Sunday, May 06, 2007

Mystics and the Ancient Hebrew Bible


You probably meant the quotation, "I came not to destroy the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them." Jesus' intent was not to "destroy" the faith of good and sincere Jews. Many of their Scriptural texts were applied, by early Christians, to him. And many of their laws were good, sound, and even borderline spiritual. For example, they prohibited stealing and murder.

Within a couple of centuries, certain of Jesus' early followers remembered that he taught that the Jewish "Jehovah" was not the Christian God. The latter was Love Itself, something never claimed for the very conditional, violent, murderous, warlike god of the Jews.

But these so-called "Gnostic" Christians did not think that Jesus went far enough. They taught that the Jehovah of the Jews was not just a human-fabricated illusion, having nothing to do with the God of Love, but that he was a demon. Since he created this world, then this entire world was evil. So was everything in it-- the senses, good food, sexuality, beauty (rainbows, roses, kittens, puppies, the human body). These fanatic ascetics hated and feared everything. Thus, they left behind and denied Jesus' message of moderation.

These foolish people went even further: They said that, since the Hebrew Scriptures were written by a demon, and they still contained such good and healthy commands as, "Thou shalt not kill," and, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," it was the duty of a good Christian both to kill and to commit adultery.

These insane people were among the evil and ignorant Gnostics of the first two centuries. One "teacher," named Carpocrates, became infamous for this rationalization and justification of every kind of evil and hurtful behavior. He was clearly insane, and others, equally insane, joined his cult.

These "cap G" Gnostics had nothing to do with "small g" gnostics, who were true mystics. They just stole their name, based upon the text of John 17:3, which says, "This is timeless life, to know You [God] and Jesus Christ, whom You emanated." This "knowing" was the mystical and immediate knowing of God as purest Love.

The Carpocratian Gnostics wanted to "destroy the Law." But, because Jesus knew that some parts of the Jewish Law were good, healthy, healing, sound, and could help live a more Love-based life, he did not come to "destroy" these good laws. Still, he did know, and teach, as did the early Christian Marcion (about the year 140) that the "god" of the Hebrews was not the universal Lord of Love. This is why Christianity held that there was "one true God" for all people, not just the Jews, but the Gentiles as well.

When Christianity came to the world, it was a step forward in human spiritual evolution. It "fulfilled," or made unnecessary, the entire Hebrew Scriptures, although fundies will heatedly deny this. For the god of the Hebrew Scriptures ("Old Testament") was a god of war, violence, punishment, and unforgiveness.

Modern "Christian" fundies usually do not realize this all-important fact, but they continue to assume that the god of the Hebrew Scriptures was the God of Christ and Christians. That is why the terrible violence, war, and mass-murders ascribed to "god" in those Scriptures is so confusing to them. They insist on hanging on to the "Bible" that was done away with, or "fulfilled," by Jesus Christ. When you know the interior Christ of pure Love, you no longer need the Scriptures of an ancient, primitive, backwards people of another faith. (Judaism and Christianity are, after all, different religions, although this is simply a historical fact, and does not really matter to the enlightened person.)

Early Christians abandoned completely the sacrifices of animals for sins, and dozens of other customs and laws of the Jews, which were many (as found in the book of Leviticus). When they abandoned all these laws, they also deserted the Bible of the Hebrews. And, leaving behind that Bible, they did not take long to renounce the false god of violence, anger, bloodthirstiness, and confusion.

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