New Book Cover for Praying the Gospels with Martin Luther

 

     In celebration of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 Theses on the church doors, I decided it is time to change the cover of my book. I liked the old cover but it really didn’t give a visual representation of the contents. I thought the image of Luther himself with his hand over his heart might tell the person looking at the cover a little more about its contents.

These are not Luther’s prayers, they are my prayers based on the themes that spoke to me within the Gospel sermons of his Church Postils, a series of sermons he wrote that priests who had little formal training could read from their pulpits. These sermons made a profound impact on my understanding Martin Luther, the preacher, rather than the theologian. Rather than arguing against religious leaders and past doctrines, his sermons were explanations of the biblical texts and how they applied to common life. I wish that theologians would read his sermons and quote from them more often. I’ve listed some quotes that opened my eyes and changed the way I thought on another page (it’s accessible from one of the headings above as well).

I also have a page that provides a plan to use the book as a personal study during the season of Lent that identifies the prayers that might be appropriate for weekly themes during each Lectionary year. Since it’s the culmination of the Luther Decade and the 500th anniversary, this might be a good year to give it a try.

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The Beatitudes – Maturing in Your Faith

Matt. 5:1-12

          I wrote a book about the Beatitudes of Jesus four years ago. I found an Aramaic scholar with a poetic heart whose translation of them came directly from the language Jesus spoke. There is greater depth of meaning in Jesus’s words than our English translation offers. Each beatitude is a sermon in and of itself.

          One key point was that the word “blessed” probably doesn’t mean “happy.” The root word that comes from Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, means “something that is suited for its purpose,” or “that which is done at the right time.” Shorter words for this concept are ripe and maturing. To be blessed is to be coming to the point of full completion, your full potential.

          It’s like when a tomato is ripe on the vine, or when a blackberry willingly lets go of the vine as you put your fingers around it. You know it’s going to be sweet if you don’t have to pull against the stem. For a person, it’s when all the pieces of the puzzle of who you are as a person – true to yourself and to God start coming together because you are identifying your purpose and where you fit as part of the whole in creation. Maturing are those people who have reached the point where they easily let go of their attachments when it’s time to move on.

          I was listening to an audio version of the Tao Te Ching in my truck one day. The teaching sounded like my explanation of: “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” It went like this:

     Men are born soft and supple; dead, they are stiff and hard. Plants are born tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry. Thus, whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death. Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life. The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail.  Tao Te Ching 76

          Wisdom is wisdom no matter who speaks it. Maturing are those who have the strength to be flexible. Hardwood trees break the fastest in a tornado while evergreens stand a greater chance of surviving. Those who are meek, or flexible, have inner strength and possess control over their actions. Pride isn’t sending them off in defensive and destructive reactions.

          Too many churches, i.e., denominations, cannot bend or adjust to changing conditions in life. When put under pressure, they splinter like hardwoods in a tornado. Clinging to tradition is simply a worship of the past. You cannot have life without change. Anything that does not change is dead. You don’t have a single cell in your body that is the same as seven years ago. You’ve been totally replaced in seven years. You can’t remain alive if you don’t accept change as both good and inevitable.

          Some will claim that God never changes. That’s true. God is love. Always was. Always will be. But to imagine that people two thousand years ago understood God perfectly (remember, God is inconceivable), is folly. Jesus told the Pharisees that they didn’t know God. They had memorized their Scriptures and thought they knew God. No wonder they hated Jesus.

          To imagine that you understand God completely is also folly, no matter what you were taught in Sunday school. My understanding of God has changed from what it was a year ago. My fear is that the church hasn’t learned anything new about God in the two thousand years since Jesus was born, thinking that right theology is cemented in concrete.  Spiritual growth is ongoing, not never changing.

          I hope your understanding of God has changed since you were six years old, or ten years old, or twenty years old, or five years ago. And I hope you’re strong enough to bend with the winds of change because “the times, they are a-changing” (Bob Dylan).

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Peace – Be Still

 

          This is a sermon to myself. As I watch the inauguration of Donald Trump as President, I am finding peace in my soul. Not because he’s becoming president but because I am resisting lowering myself to the unfounded resistance of the last eight years. I don’t want to live each day resisting some illusory image of evil that causes fear to dominate the future. Jesus said, “Do not resist an evil person.” I don’t want to become what I abhorred in the lack of cooperative attitude of our elected officials. They believe they serve only half of the population of the United States, and the other half are wrong. They live with anger and disdain and disrespect in their hearts. I refuse to be pulled down to that level of thinking.

          Instead, I am watching the inauguration so that I can see for myself what happens. I choose to interpret it according to my desire for things to improve in our country. Otherwise, I would have to listen to the interpretations of a biased media, or a media that has been duped into thinking drama and the raising of fear is news. Television ratings are more important than objective presentation of events.

          It’s coming to a point where I am unsure of what is fact and what is biased opinion when I listen to the news. Facebook has become Falsebook for me. I have been called on the carpet by others when I sent articles that I agreed with, but didn’t fact check them. Iclicked on an article this week that disparaged Google’s search engine for giving preference to negative articles on Islam and women. It sounded reasonable, and I would have accepted its “truth,” but then I followed the same entry process when entering a search. The results indicated by the article did not correspond. It was not all negative choices to click on first.

          The state of mind in our great country today is that nothing is true except what I want truth to be. For Democrats, the truth is that DT is all bad. They are resisting vehemently before he actually does anything as president. And they simply copy the actions of those they decried for eight years.

          I admit my frustration at the lack of cooperation between Republicans and Democrats in our country. I admit my frustration of a growing divide among the populace. It makes me think of the history of Ireland, the ugly, warring, murderous divide between Catholics and Protestants of the twentieth century.

         My emotions rise when I hear and hear about the sexist and racist remarks of white males in the county in which I live. They rise when I hear a president blamed for trying to fix a healthcare program that was broken and our elected leaders would not address the problem together. Don’t insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, for profit hospitals, and the legal system have to be held accountable for increasing prices?

          Yet I’m learning to recognize when someone else is controlling me by inciting my emotions, emotions that cause me to react without objectivity and proper perspective. I am guilty of reactionary retorts on Facebook through the last year. I never felt the peace of Christ as I reacted. That’s why St. Paul said (and I choose the particular traits that apply to this conversation), “Now the works of the flesh are evident…hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions…of which I tell you…those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21 NKJV).

          Jesus stood up in the boat during the storm and said, “Peace – be still.” And it became still. I choose to choose my state of mind rather than have it dictated by others.

          We live in a democracy. As an American and as a Christian, I am called to respect the choices of others. The choice for president was DT. I will work hard to resist reacting from emotion and try to find a way to engage in constructive actions and conversations that will show we are really trying to do the same things, but with different opinions about how that can happen. When I witness bigotry, racism, sexism, unequal treatment of my neighbor, white privilege, patriarchy, I will call attention to it in a way that avoids putting the other person on the defensive. Sometimes people don’t even hear how they are coming across. I can’t change anyone by condemning them.

          I can only try to be a light in the darkness (a darkness that has existed a long time). Will you join me? Speak what you want to happen to your own mind and heart – peace, freedom and justice for all. What you say is what you’ll get. You will reap what you sow. Follow the ways of Jesus, trust what he said is best, be kind and helpful to others and you will find peace in the storm.

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What Does It Mean To Believe?

 

     The word believe has been studied intensely since the books in the New Testament were written. Why? Because from the second century forward, men have been trying to explain why all you have to do is believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31). I’m afraid the word believe has become so watered down that it has been taught that you don’t have to do anything to be saved except “know” or “think” the right things.

     To believe in the way first century writers used it does not refer to an intellectual process that indicates cognition or awareness that something is true or accurate. Irenaeus, a bishop in the second century, was one of the first great Christian theologians. He is credited with helping to lay out the orthodoxies of the Christian church.

“The Father has revealed the Son to this end, that He may be displayed to all through the Son, and that those who believe in him and are justified may be received into immortality and eternal refreshment.  Now to believe in him is to do his will.” (A reading from the Treatise of St. Irenaeus – Against the Heresies, Bk 4,6,3.5.6.7)

     To believe in Jesus is to do his will, to follow his example. Jesus did more than acknowledge God. He lived his life following through with what he believed was his Father’s will. He lived his life helping others. He believed in the truest sense of the word. He did something because of what he knew.

     You and I always act according to what we believe. If I believed the stock market was going to go up 300% next week, you can be sure I’d be borrowing every dollar I could to invest ASAP. If I only think it could happen, I won’t have the trust or confidence to risk everything and follow through on the information given me.

     The Latin term for “believe” is credo and was used by the Church’s early writers. The way these writers used credo would give it this meaning: “I place my heart.” In the Jewish tradition, the heart referred to one’s whole being, the self at its deepest level, and is made up of one’s thoughts, emotions, will, personality, intuition, and imagination. I dedicate my actions and intentions toward that which I believe to be true. If you give your heart to something, you’re going to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

     There are some synonyms for “believing that empowers action.” Those words are “committed, determined, resolved, resolute.” If you fully trust that what Jesus taught and did is the truth, you will make every effort to follow through with doing what he did.

     In the following verses, replace believe with new words that reflect more than mere possession and confession of certain knowledge. See if another perspective allows the Bible passage to expand in its meaning. Here are your options:

(a) think to be true, to be persuaded;

(b) to trust, place one’s full confidence;

(c) deeply convicted;

(d) give your whole being (heart) to;

(e) to be committed;

(f) to be determined, resolved, persistent.

So [Jesus] asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.  And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you ________________, all things are possible to him who _________________.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I _________________; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:21-23 NRSV).

 “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but _________________________ that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, _______________________ that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:23-24 NKJV).

     In the first verse, the Greek word for unbelief refers to a lack of confidence, weakness of conviction, hesitation. Context is everything in selecting appropriate replacement words. I’m starting to lean toward replacement words for believe that imply complete confidence to the point of certain action.

     To believe in Jesus is having the conviction to live according to his example and his teachings. Not with words but with actions. If your or I don’t love our enemies, we do not believe in Jesus. If we repay evil with evil, we do not truly believe in Jesus. We deceive ourselves. To follow Jesus is to think what he taught was truly God’s will to the point of following his example and teachings. It’s actions that count, not merely words.

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Change the Way You Think About Repenting

 

          The title for this post could have been three words instead of seven: Repent About Repenting. But you might have thought I was suggesting you should be sorry for repenting. Sadly, the word repent in the New Testament is poorly translated. I should say that the other way around. The Greek word metanoia which was translated as “repent” is poorly or improperly translated.

          It’s not a mistake to think repent means “to be sorry, grieved, or remorseful.” That’s what it means. Using the word repent in the Old Testament is correct. The Hebrew word (nacham) means “to be sorry.” The English word repent means “to be sorry.” There’s no problem with those definitions.

          The problem is that translators for King James choose the wrong English word as a replacement for metanoia. There are two Greek words (lupeō or koptō) that New Testament writers could have used if they wanted you to understand that you are supposed to “be sorry.” Instead, the apostles and others used metanoia which means “to change your mind.”

          It doesn’t make sense that John the Baptist and Jesus would start preaching the good news saying “Be sorry, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Shouldn’t a person be happy if the kingdom of heaven is within his/her grasp? Before the kingdom of heaven can reign on earth, we have to change the way we think—about God, about ourselves, about other people, about our actions. Only then can the kingdom come and God’s will can be done on earth as it is in heaven.

          The next time you read the word “repent” or “repentance” in the New Testament, convert it to one of these phrases and you’ll understand the verse the way the writer intended it:

(a) to change one’s mind;

(b) to change the way one thinks;

(c) to turn around in one’s thinking;

(d) think differently.

Try it in these examples:

When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he _____________ and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders (Matt. 27:3).

 “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who ______________  than over ninety-nine righteous persons who don’t need to________________” (Luke 15:7).

          Maybe the reason why we’ve kept the wrong word “repent” where metanoia is found is because it makes sense that Judas was “sorry” for what he did. But being sorry doesn’t always lead to action that tries to rectify a wrong. Sinners are sorry for lots of things. But they keep doing the same things. They don’t always try to make right what they did wrong. Judas changed his mind and went back to try to rectify his poor choices.

          Being sorry isn’t good enough. It’s only when you have changed your mind completely about what you’ve done that you take action to repair the damage you’ve done. If a person is living a lifestyle that brings harm to self or others, or that disrupts harmony in self or others, being sorry doesn’t cut it.

          It’s metanoia, a complete turnaround in the way one thinks, rather than repentance, that will bring about a change in the way a person acts. And only then will the kingdom of heaven be at hand for that person.

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Permission To Think

 

I’m doing a lot of research on the definitions of Greek words in the New Testament for a Bible study book. At this point I’m calling it Dry Bones: Breathing New Life into Petrified Words in the Bible. I’m designing it to be both a self-study and group study that allows the student to insert available options for Greek words that have developed single meanings and gain some insight into what a translator goes through in making a choice. In biblical translation, many word replacements are subjective. They are often based upon what one has been conditioned to believe. We have been conditioned to believe the choices made by males in the fourth and sixteenth centuries are not open to debate. Few modern translations vary when it comes to anything of substance from the theologies of those eras.

It’s been shown that men think hierarchically. Autonomy, justice, and rights are what guide their thinking. On the other hand, women think non-hierarchically. Relationship, care, and responsibility guide their thinking. Of course, these are wide generalities. But combine this understanding of the differences in the ways men and women think with the patriarchal times in which the Greek testament was translated and interpreted, there might be some new ways of interpreting what was intended to be heard by the New Testament writers.

My interest in translation has opened my mind to the possibility that teachings in the New Testament apply more to life on earth and how to live it meaningfully rather than telling you what you must believe so you’ll have a better life when you are dead. It has led me to believe there are some possible mistranslations. I have not found anything in the Greek text that causes me to waiver in my trust that the message of the writers is profound and true. Unfortunately, I cannot say that for its translation into English.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that I can spend from now until eternity “telling” you what might be correct or not correct, but that won’t change what you think. Only by making some choices yourself, using your brain and giving yourself credit for being an intelligent being, will you begin to understand the subjective nature of translation.

Until now, the church and religious leaders have told you what to believe and think concerning the message of the Bible. They’ve said you have to believe certain things if you want to go to heaven when you die. They’ve stolen your confidence in your own ability to think and use your mind when it comes to reading the Bible.

Isn’t that an insult to you? To have anyone suggest you cannot believe anything different from what they tell you is true? Your only problem is that you don’t have specific details that may alter the way you think.

I’m here to tell you that God gave you a brain with the enormous capacity to analyze and make decisions based on information presented to you. I want you to feel empowered to trust that God has indeed written God’s instructions on your heart. For a thousand years, the male-dominated church kept the Scriptures from the average person. The common people had to trust those in authority. Martin Luther even wrote a volume of sermons for local priests to read to their congregations because many had little formal training in the Scriptures. You know what happens when you don’t have access to the rules of the game. The people in power tell you whatever truth they want you to believe.

I won’t disparage the early church fathers and translators too much. They believed they were doing right, and at least some of them were pure in spirit. Yet they were all men in a highly patriarchal society, subject to the religious conditioning of their tradition. The results of what you learn will be bittersweet. You will be both angry and joyous about what you discover.

I am confident in you. I am confident in your ability to make sense of words—maybe more so if you’re female and inclined to think in terms of relationship, care, and responsibility. That’s why I’m going to focus my future posts on words, verses, and teachings in the New Testament in a way that gives you the opportunity to think for yourself and make choices about how you would translate some of the texts.

I look forward to hearing your choices and responses. Until my next post, I hope you have a Happy New Year!

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The Lord’s Prayer ebook – FREE Dec.26-28

 

 

This is just a quick notice that my ebook version of The Lord’s Prayer: Finding New Meanings Within the Language Jesus Spoke can be downloaded FREE from Amazon from Monday through Wednesday, Dec. 26-28. Questions for Bible study are included at the end. Get your FREE copy today!

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Baptism or Compassion?

Matthew 3:1-12

I happen to be on vacation where it was 86 degrees today, but I wanted to submit a translation for the week. I’ve dealt with the kingdom of heaven before in a full length book and in several blogs, so you may remember that the KOH refers to life where everything is living together in harmony on this planet. I’ve also blogged a little about repentance not being sorry for doing something wrong, but instead, changing your mind or changing the way you think. And remember, I’ve taken all the fourth century religion out of it.

1 And in those days John the Baptist came publicly proclaiming in the wilderness of Judea, 2 saying, “Change the way you think, for the development of harmony is within your reach!” 3 For this is the one who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said:

“The voice of one shouting in the wilderness:       Prepare a way of thinking1 of the Lord;       Bring forth his upright ways.’”

4 Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then people from Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, openly confessing their failures to act with love.

7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Children of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming vengeance?  8 Produce fruits now appropriate to an amended life,  9 and do not presume to say amongst yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. 10 Already the ax is lying at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear mature fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.2

11 Indeed, I wash you with water for the purpose of amending your life, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will immerse you in a spirit of reverence and purity, indeed a purifying fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor, and gather up his wheat into the barn; but he will burn up the outer husks with fire that will consume it completely.”

+  +  +

1 ὁδός, a proceeding (cf. the Germ. Wandel); denotes a course of conduct, a way (i. e. manner) of thinking, feeling, deciding

fire, purifying fire – a reference to the consequences of sin that one is supposed to learn from.

+  +  +

     The reference to fire and burning the husks is not about bad people getting sent to hell for eternity and good people going to heaven. You have to remember that each grain of wheat is made up of an outer shell and an inner shell. They belong to the same entity, not two separate entities. John is comparing the components of the grain to one person, not two different people. Every person is made up of good parts (good fruit/wheat) and husks (outer actions that are not worth anything). The fire of consequences is designed to eliminate our worthless actions.

The point of John the Baptist is this: Stop thinking God wants you to follow rules and if you don’t, you’ll have to face poisonous snakes, getting swallowed in earthquakes, or drowned in floods. God wants you to treat your neighbor the way you want to be treated by others. Do what is good and upright, just like a God who is good has always done.

Prepare the way of the Lord doesn’t necessarily mean prepare the way of Jesus. Nobody at that point in time ever thought of the “Lord” as the Messiah – if so, the writer might have written the “Christ” instead of the Lord.

This is the one” – did this refer to John or to Jesus? Jesus wasn’t even in the picture yet. Was John referring to himself when he quoted Isaiah as the one who would try to get people to change the way they think and act? John, like all the other prophets, had the law to encourage people to follow the upright ways of the Lord. Martin Luther compared the law to water in the story of Jesus turning water into wine. John immersed people in the law. Someone else would follow John with another kind of approach…a more effective approach than the law. Respect for each other. Love for each other.

Did Jesus “baptize” anyone with the Holy Spirit and with fire? Literally? Show me where that ever happens in the New Testament. What does that mean? Were you baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire when water was sprinkled on you? Did it change the way you were thinking or living? Can infants change like that?

If Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit and fire, has that happened to you? Is this to be interpreted literally? If it’s not literal, then what does it mean? I wish I could give you better answers than I’ve been given. Sometimes I have more questions than answers.

Jesus came and showed us the example of how God wants us to live…with compassion that doesn’t depend on rules. Or rituals. Does religion save you? I think compassion, respect, and love are what bring you a better life and builds the kingdom of heaven on earth. Sometimes religion helps you to do that. Sometimes it just makes you feel bad when you break the law.

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Another Good Quotation from Martin Luther

 

Here’s another of my favorite quotations by Martin Luther. It comes from the sermons in his Church Postils. See other quotes here. Did you notice that my ebook of prayers based on Martin Luther’s Church Postils (sermons on the Gospels) is only 99 cents until Monday? Click on the ad in the right corner to check it out.

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Luke 23 retranslated

 

     It’s interesting how men with a religious agenda interpreted the Greek text. I’ve been working at removing religion from the New Testament to see if there are any significant variations. After all, Christianity wasn’t defined when the Gospels were written. I’m currently finishing a short book about the four texts in Matthew, Mark, and Luke on divorce and remarriage. You may be surprised. I was. But let me give you a taste of a few minor variations in the first part of Luke 23. First take a look at a traditional translation. I have underlined some parts to compare.

NKJV

Then the whole multitude of them arose and led Him to Pilate. And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.”

Then Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?”

He answered him and said, “It is as you say.”

So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no fault in this Man.”

But they were the more fierce, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.”

My version:

So the entire assembly of them rose up and led him to Pilate. Then they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man corrupting our nation, both forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar and claiming himself to be an anointeda leader of the people.”

Therefore Pilate asked him, saying, “Are you a commanderb of the Jews?” So he answered him, declaring, “You are the one who gives the orders!”c

Then Pilate said to the chief priests and those gathered together, “I find no crime in this man.”

But they were infuriated, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching in opposition of all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place.”

+  +  +

Christ (christos) an anointed one; I wonder if it could refer to “an officially ordained” leader of the people?

Why would Pilate ask if Jesus was “king” of the Jews? He knew that Herod was their king. There had been no insurrection to overthrow Herod.

legō: literally means, “You command.”  Thayer suggests in one group of definitions “c. to exhort, advise; to command, direct.” In other words, “You are the one in command; you are the one giving orders.” Because Pilate’s response was that he could find no fault in Jesus, this was a respectful way for Jesus to say he wasn’t trying to usurp anyone’s civil authority.

+  +  +

     Translation is not an exact science. That’s what makes it subjective rather than black and white. In verse 3, it appears that Jesus was not confirming Pilate and saying, “Yes, you’ve said it. I am king.” That never made sense to me the way it’s been translated. If Jesus had meant anything close to “yes, I am king,” Pilate would not have responded with a declaration of innocence. He would have crucified Jesus immediately…no more need for the chief priests to keep arguing. But they do keep arguing. And according to my interpretation, they said he was teaching in opposition to Jewish tradition, not simply teaching throughout all Judea. They kind of mean the same thing, however, the bulk of Christianity two thousand years later seems to think that Jesus believed he was a king and that everything written in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) was correct. No. Jesus was teaching in opposition to what the tradition was practicing.

     The New Testament paints a different picture of God than the Hebrew Scriptures paint. The NT describes a God who is not vindictive and punishing, but instead, tolerant and forgiving. Jesus might have come from that tradition but that does not mean he was in agreement with everything it did or said.

     Yes, there is great value and wisdom to be found in the Hebrew Scriptures. But I’ve received the word of the Lord in the same way the prophets did. Sometimes it was written on paper and sometimes it came (and continues to come) directly into my heart. I’m sure you have also.

     I believe there is wisdom we have not yet uncovered laying beneath its literal meanings. It’s clear there were many then who understood the deeper things of human consciousness. So there is much to learn from the OT, especially how it shows us what people are like until Christ is born in them. They are afraid of God and what God might do to them. Once they understand the total goodness and splendor of God, there’s no fear. Only love for the Unknowable, and the beginning of the kingdom of God. Until all have lost their fear of God, we still have to try to live together in peace.

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