Teacher-Brother Dave's initial comments: I am presenting some of my Topical Studies from the fully public domain, 2097 page, Fifth Epochal Revelation of Truth and with my added comments. The Revealed text is free of copyright, so you may freely share individually these supernal quotes with your friends and relatives. But my order of selections, font types for emphasis and my added comments are Copyright 2011 and 2012 by Dave@PureChristians.org All Rights Reserved Contact me first about using the whole Study or group of Studies.
[My added comments of explanation below are in these square brackets]
STUDY 2 THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION
[Part 1 of several]
Compiled 12/26/2011 by Dave@PureChristians.org
Page-67 All religions teach the worship of Deity and some doctrine of human salvation. The Buddhist religion promises salvation from suffering, unending peace; the Jewish religion promises salvation from difficulties, prosperity predicated on righteousness; the Greek religion promised salvation from disharmony, ugliness, by the realization of beauty; Christianity promises salvation from sin, sanctity; Mohammedanism provides deliverance from the rigorous moral standards of Judaism and Christianity. The religion of Jesus is salvation from self, deliverance from the evils of creature isolation in time and in eternity.
Page-67 The concept of a semihuman and jealous God is an inevitable transition between polytheism and sublime monotheism. An exalted anthropomorphism is the highest attainment level of purely evolutionary religion. Christianity has elevated the concept of anthropomorphism from the ideal of the human to the transcendent and divine concept of the person of the glorified Christ. And this is the highest anthropomorphism that man can ever conceive.
Page-780 2. Religious tendencies. Primitive man also wanted to save up property as a nucleus for starting life in the next existence. This motive explains why it was so long the custom to bury a man's personal belongings with him. The ancients believed that only the rich survived death with any immediate pleasure and dignity. The teachers of revealed religion, more especially the Christian teachers, were the first to proclaim that the poor
could have salvation on equal terms with the rich.
Page-838 The Christian teachers perpetuated the belief in the fiat creation of the human race, and all this led directly to the formation of the hypothesis of a one-time golden age of utopian bliss and the theory of the fall of man or superman which accounted for the nonutopian condition of society. These outlooks on life and man's place in the universe were at best discouraging since they were predicated upon a belief in retrogression rather than progression, as well as implying a vengeful Deity, who had vented wrath upon the human race in retribution for the errors of certain onetime planetary administrators. [Jesus came and Revealed our true Universal Father God of infinite love and mercy; but many of the Hebrew converts to Christianity kept their old Theological concepts of a vengeful, judgmental, stern God needing human blood sacrifices to keep him mellow ! Some Christians today still believe those ungodly human teachings ! But not for much longer ! Mankind is progressing spiritually and intellectually !]
Page-895 It was during this age in Crete that the mother cult of the descendants of Cain attained its greatest vogue. This cult glorified Eve in the worship of the "great mother." Images of Eve were everywhere. Thousands of public shrines were erected throughout Crete and Asia Minor. And this mother cult persisted on down to the times of Christ, becoming later incorporated in the early Christian religion under the guise of the glorification and worship of Mary the earth mother of Jesus. [The Holy Spirit is a feminine nature, merciful and ministering equal Partner to our Sovereign Faher-Son, masculine spiritual nature, Jesus Christ. Neither the church nor human mother Mary are of that high Deity level as the Holy Creative Spirit "Bride" (Partner) of Christ.]
Page-976 Poverty was just a part of the ritual of the mortification of the flesh which, unfortunately, became incorporated into the writings and teachings of many religions, notably Christianity. Penance is the negative form of this ofttimes foolish ritual of renunciation. But all this taught the savage self-control, and that was a worth-while advancement in social evolution. Self-denial and self-control were two of the greatest social gains from early evolutionary religion. Self-control gave man a new philosophy of life; it taught him the art of augmenting life's fraction by lowering the denominator of personal demands instead of always attempting to increase the numerator of selfish gratification.
Page-977 It was only natural that the cult of renunciation and humiliation should have paid attention to sexual gratification. The continence cult originated as a ritual among soldiers prior to engaging in battle; in later days it became the practice of "saints." [There are no "intercessors" between God and you ! Praying to non-existent "saints" is a spiritual abomination ! Pray to Jesus and you pray to God; those Two are One here in Spirit !] This cult tolerated marriage only as an evil lesser than fornication. Many of the world's great religions have been adversely influenced by this ancient cult, but none more markedly than Christianity. The Apostle Paul was a devotee of this cult, and his personal views are reflected in the teachings which he fastened onto Christian theology: "It is good for a man not to touch a woman." "I would that all men were even as I myself." "I say, therefore, to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them to abide even as I." Paul well knew that such teachings were not a part of Jesus' gospel, and his acknowledgment of this is illustrated by his statement, "I speak this by permission and not by commandment." But this cult led Paul to look down upon women. And the pity of it all is that his personal opinions have long influenced the teachings of a great world religion. If the advice of the tentmaker-teacher were to be literally and universally obeyed, then would the human race come to a sudden and inglorious end. [!] Furthermore, the involvement of a religion with the ancient continence cult leads directly to a war against marriage and the home, society's veritable foundation and the basic institution of human progress. And it is not to be wondered at that all such beliefs fostered the formation of celibate priesthoods in the many religions of various peoples. [The so-called "Catholic" church of Rome will die out soon if celibate priests and nuns are not allowed to marry and procreare more "Catholics". Marriage and raising children teaches more spiritual truths of God's love than being celibate without their own children !]
Page-1005 Races of men only superficially accept a strange and new religion; they actually adjust it to their mores and old ways of believing. This is well illustrated by the example of a certain New Zealand tribe whose priests, after nominally accepting Christianity, professed to have received direct revelations from Gabriel to the effect that this selfsame tribe had become the chosen people of God and directing that they be permitted freely to indulge in loose sex relations and numerous other of their olden and reprehensible customs. And immediately all of the new-made Christians went over to this new and less exacting version of Christianity. [Today, some "liberal", secular Christians and warlike "conservative" Christians also have slid into godless actions not approved by Jesus !]
Page-1011 The Christian religion is the religion about the life and teachings of Christ based upon the theology of Judaism, modified further through the assimilation of certain Zoroastrian teachings and Greek philosophy, and formulated primarily by three individuals: Philo, Peter, and Paul. It has passed through many phases of evolution since the time of Paul and has become so thoroughly Occidentalized that many non-European peoples very naturally look upon Christianity as a strange revelation of a strange God and for strangers. [Today, Jesus Christ Who is fully here in Spirit worldwide and universe-wide, is converting many in theNear- and Far-East and in Muslim countries to Christianity ! They are more morally conservative than the rampant Western Secular Humanist token Christrians. Big, needed, positive changes are coming worldwide in a planetary spiritual awakening -- also called a "Spiritual Springtime" or "Kindergarten Heaven Earth", etc.]
Page-1083 Always had it been the practice of Mithraic worshipers, on entering the temple, to dip their fingers in holy water. And since in some districts there were those who at one time belonged to both religions, they introduced this custom into the majority of the Christian churches in the vicinity of Rome. Both religions employed baptism and partook of the sacrament of bread and wine. The one great difference between Mithraism and Christianity, aside from the characters of Mithras and Jesus, was that the one encouraged militarism while the other was ultrapacific. Mithraism's tolerance for other religions (except later Christianity) led to its final undoing. But the deciding factor in the struggle between the two was the admission of women into the full fellowship of the Christian faith.
Page-1083 In the end the nominal Christian faith dominated the Occident. Greek philosophy supplied the concepts of ethical value; Mithraism, the ritual of worship observance; and Christianity, as such, the technique for the conservation of moral and social values.
Page-1083 7. THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION
A Creator Son [our Sovereign Savior and True God-Man Jesus Christ] did not incarnate in the likeness of mortal flesh and bestow himself upon the humanity of Earth to reconcile an angry God but rather to win all mankind to the recognition of the Father's love and to the realization of their sonship with God. After all, even the great advocate of the atonement doctrine realized something of this truth, for he declared that "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself."
Page-1084 It is not the province of this paper to deal with the origin and dissemination of the Christian religion. [That is extensively covered elsewhere in this 2097 page Revelation of Truth.] Suffice it to say that it is built around the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the humanly incarnate Michael Son of Nebadon, known to Earth as the Christ, the anointed one. Christianity was spread throughout the Levant and Occident by the followers of this Galilean, and their missionary zeal equaled that of their illustrious predecessors, the Sethites and Salemites, as well as that of their earnest Asiatic contemporaries, the Buddhist teachers.
Page-1084 As the original teachings of Jesus penetrated the Occident, they became Occidentalized, and as they became Occidentalized, they began to lose their potentially universal appeal to all races and kinds of men. Christianity, today, has become a religion well adapted to the social, economic, and political mores of the white races. It has long since ceased to be the religion of Jesus, although it still valiantly portrays a beautiful religion about Jesus to such individuals as sincerely seek to follow in the way of its teaching. It has [properly, partly] glorified Jesus as the Christ, the Messianic anointed one from God, but has largely forgotten the Master's personal gospel: the Fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of all men.
Page-1088 3. RELIGION AND THE RELIGIONIST
Early Christianity was entirely free from all civil entanglements, social commitments, and economic alliances. Only did later institutionalized Christianity become an organic part of the political and social structure of Occidental civilization.
The kingdom of heaven is neither a social nor economic order; it is an exclusively spiritual brotherhood of God-knowing individuals. True, such a brotherhood is in itself a new and amazing social phenomenon attended by astounding political and economic repercussions.
Page-1337 4. The mystery religions. Upon such a spiritually hungry world a flood of mystery cults had broken, new and strange religions from the Levant, which had enamored the common people and had promised them individual salvation. These religions rapidly became the accepted belief of the lower classes of the Greco-Roman world. And they did much to prepare the way for the rapid spread of the vastly superior Christian teachings, which presented a majestic concept of Deity, associated with an intriguing theology for the intelligent and a profound proffer of salvation for all, including the ignorant but spiritually hungry average man of those days.
Page-1337 2. Christianity presented a religion which grappled with final solutions of the human problem, for it not only offered salvation from sorrow and even from death, but it also promised deliverance from sin followed by the endowment of a righteous character of eternal survival qualities.
Page-1338 Into such a generation of men, dominated by such incomplete systems of philosophy and perplexed by such complex cults of religion, Jesus was born in Palestine. And to this same generation he subsequently gave his gospel of personal religion -- sonship with God.
Page-1338 Though the Hellenized Jewish beliefs were very little influenced by the teachings of the Epicureans, they were very materially affected by the philosophy of Plato and the self-abnegation doctrines of the Stoics. The great inroad of Stoicism is exemplified by the Fourth Book of the Maccabees; the penetration of both Platonic philosophy and Stoic doctrines is exhibited in the Wisdom of Solomon. The Hellenized Jews brought to the Hebrew scriptures such an allegorical interpretation that they found no difficulty in conforming Hebrew theology with their revered Aristotelian philosophy. But this all led to disastrous confusion until these problems were taken in hand by Philo of Alexandria, who proceeded to harmonize and systemize Greek philosophy and Hebrew theology into a compact and fairly consistent system of religious belief and practice. And it was this later teaching of combined Greek philosophy and Hebrew theology that prevailed in Palestine when Jesus lived and taught, and which Paul utilized as the foundation on which to build his more advanced and enlightening cult of Christianity.
Page-1340 The gospel of Jesus, as it was embodied in Paul's cult of Antioch Christianity, became blended with the following teachings:
1. The philosophic reasoning of the Greek proselytes to Judaism, including some of their concepts of the eternal life.
2. The appealing teachings of the prevailing mystery cults, especially the Mithraic doctrines of redemption, atonement, and salvation by the sacrifice made by some god.
3. The sturdy morality of the established Jewish religion.
Page-1411 And this was the same Stephen who subsequently became a believer in the teachings of Jesus, and whose boldness in preaching this early gospel resulted in his being stoned to death by irate Jews. Some of Stephen's extraordinary boldness in proclaiming his view of the new gospel was the direct result of this earlier interview with Jesus. [Steven was also given a True Vision of God and Jesus Christ as One here in Spirit !] But Stephen never even faintly surmised that the Galilean he had talked with some fifteen years previously was the very same person whom he later proclaimed the world's Savior, and for whom he was so soon to die, thus becoming the first martyr of the newly evolving Christian faith. When Stephen yielded up his life as the price of his attack upon the Jewish temple and its traditional practices, there stood by one named Saul, a citizen of Tarsus. And when Saul saw how this Greek could die for his faith, there were aroused in his heart those emotions which eventually led him to espouse the cause for which Stephen died; later on he became the aggressive and indomitable Paul, the philosopher, if not the sole founder, of the Christian religion.
Page-1432 And again we remark that the early teachers of the Christian religion made a great mistake when they so exclusively turned their attention to the western civilization of the Roman world. The teachings of Jesus, as they were held by the Mesopotamian believers of the first century, would have been readily received by the various groups of Asiatic religionists.
Page-1456 The significance of this remarkable doing can the better be understood when we record the fact that, out of this group of thirty-two Jesus-taught religious leaders in Rome, only two were unfruitful; the thirty became pivotal individuals in the establishment of Christianity in Rome, and certain of them also aided in turning the chief Mithraic temple into the first Christian church of that city. We who view human activities from behind the scenes and in the light of nineteen centuries of time recognize just three factors of paramount value in the early setting of the stage for the rapid spread of Christianity throughout Europe, and they are:
1. The choosing and holding of Simon Peter as an apostle.
2. The talk in Jerusalem with Stephen, whose death led to the winning of Saul of Tarsus.
3. The preliminary preparation of these thirty Romans for the subsequent leadership of the new religion in Rome and throughout the empire.
Page-1468 When preparing to leave Rome, Jesus said good-bye to none of his friends. The scribe of Damascus appeared in Rome without announcement and disappeared in like manner. It was a full year before those who knew and loved him gave up hope of seeing him again. Before the end of the second year small groups of those who had known him found themselves drawn together by their common interest in his teachings and through mutual memory of their good times with him. And these small groups of Stoics, Cynics, and mystery cultists continued to hold these irregular and informal meetings right up to the time of the appearance in Rome of the first preachers of the Christian religion.
Page-1582 Jesus did not attack the teachings of the Hebrew prophets or the Greek moralists. The Master recognized the many good things which these great teachers stood for, but he had come down to earth to teach something additional, "the voluntary conformity of man's will to God's will." Jesus did not want simply to produce a religious man, a mortal wholly occupied with religious feelings and actuated only by spiritual impulses. Could you have had but one look at him, you would have known that Jesus was a real man of great experience in the things of this world. The teachings of Jesus in this respect have been grossly perverted and much misrepresented all down through the centuries of the Christian era; you have also held perverted ideas about the Master's meekness and humility. What he aimed at in his life appears to have been a superb self-respect. He only advised man to humble himself that he might become truly exalted; what he really aimed at was true humility toward God. He placed great value upon sincerity -- a pure heart. Fidelity was a cardinal virtue in his estimate of character, while courage was the very heart of his teachings. "Fear not" was his watchword, and patient endurance his ideal of strength of character. The teachings of Jesus constitute a religion of valor, courage, and heroism. And this is just why he chose as his personal representatives twelve commonplace men, the majority of whom were rugged, virile, and manly fishermen.
Page-1583 The three apostles were shocked this afternoon when they realized that their Master's religion made no provision for spiritual self-examination. All religions before and after the times of Jesus, even Christianity, carefully provide for conscientious self-examination. But not so with the religion of Jesus of Nazareth Jesus' philosophy of life is without religious introspection. The carpenter's son never taught character building; he taught character growth, declaring that the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. But Jesus said nothing which would proscribe self-analysis as a prevention of conceited egotism.
Page-1614 The apostles never ceased to be shocked by Jesus' willingness to talk with women, women of questionable character, even immoral women. It was very difficult for Jesus to teach his apostles that women, even so-called immoral women, have souls which can choose God as their Father, thereby becoming daughters of God and candidates for life everlasting. Even nineteen centuries later many show the same unwillingness to grasp the Master's teachings. Even the Christian religion has been persistently built up around the fact of the death of Christ instead of around the truth of his life. The world should be more concerned with his happy and God-revealing life than with his tragic and sorrowful death.
Page-1615 Jesus and the apostles went into Sychar and preached two days before they established their camp on Mount Gerizim. And many of the dwellers in Sychar believed the gospel and made request for baptism, but the apostles of Jesus did not yet baptize.
The first night of the camp on Mount Gerizim the apostles expected that Jesus would rebuke them for their attitude toward the woman at Jacob's well, but he made no reference to the matter. Instead he gave them that memorable talk on "The realities which are central in the kingdom of God." In any religion it is very easy to allow values to become disproportionate and to permit facts to occupy the place of truth in one's theology. The fact of the cross became the very center of subsequent Christianity; but it is not the central truth of the religion which may be derived from the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
Page-1670 The Apostle Paul, in his efforts to bring the teachings of Jesus to the favorable notice of certain groups in his day, wrote many letters of instruction and admonition. Other teachers of Jesus' gospel did likewise, but none of them realized that some of these writings would subsequently be brought together by those who would set them forth as the embodiment of the teachings of Jesus. And so, while so-called Christianity does contain more of the Master's gospel than any other religion, it does also contain much that Jesus did not teach.
Page-1859 Centuries of confusion regarding the meaning of the term "kingdom of heaven" have been due to three factors:
1. The confusion occasioned by observing the idea of the "kingdom" as it passed through the various progressive phases of its recasting by Jesus and his apostles.
2. The confusion which was inevitably associated with the transplantation of early Christianity from a Jewish to a gentile soil.
3. The confusion which was inherent in the fact that Christianity became a religion which was organized about the central idea of Jesus' person; the gospel of the kingdom became more and more a religion about him. [and the losing of Jesus' Gospel of the loving Fatherhood of God and the perfecting Brotherhood of all mankind.]
Page-1865 The kingdom, to the Jews, was the Israelite community; to the gentiles it became the Christian church. To Jesus the kingdom was the sum of those individuals who had confessed their faith in the fatherhood of God, thereby declaring their wholehearted dedication to the doing of the will of God, thus becoming members of the spiritual brotherhood of man. [Jesus used "The Family of God" several times as superior to the old "Kingdom of God" concepts. Today we also use "The growing worldwide Jesus' Brotherhood" and other good terms.]
THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION
[Part 2 of several]
Compiled 12/28/2011 by Dave@PureChristians.org
Page-2059 The gospel of the kingdom is: [The true Gospel as Taught by Jesus:] the fact of the fatherhood of God, coupled with the resultant truth of the sonship-brotherhood of men. Christianity, as it developed from that day, is: the fact of God as the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, in association with the experience of believer-fellowship with the risen and glorified Christ.
Page-2066 4. BEGINNINGS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
When Jesus was so suddenly seized by his enemies and so quickly crucified between two thieves, his apostles and disciples were completely demoralized. The thought of the Master, arrested, bound, scourged, and crucified, was too much for even the apostles. They forgot his teachings and his warnings. He might, indeed, have been "a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people," but he could hardly be the Messiah they had hoped would restore the kingdom of Israel.
Page-2067 Unmistakably, a new fellowship was arising in the world. "The multitude who believed continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers." They called each other brother and sister; they greeted one another with a holy kiss; they ministered to the poor. It was a fellowship of living as well as of worship. They were not communal by decree but by the desire to share their goods with their fellow believers. They confidently expected that Jesus would return to complete the establishment of the Father's kingdom during their generation. This spontaneous sharing of earthly possessions was not a direct feature of Jesus' teaching; it came about because these men and women so sincerely and so confidently believed that he was to return any day to finish his work and to consummate the kingdom. [as they falsely believed: a mere Messiah -King of the Jews !] But the final results of this well-meant experiment in thoughtless brotherly love were disastrous and sorrow-breeding. Thousands of earnest believers sold their property and disposed of all their capital goods and other productive assets. With the passing of time, the dwindling resources of Christian "equal-sharing" came to an end -- but the world did not. Very soon the believers at Antioch were taking up a collection to keep their fellow believers at Jerusalem from starving.
Page-2068 Stephen, the leader of the Greek colony of Jesus' believers in Jerusalem, thus became the first martyr to the new faith and the specific cause for the formal organization of the early Christian church. This new crisis was met by the recognition that believers could not longer go on as a sect within the Jewish faith. They all agreed that they must separate themselves from unbelievers; and within one month from the death of Stephen the church at Jerusalem had been organized under the leadership of Peter, and James the brother of Jesus had been installed as its titular head.
Page-2068 And then broke out the new and relentless persecutions by the Jews, so that the active teachers of the new religion about Jesus, which subsequently at Antioch was called Christianity, went forth to the ends of the empire proclaiming Jesus. In carrying this message, before the time of Paul the leadership was in Greek hands; and these first missionaries, as also the later ones, followed the path of Alexander's march of former days, going by way of Gaza and Tyre to Antioch and then over Asia Minor to Macedonia, then on to Rome and to the uttermost parts of the empire.
Page-2069 PAPER 195 AFTER PENTECOST
The results of Peter's preaching on the day of Pentecost were such as to decide the future policies, and to determine the plans, of the majority of the apostles in their efforts to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom. Peter was the real founder of the Christian church; Paul carried the Christian message to the gentiles, and the Greek believers carried it to the whole Roman Empire.
Page-2069 Although the tradition-bound and priest-ridden Hebrews, as a people, refused to accept either Jesus' gospel of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man or Peter's and Paul's proclamation of the resurrection and ascension of Christ (subsequent Christianity), the rest of the Roman Empire was found to be receptive to the evolving Christian teachings. Western civilization was at this time intellectual, war weary, and thoroughly skeptical of all existing religions and universe philosophies. The peoples of the Western world, the beneficiaries of Greek culture, had a revered tradition of a great past. They could contemplate the inheritance of great accomplishments in philosophy, art, literature, and political progress. But with all these achievements they had no soul-satisfying religion. Their spiritual longings remained unsatisfied.
Page-2069 Upon such a stage of human society the teachings of Jesus, embraced in the Christian message, were suddenly thrust. A new order of living was thus presented to the hungry hearts of these Western peoples. This situation meant immediate conflict between the older religious practices and the new Christianized version of Jesus' message to the world. Such a conflict must result in either decided victory for the new or for the old or in some degree of compromise. History shows that the struggle ended in compromise. Christianity presumed to embrace too much for any one people to assimilate in one or two generations. It was not a simple spiritual appeal, such as Jesus had presented to the souls of men; it early struck a decided attitude on religious rituals, education, magic, medicine, art, literature, law, government, morals, sex regulation, polygamy, and, in limited degree, even slavery. Christianity came not merely as a new religion -- something all the Roman Empire and all the Orient were waiting for -- but as a new order of human society. And as such a pretension it quickly precipitated the social-moral clash of the ages. The ideals of Jesus, as they were reinterpreted by Greek philosophy and socialized in Christianity, now boldly challenged the traditions of the human race embodied in the ethics, morality, and religions of Western civilization.
Page-2069 At first, Christianity won as converts only the lower social and economic strata. But by the beginning of the second century the very best of Greco-Roman culture was increasingly turning to this new order of Christian belief, this new concept of the purpose of living and the goal of existence. [The Gospel of Jesus is for all humans without qualifications !]
Page-2070 How did this new message of Jewish origin, which had almost failed in the land of its birth, so quickly and effectively capture the very best minds of the Roman Empire? The triumph of Christianity over the philosophic religions and the mystery cults was due to:
1. Organization. Paul was a great organizer and his successors kept up the pace he set.
2. Christianity was thoroughly Hellenized. It embraced the best in Greek philosophy as well as the cream of Hebrew theology.
3. But best of all, it contained a new and great ideal, the echo of the life bestowal of Jesus and the reflection of his message of salvation for all mankind.
4. The Christian leaders were willing to make such compromises with Mithraism that the better half of its adherents were won over to the Antioch cult.
5. Likewise did the next and later generations of Christian leaders make such further compromises with paganism that even the Roman emperor Constantine was won to the new religion.
Page-2070 But the Christians made a shrewd bargain with the pagans in that they adopted the ritualistic pageantry of the pagan while compelling the pagan to accept the Hellenized version of Pauline Christianity. They made a better bargain with the pagans than they did with the Mithraic cult, but even in that earlier compromise they came off more than conquerors in that they succeeded in eliminating the gross immoralities and also numerous other reprehensible practices of the Persian mystery.
Page-2070 Wisely or unwisely, these early leaders of Christianity deliberately compromised the ideals of Jesus in an effort to save and further many of his ideas. And they were eminently successful. But mistake not! these compromised ideals of the Master are still latent in his gospel, and they will eventually assert their full power upon the world. [Amen !]
Page-2070 By this paganization of Christianity the old order [paganism] won many minor victories of a ritualistic nature, but the Christians gained the ascendancy in that:
1. A new and enormously higher note in human morals was struck.
2. A new and greatly enlarged concept of God was given to the world.
3. The hope of immortality became a part of the assurance of a recognized religion.
4. Jesus of Nazareth was given to man's hungry soul.
Page-2070 Many of the great truths taught by Jesus were almost lost in these early compromises, but they yet slumber in this religion of paganized Christianity, which was in turn the Pauline version of the life and teachings of the Son of Man. And Christianity, even before it was paganized, was first thoroughly Hellenized. Christianity owes much, very much, to the Greeks. It was a Greek, from Egypt, who so bravely stood up at Nicaea and so fearlessly challenged this assembly that it dared not so obscure the concept of the nature of Jesus that the real truth of his bestowal might have been in danger of being lost to the world. This Greek's name was Athanasius, and but for the eloquence and the logic of this believer, the persuasions of Arius would have triumphed. [Athanasius, being Spirit of Truth led, declared that Jesus Christ is the SAME Essence as God the Father on Paradise. Today, we know that the fullness of God the Father is within His Creator Son of God Jesus Christ Michael ! They are also One in Spirit ! SEE JESUS: SEE GOD ! JESUS IS I AM here and our True, Sovereign Savior, our Elder Brother as Son of Man, and much more, continuing to be Revealed !]
Page-2071 1. INFLUENCE OF THE GREEKS
The Hellenization of Christianity started in earnest on that eventful day when the Apostle Paul stood before the council of the Areopagus in Athens and told the Athenians about "the Unknown God." There, under the shadow of the Acropolis, this Roman citizen proclaimed to these Greeks his version of the new religion which had taken origin in the Jewish land of Galilee. And there was something strangely alike in Greek philosophy and many of the teachings of Jesus. They had a common goal -- both aimed at the emergence of the individual. The Greek, at social and political emergence; Jesus, at moral and spiritual emergence. The Greek taught intellectual liberalism leading to political freedom; Jesus taught spiritual liberalism leading to religious liberty. These two ideas put together constituted a new and mighty charter for human freedom; they presaged man's social, political, and spiritual liberty.
Page-2071 Christianity came into existence and triumphed over all contending religions primarily because of two things:
1. The Greek mind was willing to borrow new and good ideas even from the Jews.
2. Paul and his successors were willing but shrewd and sagacious compromisers; they were keen theologic traders.
Page-2071 At the time Paul stood up in Athens preaching "Christ and Him Crucified," the Greeks were spiritually hungry; they were inquiring, interested, and actually looking for spiritual truth. Never forget that at first the Romans fought Christianity, while the Greeks embraced it, and that it was the Greeks who literally forced the Romans subsequently to accept this new religion, as then modified, as a part of Greek culture.
Page-2071 The influence of Greek culture had already penetrated the lands of the western Mediterranean when Alexander spread Hellenistic civilization over the near-Eastern world. The Greeks did very well with their religion and their politics as long as they lived in small city-states, but when the Macedonian king dared to expand Greece into an empire, stretching from the Adriatic to the Indus, trouble began. The art and philosophy of Greece were fully equal to the task of imperial expansion, but not so with Greek political administration or religion. After the city-states of Greece had expanded into empire, their rather parochial gods seemed a little queer. The Greeks were really searching for one God, a greater and better God, when the Christianized version of the older Jewish religion [that Paul and others added to the Teachings of Jesus] came to them.
Page-2072 The Hellenistic Empire, as such, could not endure. Its cultural sway continued on, but it endured only after securing from the West the Roman political genius for empire administration and after obtaining from the East a religion whose one God possessed empire dignity.
In the first century after Christ, Hellenistic culture had already attained its highest levels; its retrogression had begun; learning was advancing but genius was declining. It was at this very time that the ideas and ideals of Jesus, which were partially embodied in Christianity, became a part of the salvage of Greek culture and learning.
Page-2072 Alexander had charged on the East with the cultural gift of the civilization of Greece; Paul assaulted the West with the Christian version of the gospel of Jesus. And wherever the Greek culture prevailed throughout the West, there Hellenized Christianity took root.
The Eastern version of the message of Jesus, notwithstanding that it remained more true to his teachings, continued to follow the uncompromising attitude of Abner. It never progressed as did the Hellenized version and was eventually lost in the Islamic movement.
Page-2072 2. THE ROMAN INFLUENCE
The Romans bodily took over Greek culture, putting representative government in the place of government by lot. And presently this change favored Christianity in that Rome brought into the whole Western world a new tolerance for strange languages, peoples, and even religions.
Much of the early persecution of Christians in Rome was due solely to their unfortunate use of the term "kingdom" in their preaching. The Romans were tolerant of any and all religions but very resentful of anything that savored of political rivalry. And so, when these early persecutions, due so largely to misunderstanding, died out, the field for religious propaganda was wide open. The Roman was interested in political administration; he cared little for either art or religion, but he was unusually tolerant of both.
Page-2072 Oriental law was stern and arbitrary; Greek law was fluid and artistic; Roman law was dignified and respect-breeding. Roman education bred an unheard-of and stolid loyalty. The early Romans were politically devoted and sublimely consecrated individuals. They were honest, zealous, and dedicated to their ideals, but without a religion worthy of the name. Small wonder that their Greek teachers were able to persuade them to accept Paul's Christianity.
And these Romans were a great people. They could govern the Occident because they did govern themselves. Such unparalleled honesty, devotion, and stalwart self-control was ideal soil for the reception and growth of Christianity.
Page-2072 It was easy for these Greco-Romans to become just as spiritually devoted to an institutional church as they were politically devoted to the state. The Romans fought the church only when they feared it as a competitor of the state. Rome, having little national philosophy or native culture, took over Greek culture for its own and boldly adopted Christ as its moral philosophy. Christianity became the moral culture of Rome but hardly its religion in the sense of being the individual experience in spiritual growth of those who embraced the new religion in such a wholesale manner. True, indeed, many individuals did penetrate beneath the surface of all this state religion and found for the nourishment of their souls the real values of the hidden meanings held within the latent truths of Hellenized and paganized Christianity.
Page-2073 The Stoic and his sturdy appeal to "nature and conscience" had only the better prepared all Rome to receive Christ, at least in an intellectual sense. The Roman was by nature and training a lawyer; he revered even the laws of nature. And now, in Christianity, he discerned in the laws of nature the laws of God. A people that could produce Cicero and Vergil were ripe for Paul's Hellenized Christianity.
And so did these Romanized Greeks force both Jews and Christians to philosophize their religion, to co-ordinate its ideas and systematize its ideals, to adapt religious practices to the existing current of life. And all this was enormously helped by translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek and by the later recording of the New Testament in the Greek tongue.
Page-2073 The Greeks, in contrast with the Jews and many other peoples, had long provisionally believed in immortality, some sort of survival after death, and since this was the very heart of Jesus' teaching, it was certain that Christianity would make a strong appeal to them.
A succession of Greek-cultural and Roman-political victories had consolidated the Mediterranean lands into one empire, with one language and one culture, and had made the Western world ready for one God. Judaism provided this God, but Judaism was not acceptable as a religion to these Romanized Greeks. Philo helped some to mitigate their objections, but Christianity revealed to them an even better concept of one God, and they embraced it readily.
THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION
[Part 3 of 3]
Compiled 12/30/2011 by Dave@PureChristians.org
Page-2073 3. UNDER THE ROMAN EMPIRE
After the consolidation of Roman political rule and after the dissemination of Christianity, the Christians found themselves with one God, a great religious concept, but without empire. The Greco-Romans found themselves with a great empire but without a God to serve as the suitable religious concept for empire worship and spiritual unification. The Christians accepted the empire; the empire adopted Christianity. The Roman provided a unity of political rule; the Greek, a unity of culture and learning; Christianity, a unity of religious thought and practice.
Page-2073 Rome overcame the tradition of nationalism by imperial universalism and for the first time in history made it possible for different races and nations at least nominally to accept one religion.
Christianity came into favor in Rome at a time when there was great contention between the vigorous teachings of the Stoics and the salvation promises of the mystery cults. Christianity came with refreshing comfort and liberating power to a spiritually hungry people whose language had no word for "unselfishness."
Page-2073 That which gave greatest power to Christianity was the way its believers lived lives of service and even the way they died for their faith during the earlier times of drastic persecution.
The teaching regarding Christ's love for children soon put an end to the widespread practice of exposing children to death when they were not wanted, particularly girl babies.
Page-2074 The early plan of Christian worship was largely taken over from the Jewish synagogue, modified by the Mithraic ritual; later on, much pagan pageantry was added. The backbone of the early Christian church consisted of Christianized Greek proselytes to Judaism.
Page-2074 The second century after Christ was the best time in all the world's history for a good religion to make progress in the Western world. During the first century Christianity had prepared itself, by struggle and compromise, to take root and rapidly spread. Christianity adopted the emperor; later, he adopted Christianity. This was a great age for the spread of a new religion. There was religious liberty; travel was universal and thought was untrammeled.
Page-2074 The spiritual impetus of nominally accepting Hellenized Christianity came to Rome too late to prevent the well-started moral decline or to compensate for the already well-established and increasing racial deterioration. This new religion was a cultural necessity for imperial Rome, and it is exceedingly unfortunate that it did not become a means of spiritual salvation in a larger sense.
Page-2074 Conditions, however, were not so bad at Alexandria. The early schools continued to hold much of Jesus' teachings free from compromise. Pantaenus taught Clement and then went on to follow Nathaniel in proclaiming Christ in India. While some of the ideals of Jesus were sacrificed in the building of Christianity, it should in all fairness be recorded that, by the end of the second century, practically all the great minds of the Greco-Roman world had become Christian. The triumph was approaching completion.
Page-2074 And this Roman Empire lasted sufficiently long to insure the survival of Christianity even after the empire collapsed. But we have often conjectured what would have happened in Rome and in the world if it had been the gospel of the kingdom which had been accepted in the place of Greek Christianity. [Jesus' Gospel is the loving Fatherhood of God and the perfecting brotherhood of all mankind ! This living Truth that this world still needs most will be taught more widely and accepted fairly soon.]
Page-2074 4. THE EUROPEAN DARK AGES
The church, being an adjunct to society and the ally of politics, was doomed to share in the intellectual and spiritual decline of the so-called European "dark ages." During this time, religion became more and more monasticized, asceticized, and legalized. In a spiritual sense, Christianity was hibernating. Throughout this period there existed, alongside this slumbering and secularized religion, a continuous stream of mysticism, a fantastic spiritual experience bordering on unreality and philosophically akin to pantheism.
Page-2075 But Christianity was sufficiently socialized and paganized that, while it was impotent to stay the oncoming dark ages, it was the better prepared to survive this long period of moral darkness and spiritual stagnation. And it did persist on through the long night of Western civilization and was still functioning as a moral influence in the world when the renaissance dawned. The rehabilitation of Christianity, following the passing of the dark ages, resulted in bringing into existence numerous sects of the Christian teachings, beliefs suited to special intellectual, emotional, and spiritual types of human personality. And many of these special Christian groups, or religious families, still persist at the time of the making of this presentation. [circa A.D. 1935]
Page-2075 Christianity exhibits a history of having originated out of the unintended transformation of the religion of Jesus into a religion about Jesus. It further presents the history of having experienced Hellenization, paganization, secularization, institutionalization, intellectual deterioration, spiritual decadence, moral hibernation, threatened extinction, later rejuvenation, fragmentation, and more recent relative rehabilitation. [Stated circa A.D. 1935] Such a pedigree is indicative of inherent vitality and the possession of vast recuperative resources. And this same Christianity is now present in the civilized world of Occidental peoples and stands face to face with a struggle for existence which is even more ominous than those eventful crises which have characterized its past battles for dominance. [The problem is materrialism and, even far worse, godless secular humanism !]
Page-2075 5. THE MODERN PROBLEM
The twentieth century has brought new problems for Christianity and an other religions to solve. The higher a civilization climbs, the more necessitous becomes the duty to "seek first the realities of heaven" in all of man's efforts to stabilize society and facilitate the solution of its material problems.
Page-2081 Modern secularism has been fostered by two world-wide influences. The father of secularism was the narrow-minded and godless attitude of nineteenth- and twentieth-century so-called science -- atheistic science. The mother of modern secularism was the totalitarian medieval Christian church. Secularism had its inception as a rising protest against the almost complete domination of Western civilization by the institutionalized Christian church.
Page-2081 At the time of this revelation, the prevailing intellectual and philosophical climate of both European and American life is decidedly secular -- humanistic. For three hundred years Western thinking has been progressively secularized. Religion has become more and more a nominal influence, largely a ritualistic exercise. The majority of professed Christians of Western civilization are unwittingly actual secularists. [That was stated around A.D. 1935. Today, I believe that godless secular trends are becoming worse among many mortals; even though other mortals are becoming more personally God-conscious ! There seems to be a bigger rift between the faith-sons of God and the atheists. Thus, we are in a time of greater spiritual Revelation ! Amen !]
Page-2082 The complete secularization of science, education, industry, and society can lead only to disaster. During the first third of the twentieth century, mortals of Earth killed more human beings than were killed during the whole of the Christian dispensation up to that time. And this is only the beginning of the dire harvest of materialism and secularism; still more terrible destruction is yet to come. [ That refers to World War Two and maybe worse to come IF Divine-Human Rights of all humans are not more widely taught -- the Real Gospel of Jesus that all humans are now Divinely Beloved sons of God !]
Page-2082 9. CHRISTIANITY'S PROBLEM
Do not overlook the value of your spiritual heritage, the river of truth running down through the centuries, even to the barren times of a materialistic and secular age. In all your worthy efforts to rid yourselves of the superstitious creeds of past ages, make sure that you hold fast the eternal truth. But be patient! when the present superstition revolt is over, the truths of Jesus' gospel will persist gloriously to illuminate a new and better way.
Page-2082 But paganized and socialized Christianity stands in need of new contact with the uncompromised teachings of Jesus; it languishes for lack of a new vision of the Master's life on earth. A new and fuller revelation of the religion of Jesus is destined to conquer an empire of materialistic secularism and to overthrow a world sway of mechanistic naturalism. Earth is now quivering on the very brink of one of its most amazing and enthralling epochs of social readjustment, moral quickening, and spiritual enlightenment. [Yes, this is True !]
Page-2082 Religion does need new leaders, spiritual men and women who will dare to depend solely on Jesus and his incomparable teachings. If Christianity persists in neglecting its spiritual mission while it continues to busy itself with social and material problems, the spiritual renaissance must await the coming of these new teachers of Jesus' religion who will be exclusively devoted to the spiritual regeneration of men. And then will these spirit-born souls quickly supply the leadership and inspiration requisite for the social, moral, economic, and political reorganization of the world.
Page-2083 The modern age will refuse to accept a religion which is inconsistent with facts and out of harmony with its highest conceptions of truth, beauty, and goodness. The hour is striking for a rediscovery of the true and original foundations of present-day distorted and compromised Christianity -- the real life and teachings of Jesus. [Presented in this 2097 page Fifth Epochal Revelation of Truth; and Jesus' Omnipresent Father-Son Spirit of Truth and the Holy Spirit are freely available to all humans who seek and love truth, beauty and goodness and more ... God as our loving and guiding Father above and within !]
Page-2083 The world needs more firsthand religion. Even Christianity -- the best of the religions of the twentieth century -- is not only a religion about Jesus, but it is so largely one which men experience secondhand. They take their religion wholly as handed down by their accepted religious teachers. What an awakening the world would experience if it could only see Jesus as he really lived on earth and know, firsthand, his life-giving teachings ! Descriptive words of things beautiful cannot thrill like the sight thereof, neither can creedal words inspire men's souls like the experience of knowing the presence of God. But expectant faith will ever keep the hope-door of man's soul open for the entrance of the eternal spiritual realities of the divine values of the worlds beyond.
Page-2083 Christianity has dared to lower its ideals before the challenge of human greed, war-madness, and the lust for power; but the religion of Jesus stands as the unsullied and transcendent spiritual summons, calling to the best there is in man to rise above all these legacies of animal evolution and, by grace, attain the moral heights of true human destiny.
Page-2083 Christianity is threatened by slow death from formalism, overorganization, intellectualism, and other nonspiritual trends. The modern Christian church is not such a brotherhood of dynamic believers as Jesus commissioned continuously to effect the spiritual transformation of successive generations of mankind.
Page-2083 So-called Christianity has become a social and cultural movement as well as a religious belief and practice. The stream of modern Christianity drains many an ancient pagan swamp and many a barbarian morass; many olden cultural watersheds drain into this present-day cultural stream as well as the high Galilean tablelands which are supposed to be its exclusive source.
Page-2084 10. THE FUTURE
Christianity has indeed done a great service for this world, but what is now most needed is Jesus. The world needs to see Jesus living again on earth in the experience of spirit-born mortals who effectively reveal the Master to all men. It is futile to talk about a revival of primitive Christianity; you must go forward from where you find yourselves. Modern culture must become spiritually baptized with a new revelation of Jesus' life and illuminated with a new understanding of his gospel of eternal salvation. And when Jesus becomes thus lifted up, he will draw all men to himself. [see John 12:32 !] Jesus' disciples should be more than conquerors, even overflowing sources of inspiration and enhanced living to all men. Religion is only an exalted humanism until it is made divine by the discovery of the reality of the presence of God in personal experience. [What a tremendous Truth ! If you have had a sacred Vision or other profound consciousness of our Father-Son-Spirit God's Presence and wish to share that with others; please email me: Dave@PureChristians.org ]
Page-2084 In winning souls for the Master, it is not the first mile of compulsion, duty, or convention that will transform man and his world, but rather the second mile of free service and liberty-loving devotion that betokens the Jesusonian reaching forth to grasp his brother in love and sweep him on under spiritual guidance toward the higher and divine goal of mortal existence. Christianity even now willingly goes the first mile, but mankind languishes and stumbles along in moral darkness because there are so few genuine second-milers -- so few professed followers of Jesus who really live and love as he taught his disciples to live and love and serve.
Page-2084 No social system or political regime which denies the reality of God can contribute in any constructive and lasting manner to the advancement of human civilization. But Christianity, as it is subdivided and secularized today, presents the greatest single obstacle to its further advancement; especially is this true concerning the Orient.
Page-2084 Ecclesiasticism [in churches with a hierarchy of clergy, their controlling, rigid dogma and traditions] is at once and forever incompatible with that living faith, growing spirit, and firsthand experience of the faith-comrades of Jesus in the brotherhood of man in the spiritual association of the kingdom of heaven. The praiseworthy desire to preserve traditions of past achievement often leads to the defense of outgrown systems of worship. The well-meant desire to foster ancient thought systems effectually prevents the sponsoring of new and adequate means and methods designed to satisfy the spiritual longings of the expanding and advancing minds of modern men. Likewise, the Christian churches of the twentieth century stand as great, but wholly unconscious, obstacles to the immediate advance of the real gospel -- the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. [Sadly, most Christians today in the Western nations are, unwittingly, secular humanists ! But that problem is starting to be somewhat reduced.]
Page-2085 Many earnest persons who would gladly yield loyalty to the Christ of the gospel find it very difficult enthusiastically to support a church which exhibits so little of the spirit of his life and teachings, and which they have been erroneously taught he founded. Jesus did not found the so-called Christian church, but he has, in every manner consistent with his nature, fostered it as the best existent exponent of his lifework on earth.
Page-2085 If the Christian church would only dare to espouse the Master's program, thousands of apparently indifferent youths would rush forward to enlist in such a spiritual undertaking, and they would not hesitate to go all the way through with this great adventure.
Page-2085 Christianity is seriously confronted with the doom embodied in one of its own slogans: "A house divided against itself cannot stand." The non-Christian world will hardly capitulate to a sect-divided Christendom. The living Jesus is the only hope of a possible unification of Christianity. The true church -- the Jesus brotherhood -- is invisible, spiritual, and is characterized by unity, not necessarily by uniformity. Uniformity is the earmark of the physical world of mechanistic nature. Spiritual unity is the fruit of faith union with the living Jesus. The visible church should refuse longer to handicap the progress of the invisible and spiritual brotherhood of the kingdom of God. And this brotherhood is destined to become a living organism in contrast to an institutionalized social organization. It may well utilize such social organizations, but it must not be supplanted by them.
Page-2085 But the Christianity of even the twentieth century must not be despised. It is the product of the combined moral genius of the God-knowing men of many races during many ages, and it has truly been one of the greatest powers for good on earth, and therefore no man should lightly regard it, notwithstanding its inherent and acquired defects. Christianity still contrives to move the minds of reflective men with mighty moral emotions. [Morality is good and needed for proper social ethics; but both morality and ethics are sub-spiritual. Morality may be a gateway to later spiritual experiences.]
Page-2086 These various groupings of Christians may serve to accommodate numerous different types of would-be believers among the various peoples of Western civilization, but such division of Christendom presents a grave weakness when it attempts to carry the gospel of Jesus to Oriental peoples. These races do not yet understand that there is a religion of Jesus separate, and somewhat apart, from Christianity, which has more and more become a religion about Jesus. [The religion of Jesus is the Truth that God is your and my loving Father; and we are each a Divinely Beloved son of God -- as is all humans ! If you believe that God is your loving Father; you should always be assured in Spirit and in Truth that you are freely granted Eternal Life in the Family of God and thus ever-increasing glorious opportunities to serve as God wills for you and for all !]
Page-2086 Christianity is an extemporized religion, and therefore must it operate in low gear. High-gear spiritual performances must await the new revelation and the more general acceptance of the real religion of Jesus. But Christianity is a mighty religion, seeing that the commonplace disciples of a crucified carpenter set in motion those teachings which conquered the Roman world in three hundred years and then went on to triumph over the barbarians who overthrew Rome. This same Christianity conquered -- absorbed and exalted -- the whole stream of Hebrew theology and Greek philosophy. And then, when this Christian religion became comatose for more than a thousand years as a result of an overdose of mysteries and paganism, it resurrected itself and virtually reconquered the whole Western world. Christianity contains enough of Jesus' teachings to immortalize it. [!! Tremendous Revelation here !]
Page-2086 If Christianity could only grasp more of Jesus' teachings, it could do so much more in helping modern man to solve his new and increasingly complex problems.
Page-2086 Christianity suffers under a great handicap because it has become identified in the minds of all the world as a part of the social system, the industrial life, and the moral standards of Western civilization; and thus has Christianity unwittingly seemed to sponsor a society which staggers under the guilt of tolerating science without idealism, politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without restraint, knowledge without character, power without conscience, and industry without morality. [In A.D. 2011 in the USA, there have arisen the "Tea Party" and "Occupy Wall Street"; may more groups for needed changes will arise -- hopefully Spirit-led and promoting love, peace and progress for all.]
Page-2086 The hope of modern Christianity is that it should cease to sponsor the social systems and industrial policies of Western civilization while it humbly bows itself before the cross it so valiantly extols, there to learn anew from Jesus of Nazareth the greatest truths mortal man can ever hear -- the living gospel of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
Page-2090 The time is ripe to witness the figurative resurrection of the human Jesus from his burial tomb amidst the theological traditions and the religious dogmas of nineteen centuries. Jesus of Nazareth must not be longer sacrificed to even the splendid concept of the glorified Christ. What a transcendent service if, through this revelation, the Son of Man should be recovered from the tomb of traditional theology and be presented as the living Jesus to the church that bears his name, and to all other religions I Surely the Christian fellowship of believers will not hesitate to make such adjustments of faith and of practices of living as will enable it to "follow after" the Master in the demonstration of his real life of religious devotion to the doing of his Father's will and of consecration to the unselfish service of man. Do professed Christians fear the exposure of a self-sufficient and unconsecrated fellowship of social respectability and selfish economic maladjustment? Does institutional Christianity fear the possible jeopardy, or even the overthrow, of traditional ecclesiastical authority if the Jesus of Galilee is reinstated in the minds and souls of mortal men as the ideal of personal religious living? Indeed, the social readjustments, the economic transformations, the moral rejuvenations, and the religious revisions of Christian civilization would be drastic and revolutionary if the living religion of Jesus should suddenly supplant the theologic religion about Jesus. [We thank our ever-present Jesus Christ and the pure spirit Essence of God within each moral human for this augmenting worldwide "Spiritual Springtime" ! Amen !]
Page-2091 2. THE RELIGION OF JESUS
Some day a reformation in the Christian church may strike deep enough to get back to the unadulterated religious teachings of Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. You may preach a religion about Jesus, but, perforce, you must live the religion of Jesus. In the enthusiasm of Pentecost, Peter unintentionally inaugurated a new religion, the religion of the risen and glorified Christ. [up in Heaven, not here leading us in Spirit to love and serve all humans without favor !] The Apostle Paul later on transformed this new gospel into Christianity, a religion embodying his own theologic views and portraying his own personal experience with the Jesus of the Damascus road. The gospel of the kingdom is founded on the personal religious experience of the Jesus of Galilee; Christianity is founded almost exclusively on the personal religious experience of the Apostle Paul. Almost the whole of the New Testament is devoted, not to the portrayal of the significant and inspiring religious life of Jesus, but to a discussion of Paul's religious experience and to a portrayal of his personal religious convictions. The only notable exceptions to this statement, aside from certain parts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are the Book of Hebrews and the Epistle of James. Even Peter, in his writing, only once reverted to the personal religious life of his Master. The New Testament is a superb Christian document, but it is only meagerly Jesusonian.
Page-2092 But the greatest mistake was made in that, while the human Jesus was recognized as having a religion, the divine Jesus (Christ) almost overnight became a religion. Paul's Christianity made sure of the adoration of the divine Christ, [good!] but it almost wholly lost sight of the struggling and valiant human Jesus of Galilee, who, by the valor of his personal religious faith and the heroism of his indwelling Adjuster, ascended from the lowly levels of humanity to become one with divinity, thus becoming the new and living way whereby all mortals may so ascend from humanity to divinity. Mortals in all stages of spirituality and on all worlds [all ten million human inhabited worlds in Jesus Christ's large local universe] may find in the personal life of Jesus that which will strengthen and inspire them as they progress from the lowest spirit levels up to the highest divine values, from the beginning to the end of all personal religious experience.
Page-2092 At the time of the writing of the New Testament, the authors not only most profoundly believed in the divinity of the risen Christ, but they also devotedly and sincerely believed in his immediate [physical] return to earth to consummate the heavenly kingdom. [as they had hoped for, a mere nationalistic King-Ruler -- not very spiritual.] This strong faith in the Lord's immediate return had much to do with the tendency to omit from the record those references which portrayed the purely human experiences and attributes of the Master. The whole Christian movement tended away from the human picture of Jesus of Nazareth toward the exaltation of the risen Christ, the glorified and soon-returning Lord Jesus Christ.
Page-2097 [Very important ! Please share widely !] "Be not discouraged; human evolution is still in progress, and the revelation of God to the world, in and through Jesus, shall not fail." [Very True ! Amen ! Let us strive to help our Good Master Jesus Christ in this work; as He so calls us !]
STUDY 3 DOING OUR FATHER GOD'S WILL
Compiled 1/02/2012 by Dave@PureChristians.org
Page-42 Facing the world of personality, God is discovered to be a loving person; facing the spiritual world, he is a personal love; in religious experience he is both. Love identifies the volitional will of God. The goodness of God rests at the bottom of the divine free-willness--the universal tendency to love, show mercy, manifest patience, and minister forgiveness.
Page-137 7. THE PART AND THE WHOLE
There is operative throughout all time and space and with regard to all reality of whatever nature an inexorable and impersonal law which is equivalent to the function of a cosmic providence. Mercy characterizes God's attitude of love for the individual; impartiality motivates God's attitude toward the total. The will of God does not necessarily prevail in the part--the heart of any one personality-- but his will does actually rule the whole, the universe of universes.
Page-1095 2. SPIRITUAL GROWTH
"Spiritual development depends, first, on the maintenance of a living spiritual connection with true spiritual forces and, second, on the continuous bearing of spiritual fruit: yielding the ministry to one's fellows of that which has been received from one's spiritual benefactors. Spiritual progress is predicated on intellectual recognition of spiritual poverty coupled with the self-consciousness of perfection-hunger, the desire to know God and be like him, the wholehearted purpose to do the will of the Father in heaven.
Page-1116 Never can there be either scientific or logical proofs of divinity. Reason alone can never validate the values and goodnesses of religious experience. But it will always remain true: Whosoever wills to do the will of God shall comprehend the validity of spiritual values. This is the nearest approach that can be made on the mortal level to offering proofs of the reality of religious experience. Such faith affords the only escape from the mechanical clutch of the material world and from the error distortion of the incompleteness of the intellectual world; it is the only discovered solution to the impasse in mortal thinking regarding the continuing survival of the individual personality. It is the only passport to completion of reality and to eternity of life in a universal creation of love, law, unity, and progressive Deity attainment.
Page-1176 Any mortal who has seen a Creator Son [our Sovereign Savior Jesus Christ here] has seen the Universal Father, and he who is indwelt by a divine Adjuster is indwelt by the Paradise Father. Every mortal who is consciously or unconsciously following the leading of his indwelling Adjuster is living in accordance with the will of God. Consciousness of Adjuster presence is consciousness of God's presence. Eternal fusion of the Adjuster with the evolutionary soul of man is the factual experience of eternal union with God as a universe associate of Deity.
Page-1221 5. THE CONSECRATION OF CHOICE
The doing of the will of God is nothing more or less than an exhibition of creature willingness to share the inner life with God--with the very God who has made such a creature life of inner meaning-value possible. Sharing is Godlike--divine. God shares all with the Eternal Son and the Infinite Spirit, while they, in turn, share all things with the divine Sons and spirit Daughters of the universes.
Page-1221 This choosing of the Father's will is the spiritual finding of the spirit Father by mortal man, even though an age must pass before the creature son may actually stand in the factual presence of God on Paradise. This choosing does not so much consist in the negation of creature will--"Not my will but yours be done"--as it consists in the creature's positive affirmation: "It is my will that your will be done." And if this choice is made, sooner or later will the God-choosing son find inner union (fusion) with the indwelling God fragment, while this same perfecting son will find supreme personality satisfaction in the worship communion of the personality of man and the personality of his Maker, two personalities whose creative attributes have eternally joined in self-willed mutuality of expression--the birth of another eternal partnership of the will of man and the will of God.
Page-1262 The will of God does ultimately prevail, not always concerning the individual but invariably concerning the total.
Page-1278 PAPER 117 GOD THE SUPREME
To the extent that we do the will of God in whatever universe station we may have our existence, in that measure the almighty potential of the Supreme becomes one step more actual. The will of God is the purpose of the First Source and Center [I AM Father-Infinite] as it is potentialized in the three Absolutes, personalized in the Eternal Son, conjoined for universe action in the Infinite Spirit, and eternalized in the everlasting patterns of Paradise. And God the Supreme is becoming the highest finite manifestation of the total will of God.
Page-1305 Nevertheless, the Father as a person may at any time interpose a fatherly hand in the stream of cosmic events all in accordance with the will of God and in consonance with the wisdom of God and as motivated by the love of God.
But what man calls providence is all too often the product of his own imagination, the fortuitous juxtaposition of the circumstances of chance. There is, however, a real and emerging providence in the finite realm of universe existence, a true and actualizing correlation of the energies of space, the motions of time, the thoughts of intellect, the ideals of character, the desires of spiritual natures, and the purposive volitional acts of evolving personalities. The circumstances of the material realms find final finite integration in the interlocking presences of the Supreme and the Ultimate. [The Ultimate levels may be initially considered as bridges among the lower Supreme levels and the higher Absolute levels.]
Page-1431 This was a conference which lasted well into the night, in the course of which the young man requested Jesus to tell him the difference-between the will of God and that human mind act of choosing which is also called will. In substance Jesus said: The will of God is the way of God, partnership with the choice of God in the face of any potential alternative. To do the will of God, therefore, is the progressive experience of becoming more and more like God, and God is the source and destiny of all that is good and beautiful and true. The will of man is the way of man, the sum and substance of that which the mortal chooses to be and do. Will is the deliberate choice of a self-conscious being which leads to decision-conduct based on intelligent reflection.
Page-1454 [a new believer, in about A.D. 22, in Jesus and in His Teachings] "I will no longer be satisfied to believe that God is the Father of all my people; I will henceforth believe that he is also my Father. Always will I try to worship God with the help of the Spirit of Truth, which is my helper when I have become really God-knowing. But first of all I am going to practice worshiping God by learning how to do the will of God on earth; that is, I am going to do my best to treat each of my fellow mortals just as I think God would like to have him treated. And when we live this sort of a life in the flesh, we may ask many things of God, and he will give us the desire of our hearts that we may be the better prepared to serve our fellows. And all of this loving service of the children of God enlarges our capacity to receive and experience the joys of heaven, the high pleasures of the ministry of the spirit of heaven.
Page-1577 And then said Jesus: "But you will stumble over my teaching because you are wont to interpret my message literally; you are slow to discern the Spirit of my teaching. Again must you remember that you are my messengers; you are beholden to live your lives as I have in Spirit lived mine. You are my personal representatives; but do not err in expecting all men to live as you do in every particular. Also must you remember that I have sheep not of this flock, and that I am beholden to them also, to the end that I must provide for them the pattern of doing the will of God while living the life of the mortal nature." [Jesus Christ is our Universe Creator Father of ten million human inhabited worlds when completed in this first Supreme age. Presently, I roughly estimate that our universe may be about 2/3 complete physically, 1/2 complete intellectually, and 1/3 complete spiritually, from our finite viewpoint of course. In Jesus in God, "IT IS FINISHED ! Amen !]
Page-1582 Jesus did not attack the teachings of the Hebrew prophets or the Greek moralists. The Master recognized the many good things which these great teachers stood for, but he had come down to earth to teach something additional, "the voluntary conformity of man's will to God's will." Jesus did not want simply to produce a religious man, a mortal wholly occupied with religious feelings and actuated only by spiritual impulses. Could you have had but one look at him, you would have known that Jesus was a real man of great experience in the things of this world. [Behold now in Spirit our True God-Man Jesus !] The teachings of Jesus in this respect have been grossly perverted and much misrepresented all down through the centuries of the Christian era; you have also held perverted ideas about the Master's meekness and humility. What he aimed at in his life appears to have been a superb self-respect. He only advised man to humble himself that he might become truly exalted; what he really aimed at was true humility toward God. He placed great value upon sincerity -- a pure heart. Fidelity was a cardinal virtue in his estimate of character, while courage was the very heart of his teachings. "Fear not" was his watchword, and patient endurance his ideal of strength of character. The teachings of Jesus constitute a religion of valor, courage, and heroism. And this is just why he chose as his personal representatives twelve commonplace men, the majority of whom were rugged, virile, and manly fishermen. [Later Jesus appointed many more disciples and evangelists, including a Women's Evangelistic Corps ! That act of Jesus even shocked most of the Apostles and Jewish society, so it was not recorded. The 18 very active Teaching years of Jesus' Incarnate Life, ages 12 to 30 years, were also suppressed as they were more to the Gentiles (Greeks, etc) and not to the Jews.
Page-1583 The Master offered no solutions for the nonreligious problems of his own age nor for any subsequent age. Jesus wished to develop spiritual insight into eternal realities and to stimulate initiative in the originality of living; he concerned himself exclusively with the underlying and permanent spiritual needs of the human race. He revealed a goodness equal to God. He exalted love -- truth, beauty, and goodness - -as the divine ideal and the eternal reality.
The Master came to create in man a new spirit, a new will--to impart a new capacity for knowing the truth, experiencing compassion, and choosing goodness-- the will to be in harmony with God's will, coupled with the eternal urge to become perfect, even as the Father in heaven is perfect.
Page-1585 John [the apostle] asked Jesus, "Master, what is the kingdom of heaven?" And Jesus answered: "The kingdom of heaven consists in these three essentials: first, recognition of the fact of the sovereignty of God; second, belief in the truth of sonship with God; and third, faith in the effectiveness of the supreme human desire to do the will of God -- to be like God. And this is the good news of the gospel: that by faith every mortal may have all these essentials of salvation."
Page-1588 [Jesus:] "When you are the subjects of this kingdom, you indeed are made to hear the law of the Universe Ruler; but when, because of the gospel of the kingdom which I have come to declare, you faith-discover yourselves as sons, you henceforth look not upon yourselves as law-subject creatures of an all-powerful king but as privileged sons of a loving and divine Father. Verily, verily, I say to you, when the Father's will is your law, you are hardly in the kingdom. But when the Father's will becomes truly your will, then are you in very truth in the kingdom because the kingdom has thereby become an established experience in you. When God's will is your law, you are noble slave subjects; but when you believe in this new gospel of divine sonship, my Father's will becomes your will, and you are elevated to the high position of the free children of God, liberated sons of the kingdom."
Page-1591 [Jesus:] "In this way you may experience a perfected unity of spirit purpose and spirit understanding growing out of the mutual consciousness of the identity of each of your indwelling Paradise spirits; and you may enjoy all of this profound spiritual unity in the very face of the utmost diversity of your individual attitudes of intellectual thinking, temperamental feeling, and social conduct. Your personalities may be refreshingly diverse and markedly different, while your spiritual natures and spirit fruits of divine worship and brotherly love may be so unified that all who behold your lives will of a surety take cognizance of this spirit identity and soul unity; they will recognize that you have been with me and have thereby learned, and acceptably, how to do the will of the Father in heaven. You can achieve the unity of the service of God even while you render such service in accordance with the technique of your own original endowments of mind, body, and soul.
Page-1596 1. TEACHING IN THE TEMPLE
Throughout this month Jesus or one of the apostles taught daily in the temple. When the Passover crowds were too great to find entrance to the temple teaching, the apostles conducted many teaching groups outside the sacred precincts. The burden of their message was:
1. The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
2. By faith in the fatherhood of God you may enter the kingdom of heaven, thus becoming the sons of God.
3. Love is the rule of living within the kingdom -- supreme devotion to God while loving your neighbor as yourself.
4. Obedience to the will of the Father, yielding the fruits of the spirit in one's personal life, is the law of the kingdom.
Page-1609 [Jesus:] "By the old way you seek to suppress, obey, and conform to the rules of living; by the new way you are first transformed by the Spirit of Truth and thereby strengthened in your inner soul by the constant spiritual renewing of your mind, and so are you endowed with the power of the certain and joyous performance of the gracious, acceptable, and perfect will of God. Forget not -- it is your personal faith in the exceedingly great and precious promises of God that ensures your becoming partakers of the divine nature. Thus by your faith and the spirit's transformation, you become in reality the temples of God, and his spirit actually dwells within you. If, then, the spirit dwells within you, you are no longer bondslaves of the flesh but free and liberated sons of the spirit. The new law of the spirit endows you with the liberty of self-mastery in place of the old law of the fear of self-bondage and the slavery of self-denial.
Page-1711 [Jesus:] "And now let me declare to you, once and for all time, that I have come down upon the earth, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me. And this is the final will of Him who sent me, that of all those he has given me I should not lose one. And this is the will of the Father: That every one who beholds the Son and who believes him shall have eternal life. Only yesterday did I feed you with bread for your bodies; today I offer you the bread of life for your hungry souls. Will you now take the bread of the spirit as you then so willingly ate the bread of this world?"
Page-1712 3. THE AFTER MEETING
Many were the questions asked Jesus during this after meeting. Some were asked by his perplexed disciples, but more were asked by caviling unbelievers who sought only to embarrass and entrap him.
One of the visiting Pharisees, mounting a lampstand, shouted out this question: "You tell us that you are the bread of life. How can you give us your flesh to eat or your blood to drink? What avail is your teaching if it cannot be carried out?" And Jesus answered this question, saying: "I did not teach you that my flesh is the bread of life nor that my blood is the water thereof. But I did say that my life in the flesh is a bestowal of the bread of heaven. The fact of the Word of God bestowed in the flesh and the phenomenon of the Son of Man subject to the will of God, constitute a reality of experience which is equivalent to the divine sustenance. You cannot eat my flesh nor can you drink my blood, but you can become one in spirit with me even as I am one in spirit with the Father. You can be nourished by the eternal word of God, which is indeed the bread of life, and which has been bestowed in the likeness of mortal flesh; and you can be watered in soul by the divine spirit, which is truly the water of life. The Father has sent me into the world to show how he desires to indwell and direct all men; and I have so lived this life in the flesh as to inspire all men likewise ever to seek to know and do the will of the indwelling heavenly Father."
Page-1732 [Jesus:] Never forget there is only one adventure which is more satisfying and thrilling than the attempt to discover the will of the living God, and that is the supreme experience of honestly trying to do that divine will. And fail not to remember that the will of God can be done in any earthly occupation. Some callings are not holy and others secular. All things are sacred in the lives of those who are spirit led; that is, subordinated to truth, ennobled by love, dominated by mercy, and restrained by fairness -- justice. The spirit which my Father and I shall send into the world is not only the Spirit of Truth but also the spirit of idealistic beauty.
Page-1860 The great effort embodied in this sermon was the attempt to translate the concept of the kingdom of heaven into the ideal of the idea of doing the will of God. Long had the Master [Jesus] taught his followers to pray: "Your kingdom come; your will be done"; and at this time he earnestly sought to induce them to abandon the use of the term kingdom of God in favor of the more practical equivalent, the will of God. But he did not succeed.
Jesus desired to substitute for the idea of the kingdom, king, and subjects, the concept of the heavenly family, the heavenly Father, and the liberated sons of God engaged in joyful and voluntary service for their fellow men and in the sublime and intelligent worship of God the Father.
Page-1860 On this afternoon the Master distinctly taught a new concept of the double nature of the kingdom in that he portrayed the following two phases:
"First. The kingdom of God in this world, the supreme desire to do the will of God, the unselfish love of man which yields the good fruits of improved ethical and moral conduct.
"Second. The kingdom of God in heaven, the goal of mortal believers, the estate wherein the love for God is perfected, and wherein the will of God is done more divinely."
Page-1862 4. JESUS' TEACHING ABOUT THE KINGDOM
Jesus never gave a precise definition of the kingdom. At one time he would discourse on one phase of the kingdom, and at another time he would discuss a different aspect of the brotherhood of God's reign in the hearts of men. In the course of this Sabbath afternoon's sermon Jesus noted no less than five phases, or epochs, of the kingdom, and they were:
1. The personal and inward experience of the spiritual life of the fellowship of the individual believer with God the Father.
2. The enlarging brotherhood of gospel believers, the social aspects of the enhanced morals and quickened ethics resulting from the reign of God's spirit in the hearts of individual believers.
3. The supermortal brotherhood of invisible spiritual beings which prevails on earth and in heaven, the superhuman kingdom of God.
4. The prospect of the more perfect fulfillment of the will of God, the advance toward the dawn of a new social order in connection with improved spiritual living -- the next age of man. [beginning now !]
5. The kingdom in its fullness, the future spiritual age of light and life on earth. [probably about 50,000 more years here for planetary entrance into the higher stages of Light and Life; unless several possible divine interventions accelerate the plan of our Sovereign Creator Father Jesus Christ Michael. Only He determines these events -- and all of his decisions are always fully approved by God the Paradise Universal Father-Infinite I AM. Jesus is fully and perfectly and eternally our good and saving Sovereign Spirit GODMAN Person here.]
Page-1954 A certain amount of both stoicism and optimism are serviceable in living a life on earth, but neither has aught to do with that superb peace which the Son of God bestows upon his brethren in the flesh. The peace which [Jesus Christ] Michael gives his children on earth is that very peace which filled his own soul when he himself lived the mortal life in the flesh and on this very world. [Amen !!] The peace of Jesus is the joy and satisfaction of a God-knowing individual who has achieved the triumph of learning fully how to do the will of God while living the mortal life in the flesh. The peace of Jesus' mind was founded on an absolute human faith in the actuality of the divine Father's wise and sympathetic overcare. Jesus had trouble on earth, he has even been falsely called the "man of sorrows," but in and through all of these experiences he enjoyed the comfort of that confidence which ever empowered him to proceed with his life purpose in the full assurance that he was achieving the Father's will.
Page-2065 The coming of the Spirit of Truth [Who IS JESUS here fully in Spirit !!!] purifies the human heart and leads the recipient to formulate a life purpose single to the will of God and the welfare of men. The material spirit of selfishness has been swallowed up in this new spiritual bestowal of selflessness. Pentecost, then and now, signifies that the Jesus of history has become the divine Son of living experience. [Behold our God !!!] The joy of this outpoured spirit, when it is consciously experienced in human life, is a tonic for health, a stimulus for mind, and an unfailing energy for the soul.
Page-2092 Jesus founded the religion of personal experience in doing the will of God and serving the human brotherhood; Paul founded a religion in which the glorified Jesus became the object of worship and the brotherhood consisted of fellow believers in the divine Christ. In the bestowal of Jesus these two concepts were potential in his divine-human life, and it is indeed a pity that his followers failed to create a unified religion [!!!] which might have given proper recognition to both [BOTH !!!] the human and the divine natures of the Master as they were inseparably bound up in his earth life and so gloriously set forth in the original gospel of the kingdom.