The devil and the cross

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The Devil had a serious look of concern on his face. Jesus had been nailed to the cross for several hours and still showed no signs of trying to get off and kick some butt. This is not what the Devil had planned.

While in the desert, the Devil had already failed to entice the Lord into becoming a ruler over the entire earth. The crucifixion was the Devil’s last chance to tempt the Lord into making a big mistake.

If Jesus could just be persuaded to get off that cross to save his own hide and exercise his power over the Roman soldiers and their oppressive rule, the Devil’s devious plan would succeed. For this would mean that Jesus had finally conceded and accepted his offer of earthly dominance.

But the physical pain was not enough to break the Lord’s will.

The Devil knew that as long as Jesus had a human body of flesh and a human disposition, he knew the Lord could be tempted. So the Devil decided to raise the stakes with more serious temptations. He would add psychological pain to crucifixion.

Poor people, oppressed and persecuted people, people suffering all kinds of injustices, punishments and misfortunes were sent to the crucifixion site and pleaded for Jesus to get off the Cross and—with His angelic army—alleviate their suffering and bring justice to the land. This indeed put more pressure on Jesus to do something tangible. Now!

The human side of Jesus yelled out that His Father in heaven was forsaking Him. But this was a final test by which the Lord would gain full control over his flesh and worldly inclinations in order to unify His human nature with His Divine nature. Jesus resisted the vanities and allurements of the earthly kingdom and chose the heavenly kingdom instead.

Jesus died, squashing everyone’s expectations, but was glorified for this painful decision.

The Devil knew he had failed to destroy God’s spiritual integrity. But he did not feel completely defeated. He knew that mortal men’s and women’s minds were still worldly, and if not now, would in the future expect the Lord to make a physical return to set things right on earth.

Rather than seek a heavenly kingdom beyond time and space, people on earth will always demand a terrestrial utopia.

A wicked smile slowly grew across the Devil’s face…

http://www.provinggod.com

Spiritual awareness and insight

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Putting the “squeeze” on Jesus

The Lord’s life on earth represented the ultimate Valentine’s Day message and gift. He came into the world and assumed a human body because he loved us all.

However, the need for God to take on a human body for the sake of salvation is not clearly understood. Theologically, the current central Christian belief is that God the Father sent to earth and sacrificed His beloved Son. While the Father was touched by this sacrifice there were still contingencies—Jehovah God would only save those individuals whom Jesus gave the nod to (called the “elect”).

This means that only one of the Gods of the Holy Trinity loves us while another has serious misgivings—or at least, whose love is conditional. There is something anti-intuitive about any Divine quality of love being conditional and therefore, not embracing Infinite Mercy.

Emanuel Swedenborg had another idea about all this. He boldly claimed that Jesus was Jehovah in the flesh! Before your head explodes consider this—even in the current elaboration of Trinitarian doctrine, Jesus is considered equally a God with Jehovah. If this is true why does Jesus show signs of human fearfulness towards His impending crucifixion at Gethsemane?

The Lord knew ahead of time not only of the crucifixion but also of the triumphant outcome and glorification. Why would someone who was equally a God in the Trinitarian scheme be frightened or lack any confidence from a sure thing? An easy answer might be that because the Lord had a physical body he was susceptible to pain and human fear.

I can buy into that.

However, at Gethsemane, when Jesus was sweating blood because of the intensity of his impending crucifixion, why would the Lord need to pray for the Father’s help? And why would the Lord need an angel to give Him confidence to move forward? Could Jesus not tap into His own divine powers?

Swedenborg says He did! Since Jesus and Jehovah were actually one and the same Deity, the Lord praying among the olive trees was simply a communication between His imperfect human nature (the flesh) and His perfect Divine Nature (Jehovah). Jehovah represented the Lord’s Divine Soul but having taken on a physical body, Divine and Holy things were mixed into the human gene pool (from Mary). This was the means by which the Lord could take on humanity’s sins and conquer them. Jesus made His flesh comply perfectly to the dictates of the Father’s will (the Lord’s Divine Soul) through a life of victories over human temptations and compulsions. The word “Gethsemane” means “olive press.” Which is a fitting term for someone who was being “squeezed” and feeling the cosmic “pressure” to succeed.

This is why there was an empty tomb—the Lord made His flesh equally holy with His Divine Essence (Jehovah). This process of glorification allowed the Lord to gain power over heaven and earth.

When we approach the Lord to guide our lives, we gain access to this holy power in overcoming our own temptations and compulsions. I like Swedenborg’s theology because it shows that Jehovah God has an eternal and endless love for the human race. He came into the world to make His Truth visible to the world of men and women. Divine Truth is the only begotten Son of Divine Love. Truth puts Love on display, just as Jesus’ life on earth put His Father’s (His divine spirit’s) infinite love and mercy on display.

The true message of our Lord’s life on earth is the world’s greatest Valentine’s Day message in history!

Did Jesus cross Union lines?

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Did Jesus cross union lines?

One of the most difficult teachings to convey in Christianity is the doctrine of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In fact, it is so difficult to explain how three individual Gods can be ONE God that the clergy would prefer it if their congregations simply accept this great mystery on faith alone.

I will not bore you with such made-made terms as “hypostatic” union to explain the mystery of the Trinity, but rather, touch on something that is more easily grasped by the finite human mind. In the most prevalent doctrinal scheme of the Holy Trinity each of the three Divine Persons performs a distinct and specialized function in the process of salvation. The “Son” (Jesus) determines who are the faithful followers and goes before the “Father” (Jehovah) to plead our case. God (the Father) then makes the final judgment call and if you become one of the “elect” HE sends the Holy Spirit your way to present the actual gifts of salvation, righteousness and innocence. (This whole “secret” procedure is referred to as vicarious atonement.)

If one God were to perform the Holy duty of the other, this would be similar to crossing union lines. Yet, in the New Testament, Jesus proclaims that salvation is His ballgame—the full and sole power of judging and saving souls has been put into His hands. For example:

Jesus said to His disciples, All power is given unto Me in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18).

The Father judgeth no man, but hath given all judgment unto the Son (John 5:22).

Jesus knowing the Father had given all things into His hand (John 13:3).

All things whatsoever that the Father hath are Mine (John 16:15).

All things have been delivered unto me of My Father (Luke 10:22).

Is Jesus committing doctrinal heresy or challenging the correctness of current Christian theology? If all power has been given to Jesus are the two other Gods of the Trinity simply watching from the sidelines? Perhaps, as the theologian Emanuel Swedenborg maintained, the three distinct functions and attributes are properties of ONE God—the Lord alone. This would make more rational sense as far as monotheism is concerned. Furthermore, Swedenborg claimed that the interpretation of Bible passages as portraying three divine Persons comes from a mere literal interpretation of the words and being unaware of the deeper symbolic language and teachings contained within.

Even the literal translation of Scripture provides evidence that Jesus was actually Jehovah in the flesh! In Isaiah 9:6 we read about the prophecy of the Lord’s Advent:

Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, God, Hero, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace.

Current Christian Trinitarian theology cannot account for why Jesus (the Son) could ever be confused with the “Father of Eternity.” These mysteries are revealed in the Bible’s sacred and symbolic language.

By the way, if you are interested in the deeper interpretations of the Lord’s Holy Word I can help lead you to them.

http://www.staircasepress.com

Love is the ultimate science

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Was Jesus a slacker?

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How could a divine individual, wielding so much personal power, pretty much leave the world as he found it—in turmoil?

Yeah, He fed a few thousand people, healed a couple of them from terrible diseases, even bringing a dead person back to life. And He showed a warm spot in his heart for little children, but the scope of His helpfulness was relatively limited for a God, and left much to be desired.

In fact, Jesus had to promise that He would come back to finish His job. Did He put off for tomorrow what he could have done at his first Advent? Jesus made His promise two thousand years ago. That is a big “tomorrow!”

Was Jesus a slacker or are we missing something?

Perhaps, instead of our waiting for the Lord’s return, the Lord is actually waiting for something to happen within us. Perhaps we don’t understand what is necessary for real, positive change in the world. Perhaps, seeking seemingly noble goals like social justice and equality on the terrestrial globe, evades the real issue. Jesus certainly seemed to not give these goals His top priority.

Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg claimed that there is more to the biblical account of Jesus’ life than meets the eye. Where Jesus did indeed have absolute success was in changing a world we give little thought to—a much more expansive world—the spiritual realms of heaven and hell.

Hidden from human observation, Jesus actually entered the physical world in order to gain the finite body and worldly character necessary to create a battleground (medium) for the Hells to attack Him. (Otherwise, finite devils cannot attack an Infinite God—there simply is no ratio between the two. If there is no battle, there is no victory.)

During His physical life on earth, the Lord Jesus overcame every temptation and compulsion from the vanities and allurements of the world that the Hells could throw at Him. With each victory, Jesus brought new order into both Heaven and Hell (to protect the angels and put Hell in its place). The Lord’s re-establishing of the cosmic equilibrium between these spiritual influences also allowed terrestrial humans to continue to enjoy free will. Swedenborg learned that it is this deeper story of spiritual combat and restoring divine order to this invisible realm of the spirit that would be revealed at the promised “Second Coming.”

This deeper story is remote, obscured and hidden within the literal words of Holy Scripture. That is why the Lord will return with the clouds—to break through this obscurity in human understanding. When men and women of the earth are willing to bear these deeper revelations and gain a new theological understanding of God’s Word they will also receive more precise information as to how to bear their own cross and restructure their inner world more closely towards divine order.

This personally intimate inner battle (purification) is what will qualify the sincerity and innocence of our individual worldly deeds—no matter how noble they may appear to those around us. God’s greatest concern is in leading us back towards a state of innocence (even the evil-minded can perform noble deeds—but with a hidden agenda). That is why Jesus was not so interested in using his divine muscle and brute force to make external changes in human society. These external tactics don’t reach our hearts, and therefore, don’t lead to real or lasting change!

http://www.provinggod.com

Jesus and being nice

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Jesus and being nice

If your goal is to be nice all the time you must look away from injustice.


If your goal is to be popular in the social network, don’t take an unpopular stand or make an unpopular statement.


If you want to be like Jesus, you have to give up on being nice all the time because we live in a fallen and corrupted world.


Part of your time will be spent stating the truth in a pleasant manner that is easy for others to receive.


Sometimes you will need to, “Be angry and sin not”.


Jesus knew the tables of the money changers in the temple needed to be overturned in a way that would dislodge greed that was rooted by those in power.


The guys making the money were there because the religious elite allowed it, who no doubt took their cut of the money too.
Our meek and mild Good Shepherd used a whip on the greedy money changers while He shouted, “My Father said my house shall be a place of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves! “


He wasn’t being very nice, was He?


Was it not because the Good Shepherd was busy driving off wolves?


Courage in the face of taking unpopular stand in an enormously risk laden situation is what made Jesus a Good Shepherd.


And He ultimately laid down His life for His sheep.


Still think you have what it takes to be like Jesus?


Or consider the Apostle Paul in Galatians when the pure truth of the Gospel was threatened by a group from James, the brother of Jesus .


These guys wanted to add a single work of the law to the finished work of Christ’s cross and told the Galatians this as well.


Paul said to the Galatians, “If anyone should bring another gospel than the one you have received, let him be accursed! “
He said a lot more colorful things than that as well, but you should really read it for yourself.


Take a challenge and just count the disproportionate amount of exclamation points and question marks contained in this small book of the Bible.


You will be left thinking the same thing I was.


Paul wasn’t being very nice either was he?


But Paul also wrote the famous Love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13.
Was he out of character?


Not at all.


Consider the precious blood of Christ and what it cost to buy us back from eternal judgement and separation from God.
Love isn’t always nice. But it is always right.