Jesus Christ: A Reflection,

The Swedenborg Digital Library. Books about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ

The Best Book Ever Written On The Lord Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ: A Reflection, by Chauncey Giles

Jesus Christ: A Reflection, by Chauncey GilesA short, thought-provoking introduction to who Jesus is and what He really did for all of us, taken from the teachings of His First and Second Coming.

from Chauncey Giles, Lectures on the Incarnation, Atonement and Mediation of The Lord Jesus Christ, (4th Edition. New York: General Convention of the New Jerusalem in the United States of America 1870)

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Jesus Christ – Who was he?

Jesus ChristHere are some different views about who Jesus Christ was. Which one(s) do you think are correct?

1. Jesus Christ was only a mythical figure

Although part of the Bible story, virtually all modern scholars studying antiquity say that Jesus did exist historically. Most of them agree that Jesus was a Galilean, Jewish rabbi who preached his message orally, and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate.

2. Jesus Christ was founder of a world religious tradition

Most people think of him as an eminent religious leader pointing to the importance of spiritual rather than material things.

For example in relation to what Buddhism calls attachment, and what the Jewish tradition refers to as coveting, Jesus said:

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world but lose his soul?”

This is similar to the teachings of the leaders of other religions:

“You use all your vital energy on external things and wear out your spirit” (Chuang Tzu, a Taoist sage)

“It is difficult for a person laden with riches to climb the steep path that leads to bliss.” (The Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam)

Actually, Jesus Christ was a founder of a restoration movement within Judaism. Only after his death, did the community his followers formed eventually became the Christian church.

3. Jesus Christ was a very good man

He has been seen as a religious ascetic holy man and thus a symbol of perfect goodness and virtue. A role model we can aspire to copy. In washing the feet of others he revealed his humility, he showed care for the sick, and he asked for the forgiveness of those who were crucifying him.

“Jesus Christ. I mean, not only was He the greatest human being to ever walk the earth, He’s everything that I want to strive for. He’s everything that anyone should ever want to strive for.” (Sam Bradford, American football player)

4. Jesus Christ was a great moral teacher

The sayings attributed to Jesus, e.g. those known as Sermon on the Mount, are to do with forgiveness and compassion. They have been seen to have a healing quality directed not merely to some particular disease or misfortune but to the vital core of the individual, focusing as they on love and humility rather than demand and penalty.

“We should live our lives as though Christ was coming this afternoon.” (Jimmy Carter, ex-President USA)

5. Jesus Christ was God’s messenger and prophet

This is the idea that Jesus was Divinely inspired, differing from the wisdom of other men, not in kind, but only in degree. For example Muslims considered Jesus to be one of God’s important prophets chosen to spread God’s message.

If he indeed was a prophet some of his parables of judgment make uncomfortable reading about our destiny. The wheat was to be stored but the weeds were to be burned, the foolish virgins were to be excluded from the wedding banquet, the worthless servant who buried his talent was to be thrown outside into the darkness.

“Those who meet Jesus always experience either joy or its opposites, either foretastes of Heaven or foretastes of Hell. Not everyone who meets Jesus is pleased, and not everyone is happy, but everyone is shocked.” (Peter Kreeft, author of Jesus-Shock)

6. Jesus Christ was a miracle maker

The possibility of supernatural events is accepted by those who believe Jesus, like some other Bible figures such as Elisha and Peter, was able to use what they see as God’s omnipotent power. For example he is said to cause a huge number of fish to be caught, make a storm cease, and turn water into wine at a wedding. Whether seeing these stories as literally true or merely symbolic, Christian authors view them as works of love and mercy, performed to show compassion for sinful and suffering humanity.

7. Jesus Christ was a manifestation of God

Those following the Bahá’i faith see Jesus as serving as one of several manifestations of God reflecting God’s qualities and attributes and possessing simultaneous qualities of humanity and divinity.

Some Hindus consider Jesus to be an appearance or manifestation of the Supreme Being and point out similarities between Krishna and Jesus’ teachings. Some Buddhists, including Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, regard Jesus as a bodhisattva (i.e. a being with enlightenment motivated by great compassion) who dedicated his life to the welfare of people.

8. Jesus Christ is the Son of God

In his time the religious authorities in Judea asked for his death because they didn’t believe in his claim to be the Son of God which they saw as a great blasphemy.

Likewise today Muslims do not believe Jesus was the son of God. Islamic texts emphasise a strict notion of monotheism forbidding the association of partners with God which would be idolatry.

However the cornerstone of the Christian faith has been a belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ. At the same time Christians ask how could a divine Jesus have been an ignorant baby who had to learn slowly by way of experience and instruction, as all children do? How could Jesus have prayed to his Father as if to another?

Today mainstream Christians respond by believing that Jesus was the Son of God. They point out that this was his own claim about himself. They think of him as a separate person of the divine trinity alongside God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Their idea of atonement by the sacrifice of the cross would be impossible apart from the concept of the Son as a person distinct from the Father.

9. Jesus Christ is God himself

This is the view that, although as to his body Jesus Christ was a person like other people, nevertheless his inner character was infinite and divine. According to this view, he was the one God himself, in human form, who came at a point in history as the infant child of Mary to grow and learn on earth, experience the natural side of life, overcome its allurements, and thus cause all evil influences in the world to be curtailed.

In other words he wasn’t the Son of God in the sense of a separate Divine person. He saw himself in this way because unless he felt apart from his own self as God, he couldn’t have experienced temptation. And so he wasn’t conscious of his full identity even when praying in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest and trial, and when dying in agony nailed to the cross when he cried out to ask why God had forsaken him. For a fuller explanation

Copyright 2015 Stephen Russell-Lacy

Author Heart, Head & Hands

16th September 2015CategoriesLatest post, Meaning of life, ReligionTags, , , , , ,  Leave a comment

He did come to make an atonement

Time would fail me to quote the passages in which he plainly declares that He came to reveal the Divine truth to men, to bring the Divine life down to them, and to open their eyes to see it. He says nothing about satisfaction, about the payment of debt. He is the good Shepherd, the great Physician, the perfect Teacher, the faithful Exemplar in every work. He did come to make an atonement, to make us at one with Him and the Father who dwells within Him. He assumed a human Nature because He could not come to man in any other way. He did what a just, wise, and loving father would do. If one of your children had wandered from home, had spent all his living, was sick and dying, would you not do all in your power to save him? Would you not spend time, money, labor; would you not provide yourself with all the instrumentalities in your power that were necessary to reach him? And do you suppose that infinite love, compared with which your love is not so much as a drop of water to ,the ocean, would refuse to be reconciled to His lost and dying children until he had received full compensation for their sin; until there had been measured to Him, “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe,” or an exact equivalent? It cannot be. Reason, Scripture, the perceptions of justice and mercy which the Lord has given us, and the deep, spontaneous yearnings of our own hearts, declare it to be impossible. No, the Lord did not come into the world to satisfy the demands of an inflexible and arbitrary justice. He came rather to satisfy the demands of infinite love; not to pay a debt, but to reach the dying soul, to cleanse it from its impurities; to heal its diseases; to mould it into His own image and likeness, and fill it with His own peace and blessedness.

By Chauncey Giles

Father Son and Holy Spirit, Are the three essentials, of the one  God, Like body soul, and operation in man.

ATONEMENT

When a man eats too much of any food, however wholesome it may be, he eats forbidden fruit; when he violates any law of health he eats fruit forbidden by those laws, which are Divine laws, written in his organization; and he cannot violate them without dying to the exact extent of their violation. Man’s sin consisted in departing from the laws of spiritual life, and consequently he began to die. Death followed as an inevitable consequence, and not from an arbitrary infliction of the Divine vengeance. The Lord did not change. His love did not turn to hatred. Man changed, and because he began to suffer pain, he attributed it to the Lord. He knew he had received all his joys from the Lord, and he could not be made to understand that he did not receive the pain which was caused by his sins, from Him also. This is the reason the Lord is represented as angry, in the Bible. It was an apparent truth, and is the highest man could then be made to understand. But the real truth is, that the Lord did not change from love to hate; the only change was in man.Our doctrines teach us that the Lord came to take away our sins. They direct us to fasten our whole thought and attention upon the sin, and never confound it with the punishment. They teach us to shun all evils, as sins against God, and not because they entail punishment; to pray to be saved from the penalty while we cherish the sin is hypocrisy, and can have no avail with the Lord.

On the contrary, the doctrine of the Christian Church looks primarily to the penalty; when it says sin it means punishment. This is the legitimate result of the whole theory; and it is a most fatal mistake, for it leads men to believe that they can be saved from mere mercy, and that salvation consists, essentially, in the Lord’s consent to remit the penalty of sin; that repentance consists really in being sorry that we are going to be damned, rather than that we have acted against so much goodness….You will observe that this places the necessity for our Lord’s sufferings upon an entirely different ground from the common theology. That declares that they were the penalty demanded by the Father and suffered by the Son; this affirms that they were the necessary consequence of the work He performed. The one declares that the Father punished the Son instead of the sinners; the other that He Himself came to save the sinner, regardless of the suffering that must attend the assumption and glorification of the nature He assumed; one doctrine declares, that punishment is the end of His coming, as the only means of saving men, the other that it was entirely incidental. One doctrine primarily regards the penalty of sin, the other the sin itself.
The question, then, naturally arises, What did His sufferings effect? if they did not pay the debt due to a violated justice, what did they contribute to human Salvation? I answer, Much, in Many ways, but nothing in the way commonly supposed.
They set forth in the clearest and most forcible manner the nature and extent of the Divine love. There are innumerable ways in which love can manifest itself. The whole universe manifests the love of the Lord. Our friends declare their love for us by speech and deed, but never so forcibly and clearly as by suffering for us. “Greater love bath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” If we have an abundance, it is easy enough to give. When the heart is full of love, it is painful not to show it by word and deed……. But when we forego our own delights, suffer ignominy and pain and the most cruel torments, and even death itself, for others, without any expectation of return, we give the highest test of our love. We prove that it is pure, unselfish, and the strongest principle within us, and it would seem impossible for any human being to be unaffected by it.
Suppose it was now made known to you for the first time, that some one, from pure love to you, had watched over you with the most untiring assiduity; had omitted no occasion to do you a service; had suffered privation, pain, ignominy; had labored for your good; had fought and overcome your enemies; had denied himself in everything, and taken upon himself every suffering that he might save you from sorrow; could you remain entirely unmoved by it? And if, at the same time, you should discover that you had been acting contrary to his will, and doing all in your power to oppose him; would not your heart be filled with shame and sorrow? How, then, can we fail to be affected by the Lord’s love for us, when we see what He has suffered for us from pure mercy? Bring it home to yourself as a distinct fact, that God Himself loves you with such an unselfish, infinite love; that He has voluntarily suffered what no merely human being could suffer, that He might save you from your sins, from the cause of all your sufferings, and bestow upon you eternal and perfect blessedness! Can you remain unaffected by such a view of the Divine character?……This is one of those important central points on which great principles turn, and become great truths or great errors. It is, therefore, worthy of our careful consideration. The point is this: While suffering is necessary to our salvation, it contributes nothing essential to it. It was what our Lord did for us that saved us, and not what He suffered. Suppose He could have assumed a human nature and glorified it, without suffering, He could have brought His life and power down to us in the same way, and with the same saving efficacy that He has now; for it would have been the same life, and would have operated in the same way. His sufferings make it no more powerful, and no less. They do not affect the result in any way. If His sufferings and death were a penalty which He paid for sin, in man’s stead, as is commonly supposed, then they were the important and only essential thing in the work of man’s salvation. But if He came to remove our sins, to heal our spiritual diseases, to open our eyes, to give strength to our palsied limbs, to raise us up from spiritual death by infusing His own life into us, it was the life we received that saved us, and not the pain it caused Him to do the work.