Imitating Christ

I consider the following statement by Jung to be a brilliant interpretation of the truest and purest lesson to be gleaned from the parables of Jesus.

“If I thus truly imitate Christ, I do not imitate anyone, I emulate no one, but go my own way, and I will also no longer call myself a Christian.” ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 293.

Our perception of Jesus, the Christ, and our understanding or interpretation of the words of Jesus determine how we apply those teachings and whether or not we truly incorporate them into our lives, or if we simply “believe” them to be true.

The difference determines how we live.

It determines how we treat others.

It is our truth. 

Are we truly imitating Christ?

 

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Belief in the Bible

Jesus

Have you ever wondered why the teachings of Jesus, or the composite personality attributed to a man named Jesus, were not worthy enough to be followed without having to attribute divinity and a virgin birth, as well as a resurrection to him? I have. His teachings stand tall in my eyes, without all of the excessive embellishments to his life. I don’t need to think of him as being any more divine than you or I to acknowledge that he was a spiritual master worthy of our attention.

Verification

As we learn and grow in wisdom, we have to learn where to place the teachings that for some of us, were the foundation upon which we began building our life. We have to reconcile those teachings with common sense, facts and historical evidence, of which there is none unless you count the Bible itself, which in and of itself cannot verify itself. Logic must prevail.

Ancestral Beliefs

Through no fault of their own (I’ll explain later), our parents and grandparents passed down religious beliefs that simply were not true. They were honorable in their endeavors, and they were honorable in their faith, but they were, nonetheless, wrong in their belief.

My parents and grandparents did not go to college, although my mother was an accomplished student of the Bible and taught Sunday School in a rather large church for many years. My father, while a brilliant and successful businessman, read his Bible every night, then got on his knees beside his bed and prayed, and then he went to sleep.

They had not internet resources to help them study new findings of Biblical scholars and archaeologists. All they saw on TV was televangelism at its finest and like many in their day, they sent their money. They also tithed to their local church and local charities. They were very generous, caring people, unlike many pew placeholders today.

Academic Study

I have taken classes on the Bible, read several college textbooks on both the old and the new testaments, and studied world religions, ancient magical traditions, superstitions and studied anthropology. It is fascinating material for anyone who wants to know the truth and who seeks knowledge above all else.

Cruel Stories or Pranks in the Bible

I have questioned the intention and validity of the stories in the Bible since I was a child. What kind of God places a tree in a garden he made just for Adam and Eve, only to tell them they cannot eat of its fruit? What?

What kind of deity sends Abraham off to kill his own son as a sacrifice to himself? Really? I will not serve such an evil doer. Even though the Bible says God stopped Abraham, it was a cruel prank and I for one, do not find it amusing or enlightening.

What kind of deity has to send his son incarnate to straighten out the people he created? Does that not contradict his self-proclaimed almighty power to do anything he wishes?

The Gnostics were right

The Gnostics believed the Jehovah God of the Old Testament was not the true God. While my definition (now) of God is not the same as their definition, I believe they were right to a degree. In fact, I don’t even think this Jehovah God existed then or now. The Old Testament was written, then divided and rewritten by the two groups of Israelites, and then it was merged again into one text when the Israelites got back together.

We now know that the writers of the Bible were not who they said they were. It was not uncommon in the days that Jesus was said to live, that students and scribes would use the name of their teacher, mentor, or guru without acquiring their permission to do so.

We also know that the new testament writers wrote their texts decades after the life of Jesus, further lending to their being dismissed as having any historical accuracy.

Food for thought

Think about it. Think about a teacher or preacher that you listened to thirty years ago. Now sit down and write exactly what that speaker said on several different occasions, publish it, and claim it to be the gospel truth. Who do you think would believe and trust your memory of these sayings? You could of course claim divine intervention and maybe it would work. It seems to have worked for the new testament writers for nearly two thousand years.

My point is simply to have you question why you believe what you believe. You are a divine being with a mind and a soul. Conduct yourself accordingly and figure out what you believe and why.

Wherever I am, God is.

To learn more: Read “Half of New Testament Forged”

 

 

 

 

The Rapture

Saint Matthew, from the 9th-century Ebbo Gospels.

There are basically four theories regarding the rapture and all are based on the same book – the Bible.

The rapture is supposedly a secret coming of Jesus during which time the saints or Christians are caught up in the air with Jesus. There are many movies and books which portray these events.

The four rapture theories….

  • No rapture – Those who do not believe in a rapture, but do believe in the second coming.
  • Pre-tribulation rapture theorists believe Jesus will rapture the saints before the tribulation.
  • Mid-tribulation rapture theorists believe will occur after 3 1/2 years.
  • Post-tribulation rapture theorists believe it will occur after the tribulation.

I do not believe that the scriptures support a rapture theory at all, only the second coming of Jesus.

Jesus will return, the dead in Christ shall rise, and the people will be judged. That much is clear.

Any other interpretations are simply points of view, a matter of interpretation.

Have you ever wondered why Billy Graham never spoke of the rapture? Many pastors will not speak of it because it is simply a point of view, a theory, a belief that is not surely described in the scriptures and therefore is a waste of our time as followers of Jesus.

We are to spread the good news, not the gloom and doom of a secret rapture.

The problem with the rapture theory is that humans are trying to dictate what God will do, even though the Bible says without question that there are many mysteries of God, that we now see as through a mirror darkly, and that we are not to know when He will return which is known as the second coming.

A second problem with “preaching” the rapture theory is that it scares people. Jesus does not want followers because they are scared. He wants to be loved because of what he has done for us. We are to love him willingly, cheerfully, and we are to be with sound mind as well as without the spirit of fear.

A third problem with the rapture theory is that even though God can do whatever he wishes and chooses, we have evidence in the Old Testament and words in the New Testament which do not point to the rapture.

When Noah faced the great flood, the evil were ripped from the earth, not the righteous.

Jesus says, “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”

Matthew 13:41-43

Whether you believe in a rapture or not, it has no effect on whether you are saved or not. It is a matter of personal belief, that’s all.

As followers of Christ, we are to be busy doing His work as He so plainly stated in Matthew 25…

Mat 25:31-46
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people one from another like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not receive me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’

Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not give you whatever you needed?’

Then he will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me.’ And these will depart into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

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