PIGPEN TO PALACE
Your salvation is your own individual concern; no one else will walk with you through the door at the end of your path. Whatís more, you should never trust any so-called "authority," like your preacher, or me, to direct you. Consider the countless thousands of sincere and dedicated preachers who have taught very contradictory ideas, all based on Bible passages. Rather, the responsibility is yours alone to evaluate, test, and prove to your satisfaction whatever you choose to believe. This opening paragraph was just the setup to prepare you to consider the following thesis that your world life and flesh body must die purposefully, and that death is your primary goal, something for which you should yearn and even run toward with joyous enthusiasm.
Death is the key to the Palace Door. Donít bring that olí flesh body in here! Only Spirit Beings live inside the Palace; flesh bodies must stay out in the pig-pen.
Thatís just the way it is. Your pig-pen body has to die and be left outside before you can come in. That is what Jesus was trying to tell you; and He showed you the way. Now, just any old death wonít do, friend. You must yield up your body as a sacrificial offering, not for sin - because thatís already been done, but for your own salvation. "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling!" If Christian shepherds knew what they were talking about, they would be helping to direct Jesusí followers along that freedom-trail. But, alas, they donít know. So, letís take a look at what they teach, compared to what the Bible teaches.
Atonement is a church doctrine which says Jesus died in our place to satisfy the covenant penalty for sins so that we donít have to, thereby assuring us of heaven whenever we die. Since all sins are forgiven, thereby ending the death penalty, the church has naturally assumed that God wants His children to live happy, productive lives. The Great Commission seems to be announcing the Christ-secured freedom to pursue Godly lives until Death finally claims us in old age, hopefully during peaceful sleep. I contend that the church has sidetracked the train onto a false route with that teaching which is contrary to Jesusí command that we follow Him to death. One might argue that with no death penalty, our lives must have some purpose or we wouldnít be here; so, we should live them to the fullest. The church teaches that.
Well, I think that teaching is directly contrary to Jesusí primary message, namely to follow Him. Surely, I need not list all the well known passages in which He calls His own. While foxes and birds have homes, He did not Ė at least on earth Ė yet He commands that we follow Him. Obviously, the path of a follower is not to be an earthly one! As He walks before us, He turns to urge us onward, showing us the Way. He willingly climbs the difficult hill and yields His flesh to the enemies who proceed to kill it. He teaches us that we must willingly die so that we can Live. Here is the key to the great mystery ó which the so-called Christian church has missed.
So, it is an error fatal to our souls if we interpret Jesusí Atonement to mean that we need not follow Him to death. Certainly, we need not die to satisfy the sin penalty, for sins are not a factor at all (See Hebrews 8 for the new Contract). Rather, we must die for a different purpose! Our flesh bodies are earthly prisons holding our spirits captive. We prodigals have claimed this world pig-pen for our home. Now, Jesus teaches us to release our true selves (Spirit-beings) from this material bondage. Our true home is the Palace of our Father. One can only return home if he leaves this world "for His Nameís sake." Hey, everyone dies - no big deal; has to happen sometime. But simple death is not the key to the Palace Door. One must die purposefully. One must die like a soldier in His service who, in the heat of battle, gets killed because he/she has so fervently, zealously, obsessively represented his true Father, in Christís Name. Only then does oneís death have the value which results in the opening of that Palace Door.
Beloved members of Christ, that is a hard message. Any preacher who dares teach it as the clear Truth which it is, will be out of a job mighty quick. This is not to say that His followers must actively seek death by any means, even suicide. If He had taught that, a Death Cult would have been formed, but it would have been short lived because all would soon be dead. Suicide wonít get you through Heavenís Gate. Rather, Jesus taught this truth, like most other lessons, in symbols. To call us to share in His death, He said we must eat of His flesh and drink of His blood. Today we might say that one must "walk in my shoes." Through the YIELDING of Jesusí flesh and blood, He left this material kingdom of World behind, to be welcomed at His Fatherís throne. Jesus did not commit suicide, nor did He ask someone to kill Him. He boldly expressed the words and deeds which His Father directed, with the result that His counterpart race of Edomite Jews killed Him. He died without ever defaulting his mission of expressing His Fatherís will. He died in the Name of God. He calls us to follow Him; thereby we die for His Name. He spoke clearly what He was directed to speak. Because of that He was despised and rejected of men, and killed. There was a reason for his death, thus giving His life PURPOSE. And so does He call us to give our lives for the same reason.
Iím trying to make this picture clear. Consider it this way. The real you is a Spirit being, a member of the body which comprises Godís Offspring Son. Jesus is the Head and you are a member, a Spirit, He the Vine, you the branch. Alas, with your fellow "branches" you long ago abandoned your Heaven estate in order to come into this material kingdom of World where you could practice both good and evil; you could know right from wrong; you could do life-or-death contest with Satanís people; you could risk your life; you could experience all the sensual experiences of a flesh-and-blood person. You have four natures: the Physical, Emotional, Rational, and Spiritual. In Heaven you were a Spirit being who directed the Godly functions of your three other natures. But, when you came to World, your Spirit became quite powerless while your three human natures were released to be as wild and free as you "desired." Well, Satan successfully enticed your desires, thereby deceiving and entrapping you, then locking the prison door shut behind you, and enslaving you to do his will rather than your Fatherís. Thus it has been for twelve thousand years, a half-cycle of negative energy. Now it is time for Satanís dominion to end; your own Spirit is becoming a louder voice, and you are realizing your sad pig-pen situation; you want to go home.
Well, that is probably going on in deeper regions of your mind, but that inner-voice is likely being drowned out by the ever louder music of decadence/degradation/depravity/sensuality of your World. Even Satanís representatives in our Christian churches drown the Spiritís voice by tempting you with prosperity gospel. They tell you that because God loves you, He wants you to have all the good things of this World. They preach the high value of "life," as though it is your most sacred treasure, to be nourished and satisfied by all the worldly offerings. They donít tell you that there are two kinds of life; one is the worldly flesh "life" with a small "l" which must be rejected. The other is the Life of your Spirit, Life with a capital "L."
For many centuries Satan has taught his message from our "Christian" pulpits. Instead of recognizing ourselves as members of the body of Christ and ONE with Him (see John 17), our priests and preachers have made Him an icon on church altars as a person separate from us, as one whom we should worship as though He is up there rather than WITHIN. They have effectively removed you from being a part of the Christ. They have hidden from you that the Spirit of Christ is within you and One with your own Spirit, and that by knowing your true self you will come to hate this World which is so contemptible by comparison. They have pointed you to look "over there" rather than within your own self. And you have gladly accepted their lies and ignorance because they promised you heaven by merely believing in the name of Jesus. They sold you out, betrayed you, deceived you. They are traitors and treasonists before the Almighty God whom they claimed to represent. In Zechariah, God says, "Awake, O sword, against my shepherds."
So it is that many are called but few are chosen. Rare few are willing to turn their backs on the world and offer their lives up to our Father in death. Rare few are willing to stand opposed to their families, friends, and peers to be scorned with hateful epithets. Standing alone like that is not easy for any person who has been taught in a church that he is already weak and ignorant and contemptible, deserving of nothing but Godís wrath. It is no wonder that Christians walk with shoulders stooped and eyes to the ground, for they have been taught that by their false-shepherds. Rare few are able to rise above that, to know that they are part of the Christ, heirs of the Kingdom, beloved by their Father, Princes and Priests, who should stand tall and proud representing Him who empowers them. Rare few will read the words of Christís New Covenant and realize that sin is not an issue at all, AT ALL, with their Father, but that He wants to elevate them to His side where they will govern the coming Kingdom of Heaven.
And those rare few who do acknowledge Jesusí true message will be scorned and rejected. During the first three centuries so many of them were killed by Romans who had been influenced by the Edomite Jewish presence in Rome. Those martyrs went to their deaths, often joyfully, because they knew the path to which their Lord called them. They knew that physical death, in His Name, was their key to the Palace Door. They knew their Father was offering them an expedited ticket home. And then, after Emperor Constantine made Christianity the State Religion, the Jews converted to it and established a priesthood and hierarchy which placed the church between men and God again, akin to the Old Testament situation. The church became the anti-Christ, just as the great Reformers like Luther and Calvin all agreed. Sadly, the Protestant church has changed very little from that old anti-Christ function. It still directs men to focus on that icon on the altar rather than teaching men to listen for the Christ-Spirit within themselves. It still promises salvation merely by believing in His Name, but it doesnít know what that means. It still preaches "life more abundant" as life with the lower-case "l." It doesnít know about the Life which Jesus calls us to.
I am going to present some excerpts from a book I am reading. It is an indictment of Christianity by someone quite surprising. First, read his statements, and then I will discuss the author, who is someone Iím sure you donít know.
"Christianity becomes chargeable with the most opprobrious of all possible accusations. It can be indicted for the crime of being the only religion that in large measure destroyed the force of manís inspiration and incentive to cultivate this divine [Christ] light within his own bosom. It did this by diverting the direction of its followersí effort from the inner self-culture of a purely subjective consciousness to the worship of the Christ as embodied in one man in history.. . .No matter how emotionally, how fanatically the worshiper pours out adoration to a person in objective life, the work of his own evolution is not accomplished until he effectuates the ultimate divinization of the nuclear potentiality of deific fire within his own self-controlled area of consciousness."
. . ."By virtue of the fact that man was provided from the start with the presence of a unit of divine fire within the heart of his conscious being, he was adequately equipped to fight his own way to the goal of glory. The only treason of which religious devotion could become capable was the setting up of a fetish outside the life of consciousness."
. . ."[Christianity] has made of its millions ó what Nietzsche so thoroughly detested ó groveling beggars, reveling in the turpitude of sin-confession and praying for God to have mercy on their unworthiness. It has made them wretches pleading piteously to be saved. How it has ever been assumed that a God of good sense would enjoy seeing his creatures, whom he has himself divinely endowed with a portion of his own Mind, writhing in worm-of-the-dust sycophancy at his feet, is beyond rational understanding. It is rather to be presumed that he would take far greater delight in seeing them standing up in the might of their incipient divinity and making a fight of it. . . .That a religion could so far lose touch with sober sanity as to expect that it could exalt and edify manís spirit by grinding it down into the dust is evidence at once of its complete divagation from basic sound truth.
"It is a grave question whether the ecclesiastical system and movement known as Christianity has any right to its name. So far from being the cult that brought in a true Christ-worship for the first time in Ďheathení darkness, it was indeed ó after the third century ó the one system that destroyed such a true worship."
. . .But never has it been the single aim and objective of the Christian ecclesiastical system to ground the aspirational life of its devotees upon the one-pointed quickening of the Christ within all hearts."
. . ."A great world faith, soliciting the loyalty of millions, could offer no surer evidence of its integrity than an unbroken record of instant eagerness to examine and accept every sincere presentment of the truth."
The above was written by Alvin Boyd Kuhn (b.1844) in his book, Who is This King of Glory? Oh, how I wish this eloquent indictment of traditional Christianity had been written by a Christian. Sadly, Mr. Kuhn denies the physical reality of Jesus, although he argues boldly and powerfully for the reality of the Christ-Spirit within each person as a divine spark through which God works in order to help us rise to higher levels of spiritual consciousness and Godliness. I, personally, believe that the acknowledgment of Jesusí physical death and resurrection is absolutely essential. But, here it is! A non-Christian so beautifully pointing out where our shallow religion has betrayed us true Christians! It gave us a "religion" instead of an encouragement to follow our Lord to the victory through the yielding sacrifice of our personal lives.
Regarding his last criticism of the churchís reluctance to consider any truth beyond its own dogmatic stance, it is my opinion that the church thereby reveals how insecurely it stands. Although my academic education was at a Lutheran Seminary, Iíve never been able to determine which the church feared most: whether God is too intolerant to suffer a thinking seeker of Truth, or whether the church ecclesiastics are too insecure in their beliefs to consider any new evaluation. Whichever fear dominates Godís shepherds, church members learn very quickly to not ask thoughtful questions. Dumb sheep are whipped into silent obedience, while the determined seekers of Truth drift away forlorn. "Awake, O sword, against my shepherds."
The Truth is that Jesus showed us the Way; that it is by yielding up our earthly lives as relentless Knights who ride behind that Great One on the Great White Horse who carries a sword in His mouth. Into battle we ride, and to the death! Yes! Here is a Life worth doing ó with a trumpet! And hereby, we leave Satanís pig-pen behind in order to enter Godís Kingdom where He awaits us!
For those who feel some conviction of that which Iíve expressed above, Iím adding a couple short excerpts from the Apocryphon of James, of the Nag Hammadi Gospels. It was Jesusí brother, James, who recorded the following post-resurrection words of Jesus. Clearly, Jesus is not indicating that His death was in-place-of His followers, (vicarious) but that they would also experience the persecution which He experienced, including death. Jesus says:
"So will you not cease loving the flesh and being afraid of sufferings? Or do you not know that you have yet to be abused and to be accused unjustly; and have yet to be shut up in prison, and condemned unlawfully, and crucified without reason, and buried shamefully, as was I myself, by the evil one? Do you dare to spare the flesh, you for whom the Spirit is an encircling wall? If you consider how long the world existed before you, and how long it will exist after you, you will find that your life is one single day and your sufferings one single hour. For the good will not enter into the world. Scorn death, therefore, and take thought for Life! Remember my cross and my death and you will Live!" . . .
"Therefore, become seekers for death, like the dead who seek for life; for that which they seek is revealed to them. And what is there to trouble them? As for you, when you examine death, it will teach you election. Verily I say unto you, none of those who fear death will be saved; for the kingdom of God belongs to those who put themselves to death."
Of course, we cannot interpret the last sentence to mean that suicide is being advised, for that would contradict the entire theme of the Bible, and particularly Christís message. So, we must assume this is the same kind of method of putting oneself to death as Jesus used: He boldly expressed His Fatherís will, and that attracted His enemies to kill Him. We might say that He engineered His own death, but He did it in a way which was not self-abuse and which also glorified His Father.
We should also note that when Jesus was speaking of the tribulations of the end times events in Matthew 24, He prophesied that His followers would be hated and tortured and put to death because of His Name. Jesus certainly did not consider His death to be "vicarious" in the sense that others would not be persecuted and killed likewise, for His Name. As I personally contemplate the reality of following my Lord along His path, I become apprehensive that I might die peacefully in bed, or in a hospital from some ailment, or in some accident. I pray that I may be permitted to die in battle, actively representing my King who sent me on this mission. And it might be worth noting that we could consider a change of attitude; instead of fearing the enemy who is determined to destroy us - like they starved so many millions in the Ukraine - we might think of them as ones who release us from this PigPen prison. Perhaps it is even part of God's plan that we are killed by Satan's forces in order to free us. While we can get very angry at the continuing injustice of evil forces, we might also accept an early death as a blessing. The anguish of one's suffering is but a moment along his path, and likely a most worthwhile moment. After all, our earthly lives are not our greatest treasures, but rather they are anchors from which our Spirits long to be freed. So, Live Boldly and die courageously! It is our Father's good pleasure to give us His kingdom. We are nearer to that every day.
In His Service,
Roger Hathaway, March 9, 2008
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