spiritual authority and the forgotten essentials of christianity
“Take notice, those of you who grapple with Divinity, that the Eternal Living Presence, who is our God, is the one [and only] Being…. So, respect each creation of God as a creation of God: each organism, each perception, each form of God as a form of God.”
These are the forgotten essentials of Christianity. Because of the neglecting of these two essential doctrines, the spiritual authority in many congregations is waning or entirely absent.
Here is a longer record of this doctrine, from: http://aramaic-plain-english.scripturetext.com/mark/12.htm
27 “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You therefore are greatly mistaken.”
28One of the Scribes approached him and he heard them debating and he saw that he had answered them beautifully and he asked him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” 29Yeshua (Jesus) said to him, “The first of all the commandments [the most important of all, is]: ‘Hear Israel, THE LORD JEHOVAH your God, THE LORD JEHOVAH, he is One.’ “ 30“’And you shall love THE LORD JEHOVAH your God with your whole heart and with your entire soul and with your entire mind and with all your power.’ This is the first commandment” 31“And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
32And that scribe said to him, “Excellent, Rabbi! You have spoken the truth, for he is One, and there is not another outside of him.” 33“And for a man to love him with all the heart and with the entire mind and with all the soul and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34But Yeshua, seeing that he had answered wisely, answered and said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And no man again dared to question him.
The above translation is directly from Aramaic in to English, so it has the added credibility of only going through a single translation, unlike other common translations in the English language. However, the above translation simply repeats certain key Hebrew words rather than translating them. Why?
Someone who does not understand the meaning of the Hebrew words would not even attempt to put them in to English, right? It may be commendable that a translator unfamiliar with certain terms does not even attempt to guess at the proper translation, but just leaves them in the foreign wording.
However, we can research the issue further. Jesus, a Jew, was directly quoting the Hebrew scriptures of http://bible.cc/deuteronomy/6-4.htm :
שמע ישראל יהוה אלהינו יהוה אחד
shema Yisrael, Yehovah Eloheinu, Yehovah achad
“Take notice, you who grapple with Divinity, that the Eternal Living Presence, who is our God, is the one Being.”
The above translation of the Hebrew directly in to English is consistent with this 1831 commentary http://clarke.biblecommenter.com/deuteronomy/6.htm as well as Gill’s prior commentary in the 18th century, as well as numerous other religious traditions including the original Hebrew tradition. The Hebrew word Israel literally is a label for someone “who grapples with God.” Jacob was renamed Israel and the twelve children of Israel formed tribes and eventually “those who grapple with God” was the name applied to that entire group of people. They called themselves Israel just as Jacob came to be known as Israel.
Next, the Hebrew conception of Divinity (called Yahweh or Jehovah) is inclusive (or “catholic”), as in eternal, everywhere, all-powerful, all-knowing, and without any boundary or border or limit. God has no competition. There is no other power besides God. The doctrine of an isolated devil who competes against an isolated opponent is not monotheism.
Oddly enough, much of mainstream Christianity demonstrates no comprehension of this basic Hebrew doctrine which Jesus identified as the most important one. If there is no spiritual authority in a tradition, then it’s practitioners are vulnerable to being confused, belligerent, argumentative, arrogant, foolish, and vain. God will humble them (humiliate them) as an act of mercy. Their congregations shall dwindle in number and in prosperity, while others with spiritual authority will grow and flourish.
Indeed, not only do we have the support of the Hebrew tradition for the doctrine that God is Holy (which means inclusive), but the added emphasis of Mark 12:32: And that scribe said to him, “Excellent, Rabbi! You have spoken the truth, for he is One, and there is not another outside of him.”
Here are several common translations of that verse, all echoing the comprehensive inclusiveness of that Hebrew scholar’s comprehension of the Hebrew word for God:
Further, numerous biblical scholars note that the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 22) contains part of this dialogue about the greatest commandment(s), but leaves out the above comment. Is it “too radical?”
Why do so many people who identify themselves as religious have contempt for their fellow man rather than respect and empathy? It could be because they do not understand the first doctrine, which emphasizes the inclusiveness of Yahweh or Allah or God, so they do not understand the second either: “Respect each creation of God as a creation of God.”
Instead, many Christians and Muslims and Jews condemn other people’s anger and contempt, rather than rebuking such sins (with a spirit of forgiveness) and then repenting of any contempt toward other people. Condemning others is not consistent with the doctrine taught by the Prophets of those religions or the other great religions. An introspective “turning away from evil” is the consistent message of all religions, at least in their original forms.
Do not return contempt for contempt. Respect and empathize with those who name you as their enemy and accuse you. Rest all of your attention in the Almighty Living Presence. Do not neglect the reality of God for the sake of human cultural traditions.
When these truths are directly revealed to someone who speaks English, they will naturally speak of these truths using English. When someone who speaks Hebrew recognizes these truths, they use that language. Same for Aramaic or Arabic or Sanskrit or Pali or Chinese.
In different languages and metaphors, the same idea is repeated: God is the beginning and the end. God is the tree upon which all living beings are the branches or branchings of God.
All of the religions are absolutely consistent that there is only one Supreme Being. Myths about Santa Claus do not cancel the basic doctrine.
The naming of various aspects of Divinity (omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal) is not polytheism. Calling God merciful and loving and creative is not polytheism. Calling God Allah and Yahweh and Tao is not polytheism. Calling God Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva is not polytheism. God is the Creator, the Sustainer, and the Destroyer! Those are the English translations of the names of the Hindu “deities,” and while some people may sincerely mistake the Trinity of Hinduism as a polytheism, their sincerity is unrelated to the obvious clarity demonstrated by the authors of the original (untranslated) scriptures of every single religious tradition.
Anyone who directly recognizes the meanings of these words is clear as to their meanings. Anyone who has merely repeated what they read in a scripture has no spiritual authority and thus their comments can be dismissed. Hinduism is not polytheistic, or certainly not exclusively. There is only one Supreme Being and of course there will be different labels for it in different languages!
Those who do not know these words of ancient scriptures can confuse the great doctrines of religion for something else. They can claim that the Holy Trinity is confusing or that it is a polytheistic view. They can confuse it for something else. Or, they can learn what it means, whether from a teacher or through direct revelation.
So, let us refrain from contempt for those who are hysterically confused about religious doctrine. Though they may be many, they are all forms of God at varying stages of blossoming. Empathize with their contempt and their anxiety and their naivete. Did you not also make the same mistake yourself at one time?
One who directly experiences the inclusive unity of the Divine Living Presence naturally and spontaneously respects and empathizes with others (“loves” them). Rebukes may arise, even intense rebukes, but without personal contempt. Rebuke the sin and encourage the one who has been innocently sinning. By these fruits (these demonstrations) shall be recognized the one who directly experiences the inclusive holiness of the Divine Being which is the source of all perceptions, all languages, all words, all labels, of all.
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