Trinity Sunday 2017

I apologize.  I posted  a sermon here.  I have editid and re-posted it on the blog Bus top Sermons.  You can read it here: http://wp.me/p519av-t3

Sorry for the inconvenience.  My intent is to keep the posts here to just a slice of bread … not a whole loaf.

 

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Day of Pentecost

Acts 2:7-8 says, “Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?” It is important to realize: a.) The pilgrim Jews in Jerusalem for Shavuot were not “amazed and astonished” that Galilean men were speaking foreign languages fluently. Instead, realize b.) Their amazement was in what was said to them, in their native tongues. The amazement and astonishment was from country bumpkins from Galilee telling them the deep meaning of the Torah. The fact it was clearly understood without anything being lost in translation is secondary in the list of amazing and astonishing things that were said.

The problem that Christian churches face today comes from acting like the congregations understand what is written in the Torah, as well as every other part of the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible. There is little that so-called Christians have not heard. Therefore, there is no longer anything that is amazing and astonishing.

“Ho hum.” “Same ole same ole.” “Heard that sermon before.” Yawn.

How about this for your reading amazement: People who say they are Christians are not. How many languages should that be translated into, so everyone can grasp the meaning of that statement?

Paul wrote quite clearly (as heard in the reciting of 1 Corinthians 12:3b), when he wrote, “No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.” That means, “You cannot claim to be Jesus Christ (a true Christian), unless you have received the Holy Spirit, which brings within one’s being the Christ Mind … the same one Jesus had in him. Therefore, all who proclaim to be Christians are liars, unless they are speaking with the tongue of Christ.

This means anyone who wastes breath telling others that he or she is Christian is lying to cover up the truth. You don’t speak in the tongues of the LORD by self-promotion. You ACT as Jesus did. You ACT as Peter and the other ten Apostles did.

Peter was not yelling at strangers passing by, as if he were telling them, “I am special!” (In some foreign language) Peter and the other Apostles were explaining the prophecies that the Torah held, which foretold of the coming of Jesus as the Messiah, in ways that struck deeply into the hearts of those Jews who heard those explanations. Those pilgrims were touched by those words spoken by the Galileans.

We are told (later) how three thousand listening Jews would also be filled with the Holy Spirit that morning of Pentecost. Now those were real Christians.

When Peter quoted the prophet Joel, he was telling the crowd that God would pour out His Holy Spirit upon all whose heart was opened to belief. There was no real belief then, as John told us in his Gospel, when he wrote, “Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” No one really believed before Jesus came, although many proclaimed their religion to be Judaism.  Still, Joel foresaw (through the Holy Spirit) that old men, young men, sons and daughters of Jews, plus slaves of both sexes (Gentiles) would all be capable of receiving that rush of “living waters,” which comes from Jesus the believer.

“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” Jesus was the believer (said John), because he offered that living water that is the Holy Spirit, which can be poured out to all who welcome God in their hearts … deeply. Modern pew-sitters are like ancient pilgrims, in so far as neither have or had received any of that living water Jesus offered as the Christ.

That is where the ACTING speaks for the individual, rather than the lips proclaiming lies and wished not yet come true. A true Christian has become Jesus Christ, by opening his or her heart with boundless love of God, so God’s right-hand Man can be reborn in an Apostle’s head – the Christ Mind. Once one has become a reborn Jesus, one does not go around boasting about being special. No. One goes about explaining the words of the Holy Bible, so that others will be amazed and astonished … so much so that they listen, learn, and live those words, nourished by the living waters of the Holy Spirit.

David knew the Holy Spirit, such that he ACTED to share his experiences through his songs. In Psalm 104:31 we hear him sing out, “You send forth your Spirit, and they are created; and so you renew the face of the earth.”

Christians are the creations of God and the Christ Spirit. Those created via the mother’s womb have the breath of mortal life; but those recreated by the Spirit have the living waters of eternal life. We are given a “renewed face” through our rebirth as Christ. The face of the earth has Christians, because of that endless flow of living waters for mankind to drink, poured out freely into welcoming hearts and minds.

Still, you know the saying. “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink.” Not everyone is willing to be reborn. Therefore, to have three thousand Jews become true Christians on the Day of Pentecost two millennia ago certainly represented a gush of living waters upon the earth. That rapid flow spread greatly over a thousand years; but then dikes were built and there was more acting (perhaps pretending?) to keep the flood under control.  Little today reflects how there is ACTING to fill the world with new Jesus reproductions.

For as little ACTING today, where few realize what it really means to be “in the name of Jesus Christ,” I wonder if there are a total of three thousand Apostles in the whole world today.

If Peter and the other ten Apostles were to stand up in a Christian church today, explaining the true meaning of the words read in the services, there would be more “Christians” embarrassed for them than those amazed and astonished at what they would say; and, undoubtedly, someone would use his or her cell phone to call the police.

But, I can be proved wrong.  Let that be a call for all true Christians to ACT Christian.  Show your Christianity by sharing those gifts of the Holy Spirit with others.  Go to a Bible Study class and speak in the tongues of the LORD, so others can be amazed and astonished at the meaning they had completely missed before.  Spend time in fellowship with those who seek to learn more about their religion and need guidance.  Share some of those living waters that Christ freely gives through you, intended to quench the thirsts of non-Christians.

Be in the name of Jesus Christ and not simply speaking the name of someone you do not know personally.

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Astrology in the Holy Bible

Class 1 (a reproduction):

 

Class 2 (before break and after break):

 

Class 3 (Live until break):

Class 3 after break, reproduced due to “user error” (did not turn the camera back on):

 

Class 4, beginning after the instruction to write a definition of “astrology.  Recording through break time means only one video for this class.

 

Class 5, beginning to end, including break.

 

Class 6, up until the memory disc in the camera was full and stopped recording (at the 17 minute mark).

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Genesis Chapter 1

http://slideonline.com/presentation/254344-genesis-chapter-1-pptx

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The Voice of God

In the Book of Genesis, we read of God speaking to Adam and Eve. We even read of God making sounds as he walked through the garden in the cool of the day.

god-with-adam-and-eve

God spoke as He cast judgment on Adam, Eve, and the serpent, as they were each cast out of that heavenly realm. God then spoke to Cain, as his countenance became low and he laid on the ground welcoming evil to influence him. Following Cain’s murder of his brother, God spoke in judgment of Cain, even physically marking him.

As those avowing Judeo-Christian beliefs, we say the voice of God is believed.

In the Book of Exodus, we read how God spoke to Moses after he encountered “the angel of the LORD” in the burning bush that was not consumed by the fire.

god-and-moses

After Moses had freed the Israelites from bondage, Moses ascended Mt. Sinai and spoke with God. Upon his return to the Israelite camp, God would speak to Moses in the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. It was God reciting His laws to Moses that we read of in Exodus, with His rules for tabernacle priests in Leviticus, and His covenant with the Israelites in Deuteronomy.

In Exodus 33:17-20 we read this written: “The Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name.” Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!” And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!”

As those avowing Judeo-Christian beliefs, we say the voice of God is believed.

Samuel heard the voice of God calling him, when he was just a child. His mentor in that school of prophets (Eli) told him, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’”

young-samuel

Later, as Samuel was led by the voice of God to anoint Saul as Israel’s first king, Samuel wrote, “Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he used to say, “Come, and let us go to the seer”; for he who is called a prophet now was formerly called a seer.” (1 Samuel 9:9) A “seer” did not actually see God’s face, but saw images inspired by God and His voice. Thus, Samuel was a seer, just as were Moses and all the holy leaders of the Israelites, because God spoke to them all.

As those avowing Judeo-Christian beliefs, we say the voice of God is believed.

In the books of the prophets of Israel and Judah, God spoke to them, so they would be guides for the misled kings that would rise to rule over the people.

As those avowing Judeo-Christian beliefs, we confess belief that God has spoken through the prophets.

The Gospels of the New Testament recount the lessons of Jesus, which he taught during his ministry. Jesus said, “For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.” (John 12:49) He repeated this when he said, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” (John 14:10) And, whenever Jesus quoted from the old scriptures, he was speaking the voice of God as it had been heard prior. Thus, when Matthew wrote, “And the tempter came and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread,’” Jesus responded by saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4, with Jesus reciting what God spoke in Deuteronomy 8:3)

Jesus then spoke as the voice of God reborn.

As those avowing Christian beliefs, we believe that the words of Jesus were the Word of God. This means Jesus was also a prophet, through whom the LORD spoke. Thus, the voice of God is believed.

In the New Testament, all of the Epistles were written by Apostles and Saints. That distinction means they had been given the same abilities as had Jesus Christ, so they too spoke as the reborn voices of God. The commonality of all was the Mind of Christ, which is the link God makes to a human servant, via the Holy Spirit of God.

As those avowing Christian beliefs, who recite: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.” All of this means the voice of God is believed.

Now, with the most basic foundation of Christian beliefs being how the voice of God is heard by believers, as spoken by God, without the face of God being seen as a necessary proof, not all Christians have heard the voice of God. It seems to be an enigma, with denominations of Christianity formed because some are more adamant in letting others know how much they believe in the voice of God.

I remember a church leader in one Episcopalian church (someone like a deacon) remarking that he did not know what the voice of God sounded like. He said he had never heard the voice of God and wondered what it sounded like … so if he heard it he would know it was actually the voice of God.  In his real-world, he was a lawyer, reminiscent of a Pharisee – devoted but deaf and dumb.

I laughed (along with other church members who heard him say that) and said, “The voice of God probably sounds like your voice.  When He is speaking to you, you think it is you, not Him.” However, he could not accept that inner voice as God speaking; he wanted the voice of God to be like in old movies – rumbling down from the sky … external to him and all mankind.

It is not like that.  I know because I have heard the voice of God.

I have also heard the voice of Satan.

God and Satan were having a conversation about me, about who owned the rights to my soul. I was the stenographer who sat between the two voices, writing down their dialogue. This (I have since found out) was an automatic writing experience (AWE), as my hand held pen and paper while I wrote at a speed I was not controlling.  I kept writing even when I looked away.

automatic-writing-experience

Both God and Satan had voices that were not identifiable as my own voice. At least they seemed different, perhaps more mature than my 22 year old voice was at the time. They conversed calmly, without yelling. It was as if they found it time to meet and discuss my fate, without caring if I heard them speaking.

The voices did appear to be external to me, as if they were very close but behind my head. God’s voice came from behind the right side of my head and Satan’s from my left. I remember turning to see if I could see the faces from which the voices came, only to see my apartment’s living room, with only me in it.

God won the argument. He would not allow Satan to lay claim on my soul. That conclusion was determined, regardless of how wayward I had been up until that time. God had plans for me, even though I had been very wayward. In fact, it would take decades before I would be ready to follow God’s plan; but the voice of God has been with me the whole time.

Since that evening when the voice of God rang out in a seemingly external manner, it has since sounded like my voice, as the whispers and conversations we have with ourselves daily. That is how the voice of God sounds all the time, in each of us … personal to each of us and establishing an individual relationship between His servants and His divine presence.  His voice is not unnatural to the individual, when one believes in God.

Over the many years since that AWE, I have told others about my experience from time to time. On occasion, I have mentioned it in writings that I have posted. However, now I write about the voice of God from a new perspective, which I want to share publicly.

My new awareness comes from the first Commandment given by God to Moses: Thou shalt have no others gods before me. The Hebrew word in that verse, which translates as “gods,” is “elohim.”  That word tells us that there are multiple gods, which are other than the God of Moses.

In the study program known as Education for Ministry (EfM), scholars proclaim that there were four different groups of biblical writers, those who reconstructed the holy texts of the Torah (English translations) that we know today. Their premise is that everything was memorized, with no written documents taken to Babylon at the exile.  They believe errors are possible when memory is involved – a philosophy that discounts the voice of God as having infallible memory to pass along to a prophet who would reconstruct holy texts.

One of this group the scholars have theorized about they call the “E writers,” where “E” reflects upon the word “elohim.” That is the plural form of “el”, which means “god,” such that “elohim” indeed means “gods.” However, the translators (especially when elohim is repeated so often in Genesis) have translated “elohim” as meaning “God” (in the singular number), such as: “On the first day God created” … rather than “gods created.”  Scholars then blame the use of the plural number as to some form of idiocy by exilic Jews, who wrote down “elohim” rather than “el”.

Those “E writers” are separated from the “J writers”, where “J” is the German letter that is pronounced like a “Y,” with Yahweh written as Jehovah in German. The two names are synonymous, as both place the same pronunciation on YHWH, with the German “v” is pronounced like an English “w”. That is the distinctive spelling of the LORD, who is the One God, the one who dictated the Law to Moses. Still, the Hebraic letters (יהוה) make a statement in response to Moses asking what name he should say sent him to the Israelites. YHWH said, “I am that I am” [יהוה].

This means God is the singular and the most powerful of all gods. God is the Creator of all that is, both material and spiritual, both mortal and immortal. Thus there were other “gods” that assisted YHWH in the Creation of the physical Universe, with those “gods” being immortals, like angels, which including Satan (by whatever name we humans attribute to that darkness). Therefore, God told Moses to instruct every one of His priests (ALL of the Israelites were expected to become priests to the LORD, in return for a Promised Land) that they could not ever worship any “other gods”.  Only the One God – YHWH – was to be who those priests served totally and completely.

Now, this devotion is commanded not only to Israelites, or Jews, but to any and all who will come to realize there is one true God that offers eternal reward, where the Promised Land is heaven. This means Christianity is the new path for God’s priests, which was set by God incarnate as a man, Jesus Christ. Therefore, ALL Christians, just as like all Israelites and all Jews, are expected to be priests to Yahweh just like Jesus of Nazareth was.

Being a priest does not mean being certified by a school for priests, as much as it means being holy. The best school of knowledge is the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, one would expect ALL Christians to put in as much study and discernment about that in which they profess belief (as the Jews were required by Covenant to do), so as to be worthy of a certificate proclaiming that work, only without the proof of holiness being printed on paper.

This is where the voice of God comes into play. One cannot be a holy priest for the One God if one cannot hear the voice of God directing one’s every move. Human beings are too frail to be such priests without that direction, especially when the human realm is filled with the voices of other gods to contend with.

The voice of God told Moses, “לֹֽ֣א יִהְיֶֽה לְךָ֛֩ אֱלֹהִ֥֨ים אֲחֵרִ֖֜ים עַל פָּנָֽ֗יַ” [English system of reading left to right, rather than the right to left of Hebrew], or “lō yih·yeh lə·ḵā ’ĕ·lō·hîm ’ă·ḥê·rîm ‘al pā·nā·ya”. This literally states, “not you shall have to you gods other before me the face of”. The simplification to “Thou shalt not have other gods before me” is then losing the meaning of this demand that a holy priest must hear the voice of God the loudest, among all the noise of distraction caused by other gods. This make the inclusion of “pā·nā·ya” (פָּנָֽ֗יַ) – “the face of” – be a commandment missed, which is actually making the law say: “Do not come before YHWH wearing the face of another god as your face.”

behind-the-veil

The veil of Moses was covering the face of God upon him, just as the halo depicts the Holy Spirit of God upon a Saint.

We can only stand before the LORD as holy priests.  Without that holiness, which is a reflection of the LORD on our faces, we can only turn our backs to God.  In my AWE, the voice of God seemed to be coming from behind me, which means I had my back to Him.

When Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness being tested for his holiness as a priest to the One God, he heard the voice of Satan. We do not read in the Gospels of Jesus talking with his Father and we do not know what (if anything) the voice of God told Jesus. This means we normal mortal humans are much more apt to hear the voices of influences that will put a face on us that is not acceptable to God. Therefore, when Matthew wrote of Jesus saying, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only,’” (Matthew 4:10, NIV) the voice of God came from Jesus, as Jesus was indeed a holy priest to the One God.  The face of Jesus reflected the LORD, so Jesus could face God as commanded.

In this way, we can then see how Peter came before the LORD with a face influenced by a lesser god, when Peter rebuked Jesus for telling the disciples he would have to die at the hands of the Romans. Again, the voice of God came from Jesus, telling Peter, “Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” That statement says how “human concerns” are the face of “elohim” – other gods.

This message is confirmed by the story of Cain and Abel, which says that God told Moses nothing new, as the first Commandment was not to follow a mind led by human concerns.  The lesson of this law went back to the first offspring of the first holy priest of the One God (Adam), sent by God to lead a mankind that was without religious philosophy to realize how the spiritual reward of heaven had been lost and was capable of being regained. Adam was a holy priest that first served this purpose, who trained his two sons to also be priests to God the Father in heaven. Part of that training included making burnt offerings to the LORD.

The reason God did not receive the sacrifice made by Cain was he sacrificed the things that had life from the earth – plants and their fruits. Those were produced by the Earth Mother, such that their sacrifice honored the worldly and not the spiritual. Abel, on the other hand, sacrificed life that had come from the LORD’s breath of spirit. The killing and burning of that which had been given life by God honored God by releasing a spirit back to the heavenly realm. The resulting bar-b-que feast (the cooked flesh) was not that which honored the LORD. Priests could consume the leftovers then and forever more. However, God received Abel’s sacrifice of a released soul, whereas He did not accept anything from Cain’s offering that was raised from the ground.

When Cain got his panties in a wad over what he perceived to be a personal rejection by God, God’s voice spoke to Cain. God’s voice said, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4:6-7, NASB) That is no different than God speaking through Jesus and telling Satan to “Go away!”, in the sense that the voice of God was telling Cain how to “get right with God.”  A holy priest to the One God “must master” the desires of sin – to overcome the mind of human concerns.

cain-and-god

In the Cain and Abel story there is nothing that makes Abel stand out. The name comes from “habel,” which means “to act emptily or become vain.” The meaning of “vain” should then be seen as “lacking substance or worth,” with the archaic meaning being “foolish.” This means that Abel was one who was not caught up in his own personal needs, as opposed to the needs of the One God. Abel was individually of no value and he was either a fool who had no sense to know that, or he willingly accepted his only worth being as a slave. His only value came from serving the One God … and he died as a result of doing only that which honored the LORD.

This means the greatest challenge ALL who seek to serve God as holy priests faces is one’s own personal ego. We get so caught up in worshiping God the way we want to worship Him that we forget all about worshiping God the way He wants us to worship Him. We become the god of our domain, with our big brains the all-knowing way to righteousness.  We then make offerings from the fruits of our labors, drawn of the world we love so much, instead of sacrificing ourselves totally to God.

We therefore confuse the voice of God with the voices of the many, many, many material gods. We are distracted by things we see, hear, feel, smell, and taste on a physical level.  Thus, we stand before God wearing the face of that lesser god that is our ego and guilty conscience. We give praise to the LORD for having put us comfortably into this world, just as Cain built an altar and sacrificed things that could easily be replenished.  God rejects that offering of material things, just as He rejected Cain’s offering of fruits and vegetables. Still, God speaks to us through our consciences, telling us that we must master the desires within us, which are not focused on an eternal reward, but a mortal one.

As those avowing Judeo-Christian beliefs, the voice of God is believed, but most often rejected by those of low countenance. The first Commandment to which that faith is rooted says: Thou shalt not have to you the countenance [a face] of fallen gods before the One true God.  When you hear the true voice of God you have the option to respond as did Cain, whose selfish ego asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  Still, you have the opportunity to answer as did young Samuel, saying, “Speak LORD, for Your servant is listening.”

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Notes on the Last Sunday after the Epiphany

These are my notes on the Episcopal Lectionary readings for February 26, 2017, Year A. Due to the option of two psalms, there are no notes on either in this report. However, the option of Psalm 99 offers these verses that fit well with the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel readings that do follow:

6 Moses and Aaron among his priests,
and Samuel among those who call upon his Name, *
they called upon the Lord, and he answered them.
7 He spoke to them out of the pillar of cloud; *
they kept his testimonies and the decree that he gave them.

A most general summation for this Sunday – the last one in the Epiphany season – is “Transfiguration Sunday.”

Exodus 24:12-18

The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. To the elders he had said, “Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them.”

Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

———————————————————————————————————-

Realizing that the Lord was speaking, and understanding that God never makes small talk, one should be able to see that the command, “Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there” is more than Him saying, “You know where my office is Moses. Just make yourself comfortable there and I’ll be able to meet you when my other business is taken care of.” There is meaning to the command to Moses, just as there is meaning to everyone who reads those words.

“Come” is a commandment to “Approach” God. It is not up to God to come to us. Instead, it is up to us to demonstrate our desire to act in ways that put us closer and in touch with God. Realizing that, the Hebrew word written is “‘ă-lêh,” which is fully translated as “Come up.” The root verb “alah” means “to go up; approach; arise, ascend, climb and went.” The essence of “up” and “climb” is to take actions that elevate one’s soul, as opposed to those that lower it, which is how one goes about “Coming” to the Lord (“Come up to me”).

When we read the word “mountain,” it is easy to see the majesty of high, snow-covered peaks, and imagine Zeus on Mount Olympus, as if God actually lives on a mountain somewhere (the Sinai?). That is not the meaning we should grasp. Near where I grew up was a well-known mountain – Stone Mountain. As kids we were taken there on outings, where climbing the mountain was part of the fun. There was a hiking trail that made the trek mostly a casual stroll. Then, as one neared the top, one had to basically crawl upward on one’s hands and knees, until the top leveled out and standing erect was possible. The climb up was fun, as long as one was young enough to handle the stress of making the final yards of elevation. As a tourist attraction, where people too old came to see the view from atop the mountain, there was installed a sky lift; but that had been a modern luxury, which afforded owners to haul up the building materials to erect a building of shops and meeting rooms, to which the sky lift would end and tourists could enjoy without all the physical demands of climbing up a mountain. The point then, which was made to Moses, is that God will meet with him after he has gone through the struggles of climbing up to God.

When God then said to Moses, “Wait there” – at the top of the mountain – the command was to not do something for God simply because you want God to give you what you want in return. To wait at the ascent means to enjoy the presence of that elevation – see the vista and feel the breeze. One needs to love satisfying God, as realizing how much self-sacrifice (from “climbing up to the Lord”) leaves one in awe from that elevated state, as looking down and seeing just how minuscule human life appears from your perspective makes it more special to know that God has a plan for those who serve Him.

The Hebrew word “weh-yêh” (from the root “hayah“) has been translated as “and wait” or “and remain,” but it is a modification of the root verb “hayah,” which means, “to fall out, come to pass, become, or be.” From this realization, the view of “waiting” after “coming up on the mountain” is now a statement to “ascend to new heights and be.” The following word says to “be there,” where “there” is in that state of elevated spirit. It says that “come up” is a command to face the task of a “mountain” of obstacles, so that once overcome one has “come there.”

For this effort to elevate one’s being, God promised a gift, saying: “I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” In this promise to Moses (which is a promise to all who will become Saints and Apostles of Christ – then and today), the Hebrew words “lu-ḥōṯ hā-’e-ḇen” are translated as “tablets of stone.” This has given the impression of granite tablets, in which God had etched Hebraic words.

ten-commandments

In actuality, the Hebrew word “eben” (which means “a stone”) is also found used in the Old Testament to denote both “cornerstones” and “gemstones.” In this regard, Strong’s lists the possibility of the specific gemstone, “lapis lazuli” (“blue stone”) as a translation of “eben.” This makes sense because a gemstone is a receptor of energy (and even granite with quartz and marble are similarly energy receptors), which makes tablets prepared by God reflect a greater value than simply as rock tablets. In addition, Exodus 24, prior to verse 12, tells of God giving the laws to Moses, which Moses wrote down, before making a blood sacrifice upon the altar, as a commitment by the Israelites to honor those laws. Therefore, going to the top of the mountain, as an ascension of the leader of the Israelites, was to receive a special gift of very deep powers. A stone like lapis luzuli then becomes a more apt image of this gift from God to Moses, for the people below him.

ten-commandments-lapis-lazuli

According to the website Crystal Vaults, and which prompts from a Google search of “lapis lazuli meaning,” one finds: “Lapis Laluzi is one of the most sought after stones in use since man’s history began. Its deep, celestial blue remains the symbol of royalty and honor, gods and power, spirit and vision. It is a universal symbol of wisdom and truth. … Its name comes from the Latin lapis, “stone,” and the Persian lazhuward, “blue.”’

Without any confirmation of God having presented Moses with tablets of precious stone, the website Healing Crystals for you says, “Lapis Lazuli stones resonate with the vibration of truth and enlightenment, and are powerful intense blue stones for opening the third eye and stimulating the pineal gland.”

That site goes on to state, “Lapis Lazuli is a useful stone to wear as it is said to relieve anger and negative thoughts, as well as easing frustrations causing the anger. They resonate with the energy of the inner king or queen, and are historically stones of royalty, and this crystal also helps to balance the male and female aspects of your personality.”

It is this value that is seen in crystal stones (which were also placed in the high priest of the tabernacle’s breastplate) that become an unseen power that surrounds a human being, just as God’s presence does the same. Still, such a gift does not manifest within and around one, until one has reached heights of spirit and has then remained in that state. Therefore, to see the “tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which [God had] written for [the priests of God’s] instruction,” can be read as two separate items – Stone symbols and the written Law.

Since God had already recited “the law and the commandments” to Moses, and since Moses and the people had already ritually sacrificed a bull to seal their covenant with the Lord, to now read that “God had written for their instruction” can mean both the words written by Moses (from God’s dictation) AND a less discernible form of “writing” that is contained within the esoteric properties of crystal stone.

In Exodus 31:18 one reads, “When [God] had finished speaking with [Moses] upon Mount Sinai, [God] gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God,” one needs to understand a human’s need to use anthropomorphic descriptions for God.  The “finger of God” would not mean a physical etching into stone by a cloud touching gemstone, as much as it would be a direction commanded by God.  God figuratively pointed to the stone and caused its formation in the rock of Mount Sinai to have marks of significance in them.  Naturally formed stones (supernaturally inscribed) might well have been produced long before Moses reached the top of Mt. Sinai, as an All-Knowing God would not wait for Moses to arrive to make tablets of stone.  This means Moses might have had to break them free and rub them to a polished smoothness.

This means it could be possible that one simple mark (among many other simple marks) could have been found in the stone, which acted as a symbol for one law dictated to Moses that he had written. All marks equally applied to those laws written, with the origin of Hebraic script connected to those marks (a scholastic theory not of my origin).  From pondering the stones, the deeper meanings of the law would then fill one’s mind, from the Holy Spirit. Such a projection would leave the stones with the capability of being like modern computer chips: able to store vast amounts of words in each stone given to Moses, rather than limit God to ten commandments and a promise to honor God as His priests.

To see this intent then makes it easy to see how God would tell Ezekiel, “And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36:27) It shows how God told Jeremiah, “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33) It is also how Isaiah was told by God, “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants–from this time on and forever,” says the LORD.” (Isaiah 59:21) Because the “tablets of stone” were to be placed inside the Ark of the Covenant the intent was less to read the stones, and more to feel the spirit of the stones being among the people.

Such a view means that aspiring to great heights in service to the Lord AND remaining in that state of subservience will bring about the presence of the Holy Spirit as the reward for that service. That gift of understanding the laws will then be passed along to those who have yet to climb up the mountain to God and wait there. The Holy Spirit makes explaining that which is written “for their instruction” possible to be passed on … by Saints and Apostles, those empowered by God’s gifts.

In respect of God telling His prophets that understanding the laws will be written within the priests of YAHWEH, instead of in some external form where brevity would be demanded, the aspect of “stone” must be seen as the physical presence of the laws. Rather than some granite monument in the courtyard of a local courthouse, the “stones” that will become the source of those laws are indeed the priests themselves [Jesus telling Peter he would be the Rock of his Church, with “peter” meaning “stone”].  Living Stones inspired by the Holy Spirit.  This makes the “tablets of stone” be the physical presence of God in his servants (via the Holy Spirit), which was the Covenant between God and the Israelites, spoken through Moses. Thus, “the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction,” was initially Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Hur (et al), but would become every judge and prophet of Israel to later come, as well as Jesus Christ and all of his Apostles and Saints.

This means that one verse (Exodus 24:12), which seems so mundane and little more than a simple statement of Jewish history, is as deep and broad in meaning as is everything coming from the voice of God. This relates the power of the spiritual law, which then is contrasted with the remainder of the reading, which points to the common law of men arguing amongst themselves.

Prior to this reading, Exodus 24:9-10 states, “Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself.” Verse 11 then goes on to explain how none of them were stricken dead for having glimpsed God, with a celebratory feast taking place instead. The point of that says the elders and the named men were dedicated servants of God, meaning they would teach their tribe members to honor God and the Covenant. From the names mentioned: Nadab’s name means, “Willing, Volunteer, or Generous.” Abihu’s name means “Father is He.” Joshua’s name means “YAHWEH is Salvation.” Aaron’s name means “Bright” or “Very High.” Hur’s name means, “White” or “Splendor,” all are indicators of devotion, purity, and subservience.

When the translation says, “under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself,” the Hebrew words “kə-ma-‘ă-śêh liḇ-naṯ has-sap-pîr” can also state, “[was] a work of transparent lapis lazuli,” where the word “has-sap-pîr” seems to imply a blue sapphire. This then can also indicate (by translation options), “bones of heaven transparent,” more than “as clear of the sky itself.” The meaning of “bones” (which Bible Hub translates as “the essence”) is then an indication of the framework that represents the foundation upon which God stands (in heaven). Those “bones” represent the “body” that is God’s laws. When one is in touch with God, then the meanings of the laws become transparent and clearly understood.

The eating and drinking (“and they ate and drank” – Exodus 24:11b) is then no different than the sacraments consumed in celebration of having come in touch with God, through His Holy Spirit. Therefore, the judges left in the encampment below, after Moses and Joshua went up the mountain to meet God, were quite capable of fairly ruling in matters of dispute, based on their names reflecting the nature of their spirit. That was a reassuring message left by Moses, as he would be gone for an extended period of time.

Still, it should be seen that “legal matters” (the alternate translation of “disputes”) are only found on the low level of life, which are at the base of the mountain of God. Those “disputes” were based on the written law God had dictated to Moses, so sins could be identified; but identification of sins is only a first step, intended to elicit guilt and begging for pardon from God – the ultimate Judge.  That self-judgment is more valuable than any profit gained from pointing out the sins of others.

When we then read, “Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud.” The “cloud” is a “heavy mist,” as a fog around elevated ground. It should be easily recognizable how a “fog” or “cloud” is an indication of obscurity and nebulousness.  A “cloud” points to conditions where clarity is sought. This cloud is then called “kə-ḇō-wḏ-Yah-weh,” meaning “glorious YAHWEH.” That means the confusion about the written law is “the glory of the LORD.” It is written from the mind of God, such that what seems simple and shallow is actually boundlessly deep and most meaningful.

The element of “six days” is then relative to the number of days that God created the world, so six days is symbolic of a week of work.  For humans, the rise and fall of the sun six times means 144 hours applying the laws of God in a worldly existence. The “seventh day” is then the day YAHWEH made holy, when He made Adam holy, as the first priest to serve God on earth. Moses was called on the seventh day because he was made holy. Therefore, when we read, “[God] called to Moses out of the cloud,” this is no different that God speaking to Jesus when he was in the Jordan River, saying “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” All who apply the laws of God daily are filled with the Holy Spirit and recognized as Sons and Daughters of God … those humans who please Him.

In the ancient world there were seen four basic elements: earth, water, air and fire. Every time there is a mention of something that fits one of these four elemental states, there is a deeper symbolic meaning to consider. When we read, “Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel,” this makes a statement that sees “fire” as a burning and harmful element. That view of “fire” was at the base of the mountain, far away from a perspective of understanding. Remember how Moses first encountered the Lord when he saw a burning bush that was not consumed by the fire. This is the symbolic fire of inspiration.

Inspiration is dangerous because it causes people to act, often with a lack of experience or knowledge. Having acted and been burned means people fear the heat that comes from being inspired. However, Moses entered into this cloud of inspiration and remained there for forty days and forty nights. This is a statement that Moses was being filled with the knowledge of God, which is so obscure to lesser human beings. This was Moses receiving the Mind of Christ, only it became the Mind of Moses then, with both linking equally to the Godhead.

The forty days and forty nights is then the symbolic time one spends in the wilderness, learning to be tested by the Almighty.  Numerologically (relative to the divinity of numbers), 40 is equal to a 4, as 4+0=4.  The number 4 is relative to foundations.  The day is when the light of the sun abounds.  Likewise, night is when the light of the sun is absent from the earth.  Thus, Moses spent time understanding the foundation of light, and an equal time understanding the foundation of darkness.  That equates to a full understanding of right (light) and wrong (darkness), which is the purpose of laws.

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2 Peter 1:16-21

We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.

So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

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When Peter stated, “We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” it must be understood that a “myth” is a tale from antiquity that can never be proved. Thus, Peter was saying that everything about Jesus Christ is the truth and not made up or memories passed along with embellishments. To avow that his story was “not cleverly devised” is to say that there is nothing about the story of Jesus Christ that will profit him or the other Apostles in a worldly manner.  There were religious scam artists back then, which is a problem more so today. Churches with leaders who promote a “get rich with Jesus” agenda (available to all congregation members at a cost) are those that have been “cleverly devised.” Neither Peter nor his fellow Apostles and Saints had the latest, greatest clothes, cars, nor homes that projected to potential lambs just how well God had treated them, because of their ‘Jesus story’.

praying-for-cash

For Peter to say, “We had been eyewitnesses of his majesty,” this personal testimony would only be possible for one like Peter, who was a disciple of Jesus and aided him in his ministry. Because he was there with Jesus in the flesh, Peter and fellows were “eyewitnesses” to many of the miracles that Jesus performed in their presence. His use of “majesty” can also be read as “divine glory” and “divine greatness,” which is a term often applied to kingly rulers. The term is used to denote that presence of God within that leader, rather than to be a statement of landholdings or wealth.  Thus, Jesus is referred to as Christ the King, because of his “majesty.”

Peter’s writing, “For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased,”’ this is a testimony about Jesus’ receipt of that divinity (via the Holy Spirit).  Peter witnessed this divine glory with his own eyes and ears on Mount Hermon (along with James and John of Zebedee). Matthew wrote of hearing God say the same thing (Matthew 3:17), after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan. Luke also recounted this voice of God saying the same thing (Luke 3:22). Peter was also present at that baptism of the Holy Spirit, but he might not have heard that voice of God then. It could have been like when Jesus foretold of his coming death, of which John wrote (John 12:28-30): “Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes.”

Those who hear the voice of God speaking are close to receiving the Holy Spirit. When Peter was on the “holy mountain” and God spoke after Peter’s eyes led him to see the bright white and ghostly images of Moses and Elijah with Jesus, God then commanded, “Listen to him!” Listening to Jesus means advancing to the point of receiving the Spirit, which brings one the Christ mind of understanding. Therefore, Peter wrote, “So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed.” An Apostle, like Jesus, is able to confirm all that had been written in the holy books as coming directly from God to prophets. With the Christ mind comes full understanding.

This is then what led Peter to state, “You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” To know the text of the Torah, or to know the children’s Sunday school stories, leaves one in a dark place – as far as being able to defend one’s religious beliefs to one who doubts them. Even more dark is the constant influences to sin that overtake one who has not “fully confirmed” the meaning of God’s Word. A “lamp shining in a dark place” is the teaching of an Apostle, just as Peter learned from Jesus.

When “the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,” then the disciple has received the Holy Spirit and the Christ mind, to become that lamp in the darkness for others.  Further, the “morning star” is actually the planet Venus, which symbolizes love, beauty and aesthetics.  Therefore, we should focus on the flame of truth until we are fully enlightened and the love of God fills our hearts.

This then led Peter to shine some light from the lamp that he was, saying “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” This says that those who bend the meaning of Scripture to meet the modern wants and desires (“one’s own interpretation”) will be wrong. This is what I call “the Big Brain Syndrome,” where scholars research and look for relics and historic documentation that proves the occurrence of a scene and storyline, while repeating the brainiac thoughts of those past as proper reason in discernment. No matter how profound their conclusions may be, if done alone – without the assistance of God’s mind – then “no prophecy ever came by human will.” This means the topics of abortion, death penalties, and human sexuality are most often passed off as “myth,” using Jesus as the reason their brains come to support sinful existence (which is ever present and cannot be justified simply because it has always existed).

The truth can only be known when “men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” That does not seek to justify personal views of the earthly realm and life amidst both beauty and sin. That only seeks to serve God as Christ reborn, which makes one a lamp in the darkness of a sinful world. An Apostle cannot remove the darkness and fill it with light alone. Only the Holy Spirit can do that.

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Matthew 17:1-9

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

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From having read Exodus and Moses with Joshua working for six days in the cloud of God to reach the top of the mountain, we see the same number of days related to Jesus’ ascent on the holy (“high”) mountain. After six days Jesus was “transfigured before them.” This is the same as Moses being called by God into the cloud on the seventh day – the day recognized as holy. One can now make the assumption that Jesus was transfigured on a Sabbath, as was Moses. God does not do things haphazardly or by happenstance. Everything has purpose.

The Greek word “metamorphoó,” which is the root of the word written (“metemorphōthē”), means “to transform.” Strong’s adds this helpful analysis of the word: “3339 metamorphóō (from 3326 /metá, “change after being with” and 3445 /morphóō, “changing form in keeping with inner reality”) – properly, transformed after being with; transfigured.” [My highlights and underline.] This means that on the seventh day of the ascent upon the high mountain – after six days of effort – Jesus was in the cloud, with God. In that transformed condition, he reflected godliness: “his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white.”

When we then read, “Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him,” the point is a projection into heaven, where time on a linear plane dissolves. The soul that was within the body named Jesus (of Nazareth, born of a woman in Bethlehem) was the same soul as filled the bodies known as Moses and Elijah. This glimpse can only be seen when one realizes the holy thread throughout the books of the Holy Bible is souls reincarnated and those born of a holy line that loves God deeply and serves Him with all their souls.

When Christians believe the ‘three-in-one’ concept of Father-Son-Holy Spirit, one misses the Trinity of the Christ mind being in Moses-Elijah-Jesus. Each of those three figures was transfigured by the presence of God after being with Him, just as each was separately a ‘three-in-one’. Still, there can be no limit to how many human beings can become the Son, in whom God is very pleased, as all Apostles and Saints are likewise transformed by the Father’s extension of His Holy Spirit to a reborn Son. That resurrection always brings with it the Christ mind, as well as a brightly shining face and gleaming white clothes of purity.

When Matthew quoted God as what Peter said he had heard, the element of “Listen to him!” must be known to be a command from God to YOU. Because we cannot be an eyewitness to Jesus, as were Peter and Matthew, we can still listen to the voice of God, which was what Jesus was preaching. From the text of the holy scriptures God speaks to us through the words Jesus was remembered to have said. Too often we look to others to tell us what the meaning is; and if another is a Saint, they will guide up correctly. However, there are far more wolves in sheep’s clothing (bad shepherds) who will lead us the wrong way; and that is why we each are responsible to listening to our hearts, which will lead our brains. It takes practice hearing what physical ears miss.

We then read Matthew recount the reaction of the disciples after hearing God’s voice commanding them: “When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear.” It is a scary thought to have – that we need to pay attention and hear, then act too. Our legs get rubbery when the idea is to learn, because you are expected to do this soon. We fall to the ground and cry like babies; but Jesus says, “Get up and do not be afraid.” Listen to that and believe you are not alone. Do not be afraid to serve God. That is why, after the disciples looked up, only Jesus was there. All the ghostly images and loud heavenly voices were gone. With the Christ mind, there will only be Jesus there with the devoted disciple, at all times and places, after one has seen and heard the divine.

When the group was leaving Mount Hermon to rejoin the others, Jesus told them to be silent about what they had experienced on the high mountain, until Jesus has died and been resurrected. While Jesus had spoken about his having to face death, the concept of being raised from the dead would have flown completely over the heads of any normal Jews (or Romans or Greeks, et al). Peter had rebuked Jesus for speaking of being punished to death, at which point Jesus said, “Satan, get behind me!” (Matthew 16:21-23) However, as the saying goes, “Seeing is believing.” Peter, James and his brother John saw Moses and Elijah raised from the dead, as real as Jesus. Still, without the Christ mind within them to fully understand their vision, Jesus was telling them to be silent until they had the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to speak about what they had seen.

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Notes on the readings for the Seventh Sunday After the Epiphany

For Year A, February 19, 2017.

Leviticus 19:1-2,9-18

1 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

2 Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.

9-18 When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God.

You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another. And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the Lord.

You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.

You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the Lord.

You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

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In verse two, it is most important to understand that God did not tell Moses to inform all the Israelites that they were holy because God had chosen them as followers.  God is laying down the foremost law – the Commandment that says, “If you follow me, then you must be holy.  You must be a Saint, because you reflect the presence of the LORD on earth.  Because God (YAHWEH) is holy, then only priests who are as holy as God can call him or herself “God’s chosen people.”  God chooses which human beings His Holy Spirit will fill … AND … that is based on the application of God’s laws, which were given to Moses to pass on to those who were in the ‘priests-for-the-One-God’ congregation.

Verses nine through eighteen are then some of those laws that become prerequisites for Sainthood.  You shall not be a greedy human being, one who takes everything possible as a priest and hoards it to one’s self.  You only possess that which you have worked for and earned, so you do not take that which is not yours, which someone else may or may not have worked hard to acquire.  If you are poor and take some grapes or wheat from the outer edges of a rich man’s field, then that is not stealing.

The law says you do not cheat and swindle people because you know how to take advantage of people who easily trust others.  This is stealing, which furthers the greediness of what one already has taken from the earth.  This means people like Bernie Madoff and Donald Trump, who have been caught making a profit off their taking advantage of others, are not worthy of calling themselves God’s chosen people.

The aspect of lying is a strong determiner of one’s holiness, as Jesus only told the truth, because God is truth.  God exposes liars.  Dealing falsely with someone means lying to them.  The opposite of false is true.  When God told Moses, “You shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God,” the meaning is to lie to someone and “swear by God the lie is the truth.”  To make such a clam is to speak profanely, thus promoting lies in the name of holiness is the definition of “profanity,” as it is blasphemous speech.

In the laws of God, through Moses and Jesus, the use of “neighbor” has been grossly misunderstood.  In Moses’ case, he was giving laws to a cloistered group of people, all of whom were related to Jacob, descended from one of his sons.  Simply because these “relatives” were so many in number, they were strangers to a large extent, such that marriage to distant cousins was accepted (and preferred, to keep it “all in the family”).  Therefore, the prior commandments not to defraud or lie to “one another” were intended to be a condition between friends and close relatives.

That meant “Your neighbor” was one of those strangers who lived nearby.  Those became the hired hands and those stricken by infirmities (deafness and blindness).  God made it clear that you will be judged by how you treat those in the same “religion” or “race” as yourself.  A poor judgment was to be feared, at all costs, because condemnation meant being “excommunicated” from God and outcast as a regular sinful human being, not chosen by God.

Speaking of God’s judgment, Moses went on to state, “You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor.”  To only render just judgment, to be impartial to those fortunes are higher or lower than yours, and to judge those of the same blood fairly and justly, one needs some very good guidance.  That comes directly from God, through the presence of His Holy Spirit.  Thus, a saintly priest for YAHWEH shall not do anything contrary to just judgment (and just judgment does not mean turned a blind eye to the sins of one’s neighbors and not calling another priest out for not doing what God wants).

To say you should not slander “among your people,” the word that translates as “slanderer” is also translatable as “talebearer.”  In modern legal definition, “slander” means: “Oral communication of false and malicious statements that damage the reputation of another.”  In general, it is “A false and malicious statement or report about someone.”  As a “talebearer” the reference is to the spreading of gossip and innuendos.  Therefore, the meaning is less in legal terms, where one’s abilities to profit off some secret dealings that people close to that person might intuit as unsavory and talk about it to others (without proof).  The meaning is wholly relative to a priest who is to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit, where knowledge goes well beyond intuition.  A priest has no need to talk the secret dealings of others who also call themselves priests to YAHWEH (among your people), as God knows their sinful deeds and so do they (from guilt).  As one who is to be holy, one needs to leave the rumor mill alone; but advise others from wisdom, which will protect the innocent by holy insight, not fear from tales unproved.

When God then added, “you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor,” this can equally translate as, “you shall not stand [or act] against the life of your neighbor.” [NASB]  Whereas the word “blood” is read as meaning “life,” as “lifeblood” being spilt, leading to death, the pairing of this law with the act of slander means a priest of the One God is not to talk in ways that lead the death of another priest.  The translation of “profit” then hints at a purpose for taking a “stand,” or “acting” (via slander and tale bearing) against one’s own people (another priest).  There can be no profit for any priest going against this law, only loss in terms of spiritual reward.

When Moses was told to command, “You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin,” there are translations that state “kin” as “brother.”  The broader meaning beyond a “relative” is “countrymen,” where this is another reference to the lineage of the Israelites.  They are commanded not to hate “fellows” in religion or race.  By omission, they are not commanded to not hate anyone.  Remember that the heart is the seat of God within each individual priest.  By that relationship, where all the Israelites were “kin” of God (all Sons of God via the Holy Spirit), to hate another whose heart held YAHWEH means to hate God.  That hate is forbidden.  Evil, on the other hand, whose god Satan lurks in the hearts of many men and obviously so, should be expected to feel emotions like hatred, if God’s Spirit moves one to that state.  If two of God’s priests differ on how they react to evil, God does not give a priest whose heart is not filled with hatred about evil to hate another priest whose heart is so moved to hate evil.

This means that the amendment to this law states, “You shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself.”  This means that a priest whose heart does not hate evil (for reasons God has chosen, from within that priest), they are to “reprove” or “argue” the “reason” for another’s hatred, in order to bring the other away from hatred, through understanding what all hatred does to one’s spirit.  If one does not take this approach, then one is affected by the mood of a “fellow” priest, so one’s hatred of evil makes another hate evil as if it were that fellow.   Two hates do not a holy one make.  As such, a failure to address hatred by way of God-led discussion will lead one to the same guilt as projected upon another.

Finally, as far as this reading allows, God told Moses to command: “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Again, vengeance and grudges are to be determined by God’s will, and many times God commanded his priest to take vengeance upon evildoers and God complained loudly against those who had promised God their faith, but turned away from God.  This means vengeance and grudges are the Lord’s, and the Lord will use His faithful to carry out His will.  Us mere priests must not start thinking we are God and ordering retribution, based on grudges, especially towards other priests (any of your people).  That becomes an extension of hatred in one’s heart directed towards one of God’s own.

This means that the “arguing” ordered before, to address hatred in another priest, must be done as an “act” of “love.”  Again, “your neighbor” is one whom a priest lives among, with that neighborhood being other priests, but those who are not necessarily blood kin or directly descended from a family’s blood.  A “neighbor” is not anyone else of a different religion or race.  In terms of Christians, who have lived in increasing melting pot nations for millennia, a neighborhood can consist of many different branches of Christianity, as well as religions that differ greatly from faith in YAHWEH or belief in Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah.  God is not making a commandment to Moses for the Israelites to love the Ammonites, Midianites, Moabites, or Philistines.  Those enemies lived in the same lands as the Israelites would settle, but each had separate “neighborhoods.”  Therefore, Christians are not commanded to love those who hate Christians by living among them and accepting their ways.  Jesus said to love you enemies, and to do that you allow your enemies to be filled with hatred for you, but at a distance that respects their right to not be Christians.  You love by allowing others to choose to love God … or not.  You love them by letting them make that decision.  Meanwhile, you are to love fellow Christians as the Christians you are.

Psalm 119:33-40

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes, *

and I shall keep it to the end.

34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep your law; *

I shall keep it with all my heart.

35 Make me go in the path of your commandments, *

for that is my desire.

36 Incline my heart to your decrees *

and not to unjust gain.

37 Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless; *

give me life in your ways.

38 Fulfill your promise to your servant, *

which you make to those who fear you.

39 Turn away the reproach which I dread, *

because your judgments are good.

40 Behold, I long for your commandments; *

in your righteousness preserve my life.

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This song of praise focuses on the Mosaic Law.  David begins by asking God for His direct assistance in “teaching” the path of those laws in a real life, so David could maintain a righteous life until death.  That help from God is then explained as “understanding,” which does not come from the brain interpreting the written or oral Word, but from the Lord being loved and seated in one’s heart (a marriage to God via the Holy Spirit).

This love of God is then explained as “my desire,” which commands David to do as God wishes (like a wife obeys her husband).Thus, David sang longingly, “Incline my heart to your decrees.”  When one is completely committed to serving the Lord (like a wife to God) then one is free from worldly distractions.  All that can be seen as a worldly “gain” is just reward for service rendered, just as a husband provides for his wife or wives.  All that the world offers (beyond needs) is “worthless to watch.”

When David wrote this song that prays for God to show him the way, his prayers were answered by Jesus Christ.  To end by singing, “Behold, I long for your commandments; in your righteousness preserve my life,” the laws of Leviticus are expanded in meaning by Jesus and Paul, which is rooted in love.  From holy love comes holy wisdom, so one can then lead others to be preserved in life – eternally.

1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written,

“He catches the wise in their craftiness,”

and again,

“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,

that they are futile.”

So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future– all belong to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

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When Paul wrote to the Christians of Corinth (who were equally filled with the Holy Spirit, from having heard the Gospel of Christ from him), “like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it,” the foundation was that onset of the Holy Spirit.  When Paul then added, “that foundation is Jesus Christ,” he said that he and every other true Christian were based in the holiness that was the same as that which made Jesus the Messiah.  ALL SAINTS are (as their underlying foundation – their cornerstone) the rebirth of Jesus Christ.  From that foundation, “each builder must choose with care how to build on it, for no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid.”  No one is or can be anyone other than that resurrection of Jesus, with the Christ mind.

Thus, Paul’s question, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” is rhetorical to another who is equally a Saint and filled with God’s presence.  The body of a Saint is the temple, with God’s throne seated in the heart of the Saint.  God only dwells in those who welcome God with love, believing in Jesus as the way to God.

When Paul wrote, “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person,” the point is at the root of why Paul wrote letters to Christians he had touched with God’s Holy Spirit and the knowledge of Christ.  His letters warned (in a friendly compassionate manner) that the presence of the Holy Spirit is not gift from God that makes life easy and comfortable.  Because of the struggles that Saints encounter typically, some may be influenced to turn away from God, for a moment of ease; but turning away for more than an occasional minor sin will destroy that holy seat in one’s heart, evicting God from one’s being.  Without God, the promise of eternal life is destroyed.  A human being with aspirations to be a Saint cannot serve two gods.  It is one or the other: God or earth.

In relation to this choice that one makes (and to which God reciprocates), the holy gift of wisdom, coming through the Christ mind, is understood by the human brain (God’s physical gift from which mortal life is maintained).  This wisdom must always be received as insight from God and not one’s own personal powers of observation and discernment.  Without God’s influence, a human being is nothing more than a fool.  Therefore, admission of how lame one’s brain is, when compared to the Christ mind, means admitting one’s abilities to know something wise has nothing to do with a simple brain.

Paul then quoted Job (Job 5:13), where Job wrote, “He captures the wise by their own shrewdness, And the advice of the cunning is quickly thwarted.”  Paul then quoted David (Psalm 94:11), whose psalm sings, “The LORD knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile.”  Therefore, Paul’s holy wisdom is pointing out to the Saints of Corinth to be careful not to think you can sneak anything past God, through a cunning brain that sees how easy it is to make others think what one wants them to think.  God exposes these cheats, so they will eventually be known as fools of no value.

Those who demand beliefs and trusts be put in human beings are those who “boast about human leaders.”  We see this every day in the politics of government.  When God is seated in one’s heart center, then the only leader of merit is God.  The Christ mind will point out ALL the flaws of those who boast of human wisdom and powers of influence.  Paul was a leader to the Christians of Corinth, but they need not boast of Paul, because a Saint has the same lone leader as Paul – God.  The resurrection of one body – Jesus Christ – is the proven result of God as one’s leader within.  The only one who matters in one’s future, in the world and beyond, in life and in death, is God … not some human being who makes promises that he or she cannot deliver.

Matthew 5:38-48

Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

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path-in-the-forest

When Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,’ this is misunderstood as Hammurabi’s Code (who ruled over what is now Iran), but is actually a reference (to Jews) to a partial law of Moses.  It is one verse of four, found in Exodus 21:22-25, which is Exodus 21:24.  That verse completely says: “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,” so Jesus was Jesus was saying part of a verse, to spur the memories of Jews who had been taught to memorize the Mosaic Law.  It was like him saying, “I say ‘eye for eye, tooth for tooth’ and you say … “(fill in the blank).”

If one is fully able to fill in the blanks before and after Jesus’ queue, one then will realize that Exodus 21:22 states, “If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide.”  The initial aspect that one must grasp, which then directly relates to turning one’s cheek, is “if men struggle” and fight one another.  While verse 22 states a “whew, no harm done to the pregnant woman because her baby came out unharmed,” verse 23 says, “But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life.”  This says (through implication) that if the woman dies in childbirth, or if the baby is born and dies, then death shall be the punishment to the one wrongly striking a pregnant woman – not for striking her husband and killing him in a fight.

When Jesus said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” this is the damage done to the woman and/or child, although babies are not born with teeth.  When  there is also consideration for “hand for hand and foot for foot,” with verse 25 ending with “burn for burn, bruise for bruise, and wound for wound,” the implication is a husband of a pregnant wife would be due compensation (equal justice) for injuries wrongfully inflicted on his property – the wife and baby.  This is the only place in the Holy Bible’s Old Testament where such a law is stated.  Because it deals with men quarreling (with those men known to be the segregated men of the twelve tribes of Israel (to become the descendants known as Jews), it is not a reference made by Jesus about Jews fighting Romans … or anyone other than one another, those of the same religion and race.  Therefore, Jesus, who sat on the mount by the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, spoke to his Jewish followers, disciples, and pilgrims in Galilee for the Passover and Shavuot festivals.  The Hammurabi Code is more applicable to Persians, with that transferring to anyone seeking revenge.

From this perspective that Jesus was not speaking to the whole wide world about not fighting, but only to those who had chosen YAHWEH as their God and by following Jesus to hear his Sermon on the Mount sought to be good priest serving that God, Jesus was giving an understanding of how one avoids God’s Judgment in the end by avoiding the court system, where men interpret laws wrongly on a daily basis.  To avoid having your pregnant wife injured as a result of YOUR fight with ANOTHER PRIEST FOR YAHWEH, just don’t fight at all.  Stay away from evildoers to begin with, because the same as a Jew not being allowed to fight a pagan is that touching them with a fist makes you as heathen as they are.  If you are urged to come to blows with another Jew, it takes two to tango with evil.  Stay out of the court of law entirely, such that if someone tries to sue you for the shirt off your back, then give it to him prior to having to go to court.

When Jesus said, “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile,” that is the story of Jacob.  He bargained with Laban for the right to marry his younger daughter Rachel, only to be given his elder daughter Leah.  Rather than take Laban into some court to settle that dispute, he repeated the bargain so he could win the woman he desired.  Jesus made that reference because a priest for the One God desires heaven for the labors; but if heaven on earth is not the reward given first – only fleeting phases of happiness – keep working for the second reward.  In this way one is begging the Lord for a handout, which makes one a spiritual beggar.  Therefore, do not turn away from those of your own kind whose hand comes out to you for a help or reward.

The saying stated by Jesus, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy,” is not a direct quote from Mosaic Law.  Moses did speak for God when he said “Love you neighbor as yourself,” where “neighbor” was a commandment to Levites (Leviticus 19:18), which mean the Israelites were to live among other Israelites, not to mix with those of differing customs and religions.  Thus a “neighbor” was one of the same commitment to the One God and not just anyone who lives down the street (in the non-Jewish or mixed community).

The addition now is Jesus saying, “You have heard it said, ‘hate your neighbor’,” where that was those Roman soldiers who lived close, so they could control the dominions of the Emperor of Rome.  The Jews of Jesus’ day – in particular the Zealots and rebellious Jewish cliques [those seeking a warrior Messiah from God] – were trying to convince all Jews to lay down their lives to retake Jerusalem [and Judea] for them, as the Promised Land still owed.  It was about this new message that Jesus then spoke.

When Jesus then said to those Jewish listeners, “I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven,” it is vital to understand the Greek infinitive verb “agapaó,” which translates as “to love.”  “Love” is a word that everyone recognizes, but when asked to define “love,” they stammer and become limited with the meanings of that emotion.  Strong’s states “agapaó” can be used in a context that means, “I love, wish well to, take pleasure in, long for; denotes the love of reason, esteem.”  Further, their help for understanding Biblical uses of Greek words says, “With the believer, 25 /agapáō (“to love”) means actively doing what the Lord prefers, with Him (by His power and direction).”  Since Jesus only spoke what God meant (and never what Jesus the man thought up), “To love one’s enemies” simply means to see your enemy as yourself.  Just as you have beliefs and faith in your God, so too do others feel devotion to their god(s).  You can then “love” you enemies by wishing your enemies well in their devotion to a different god.  You express that “love” through separation – giving your enemy the space they need to not be confronted by you and your differences.  You are “actively doing what the Lord prefers” (“loving God”) by staying focused on your love of God, rather than splitting your focus between love and hate.

Just as Jesus did not mean the world should give up fighting, because “eye for an eye, tooth for tooth” is the need for judgment for those who fight and cause injury, fighting as a part of combat training or a ritual for manhood, with all pregnant women far, far away, was a natural necessity for a nation of people.  Such preparation is due to knowing one nation means another nation that can profit from destroying that one nation.  Enemies are as natural as is fighting is, but the enemy is loved by allowing another nation to exist, without doing anything that promotes or compounds a natural dislike for differences, as sticking your tongue out and yelling, “Na, na, na, na, na.  We are better than you,” leads dislike to become hatred.

When Jesus then said good priests for the One God should “pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven,” the meaning is a good priest is not a Saint by praying for selfish things.  To pray for an enemy means you are asking God to enlighten one’s persecutors to the sins they are committing.  Resisting persecution will only cause more persecution in return.  But to accept persecution and demonstrate to the persecutors that one is willing to suffer without fighting back, means one is serving God by believing God has the power to bring strong guilt to those who bear evildoing responsibilities.  Such sacrifice is what makes one a child of heaven.

When Jesus explained that God “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good,” one should see how “his sun” is the illumination and enlightenment of truth.  The truth is true in all cases, both to liars and the truthful – so the truth rises on evil and good.  When Jesus then said that God “sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous,” one should see “rain” as the waters of emotion, such that “tears” fall like rain on all mankind, both those who do evil and those who do good.  One’s “rain” falls like tears of sorrow, while the other’s “rain” falls like tears of joy.  These “rains” come from the prayers of the faithful for the persecutors.

When Jesus ended this segment of words by saying, “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” the point was for true priests for the One God to go beyond self-serving acts and act for others.  This (we now know, from the Apostles letters) means being filled with the Holy Spirit.  From that perspective of knowledge (like that held by Jesus), Judaism goes beyond all other religions in the world.  From the abilities to withstand persecution given by the power of God, the enemies of the world can be led to the light and rain of YAHWEH.

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