Sunday's Thoughts
by Alice-Alexandra-Sofia
 

Archive__Page_3_2008–2009

 

The Prodigal Son and Judgment of Man 

The Kingdom of Heaven

The Lilies of the Field

The Lamp in the Darkness

Liberty

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The Prodigal Son and Judgment of Man


…to be merry and to rejoice must be, for this brother of yours was dead,

and lived again, and being lost also was found…

{Luke 15:32}

 

Historically, the Parable of Prodigal Son provided the rich ground for preachers who attempt to convince their fallen brothers – sinners – to repent and to beg for mercy of God: God the Father is expecting their coming and would grant a reward for their transformation. The Parable indeed is breathtaking. 

The youngest son demanded his part of Father’s wealth and departed in distant land where he lived as he wanted and consumed all he received from the Father. When the poverty and famine came, he became the servant of the alien – citizen of the country in which he spent all his possession, and his new master sent him to attend pigs (pigs were the most unclean animals for the ancient Israelites). In his despair and emptiness, he longed to fill himself even with the food of swine, yet, no one gave to him. His poverty and probably, the remnants of self–esteem made him to recall his Father’s richness and kindness to servants of the house where he was born. He decided to come back and to beg Father’s mercy: although he is not worthy to be the son, let the Father accept him as a servant. Yet, when the Father saw his lost son, He was moved with pity; ultimately, He not only forgave son’s transgressions, He made the great feast to celebrate resurrection and return of His child that was dead and lost. The oldest son, who always lived with the Father and was obedient, came home after his daily chores. He heard the music, and when he learned the reason for the feast, he became so angry that he did not want to go in. His Father came out, yet, the oldest son bitterly rebuked his Father for the lack of appreciation of his obedience (he received no explicit reward to share with his friends) and for making the feast for the sinner who wasted his fortune with harlots. The Father replies: you are always with Me, and all things of Mine are yours. Yet, this brother of yours was dead and lived again, and having been lost, also was found. So, the feast is proper.

Now, after the Father spoke, the oldest son appears to be the worse sinner:

–  he has no love to his brother

–  he assumed the right of judgment, which he obviously does not have

–  he has envy and greed, which he masks with the manifest obedience to the commandments of the Father.

The lack of love seems to be the greatest sin of the oldest brother. In fact, love always was and is the Absolute: the main value, the main criterion, and the foundation of the Law. Love is the true meaning of The Ten Commandments given the ancient Israelites and of the Christian teachings granted by Lord Jesus Christ. Love should sustain life of the mind (firstly, all judgments) and all actions of man even toward the property of his enemy {e.g., to help the enemy to raise the enemy’s donkey fallen under its burden –– Exodus 23:5}. The ancient Israelites were expected to learn that love to the neighbor is the second of two greatest commandments of God, on which all the Law and all the Prophets stand. The cruelty of the original laws of Moses*1* reflects the “hardheartedness” of man in the cruel world he created {e.g., Matthew 19:8}:  language of death was the only means of convincing communications.

Revelation of The Ten Commandments began the evolution–transformation of a human beast: man had

–– to cognize love as the main law and meaning of life

–– to do to his neighbor the same things he desires for himself

–– to become able to understand that he must forgive his neighbor if he himself wants to be forgiven. Until then, the laws of revenge and punishment were his destiny. The New Testament not only re–introduced love to God and love to each other as the main law; man has to learn to discern God in each of his brothers – strangers, sick, hungry, imprisoned and afflicted. Two explicit commandments established the main purposes of everyone: to be perfect and to be merciful as God the Father is {Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 5:43–48; 6:14–15; 7:12; 22:35–40; 25:34–46; Mark 12:28–33; Luke 10:25–37}.

Other texts of the Gospels reveal the difference between the meanings of right and wrong in judgment of God and in imagination of man; for instance, the Parable of Publican and Pharisee {Luke 18:9–14} and words of Lord Jesus Christ with which He refers to the Pharisees, scribers, and law–givers as to the blind leaders of the blind, unseen tombs filled with evil, “plants” not planted by God, offspring of the liar and father of lies who was murderer from the beginning, and an abomination before God {Matthew 15:12–14; Luke 11:39, 44; 16:14–15; John 8:43–44}.

One of the meanings of these texts unfolds as condemnation of hypocrisy and ignorance of those who pretend to be knowledgeable interpreters of the Law and leaders of the people, yet, who have substituted false for truth, evil for righteousness, and rituals of the flesh for the spirit of the Law – all those who make the people to fall into “the pit” – poverty and death while they promise life and prosperity.

The God’s evaluation of men is inconceivable for those who believe that they are the righteous worthy of a reward. Only humility triggers the transformation: the mind, which comprehends own poverty before God and pleads for wisdom, gains access to comprehension of many things – it becomes the disciple of God, the insider who has access to the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, contrary to the outsiders with “fat heart” {Mathew 13:10–15}, those who are satisfied with the wisdom of this dissipating temporal world, comprehend themselves as the knowledgeable elite, and consequently, are not opened to new knowledge, especially if such knowledge destroys their small and primitive, yet, manageable and cozy dream worlds.

There is a simple logical line behind the referred above texts from the Holy Scriptures – the thing highly prized among men might be an abomination before God {Luke 16:15}:

–  the oldest son and the Pharisee both praise themselves before God for not being similar to their counterparts – younger son and the Publican*2*

–  the oldest son and the Pharisee both consider the apparent/manifest compliance with the Law as the highest virtue

–  in God’s judgment, recognized and prominent leaders and law–givers, who are respected for their manifest compliance with their laws and for public demonstration of virtues, are the abominable living dead – tombs filled with iniquity and lies, while the outcasts come first to the kingdom of God {Matthew 20:16; 21:31; 23:1–7}.

The stumbling stone, or the irreconcilable point, is the difference between two platforms on which the judgment is built:

–  God sees the inner – true – value of man; He has the perfect knowledge and judges the intentions

– man sees the images and appearances; he judges by “the sight,” that is by imagination or by own perception – what he sees by eyes and by own interpretation of the facts and events; he judges not by the complete knowledge of truth

–  blind leaders of the blind keep their subjects in strict obedience to the laws regulating the social order and rituals intended to demonstrate compliance with their laws, yet, they are unable to comprehend truth and, consequently, to lead their subjects to knowledge of the truth; therefore, they are incapable of the right judgment.

This link is closed with the overall conclusion: do not judge by appearance, yet judge by the righteousness {confirmation in: John 7:24}.

When I read the Gospel According to John, I also think about other differences. The words of God imply existence of two types of the human mind {Matthew 13:10–15}:

a/ insiders –– those who see and perceive the truth

b/ outsiders –– those who “fattened their heart,” so they see thing/event, yet they do not discern the true meaning of it.

The mind of outsider judges by the sensual perception (sight) and lives by life of the flesh; the mind of insider lives by the Spirit of God and judges by the words of God, that is by wisdom, which allows comprehension of the inner truth or the essence of man. Those who judge by flesh and those who judge by the words of God exist in two irreconcilable words:

–  one is the dream world, the restricted limited dimension filled with images conceived by the flesh and intended for the life of flesh; in this world, the people live and die by/with/through the images born by the flesh

–  love to God, consequent comprehension of His Law and own {human} nature, and acceptance of wisdom, which is given only trough faith, transfer the mind into another unlimited world from which the road to home – kingdom of God – begins.

Nothing from the entire world is capable of erasing this difference, which is not based on the features of the world: the source of this difference is own free choice, which everyone makes with own free will – to believe or do not believe, to know or to discard knowledge, to live or to die.

This thought leads to a practical problem: until all minds acquire the precious wisdom, that is the vision of the inner truth, therefore, the ability of right judgment, how to discriminate false from truth and righteousness from iniquity in each act of judgment conducted by each one of us? Probably, the only solution would be to establish own thinking on two truths {Hosea 6:7; Psalm 84 (85):10; Matthew 7:1–5; 9:13; 12:7; Luke 6:36–37; 2 Corinthians 1:3}:

1/ one of the names of God known by man is the Father of mercies, and God wants mercy not sacrifice: mercy and truth are met together, and mercy is above judgment

2/ the Christians received the direct order from God: to be merciful as God the Father is, and do not judge, so they will not be judged.

From such a point of view, the old saying of the Past – it is better to spare thousand of criminals than execute one innocent man – looks like the ultimate truth appropriate for the Present. When I read statistics about errors of legal system and innocent people who had been executed because of their brothers’ inability of right judgment, I am thinking of those who lead our society and preside at the courts of law. All I am able to think next – is only the words of my God: “forgive them because they do not know what they are doing” {Luke 23:33–34}.

However, has not the time come to comprehend the meaning and consequences of our own decisions and actions, to look at the misery of our own judgment, to evaluate ourselves with the Word of God, and to abolish the death penalty at all and forever?

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Notes:

 

*1*  E.g., to pay by “eye for eye,” to  execute idol–worshipers, apostates, false prophets, violators of the laws, adulterers, and those who cursed the name of God, those who committed fornication, incest, sodomy, and those who are disobedient to their priest and parents {Deuteronomy 13:1–16; 17:2–5, 12; 18:20; 19:21; 21:18–21; 22:22–27; Leviticus 20:1–17; 21:9; 24:13–17}.

 

*2* The sect of Pharisees was a respectable group – the pool from which leaders of synagogues and local courts came. Publicans collected taxes for the Roman conquerors; they were the outcasts who received as much of public trust and respect as members of the oldest profession and as the gentiles have.

 

Sunday, March 16, 2008


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The Kingdom of Heaven

…My Kingdom is not of this world…

…My Kingdom is not from here…

{John 18:36}

 

The first kingdom of the post–Flood earth belongs to Nimrod, the man of power, who was the great hunter before God. The kingdom of Nimrod (grandson of Cham who sinned against his father Noah) – Babylon, was established in the land Senaar; it became the place of language confusion from where all the nations sprang and from where they were scattered upon the face of the earth {Genesis 10:6–10; 11:1–9}.

In the pre–confusion time, the people had one language and mutual understanding; they wanted to exalt themselves and to make their fame by the labor of their hands {Genesis 11:4–9}, that is, firstly, by the knowledge they created (or kept from the times of Adam).

The remnants of this knowledge made Babylon the greatest empire in the history of mankind. At the time of Daniel the Prophet, the Babylonian kingdom reached the zenith of might: God granted Nabuchodonosor the king the unsurpassed power over the realms of men, wild animals, and birds; he was “the head of gold” – the golden head of the image, which in the king’s dream symbolized all kingdoms of all times {Daniel 2:1–6, 27–45}.

The golden head of Nabuchodonosor’s dream image reflects the maximal potency, which the human mind is capable of reaching within the world of the matter without the continuing access to God, because the Babylonian king did not know true God; he lived by the remnants of the Past’s knowledge {Isaiah 46:9–10}, and he learned the presence of God only through Daniel’s disclosure of his dream hidden from the wise men of his kingdom.

The Babylonian king reached the maximal power within the world, which, after destruction of the Babylonian empire, began the path of irreversible deterioration without a possibility of evolution. At this stage, the mind still has at least some of the initial attributes composing the original human nature: the knowledge, power, ability to think–create by thought, and other resources necessary for embodiment of own thoughts into the establishments capable of reaching their maximal potential.

The following kingdoms – silver, brass, iron and earthenware parts of the image – reflect the gradual degeneration of the mind, which loses one by one its merits–abilities necessary for the creation of optimum, forfeits own natural might, and begins to rely on the figments of imagination (e.g. magic) and on technical/other devices.

 In general, the reasons of the weakness of the Babylonian king’s dream image might be inferred from another Old Testament’s texts lamenting the destiny of man: we all became as the unclean, and our righteousness became as the stained worn out cloth; we are carried away by our iniquities as the fallen leaves are carried by the wind; we do not call upon the name of God, and we do not cling to our Creator, and so, He left us to taste the fruits of death, which by our own crimes we summoned into this world {Isaiah 64:6–7; Wisdom 1:12–16}.

Neither the might of primeval knowledge (golden head) nor progress of technical and biological sciences (iron–clay feet) could make men’s establishments powerful enough to withstand destruction. Without God, man is capable of nothing: he becomes as the fish taken out of water to die in the evil net, and all his creations are the dust dissipating under the violent wind.

So, as the Babylon tower in its time, the Babylonian empire – golden head of all man–made kingdoms – is scheduled to come into oblivion. Moreover, mankind receives the revelation: only the Kingdom of God is invincible and everlasting; it will destroy all kingdoms of men, fill the earth, and endure forever {Daniel 2:44; 7:13–14}.

Obviously, there is something wrong with the creations of man: the greatest empires, the mightiest kingdoms, the most powerful establishments vanish without trace – only ruins and memory of suffering and oppression stay in the mind of descendants of powerful kings and their subjects. In addition, as it could be inferred from the history, the common patterns describe the life–cycle of all kingdoms of men; they vary only by the initial degree of degradation and consequently, by the time–range allotted for completion of destruction.

All establishments – even those proclaimed to be a new–never–seen–before–evolutionary–revolutionary–improvement–change–etc., which survive competitions, wars, and overwhelm other similar or not so similar candidates striving to reach the highest levels of the world’s hierarchy – follow the same road, and their destinies repeat the same pattern. Probably, that is why Solomon the king in Jerusalem has found nothing new under the Sun {Ecclesiastes 1:9–10}.

                The Books of other Prophets contain the warnings similar to the Daniel’s revelation conveyed to the Babylonian king. All comes to the completion in the New Testament: the mutual destiny (ultimate destruction) of all kingdoms of men is in a sharp contrast with the Kingdom of Heaven – the creation of God. The Kingdom of God is eternal and indestructible, and it will come over the Earth in the allotted time. Those who have learned death and destruction – the fruits of their own making, yet, who overwhelmed the power of evil, are to be transformed into the new world in which God dwells with His creations, therefore, in which death and suffering are not able to exist {Wisdom 1:13–16; 2:23–24; Isaiah 2:2–4, 11–17; 51:4–8; Revelation 21:1–4; 22:3–5}.

        After the people chosen to become the kingdom of priests decided to follow the path of “all the other nations” and obey the earthly king instead of God {1 Kings 8:4–22}, any possibility to comprehend the Kingdom of Heaven in the Old Testament’s time was lost; besides, the thought and ways of God are not accessible for the comprehension by human mind {Isaiah 55:8–11}.

Then, the Lord and Savior told us that the Kingdom of Heaven is within us {Luke 17:21}. By His earthly life and death, Lord God Jesus Christ provides the insight into the difference between the weakness of the kings, which the people call “power,” and the omnipotence of God. God is always the Almighty God. The human mind needs only to overcome the visible perceivable appearance of the matter, then, it would  comprehend the majesty and greatness of the moment, which God chose to annihilate sins and death of His creations, the moment when the world of evil created by men rose up against the Word–God and was erased from the Future {John 10:14–18; 12:26–27; 17:11–16; 18:36; 19:5–30; Matthew 26:50–54}.

The words of God that His Kingdom is not of this world {John 18:36–38} open a possibility to understand the incompatibility of the mind, which relies on the power of the matter – weapons, oppressive structures, and other means of deprivation, with the mind, which lives by the power of God. The establishments of men are destined to destruction because their essence is deprivation of all imaginable kinds: they are the creatures of insufficiency, the fruits of the evil. In fact, all structures of earthly authorities exist by depriving the people of some of their vital resources, and all kingdoms follow the deadly pattern described by Samuel the Prophet when he warned the ancient Israelites of the consequences of their choice to be “as all the other nations” {1 Kings 8:10–18}. As it could be inferred from the history of mankind, some other threats were added to the initial set:

– the material possession of men is not enough, and in their thirst for the power, the kingdoms of men began the war against God, for the possession by the very mind – soul and conscience – of their subjects; for instance, the totalitarian nazi and communist states of the twentieth century exterminated multitudes of people for their adherence to Christianity; as of today, the Christian teachings is still forbidden in the Asian countries, especially those under islamic and communist authorities: for the propagation of Christianity, the people are imprisoned, tortured, and executed

  – being unable to exterminate the innate knowledge of God, which is the core of any human mind, the ruling authorities substitute idols for true God and figments of imagination for the actuality

  – being unable to acquire the true knowledge of the actuality, the rulers keep their subjects in slavery of ignorance and corruption by fabricating the dream worlds of false knowledge and irrational values, by substituting ideology and propaganda for the knowledge of God

  – in constant fear of own disintegration, the rulers of the oppressive establishments exterminate the free thinkers and manipulate the subjects with false knowledge and irrational education intended to corrupt conscience–mind and body, therefore to make their subjects devoid of reason and transform them into the living dead unable to analyze the actuality and to overthrow the power of evil. 

Yet, the Kingdom of God is indestructible because God–Creator is the source of life, power, wisdom, knowledge, and everything that sustains life of His creations and leads them to the zenith of their abilities and potency. God is the only One Who does not deprive man of any of his possessions: any kind of deprivation and insufficiency is evil incompatible with the love of God. Consequently, everything founded on deprivation and insufficiency is against the nature of the original perfect world created by God in the beginning; it will face the imminent destruction in the end, and it will have no part in the new world of the Future.

And I think: after the darkness of the Cross {Luke 23:44–46}, what else needs to be told or learned? However, for some of us, would it ever be possible to comprehend that the actual power is not in the missile ready to take lives of the living beings at the other end of the Earth or in the ability to collect taxes and force the people into the unjust war against the neighbors: the actual power of man is love of God and love of His creations. This power makes a human being omnipotent, because by this power he comes to dwell with God {John 14:1–3, 6, 23; 15:9–12} and obtains wisdom. All weapons and “might” constructed by the powerful minds serving death are powerless before the Creator of life, therefore, before the humble mind, which lives by love and mercy of God–Creator {1 John 4:4–21; 5:4, 11–12}. From such a point of view, the simple flowers of the field that accept light of the Sun, feed the bees, wither to be burnt and to warm the others {Matthew 6:28–33}, and thus, fulfill the purposes of their existence, teach the main lesson, which any mind proud with its earthly possessions has to learn before finding the path to home.

 

Sunday, August 31, 2008

 

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 The Lilies of the Field

…Learn from the lilies of the field how they grow…

…yet…even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these…

{Matthew 6:28–29}

 

        It was the time when the great multitudes gathered to hear the Lord’s teachings; some of the listeners were poor and illiterate, and some of them were rich and educated. Yet, the same message is addressed to all of them: learn from*1* the grass of the field. It lives according to its nature: it does not make and it does not embellish itself – it has grown from the dust, blooms, wither, and will be cast into the oven tomorrow. Yet, it has everything it needs: God arrayed it in such a fashion, which even Solomon in all his glory did not have. So, the grass of the field sprang from the Earth by the will of God, and by the mercy of God, Solomon became the greatest king in all the history of Israel; his glory and riches none of the kings ever surpassed. How it could be then, that the grass of the field (even if it has multicolored blooms) could be more beautifully arrayed than the wise and powerful king of men clothed in white, gold, and purple garments, which are scattered with multicolored jewels and precious stones, and surrounded with gold and other attributes of wealth and power, is? Definitely, when Lord God Jesus Christ speaks of the grass of the field arrayed better than Solomon the king, He applies other criteria of beauty and perfection, not of the manifest or easily detectable kind; indeed, He commands to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness – with them, everything needed comes {Matthew 6:28–29; 8:1; Genesis 1:11–12; 2 Chronicles 1:8–13; 9:1–22}. 

        There are some logical links, which would facilitate understanding of the message.

        1. The grass of the field and Solomon the king both are creations of God intended to be born, to live awhile, and to complete their earthly existence in the manner consistent with their nature; besides, the notion of some similarity of the life–cycle of man and entire nation with plants, which bring fruits of the harvest, and vineyard might be found in many texts of the Holy Scriptures {e.g., Jonas 4:10–11; Job 5:25–26; 8:11–19; Isaiah 5:1–7; 40:6–8; Jeremiah 17:5–8; Joel 1:10–12; Matthew 9:36–38; John 4:35–38; 15:1–8; Revelation 14:15–19}.

        2. The lily/grass is a part of the nature, and from the nature it receives everything needed for its existence – the light–energy of the sun, water, and the elements of the soil/dust; it has the natural perfection, because it lives according to its nature and, therefore, it is sufficient – provided according to all its natural needs*2*.

        3. Man is the master of the world given into his dominion, and the nature–elements of the world sustain life of his body. Yet, man is insufficient; otherwise, the Lord’s words wouldn’t lead to the conclusion that the grass of the fields is arrayed better than the earthly king at the moment of his greatest glory.

        4. Obviously, man has lost something that the grass of the field has, and this loss prevents him for being perfect in the eyes of his Creator even in the moment, which other men consider to be the moment of the greatest glory – if to judge by the appearance and evaluate by the outer beauty of gold, precious garments, and other attributes of the power of the king. The meaning of this loss is the developed inability to recognize the presence of God as well as own inner unbreakable connection with Him; consequently the mind becomes unable to perceive the actual essence of things and therefore, to accomplish the purposes, which man was created to accomplish. In the Holy Scriptures, such unnatural condition is referred to as the “gross heart” or “heart of stone,” intentional blindness, and “heaviness” of the ears, so one who hears he does not (or does not want to) understand, and although he sees by his eyes, yet, he does not perceive {Isaiah 6:9–10; Zacharias 7:11–12; Matthew 13:13–15}.

        5. The mind should judge not by the appearance; it must evaluate everything by the inner righteousness. The judgment by the inner essence might differ from the judgment by the outer appearance in a same fashion, for instance, as the light differs from the darkness and the good differs from the evil; such a judgment is possible only for the mind, which has within the only true Light of this world – Λογος, the Word–God {John 7:24; 8:12; 9:5, 39; Isaiah 5:20–21}.

6. The actual history of the wisest king has the dramatic end apparently inconsistent with the glorious beginning: the Solomon’s sin*3* triggered division of his kingdom; with his death, a decline of the kingdom began. Obviously his "wisdom" was not sufficient enough to withstand all temptations of the power and wealth, probably, because he asked – and was granted – the abilities  to judge the people and to discern between good and evil {2 Chronicles 1:7–12; 3 Kings 3:9–14; 28}, not the wisdom to seek God and to find knowledge of God. Solomon did not ask the only valuable thing that makes the man’s cosmos complete – he did not beg for revelation of the Absolute Truth that makes the human mind–reasoning perfect, prepares the mind for the purposes of God, and transforms a human beast into the friend of God {Exodus 33:11–20; John 15:15}.

So, the greatest glory of men was in a possession of Solomon the king who has no equals, yet, in the eyes of God, the grass of the field looks more attractive than the king at the climax of his earthly glory. Why it is so if Solomon received the abilities he asked – to judge men justly, and with it, every natural attribute of all dealings with men: power, wealth, glory, even the longevity was promised under the condition of loyalty to God similar to loyalty of his father, David {3 Kings 3:5:14}?

All this comes to the conclusion: the essence of the human nature is love and knowledge of God, because as the grass of the field receives everything it needs from the Sun and the Earth, in the similar fashion, the heart of man is fed by the Word–God, and by Love of God it exists. With God, it overcomes the darkness of ignorance and comes to the greatest wisdom obtainable by men. This wisdom does not reside in the riches and power of the kings; it dwells in the humble and pure heart that lives by God as the grass of the fields lives by the Sun. With this wisdom, which is innate to the human nature, everything needed comes. Without this wisdom, the mind that lives in the world arrayed by other men – within the intertwined webs of the social, cultural, political, religious, and other establishments–relations–communications–criteria–values–etc. – will never come to the righteous judgment, and it will never see the inner essence of all it encounters: glory, fame, happiness, joy, victories, defeats, disasters, shame, suffering, humiliation, and all other trials that compose life.

And I think that the greatest wisdom of man is not in the judgment or managing or arrangement of the others’ life; the greatest wisdom accessible by the human mind is within the mind itself. This wisdom (and in the same time, the greatest blessing, which makes the mind sufficient, therefore, omnipotent within its domain–world it was created to control and cherish in love and perfection) is actualization of own nature – the image and likeness of God, and discovery of the kingdom of God within own mind–heart–soul, when the human being recognizes own innate abilities to love God, to cleave to God, to live by God, to seek the face of God, and to imitate His perfection {Deuteronomy 29:29; 30:10–20; Matthew 5:48; Mark 12:29–30; Luke 17:20–21}. Only with this wisdom, the mind might become as beautiful as the lilies of the field are and as abundant as the fruits of the harvest are in the vineyard planted and cherished by God {John 15:1–6}…

 

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Notes:

 

*1*  The Greek compound word  καταμαθετε – usually is translated as “consider” or “behold.” However, the exact meaning should be “learn from” or “become the apprentices/pupils of”; in particular, καταμαθετε  includes roots of two words; one of the meanings of  κατα indicates model to follow, or norm to adopt {e.g., as it was at the moment of creation – in Genesis 1:26; 2:18}, μαθετρια – means  “learning”; μαθετεια is apprenticeship; another derivative  μαθημα  literally means “lesson,” something that should be learnt.

        This meaning – “learn from” / “become the apprentices of” – is confirmed also by the essence of the text:

– Lord God provides an example (the grass of the fields)

– then, God rebukes His listeners that they are ολιγοπιστοι – (literally, “littlefaiths”) that might be translated as “those who have little faith” (therefore, the insufficient knowledge, because knowledge for some is nothing more than the justified belief) so they do not understand the inner essence of things and make themselves similar to τα εθνη – “the nations” {Matthew 6:28–32} that was a definition of the Gentiles

– in the time before the New Testament, the nations–Gentiles are ignorant: the most important distinction between the holy nation of priests and all the others is knowledge of the Law granted by God.

        Therefore, the listeners must learn, so they would have sufficient knowledge of that what they are.

 

        *2* Yet, it is sufficient only until the grass’ environment is natural and exists in accordance with its nature. The hail, fire, drought, famine, and other land’s plagues are the symptoms of “wrath” and the terrifying εκδικησεις – acts of the adverse judgment or “vengeance” of God for men’s disobedience and violation of the Law, that is for men’s sins against own nature, the fellow men, and other living creatures of the world {Deuteronomy 28:22–25, 43–53, 58–61 –– Exodus 9:18–25; Deuteronomy 29:22–27; 1 Chronicles 21:8–13; Isaiah 5:20–24; 9:18–19; 28:2; 51:17–19; Ezekiel 5:15–17; 14:21; Amos 9:5}. Consequently, for those who violated the Law of God and disobeyed His commandments – for all the creatures with the perverted nature, the very environment–nature, which is intended to sustain their existence, becomes the means of their extermination.

 

        *3* Solomon the king possessed the multitudes of women from the idol–worshiping nations, which were forbidden for the Israelites; these women turned the heart of aging king toward their idols. Eventually, he built the places where his wives worshiped to the idols of Moab and Sidonians (the Moabites and the Sidonians sacrificed their children and animals to male idol and sent their daughters into the temples to practice the “sacred” prostitution as the ritual of worship to the female idol), and he turned his heart away from the Lord God of Israel. His violation of the Law and commandments of God given through Moses and his consequent betrayal of God triggered the promise of God to rend the kingdom and to give the greatest part of it to the Solomon’s servant, leaving just one tribe to the descendents of David. Moreover, the plague of idol–worship came to dwell in the Promised Land, led it to the ruin, and then, spread over the Earth to bring upon it the curse of the ultimate destruction {Exodus 34:14–16; Deuteronomy 17:14–17; 3 Kings 11:1–36; 12:26–31; 14; 15; Isaiah 24:1–20; 2 Peter 3:1–10}.

        The implications of the story of Solomon the king become clear if to recall that Moses forewarned the kings of the Future of the danger of Egypt and multiplying horses and women {Deuteronomy 17:14–20}. Solomon discarded the warning of Moses in all three parts of the prophecy {3 Kings 3:1; 10:23, 26–29; 11:1–13; 2 Chronicles 9:25, 28} and with all his glory and with all his "wisdom," ultimately, betrayed God. Definitely, the "wisdom" of king was not sufficient…

 

Sunday, June 29, 2008

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The Lamp in the Darkness

 

…For Thou, O Lord, will light my lamp: my God, Thou will lighten my darkness…

{Psalm 17(16):28}

 

Psalm 17 conveys the vision of David who, although already was annoyed to reign, is not a king yet. Saul the king strived to retain the throne by exterminating the competitor – David, because he recognized the future of David. Indeed, David was the shepherd boy, poet and artist in the beginning, then, the mighty warrior, then, a fugitive from his former master, and finally, the great king. Saul rebelled against the authority of God and became unable to perceive the power of God: the evil entered his heart. Saul’s purposes did not become the reality, and even his final appeal to grant him death remains unanswered: he has to take own life {1 Kingdoms 15:1–35; 16:1–13; 28:16–18; 31:4–5}.  Later, another Saul also would struggle against God, yet, his time is the time of mercy, and he is made into the Apostle and servant of the Light, which at the beginning he attempted to extinguish by assassination and persecution of the believers {Acts 8:1–3; 9:1–22; 19:11–12; 26:4–18; 1 Corinthians 9:1–2}.

The Septuagint’s text – οτι συ φωτιεις λυχνον μου Κυριε, ο Θεος μου φοτιεις το σκοτος μου conveys at least three meanings:

1/ a manifest image of lamp made to carry the light, to illuminate the space, and to disperse the physical, perceivable darkness of the material world: the lamp is lit in the house, the darkness dissipates, everything becomes clear and known, and the inhabitants are enabled to continue their chores

2/ the hint leading to a vision of a lamp of the altar (the lamp of the tabernacle) which illuminates the sanctuary, so man is able to worship God

3/ the essence: man is a clay lampion made to carry the light; man carries the Spirit of God within the body of flesh, into the darkness of the world of matter. This Spirit–Light withstands the adversary or the hostile force – σκοτος –  darkness, which precludes man from fulfillment of his destiny. The Light annihilates evil (in this particular case, evil is hidden under the collective name “darkness” denoting ignorance, brutality, adversary forces of disintegration, death) and enables man to fulfill his designation: to carry the Light of God within the world, to embody this Light into own being, and to illuminate life of the others.

        The perception of man as the likeness of a vessel of clay is frequent in the Old Testament’s texts; this idea comes to completion at the moment when Lord God Jesus Christ makes clay and creates eyes of the man who was born blind: clay of man and Light of God are bound together by the miracle of creation; the mercy of Creator defines the destiny of the created, and the presence of the Light reveals the temple and dwelling of God {Genesis 2:7; Job 33:6; Isaiah 45:9; 64:8; John 9:5–6; Romans 9:15–29; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:14–16}.

It is not possible to find many historical examples of the presence of the Spirit of God. The history of mankind portrays chiefly the pieces of biomass, which from childhood are trained to kill and to deprive the others of their possessions. One empire replaces another, one kingdom destroys other kingdoms, one cannibal kills and devour flesh of the others, one nation arises against other nations and made their land into the desert, one dictator terminates lives and takes away freedom and happiness of multitude of his subjects, one inferno of slavery is replaced by another, more sophisticated, one man assassinates another to harvest his organs for rich patients – and all this is repeated again and again and again…  If to collect into one place under the Heaven all bloodshed, suffering, and crimes inflicted by men on men and on other living creatures they would definitely cover the Earth like the Flood did. 

Perversion of all flesh triggered the Flood and annihilation of the first Earth along with all living beings {Genesis 6:6–14}; only Noah with his family was spared to give mankind one more chance. Yet, with time, men again lost understanding that the human mind, which carries the Spirit of God, is the power created to dominate–control–maintain this world. The human thought creates, moves, and destroys the matter – we ourselves define our lives and our environment:

–  if we carry the Kingdom of God within us, we are the temple and dwelling of the Spirit of God: with our faith, we can move mountains and make trees obedient, and nothing impossible could exist {Matthew 10:1–8; 17:20; 21:18–22; Luke 17:6, 20–21; John 14:12–17; James 5:17–18; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:14–16}

–  if we carry darkness of evil within us, this world of ours becomes the darkness: with our inhumanity and evil of thoughts, words, and deeds, we ignite the fire, which will bring everything to its end {Isaiah 9:18–20; Matthew 13:40–42; John 3:19–21; 2 Peter 3:5–13}.

And I think: only the Light of God gives the meaning to continuation of existence of mankind: until this Light is in the world, the hope lives. Without God, man is a beast without any trace of humanness, therefore, without any chance of survival: this beast destroys and devours everything living and, in its own turn, is destroyed by the fury of the nature perverted by his iniquities. Earthquakes, plagues, wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, floods, polluted air, poisoned water, contaminated soil, abnormal mutations, and other disasters are the manifestations of the force of evil unleashed by violations of the Law of God – that is by sins of men. The Prophets foretold this horror: the Holy Scriptures granted in the Past explain the Present and open knowledge of the Future: we have filled our land with iniquities and we are transforming the beautiful world into the place of desolation {Jeremiah 23:10–12; Ezekiel 15:6–8; Hosea 4:1–8; Zacharias 7:14; 2 Peter 1:19–21}. If mankind has to harvest the fruits of own labor now, what would be that, which can be collected?

 

 

Sunday, September 14, 2009

 

 

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Liberty

 

 

…And I shall walk at liberty, for I sought out Thy commandments…

{Psalm 118(119):45}

 

 

 

        Different people have different understanding of liberty. Often, the meaning of liberty seems to be incompatible with the fulfillment of the law: since the beginning, the law is interpreted as restriction of someone’s freedom to do whatever he wants. The Psalm’s text introduces the direct connection between liberty of man and the Law of God: Και επορευομην εν πλατυσμω, οτι τας εντολας Σου εξεζητησα  (literal translation: and I shall move, follow my own life–style, or leave for another place, in liberty – spaciously, without restrictions, freely, because I have aimed at fulfillment of Thy commandments/orders). It means that fulfillment of the commandments of God results in freedom to exist without restrictions.

        Many generations kept and learned by heart the Holy Scriptures until the moment when the mind became able to comprehend true meaning of the Psalm’s verse, which links the Law and liberty: “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will cognize the truth, and the truth will set you free” {John: 8:31–32}. Yet, the listeners confronted God: they are descendents of Abraham, freemen, who never were enslaved to anyone; so how it could be said that they would become free? In response, Lord Jesus Christ discloses the true meaning of freedom: everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin; only if the Son sets them free, they would become free indeed {John 8:31–36}.

        Therefore, the expiation of the sins by the Son of God and the Son of man, love of God revealed by His Son sent to save the world, knowledge given by the Word of God, and fulfillment of the commandments of God lead to comprehension of the truth. Those who comprehend the truth become able to claim the freedom from sin – the freedom granted by the Son of God. So, what is this truth, which originates the liberty to be free?

        It was told from the beginning: violation of the law (ανομια) burns as fire: people would be as those burnt by fire, and the earth would be set on fire because of transgressions of men. The coming of the Messiah was the beginning: Lord God Jesus Christ came to bring the fire on the earth, which would consume all iniquities and sins of the world {Isaiah 9:18–19; Luke 12:49}. The Law was revealed to the people for the sake of their own salvation, because the Law of God defines the foundations of the Earth and life of all living creatures: it stipulates the nature and controls the conditions of existence. Those who commit actions inconsistent with the nature defined by the Law of God are compared with the dry grass–food for the devastating fire {e.g., Isaiah 9:18}. Any act inconsistent with the nature triggers corruption, which culminates in perversion (own as well as own children) and makes a living being incompatible with the Word–God. Consequently, the perverted being becomes unable to perceive the divine energy of God, which creates and sustains life. The comparison with the life–giving water {John 4:10–14} discloses the meaning of Isaiah the Prophet’s “dry grass.” Then, “darnel” and “withered branches” define those who have no the Word of God in their heart and those who do not abide in God {John 15:5–6; Matthew 13:24–30, 36–42}.

        The essence of the referred above and other similar texts from the Holy Scriptures is the same: the violation of the Law of God is the act incompatible with the nature created by God; therefore, it is perversion leading to death. Consequently, one of the components of the truth revealed to the disciples of Lord God Jesus Christ is the knowledge of the Law of God, which stipulates the human nature and the nature of the world.

        From another angle of consideration, the one who follows the Word of God {who lives in accordance with the own nature defined by the Law and created by the Word of God and who becomes the child and the temple of the Living God –– John 1:1–5, 9–13; 14:23; 1 Corinthians 3:16}, is free to pursue all purposes resulting in creation of good, to achieve and to actualize the maximal potential, which for the others might be seen as the supernatural wonders and miracles. All is revealed, cognized, and accomplished; all is tested by the fire–Word of God, and all is possible for those who are set free by God {John 8:31–32, 36; 14:12–17, 21,23; 1 Corinthians 3:11–13; 10:23–24} and have the liberty to live as the children of God should.

        The Gospel According to Matthew discloses the conditions of this liberty: love your enemies, bless those cursing you, do well to those hating you, and pray for those abusing and persecuting you, so, you may be the sons of the Heavenly Father Who causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and Who sends the rain on the just and the unjust. You, then, be perfect as your Father in Heaven perfect is {Matthew 5:44–48}.

 Besides the Ideal {God the Father}, which all followers of Lord God Jesus Christ must pursue, the words of God reveal another dimension of freedom: the freedom from external conditions of life – the inner freedom of the perfect child of perfect God. The meaning of this inner freedom is love to God: this love does not judge imperfections and transgressions of the others; it exists in the world created by the perfect God; it reflects omnipotence of good, which is not susceptible to the evil; and it accomplishes its mission despite all obstacles, outer terms, and manner of existence {e.g., 1 Peter 2:9–25}.

Another inference from the referred above texts of the Holy Scriptures: the words of Lord Jesus Christ disclose the temporal nature of evil, which exists only within the world corrupted by men. Consequently, the evil should be seen as the temporary conditions of the road, which we have to pass, and as temporary impediments, which we have to overcome.

For instance, if someone needs to find his home and has to claim the high mountain covered with ice and snow, he should not be afraid of stormy weather. The evil of those who are the slaves of sin is not different from bad weather. The wind blows sand into the face of traveler in the desert, pushes the sharp branches into the face of a man who during the storm has to pass through the forest, and demolishes house in the prairies – it harms, destroys, and even kills. Yet, the wind is not able to change the heart of the traveler, and those who lost the house because of the storm, would build their new dwelling. In the same manner, the love to all the creatures of the world and knowledge, which we obtain through love of God and fulfillment of His commandments, makes us invincible, non–susceptible to evil, and free from sin (sin is the failure to create good, and sin is the failure to fulfill personal mission: each human being comes into existence to accomplish the will of God – to create good for the world and for other living beings).

For instance, a sinner kills the others, deprives the others of their possession, and destroys creations of the others; the child of God creates and shares his creations and possession with the others. The sinner is able to kill the child of God as Cain killed his brother Abel, yet, he is not able to enter the perfect world in which his victim dwells and to make this world his own possession. For instance, Cain’s work was not fulfilled rightly, as it is defined by God: Cain was not able to rule over his sin; he failed to accomplish the purpose {Genesis 4:1–7}. Although in his envy and desperate desire of self–exaltation Cain assassinated his brother (whose work was pleasing to God), all that he himself was able to receive was alienation, fear, and misery of perversion.

The story of Cain discloses the meaning of perversion of the human nature as inability to maintain the natural connection with the world: the “curse” of the nature falls at the perverted being; such a being is separated from the presence of God, becomes unable to receive “strength” from the source of its existence, and is doomed to spend life in “groaning and trembling” –– Genesis 4:8–16, that is in fear, sickness, and misery.

And I think that the meaning or essence of the inner connection between the Law of God and the liberty–freedom of a human being might be found if to look at the fishes in the stream: they move freely and make their way in any direction, because they are in their own universe; the liberty to move is the part and the manner of their existence, the inseparable property–blessing of their nature created by God…

 

 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

 

 

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