P. 1
Tuff Talk

Tuff Talk

|Views: 103|Likes:
Published by Steve Evans
Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus and other biblical mysteries.
Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus and other biblical mysteries.

More info:

Published by: Steve Evans on May 20, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less







Tuff Talk
Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus and other biblical mysteries

Dedicated to all my children who suffered without complaint countless hours of my talking.

Copyright © 2010, by Stephen D Evans All Rights Reserved Published in the United States of America, Los Angeles

Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

Introduction Woman …What have I to do with thee? He who eats my bread, treads on me I must leave, so the Paraclete may come Nobody will know the day or hour of my return Sharing in the sufferings of Christ Evening and Morning was the First Day Let Us make man Male and female He created them Mysteries of the Tree and a blessed Curse God disfavored Cain Enoch disappeared, because God took him Sons of God took human daughters for themselves Noah's animals and Jacob's goats Noah walked with God Noah cursed Ham God hardened Pharaoh's heart Elijah's mantle and JB's hidden heritage Concluding remarks, and regarding Final Revelation

3 7 11 16 19 22 23 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 37

… and other biblical mysteries

I find myself in a unique position at midlife. Having studied quite as much as any lettered seminarian; yet I am past any concern for positioning myself in a career. I have no ecclesiastical or collegiate tenure to protect; no professional reputation, institution or published integrity to preserve. Yet, in course of a lifetime’s labor (insurance agent, not Bible teacher) …I find that peers, elders and juniors, are no closer to resolving any of the great questions of religion or life. Many will warn therefore of my susceptibility to apostasy. Being unaccountable to any theological authority—What (or Who) is to stop this aging rogue from teaching outright heresy? Well, my wife and children, for one thing; The Spirit of Christ for another. Meanwhile, I am very concerned about the intellectual and religious integrity of my fellows, of my progeny. Truly, the latter is why I publish such things; also the why of my caution in waiting until my children’s maturity to write at length. If my kids or pastor asked me to stifle, I would consider that very seriously. But they haven’t …and I doubt that they will. It is actually oddly comforting to affirm that my poor brain and emotional frame are incapable of comprehending more than a fraction of heavenly fact; likewise the brains of all modern intellectuals. So is this only so much ‘tuff talk’ and nothing to consider quite seriously? (I purposely write it tuff, not tough.) I admit somewhat to allure of the ‘cool’ factor. Mysteries are the ‘in thing’; they’re fun. A mystery solved or proven is no mystery at all … not so cool anymore. Fact was always stranger than fiction: one truism that I will forever affirm. Scientists don’t like such a premise. Occam’s Rule prohibits it. Perhaps this implicit modernistic bias is why recent generations of truth-seekers (religious or not) are prone to dismiss biblical mysteries from discussion. The Holy Scriptures of the Jews, of Christians –whatever one’s denominational persuasion—do not make a tidy treatise. Our Bible is full of all sorts of apparent inconsistencies, contradictions, paradoxes; in seeming defiance of common cultural sense. While previous generations of biblical scholars and scribes were quite content to let conundrums lie –not merely as copy error or legendary tradition; for they tended to believe incontrovertibly that the most inscrutable passages are Heaven-revealed and Holy Spirit inspired. And in similar spirit, let me reveal that my Pentecostal Christian heritage predisposes me to believe the same …an admittedly old-fashioned doctrine. But there it is. My personal experience with things metaphysical further persuades me that Judeo-Christian Scripture is true. There is nothing quite so arrogant as human science or religion sitting in judgment, presuming to criticize this marvelous collection of writings so fastidiously preserved as sourced in Knowledge and Wisdom from beyond the confines of this world, outside limits of a fleshy cranium. Note also that I respect the holiness of other scriptures; having read many –Catholic and Orthodox apocrypha, Book of Mormon, Koran, Gita and uncountable ‘modern’


Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

revelations. However, my personal experience of the Spirit of Truth has never resonated with one of them quite like the Protestant Canon. I cherish ‘my’ Bible like none other and declare its original manuscript inerrant; many translations inspired also. I propose to take scriptural words quite as literally as Jesus did himself –which was far beyond what orthodox Pharisees would dare. (Even the Baptist struggled to believe reports, denying what The Master said about John’s spiritual identity.) I realize there has already been much written about the ‘hard sayings of Jesus’ and their properly biblical interpretations. Acknowledging that other authors are better qualified to advise the new believer on basic tenets of Christianity; I am hoping to appeal rather to the maturing seeker after Truth. I adhere to all the fundamental statements of faith, especially regarding authority of Scripture. At the same time, I recognize and affirm that standard doctrine cannot address every biblical puzzle.* Purposely, I do not source my discussion in the work of an F.F. Bruce or any other Bible commentator. My observations may be informed by a college degree in Christian Education, by decades of wide-ranging study, as well as tutelage under many Christian teachers and pastors. But observations are my own. I avoid reference (in blame or credit) to other names. My purpose is to inspire wonder and thought and ultimately yearning for wisdom that transcends earthly existence. The one who dares to seek and to knock is promised no less; for I have it on highest authority that ‘the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand’.

Now, imagine the Voyager space probe falling from clouds into a primitive jungle village. Its contents –painstakingly crafted as archives of intelligence, of peaceful intent—are spilled ignominiously and trampled by tribal elders, looted as trinkets by children. All that the most learned of this people care to salvage is the shiny foil exo-skin applied by NASA engineers to deflect destructive cosmic energies. The probe’s mission must have been wholly lost; except that one grey-haired no-count villager thought better to rescue what the little ones soon abandoned as tired toys. He puts them in a jar and hides it away. Perhaps there is something truthful, after all, in silly fireside stories. One of those barefoot rascals might grow and travel beyond mountain barriers. So, what if he were to return bearing tales of unimaginable things seen and heard? What if the traveler then recognizes some of the scribbles on this alien trash? Ancient Philistines at least knew to revere the captured Ark of the Covenant as something feared and cherished by bloody enemies. Not until hundreds of generations after –when science and civilization had evolved—did the Jews themselves devalue their treasure and conquerors seek to desecrate the holy prize. It was merely the shiny stuff they were after, readily melted down and recast into trade commodities. I fear that many studied Christian fellows will judge and be judged likewise, for so disrespecting the deeper mysteries of Holy Script. My mission here is to restore


… and other biblical mysteries

some of the feeling for ancient mystery. I encourage my reader to embrace all unexplainable Bible sayings as such, instead of worrying over irresolution. Music would not be musical without its dissonances, some suspensions never resolved. Certainly, I cannot expect as mere man to fathom the height and depth of a cosmos created by the One inscrutable God. Such was Job’s final answer. Some will protest, But a good god … a merciful and approachable god; He would never have sent a letter so mocking his child’s intelligence. Heaven’s intent, after all, is that we hear, understand and obey. Why would God deliver ‘all truth’ in such cryptic language? Followers asked Jesus the same question: Wherefore his preference for teaching in parables? And as they insisted he speak plainly about what The Son had actually seen and heard …so he did. (Likewise will The Father strive to accommodate every honest request.) But they heard it as blasphemy –the ultimate ‘tuff talk’; and it got him tortured to death. Clearly, in extra-terrestrial matters, ‘plain speaking’ serves worse than the fables. __________
*Let me distinguish mere puzzles from deeper mystery. I recently encountered resolution of one such puzzle while watching a documentary about the surviving Saharan salt caravans. There the ‘pillar of salt’ remains both a measure of trade and means of transport: Cakes of the stuff are modeled wet by hand, fashioned roughly as tallish cones, then dried standing wider at the base. Artistic traders would have sculpted humanesque features, like the idols they carried also (same Hebrew word for ‘pillar’ and ‘icon’). Thus a camel’s saddle straps are looped to sling several salt pillars securely hanging upside-down. So when Lot’s wife turned around with open eyes, flash of a cosmic explosion likely knocked her to knees, blind and immobilized upright; then advancing neutron radiation instantly vaporized all the water from her system, like a giant ionizing oven, leaving only quick-dried solids and salts. The resulting state of her body was described as reduced in worth and appearance to a once very common commodity. A true biblical mystery points to metaphysical realities transcending cultural, historical or archaeological explanation. No more can a scholar hope to identify what Ezekiel described as his vision of wheels and wings covered with eyes. One might need to own and use such winged eyes to actually behold the origin of such a wonder.


Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

The Convert
by G K Chesterton After one moment when I bowed my head And the whole world turned over and came upright, And I came out where the old road shone white, I walked the ways and heard what all men said, Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves unshed, Being not unlovable but strange and light; Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite But softly, as men smile about the dead. The sages have a hundred maps to give That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree, They rattle reason out through many a sieve That stores the sand and lets the gold go free: And all these things are less than dust to me Because my name is Lazarus and I live.


… and other biblical mysteries

Woman …What have I to do with thee?
Let’s begin with pre-ministry words of Jesus. I realize the dispute over translation of this phrase, but Mary’s son was known to let loose some doozies. Nor have Bible versions quite obscured the seeming attitude (as in out-of-this-world perspective). Obviously, Christ did not regard his earthly mother quite the same as you or I. Remember, the Man was no longer young; attending this wedding as a 30-year-old bachelor. There is no mention of Dad (perhaps Joseph was already deceased); however, Mary’s son was apparently viewed by the staff as having some patriarchal say; they didn’t hesitate to jump when Mary referred them to his word. His word …The Word. Now there’s a hot button. That’s where John’s Gospel starts the story …as if the Son of Man never suffered any awkward adolescence. At least Luke was thorough enough to account for an earlier rebellion: when the boy Jesus lagged behind his folks, then challenged authority of his earthly sire: “You must have expected me to be busy about my true Father’s affairs.” Ouch! Poor Joseph—every dad of a teenage son (or daughter) knows the feeling. So this boy thinks he’s ready to stand on his own, does he? Surely a proper 12year-old son (sinless, to boot) would more eagerly apprentice himself to the real family business, as Joseph’s assistant carpenter. We are never told by authorized biographers that he did so, in fact. Jesus’ childhood and early relationship with his parents is largely untold …oddly private for such a celebrity. Even during his very public ministry, Jesus didn’t appear emotionally attached to his family. Again, Dad was apparently long departed. Not until his dying hour did the son of Mary show any concern for widow’s welfare. Early on, he was heard to say: “Who are my mother and my brothers …except those who do my Father’s will.” Later on, the Teacher seems even to demand that followers disrespect their parentage also: “None is worthy of Heaven’s kingdom who cannot hate (disown?) his father and mother.” He likewise expects dead parents to bury themselves. But my actual subject here is roots and the origin of these parental issues. Had to be really tough for an orthodox Jew boy, this confusion over Who had actually fathered him. One of my teachers was famous for saying, “We are taught to celebrate the Virgin Birth; but back in those days, nobody believed in such a thing.” Jesus was the Nazareth village bastard boy. He was butt of most every Joke-of-theWeek during chats around the water cooler. When it came to street games, nobody wanted his kind on their team. Is that why Mark and John don’t care to mention his earthly parentage or childhood years? One of the prophets declared that Messiah


Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

would be a ‘man of sorrows’. It is speculated that this ignominious birth was only the beginning of far more youthful travail. Yet Matthew and Luke don’t want to hide the child-star’s heritage. Each gospel features (as did Old Testament writers) the genealogical legitimacy of their hero …at least as adoptive heir. Our Lord was the penultimate adoptee; yet with never any hope of earthly estate, large or petty (perhaps Heaven’s purpose in assigning the Christ to a ‘virgin’ birth); a son of man having ‘no pillow to lay his head’. I dare you now to read through both accountings of this pauper prince’s claim to David’s throne (one descended from King Solomon and the other by Prince Nathan). One’s official genealogy was not recited wrongly back in those days (never for a king); that record was fundamental to legal identity and self-worth – much like a birth certificate, social security number or passport serves today. Meanwhile, no scribe has dared correct St Matthew or Dr Luke on this crucial matter. So what gives? How come Luke’s Jesus had a granddad entirely different from Matthew’s Yeshua? Yes, I know the mantra: One was writing to Jews and the other primarily to Greeks. I don’t buy it. Others defend it, saying: Matt was citing a direct lineage to King David (perhaps through a different adoptive grandsire); while the physician was more biologically oriented, even tracing the line back to Adam. Again, I really doubt contemporaries would depart from the standard formula, else fail to explain obvious discrepancies. As for the notion that one genealogy was actually Mother Mary’s …again, the texts clearly say otherwise. It makes more sense to declare that the infant had two different fathers named Joseph, one presumed biological and a second by adoption (from remarriage of Mom) –so take your choice. Whatever the traditions about this question, I’m not really inclined to decide; especially as I also affirm the Virgin Birth. Given that, one should expect not a little uncertainty. Perhaps Mary was widowed twice before the start of Messiah’s ministry. There remains much speculation as to how many Mary’s and which attended the Messiah’s entourage. Joseph was a common name, like Joshua (Gr. Jesus); that kind of tragedy was all too common. But again: Why didn’t the Gospel writers mention it? If two father Josephs, one must wonder about two mothers also. Where were the concerned brothers of Jesus when he appointed the disciple to care for her instead? Perhaps they were only stepsons... So Jesus never looked like his father nor (either) Joseph’s father. Yet if Matthew’s Mary was truly the same as Elizabeth’s sister, why couldn’t cousin JB (John the baptizer) recognize his near relation? Maybe the two families had become estranged, regardless of the elder’s original blessing upon teenage Sister’s pregnancy. Luke doesn’t even mention the young couple’s frantic escape to Egypt (a very worrisome omission for less orthodox Bible scholars). That would be like failing to note Buddha’s princely birth or Lincoln’s humble log cabin beginning.


… and other biblical mysteries

I feature all these questions, never to tarnish the Lord’s reputation, but to honor the faith of his followers. This mystery is root and stalk of a Christian’s belief in the miraculous and immaculate conception of God’s Son. Still, for modern scholars these two distinct genealogies are no scientific or hermeneutic cinch. However, the Gospel writers were clearly unwilling to compromise their witness, declaring that both lineages are somehow fundamental to the Savior’s incarnation. And since that mission was designed to include a physical birth (at least one) and human childhood experience, entailing all the sufferings and temptations common to mankind—I faithfully affirm the accounts of all four biographers. Somehow, in the end –maybe as the Final Trumpet sounds—all such apparent contradictions will be made clear and clearly factual in every detail. The Man (not unlike every man) was complex, a living paradox; and apparently (considering everything demanded of one lifetime) the Lord’s incarnation would require a heritage more complex than most of ours. There are indeed age-old mystery traditions that detail the spiritual, psychological, biological and physical complexities of human birth and being. Disciples of foreign temples traveled far to welcome The Prince long expected by holy seers from every corner of Earth and History. The spiritual/physical heritages shaping key movers of humanity are said by the same to be more multifarious than the norm. I don’t feel any need for such explanations in order to believe that God knows from whence his Son’s being is born. None of the prophets, gospelists, apostles ever felt inspired, compelled or obligated to explain away this mystery …else they would have. All the Christian fathers have let it stand. Surely, even my modern faith can stand the same. Yet it helps to realize that even the latest in Genetics cannot merit the first word on the matter; nor will any human science get the last word. Let it be known that this believer celebrates the Mystery and Wonder of Christ, no less than the alien Magi. Somehow, all of it is true. There was ever more – eternally more—to this Man than meets mortal eye or ear.

Allow me a couple of observations before moving on— about biblical mysteries and their solutions. One common approach, of course, is to deny there is any such thing. In other words, there’s nothing to understand beyond the simplest reading. But obviously, in the story of Jesus, mystery is a definite given. Another popular view states it: Anything worth knowing will be biblical and the Bible presents the only legitimate way of knowing it.* But again, in Gospel terms our knowing is conditional. Why doesn’t the writer tell about this part, or that? Why did he say it that way? Like the disciples and other followers, every reader is compelled to beg for more plainspeaking. But on the other side, Father and Son and then Spirit inquire: Does a follower really need to know it? Is this disciple ready to confront or contain it? And the answer is most often a rhetorical, No. Just consider how the Master parried different challenges and complaints. Some of the smartest and most earnest of seekers were answered with riddles –at least it seemed intellectually so.


Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

For the most part, Christ’s revelation was simply, “I tell you what I have seen, so believe it; for you cannot personally understand until you are able to see it also.” Truth and Reality may be largely invisible via the tools and standards of scholars or detectives. So the Spirit wants witnesses instead. As the scribes and Pharisees were told, right ‘method’ is no match for willing testimony: “I can’t say if his power is from God or a devil; all I know is that I once was blind and now I see.” The blind man learned better later, for then he could see his Lord. His challengers—they saw only what they were willing to see. __________
*I further challenge adherents of this exegetical attitude: Remember what Paul told the Romans—that everything created exists as a testimony to its Creator. So the wisdom discoverable by natural sciences was deliberately placed therein. The very order and design of Earth and its inhabitants is the Volume One of God’s Word. We are obliged to study what is made to know the Maker (such was the original motivation of western physical scientists). And even those souls never graced with access to Judeo-Christian Scripture— they are subject to final judgment on that basis alone. I would venture to say, that God Himself is interested in far more than could be contained in the sixty-six books of our Bible. Surely everything selected for inclusion therein was determined largely by our minimum need-to-know and limited capacity-for-knowing.


… and other biblical mysteries

He who eats my bread, treads on me
Jesus finally felt compelled to quiz his closest disciples: “Seems everyone is leaving …Are you quitting me also?” It was a test. Hordes of followers –the majority considering it quite fashionable until then—had just departed complaining that Teacher’s sayings were ‘too hard’. Learned scholars (who really should have been up to the challenge) declared their rival’s doctrines quite impossible. Those were the nice ones; others considered the rogue an apostate or worse, a son of the devil. I will never understand how anyone can hold to a courteous opinion of Jesus. They believe their attitude to be both just and generous in regard to one whose self-claims were clearly radical: No, he wasn’t divine …couldn’t have been. His miracles were only legend. But Jesus was a good man; I like him. Too bad they had to kill him. It’s the sort of nonsense those Godspell opera groupies love to spout; never dreaming how insulting their affirmations are really. After all, the Man said that he would have to die! (True followers must also suffer for the cause –Remind you of anyone?) This guy claimed to be exclusive Son of the Most High, God of us all. No wonder they considered him dangerous and probably demon possessed. Meanwhile his nicer critics and close relations apologized, saying the Nazarene was out of his mind. They probably knew something about their stepbrother’s childhood that we do not. On that fateful day, the Galilee ministry of Jesus collapsed: after everything and everyone had been getting on so famously. Miraculous mass feedings, healings, walking on water; yet now even his most intimate few were frustrated. Judas may have spoken for all: Master seemed determined to ruin it. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that Jesus was purposely throwing off his large following; he had sabotaged public and political success. Again, I find that ‘hard sayings’ have grouped themselves into a common theme. It seems almost an environmental (rather than political) message, or so his words were repeatedly hinting. Firsthand witnesses had watched Rabbi heal all kinds of sickness, multiply food, command wind and waves —even stopping the storm. Then he starts in with these indefensible claims: “I’m the vine; you’re the branches. You want fruit? Want to count for something: Remain attached, whether rooted or grafted— For you live and grow only by me.” “I give you living water that never runs dry and cures your mortal thirsting. In fact you will never die.” “They that believe in me have Life, extravagantly; those who don’t believe will be like these Pharisee pretenders— worse off than rotting corpses.” “I am original Light of the world, for all Life derives from my radiance.”


Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

Soon after, Master raises dead Lazarus; then claims that he must also die in order to rise again Himself. These are all extremely unsettling statements: No wonder they questioned his sanity and basic humanity. Of course, that was precisely His point …likely a reason to prefer the title, Son of Man. But Christ was constantly using illustrations, you counter. Why then did disciples doubt he meant it only symbolically? Because Jesus said it literally; he himself allowed no other conclusion: “My body is real bread and my blood is the wine you drink. Feast on me, and you never die.” Then at the final Passover feast, he elaborated further: “Whenever you eat and drink, let it remind you of me …my broken body is bread and this cup holds my sacrificed blood. Whoever partakes of my bread [in good faith or ill] sets his heel upon me. This must soon be fulfilled.” The words of Christ resound with double meaning, ever challenging his listeners to hear him literally. He treated Old Scripture the same, appearing to lift word and phrase beyond its original intent (as it were the Author reciting Himself). Many passages had never been interpreted prophetically, until Messiah repeated them. Therefore the Psalm he was quoting expressed figurative lament about how even friends are prone to turn faithless; like Judas the Betrayer, Thomas the Doubter… Peter the Denier, and all the scattered Others who had vehemently sworn to stand by him. But now Christ reveals the Word’s once-hidden significance in new context of His incarnation. Mystery believers prefer to translate it: “He who eats my bread …treads on me.” They take the Man at His word, such that fruit and flesh of earth is factually our Savior’s body. (Elsewhere, His Word describes Earth as His ‘threshing floor’ and ‘winepress’ —even more stomping action.) Thus, when we walk the earth, enjoying the increase of its life, we are actually treading upon the body of our resurrected planetary Regent. Was Messiah to displace the very sun and moon, Helios and Aphrodite as Father and Mother Earth before accepting King David’s throne? Referencing Mosaic commands, there is plenty of evidence that the Creative Word resents it highly when idolaters (wood, stone, metal or heart variety) credit rival entities for Earth’s springtime vitality and summer harvest. Here was primary clause of God’s covenant with Abraham. Suddenly Christ is reviving the issue, as if renewing Earth’s contract with Heaven: “Do not attempt reducing your God to lifeless figures of wood or stone, speech or craft. Only I AM makes the image: Son of the Father, after Adam made in likeness of Almighty. Look upon me; hear me. Trust only me to breathe new life into rotting clay.” Again, history is rich with mystery doctrines that propose to address the problem of a decaying planet. Their oracles told how human lifetimes were shortening. Fertility was failing. Children were born sickly, deformed and victims of demon oppression. The earth itself was devolving fast; farm produce was poor. Ancient


… and other biblical mysteries

know-how for restoration of seed and stock was drying up like the wells and canals for watering them. Mother Earth was dying. One contemporary sign of looming crisis was Rome’s preference for conquest and occupation in place of traditional farming; legions of disenfranchised producers were leeching life and blood from conciliatory prey. Romulus was turned vampire wolf, and frontier candidates were becoming further and fewer of finding. Yes, Earth Herself required a savior. Therefore the Christ had little time and patience for political or religious contests …at least while the planet and future human generations were at stake. The way that Magi would tell it, Heaven’s Crown Prince was sent here to purchase a new lease on Life from premature Apocalypse. He must literally offer himself in death to be remade new Body and Living Lord of Earth. In homage, they presented Him embalming oils. I am sorry to offend Christian sectarian sensibilities—but this is what the wisest of Wise Men expected. Millennia of revelations had primed them for this Event. It was written in the heavens. Jesus himself claimed to be Shepherd of foreign sheep in other folds. It is not to say that other priesthoods were more legitimate or correct than doctrines of the Judaic or Christian orders. Yet their perspective upon History and Truth was very …different. In my estimation, rival governments and legal systems were inferior to Leviticus. Moses’ law was dictated by the Most High. In every other respect –culture, art, philosophy, technology and learning—many neighboring civilizations were superior. Neither did JHWH choose Israel because her people were wiser or purer or more willing to serve his purposes. God said it Himself repeatedly. He simply chose them –that stiff-necked and hopeless generation of Jacob—to prove His point, namely: I AM quite able to raise the Light of the World from within the last of the least promising seed. For those who dare to accept and hold the mystery of Jesus’ claims: We can embrace his words quite literally. The very life of my body and blood is owed to the offering of Christ. I am factually healed by the suffering he bears on behalf of this cursed world. As rain is said to fall for the unjust as much as those found justified: Our Father has graced all of Earth with ongoing seasons of flower and fruition. The most vociferous atheist or human enemy of God owes even his apostate life to Love of-and-for the Son. (Truly, the most redeeming tenets of the agnostic’s humanistic ideal derive light and life from the Gospel of Christ.) Somehow –by the deepest of magic, else a science yet undiscovered—the very physiologies of Earth and all earthy bodies were transformed and renewed by spiritual properties of the blood of Jesus. The planet’s geology was stabilized; its atmospheres reaffirmed. Genetic engines were rebooted, faulty codes purged and reconstituted; chromosomal telomeres were extended protectively. So for this life, the death and resurrection of Christ means that Earth’s fountains flow faithfully under Sun and Moon; tree and vine continue to fruit; grains supply our bread. My own body is refreshed by sleep. Illness and injury heals. Does the


Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

earth remain tainted by Adam’s rebellion? Suffering is plain to see. But Christ has set the stage, launched the decisive campaign; His blood has re-ignited the subterranean fires. Earth will die and be born again …this time incorruptible. Of course, this blessing addresses the state of current and future human bodies, being part and partakers of Earth’s incarnation. Christ was ever heard declaring the crux of his message: the Kingdom of Heaven is within reach. He delivers Life of body, soul and spirit. Other ‘hard sayings’ are aimed more directly at the human heart, from whence the body will one Day draw its life as “springs pouring forth abundantly”.

Regarding such words, let me insert a very practical note. It is Jesus’ own insistence that his body is become Earth’s body, that his flesh is real meat and his blood the fruit of our drink—these realities motivate my own discernment in regard to methods of science and medicine. The reader can search my other writings for defense of unconventional therapies –prayer and other energetic intentions. I understand the hesitation of careful Christians. It is necessary to ‘test the spirit’ of every technology, whether eastern or western tradition. But don’t forget that our scriptures were never western-born. Much of it we have re-engineered and remade in our image. Most prefer standard research and medical molds, those approved by AMA and promoted by COC. Somehow it is in our blood; that is, those of us born west of the Caucasians. So our objections remain obscured at the feeling level, rather than fully informed belief. No, don’t run out and buy yoga videos or start practicing Vedic meditations. There may be some value in these; many other valuable goods and technologies came from lands to whence the Magi returned. Actually, I believe that good exercise and diet, Christian fellowship and worship habits are superior to any Far Eastern art. But further, I want to understand why that is so and suggest that methodologies demonstrated by Lord Jesus for healing and service deserve far more determined study. Notice how often His art included just a single word, a touch or other transfer of intent as living energy: “I felt virtue flow from my body …” He said it …not Yogananda. Many recent studies decry our lack for a Science of Energetics. Choose one house plant randomly –name it something ambitious …like Israel. Think positive thoughts around the seedling, surround it with encouraging feeling and intent. Feed it; provide sun, water and prune it like the others. But to this one, speak words of Light and sing tones of Life: the plant will grow greener, stronger and more robustly fertile than its fellows. Similarly, Peter and Paul had only to touch a shared kerchief, pray blessing upon common food or drink. But if the recipient partook in the wrong spirit, look out! As the apostle warned: “That is why many of you grow ill and some have even died.”


… and other biblical mysteries

These may be harder sayings for American and European hearts than for children of other cultures. Material science and its medical technologies have locked themselves into limits of chemical mechanics that prohibit efficacy of a child’s hopeful prayer. The modern western Christian mind has much to re-evaluate also.


Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

I must leave, so the Paraclete may come
Whole denominations of believers have yet to accept this saying. I grew up in Charismatic churches, earned my Bachelors at a ‘full gospel’ college; and wherefrom I submit: Even ‘jumping and praising’ tongue-speaking Pentecostals may never really get the message. Jesus was more concerned about seeing and hearing than noise-making … spiritually speaking. We all perceive ourselves as reformers, in the tradition of Luther’s hammer and nail. A generation after Jesus, it was the assembly at Corinth who took it up. They sought to wow the world with physical signs and wonders. But Christ himself had a word for them, well before Pentecostal fire: “Even were I to perform all the healings and miracles they require, these doubters will never believe that I know what I see and say. As the elder prophets discerned: these have eyes unseeing and ears unhearing …perceiving truth no better than the breathless idols they worship.” In fact, the Jewish leaders kept demanding more proof, only to claim it established the opposite charge: that this agitator’s tricks were enabled by demons. So why try persuading a scholar that the sky is blue …when you know that his eyes are colorblind? But the Prince of Peace knows his strategy. He countered with left jabs and right cross: “You are so like your father, the devil. Worse than blind and dumb idols; you are heartless, actually believing your dead souls alive. You seek even to suck the life from God’s Word and make it a counterfeit deity.” Knockout! So then our meek-mannered hero rides triumphant (on a donkey) to seize their capital. He angrily purges the temple …and steps deliberately into their trap. Christians –the maturing variety—complain about this a lot, the feeling that God has given in to this world; much as Peter objected: God forbid that you should leave us or die! Then we offer our swords (as sharp tongues) to defend His crown and honor. Jesus’ reply (even before we prove faithless): “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword. I would rather you suffer the punishment.” So we are told to turn the other cheek and forfeit our coat, rather than fight for every societal right. He didn’t say that freedom or riches are sinful or wrong, but he urged followers to focus elsewhere: “Don’t hoard the wealth of this world … You are merely passing through”; as if this lifetime was only a lark. Indeed, his kingship is not of this world at all. His words: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” All of the above appears confusing and contradictory at best. But the key is distinguishing worlds. There is ‘this’ world –with all its sensory data, government


… and other biblical mysteries

and cultural norms. Even as a professor of faith, fully believing that I will be remade a citizen of Heaven: My worldview remains largely stuck in this place. No, my perceptions are not hopelessly stuck like the Sadducees —which is why they were so sad…You see? (Sorry, that’s an old Sunday School jest.) But according to our chief witness regarding things physically unseeable: There is this ‘other’ ethereal place. Yet the Man refers to the other world as substantial, a great kingdom or metropolis. He promises ‘rooms’ in his father’s own house, as if it were a country villa. He even describes the physiology of this region (another dimension of space?): “Where your treasures are not eaten by rust and moth; never threatened by taxes or thieves.” Most of his parables are attempts to describe how life ‘over there’ differs substantially from here. The first shall be last; the weak will have the power, and sadness is turned to joy. Folks don’t fuss over marriages or divorce. Motives of our hearts become as public as our faces. Actually anything now hidden is broadcast to the skies, virtually ‘shouted from the housetops’. Most disturbing: One who would be leader, must first become servant of all. Of course, none of that would work in this world …Or could it? Christ prayed that the Father’s purposes be made evident on Earth as already established in Heaven. And Christians are further advised that even our holiest, most enduring constructions and institutions are mere shadows, temporary copies compared to their enduring prototypes up (or over) There. Jesus prayed that his followers may be ‘one’ as the Son is One with the Father, as his brothers are somehow contained ‘in’ the Son and the Spirit abides in them. Clearly (mysteriously), individuality is neither obscured by uniformity nor lost in multiplicity. Regardless of distance or time, this Man had access to know things unknowable and even influence separate bodies metaphysically. According to our Lead Witness, these are the kinds of realities a believer must expect. Strange and ethereal? Hardly …For it seems that an essential (though less conscious) existentiality of human being recognizes this Heaven as ancestral Home. Animals never suffer so— Thus the physically insatiable ‘longing’ so often written and sung about; likewise our spiritual sense of the ‘numinous’; and when physical life deals its deathliest, the human soul may be surprised by Joy and Peace of a quality dissociated from circumstance or experience. Even agnostics will describe ‘humanness’ this way. Truly, many sojourners (religious or otherwise) have passed ‘over’ only to return and to testify, corroborating the elder Advocate’s statement. Pentecostals and Charismatics tell of waking visions. Other cultures celebrate their ‘vision quests’. Check out the reports of near-death experiences (NDE); also those awakened from epileptic seizure and even coma. There is a growing community of souls apparently born to wander wakeful while their material body sleeps. Look up accounts of awareness during sleep paralysis (SP or ASP); similarly OBE: out-of-


Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

body experiences. Many claiming to have suffered an alien abduction or abusive experience (AAE); likewise people recalling repressed memories under hypnosis, psychotherapy, drugs or alcohol— some were probably souls startled awake while physical senses were otherwise disabled. Seems when the flesh is torn or worn down, perception of hidden realms is unveiled. (“My power is perfected in weakness,” was the Lord’s puzzling assurance to Paul.) Most of our folk tales, fables and fairy traditions, as well as legend and myth, were likely premised upon actual traveling soul adventures. To these witnesses, the waking world may seem thin, temporary or ethereal by contrast. The ‘other side’: nothing unreal or insubstantial about it …until one’s perception re-adjusts to this side. Nonsense? Doctors, scientists and even theologians may call such phenomena self-delusional. Some credit it to demons— no wonder, really; as many tales are nightmarishly horrific. However, modern physicists and astronomers (at least those intellectually bold) must ultimately beseech to differ. Emerging theories of quantum mechanics and cosmology read like the wildest of fantasies. They tell us now that anything is possible, however arguably improbable. Compared to super-states of matter, string theory or ‘spooky action at a distance’, all fantastical tales and miracle stories are quite tame and courteously ordered. Therefore Jesus was primarily about the business of changing a disciple’s worldview from a physical to spiritual ground: “If I don’t take this body from your fleshly sight, you won’t ever dare to open spiritual eyes. While my word is heard exclusively with physical ears, the primeval veil hiding the Holy of Holies will not be removed to allow your spiritual ears to enjoy the limitless fellowship of my Presence. If I go, then I can paraclete [lit., be ‘summoned to your side’].” As the prophet named Him, Emmanuel: God is with us. But even a familiar appearance of JHWH in the flesh (as Moses and the Israelites always wished it) is no balm to the soul or awakener of sleeping spirit …no better than a whirling dust cloud or pillar of fire. That was also ‘God with us’ though hardly comforting. Yet Christians (like the Jews) continue to grumble and moan when their Savior feels insubstantial. Gift-laden and wonder-performing churches will celebrate the physical ‘sign’ [xenoglossia, healings, snake handling, etc.] of Spirit-infilling as the ultimate proof of Presence …blatantly disregarding the warnings of Jesus to his critics and Paul’s to Corinthian worshippers. No, the real evidence is found as previously unbaptized believers declare that Jesus is alive and his Spirit now present to finer senses –though no longer materially visible, nor audibly speaking …as if such physical signs could ever be superior proof of spirit (can you say oxymoron?).

Which leads me to my final discussion about Jesus, his statements about this world’s end.


… and other biblical mysteries

Nobody will know the day or hour of my return
For committed Christians, this may be the toughest (or tuffest) saying of them all. In fact, Jesus said that the Son Himself is not appointed to know what the Father has determined. Perhaps Neither is willing to know or say, until all human souls are granted every opportunity to turn about …before the final curtain falls: “When the very elements of Earth will roll up like a fiery scroll …” And yet, human souls survive: Fascinating! Perhaps we will even enjoy the show. For a brief time, the Hebrew brothers were given bodies to savor strolling in a fiery furnace. Why worry that ours will not be equally suited? But truly: If God the Father dwells somewhere safe out of Time and the Son is One with the Father—what does He want faithful followers to hear? How long are disciples wont to suffer before long-awaited reward? My guess (and it’s based on more of those apocryphal studies) is that even far-seers in disciplines of spiritual perception are met with a horizon of Time surrounding. Those whose metaphysical senses are disabled must feel they stand looking from a canyon floor, though actually no more isolated than other souls. Even Jesus had to suffer this perceptual sense of absolute separation. No longer was the Son one with… He became one alone: “My God! I said I was willing to suffer unto Death. But did you have to abandon your Only utterly?” For even the Chosen –who of all men was blessed to behold the Father—even He would be deceived by this material illusion. No, we are not abandoned. Our souls are never alone. It only seems so as the higher Senses that our Maker fully intends His children should own …are hijacked. The Veil or Blind (obscuring the Holy and unholy), as physical sensation, was erected for a temporary shield. Imagine a lifetime forced to witness all the horrors that Jesus watched as he awaited his appointed Hour, His time to step forth and wage battle against hidden demon hordes torturing his fellows. Most of us would go crazy (some accidental seers do). But the Veil itself was also pirated and abused. Spiritual enemies succeeded in making a Father’s protection appear a curse. Simply touching it stings, something horrible. They project upon the holy curtain phantoms of terror and decay, cruelly animated as mock religious imaginations. No, we are not given to know when the earthbound torture will end. Yet the Bridegroom warns: “Watch out wakefully…don’t let your light go dim or allow your soul to slumber.” Then, as his devoted few prepared their various betrayals: “Why! Do you also sleep? Even where the spirit is willing, the flesh is proven false.” Surely Jesus was referring again to that mysterious duality of human consciousness. “No, Nathaniel. I saw you first as you meditated under the fig tree.” And somehow that revelation spooked the seeker; ended his searching to follow the


Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

Master instead. Likewise was Nicodemus startled to discover Jesus spying on his spiritual quest. The initiate had been seeking long for what this teacher’s instructions portended; nor could he hide esoteric knowhow: “Don’t play dumb with me, Pharisee. You know very well what it means to be born again of the Spirit.” Others of the Sanhedrin understood the import of this reckless Nazarene’s pronouncements. That Lazarus fellow was raised from a slumber deeper than physical death. The ‘miracle’ represented was a protected rite intended to invoke new levels of spiritual waking. For an adept to export this act out onto common streets —sanctioned under penalty of death— it was the ultimate blasphemy. That Baptizer fellow was guilty of the same: Performing sacred rituals of anointment – prompting rebirth from soul death— openly out under the sky. They were shocked more than jealous, and genuinely appalled: How dare this upstart so desecrate holy tradition ...he cannot know what he’s doing; the knave is playing with fire and liable to damn their poor souls, not awaken them. This same dilemma is probably why Rabbi Nick sought in secret to consult the Master. So also was it inspiration for a wealthy immigrant Joseph to lend use of his tomb, when Jesus was ready to die. But Messiah had the ‘home advantage’, for he could see the Father. He was granted all power, secret knowledge and authority for final dispensation of the Spirit. “You thought you had died and come back again with only a gentle dunking. Look out! This one will baptize you with Holy Spirit Fire!” Indeed, there dwell unfathomable mysteries here, which only Jesus dared to talk about.


… and other biblical mysteries

The Country of the Blind
by C S Lewis
Hard light bathed them-a whole nation of eyeless men, Dark bipeds not aware how they were maimed. A long Process, clearly, a slow curse, Drained through centuries, left them thus. At some transitional stage, then, a luckless few, No doubt, must have had eyes after the up-to-date, Normal type had achieved snug Darkness, safe from the guns of heavn; Whose blind mouths would abuse words that belonged to their Great-grandsires, unabashed, talking of light in some Eunuch'd, etiolated, Fungoid sense, as a symbol of Abstract thoughts. If a man, one that had eyes, a poor Misfit, spoke of the grey dawn or the stars or greenSloped sea waves, or admired how Warm tints change in a lady's cheek, None complained he had used words from an alien tongue, None question'd. It was worse. All would agree 'Of course,' Came their answer. "We've all felt Just like that." They were wrong. And he Knew too much to be clear, could not explain. The words — Sold, raped flung to the dogs — now could avail no more; Hence silence. But the mouldwarps, With glib confidence, easily Showed how tricks of the phrase, sheer metaphors could set Fools concocting a myth, taking the worlds for things. Do you think this a far-fetched Picture? Go then about among Men now famous; attempt speech on the truths that once, Opaque, carved in divine forms, irremovable, Dear but dear as a mountainMass, stood plain to the inward eye.


Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

Sharing in the sufferings of Christ
I must take a side street here, before backtracking to The Beginning. Apostle Paul was prone to drop a bomb into his writings now and then. It’s rather like the tradition of hiding ‘Easter eggs’ in a film or video game. The former Pharisee realized that only a few of his readers would catch his full meaning. But for those (Nicodemus and the Arimathaean among them) his words were like flashing lights and alarm bells. Try reading through the Epistles again. Note how often Paul extols the hidden or secret mysteries and wisdom of Christ, realities obscured to common understanding. Theologians have managed to incorporate most of this into standard doctrine, also rendering rites of baptism and communion as mere symbols. But the apostle is poking holes in our tidy compartmentalized creeds; for there is more that defies explanation:
“…Else why would one bother getting baptized on behalf of loved ones already deceased?”

Also this: “I rejoice in what I was blessed to suffer for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still
lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become this body’s servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness- the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. God has chosen them to make it known among the nations: the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of coming glory. Therefore we proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, striving with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me.”

Now pray: What are these curious statements supposed to impart? Peter’s letters refer also to “participating in the sufferings of Christ”. Is a believer truly granted the option of dispensing Grace retroactively? It would seem that Paul was asking to help alleviate some of his Savior’s pain. (And I don’t think he meant anything resembling penitentiary flagellation.) He is also holding up the body of Christ and individuals like himself as demonstrations of supernatural power operative even now in mortal flesh. The Apostle further declares that the weaker one’s fleshly body becomes, when devoted to selfless service, the stronger does ‘His energy’ work in the Body of Christ. There’s a much deeper mystery here. It’s one that propels the imagination beyond apparent constraints of time and space. If one can, by this means, bless Christ, then perhaps we may also help each other. I sense Kingdomish significance which the Church may one day learn to practice again very literally.


… and other biblical mysteries

Evening and Morning was the First Day
Now I take you to Genesis: much like the Revelations of John, this Book of Mosaic visions is full of conundrums which even Indy would declare impossible to solve. Again, my intent is not to explain the mystery away; nor do I question scriptural integrity. I cherish the difficult passages transcribed faithfully from Primordia as further evidence that our Bible is all it claims to be. This disciple expects the obscurest of phrases will one day be shown factually accurate. For instance, every Earth day that I ever knew started from sunrise and passed noon to sunset. The writer (or singer) of the Creation ode has deliberately stated it backwards; as if the only daytime then was one long twilight, finally completed by sudden fire of a new dawn. It remains for many animals that our daytime is their night, and vice versa. Of course, that is also true of diurnal dwellers ‘down under’ our opposite hemisphere. Camp at a pole during the wrong time of year, and you will wait months for a glimmer of morn. Obviously, even for our globe, the word ‘day’ has variable meaning. Now, I have no problem with the notion that God was able to finish the job in six days …otherwise normal 24-hour turns. But the Genesis phrasing defies common understanding, prompting my ‘mystery detector’ to flicker. If these are intended to mean the same segments of time that we call ‘days’ today—how come sun and moon arrive late on the stage? Creationists posit solutions for this: Earth’s atmosphere was a foggy mantle at first, so Heaven’s light was widely diffused. A reader some four millennia ago could hardly visualize the planet spinning in a larger orbit round its star. While one granted atavistic vision of Earth’s creation (as surely Moses suffered) could only describe what he ‘sees’, and that in sketchy terms at best. One might almost conclude by this strange narration of events that the stuff of our multi-planet star system was originally combined as one single amorphous gaseous body. Gravitational compression caused plasma to ignite, initiating phases of light and dark. Matter further compressed and condensed as a mineralized globe, first separating lower atmospheric waters, and finally regions of land and primitive vegetation empowered by ambient radiation. Then one Day an interior crisis cast off separate bodies, becoming our sun and moon. Only then could exfoliating atmospheres of air, water and ground support fish and animals as well as plant life. Astro-geologists know that a planet’s orbit and spin will vary over time, as composition of its mass is changing; likewise the axis of rotation. Change is mostly gradual as measured today; but a catastrophic event–such as impacting meteor or comet—may well trigger a series of rapid transformations night following night. There are in fact ancient tellings which remember it this way. If true, then biblical scholastics are unwise to assume, like Evolutionary Science, that our present physiology is key to the past and thus resembling earlier conditions. There is little logic or evidence to suppose such a uniformitarian cosmology. If anything, change


Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

is the rule—which applies to galaxies quite as much as Earth’s weather, as well as the very stuff of matter. There is also the problem of space-time relativity, especially in reference to a cosmic ‘big bang’ singularity. The closer an observer is located toward the space/time center of that Event, the more compressed will be time and space. Even within the tidy area of our solar system, chronology measurably varies according to distance and direction of travel. I don’t pretend to fully grasp the implications; but I have read that at some point distant from the center of Universal expansion, a day will be equal to 1000 of our years, then at successive intervals multiplied as hundreds of thousands and millions. A transcendent God views the whole parade at once, in one subliminal instant. Who can tell from which vantage the writer of Genesis was graced to observe and distinguish the earliest ‘days’ of a pre-planetary nebulae; its condensation into rocky Earth, star, moon and neighboring satellites. Let the reader understand: I feel no need to conform our scriptural account to any human reconstruction. Surely, the Bible provides a perspective that our terrestrial observatories cannot. I suspect that Science has it wrong in some fundamental aspects, throwing all popular theories out of synchronicity. But neither will biblical scholars do justice to the Word by insisting its mysteries be bound within current earthly conditions. Such is merely another face of Science’s uniformitarian error. On the one hand, ‘young earth’ creationists complain that accepted chemical dating techniques assume material conditions characteristic of today. Then, on the other hand, they argue the very same uniformity to read Creation’s Song mundanely. So which is it going to be, Guys?


… and other biblical mysteries

Let Us make man
Some will argue that the word translated ‘Most High’ or ‘Almighty’ was not any sort of plurality at all. The Jews were taught to recite that ‘God is One’ and next breath assert that God is Holy, meaning unique –the Only meriting our worship. Then Jesus comes along, claiming he is One with the Father as Only Son; further, he promises the advent of Another as Holy Spirit of their heavenly union. What if the original idea of ‘One’ has never meant loneliness at all? One of the prophets spouts off a string of fully seven personalities identified with The Name. Ancient mystery wisdom teaches that the elohim was truly a kind of ‘family’ comprised of seven exalted beings, all acting in concert with unified intention. Even the days of Civilization’s work week (as well as other cycles of seven) commemorates their collective sacrifices. These entities literally poured themselves out to nurse our globe to fruition, each commanding a Day of Creation. It was the Seventh became Regent of this planetary shabbat cycle (lit. ‘to cease’) as the culmination of their labors. He introduces Himself later as the hidden ‘I AM’ of uniquely human potential, spelled in Hebrew ‘JHWH’. Scribes and teachers of Jewish law refused to attempt its pronouncement. Even King James had ‘THE LORD’ printed instead, rather than translating its cryptic code literality. Notice that this very same Regent is specified as ‘The Lord’ God of Genesis Chapter Two. When the Sanhedrin posed as judges of the Son from lowly Nazareth, they asked if he truly claimed to be the chosen ‘One’. His answer was simple and direct; literally knocked them off their feet: “As you say it –I AM [YHWH].” Scrambling up again, their verdict was obvious. The truly devout must never ‘say it’. Thus, Jesus had condemned himself for so explicitly declaring oneness with the Only, Holy One of Israel. There is truly something unearthly about Heaven’s concept of individuality. Surely, all these ground-bound debates regarding dualities and trinities or even greater multiplicities of holy union—as if the inside were larger than external appearances allow—the controversy will dissolve as hardly strange at all when all humanity reassembles in the Bosom of Abraham.


Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

Male and female He created them
Here I detect another mystery on the order of pluralities in unity. Apparently Earth, in the beginning, boasted the same uncertainties as Heaven. Though if quantum physicists are believed, such paradox and connectedness continues to characterize all of reality. In the beginning, God created ‘them’ male and female, in pattern after Himself. Then Chapter Two tells it all over again, this time how the female was taken from the lonely man’s side: Whoa—Man! —perhaps she was not so plainly ‘after our likeness’ after all. So which is it? And which is God, by the way? The Potter’s fashioning of humankind was unique from the start. He commands the waters and the earth to ‘bring forth’ plants and animal species. Man is a committee effort, made ‘in Our image’ as presumably a being of super-material spirit. Only later (Chapter 2) does it say that a material body was shaped like earthenware and ‘life breathed’ into flesh. Now, either the ‘them’ of the first account —that God made them like Himself— referred only to those two later named Adam and Eve; or there were many people created ‘male and female’ (both in one, else sexless). But older interpretations have it that Chapter Two was never intended as a recapitulative detailing of what was first merely summarized. (As noted, it is here that ‘The Lord’ YHWH first distinguishes Himself from among the Elohim.) No, they say that the second account is a separate, post-shabbat event; in fact, that a numberless human population was made first ‘like unto’ the gods; and they later took on fleshly forms, like unto animals. (Yes …I meant to state animals in plural, meaning more than just apeoid morphology— What if dinosaurs [dragons] were devolved from a form of Man?) They describe adam [‘red earth’] as denoting a ruddy race selected from the general population, for which God Himself fashioned a new physique from earthy matter; and only then was female form separated. For originally, all creatures of Earth were androgynous like plants …or like the angels: male and female in one. (Genesis Five appears to bear this out.) What’s more, as Eve divides herself from her sire, Earth’s generations of animal life followed in similar sexual form. So are pre-scientific ideas better than those born of modern anthropology? Not necessarily… Yet even fundamentalist theologians uncritically adopt current scientific constructs of what (or Who) Man and Woman originally looked like. I am suggesting that we shouldn’t. Else we may be guilty of recreating Original conception of humanity –and thereby our Maker—in the image of ourselves.


… and other biblical mysteries

Mysteries of the Tree and a blessed Curse
Well, it was two trees, actually …lest we forget. And the Curse was executed more like an urgent global Rescue. Again, older traditions blame mankind’s ‘fall’ for degradation of all earthly matter. Perhaps Adam was not the first of humankind; therefore God chose him for good reason (set apart in Eden) as Sire of a surviving lineage. What if the ‘red-blooded race’ had not yet fallen for the Enemy’s deceptions? (That would make the choice obvious.) But soon as Adam (also) rebelled, there apparently developed some essential incompatibility between the man’s mortal flesh and Eden’s Tree of Life. Was it a consequence worse than dying? His continued access to both trees was become a hazard to himself. Eternal life was rendered a poison. Early descriptions of ancient man sound more like demigods or Marvel Comics superheroes: in prowess somewhere between angels and apes. If so, then adamic humans were capable of superhuman feats by contemporary standards. Naming all the animals; husbanding the whole planet; walking with elohim— nothing to it when one is also godlike. But the Curse affected all of Earth like the body of Adam himself. Matter hardened, and physical life became subject to genetic error, to fail and decay. Lifetimes shortened, beginning with animals. Stories tell of more atrocious developments; of various interferences by extra-earthly beings. Whole species of earthly life were accosted, their forms and behavior distorted; it eventually spelled their demise. And the only reason they remain as a fossil record of Judgment is because fallen flesh and bone became so hardened and brittle. I read the Bible’s account as literally factual; and so it was meant to be taken. The problems arise when current conceptual categories color the text. I make no assumptions as to how Man would have appeared to our eyes (whether hominin, mollusk or reptilian). That the name Adam might refer to more than one individual soul, such as patriarch of an enduring people—the idea doesn’t bother me. Nor do images of magic trees offend my faith —most probably far exceeding what my mind imagines might have grown in YHWH’s Garden. Fossil remains are record of some actual event, if not supposed progress of Evolution. Other cultures remember Ancestral Trees, as well as dragons, sea monsters and great warriors; they tell of giant floods and other catastrophes overcome by heroes. Why couldn’t those stories have been founded in fact? I suspect Legend and Science …and Scripture will all be unified and clarified one day; just as Earth was proven round as the mythical Tortoise’s back.


Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

God disfavored Cain
What did the Lord have against the offering of fruit and grain? Perhaps He didn’t realize then that a vegetarian diet would prove healthier for fallen flesh. More important, why did the jealous murderer Cain get off with only banishment? Then a curse was laid against any other who might try to render justice. This is blatantly contrary to the Law as later revealed unto Moses. God has a habit throughout Scripture of favoring one brother over another, often the younger; else a seemingly arbitrary and unlawful discrimination. Why diss the boy at all? Elder Brother has his rights. Later, God spurns Ishmael; He even dodges Esau ‘whom I hate’. Esau, like Abel, was a connoisseur of meat. Why can’t The Lord make up His mind? Joseph was a delusional braggart, disrespecting his older brothers. Yet JHWH selected him to save a chosen people: the very same Israelis that He knew to be ‘stiff-necked and stubborn’. So The Lord has a hidden agenda, from the start. One he chooses; another he rejects. Nor does He expect Man’s approval. Perhaps it was something encoded in their genes, after all. I wonder if God, from the earliest days, was deliberately throwing off Man’s enemies.

‘Then Cain begat—’ He did what? Firstborn son was exiled far away, and family were prohibited from following. Just who, therefore, was Cain expected to marry? This Chapter Five problem has stumped Bible interpreters from the start. It’s the sort of non sequitur prompting another look at Chapter One’s ‘created He them’. So Cain is obliged to choose a mate from among ‘them’ whom God had earlier passed over, preferring Adam. Maybe it wasn’t anything so particular about Cain. God was always biased: He clearly favored Adam over Eve. So, is God a sexist too?


… and other biblical mysteries

Enoch disappeared, because God took him
Elijah was similarly translated. Jesus was taken up into the clouds. The Apostle promised how that another day, we will all meet our Lord in the air. Do such events break the rules? Else, I am tempted to surmise that ‘ascension’ was our intended mode of exit from earthly mortality. So far, only a few are reported able to survive such a departure. Fast forward again to Matthew’s account of Christ’s crucifixion, before his reported ascension –commencing immediately after that fateful cry of cosmic loneliness:
“Jesus shouted out again, and he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead after Jesus' resurrection. They left the cemetery, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, "Truly, this was the Son of God!”

Yeah, I know… this passage is rarely quoted; a truer Halloween than any Day of the Dead before or after that event. Perhaps it was the result of Christ’s preaching (after ‘giving up his spirit’ and descending) unto those imprisoned by death since before the days of Noah [1 Peter 3]. Unlike Lazarus, those others raised were apparently ineligible to rejoin earthly families. Did they then ‘disappear’ like Enoch? Oh yes—There was also Paul’s prayerful ascension into Heaven (else someone with whom he was intimate); but he specifies that it wasn’t physical. Later, the apostle teaches that we will all be bodily transformed, restored to ‘incorruptible’ corporeality; enduring then as original pre-Fall Adam. Therefore, physical matter is not obliged to maintain the limited properties that Science insists must be ‘normal’ per natural law. How do they say? ‘Life as we know it.’ Isaiah approached the Throne of Heaven. Daniel treated with Cosmic Principalities; while his brothers discovered a blazing furnace so cool to explore, much like the mythical Salamander. Seems reality (Life) is not limited to destructible stuff; quantum physicists acknowledge the same. Assuming this body is doomed to die on Earth, my bones might not even lend themselves to fossilization. What if future anthropologists conclude thereby that modern humans were mythical also? Sciences of Biology and Paleontology have some serious catching up to do. 29

Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

Sons of God took human daughters for themselves
Whether these were bachelors of the line of Seth or alien visitations: the descendent result via mortal brides was genetic defilement and monstrous deformity. Clearly, the Lord blamed this invasion for Man’s devolving incompatibility with divine Spirit. He came close to simply ditching the project and starting over. Lifetimes were shrinking; the Earth venue was irredeemably corrupted. Contrary to modern environmentalist fervor, Earth Herself is bound inextricably with its landlord, Man. Ground, atmosphere, oceans: with all their various forms of life— our planet is biblically the very body of Man. The Lord fashioned the man’s flesh from stuff of earth …therefore his name, Adam: meaning mud. But Jesus expressed it plainer yet, when he said, “You are walking all over the outer crust of my body” like so many ants upon a loaf of bread. Yes, the mystery of Christ’s body, as the self-described Son of Adam—it goes all the way back to the very beginning pages of Scripture. Likewise, do we find evidence of interferences by rivals protesting rightful regency of JHWH Elohim. I am treating the Books of Enoch as an early commentary. It appears this intrusion took form of unlawful and deliberate tampering with mankind’s physical ‘seed’; though human character was as radically infected. Indeed it was evil human behavior that so sorely discouraged the Spirit of God. I submit that the Tower of Babel was a nursery toy compared to abominations constructed by pre-Flood civilizations. These were not Neanderthal cave men as portrayed by anthropologists. They were not simple-minded, grunting scavengers or innocent savage despoilers of virgin daughters. I visualize a globe covered with human populations, warring races —unlawfully armed by angel/aliens in spite of their official policy of noninterference, Heaven’s ‘prime directive’. Thus it became technologically sophisticated civilizations occupying expansive cities with great temple constructions largely defying the Spirit of their Maker. It was bloody mutiny on a planetary scale. Only Noah’s seed was found worth salvaging. The term, son of God, is generally used by biblical writers to mean a god appearing in human form. It’s not clear whether demigods congregated at a Mount Olympus from whence to meddle in affairs of men; but meddle they did –perhaps some of them intending to be helpful …in their way. But JHWH never saw it that way. His was always a less ‘hands on’ approach. Even Christ preferred the humbler title, Son of Man; and thus his kingship was said to derive from our original sire, Adam.


… and other biblical mysteries

Noah’s animals and Jacob’s goats
There was never a zoo keeper or circus animal trainer that would attempt what Noah accomplished. Text says that animals came to him …the primeval Horse Whisperer. But originally, Adam exercised dominion over all. I guess the greatgreat-great grandson retained just enough of ancient authority to complete this apocalyptic rescue. Genetically speaking, we all are being saved in that lifeboat. Another echo of Adam’s animal magnetism was revealed in Jacob’s husbandry of his greedy uncle’s goats. A quaint story …until one considers how modern ranchers might accomplish it. They couldn’t; at least, the attempt would cost them far more trouble and risk. Yet this story tells how a young soup chef (a la Esau’s birthright) discovered an innate talent for genetic engineering. No, it wasn’t any kind of selective breeding that zoologists would recognize; Jacob was directing gestational growth as confidently as any symphonic conductor. How did he do that? It appears to me that primordial Man was a natural Dr Doolittle. Nor would Balaam’s talking donkey have surprised the sons of Adam a single bit. Mere generations later, the talent was exceedingly rare and probably appeared as latent magic. History’s veil had grown mere centuries longer when such tales were reduced to fantasy. I don’t know what kind of power they wielded by simple utterance of intent. But in view of our latest discoveries exploring cellular and molecular kingdoms—virtually anything seems possible now. I expect that technology will dare, in my lifetime, to apply some of Science’s magical findings. We must pray, however, that few will be deceived and lured to stray into ancient black arts. The same enemy entities are awaiting their moment to ‘help’ us. That is my discernment as Spirit-born; nor do I utter this warning alone. Again, it certainly appears to many physicists (and some biologists) now that anything may prove practically do-able. But should we do it? Must we shrink from practicing what superficially resembles ancient sorceries? Not many will bother to ask such questions before the false god of technological advancement. On the other hand, Jesus promised his disciples they would perform far greater wonders than He did. Will God’s children be redeemed only to refuse the rightful scepter of Adam?


Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

Noah walked with God
So did Adam and great-grandfather Enoch. Israel wrestled Him down. Just a figure of speech? I don’t think so. The writer meant it literally. But when father Abraham arrived to replant seed of mankind’s salvation, hardly anybody was left able to observe JHWH strolling, nor would many have dared to walk apace. A younger Abram encountered the Lord’s deified human form; served Him tea and negotiated. I suspect again that it was the stuff of Earth which ill-suited Almighty’s appearance. It probably hurt horribly, like tortuous death. Likely thought it stunk. By the time Moses was asking for a good look at God, impromptu incarnation was no longer an option. A burning bush— Maybe. But God’s face? Be content with His backside …in passing. For certain realities are disastrous for matter-bound humans to behold. Jacob, renamed Israel, was one of the last to dare contend physically with One of the elohim. After that it was dreams, miracles and frightful atmospheric manifestations. It’s as if the Earth had descended, leaving its Creator in the clouds. From there God’s friendly laugh must terrorize humans like thunder. Who was this JHWH anyway? Must He remain inaccessible as a fiery tornado or storm cloud torn by lightening? But descend fully, He willed in love to do …and did so. At first, it was only His cloudy apparel which abandoned the mountain to briefly embrace a crude temple. Prophets, having beheld Him in heavenly glory, promised that one future lifetime was chosen for a decisive condescension. However, to do so, the God must pour Himself out sacrificially once again –just as was rumored He had originally done for the fashioning of Heaven and Earth. The ‘I AM’ must die and so doing be reborn the redemptive Body of Earth.


… and other biblical mysteries

Noah cursed Ham
This seems an odd aside; but I am always stumbling over judiciary oversights. Similar cases of unjust treatment include Cain (who deserved to suffer) and Job (who didn’t); appears to be haphazard and ungenerous dispensation. After all, it was righteous old man Noah who got so disgustingly drunk. So, even if Ham looked askance at his dad …did that deserve such a radical disinheritance? I suspect again that there was much more going on than the text itself reveals. Indeed, some of the worst rebellion in post-Flood civilizations was spawned from the seed of Ham. Perhaps it was evidenced first as his disrespectful attitude. Lot’s slim escape from judgment, then a pass despite incestuous affairs —another among many examples: The Lord’s insistence that Abraham sacrifice his son, the very one fulfilling a lifelong promise; God’s readiness to execute Moses because his boy’s mother wouldn’t have him circumcised, and on the very eve of all Israel’s rescue; inequitable favor generations hence for Solomon, the fruit of King David’s crime. Even so, I embrace these conundrums as further evidence of scriptural integrity. None of the stories comport with Jewish or Christian doctrines; they remain rudely incongruous with surrounding narrative. Other dynasties or religions would have locked these away in a closet with all their other rotting skeletons. Yet, not a prophet or scribe has tried (and succeeded) to obscure the unseemly facts or inconvenient truths. Otherwise, the chapter regarding Noah (at least) would surely have enjoyed extensive annotation if not summary deletion. The very Day that I need to know and my mind can comprehend it, this also will be resolved. Believe it or not, Noah’s shame might even reveal deeper Wisdom.


Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

God hardened Pharaoh’s heart
Perhaps it was also one purpose in publishing the Genesis story—to demonstrate that this tribal god of Israel was truly the Most High One of all Earth. For in succeeding works of Scripture, that becomes a recurring theme. Great nations and armies, civilizations and kings are shown as playthings and pawns of the The Name. Remember how Pharaoh, despite his better judgment was made stubbornly mad, determined to defy God’s destroying angel and so merit utter ruin. How –if God is so righteously committed to individual rights and freedoms—how to justify this disgrace? Is it because all nations and their kings belong to Him? I have marveled at Nebuchadnezzar’s fall and wilderness adventure; and my reasoning mind could never digest it— that the emperor’s Employer could allow such a tyrannical rise in the first place. The Prophets paint even larger drama across the tapestry of history wherein Heaven is exposed to be exercising draconian foreign policy. Nations are purposely pitted against nations as instruments of higher judgment. They are used to punish JHWH’s rebellious favorite; then destroyed for allowing themselves to be so severely employed. Meanwhile, the very same prophets extol their God’s longsuffering and tenderness. The Poets celebrate The Lord as a yearning (though jealous) lover of His creation and chosen Bride; in the next breath, they plead justice as wrathful punishment poured out upon their enemies. Surely the Merciful Judge of human character enforces an entirely different Rule when weighing spirits of entire nations upon the scales. Either that, or there is truly much more to the human spirit than a single earthbound lifetime can explain. Whatever the answer, I must rest assured that far more is at stake than my feeble sense of fairness can fathom. Many scriptural tales stand in unapologetic challenge of my presumption to judge the Judge: Job’s travail, Joseph’s promotion; Hezekiah’s glimpse of angelic army hosts. (Talk about unfair advantage!) Jonah declared God’s forgiveness to be categorically unlawful. That argument was doomed to end in one ignominious monster burp.


… and other biblical mysteries

Elijah’s mantle and JB’s hidden heritage: reincarnation of Spirit?
Some of the oldest of religious scriptures are only sparsely memorialized in Vedic songs and traditions. Even the Judaic books of Moses and Histories refer to previous tellings upon which our Bible is sourced. It seems to me, however, that Far Eastern religions have greatly distorted original Inspirations. Whatever the cosmology or creed of a Melchizedek, of Wisdom-worshippers traveling ‘by Star’ unto Bethlehem; God clearly regards all of them His own and answerable to Him. Therefore, I am in no position to declare ancient teachings to be unequivocally deceptive (and I certainly don’t think this true of our Bible.) Case in point: Reincarnation of human souls. John the Baptist was evidently in the dark as to the extent of his spiritual roots. They asked him, “Are you Elijah?” For prophetic tradition expected The Prophet’s return to herald Messiah’s ascension. After all, Elijah was known to have passed the ‘mantle’ of his power to another; then, like granddaddy Enoch, the man was never properly allowed to die. John answered, No way. Menwhile, Jesus declared that his cousin was indeed the same Old Testament wilderness saint; hard as it would seem to accept. My own study leads me to reject the idea that a soul will reincarnate, at least among normal human populations. (Certainly Heaven will never confuse human with animal souls.) But men and women are comprised of more than living soul, just as we transcend our mortal bodies; scripture is quite clear about that. If Man, made like God, was first conceived as a timeless being of spirit— Christians may one day swallow some holy pride for their ready dismissal of foreign philosophies, of their medicines, science and even religion. Each of us believes that his own persuasion must be 98 percent Reality. Perhaps all will be proven paradoxically so. I try to school myself to consider that my brand of positivism may be slightly overstated. We mustn’t forget that our scriptures were never a Western innovation nor first revealed to European prophets. Jesus himself yearned to visit his ‘other sheep’. He descended to preach even in Hell to the spirits shackled there. As Genesis tells it, there is profound mystery untold in God’s uniquely human invention; pluralities in one. What you or I consider commonsensical experience will be inconceivable to Heaven’s angels. Obvious laws of spiritual nature in the Seraphim’s view, lie hidden to human minds; else it resounds as utter foolishness. Even a blind man healed cannot be expected to bear the lifting of veils all at once in a lifetime.


Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

On Being Human
by C S Lewis
Angelic minds, they say, by simple intelligence Behold the Forms of nature. They discern Unerringly the Archtypes, all the verities Which mortals lack or indirectly learn. Transparent in primordial truth, unvarying, Pure Earthness and right Stonehood from their clear, High eminence are seen; unveiled, the seminal Huge Principles appear. The Tree-ness of the tree they know-the meaning of Arboreal life, how from earth's salty lap The solar beam uplifts it; all the holiness Enacted by leaves' fall and rising sap; But never an angel knows the knife-edged severance Of sun from shadow where the trees begin, The blessed cool at every pore caressing us -An angel has no skin. They see the Form of Air; but mortals breathing it Drink the whole summer down into the breast. The lavish pinks, the field new-mown, the ravishing Sea-smells, the wood-fire smoke that whispers Rest. The tremor on the rippled pool of memory That from each smell in widening circles goes, The pleasure and the pang —can angels measure it? An angel has no nose. The nourishing of life, and how it flourishes On death, and why, they utterly know; but not The hill-born, earthy spring, the dark cold bilberries. The ripe peach from the southern wall still hot Full-bellied tankards foamy-topped, the delicate Half-lyric lamb, a new loaf's billowy curves, Nor porridge, nor the tingling taste of oranges. —An angel has no nerves. Far richer they! I know the senses' witchery Guards us like air, from heavens too big to see; Imminent death to man that barb'd sublimity And dazzling edge of beauty unsheathed would be. Yet here, within this tiny, charmed interior, This parlour of the brain, their Maker shares With living men some secrets in a privacy Forever ours, not theirs.


… and other biblical mysteries

Concluding remarks, and regarding Final Revelation
Though having quoted two of CS Lewis’s lesser-known meditations: Don’t blame him for my thinking (however unconventional were some of his writings). Others of the club Inklings influenced me more: JR Tolkien, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield …and by their referrals to earlier ‘contenders with God’: George MacDonald, GK Chesterton, Rudolf Steiner, and even Charles Dodgson (alias Lewis Carroll). The last was a protégé of the elder Scottish pastor MacDonald whose children persuaded him to publish the famous Alice adventures. Most challenging are arguments of Barfield, who Lewis revered —even while vociferously debating him— and credited the friend (along with Tolkien and MacDonald) for his own conversion from atheism to Christianity. It was indeed Barfield’s daughter Lucy that inspired Lewis’s fantasy series, Chronicles of Narnia. Perhaps he thought thereby to rescue the youth from a father’s extra-canonical discussions —Ironic. Evidently, Tolkien felt the same (though it was Barfield who championed the Welsh scholar’s unorthodox theory regarding history of languages integrating myth). I did say, and do say, that no other writer should suffer on my account. But one godsend was Barfield’s Saving the Appearances: a Study in Idolatry. I thank Heaven for that introduction to Rudolf Steiner’s work. Steiner was inarguably a believer in Christ, His deity and incarnation by way of virgin birth, the Messianic ministry of Jesus, sacrificial death and Resurrection for salvation of the world. Just because Steiner’s early audience was largely theosophists, one cannot so reduce his cosmology —no more than Christianity can be dismissed as a sub-sect of Judaism. Steiner passes all the tests outlined by apostles Paul and John as genuinely Christian. What’s more, he rejected early any further Theosophical Society fellowship. (Why? Because they wanted to exalt a ‘messiah’ other than Jesus Christ.) I was compelled to study Steiner’s books and lectures for reasons other than subjects of this project. But whatever his influence, the result in my life was a strengthened appreciation for Pentecostal Christian community and my living relationship with the Spirit of Christ.

One subject that Steiner repeatedly discussed was the advent of New Heaven and Earth. Credited unequivocally to Christ is the hope for Man’s incorruptible body and soul. Likewise, John’s vision reveals the risen Savior in such glory and power that we are intended to share. But Steiner warned against attempts to interpret that Revelation in terms of contemporary politics and technology. He divulges that the visiting Magi would readily recognize its script and succession of ancient symbols. The mystery has as little (or as much) to do with our secular world as Jesus words had to do with Jewish political revolution. No Roman Caesar represented the AntiChrist; no modern magnate will be so either. We appear wired to seek knowledge, to anticipate the future, in hopes of controlling consequences of our past. Christians aspire to this power no less than global


Tuff Talk: Re-examining ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus

captains and kings. Yet many commentaries upon the Apocalypse published by this ‘disciple who Jesus loved’ will tend to regard it most idolatrously. I believe (as Steiner affirms) that John’s writing was very deliberately crafted: It restates ancient esoteric doctrines as newly fulfilled in the Body and Bride of Christ. The Book is a pageant –indeed a living scroll or moving picture— of things that were, that are, and will be by perspective of one Redeemed from the Curse of Babylon’s prince. The truly proper and appropriate approach to such Holy Decryption is to nibble it (as the disciple was directed to taste the scroll) and hold its morsels sweetly under the tongue. For the moment one swallows, attempting premature digestion …Let’s just say it’s bound to disagree. Though its full meaning and import remain hidden in Time, the words yield power to overcome life’s persecutions even now. So let us read it, and savor. Resist the impulse to gulp …or gag and spit. Much like the early Minor Asian churches: we are prone to create denominational fury, making much of that which we can only dimly understand. We are repeatedly assured that All will be made literally evident in the Father’s time, while even the Son trustingly abides. Meanwhile, God’s grace be with you all, as together we pray, “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.”


You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->