirit of man. Christ the Redeemer paid the price for the communication failure between Man and God. He lay down His life for the world, the kosmos, the system of mores and values based in part of the Darkness He'd come to enlighten.
Why Christ came was simply to better show God's intent for man. By the redemptive sacrifice, He fulfilled the Law, a contract already accepted and committed. By the Resurrection, He fulfilled God's plan to recreate Man's spirit. Man, in his inability to comprehend the intent of God, had missed the true import of the Messiah. Self-centeredly, he had assumed the Messiah was only for himself, but Jesus came for Man and God. He came to redeem man from sin and to bring Light into the Dark, thus freeing not only men living, but all unborn and passed on as well.
While He awaited the final moments, he taught the true Spirit of the Law, which was the manifest Light of God as first given, through parable and example. He walked among those He'd created, suffered what they suffered, felt what they felt, and endured what they endured. When He went to the Cross, he could not be criticized as being an improper sacrifice. "He was in all things tempted as we." He struggled with His own Darkness through the temptation of the flesh, and won. Not without a battle, as He said in the garden: "... my soul is troubled unto death ..." and "... his sweat fell as great clots of blood." On that final night, He came to grips with all the terrible demons that had haunted man since the Fall: fear, self-pity, anger, and the rest. When Judas came with the temple guard, Jesus had already been on trial by a higher authority. He was found worthy to carry the sins of men, and was delivered to Judas, the Sanhedrin, and Pilate for the final assimilation of sin before giving His lifeblood as sacrifice on the Cross. When the assertion of the scribes and elders ("We have no King but Caesar. His blood be on us and on our children.") rang out, the cup of Man's iniquity was full at last. When even those to whom God had entrusted His most secret and sacred thoughts turned from Him, actively seeking the destruction of His plan for redemption and swearing allegiance to the world of Darkness openly, the Darkness could be totally, unreservedly, and effectively rebuked, entirely enlightened. The depth of the Darkness was finally plumbed, and Jesus understood it.
Of the myriad manners of execution men have invented over the centuries, crucifixion is probably the most vicious. It was the perfect vehicle for what needed to be done, being the commoners' method of execution and a shame in the eyes of the Law. In the few hours Jesus was actually on the Cross, He accomplished a massive task. He searched the Dark, surveyed its extent, and reaffirmed His authority over it. In a few short hours, God restructured Man's spirit and revived a dead world. In crucifying Jesus, the world committed suicide, and God resurrected it in His image. As Christ rose again, so did Man's spirit. As Christ was lifted into Heaven, so was Man, for through Him all men again enjoy what Adam forfeited: being the image of God. It was truly the end of the world and the end of the age, for God had begun a process of regeneration. "We are all new creatures through Jesus Christ."32 Jesus was the last Adam,33 but Christ was the firstborn among many brethren.34 We are no longer human; we are Christ through Jesus.
He became like me so I could receive him.
He thought like me so I could become him ...
He took my nature so I could learn from him,
Took on my form so I would not turn away.
--- Odes of Solomon 7
The appointed times God had proclaimed had served their purpose. They had foreshadowed the mission and intent of God's Anointed. The feasts and festivals, shades of coming Godly deliverances, were complete. The very Law itself, a type for Christ, was fulfilled. The world had ended. His reign began on that day in the hearts of all men.
It would suffice for me to answer you briefly when you ask why God should have created man, whom he proposed to make in his own image, in the genus of animals. He wished so to fashion him, that there would be a certain animal in which he manifested his own express image.
--- John Scotus Erigena35
Jesus Christ Himself said, "Where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Usually, if two Christians are hotly at odds over an issue, the Truth concerning that subject lies somewhere between their views. Too often, this is seen as compromise, yet Paul said:
For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself a servant unto all men, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the Law, as under the Law, that I might gain them that are under the Law; to them that are without the Law, as without Law, (being not without Law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without Law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak; I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
--- I Corinthians 9:19-23
This spirit of understanding, the recognition of the needs of others and a yearning to meet those needs, was alien to the man of the Old Testament. In the few times it appeared, it was through the direct intervention of God that it was accomplished. Even Joseph, supposed compassionate and loving as he was, could not resist the urge to psychologically torture his brothers for what they had done to him.36 From Noah, who cursed his grandson for his own weakness,37 to Elisha, who was the instrument of death for the children who ridiculed him,38 the Old Man showed his lack of conscience and pity. We do not fault the Old Man for his lack of humanitarianism. He lacked far more than that. He also lacked the life of God in his spirit. That void was the cause of his hardness and the origin of that emptiness is in the story of Adam and Eve.
A great deal of heated debate rages concerning the nature of Adam and Eve. Most conservatives maintain they were two human beings who lived in a literal Eden and were the originators of Sin, the cause of all men's ills through their rebellion against God's edict. More liberal Christians believe they were symbols of some form of theological concept expressing the primitive understanding of the early Hebrews of the voluntary separation of man from the tenets and morals of the Law, as the Greeks did in the Pandora legend.
Adam was created in the image of God after God expressed His Preference for the Light, so Adam was the image of the God of Light, the same image we are exhorted to manifest today.
... to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be firstborn among many brethren.
--- Romans 8:29
Human nature is originally good. Any evil in it results from any changes made upon it by [external] things.
--- Lu Wang (1139-1192)39
As such a creation, sin was alien to Adam in all its forms. Yet, the Dark remained a part of God, and would remain a troublesome part until the Resurrection of Jesus Christ would enlighten it with the life-giving Light. Adam and Eve were obedient in everything God decreed. God imbued Adam with free choice for a very simple reason: love. God the Preferred is Love and Light and Life, and wished Adam to choose that of his own accord. Eve, the extension of Adam, was included in that desire, and the Dark knew that. Adam saw the glory of God daily, for the voice of God walked in the garden "in the cool of the day."40 Eve, the helpmate, was a bit more removed from this relationship because she was created from a creation.41 She saw the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil "that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise."42 The Dark, identifiable as God to the spiritual eye of Eve and Adam, reassured them of their position with Him when offering the fruit of the Tree.43 Unsuspecting, they partook of the fruit, only to immediately realize what had happened. Through the fruit, they partook of that which God the Preferred had omitted from their original being.
Original Sin was not murder or rebellion. It was ignorance.
The only good thing is knowledge, and the only evil is ignorance.
Ignorance is the womb of monsters.
--- Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)45
Ignorance is not innocence but sin ...
--- Robert Browning (1812-1889)46
Ignorance of God in His totality caused Adam's fall, a fact God recognized and accepted.
Were they real people? Were they symbols? It doesn't matter. What does matter is the lesson being taught: ignorance of the nature of God leads to failure.
The origins of civilizations are as important to some as the origins of life are to others. According to The Bible, all civilization as we know it was spawned from the family of one individual: Noah.47 Of all people living before the Great Flood, Noah was the only man to find grace in God's eyes. Man had degenerated to the point that even the direct descendants of Adam were included in that destruction. Methuselah had just passed on as the waters of the Flood gathered. Noah had lived concurrently with Lamech, Methuselah, Jared, Mahalaleel, Cainan, Enos, and their children. He was born only months after Seth's passing, bare decades after Adam's death. His life must have been filled with the wisdom of the centuries passed to him so that, when his grandfather died, he was the final representative of the Garden.
Some have argued that the Flood never happened, that the story in Genesis is just that: a story. Others maintain that archeological findings in the Middle East support the reality of a worldwide deluge.48 Babylonian and Sumerian literature and tradition are so similar to the narrative of The Bible that they have been proposed as the originals from which the biblical account is copied.
From Noah we learn the importance of a single origin to all its descendants. Noah was, in a way, the firstborn of the post-Diluvial world, the first among many. He, through the direction of God, constructed the method of salvation for his family, a remnant that, by association with him, received the blessing of life from God.49 Here we see an obvious type for Christ. On a massive scale, the life and times of Noah are descriptive of the life and times of Jesus.
But as the days of Noe were, so shall the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered in the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of man be.
--- Matthew 24:37-39
The major difference between Noah and Christ was, of course, that there was no life in Noah's spirit. Only through the great mercy of God did Noah find grace. There being no Law to guide him, he would have to follow the instructions of his fathers, who had already demonstrated their failure at following the God of Light's commandments. Noah is truly an example of the love and forgiveness in God.
We he a real person? Or was he a symbol? It doesn't matter. What does matter is the lesson taught: that the loving and forgiving Father of Lights delivered Man from death through the gift of a single Living Spirit, chosen by Him and committed to His will.
Greatest among the patriarchs in The Bible is Abraham. Looked on as the father of the Hebrews and Moslems, he is venerated by Jew, Moslem, and Christian alike, the ancestor of men of faith. Aside from Moses, Abraham is probably the single most important figure in the history of the Hebrew people, and therefore in the understanding of the makeup of the Old Man.
As much as any man at the time could be, he was just, fair, and sensible; the forerunner of a Law-abiding Hebrew. Without the benefit of the Law and the Prophets, he showed the success possible through their exercise. In spite of his common sense approach to the situations of life, Abraham was still Old Man, and as such never truly understood the power and determination of God to redeem Man. When God struck a covenant with him and promised a son from which a great nation would arise, he scoffed, swayed by his sight of the physical, unable to fully trust God for the completion of the promise.50 He was convinced by Sarai's argument of a need to act on his own to assure that completion,51 something that to this day the Hebrews have had reason to deeply regret. Were it not for their impatience, Ishmael, the ancestor of the Islamites of Arabia, would never have been born. The controversy over the homeland of the Hews might never had occurred; the terrible wars in the Middle East might never have been; the Crusades would have been unnecessary; the Spanish would have had no Moorish invaders; Libya would have no Kaddafi, Iran no Ayatollah, Iraq no Hussein.
Bound by His covenant, God honored not only Abraham's firstborn of belief, but the firstborn of unbelief as well. He made a great nation of Ishmael, and his seed are as the stars of the sky.52 Mirroring the action He first accomplished in the Garden with Adam, God accepted the blame for the lack of faith in Abraham and took the brunt of the curse to Himself. The result is that Ishmael's children, though true to God as the One and Only Living God, lack the vision to accept His Son for their own salvation.53 Still, God sees them and the rest of mankind as saved through the sacrifice of the very One they refuse to acknowledge.
Armed with the promise given Abraham and the confirmations of that promise with the generations that followed, the Old Covenant Man waged war with the Dark through exercise of trust and belief in that promise. After the Exodus from Egypt, the Law became the manifestation of that promise to the Children of Israel; something they could see, touch, hear, and feel. With the witness of the daily sacrifice, they were given special honor. They were spectators to the workings of the plan of redemption in a way no other people could be. The wondrous Presence of God Himself, the Shekina glory, traveled in their midst and taught them, when they listened, of the world to come. Human priests did what was required, some without understanding, for the purpose of their own eventual redemption. Israelite kings alternately worked for and against His plan, becoming directly responsible for the prosperity or poverty of the nation in a macrocosm of the seedtime and harvest principle so familiar to the Christian today.
But no man could prevail against the continuous sinking of spiritual power to which he was subject. The Dark threatened to win out, coming closer to success with each generation. Man had become civilized in name, but not in spirit. As the time of Christ approached, Man's civilization, instead of accomplishing its promise of betterment of the human condition, began to gear to man's destruction. The seeds of the Dark Ages were being sown long before Rome was sacked, even before the Empire was established.
Man had been endowed with reason and, unchecked by moral limitation, this capacity had spawned illogical seed. Though Israel had the Law to prevent this from occurring to them, they often fell prey to the lure of the illusion of power and wealth the Gentile pursued. The net effect of the presence of the Law was not only compromised, it was nearly negated. Still, a bit of the consciousness of man responded to something greater than himself. The ancient Greeks, for instance, esteemed Sophia, goddess of wisdom, and worked to better understand themselves and their environment. Even the warlike Romans admired this and sought to imitate it. Neither of these civilizations succeeded in raising this attitude of god-consciousness to more than gut superstition. The Oriental cultures developed in much the same manner. Although the sheer numbers involved in the populations tended to encourage vision of God in the plural, there was a very deeply ingrained portion of Oriental philosophy whose crux was a single, omnipotent (though impersonal) deity. Nevertheless, these cultures again seemed unable to affect a definitive change in the political and economic structure. Religion was still little more than philosophy and superstition. In the Middle East and Africa, it was different. Religion there had always been an integral part of their civilization. From the priest-kings of Sumeria to the Pharaohs of Egypt, government and church held joint sway over the populace. But the religion was of the mind and hand, not of the heart. Ritual observance was rife, but intimate knowledge of God was not only avoided, it was actually considered blasphemous.
So it was that true religion, consisting of a love for God expressed through love for fellow man, was all but absent. As a consequence, man became hard and uncaring. Values such as good, virtues such as temperance, were a matter for argument in the Western schools of rhetoric, qualities seldom exercised in the East (where a code of honor supplanted moral values), and seldom if ever addressed in the Middle East.
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold he shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts ... he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
--- Malachi 3:1-4
In spite of Israel's belief it was the Chosen rather than the elected nation and that Israel thought itself the privileged people delivered from bondage for their own value to God,54 God overlooked their pride, arrogance, and self-righteousness in preference to the greater goal. So simple was the plan that man felt it needed something more to give it that mystic aura of the esoteric that God "ought" to have. He took the simple assertions at Sinai and created an amalgam of rules and regulations that had only the vaguest semblance to the actual Law by the time of Christ. Through traditions of men and a smattering of the Truth, Israel as a nation alternately flourished and waned until finally the traditions began to carry more weight than the Law. Israel began to drown in its own corruption.
And, from the beginning to end, God's voice never wavered in intent nor varied in content: Return to me and I will heal you.
When the time came for the Redeemer to appear on earth, Israel waited expectantly. With bated breath, they watched the horizons for the conquering hero astride his white stallion who would come with the Sword of the Lord to strike the wicked with massive plague and brimstone. With trembling, they readied themselves for the war spoken of by Ezekiel:
... So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, it is come and it is done, saith the Lord God; this is the day whereof I have spoken; and they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth and shall set on fire and burn the weapons ... with fire seven years ... and they shall spoil those that spoiled them and rob those that robbed them ...
--- Ezekiel 39:7-10
In bloodthirsty glee, they planned the deaths of those who had oppressed them. They planned how they would use the booty of victory, and how they would make the oppressor suffer. They prayed to God to hasten His coming so their arm would be strong and swift; sure to kill, maim, and torture their enemies.
And God, who is Light and Life and Love, ignored their hatefulness.
The time came and went. No warrior-messiah appeared on the horizon. No massive army fell from heaven onto the Romans. Wickedness and iniquity seemed untroubled, unhindered. Some deduced they must have miscalculated the intent of the prophecies. Others, disenchanted, sold out to the Gentile. Still others, driven by fanatical nationalistic pride, styled themselves the Messiah and lifted their hands against Caesar, but never for long.
So sure of the coming of the Messiah were the Jews of Palestine that there were pretenders to God's Anointing from every walk of life. Nearly all, however, were militarily minded, and rebellion was rife. Roman authorities looked on an assignment to Palestine as an expression of their disfavor in the eyes of Caesar. Pontius Pilate, attempting to prove his efficiency in government, enraged the Jews through bringing the image of Caesar into Jerusalem, taking temple moneys to build an aqueduct, and general heavy-handedness in dealings with the Sanhedrin.55 He often expressed concern over the lack of loyal Roman guard to his fellow officials in Syria, but received no pity from that quarter. With only a few Roman guard and what mercenary troops he could buy, Pilate governed a rebellious and dangerous people, usually through the grace of an equally difficult Sanhedrin. As long as they were disposed to cooperate, Pilate could be fairly certain of the support of the powerful Jews, those who held sway over the majority. Without their support, help would be a very long time coming from Rome.
The common people drew a meager existence from a dying land. Invaders in the past had robbed them of what they'd had, Rome and their own elders robbed them of what they might have. Crime was high, in spite of the terrible penalties. Existence as a Jew, except for a very few, was a shame. Subjugated by Rome, conquered and ridiculed on every front, only the most faithful clung to their heritage. Israel was dying. The Zealots took their most idealistic members, the Pharisees their most practical, the Sadducees their most stoic, the tax-gatherers their most ambitious. The merchants in Tyre and Caesarea cried out for their assimilation. The nationalists in the hills of Judaea cried out for separatism.
And the people merely cried for peace.
When a man of wild and shocking appearance began baptizing in the Jordan, prophesying the coming of the Messiah, he was sure to gain a following. This man was different from the others. He denied his own claim to Messiahship, insisting on the kingship of Another yet to come. When that Other came, he urged his followers to go after Him. This, in itself, was enough to show the merit of his office.56 Nor was the significance of the action lost on the Sanhedrin, for from that moment Jesus was closely watched.
Following Jesus was often frightening. Supernatural occurrences seemed drawn to Him as moths to flame. His word was stunning in its impact, but puzzling in meaning. Jesus' followers often fell to squabbling amongst themselves over things He's said or done. This was not surprising, for the Twelve were from backgrounds so diverse there could have been no common ground but Jesus' teachings. Though lacking the Life and Light of God in their spirits and hearts, they recognized the Word of God, just as the unclean spirit knew Him. However, whereas the unclean spirit knew Him at sight,57 men needed to be near Him for a time to come to appreciate His Light. His physical presence was not impressive, but His Spoken Word was not to be denied in its truth and wisdom.
This last generation before the Resurrection was the end product of millennia of degenerating principle, scruple, and moral. We have already seen the physical consequences of this corruption in the shrinking life span, but what is less evident to us today, because we have no point of reference, is the callousness of the Old Covenant mind. The Truth to which Jesus witnessed was of this ilk: a callous disregard for the sanctity of human life, absence of pity or compassion, disdain for love and gentleness, love of lucre, pursuance of war and hatred and discord. In short, Jesus bore witness unto the God of the Dark when He carried the offering to the Altar for sacrifice. And that Dark had become totally and unreservedly Man. The flesh of Man carried its physical manifestation, the soul its abstract conceptions. This is why Jesus had to come as a man, to partake of the Darkness that God might suffer what His creation did, that He might understand the true depth of His own choice.
At the Crucifixion, the Sin of Man was purged, not merely covered, for it was the very Blood of God Himself that washed it clean. That which hung on the Cross was more demigod than Jesus could ever be, for on the Cross He was God in totality and Man in totality. Every single act, even to the driving of the nails, was taken into Him for the ultimate Enlightening. The very skies of creation were darkened by the influx of sin from all over the world. The Dark glowed from the Cross, so much of it in its grisly glory that the centurion standing at the foot of the Cross was overwhelmed by the sight. He responded not to the Light that had been Jesus, but to the immensity of Dark that hung there before him. Taught to equate the Dark with righteousness, he could react in no other way.
The world huddled in fear after the Crucifixion. The disciples of Jesus in the upper room, fearing arrest; the Sanhedrin in the Temple, fearing exposure of the truth of the trial; Pilate in his chambers, fearing reprisal for the death of a popular leader, or of the Sanhedrin for his hesitation; the Temple guard by the tomb, fearing the death that awaited them if they varied from their assignments; the people of Jerusalem in their homes, stunned and confused at the events of the day.
Fear reigned supreme, for the god of the world was dead.
From the time of the Resurrection to the time of the passing of the last human being living in the generation existing at the time of the Crucifixion, there was a unique situation on the earth. There were two human races: the pre- and post-Resurrection Man.
When Christ resurrected from the grave, He made all things new, recreating the totality of creation inasmuch as He had confined Himself to operate. Again, as at the Garden, He gave Man the opportunity to come to Him through free will choice.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you ...
--- Matthew 28:18-20
And he said unto them, Go ye unto all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
--- Mark 16:15-16
Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them ... that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning in Jerusalem.
--- Luke 24:45-48
... he breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
--- John 20:22-23
... ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
--- Acts 1:8
Even those who claimed to believe in nothing knew something had happened. They could feel it in themselves. And that something would grow.
Man, by the grace of God, can become what God is in essence.
--- Maximus the Confessor (580-662 AD)
God and Man had come full circle. Man now stood where Adam had stood, before God in righteousness, but with one major and blessed difference: Christ had affirmed that, no matter the choice made, Man would never again suffer for it. Christ had removed the capability of anything of God's creation, including Man, to do evil. Real, active Evil had been defined in man's understanding of the Dark. Jesus Christ enlightened the actuality of the Dark by reconciling it to the Light. Only the memory of the Dark, remaining in the mind of Man, continued. Man has to struggle with this memory of the Dark, but Jesus Christ had imputed on Man right-standing with God.
There is nothing evil save that which pervades the mind and shackles the conscience.
--- St. Ambrose (340-397 AD)58
There is no possible source of evil save good.
--- St. Augustine (354-430 AD)59
Evil is not inherent in nature, it is learned.
--- Ashley Montagu (1905- 1999 )60
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil now consisted of the Tree of the Knowledge of the Law and of Christ; the knowledge of the pre- and post-Resurrection ways of life. Faced with this choice was the newly born race of Man, washed by Christ's sacrifice, the Nature of God in him through Christ, whether he cared to admit its existence or not.
All things are pure to the pure ... man is the handiwork of God. There is nothing in us that is unpure.
--- St. Athanasius61
God has died in His transcendent form and reality and is now fully incarnate in every human face and hand. It is a way of saying that Christ lives more fully and more comprehensively now than He has ever lived before.
--- Thomas J. J. Altizer (1927- )62
Christ became the "second Adam," the progenitor of the New Covenant Adam, the First of the Last and the Last of the First, the Alpha and the Omega. The effectiveness, the success of this generation in dealing with this choice is reflected in the book of I John.
I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.
--- I John 2:12-14
Wherefore, laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
--- I Peter 2:1-5
Under the influence of men such as these, men who themselves were undergoing inner change, there developed a new humanity. Humanity at this juncture in time consisted of three groups:
THE INTERIM GENERATION: FATHERS -- There were those well advanced in years at the time of the Crucifixion, the "Establishment," who later would either choose for God or pass into oblivion without Him. Beings of time and flesh, they were created for the purpose of the manifestation of the Unpreferred for its eventual enlightenment. Once this purpose was accomplished, their existence became superfluous. God, through the apostles and evangelists, appealed to the Fathers to accept a new purpose: the manifestation of the Preferred in creation. The Fathers were saved through the grace and love of God and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. They were Old Covenant beings in a New Covenant world, allowed to exist through the Love of God and His tolerance of their continued resistance of His Plan even after its completion.
Before that we believed in God, the habitation of our heart was corruptible, and feeble, as a temple truly built with hands ... Having received remission of our sins, and trusting in the name of the Lord, we are become renewed, being again created as it were from the beginning. Wherefore God truly dwells in our house, that is, in us.
--- Epistle of Barnabas 13:18, 2163
THE INTERIM GENERATION: YOUNG MEN -- Those who were under the "age of accountability" at the time of the Crucifixion would form the inner core of the emerging Christian churches. They would become the martyrs of the early persecutions. Their position was such that they were not of the Law nor of Christ, never having committed to either accountably. Their purpose became to show the importance of choice, being truly free to choose Life or Death, to serve the ministry of Christ or pursue the memory of the Dark. The Young Men found their salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In their acceptance of that sacrifice, they would discover a newer and better provision of their spiritual needs than the Law could ever provide. Though some were loath to leave the ways of their fathers, most would eventually understand the importance of the choice and recognize the reality of the Savior, something some of their Fathers could never do.
THE INTERIM GENERATION: LITTLE CHILDREN -- Those born after the Resurrection would eventually supplant all other generations, and the New Covenant church would be fully grown at their ascendancy. Born the little brothers of the Risen Christ, their major decision is whether to honor their Father and follow His First-Begotten or ignore the spiritual well-being entailed in that honor. Their primary immediate problem was the well-intentioned but misguided effort of their forebears to educate them in the only spirituality they knew: the Dark. Fortunately, they could only pass along their finite understanding of the Dark, and reason, quickened by God in the minds of the little ones, blossomed into moral values, the basis of a new and better civilization. The Little Children were, by birth, younger brothers to the Risen Christ, and as such they were automatically heir to the blessings of the Kingdom.
Churches were established, the bases of all being the pre-Resurrection generation, those saved through God's grace because of Jesus' sacrifice. As the churches grew, they began to encompass those of the post-Resurrection generations, and these too had to be addressed. The spiritual needs of the two generations were not the same. The pre-Resurrection generation needed spiritual education on liberation from the education of the Law. The post-Resurrection people needed education in recognition of the Truth and caution concerning exercise of the Law and its tenets. The end purpose of both generations would be the same, however: to show forth the image of the Son in the world. The difference between the Interim Man and the children of the New World would turn on understanding of God through their view of Christ as they looked for guidance in their walk in the Spirit. The Interim Man would face the decision of eternal life or death: the first the free gift of God through acceptance of Christ as Savior, the second the result of rejection of God's loving gift. The New Man, those children born after the Resurrection, would face no such terrible decision, for the Love of God guaranteed them, through Christ, that eternal death would never touch them.
To accomplish this, God called teachers and apostles. Two men in particular stand out: Paul, to those of the pre-Resurrection not already under the influence of the Law for the understanding of the Truth and recognition of the enemy called bondage; and Peter, to educate the Jew in the understanding of freedom from the Law for which they so yearned but were afraid to claim.64
Christ came to purge the Dark from Man and God, something He accomplished through the Cross and Resurrection. But the mind of Man, quickened by the indwelling Spirit of God, found its most fervent expression in teaching the doctrine of the Law. Although Man knew the Law could not impute righteousness, that there could be no life through the Law, that the Law only increased sorrow, still he preferred its clarity of definition and decisiveness of nature. Through adherence to the Law, Man could ignore the newborn responsibility given him to manifest the Son in the world. Adhering to the Law required no thought or initiative. Obedience of the Law was clear-cut and understandable without contemplation.
Attractive doctrines gain followers quickly, however, and the first generation of Christians was accosted on all sides by the Law. The interim generation sought to find a leader who might define the teachings of God in a manner they could find easy to understand and spread. This attitude was probably a carryover from the attitude that spurred the writing of The Talmud. Rather than make the effort to trace the Spirit of the Law, the Jew was content to allow the priest to dictate what he was to believe and how he was to behave toward God. To combat this mentality, the early evangelists used ever available tool. Some tried to show the purpose of Christ's ministry through re-examination of the tenets of the Law (e.g. Epistle of Barnabas), some through appeal to gentile prophecy and poetry (as Paul did at Mars Hill), and others through a combination (Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp). Every effort was made to encourage intelligent and informed faith instead of blind, ignorant faith. Legalists, Jewish Christians, and reactionaries wanted the Law to become an integral part of the new religion. It held an aura of familiarity, status, and sociability. One could become a Christian and still retain Jewish status if the Law was kept. Proselytes to Judaism from the pagan religions in Alexandria had been doing this for centuries. Men such as Paul fought a bitter and arduous war with this mentality. Preaching freedom from bondage was a fine method of evangelism, but the Jew never totally understood how the Law, with which they had lived all their lives, given by God, could be bondage. It didn't seem reasonable to assume that God would place His Chosen People in bondage. The bondage was obviously to Rome, not to the Law. The very ones that should have been teaching freedom from the Law were teaching bondage to it. Afraid that release from the Law would mean immediate chaos, they clung to it with a ferocious tenacity, defending it fiercely against all comers. Though realizing deep within themselves the lifelessness of the Law, they refused to admit this publicly, persecuting those who expressed interest in freedom. How do we know of their understanding of the ineffectiveness of the Law? Witness the words of Gamaliel in Acts 5:34-39. Would any member of the Sanhedrin have allowed even the hint of something such as Christianity as being from God before the Resurrection? Was it not for this very thing that Christ was crucified?
The interim generation would give way to a generation of the New Covenant, a people who would not remember with such clarity the teachings of the first generation. In turn, that New Covenant generation would be succeeded by another, more separated from the original teaching of the pre-Resurrection Man. In time, only the strongest of concepts from before the Resurrection would survive: the hardest to dislodge from men's minds, those concepts most a part of the former nature of man.
... if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
--- Ephesians 4:21-24
... let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith ...
--- Hebrews 12:1b-2a
And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.
--- Ephesians 3:9-10
Speaking to the interim generation, Paul and those of his era looked on the beginning of the manifest Kingdom from the perspective of the "putting on" of righteousness. Having been born before the Resurrection, his nature required the "robe washed in the Blood of the Lamb" to be fruitful in and for the Kingdom. However, the generation that was emerging was one of a different nature: life. The children of the post-Resurrection world would not share the sin nature Paul carried under his Christian shield.
I clothe his limbs, his own limbs,
and hang from them.
He loves me.
How would I know how to love the Lord
if He did not love me?
And who can tell us about love?
Only one who is loved.
I love the beloved and my soul loves him
and am where he reposes
and will be no stranger
for he is not petty, my high merciful Lord.
I have gone to join him, for the lover has found
and to love the son
I become a son.
Whoever joins the immortal becomes immortal.
Whoever delights in the living one is living.
--- Odes of Solomon, 3
The children of the New Covenant world would not require the "robe of righteousness," for their righteousness would not merely be a garment, but an integral part of their nature because of Christ.
I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.
--- I John 2:12
When a man therefore has learnt to understand the government of the universe and has realized that there is nothing so great or sovereign or all-inclusive as this frame of things wherein all men and God are united, and that from it come the seeds from which are sprung not only my own father or grandfather, but all things that are begotten and that grow upon the earth, and rational creatures in particular -- for these alone are by nature fitted to share in the society of God, being connected with Him by the bond of reason -- why should he not call himself a citizen of the universe and a son of God? Why should he fear anything that can happen to him among men? ... shall not the fact that we have God as maker and father and kinsman relieve us from pains and fears?
Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life ... And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
--- I John 24, 28
The decision facing the New Covenant children was different from the old in another way. The Old Man could choose to abstain from working against God, which would then be counted to them for righteousness, or work actively against Him through exercise of the sinful Adamic nature they shared. The New Man, unable to exercise the Adamic nature because Christ carried it to the Cross, now chooses between joining God in the manifestation of His will or abstention from aiding in this manifestation.
Wherefore we being a part of the Holy One, let us do all things that pertain unto holiness ...
--- I Clement 14:166
By exercising the first of choices, the New Man enjoys all the blessings and success the Lord God has in store. Abstention from acceptance of those blessings, what is today referred to as "sin," reaps misery not because it is the fate of man to suffer, but because it is the choice of man to suffer.
Let us become spiritual, a perfect temple to God. As much as in us lies, let us meditate upon the fear of God; and strive to the utmost of our power to keep his commandments ...
--- Epistle of Barnabas 3:1267
Many thousands of years of acceptance and encouragement of this kind of suffering our of memory of the Adamic nature, and the insistence that Christ's sacrifice did not erase that nature, has resulted in every suffering in humanity today, without exception. Hunger, poverty, pestilence, death; these all still exist in our world because Man as whole believes he deserves to suffer in a perverse memory of what he used to be.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and have been made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance, seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
--- Hebrews 6:4-6
... we are all, before anything else, children of God and ... God is the Father of gods and men ...
Out of fear of change and ignorance of Truth, the teachings of the pre-Resurrection generation were carried almost intact from one generation to the next for nearly 500 years. The persecution of the new religion was the most obvious evidence of this carryover. Nero (c. 64 AD), Domitian (c. 90-96 AD), and Septimus Severus (202-211 AD) did not consider the Christian faith to be enough of a problem to execute an all-out persecution, although Severus did forbid conversion to Christianity. With the reign of Maximus the Thracian (235-236 AD), Christianity became the political enemy of the Emperor, and the persecutions became more vicious with each succeeding Emperor until the reign of Diocletian Galerius (303-311 AD), the last and worst of all.
Nevertheless, it was during that 500 years that some of the most important decisions concerning the future of Christianity were made. The institution of Christianity as a state religion took place under Constantine in 312 AD. The definition of a Canon of Scripture, in direct response to the development of a canon by the heretical Gnostic sect under the leadership of Marcion, was the culmination of work done from 140 to about 400 AD. The final acceptance of the deity of Jesus occurred at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, with the deity of the Holy Spirit accepted in 381 AD by the Council of Constantinople. These decisions and more were made under the influence of the teaching of the pre-Resurrection Man.
Small wonder, then, that each generation has had its "heretics" and "blasphemers," men of unorthodox faith and assertion concerning the nature and disposition of God. Although even St. Augustine admitted that "none save great men have been the authors of great heresies,"69 not until the Reformation would the heresies gain enough support from the people to actually begin to make a difference. The teachings of the Dark would have died eventually anyway, as they were more easily forgotten than the sense of the presence of the Love that is God within each of us can be forgotten.
When the New Man realizes his true office in Christ, when the depth and breadth of the sacrifice of Christ is understood, when the Love of God is felt and appreciated in life, the result is familiar:
... Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
--- Revelation 21:3-4
Perhaps no other entity ever existent has captured the imagination of mankind as has the Evil One. Present in all myths, legends, and tales, in religion and philosophy he is considered the exact, although malefic, duplicate of Man's Creator. Upon closer examination, however, the Evil One's identity always seems too nebulous to define. His power of deception is credited with foiling all attempts to find his vulnerabilities except in very special cases, inspirations for fanciful stories and plays centered on beating the Devil at his own game: a dubious achievement at best.
The Christian attitude toward the Devil is confused. On the one hand, the assertion that Jesus defeated him is widely supported, yet it is still deemed necessary to constantly be alert for his influence, as he is the "god of this world." Most theologians and biblical scholars agree on this much: the Devil was not nearly as powerful in the Old Testament as he is presented to be today.
As a mark is not set up for men to miss it, so there is nothing intrinsically evil in the world ...
The origin of the Devil is as hard to determine as his current nature and the extent of his power. Most Christians believe he was a part of the Israelite's understanding of the Opponent of God, but this is not entirely the case. Early Hebrew tradition recognized no organized resistance to God on anyone's part, physical or spiritual. God was supreme, absolute, and omnipotent. He blessed and cursed as was His right. As time went on, the idea of a "Satan" gained popularity. The Hebrew word satan means "adversary, opponent," and was used not only of spirits working in opposition to the intent of God, but also of men71 and even of the angel sent by God Himself to withstand Balaam.72 So, although the idea of a worker in opposition of holy intent was in existence, the idea of a separate and distinct personality whose sole purpose was Opposition was unformed.
Jesus died, rose, and ascended. The miracles, teachings, and wisdom He left continued to spread, but there was resistance. At first, Christianity was tolerated as just another religion. Then it became clear it was more than mere ceremony. The authenticity of the miracles associated with Peter and Paul was soon undeniable. Too many intelligent, reliable witnesses held to the stories of their healings and deliverances. Roman citizens in Palestine had been intimately affected by His ministry,73 and traditions even tell of the eventual conversion of Pontius Pilate and his wife Procla.74 Something deep within men was responding to this religion, and to men in worldly authority that meant trouble. Persecution, first in the form of legislation and a semblance of decorum, gave way to outright genocidal mania as the power that was the world, centered in Rome, tried to obliterate Christianity. But the attempt to stifle it seemed only to fuel its fires in the hearts of men. While Rome declined, Christ expanded, eventually touching even the Emperor himself while still technically an heretical doctrine. It was blamed for the burning of Rome, the fall of the Temple, even the collapse of the Roman Empire; and there might have been some truth to that. Christianity encouraged all that was best in man: compassion, gentleness, tolerance, virtue, love. Rome demanded and exercised the worst: hatred, strife, war, oppression, promiscuity. Christianity preached responsible freedom from doctrine and dogma. The Temple was so inflexible that even the voice of reason from Josephus could not shake it.75
So it was that Israel fell, Rome faded, and men's hearts were assaulted with a great emptiness. To fill that void, some appealed to the mind as its own end, establishing religions of mental discipline, memorization of volumes of written material seen as manifestation of righteousness.76 Some turned to more unsavory practices, for this was a time of anarchy and fear: a grim, leaderless period in history. Kings were commonplace and cheap, not men of real power. Clawing its way out of that dark time, that time of fear and uncertainty, plague and war, was something new, something that, until then, had held little fascination for mankind. It had been a background figure, seldom discussed, not out of fear, but out of its insignificance.
We tend to assume, since the word Satan is used as a proper name in the King James Version of The Bible, that Jesus and His disciples knew and understood Satan to be a separate and distinct personality. However, Jesus and His disciples were Jews, and as such were not familiar with our understanding of Christianity (I refer to the human understanding, of course). They were, however, familiar with Hebrew tradition.
At about the time of Christ a book called The Book of Jubilees was written. In it is described an angel named Mastema (from the Hebrew word for hatred). Mastema is spoken of as having been involved in the making of idols at Ur, a practice Abraham as a boy opposed. Abraham also dispelled a plague of raven sent by Mastema. In rebuttal to this interference, Mastema is said to have suggested the testing of Abraham through the sacrifice of Isaac. Later, he resisted the re-entrance of Moses into Egypt, sought Moses' death, and was the agent of the plague of the first-born. At no time, however, did Mastema ever accomplish anything without the direct and full awareness and permission of God. Much as the Satan in the Book of Job, he was at all times under the direct command of God, in total servitude.
This picture of Satan was the picture of the Opponent at the time of Christ. Subordinate and without independent volition, Mastema was little more than an errand boy, a far cry from the Evil One of today's churches: the Devil nearly equal to God in strength and power. We must remember that when we read Peter, Paul, James, or John writing about satan, they were not twentieth century men with over 1900 years of doctrine on which to base their writings. They were Jews, converted through their faith in Jesus and their own witness of what had happened. They saw everything from the Jewish standpoint, not the "Christian." There was no Christian doctrine on which to elaborate.
A work of the first few centuries, named The Shepherd of Hermas, given nearly scriptural authority by many early church fathers, illustrates the lowly estate of the devil.
... fear not the devil, because he has no power over you ... The devil doth indeed affright men; but his terror is vain ...
--- Command 12:22b-23
At this time, the majority of attention paid to the opposition to God's influence in men was directed at angels of righteousness and iniquity, spirits both evil and neutral, and the desires of men, with hardly an indication of a central government to this opposition.77 Somehow, the suffering of mankind became linked to it. After all, God did not kill, maim, disease, and impoverish people, and of course it couldn't be man's own fault! Therefore, there must be something else, some monster of immense power forcing men to do its evil bidding.
Toward the end of the second century AD, there were terrible persecutions that forced a coagulation of concepts into a firmer image of what we know as Satan today. Men of impressive oratorical skills were convincing Christians that the Resurrection had passed, or that their basic understanding of the way of salvation was flawed. Yet, even then, there were those who still remembered the all-powerful and omniscient God. About 177 AD, a work appeared in which we find the beginnings of understanding of what the devil was to the apostles and the first generation of disciples. In a treatment of the spiritual versus the physical existence, it says:
... we recognize that there are other powers which surround matter and pervade it. Of these there is one in particular which is hostile to God. We do not mean that there is anything which is opposed to God ... for even if anything did manage to set itself up against God, it would cease to exist ... fall to pieces by the power and might of God. Rather do we mean that the spirit which inhabits matter is opposed to God's goodness, which is an essential quality with him and coexists with him ... united and fused with him as red is with fire and blue is with the sky. This opposing spirit was created by God, just as the other angels were created by Him and entrusted with administering matter and its forms ...
--- The Plea of Athenagoras, 2478
Jerome, secretary to Pope Damascus, began in 382 AD to translate The Bible into a standard form. Instead of merely reorganizing the Old Testament as he had the New, he decided to completely re-translate the Old Testament from the Hebrew. In 405 AD his product, The Vulgate, appeared. In it was the first mention of the name Lucifer, associated with the King of Babylon. The use of this name has, in the intervening years, come to be synonymous with the Evil One. In point of fact, the use of the term was borrowed from Greek legend through Latin names. Lucifer, known to the Greeks as Phosphor, was the deified morning star, the son of Eros and the Titan Astraeus. His manifestation was originally considered to be the morning star until it was realized that the morning and evening stars were one and the same. Venus, the evening star, was given preference. Thus, Lucifer "fell from grace," as it were, to be associated with Hesperus and Aphrodite, lesser deities.79 This history probably prompted Jerome that the best possible rendering of the Hebrew term he encountered (heylel, the shining one or morning star) would be the use of the word Lucifer, since the object of the passage, the King of Babylon, was supposed to be a man of great power and beauty. Nowhere else in The Bible is this term used, and it is only through tradition that we are led to believe that it denotes a personal name of the Evil One.
Thus was born the Devil.
Drawing on the ancient Hebraic beliefs, the newly emerging political power that was the Church found the perfect tool to wield control over a confused and ignorant world: the threat of hellfire and damnation. As long as the general public was illiterate and superstitious, there was no serious threat to this doctrine. Unable to read the Canon even if they could find a copy, the people put their trust in the clergy, so much so that the clergy became a separate and distinct class even in the feudal states formed in Europe and North Africa. The authority of this elect class was seldom challenged. Undisturbed, it grew in power and status with each passing year.
Then, about 1000 AD, a movement began that would spell the downfall of the temporal authority of the Roman Catholic Church: rational philosophy. Through the beginnings of physics, chemistry, medicine, and other sciences, a dividing line between where Man's limits actually were and where the Church had defined them could be seen. Philosophers began asking questions and finding answers that put the Church to test in defense of its policies and doctrine. The Church's first response to this was the same as it had been for heresies before: track down the culprits, accuse them of trafficking with the Devil, and burn them. The machine of Church legalism was already well-oiled in this method of justice, and it effectively slowed the progress of mankind along this avenue of development. But there were too many and too powerful proponents of the infant sciences to execute them all. Always there remained one or two with staunch and formidable political allies that slipped past the Church's stake.
By the end of the 14th century, the threat to Church political power was a serious one, one that might even succeed. Copies of the Canon were being widely read and understood without the benefit of clergy, something in direct opposition to the interest of the maintenance of Church power over the spirits and minds of men, the backbone of the Church. With the invention of the printing press, it became possible for nearly all men of some substance to own The Bible. The problem took on immense proportion. In desperation, the Church determined that The Bible must be placed on the list of forbidden books, books that could only be in the possession of a Catholic with the expressed permission of the clergy on pain of excommunication80. The restriction was not lifted until 1966. However, the current Code of Canon Law still restricts the publication of Bibles “unless they have been approved either by the Apostolic See or by the conference of bishops...”81
When the Church did this, it began a process that would eventually separate it almost entirely from the tenets of the Canon.
A religion that requires persecution to sustain it is of the devil's propagation.
--- Hosea Ballou (1771-1852)82
Already it had begun to partake of the same mistake made by the Jews in preferring tradition to Canon, as the Jew preferred The Talmud to the Scriptures. History was repeating itself, and there must be someone to salvage the Spirit of the Canon from this situation.
The first attempts at reformation led to the deaths of literally hundreds in England and Germany, thousands in the Middle East. The Church itself, already sundered through internal discord, writhed in anguish over the rising power of the philosophies and sciences. When the Reformation actually began to assert real influence over the world, the Church could do no more than bow to its power, stiffly and slowly accepting the changes. As a result, pieces of God's Spirit are disbursed through multiple philosophies of religion and thinking, the Truth retained through disruption of Man's vanity.
Beneath the turmoil to understanding the Opponent lies a basic truth: a principle of opposition. Although the principle might never have been personified individually, it most certainly was exercised in the world in the days of the Old Covenant. Its limits were defined by the Law, and, as the Law defined all things that could prove beneficial to mankind, those who chose to remain outside the Law soon discovered the depths of the Dark in all its despair and lack of mercy.
God knew of the misunderstanding of the extent of the power of the Son of Lawlessness, and provided for the protection of those who might be falsely accused. For instance, in His mercy He provided refuge from His own wrath in the form of the Levite cities (another type for Christ).83
After the Lord's coming, His ministry, death, and Resurrection, we should have received a better understanding of the nature of the Opponent. Yet, the very thing that began the popularity of the notion of a separate being opponent to God seemed rather to gain more support. Men did not want to acknowledge that the Opponent in the Old Covenant had been Man. Though the righteousness of God has been imputed to Man through Christ Jesus, Man refuses to recognize that fact, preferring to concentrate his attention on the memory of past unrighteousness.
Great and wondrous power is allowed by Man to this Opponent. Yet, the reality at the time of the Coming of Christ was little more than an errand boy at its most awesome. How might he become more?
By Man becoming less.
Paul spoke of "the man of sin ... the son of perdition that opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God" or is worshipped as God.84 This being is allowed this office because of the desire of each person to find someone to make the decisions who, if the decision proves wrong, can be blamed.
Responsibility is the bottom line.
The essence of good and evil lies in an attitude of the will.--- Epictetus85
God took men's eyes from other men and turned them to God. He will continue to call men for this until the full intent of the Spirit is realized in each person's life. The full power of the Evil One depends entirely on the irresponsibility of Christians. Unable to exercise its own power, it will use the abdicated and neglected power of Christians to accomplish its ends.
Who is Satan? That which works in opposition to the manifestation of the image of the Son of God in the world, be that a person, organization, or nation; that is Satan. Just as the manifestation of the Opponent has always been through Man, so it continues. There is, though, one major difference today: choice. Before the Resurrection, Man could only manifest abstinence or opposition to God. Being unrighteous, he could not work righteousness. Today, we can exercise choice to manifest righteousness or abstinence. Being the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus, we cannot manifest evil, although abstinence from righteousness might be called evil.
Therefore, to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
--- James 4:17
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
--- Edmund Burke (1729-1797)86
Natural men are the devil's allies.
--- Edwin Hubbel Chapin (1814-1880)87
Who Satan is today is a question of individual and personal import to every human being on earth. Whatever name the Opponent may have, his power is individually endowed. A basic understanding of magic instructs the student of the black arts to first instill in the intended victim a belief in the effectiveness of the spell. Without that, its power fails and it is defeated.
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God were manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
--- I John 3:7-10
Wholehearted belief and faith in an almighty and all-knowing God leaves no room for a Devil of any power at all. The problem is really one of perspective and priority. Many people believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Bogeyman as children because they are taught to do so by their parents or peers. Some time in their lives, they come to understand the true meaning of these "spirits" and their proper place in life. Satan is no different. All give material gifts, all seem to know who is good and who is bad. Somehow, none of us seem to outgrow the Devil. Instead of realizing its proper office, it is promoted in our eyes to a position of real power over our lives. The higher the Devil's office in our lives, the lower we fall in the ranks of our own ambitions and dreams, crushed under the imagined weight of its power.
If there is a hell on earth, it is to be found in a melancholy man's heart.
--- Robert Burton (1577-1640)88
Starting now, we should begin demoting the Devil in our lives. The resulting promotion of our own spirit will spell success in spiritual growth and well-being.
We now understand that the Devil is not Lucifer, Man, God, Jesus, a fallen angel, or god of this world. Satan is the personification of everything that works against the manifestation of the Son in the world, a combination of the corrupt mores, values, and standards of the world system and the neglect of righteousness that allows its continuance. In short, Satan is the memory of the Dark that Christ came to dispel, a memory that receives its power and life from the support and encouragement of indolent and irresponsible men. In not wishing to face the needs of his own spiritual growth, Man prefers to think of himself as a helpless pawn in a game between God and Satan. Such a philosophy is called dualism and was the basis for numerous pagan religions.
When a man speaks evil or does evil to you, remember that he does or says it because he thinks it is fitting for him. It is not possible for him to follow what seems good to you, but only what seems good to him ... Everything has two handles, one by which you carry it, the other by which you cannot. If your brother wrongs you, do not take it by that handle, the handle of his wrong, for you cannot carry it by that, but rather by the other handle -- that he is a brother, brought up with you, and then you will take it by the handle you can carry by.
In summation, it is evident through examination of historical, social, philosophical, religious, and secular sources, that what is considered the truth of mainstream Christian doctrine is in actuality a creation of social and political development of the last nineteen hundred years. Somewhere in the depths of the millennia since Christ's coming, there is the Truth which all serious students of God seek, much of it hidden in today's religious orders. But, it is a determined student indeed that finds it in its fullness. Only through exacting and dedicated effort on a personal basis can anyone hope to find the true meaning of a personal relationship with God. No church can give us what we need: God. He has already given Himself for us and to us. We must come to accept our station in Him; that of His utility in the world, a worker for His manifestation.
We come to appreciate God's love through understanding His sacrifices undertaken long before Jesus went to the Cross: His acceptance of blame for Man's continual failure, His extension of love in the face of scorn and fear, His hope and faith in the redemption of Man even as Man blasphemed and corrupted His creation.
We come to understand the depth of Jesus Christ's ministry through an understanding of the nature of God before the Resurrection: the Light and the Dark; the Preferred and the Unpreferred; that which was defined as Lawful, and that defined as Unlawful; that called Clean and that called Unclean. We see the Old Man for what he was: the offspring of the Preference, not the Son of Sin. The Old Man was the Dark personified, and through Christ he was enlightened.
We, the New Man, see ourselves now in a different light: as Christ is, so are we, for that was His wish.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
--- Romans 12:1
We are the "god of this world," and we blind our own eyes if we neglect the exercise of the righteousness imputed to us for manifestation in this world. There is no Satan outside of ourselves. God is the only Power in the world. In an effort to bring about the peace understood as God's plan for Man, attention has been turned to unifying men into a common purpose, but there is no need for a one-world religion, a one-world government, or a one-world economy. World peace does not hinge on the agreement of men about men. World peace and ultimate spiritual success is dependent on agreement on the Love of God and the manifestation of that Love.
All that is necessary to make this world a better place to live in is to love --- to love as Christ loved ...
--- Isadora Duncan (1878-1927)90
Peace is only possible if men ... raise themselves to a point where they adopt an abstract principle superior to themselves. In other words, it can only be obtained by a betterment of human morality.
--- Julien Benda (1867-1956)91
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
--- Romans 13:1
We determine whether the duty God entrusted us with will be accomplished now or later, and any delay in that manifestation is the only manifestation of Satan there can ever be now.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God ...
--- Romans 8:5-7a
Don't wait for the last judgment -- it takes place every day.
--- Albert Camus (1913-1960)92
We should understand that God is Light, and in Him there is no Darkness at all. We should push to the extermination of all remembrance of the pre-Resurrection Dark, for only then can the Son shine in the earth.
How can we do this?
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.
--- Luke 10:27
And Jesus responds: "This do, and thou shalt live."
It's just that simple.
The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine; Citadel Press, 120 Enterprise Aven., Secaucus, NJ, 07094 (1948, 1974)
The Archko Volume, Drs. McIntosh and Twyman, New Canaan (1887); Keats Publishing, Inc. (1975)
Back to the Sources: Reading the Classic Jewish Texts, Barry W. Holtz; Summit Books, New York (1984)
The Bible, King James Version, Regency Bible, red letter edition; Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, TN (1964)
The Bible, Thompson Chain-Reference, 4th improved edition, compiled and edited by Frank Charles Thompson, D.D., Ph. D.; B. B. Kirkbridge Bible Co., Inc., Indianapolis, IN (1964)
The Bible as History, Werner Keller; Bantam Books, Inc., NY (1956)
Biblical Hebrew, Step by Step (second edition), Mansoor, Menahem; Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Book House, 1980
The Book of Jasher, the Upright Record; Delores Press, 1501 S. Glendale Ave., Glendale, CA 91205, 1984 by euGene Scott, Ph. D.
The Book of Jubilees, translated from the Ethiopic by Rev. George H. Schodde, Ph. D.; Delores Press, 1984 by euGene Scott, Ph. D.
Chronological and Background Charts of Church History, Robert C. Walton; Academie Books, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI (1986)
The City of God, St. Augustine (abridged); Image Books, Doubleday and Co., Inc., Garden City, NY (1950, 1952, 1954, 1958 by Fathers of the Church, Inc.)
Code of Canon Law, Latin-English Edition, copyright 1983 by Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City, published by the Canon Law Society of America, Washington DC 20064, ISBN: 0-943616-19-0, page 309
Compass Points for Old Testament Study, Marc Lovelace; Abingdon Press, Nashville (1972)
The Dead Sea Scrolls, translated by Geza Vermes; The Heritage Press, NY (1962); reproduced by permission of Penguin Books, Ltd.
Indices Librorum Prohibitorum des sechzehnten
Jahrhunderts (Tübingen, 1886), page 246f
Early Christian Fathers, edited by Cyril C. Richardson; Collier Books, Macmillan Publishing Co., NY (1970)
The Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament, George V. Wigram; Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI (1970)
The Exhaustive Concordance of The Bible, James Strong; Abingdon Press, Nashville (1981)
An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W.E. Vine; Fleming H. Revell Co., Old Tappan, NJ (1966)
The Fall, Albert Camus, translated by Justin O'Brien; Borzoi Books, NY (1957); reprinted by permission
The Four Gospels and the Revelation, translated by Richmond Lattimore; Washington Square Press, Pocket Books, NY (1962, 1979 by Richmond Lattimore)
The Great Thoughts, compiled by George Seldes; Ballantine Books, NY (1985)
A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Joseph Henry Thayer; Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids
A Harmony of the Gospels and Outline of the Life of Christ, John H. Kerr, D.D.; Fleming H. Revell Co., Old Tappan, NJ (1953, 1974)
The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, Spiros Zodhiates; AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN (1984)
Hebrew Myths, Robert Graves and Raphael Patai; Anchor Books, Bantam Doubleday, Dell Publishing Group Inc., NY (1963, 1964 by Instructional Authors N.V. and Dr. Raphael Patai)
A History of Medieval Philosophy, F.C. Copelston; Harper & Row Publishers, NY (1972)
The Interlinear Bible, Jay P. Green, Sr., general editor and translator; Baker Book House, Grand Rapids (1983)
The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, with Lexicon and Synonyms, George Ricker Berry; Zondervan Publishing House (1958, 1982)
The Jerusalem Bible, Reader's Edition, general editor Alexander Jones, L.S.S., S.T.L., I.C.B.; Doubleday and Co. and Darton, Longman, & Todd, Ltd. (1966, 1967, 1968)
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Treatise on the Gods, H.L. Mencken; 1930, 1946 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.; renewed copyright 1958 by August Mencken and Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co. and Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.; reprinted by permission
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1The Great Thoughts, page 54.
2 Patrologia Latina
3 Acts 1:14
4 Open letter to Pope Leo, September 6, 1520
5 The Age of Reason
6 John 21:25
7 Annotations to Bacon's "Essays" (1798)
8 The Essays or Counsels, Civill and Morall, "Of Atheists" (1625)
9 Discourses of Epictetus, Book II, Chapter VIII
10 The World As I See It (1934)
11 I John 1:5
12 "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."
13 “Adam asked God how light was created. God gave him a stone of Darkness and of the shadow of Death which, when struck together, gave off a spark.” Hebrew Myths, Graves and Patai, page 42
14 Matthew 18:11
15 After the Resurrection, it is true that "God is Light, and in him is no Darkness at all." (I John 1:5) Jesus purged the Dark, both physical and spiritual.
16 "What's Wrong with the World" (1910), i.5
17 II Corinthians 3:18
18 Treatise on the Gods, Part I (1930)
19 The Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Geza Hermes, 1962, Heritage Press, p. 199
20 Matthew 22:37-40
21 Daniel 9:24
22 Zecheriah 3:1
23 John 6:66
24 Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4
25 Matthew 6:5-8
26 Daniel 9:24-27
27 Birth: Micah 5:2; Death: Psalm 22
28 Deuteronomy 18:15,18
29 Zecheriah 3:1
30 Isaiah 26:19; 42:6-9; 61; 62
31 The Great Thoughts, p.228
32 II Corinthians 5:17
33 I Corinthians 15:45
34 Romans 8:29
35Patrologia Latina, quoted in The Great Thoughts, p. 133
36 Genesis 44
37 Genesis 9:24-25
38 II Kings 2:23-25
39 The Great Thoughts, p. 255
40 Genesis 3:8
41 Genesis 2:21-23
42 Genesis 3:6
43 Genesis 3:4
44 Quoted by Diogenes Laertius' Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers
45 Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit (1867)
46 The Inn Album (1875)
47 The name "Noah" means safety, security, rest.
48 For example, The Bible as History, pp. 25-34
49 Genesis 6-8
50 Genesis 17:17
51 Genesis 16
52 Genesis 16:7-16
53 Genesis 16:12. See also The Koran, 4:171-172
54 See Amos 9:4
55 Josephus, Jewish Wars, Book II, "Judaea under Roman Rule"
56 Matthew 3; Mark 1:2-11; Luke 3:2-22; John 1:15-36
57 They lived and existed in the spiritual realm, and to them He was a great beacon in the Dark.
58 Hexameron 1, 31; quoted in The Great Thoughts, p. 10
59 Contra Julian I, 9
60 The Humanization of Man, quoted in The Great Thoughts, p. 295
61 Letter to Amun, quoted by Migne in Patrologia Graeca
62 Saturday Review, June 25, 1966
63 Lost Books of The Bible, p. 162
64 The intent of Jesus' teachings was to take men's eyes from other men and turn them to God. Instead, Paul has gained almost divine stature today, his words given nearly equal weight to those of Our Lord. In many churches, Paul's dissertations seem preferred to the explanations given by Christ, perhaps out of lack of patience to examine the teachings of the Lord for their meaning.
65 Discourses..., Book I, Chapter IX (p. 23)
66 Lost Books of The Bible, p. 126
67 Ibid., p. 148
68 Discourses..., Book I, Chapter III (p. 11)
69 Heretics, a treatise
70 Discourses..., "Enchiridion" 27 (p. 282)
71 I Samuel 29:4; I Kings 11:23,25
72 Numbers 22:22,32
73 Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39; Luke 7:1-10; 23:47; Acts 9:32-35; 10:1-48; 12:6-12
74 Lost Books of The Bible, p. 279; The Other Bible, p. 379
75 Wars of the Jews, Book III, Josephus
76 Islam, for instance, equates knowledge of The Koran with righteousness.
77 Lost Books of The Bible, pp. 197-269
78 Early Christian Fathers, pp. 326-327
79 It is interesting to note that Graves and Patai, in Hebrew Myths, conjecture that the fall of Lucifer is a combination of Hebrew allegory and the Greek myth of Phaeton's fall.
experience teaches that, if the reading of the Holy Bible in the
vernacular is permitted generally without discrimination, more
damage than advantage will result because of the boldness of men,
the judgment of bishops and inquisitors is to serve as guide in this
regard. Bishops and inquisitors may, in accord with the counsel of
the local priest and confessor, allow Catholic translations of the
Bible to be read by those of whom they realize that such reading
will not lead to the detriment but to the increase of faith and
piety. The permission is to be given in writing. Whoever reads or
has such a translation in his possession without this permission
cannot be absolved from his sins until he has turned in these
Bibles.” – Die Indices Librorum Prohibitorum des
Jahrhunderts (Tübingen, 1886), page 246f
81Can. 825 § 1.
82 Universalist publications, c. 1819, quoted in The Great Thoughts, p. 34
83 Numbers 35:6,9-15
84 II Thessalonians 2:3b-4a
85 Discourses..., Book I, Chapter XXIX (p. 63)
86 Quoted in The Great Thoughts, p. 60
87 Ibid., p. 74
88 The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621)
89 Discourses..., "Enchiridion" 42, 43 (pp. 288-289)
90 Unfinished memoirs, Berlin 1924, contracted for The Chicago Tribune by George Seldes, quoted in The Great Thoughts, p. 116
91 Les Trahison des Clercs (1927)
92 The Fall (1957)