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What is the Symbolic Nature of Paul and His Christ: Part 3

by Joshua Tilghman on February 13, 2014

Symbols of Religions 295x300 What is the Symbolic Nature of Paul and His Christ: Part 3Was Paul’s Christ really the Christ of Orthodoxy? Most likely not.

In parts 1 and 2 of this series we concluded that Paul’s own words from Galatians do not agree with the historical timeline of Acts. We also examined Massey’s reasoning for stating that Paul’s gospel had nothing to do with the literal, historical Christ of orthodoxy, but was rather the gospel of the mythical Christ birthed within through direct experience. We analyzed internal evidence from Galatians that seems to support this theory.

In part 2 of this series I also hinted that while I agree that Massey was correct on the above points, I also thought his theory had a major flaw. While Massey believed Paul’s gospel had nothing to do with the literal Christ of orthodoxy, he believed the Gospel of the other Apostles did. Massey argued that this was the real contention between Paul and Peter; Peter brought forth the gospel of the literal Jesus Christ, born in Nazareth, crucified by Pilate and resurrected from the dead, while Paul preached the gospel of the mythical Christ which was known through direct conscious experience. Since Galatians was written decades before most of the Gospels and Acts, Massey believed interpolators falsified certain scriptures to make Paul’s gospel line up with Peter’s gospel as time went on. I believe Massey’s mistake begins here. There were certainly interpolators who falsified and tampered with the scriptures, but I do not believe Paul’s gospel and Peter’s gospel were different gospels. This theory only creates more confusion that takes away the true message of the Scriptures.

I believe Massey’s overall argument fails, as many Biblical scholars and laymen do, because they don’t understand the symbolic nature of the scriptures as a whole. Without this knowledge, I don’t think the scriptures can ever truly be understood.

Who wrote the Scriptures, and how?

Most Christians believe the scriptures were written because they really happened. Even among those who are willing to admit that there are internal and historical inaccuracies from gospel to gospel, epistle to epistle and gospel to epistle, they are quick to say that these inaccuracies really don’t take away from the Bible as a historical account overall. In other words, the historical inconsistencies are minor, and we should still see the Bible as being mostly historically reliable.

I believe in a much more powerful alternative—proposed by others before me—that make the scriptures more alive, life-transforming, and meaningful to the soul. Consider for a moment that the scriptures were never meant to be based on historical information in the first place. Instead, they are divine inherent ideals within the realm of higher consciousness birthed from mystics who accessed this higher state when spoken or written. In other words, all sacred Scriptures were written from a state of trance, just like authors of Ezekiel and Revelations indicate, and even Paul himself when he went to the third heaven and heard things it is not lawful to utter. These states of mystical trance tapped into the inner realms beyond the physical world and accessed not information that really happened, but higher truths that are only reflected in the physical worlds. This is the true meaning of that famous statement, “As above so below.” You can’t explain in words the truths of the upper realms by physical means because there is no exact counterpart. The physical world is actually only the reflection of these upper realms. Paul states, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known.”

As such, the scriptures are the LIVING WORD not because they are higher truths expressed through history, but because the words on the page reflect spiritual ideals. These spiritual ideals are the very marrow and blood of the concept of the living WORD, not the literalism in it.

I believe that when these mystics were in altered states of consciousness, they themselves didn’t even understand what they were writing. This possibility makes much more sense when you consider that nearly all scriptures tell the same story through symbolism across many cultural boundries. It also makes more sense when we consider the fact that the scriptures contain supernatural events that are not the reality of today. Biblical times seem, in part, so far removed from today because they include talking snakes and donkeys, global floods, and other incredulous stories which are not part of today’s reality.

Consider the words of Gaskell below. I have emphasized the sentences I consider extremely important.

“In viewing our natural environment, we note the complete absence of beneficent and maleficent superhuman powers interfering with natural laws and human arrangements; but when we turn to the sacred writings we are confronted with such powers described as apparently active in the outer world. Gods, angels and evils move freely in a fantastic world unknown to our experience. Assuming that Scriptures are written truthfully, we can, from this peculiarity concerning them, judge with certainty that the sacred narrations are not historical but imaginative, and were not meant to be taken objectively in any sense. The world of Inspiration is not the physical world, or world of history, but is really the inner world of spirit, mind, emotion, and desire, in which the human ego always lives, moves, and has his being. In the inner world of Ideals of truth and goodness (the Gods) and their opposites (devils) are active, and it is here that the tragedy of each life is enacted. This conception of the nature of the Scriptures brings order out of the confusion of thought in which the modern mind involves them.

“If now it be conceded that the Sacred Books are not of human origin, then it follows that they do not come under the ordinary methods of analysis, criticism and judgment applicable to human productions. Neither the historical nor the verbal criticism of scholars is of the least use in their exegesis.”

Consider that last sentence above again. This is why I believe that Massey’s arguments about Paul are true in one sense, but not in another.

All scriptures reflect the five planes of existence: the celestial, spiritual, mental, astral, and physical. Paul falls into the mental category. He is not historical. Massey failed to understand this, although I believe he was correct when he stated Paul’s gospel was not the Christ of orthodoxy.

Let’s consider this in the context of Paul’s and Peter’s falling out in Galatians. Step outside of box of the church for a moment and consider that neither are literal figures.

I have already talked about Peter as representing the ego in former articles. Curiously, no one that I am aware of has ever tackled the symbolic nature of the Apostle Paul. I had a phone conversation with Paul Young (author of decodingscripture.com) in which we were discussing his symbolism. In our conversation he made a profound statement that immediately resonated with me. He said that the Apostle Paul represented the virgin birthing the Christ within, even comparing him to the concept of Mary. This was an astute comparison. Mary represents the purified emotional nature that conceives the Christ. Paul then represents the purified virgin mind in man that allows us to transition from an outward experience of Christ (through the ego) to an experience within of the Christ, as evidenced through Paul’s conversion from Saul to Paul (more on this shortly) and some of his statements such as Galatians 4:19:

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you…” (Gal. 4:19).

It is interesting that Paul uses images similar to that of a women giving birth to state what he does for the Galatians. This is definitely representative of an inner process of the soul.

Let’s look at his own conversion process as described in Acts again.

Paul’s Conversion

I am surprised Massey did not emphasize the esoteric nature of this conversion process in Acts instead of pitting Paul and Peter against one another as having different Gospels. When we look at his conversion closely, I don’t think we connect it with any literal Christ.

Acts 9:3 states:

“And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: and he fell to the earth and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?”

Instead of the vision of a literal man, even in the angelic form of the risen Christ, we get the imagery of a bright light, representing the light of higher consciousness and of the mystical experience of an altered state. Besides this, I want to point out something curious about this experience as it’s related in Acts two completely different ways.

Acts 9:7 states:

“And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.”

Paul recounts this same conversion story to the Jews and tells it completely different in Acts 22:9:

“And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.”

In other words, in the conversion of Acts 9:7 the men that journeyed with Paul heard a voice, but Paul states that they “heard not a voice” in Acts 9:27. Which is it?

Literally, it doesn’t really matter, because both scriptures refer to the inner, mythical Christ revealed through gnosis. The voice of Christ isn’t meant to be literal here, as Massey might have assumed. It is the inner voice and light of the Christ within, and actually complements the unorthodox version of the Christ within that Paul indicates in Galatians.

The men with Paul represent the voice we hear externally through religion, whereas the voice Paul speaks of that he understood is the Gnosis, or inner Christ revealed within us. That’s the bright light that blinds Paul, the bright white that initiates the virgin mind by sweeping it clean for greater, internal revelation. This light is also representative of the Christ within, the true light of the physical vessel.

Paul vs. Peter

If Paul represents the virgin mind, devoid of the ego and ready to be impregnated with the Christ within, then why does he seemed opposed to Peter in the scriptures? Many scholars have assumed that Paul and Peter had a disagreement about the literal Law of Moses. It seems from Galatians that Peter withdrew from living as a Gentile when James sent men of the Law from Jerusalem (Gal 2;11-12). Since the Law of Moses represents the evolving moral nature that develops within us through experience, this entire episode related in Galatians doesn’t make sense unless understood from the viewpoint of symbolic nature of the characters involved. Peter is the ego that is slowly evolving and developing the moral nature through life’s experience. This is why he wavers at the end of the Gospels and it seems, even here as related by Paul. This nature is not yet perfected. If Peter had truly been converted of the truth and became a powerful figure in leading the early church as a literal figure of the literal Christ, why would he have waivered here? This has always been a perplexing problem in the literal-historical account. But when viewed symbolically, the true symbolic nature of Peter and Paul are played out perfectly. The evolving moral nature can only take us so far; it isn’t replete with conditions in the soul for birthing the Christ within. In order to birth the Christ, we must go beyond and above even the moral nature. This is where the grace of Christ comes in. This is where the spiritual meets the physical world, where the upper realm meets the lower, and where the divine mystical marriage is consummated!

Conclusion

When we move beyond the viewpoint of the literal-historical word, we move beyond limitation. Literal words could never explain the true beauty and emotional response of a beautiful sunrise or a scenic stroll through nature, just as they could never explain the aroma of rose. But the sacred Scriptures, which are products beyond human intelligence and thought, have the ability, through their spiritual essence, to evoke something buried deep within the consciousness of man which is beyond anything explicable in the physical realm. It is because the true essence of the scriptures lie within ideals and truths of higher consciousness with which our historical-literal physical world are but dim reflections. The mystics who revealed these higher truths to us were not operating in a normal mode of waking consciousness; they were connected to something much bigger and universal. They then recorded these cosmic truths through symbolism and metaphor, which are able to express a living, breathing, eternal story of the soul that is ever changing and evolving. Let us remember this as we read and seek to understand the Bible.

Blessings!

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brian February 14, 2014 at 1:52 am

I am not sure about your central theme that we may be dealing an arkane symbolic set capable of guiding our consciousness from low to high frequencies. And probably the clumsiness of the previous sentence will reveal how little I know about meditation and all points east. But reading your essays has really caught my interest.

However, my curiosity about your series has led me a slightly different direction. I have long wondered what the Christ term might actually mean.

Jesus as a symbolic word seems to have clear roots within the Jewish tradition of a Messaiah, sent by God to rescue the tribe. Some say it is derived Jeshua (Joshua) or Yahweh.

How Jesus fared as a Messaiah is clearly problematic. The Story of Palm Sunday speaks to me of great optimism among the Jews that Jesus was about to blow the Roman Empire away. Then clearly something went wrong.

After the death of Jesus, the Jews seem to have shrugged their shoulders and accepted that Jesus was not the Messaiah, given the comprehensiveness of his defeat.

However, the Christian Church had other ideas. After 3- 400 years, including Emperor Constantine moving to Turkey and the Conference of Mycenae, we find Jesus has somehow been resurrected as a Messaiah who will return a second time to fulfill his messanaic destiny.

In thinking about the early Christian Church, I can’t help seeing the handiwork of several spin doctors, adept and changing a word here or there to alter the historical record in pursuit of an agenda or two. This jiggery-pokey seems to have effectively destroyed the historical record and all we are left with is the reality of very powerful Catholic Church that ran things for the next 1,000 years, by claiming to be acting in the Messaiah’s place prior to his return (and who could dish out indulgences which assured one a place in heaven.)

One word in particular that seems to have got the spin doctors’ treatment is Christos (or Chrestos).

This Greek words has come to infer Jesus’ second name. But I suspect it was far more of a title, like Dr, than a surname. It may have indicated his area of expertise. I doubt that he was Mr J. Christ. Rather he was Jesus, with the cultivated Christ consciousness.

One source I have found says that Chrestos was a Greek discipline or school of thought, roughly translated as “consulting God”. This seems to fit your idea that Jesus was not God sent to Earth, but rather a human being curious in seeking his Divinity within.

I think it is quite likely that Jesus could have studied Greek medicine and other subjects in his youth. And this gave him expertise in those areas than many see as miraculous.

I would dearly love to know more about this Greek Chrestos as some sort of school of thought arising from ancient. Greek history, but sadly I can find no reference to it. Perhaps the Chrestos is akin to Gaia in pointing to a Body Of Christ in which we share a common consciousness. I don’t know, but I really would like to.

Anyway, the juicey bit of the story is that in the midst of the battle between those who believed in a Messaiah and those believing in the God Within, the spin doctors realised that in Greek, if you changed one letter from Chrestos to Christos, you changed the whole meaning from “consulting God” to “sent by God”.

Hence, we end up with Jesus Christ instead of Jesus Chrest and the Messaiah team have won the day. And many believe the Gnostics and others believing in a transcendent inner divinity were forced underground.

Thanks for a really stimulating series, Joshua. I am sure it has got many others thinking too.

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2 Joshua Tilghman February 14, 2014 at 9:45 am

Brian,

Very interesting points. Have you studied about Isis the KRST? In Egyptian language the term for Mummy, tomb, and body is KRST. Many ancient beliefs stated that the body was the tomb in which to resurrect or raise the qualities of the soul.

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3 Robert February 14, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Brian,

I don’t know if this helps. As I remember in formal conservative church theology, Christ represents the divine office, Jesus represents the human person. According to this when Paul refers to Jesus Christ, he is referring to the human person of Jesus upon whom this divine office has incarnated. When he refers to Christ Jesus, he is referring more to the divine office whicih fell on the human Jesus. You can google “Jesus Christ versus Christ Jesus” to get a more accurate and detailed explanation. However, the explanation is based on Christ being the King who rules over man, not the Christ within man. It works here and there, but not throughout the entire scriptures. It is confusing and ambiguous and therefore a focus of disagreement among denominations.

I understand now that Christ means “anointed” and that Jesus was anointed to reveal the true nature of God to man (which is concealed or distorted in the OT) and also to convince man that the anointing is within them also. If you go too far and too fast with this, the conclusion is that Man = God, which is anathema to the Jews (which is one reason they wanted Jesus crucified) and subsequently to mainstream Christians. So we have this duality in symbols showing Christ as ruler and the spirit of Christ dwelling within each initiated believer. That was more acceptable for Jewish believers to understand. But Paul seems to take it to the next step when he uses the expression “Christ in you” which he is eager to be formed. The “formed” part indicates that there is a process for man to acquire the divine nature of Christ. Being raised in church seems to help this process to a point, but can then chokes it off, especially because it does a very poor job of transcending the ego. You grow to a point, and then get frustrated because something is missing, and you don’t know what, until that is also revealed to you because of your passionate inborn desire (spark) to know. The missing part is hidden until you are ready. I don’t know why. Historically, we think it is missing because those who understood it were forced underground. Meditation seems to be one excellent path to begin filling in what is missing. It is a path that has usually been suppressed by the mainstream denominations.

The Jewish Christians were large in number during the first century, and for awhile they were more accepted as Jewish comrades by the non-Christian Jews…until most of the Jewish Christians refused to take up arms against the Romans. .

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4 Arlene February 14, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Hi Robert….

You “hit the nail on the head” in many things you say, and you’ve really opened up research to me about things that have never entered my mind. I thank you for that. I think the greatest articles ever written, including the ones by Joshua, are ones which make a person think (and ask questions which must be answered). This stimulates great research and results in growing knowledge….and wisdom.

This is really opening up a “can of worms”, but it’s a concept which must be understood by Christians. There is a religion called “Judaism” and there is a way of life called “Christianity”. However, the two cannot be combined. There is no such thing as a “Jewish Christian”. There is no such thing as a “Jewish race”. When one becomes a member of the Jewish religion (Judaism) there is no change in one’s DNA. It’s impossible for anyone to be born a “Jew”. Being Jewish is a culture, religion, and a social status….but not a “race” which can be detected by DNA.

A fallacy which many Christians believe falsely is the Jesus was a “Jew”, and He was not a member of the Jewish religion. God is not a “Jew” and never has been. The religion of the Pharisees was the religion of the Jews (Judaism), and Jesus fought against them from the beginning. Read Matthew 23:8-39, which are the words of Jesus (in red) in addressing the Jewish religion of the scribes and Pharisees.

There is plenty of proof to be had that once a “Jew” converts to another religion, he is no longer considered a “Jew”.

There is so much to be said about this that it’s impossible to relate it in just one article. But, this link tells us a bit about this truth. We can’t understand the history of the Nation of Israel today unless we know the ancestry of the “Jews” and the DIFFERENCE between being of Judah (the tribe ) and being a “Jew”. They are not the same.

http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/jew.htm

I am in no way anti-semetic. I love all people as being God’s children. A good read on this is Arthur Koestler’s “The Thirteenth Tribe” about the origin of present-day “Jews”. Being of the Tribe of Judah (as was Jesus) was not synonymous of being a “Jew”.

I apologize if this offends anyone, but the truth about this is absolutely necessary to learn.

In Christian love,

Arlene

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5 Justin February 14, 2014 at 4:31 pm

I would disagree that the man Jesus was not a Jew. While his spiritual beliefs may or may not have been wholly “Jewish” he was from the Jewish Culture, was born to Jewish parents, and lived in a Jewish world. I know plenty of people who are atheist and Jewish. For them being a Jew is about honoring there heritage and history, not honoring some father god.

Additionally we have examples in the bible itself that point to the fact the character Jesus considered himself a Jew. Look at the story of the Gentile woman who begged for healing for her child. Jesus does not immediately heal the child, instead he calls the gentiles dogs compared to his people. It is only after the woman shows unrelenting faith that her daughter is healed. From a literal standpoint this shows how the character, and possibly the man, felt during the early portion of his ministry (a teaching that was often taught to me by my father than even the God Man did not know all while he was human). From an esoteric view it shows us that we must heal even the parts of ourselves that we may deem as unworthy of our truest selves; that even our “evils” have a place, we simply must have the unshakable faith in the God within to heal them.

Justin

Justin

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6 Justin February 14, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Additionally, we must remember that Judaism is term coined by the world to describe the religion of the Israelite peoples. Originally there were 12 tribes, each a nation but all following YHWH; this only changed after 9 of the tribes were scattered by the Assyrians, leaving only the tribes of Judah, Levi, and Benjamin. I’m pretty sure that if you had called the average Benjamite at the time the Gospels were written for a Jew he would’ve been angered (he was a Benjamite after all not a Jew).

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7 Arlene February 14, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Hi Justin….

I appreciate your response. The theory that Jesus was a “Jew” is very wrong. He was born into the “Jewish” culture, that is correct, as His mother was a follower of the rules and regulations of the synagogue. A synagogue is defined as “a congregation” or “an assembly”, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is “Jewish” and practices Judaism.

This is what Jesus came to change. He came to stop religions (working to obtain salvation) and begin a whole new way of living which stems from faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ, and thereafter, changing from within one’s self.

Being a nurse (R.N.) for decades, I know all about DNA. If a person is born to parents who are Mexican and she/he decides to convert to Judaism (and become a “Jew”), their DNA does not change.

Ask yourself, “Who was the first ‘Jew’ in the Bible? All the Israelite tribes came from Jacob. Jacob was not a “Jew”. If he was, then when did he become one? And if Jacob was a Jew, then Esau (his twin) had to be a Jew as well. Was Abraham a Jew? If he was, when did he become one? And if Sarah was a Jew, then her other son, Ishmael, had to be one as well.

And since someone had to begin this religion of Judaism, who was the first one?

Another thing I would like to bring out is about the Feasts of Israel. Anywhere you find anything about these Feasts of God, they are always attributed to the Jews. They were NOT the Feasts of the “Jews” (see Deut. chap 16), but the religion of Judaism acquired them as part of their worship ceremonies. And now, when any Christian thinks of the Feasts of God, they naturally assume that they were Jewish in origin as well. They, also, are wrong. Those Feast Days of God were prophetic….as “shadows” of God’s plan for Mankind. See Colossians 2:17. These Feast days speak of the “body of Christ”.

Was a Benjamite a “Jew”? How about a Reubenite? Or from the tribes of Nephtali, Manassah & Ephraim (whose mother was Egyptian), or even Levi.? Just because one is born of the tribes of Israel (Jacob), this does not automatically make them Jews. They have to join the religion of the Jews to become Jewish. And Jews today have a hate for Jesus Christ (see the Talmud). A Jew must forsake their religion of Judaism to become a true Christian, who is a lover and follower of Jesus Christ.

When Jacob’s name was changed to “Israel”, he had already fathered all his sons except for Benjamin. And, actually, Benjamin is the only son born to Jacob AFTER his name was changed by God…see Genesis 32:22…there were already 11 sons at the time of Jacob’s conversion. They were, then, the sons of Jacob and not yet the sons of “Israel”. Benjamin was the only son who was born to “Israel”.

None of these sons were Jewish. If so, when did they become one? Jacob’s DNA is the same DNA as Esau’s because they came from the same mother. If Jacob was “Jewish” then all the Arabs today are Jewish as well (descendents of Esau)…

If you would read the link article I posted, it explains many of the questions you have.

Arlene

8 Robert February 14, 2014 at 8:19 pm

Arlene,

I agree and disagree about what you are saying about Jews. But before I explain this, let me tell you what I did with the link you provided. I traced it back to the home page http://www.bibleway.org/home.do#path=/missions. Then I figured out who the main spokesperson was William Branham. Then I looked him up in Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_M._Branham. I found enough there to tell me what I needed to know. If I hadn’t, I would have googled “Criticism of William Branham to see what came up. This is my Berean style excersize. You can review some of these links and decide for yourself. I am more interested in sharing with you how you can dig deeper on your own before you take for granted that a website is giving you truth or bias.

Branham came out of the boondocks of Kentucky with a reemergence of the Pentacostal movement in 1947. I doubt if he came across many cultural Jews, and certainly not religious ones. He made all sorts of claims about being The Prophet before the end times. He died in an auto accident. Some of his followers thought he would be resurrected. Didn’t happen. They finally buried him after four months. This Pentecostal movement appealed to lower class people with little or no education, who would follow a leader anywhere based on emotional excitment, not accurate knowledge or spiritual discernment. But hey, if you live in an isolated, backwards region and the only believers are emotionally oriented, it may be as close as you can get to Jesus there and then. .

There are a few things taken out of context in the bible that are easily misinterpreted and do indeed lead to being unjustifiably critical of people of Hebrew decent. The correct modern term for this is antisemitism. Until very modern times, various church denominations have had a horrendous record of persecuting Hebrews, who are synonymously referred to as Jews, but who are not restricted to being of the tribe of Judah. If anyone knows what a Jew is, it is a Jew, not someone from the backwoods of Kentucky who grew up thinking Jews were little anti-Christs who had horns on their heads, and wouldn’t know a Mezuzzah from a hole in the wall.

When Paul says to Gentiles that a Jew is one who is circumcised inwardly, he is speaking metaphorically, trying to explain to them that the Gentiles are now heirs of the promises of God through faith. He does not say that Jews are Gentiles and vice versa. He says in Christ there is no longer Jew nor Greek, male or female, slave nor free, meaning that they all have access to God through faith, creating one new spiritual man. He does not abolish the physical difference between male and female, Jew and Gentile.

Paul also warns Gentile believers not to be arrogant to Jews who do not follow Jesus, that the promises of God to them through Abraham are irrevocable, and that they would all be redeemed one day through the promises. Here he is no longer speaking metaphorically. He is addressing Gentile followers of Jesus who were becoming antisemitic toward the nation of Jews, who are almost entirely Jewish by decent from Jacob (Hebrew), plus a minority of converts to Judasim who follow the customs and religion of the Jews.

The Jews who are not followers of Christ, do not acknowledge Paul as an authority . In the bible the Jews (Hebrews) are descendants from Jacob traced through father or mother. In modern Israel, it is traced through the mother because the identity of the father can be unreliable. Anyone whose mother is Jewish has the right of return to modern Israel, even if they are atheists, unless they have changed their religion to something other than Judaism. Also, serious converts to Judaism can also qualify. Jews born in Israel have the right to citizenship, no matter what they believe. A Gentile Christian can not claim right to citizenship on the basis of being a spiritual Jew.

In conclusion, the backwoods Pentacostals or antisemitic mainstream Christians do not dictate the definition of a Jew. When they do that, it is unbiblical and unethical. It leads to antisemitism in active and passive forms.

Jesus was descended from King David and a practicing Jew, familiar with the Torah and customs in Israel. When he came out of his 40 day testing in the desert, he proclaimed his Messiahship by reading a portion of the prophets about the coming of the Messiah, and claiming this time was upon them. He was kicked out of the synagogue for doing so and preached and taught his massage to Jews wherever he went. Those Jews who believed, followed him. They were later referred to as Christians, but they were still Jews. They are referred to in history as Jewish Christians. This included the 12 and the 3000 added and so on and so forth. A century later they were still in Israel, Some remained orthodox Jews who followed all of the Torah and also believed in Jesus.

A Jewish Christian today is any Jew who follows Jesus. A Messianic Jew is a Jew or Gentile who follows Jesus and is a member of a Messianic Jewish Synagogue, where the Torah and Jewish holidays are observed, and Jesus the Messiah is preached.

That is the best I can do to clarify my understanding of Jewish identity.You are free to disagree. But I can tell you from the standpoint of being Jewish and a follower of Jesus, that people I have met in the church who confuse being a spiritual Jew with being a religious or cultural Jew are not too frequent anymore, but they can scare me. Some of them have been anti-Semites or just plain indifferent to Jews. They want me to renounce my culture and detach from family Jewish holidays.

This does not at all apply to you because you are sincere and trying to formulate your theology, using a combination of new information and resources from your past. You are very gung ho, which is great. I think after awhile you will be able to sniff out the old school doctrine without even having to do all the research. But for now, maybe the trick I showed you at the beginning will help.

I want you to know especially that I am glad you are sharing your views and am not at all offended.

Grow with God,
Robert

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9 Arlene February 15, 2014 at 3:24 am

For Robert….

Thank you for your reply and view of things Jewish.

There are certain things that Branham has come out with that I can agree with completely…and there are other things with which I am totally in disagreement. And this goes for most “high powered” Christians who have come out with their opinions on the way things work. I discard the bad and keep the good, or what appeals to my way of thinking.

We’ve been duped by many who have affected the “body of Christ”. Since I believed almost everything I heard from the pulpit when I was a “baby” Christian, I got myself into a mess of jumbled up theology. Then I quit going to church and began learning things on my own. It’s been a process of elimination, and I’m very much at peace in what I’ve rejected at this point.

Learning, or thinking about, Josh’s view of internal, spiritual growth is now most fascinating. And again, I will absorb what I feel appropriate and discard what I feel is not. What is most important is being able to discuss these things with others. I find that wonderful on this site.

Tensions get so high when I discuss what I have learned about the origin of the Jews, that I seldom speak of it now. However, I have seen on this posting site some genuine thinkers, for a change. And my purpose is not to offend anyone, and I’m glad I didn’t offend you. There are some lovely Jews that I know who are kind and sweet. And I also know some pretty wonderful Muslems as well. My best friend in my younger years was Roman Catholic. I don’t judge people by their race or religion….I tend to judge people by their attitude and actions. (I don’t like the word “judge”, but what else can I call it?)

Most people have seemed to form their own opinions on the Jewish question. This is by what they have been told, how they have lived, or what they have decided to be their own truth. I gave a lot of food for thought, and that’s what I intended to do.

I hear the term “Messianic Jews”, or “Jewish Christians”….but I never hear terms like “Mormon Christians”, or “Islamic Christians”. This struck me as being strange. Is it possible that two “religions” can combine and still believe the same things? Judaism is a world apart from beliefs of Christians. And I don’t believe that anyone can serve two masters….Mt. 6:24.

But, should anyone have questions, they should do research for themselves and come to their own conclusions. I’m no “spring chicken”, and I’ve graduated (several times) from the School of Hard Knocks. So, in this way, IF I’ve put the urge to research in someone’s mind, then I’ve done what I’ve set out to do.

I will leave this subject to those who wish to pursue more knowledge on it. Others, I will leave to their own opinions. All truth will be known some day in the future, and arguments about these things will apparently accomplish nothing.

Again, thank you for your insight….and your kindness!

In Christian love,

Arlene

10 Robert February 15, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Arlene,

I appreciate that you are self-educated in your spiritual knowledge, that you have learned through the baptism by fire of life experiences, or as you call it, the school of hard knocks. I’m just saying that the viewpoints you have adapted in your early journey concerning Jews are corrupted views originated from people who had ulterior motives in propelling themselves and used popular antisemitic sentiments that existed at the time in their localities in order to bolster themselves, in order to glorify their own importance, and fund their ministries. The teachings of anyone who makes a claim to be the last Prophet before the end times, like Branham, cannot be trusted. They did not come from above. They came from below. They made some claims that were to no avail because their hearts were not humble and they ignored what scriptures really say, and history has passed them by, just like it passed by the Spanish inquisitors.

I am not writing out of a viewpoint I learned secondhand. I am writing out of my own life. I have had rocks thrown at me by high school classmates calling me a Christ killer. I have encountered antisemitism elsewhere, but most of it was from people who defined themselves as Christians.

Starting in the 1970′s, a mass movement of Jews in America became Messianic Jews, hundreds of thousands of them. They joined Messianic synagogues and were persecuted both by churches and synagogues. Finally their persistence in good works won them acceptance and respect by mainline Christians. Some of the other Jewish denominations are just beginning to show some respect for them. They have turned out to be an effective influence in teaching Christians not to be antisemitic. The American Messianic Jews are loyal to Israel, even though the Israeli government presently denies them citizenship. They have been instrumental in promoting relationships between the US and Israel. The Israeli government invites representatives of the Messianic Jewish Alliance to show solidarity by marching in Israeli national parades.

When I personally became a follower of Jesus, I would never have done so at the time if it meant switching Gods or forsaking my Jewish heritage. When my older relatives pass away, we would plant trees for them in Israel. I believed the accounts of Moses. A friend introduced me to the OT prophecies that established Jesus as the Messiah of the Jews. In the NT, I read that after the resurrection, Jesus appeared incognito to two of the disciples on a road, and told them all about the Jewish scriptures that spoke of him and why he had to be crucified. Pontius Pilat even had a sign posted above the Cross “King of the Jews”. From that standpoint, if a Jew believes Jesus is the Messiah of the Jews, then that person is still a Jew. He practices an enlightened form of Judaism, not approved by the council of Jewish Rabbis, but still Judaism. His children are trained up in Jewish customs and belief and teachings of Jesus. When they are 13, they are Barmitzvahed and become spiritual adults in the community, and take their turn reading portions of the scriptures on the Sabbath. This is not a charade, it is a deeply felt and experienced lifestyle as a Jew believing in Jesus.

But I do agree with you now, that Jesus is not the only path for a Jew or a Muslim or a Buddhist, or an agnostic to find enlightenment. It is a path among many that opens to those who would benefit from it. The light shines its way into our blinded souls through whatever cracks in the veil it can find.

For the longest time Christians have been jealous of the status that Jews claim before God… the chosen people. It is called Jew envy. Paul tried to address this by writing that the mission of Christians to the Jews was by expression of their compassion and holiness to make Jews jealous of them. Unfortunately this advice was rarely followed until the most modern times. The best way to follow this is to pay less attention to doctrines and teachings and more to the Christ within. Admittedly, this does not come easy.

Shalom in the Messiah within,
Robert

11 Robert February 16, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Arlene,

Limited in time I can blog. Latest DNA evidence supports some Turks (alleged 13th tribe) were assimilated into Ashkinazi Jews descended from Israel, who were mostly from Kingdom of Judah including tribes of Judah, some of Benjamin, some mixture of all tribes, and the priestly (Kohan) tribe. If you check bible, Benjaminites were largely red-headed and left-handed. My wife and I are of Ashkinazi descent, all our grandparents from north and eastern Europe. My sister in law is red-headed and left-handed. My uncle the same. So we have Benjaminite genes mixed in. Don’t see much of that in Turkey.

Long history of persecution of Jews by peoples calling themselves Christian – crusaders, Early Roman Catholics, Spanish inquisitors, Martin Luther, on and on – led to counter-reaction by some of the Talmudic writers as a matter of self-defense and to discourage Jews from assimilating out of fear into Christianity (conversion under torture). When not persecuted, Jews have lived in harmony with Christians and Muslims. Judaism requires Jews to be hospital to outsiders and to respect all non-Jews as acceptable to God if they follow the Naohide laws.

Modern Jews do not hate any ethnic or religious group. The idea that Jews hate Christians is a deception of anti-Semitic propaganda. The Reform Jews embrace Christians. The local reform synagogue in Durham, NC bought, wrapped, and delivered Christmas presents for disadvantaged non-Jews in the area, then went out and ate out Chinese… this is a modern reform custom that departs from Orthodox dietary customs. Orthodox Jews keep strict dietary laws and aspire to keep all of the law and even a little extra to be on the safe side (good luck), the more mature members study Jewish Kabbalah which is an esoteric teaching leading to higher consciousness using Hebrew culture and OT symbols, even includes Christ.

None of these people hate Christians. Just don’t call them Christ-Killers and throw rocks at them, or as my mother in law experienced, had her head smashed into a store window. My mother was raped and thrown off a building when she was a child. She got over it and even dated a Christian for awhile, until my dad came along. None of my relatives hate Christians.

But on a one-to-one basis, people are people and do hurt each other. It’s people. not Jewishness. Jesus says forgive. Modern rabbis say forgive. The light beckons us to forgive. The ego wants revenge and to slander. This what neo-Nazi’s masquerading as the white Christian race are into. And they do much for women’s rights either.

I have met many Arabs. When you take the Arab-Jew conflict out of the equation we all get along very well; in fact the Arabs who are not terrorists are good natured, wise,
and easier to get along with than many Jews I know. The old saying…three Jews, four opinions. What a headache. In the bible, the promise to Abraham was given through the patriarchs, not Ismael or Esau. They have a different promise from God. Joseph rescued Jacob’s sons from famine and God rescued their decedents from Egypt, which began Passover and Judaism and the destiny of the Jews. The descendants of Esau were busy fulfilling a different destiny. But this is all literal interpretation.

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12 Robert February 16, 2014 at 11:08 pm

As for 10 lost tribes…. very shaky grounds. Some of that is anti-Semitic. Our hope is in the Christ within, not ethnic identify or prestige.

13 Robert February 17, 2014 at 1:22 am

Some of my info in Benjamin is inaccurate or unverified, but they did stick close to Judah. Other sources I just checked indicate that some percentage of the 10 tribes may have migrated to Europe first, and then the Southern Kingdom of Judah and Benjamin and priests came later and found a home among the previous tribes. So Ashkinazi’s may be more of a mixture, plus some ethic mixing that occurred along the way. The Ashkinazi and Sephardic Jews have strong DNA similarities.

14 Robert February 14, 2014 at 3:50 am

Josh,

If I go by first responses, most of your explanation resonates with my spirit. Peter represents the ego just beginning to be drawn to a life beyond it. He is learning to become aware of his limitations, that his fear, guilt and dependence on the physical senses obstructs him, and that flashes of insight point in a new direction. He stumbles and falls, experiences a few dramatic supernatural manifestations, and had a few victories. He draws people to Jesus. Paul when he is seasoned, knows all the ropes, knows the answers to everything, accomplishes a lot, transplants the deeper guidance leading to the Christ within.

But then, you know, I have this other aspect of me that automatically looks for exceptions to the rule. One of them is the account of Paul and his group during the beginning of his missionary journeys being stranded, everything going wrong, sick and starving, being subject to adversity almost to the point of death, before they finally respond to a vision of an angel telling them to change directions and not go to Asia, but to Greece. This troubles me. Any suggestions?

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15 Justin February 14, 2014 at 9:31 am

To me the vision leading them to Greece, instead of Asia, is an example of the soul moving a person. Think about your life, have you ever had a time when you had a plan but you felt pulled to go in another direction? I believe that we, the real us not the ego/image in the mirror, have a plan for each life. As the ego/image in the mirror becomes more in tune with the real us we see that plan more and more. Sometimes the details of that plan are fuzzy other times, like the one you mention, they come through in amazing detail.

Just some of my thoughts though, chew on them and see how they fill to your soul.

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16 Joshua Tilghman February 14, 2014 at 9:47 am

Justin,

I just saw this reply published after I responded to Robert. I believe you are right on, especially when we consider the mental plane.

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17 Robert February 16, 2014 at 5:05 pm

So there is a continuum in progression from Peter who beholds Jesus and Paul who beholds Christ, and the two may overlap.

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18 Joshua Tilghman February 14, 2014 at 9:36 am

Lol, Robert. Don’t worry, my mind works the same way. I immediately had more than a few scenarios with Paul that I had to work out before my conclusion. But in my opinion that’s the wonderful thing about this blog…we are all trying to find the deeper meaning of the scriptures together. Perhaps someone will even disagree with my overall assessment of this entire series and then offer something different!

Despite a few scenarios in the scriptures which need be addressed, I still think Paul represents the virgin mind. A similar issue to what you have described above about being out of place is the “thorn of Paul’s flesh” constantly nagging him. But when we break this down, it actually seems to fit perfectly.

When we come to a place of realizing what the ego is, and the need to transcend it, it doesn’t simply go away. We are still in the midst of the storms of life, and the nagging lower ego will always be there until the transformation is complete. But Paul himself isn’t this transformation. Paul is simply the virgin mind, which sees the ego for what it is, and is especially needed for the Gentiles who have not perfected soul qualities within the mental plane yet. Paul, unlike Peter, doesn’t waver. He is determined to keep going to the end of the race simply because he, as the virgin mind, realizes the need beyond the ego. He has realized the nature of the lower ego and understands that this is what needs to be transcended through the spiritual ego, or the higher self.

You mention that the Angel causes them to give up on Asia and go to Greece, where obviously much work is needed as he spends a lot of time there. Greece represents the mental plane in scripture. I believe Paul is led here because it is another symbol for the person who has to evolve spiritually within the mental plane. What better person could there be to fulfill this calling other than Paul!

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19 Robert February 15, 2014 at 9:39 pm

Josh,

As the Blogfather of this blogsite, I regret to inform you of my Valentines’ Day Massacre. Yes, this Valentine’s day I was lined up against the wall and confronted by my better half, toting double-barreled machine guns, about my ‘blogoholism”.

“Blogaholism? Not me!” I protested.. “I’m not like the others. I can stop any time.”

That’s when she pulled da triggers.

And then I had to agree not to blog until certain “things” were accomplished.

I knew you would understand. It happens to the best of us. The withdrawal is going to be rough, but I know my buddies will be rooting for me. I figure if I am going to suffer this much, I might as well unplug the TV also.

The “things” are next to impossible, but that hasn’t stopped me before. I have to get a good paying job, preferably in San Diego, so we can move outa Dodge (Durham, NC).closer to the kids. Also, I can’t go around dressed sloppily around the house like Einstein anymore. I think she’ll settle for the first thing. Then I’ll be back on the net in no time at all.

Signing off, Roger Dodger, Over and Out,
Robert

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20 Tommy February 14, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Robert,
I don’t know if this will help, but I’m going to channel the Gnostic father of depth psychology Carl Jung here. All literature, scripture, myth, movies, what have you, have as their root certain archetypes imprinted upon the human mind — universal psyche or soul if you will. We see the same themes played out over and over again in different artistic expressions across all cultures throughout time. The great myth-archetype is everywhere the same regardless of its key actors and story lines. In our story telling, which is what Acts is, a story, we want our heroes to overcome storms, the forces of evil, what have you, because we are afraid to confront them on our own. This fear, which our hero Paul confronts for us, is in Gnostic terms darkness and represents evil. Our metaphysical hero, the angel, is light and represents good. Light overcomes the darkness and Paul is rescued. This so Paul can go on and rescue the rest of us from our fear of death by promising a way out. The way we are hard wired we cannot have a good hero without an opposing evil force, represented by the storm, sickness, starvation, etc. Let’s not miss seeing that Paul is in the middle between darkness and light. This is our own predicament. This interplay of good and evil, fear and security, represents something going on at the subconscious level. It is the soul-psyche striving for certainty and wholeness (life) against the prospect of oblivion and disintegration (death). We all want the same thing in the end — to be immortal. The significance of the change in course from the Gnostic point of view is that Greece represents souls receptive to the light, which is Christ, while Asia represents souls not receptive to the light.
I hope this helps,
Tommy

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21 Justin February 14, 2014 at 6:07 pm

All very true and great points Tommy! But we must remember that Good needs Evil and Light needs Darkness. Without one the other does not exist. The great experiment that is life a journey of discovery for the soul, for God! We must experience the darkness, the need to be saved, to understand the light and salvation. In this there truly is no evil, only experiences that are unpleasant to the soul.

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22 Thomas February 15, 2014 at 10:40 am

Exactly, Justin. We even see this in nature in the process of evolution. We see it in physics. Resistance and opposing forces actually hold all things together at the atomic level. It’s amazing how nature can reveal God and higher knowledge. Thanks!

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23 Thomas February 15, 2014 at 10:42 am

I have to figure out why I show up as ‘Thomas’ sometimes. I’m the same guy. It just occurred to me — Thomas means twin. ; )
Tommy

24 Tommy February 14, 2014 at 9:22 am

Beautiful Josh. Spoken like a true Gnostic! : ) The third article I’m working on about Gnosticism dives into the deep end and compliments this very well.
Tommy

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25 Justin February 14, 2014 at 3:53 pm

I have been having this persistent thought the past couple of weeks pertaining to the arguments surrounding the miracles that occur in the Bible . What if the stories have more literal truth that we think? What if awaking the Christ within and being born again unlocks something quite tangible within us? What if it allows for not just spiritual/emotional/mental healing but the ability to physically heal another (even resurrect the dead)? What if the historical Jesus was able to do such things, it is said that the Buddha could teleport, heal, and walk on water as well. What if the Apostles who knew the historical figure Jesus did believe, at first at least, that was “the messiah” because he had been born again as a Son of God; and only after hearing his teachings came to realize the truth?

In my thinking on these ideals I have found that they do not change anything in my belief system, in fact they only add to the potential majesty that is part of being a soul.

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26 Brian February 14, 2014 at 5:03 pm

What is the born again experience?

A lot of people report it as a tangible psychological event and the language they use to describe it has a reasonably common theme to it.

However, is the experience dependent upon the existence of a God and or of Jesus being the Son of God, our only true saviour? I think it is likely that much of those trimmings are a sort tribal hypnosis or religious artefact.

Can somebody from a non-Christian tribe have a similar experience?

Can an agnostic or atheist have a similar experience, which they perhaps attribute to a sudden flash of insight into a complex problem, which they may have been frustrated by for some time?

Is David Thorau describing a similar personal internal experience in these famous words:
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

A psychologist on a recent radio program, convinced the interviewer that she could induce an experience analogous to a religious conversion, without mentioning any religious figures or ideas. And in the opinion of the interviewer, she succeded; she suddenly felt overwhelmed by the beauty of the world and an incredible love for her fellow beings. And she assured us that there had been absolutely no reference to any religious symbols. Rather, the psychologist (hypnotist??) had anchored memories of great love and beauty, which she had been able to stack one upon the other until it induced a spontaneous emotional overload, leading to sobbing, etc.

A lot of meditators also seem to report similar emotional experiences.

Arthur Koestler wrote a very readable book on the subject of sudden insight, entitled The Act of Creation.

It is well worth a read, for a number of reasons, related to how our minds seem to work and how we can use it to our best advantage.

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27 Justin February 14, 2014 at 5:35 pm

I have no doubt that the Born Again experience has nothing to do with Religion, the character Jesus, or an external God. Rather it is the realization of the soul within… it is more than a moment of beauty, though it is that, it is more than a mere belief that you are saved, though it may contain that as well, it is the acquisition of Gnosis, divine knowledge (self knowledge). To be born again is to know, not believe, that you are the creator of your world; you are the alpha and the omega, you are the provider, consumer, and by product of all that you see and feel.

We have spoken on SOS on the fact that looking to an external God for help is denying your inner God the chance to be great, to be known. The same is true for other people in your world, in the end they cannot do anything other be a guide ( a guide that I believe our souls conjure).

So you ask can an atheist be born again, YES! In their own way, on their own terms, in their own time for they are God.

You mention psychologist making others feel like they have had a religious conversion with out religion, this is rather easy to do… Every time I watch Remember the Titans I experience the beauty of life (the scene where Bertier and Cambell come together and create an unshakeable bond while at camp gets me every time.) Or when you stand on top of a mountain in the desert and look out over the majesty that is untouched nature, how can anyone in that position not feel stricken by awe at the shear beauty around them? The difference between these events and being born again is not the feeling but the knowing that comes after. I can experience a moment of beauty and watch it fade, but when you see a glimpse of the God within you change you cannot ignore the soul once it has been seen.

You mention a wonderful quote by Thorau;
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
Of course this part of being born again! The soul knows its path, its the ego that gets in the way (for the ego believes it is in charge), a dream (a true dream not just a passing fancy) is nothing more than the soul shouting its desire so loudly that even the ego must acknowledge it.

I will need to look into the book you mention, i find may of the books mentioned by followers of SOS to be thought provoking (and I enjoy a good internal debate)

Im sure that after reading all of this that some will disagree with me on the meaning of “Born Again” but that’s the beauty of it, each person controls there experience. The true mystery to me is this:

Are we the top level of consciousness OR is there something even greater that is in a battle to understands itself and we are the pieces in it trying to do the same? Is like a Spiritual Inception?

Jake

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28 Robert February 14, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Justin,

My thoughts on this are not very different than Brian’s. I would just like to add that there are those of us who would remain blind because of our ignorance and conditioning if we had not been touched by some spiritual catalyst. For many of us, that catalyst was Jesus, whether the accounts of him are literal or allegorical or combination thereof. The question is can that catalyst be something or someone else? If so, the next question would be, can that something or someone be the same source as the Christ.? If that is true, then the next question is, is the bible Christ designed particularly for the Hebrew mindset during Jesus’ time and whosoever would respond to it thereafter, or is it a more complete characterization of the source to which all spirituality must eventually surrender to as the fullest version of the truth? In other words, if Christ had not literally become an atonement an an example through Jesus, as claimed in the bible, would every other spirituality not work? The bible claims that once this happened it became true for all time, past, present, and future. I am limited in seeing what is going to play out in the future, so I cannot answer this question. All I can do is follow the path I am on and stay teachable. We are told that the Tao is beyond normal conceptualization. The more I am still, the more certain I am of something good I cannot describe, and the more it leaves all this questioning far behind.

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29 Brian February 20, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Hi Robert.

You conclude, “The more I am still, the more certain I am of something good I cannot describe, and the more it leaves all this questioning far behind.”

As an effective existential behaviour for an individual, who can disagree? “Don’t just do something; sit there!” (and think!).

But should we abandon the questioning forever?

Here is Korzybski’s critique of the act of putting too much faith in a non-referential symbol (a symbol that is beyond empirical discovery, like God.)

“As an historical fact, many ‘philosophers’ have played an important and, to be frank, sinister role in history. At the bottom of any historical trend, we find a certain ‘philosophy’, a structural implication cleverly formulated by some ‘philosophers’ gamble on multiordinal and el (elementalist ) terms, which have no definite single (one-valued)meaning, and so, by cleverness in twisting , can be made to appear to mean anything desired. It is now no mystery that some quite influential ‘philosophers’ were ‘mentally’ ill. Some ‘mentally’ ill persons are tremendously clever in the manipulation of words and can sometimes deceive even trained specialists. Among the clever concoctions which appear in history as ‘philosophic’ systems, we can find flatly opposing doctrines. Therefore, it has not been difficult at any period for the rulers to select a cleverly constructed doctrine perfectly fitting the ends they desired.

One of the main characteristics of such ‘philosophers’ is found in the delusion of grandeur, the ‘Jehovah complex’. Their problems have appeared to them to be above criticism or assistance by other human beings, and the correct procedure known only to super-men like themselves. So quite naturally they have usually refused to make enquiries. They have refused even to be informed about scientific researches carried on outside the realms of their ‘philosophy’. (Korzybski (1933): Science And Sanity.

Does this not describe the group delusion found among the various groups of fundamentalist true believers? Their faith denies them the possibility that what they currently believe could ever possibly be wrong.

Here is Bob Dylan’s masterful poem about where such insane dogma can lead us: http://rock.rapgenius.com/Bob-dylan-with-god-on-our-side-lyrics

Yes, let’s pause and meditate if it enhances the quality of our thinking; but to cease our questioning, altogether, is to abandon our humanity.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain

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30 Robert February 20, 2014 at 11:36 pm

Brian,at

Your caveat to my statement about being still is very appropriate. There is time to be still and a time to question. During the time to be still, there is a phenomena which the Zen people call “think without thinking”. In mindfulness people practice “observation without judgement”. There is enlightenment as a result of what Buddha taught as “emptying the mind”. If you have ever met someone whose mind is hysterical with anticipating negative events, and going round and round, and you try unsuccessfully to talk them out of it, and then you just gently touch them on the arm …. sometimes it interrupts the downward spiral and they calm down. Einstein said sometimes we can’t find an answer because we are asking the wrong question. That is the time to be still and intuit insight.

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31 RogerV August 3, 2014 at 11:33 am

Hi Joshua,

I have very much enjoyed your series on Paul and in many respects saw that my own conclusions were much the same as yours. This was so for the first two installments but not so much the third. I don’t really see the other writings that became New Testament canon as really evidencing of an inner spiritual revelation in the same or similar vein as Paul. The Synoptic Gospels I see as part exoteric historical (though certainly garbled and not 100% trustworthy in that respect), part theological agenda motivated, partly driven to compete in the Hellenistic religion market place such as the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke, and part occasional spilling of the beans where a glimmer of esoteric wisdom slips through. So, say, the Gospel of John – I don’t see that being the product of inner gnosis in the manner of Paul’s initial conversion experience, but of cognitive philosophical speculation applied in a religious context.

The reason I believe the other writings (other than Paul’s) are much more exoteric instead of esoteric is that only Paul is explicit in making known the mystical manner by which he came to his new understanding. No other writer in the NT describes anything remotely like that. My rule of thumb is to first take things at face value until given compelling cause to do otherwise. Instead of citing mystical experience, these other authors talk at times about their source materials, such as the Luke/Acts author does. In Acts, when getting to the We section, there is practically literal proof in the text itself of these prosaic source materials that were drawn on. It is well known that Matthew and Luke both redacted Mark, also probably something that is called Q, I wrote an article to make the case that all of the Synoptic Gospels redacted from the Gospel of Thomas, and then the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke look to be made up out of thin air (for marketing purposes). We then see a wee bit of esoteric thought slipping through such as Luke 17:20-21 (probably just by accident of the redaction process of the authors coupled to them not being theologically savvy enough to detect the variance they were introducing – just as the majority of modern Christians would be).

All these other NT authors look to be motivated via the exoteric information that became proto-orthodox and then became the Catholic Church. Paul, I grant looks to have been driven by an experience of Awakening gnosis. He latter looses the tune, though, when in Romans he starts to exotericly attempt to rationalize his new beliefs so as to achieve some sort of harmonization with Judaism. There he ties his new mystical revelation back to the old original sin and Christ as propitiation for all people. In other words, he was still a slave to Judaic blood sacrifice theology and wasn’t so spiritually enlighten an individual after all.

In my follow on article to Dating the Gospel of Thomas, I will endeavor to show that there was another individual that underwent a gnostic Awakening experience at likely very much the same time frame as you deduced for Paul – that they were experiencing a true spiritual realm phenomena operating in the same temporal context for Earth and in the same locale, and with respect to some of the same audience. That person will be identified as Yeshua.

By the way, there is an evidence that does indicate that the crucifixion and resurrection were historical events and that those NT writers were followers of that exoteric event and its implications. The dating of the Shroud of Turin to the 12th century got overturned as it became clear that the dating was done on repair cloth that was done in that time frame. The weave difference of the repair material and the original material made that evident. So everything forensically determined about the Shroud is in complete agreement with the possibility of it being the burial shroud of the historic personage Yeshua the Nazarene. A photographic likeness of the shroud person has even been produced from the shroud using computer techniques. This is because the shroud image encodes true 3D information from which such a higher fidelity image could be reconstructed yielding a true likeness.

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32 Joshua Tilghman September 7, 2014 at 9:24 am

RogerV,

First of all thank you for the informative comment. You make some very interesting points here. I am inclined to believe as you that the Gospels were originally formed from the Gospel of Thomas, but I have been hesitate to outright say this because we cannot definitely prove the dating of that Gospel. In your opinion, what’s the best evidence for such an early dating.

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