Understanding the Messianic Prophecies, Part I

by Robert Engelbach on February 28, 2015

bible manuscriptBy the time Jesus is said to have appeared in Jerusalem, the rabbis knew that the scriptures described two archetypes of Messiah – a humiliated Messiah, known as the Suffering Servant, who in the tradition of the prophets would be scorned by his peers while attempting to touch men’s hearts regarding the issues of sin; and an exalted Messiah, known as the Triumphant King, who in the tradition of an idealized King David, would restore Israel to world prominence and also usher in a Golden Age where the lion would sit down with the lamb. Suffering Servant or Triumphant King, uncertain of how these contradictory traits would be combined, rabbis have tried throughout history to resolve this by proposing various scenarios.

Four Scenarios for the Messiah

One scenario presumes that the Messiah existed from the creation of the world and came to earth when the Second Temple was destroyed. In this scenario, he is now hiding out, suffering affliction with his people until the day when Israel hears God’s voice and repents. Only then will he be called out by God to be an exalted savior who redeems Israel. This scenario was eventually abandoned by the rabbis because it sounded too much like the Christian version, the difference being that his suffering occurs after the destruction of the Second Temple. This scenario sounded so close to the Christian’s version that it could make Jewish people too susceptible to Christian evangelism, threatening their continued existence as an ethnic and religious entity.

Another scenario predicts that the Messiah would be exalted coming “with the clouds of heaven” as described in Daniel 7:13, but only if the Jewish people are worthy, otherwise he would come “poor and riding upon a donkey” as described in Zechariah 9:9.

The third scenario proposes there would be two different Messiahs. There would be “Messiah ben Joseph” who fights, suffers extreme humiliation, and is pierced in fulfillment of prophesy in Zechariah 12:10, “They shall look unto Me who they have pierced”. And there would be “Messiah ben David” who will show up a later and to whom God says in Psalm 2:7, “I will declare the decree, the Lord hath said unto me, ‘Thou art my Son, this day I have begotten thee. Ask of me and I shall give thee the nations for thy ben inheritance’.” We will discuss Messiah ben Joseph and Messiah ben David in more detail in future parts of this series

The Gospel surprises us with a fourth scenario unforeseen by the rabbis- the same Messiah would appear at the beginning of the Messianic age as Suffering Servant to atone for the sins of the people, and then return at the end of the age as the Exalted One to establish his Kingdom forever. This is the version described in the New Testament and a foundational belief of mainstream Christianity.

Contrary to misinformed popular opinion, the Gospels do not attribute rejection of Jesus by the Jewish people directly to the Jewish people. The Gospels attribute the rejection of Jesus by the ruling authorities of Israel as the result of political intrigue. During the Roman occupation of Israel, the Jewish Kings and High Priests were not the legitimate heirs of their offices according to biblical custom. They were either substitutes who were allowed to rule or appointed by the Roman prelates so as to ensure submission of the Jewish people to Roman rule and collection of taxes. According to the Gospels, Jesus’s popular following of a belief in a kingdom other than that of Rome threatened this comfortable arrangement between Rome and its lackeys, and so the Jewish King Herod and High Priest Caiaphas conspired to have Jesus eliminated.

Alienation of the Jewish People from the Suffering Servant

Multitudes of first century Jews became Jesus’s followers and were generally accepted by the other Jewish people they lived among who were not his followers, although the Jewish followers were persecuted at times by the Jewish rulers. It was not until several centuries later, when Christianity emerged from Rome as a dominant political force, that the rabbis began to worry about the potential threat of Christianity to their cultural survival. Pagan Rome had destroyed their Temple and run them off of their land. Now Christian Rome was putting pressure on the scattered Jewish populations to renounce their Jewish identity and convert to a Gentile expression of Christianity. This would have meant the end of them as a covenant people. They believed, and still believe, God through King Messiah would restore them to their native Israel; and they looked forward, and still look forward, with hope and supplication for that day. Therefore, as a countermeasure against evangelism, the rabbis wanted Jesus to be regarded as the “Christian” instead of Jewish Messiah, and purposely underemphasized the Suffering Servant aspect and his mission.

Jewish man at Wailing WallThat tactic was successful in preserving the Jewish population so that they could one day return to their land. The downside of is that it eliminated many opportunities for the Jewish people to turn to their Messiah as Suffering Servant during those perilous times of persecution.

Those times have continued on and off until this very day. The recent threat by ISIS and fading sympathy for Israel from some Christian alliances has caused Israel to dig a deeper self-protective trench around itself. This has polarized the Arab-Israeli crisis to a higher intensity and level of risk. Perhaps a silver lining is the reaction of Muslims to ISIS threatening them also; they are beginning to talk about reassessing archaic Islamic traditions founded on 7th century political entanglement, and to reinterpret them so as to be more practical for thriving in the 21st century.

In reaction to persecution and pressure from Christianity to convert and assimilate, the rabbis in the Middle Ages tried to save themselves a lot of headaches by systematically removing dozens of Messianic passages from the weekly Sabbath readings from the prophets. These included:

    1. The passage about the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
    2. (Isaiah 53:1-12), The passage read by Jesus in his home synagogue at the start of his ministry announcing, The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” (Isaiah 61:1,2a).
    3. And also the promise of a new covenant, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more”

. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

Christ is bornThere are a multitude of speculative explanations given by the rabbis as to why they removed all the prophetic passages other than that they caused trouble by making their congregants more susceptible to conversion. But when all is said and done, the schedule of weekly reading looks like a block of Swiss cheese with holes wherever the prophetic passages were. For further discussion of this aspect, refer to an article unexpectedly appearing in one of the two major Israeli newspapers, Haaretz, http://www.haaretz.com/news/what-happened-to-jesus-haftarah-1.166699. With that in mind, let us now examine some of these prophecies.

The Promise to Eve

God promises Eve that from her seed would come a heroic figure who would be wounded while striking a crushing blow to the serpent who Satan used to deceive her.

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head and you will bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15).

When Cain was born, it was natural to assume he would be that hero. Eve remarks “I have obtained the man, the Angel of the Lord”. (Genesis 3:5). The name Cain means “Acquirer”. Perhaps he embodies the ego’s desire to acquire by whatever means available. He is warned by God that he can acquire the same blessing as his younger brother, Abel, by not giving into the lower nature, by not reacting out of jealousy and rage to commit murder just because his brother’s sacrifice of meat from the animals his brother raised was acceptable to God, and Cain’s sacrifice of vegetables from the crops he raised was not. He could have traded with Abel, crops for meat, to make an acceptable sacrifice. When his countenance sinks, God exhorts Cain that despite his setback he has the potential to choose correctly. “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Geneses 4:7). The Hebrew word translated as ”accepted” also means “lifted”, as in being applied to “lifting his countenance”. But Cain does not exercise that potential and suffers the consequences of his actions as a combination of judgment mixed with grace – he is allowed to live, but cursed to be an exiled wanderer instead of running the family farm. Perhaps like Eve, his consciousness was not yet developed enough to know how rule over sin. God said he must rule over it, but in this early part of Genesis he does recommend how.

With Cain and his younger brother no longer qualified to be the heroic seed, Eve give’s birth to her third son Seth. Seth means “fixed, placed or appointed”. He is appointed to carry on the promise of the heroic seed.

These teachings from the book of Genesis were never considered to be literal by the rabbis. They were “metaphors with morals”, as were most of the Genesis stories. They gave lessons on ethics while offering an interesting story about how everything came into being “in the beginning”.

“In the beginning” is the translation of the Hebrew title for this book, “Bereshit”. The first chapters tell the story about a God whose first act of creation is to speak “Let there be light.” The Hebrew name for God used here is “Elohim which is a plural form for god. But the verbs “created” and “spoke” are in the singular form. Thus we have a plural God who acts as a single entity. Some will say this is evidence of a composite unity: a Creator who issues an executive command, a Holy Spirit which is an agent that hovers over the void to bring about the desired result, and a Light that penetrates creation. This is not physical light. This Light was created before there was physical darkness and objects like the sun, moon and stars that gave off physical light. This is the Light that enlightens consciousness and is the principle of everything, if you will, the Logos.

The moral warnings in Genesis are very serious stuff on paper, but they are meant to be more corrective than punitive in practical life. The first chapters remind me of what my wife says when we get to the dessert section of a buffet line, “If you eat from the fruit thereof, you will surely diet.”

Conclusion

The Jewish people looked forward to a heroic figure as promised to Eve, the manifestation of which would not always be the most obvious, natural choice. Redemption would come through the line of an appointed heir, not necessarily following the natural tradition of the first born.

The two archetypes of Messiah – Suffering Servant and Triumphant King – described in their scriptures and rabbinical commentaries, perplexed the Jewish people. When the opportunity came for them as a nation to recognize Jesus as the Suffering Servant who would return as Triumphant King, the way to their enlightenment was thwarted by political intrigue imposed by their Roman occupiers. The struggle between Romanized Christianity trying to acquire dominant control of the known world, and the Jewish people trying to preserve their identity and culture in that world, resulted in mutually de-Judaizing Christianity and de-Christianizing Judaism.

In succeeding parts of this series we will explore Messianic prophecies as they enfold chronologically. We shall see that, as the Jewish people evolved, these prophecies began to shift from allegorical to historical, from “metaphors with morals” to foretelling events that match historical records and archeological findings. They point to a time and place when the Suffering Servant Messiah was to appear in the material world and the effect it would have on it. Because the effect did indeed occur as foretold, critics would be hard pressed (hint, hint) to dismiss the Gospel Messiah as a forgery.

Reference

“What the Rabbis Know about the Messiah, A study of Genealogy and Prophecy” by Rachmiel Frydland. http://www.amazon.com/What-Rabbis-Know-About-Messiah/dp/0917842030

Joshua Tilghman March 1, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Robert,

A nice historical piece for us to consider. Thank you.

I do have a strong opinion on this one and why the Jewish people have had trouble with the two different archetypes that the Biblical prophecies seem to present. The problem arises when we take them literal of course. You’re part two hints at the fact that you will give some good info as to why we might possibly take these literally, so I am very interested to see where you go with it.

The two different archetypes of the suffering and triumphant messiah are necessary according to an esoteric understanding of how the Christ comes within us. But really there are more archetypes than two, especially in the New Testament. For example, we have:

1. Jesus of the Gospels
2. Jesus as the Son of God
3. Jesus as the Son of Man
4. Jesus as the mortal
5. Jesus, the severe and turbulent
6.Jesus as the Fish
7. Jesus as the Lamb
8. Jesus as the servant
9. Jesus the King and Triumphant

The list goes on, and they all represent different expressions of each individual soul on the journey. They cannot really be understood without an in-depth study and knowledge of the lower and higher self, the five bodies of man (including the causal body), etc. I believe the Jews and Christians wait in vain for the messiah because they fail to realize that the messiah is simply a symbol for the higher self born in the soul through the development of the causal body.

The prophecy to Eve symbolizes a struggle within the individual. I quote Gaskell on the topic of the serpent bruising the heel:

“An ethical distinction shall be drawn between the sense nature with it’s appetites and delights, and the higher emotion nature; and through this distinction shall the struggle within the soul proceed. From this conflict between the higher and lower, the result shall be that the lower mental (head) directivity of desire, or lower will, shall be crushed out the by divine nature of the Christ grown up in the soul, and this will lead to the dissipation of the lower part of the soul (heel).”

Joseph Campbell once said:

“A day arrives when man becomes aware of a dual nature within him, a divine and an earthly, one in which he shares with the Gods, and one which he is in common with the brutes. But he pays a heavy price for his self-knowledge. Henceforth he is at war with himself, the God and the serpent within him fighting for mastery…The whole upward progress of humanity towards the stature of the superman has been a continuous bruising of the serpent’s head: but in the process we have to suffer; the heel that tramples down the evil has to feel the serpent’s fangs.”

Therefore we have the two confusing literal interpretations of both the suffering and triumphant messiah resolved. We must suffer, but we will triumph in the end.

I look forward to seeing part 2 and where you are going with this. Thanks Robert.

Robert March 1, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Josh,

I forgot to mention that as I see it, the two particular archetypes of Suffering Servant and Triumphant King include all the other archetypes you mentioned, as part of one or the other. The importance here is that the hidden solution to resolving this apparent contradiction of these two archetypes is what has been driving the wheels of history to validate the Gospel Messiah, Israel’s present rejection of this Messiah as “proof by contradiction” because it validates the prophecy anticipating Israel’s temporary rejection, as I shall explain in Part II. That is why the organization of the all of Messiah’s attributes into these two archetypes is so important.

Robert March 1, 2015 at 6:31 pm

Josh,

Thanks for skillfully challenging parts of my hypothesis and putting a lot of your conviction into it. I am inclined to agree with a lot of your reasoning about the allegorical impact of biblical scriptures being extremely valuable. If I had to choose between the allegorical and the literal/historical paths, I would choose the allegorical hand down, because like most SOS readers, it resonates with every fiber of my being.

The question I will continue to be raising in this series of posts, is whether there are treatments of the literal/historical and the allegorical that resonate with each other, instead of the situation we seem to have now with the traditional church apologetics and allegorical approaches contradicting each other. I lay most of the blame on the apologetics conducted by people who have not progressed very far along the path to higher consciousness. I find their statements deceiving and offensive when I am on the other side of the table from them, so to speak. But I do not think these people are spiritually deficient. They are just doing what is natural for them to do at their stage of spiritual development. They are my friends. They are the other side of a conversation that makes mine more interesting, and vice versa.

But as I shall begin to emphasize in part III, I think the approach using historical records to validate the literal interpretation of selected passages, when presented in a way different from the traditional church’s defensive and dogmatic style, will more easily complement and enhance the impact of the allegorical message.

I believe it was necessary for Gaskell and Campbell to diverge from and criticize the literal/historical approach because the approach in their day was so chock full of half-truths, arm twisting, and bombastic rhetoric, that it would have blinded them from obtaining the deeper understandings; and been an obstacle in passing them on. Whatever is was then, a lot of it still is now. So we are reacting to the same problems they had, and identify with their proposed solutions. We would be blind and lost without them.

I am proposing a new approach, a midcourse correction if you will – not to throw the historical/literal baby out with the bathwater, but instead, clean it up, and allow it to do what the spirit intended it to do – validate the allegorical.

Most importantly, I need to clarify what I intended to mean by inserting “(hint, hint)” right after a premise. I meant it as an open invitation to challenge the premise, which I believed many would think was shaky, including myself to some extent. I was trying to hint that if ever there was a place in my presentation to challenge me, this was it. I did not realize the ambiguity at the time, that it could also be interpreted as a nasty jab. This is one of my acknowledged weaknesses. It is a bummer in relationships also. I take responsibility for the miscommunication and will try to be clearer in the future. But if you see (hint, hint) in part II, which I have already submitted, please interpret it as I have described, that I have purposely left a door open for dispute.

Paul March 2, 2015 at 4:57 pm

Robert:

With apologies in advance for this post, I want to thank you for this valuable contribution. It raises some issues that I think need to be brought to the table as it relates to the “historical” Jesus (and perhaps some that even you have not considered). As you know, I don’t believe in the historical Jesus, or for that matter, a biblically historical anything. Contrary to popular and cultural belief, I don’t believe there is ANY history in the Bible. However, it is written for the express purpose of “blinding you.” On the surface this seems like a preposterous statement.

Let me present the evidence.

Of first import, Scripture says that the things of God are to be spiritually discerned, as opposed to naturally discerned:

(14) But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him. Neither can he know, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14).

Notice the words “natural” and “spiritual” here, because a distinction is made between the two. To read the Bible literally is to read it naturally, or in the letter. Two catch-phrases I can think of here are (i) “it says what it says and it means what it says,” and (ii) “God said it, Jesus did it, I believe it, and that settles it.” While the passion here is admirable, is it correct? The words of scripture are to be spiritually discerned.

We can see in Matthew that the scriptures are intentionally written so that you would NOT understand them (i.e., unless you fulfill certain requirements):

(10) And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speak thou unto them in parables? (11) He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. (12) For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. (13) Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. (14) And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: (15) For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with eyes, and hear with ears, and should understand with heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (16) But blessed your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear (Matt. 13:10-16).

The “they” and “them” in this passage pertain to the multitudes, while the “you” and “your” pertain to the “disciples of Christ,” the “chosen ones.”

Notice a very hidden concept here that if fully understood can help us make a great connection that will cause us to come to a more complete understanding of what is being said. Notice that Jesus is here speaking to his disciples. This is actually spiritual instruction. It is the Christ within that reveals to us the truth of the scriptures, IF we go to the Christ within. The sole purpose of the scriptures is to “lead us to Christ.” Notice:

(39) Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (40) And you will not come to me, that ye might have life (John 5:39-40).

My thoughts on all of this are that you simply cannot come to an understanding of who and what Christ is through Bible-based study. The thousands of denominations within Christianity alone speak to the confusion surrounding the intent of the spiritual writers. It is the spirit within you that gives you the answers you seek. The entire purpose of Bible-based study is to “bring you to Christ”:

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher (Rom. 10:14).

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures (Luke 24:45).

It is Christ, the spirit within you, that is the “preacher.”

Hidden from the Wise and Prudent

As we see from the Matthew 13 dissertation, the intent of the spiritual writers is to intentionally obscure the spiritual meaning of the text. This fact is further corroborated by the following scripture:

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight (Luke 10:21).

Let’s consider this scripture for a minute. The intent of the Bible is to obscure the meaning of its message. It does this by using everyday terms in its language, but in Scripture these terms have vastly different meanings than those used in our secular culture. For example, the Jerusalem of the Bible is not the Jerusalem of the Middle East, and a biblical Jew is not one who comes from the nation of Israel. This is a source of great confusion to Bible students – and perhaps most our readers, as well — and is a primary cause of much of the dissension and disagreement among its adherents; and of course it becomes super easy to see how writing it in the way it is written would cause the mass confusion that exists today regarding it.

In essence, the Bible is written in “another tongue,” or “another language.” In order to understand its message it is critical to understand the language in which it is written. This is part of what is referenced in Acts 2 and 1 Cor. 14.

Here are some examples of “speaking in tongues,” annotated in bold and double parentheses:

For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circumcision, which is outward in the flesh (Rom 2:28). ((a biblical Jew is not from Jerusalem – a biblical Jew is a matter of the heart)).

“Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee” (Psalms 68:29). “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). ((The phrase “temple at Jerusalem” and variants thereof occur seventeen times in the KJV. Could the writers be trying to tell us something? Note that scripture tells us that “you are the temple,” and that YOU are where the spirit of God dwells.))

And about the “Land of Jerusalem”:

In the courts of the LORD’S house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD. (Psalms 116:19). ((YOU are the house of God (Heb. 3:6), and thus the Jerusalem of the Bible, the “City of God,” is within you (in the courts of the Lord’s house). Of course this is true because the Kingdom of God is within you, and the “New Jerusalem” comes out of heaven as a bride adorned for her husband. In addition, Christ comes “to his temple,” which is in “Jerusalem.” Is it a stretch to consider that the City of God is within the Kingdom of God?))

But What About Scriptural Prophecies?

There are many signs that point to the alleged fulfillment of Bible prophecy, and we generally view these signs as proof of the literal existence of God and Jesus, and of the veracity of the literal interpretation of the Bible. Once again, consider the wisdom of the spiritual writers, who obviously knew how to throw the multitudes for a loop. I find all of this to be nothing short of incredible!

And then we find this:

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders ((fulfillment of Bible prophecy???)) insomuch that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect (Matt. 24:24).

Fascinating! Could it be that among the “false Christs” is the literal Christ? I ask this because the spirit of false Christs, or “anti-Christ” is any spirit that does not bring the doctrine that Christ comes in YOUR flesh (because greater is he that is IN YOU, than he that is in the world – 1 John 4:4).

In Col. 1:27, we find that the hope of glory is Christ IN YOU. In Gal. 4:19, Paul “labors in travail” until Christ be formed IN YOU. In John 14:17, we see that “he dwelleth with you, and “SHALL BE IN YOU.”

In short, the Bible is all allegory – mythical stories designed to bring you to spiritual fulfillment by bringing you to Christ. The words on the written pages of the book mean absolutely nothing, other than to bring you to the “one” who can do everything for you. In order to access the Kingdom of God (and very few actually find this path) you must do your spiritual labor – the labor of seeking God within you:

Come unto me, all that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls (Matt. 11:28-29).

This rest is the Sabbath rest, as you will see in the immediately succeeding verses beginning in Matthew Chapter 12.

If all of this sounds foolish to you, please feel free to reject it all. If not, I would recommend considering it, and committing it to your inner spirit for validation.

Robert March 2, 2015 at 9:59 pm

Paul,

Thank you for your great interest and effort in explaining your point of view. I would not say that it is a wrong point of you, and I do accept some of your points. Also, I am wondering if I am wrong about this, but I have the impression that most of the readers on SOS at this point in time are more inclined to accept a slightly more moderate view than yours, but essentially in the same ballpark of finding most literal/historical treatments of scripture objectionable and sometimes blinding.

As I see it, it is as though they have to turn off the street lights in order to see the stars, meaning they have to sidestep the literal/historical in order to become aware of the allegorical significance and to allow it to touch them in an individual way.

I was expecting that I would be a minority view here, and sometimes when I lose my focus it seems like I am on a mission to “fight city hall”, as they say.

But this is not the approach I am really taking. For myself, I realize that I need the streetlights on for a while so I can find my way on the road to the right spot where, when I turn off the street lights, I see the stars best. I would never be able to navigate the bible without being familiar with the literal/historical treatment. There are passages like the creation account that are clearly intended to be allegorical. There are other passages that are intended to be literal. In this last group, when a deeper meaning of a scriptural passage is revealed to me that seems to exceed my conception of the literal version, I have no problem in choosing the revealed version. I also acknowledge that my conception of the literal version is flawed by the conditioning I received in the traditional church. Once you come upon a tricky passage in church and the party line interpretation is provided, it sticks with you and the next time you see the passage, the creative inquiry you might have had about it the first time you saw it has faded. That is where turning off the lights comes in handy. For a moment you suspend all conditioning by assuming the literal/historical is suspicious, which frees you to accept the revealed interpretation more readily. It is a little like rebelling against your parents’ ideology so that you are free to stand on your own and can assume personal responsibility to create an ideology that is more meaningful to you, and that you will put yourself on the line for. It does not mean your parents’ ideology is blatantly wrong, or wrong at all for them, according to the way they are able to conceive things, and put themselves on the line for.

So I say, by all means remain a counterculture student of scripture, keep your eyes on the stars and not on the street lights. It is what you need and what is good for you, and your being nourished by your viewpoint is good for us.

I find I am being nourished by taking a second look at the culture I countered. I still see some things there that I object to, but I am also discovering some things I missed or misunderstood or were stubborn minded about that are now nourishing me, and I want to try to share them.

On another line of thinking, I agree with you that there are hidden truths in the literal scriptures that are revealed to those who are prepared to receive them. Mostly, when Jesus explains the deeper meanings of his parables when he takes his disciples aside, they turn out to be a fuller explanation rather than opposite of the literal parable.

While Jesus was with his disciples prior to the resurrection, he spoke in some parables even they did not understand, but after the resurrection he opened their hearts so they could understand that he had to fulfill all that was spoken of him in the literal scriptures.

“And He said unto them, These are the words which I spoke unto you while I was yet with you (the things they never understood) that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me (meaning the entire Old Testament Scriptures). THEN, He opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures.” Luke 24:44-45

Personally, I find I have some problems buying the idea that the snake in Genesis is a good guy that initiates higher consciousness. I think meanings of the snakes from other cultures that are not truly representative of the meaning in the scripture were read into the scriptures by people who want to believe this because it helps them turn off the blaring street lights. And that is a good thing for them.

Still, as I understand it, snakes and serpents that crawl on land in Jewish culture are not good omens. The leviathan of Job is not in the same classification as the snake in Genesis or the Serpent in the Book of Revelations. But if reading foreign culture into Jewish culture is meaningful for others, then I support their journey. However, I have no intention of teaching that the literal scripture is inherently evil and placed there as a conspiracy or an intentional stumbling block. The stumbling block is in people’s hearts that prevents them from understanding them as they were intended. Also, even a good heart can stumble over inaccurate translations. I prefer to think of scripture as “the map”. “The map is not the territory”, as they say. The map is not enough. But the map is not evil.

I hope this clarifies my intent in presenting the Messianic Prophesies. I have chosen to present them from a Jewish and Messianic Jewish perspective in order to avoid some of the pitfalls of Christian apologists which I find irritating.

No matter how involved we get with hidden meanings and allegorical interpretations, we can never deny historical events like the destruction of the Second Temple, or the scattering and re-gathering of the Jewish people in their native land. These events were foretold and a sign to us to respect prophetic scriptures. What I am adding to this is that this does not make allegorical interpretations void. They co-exist like yin and yang.

Just one more thing. When St. Paul is talking about the inward Jew, he is not talking about the Jewish people. He is explaining to the Gentile believers that they are a now a covenant people, “spiritual Jews” who have their heart circumcised, and who do not have to follow the Mosaic covenant by being eternally circumcised and following the customs and practices of the law intended only for the Jewish people, that irrevocable eternal covenant through Moses still being intact for the Jewish People and them alone, even though from the standpoint of the Gospel they are like branches that have been broken off, but can one day be easily grafted in again because they are the natural branches. The church in the Middle Ages made the mistake of ignoring St. Paul, teaching instead that God was finished with the Jews, and that the church had replaced them as THE people of God. This is called replacement theology, and is now considered a false doctrine.

That’s a lot to take in, I know. Think it over. I look forward to our exchanges.

Paul March 3, 2015 at 6:03 am

Robert:

I completely understand your point of view. I would agree that my views are quite radical as it relates to biblical history. In fact, I may be a party of one, but that’s okay. You are doing a great job of seeking and searching, as scripture says “seek and ye shall find.” We all do this differently, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. I applaud your efforts. I went through much the same thing on my own path, and along the way there was much I did not understand, but that did not stop my search. I also turned down much of what people were trying to teach me along the way. I would encourage you to continue your search, and to “endure to the end.” I sincerely hope you are taking your search “inside,” as well, because that is the KEY to spiritual victory.

Anthony March 3, 2015 at 11:38 am

Paul,

While your thoughts may be radical they definitely don’t fall on deaf ears and you are joined by more than just a party of one. I have admired all of your postings on this site and have always enjoyed reading your entries.

Many moons ago you linked your book to this site and I have had it bookmarked for months now, waiting for the perfect time to purchase it. After reading your comments on this post I was drawn back to your page and read the introduction and preface and am entranced by your words. I have just purchased your book and can not wait to start reading it.

I only say this to reassure you that your words ring true to many more people than you would ever believe. I also view the Bible and other great spiritual texts as allegorical and am always attracted to interpretations that cater to this less chosen route.

Please keep doing what you’re doing. I look forward to more words from you!

Much love!

Paul March 5, 2015 at 9:23 am

Anthony:

While I am flattered by your comment and grateful that you feel the way you do about my writing, I have not yet released my book. Perhaps you bought something written by another Paul Young? I have never linked my book to this site, as there is still much to be done with it. I would love to see what it is that you purchased, if you wouldn’t mind forwarding me a copy of the preface and introduction. I have sent my book only a very select group (about three people) and I hope that no one released it without my knowledge.

Thanks, Anthony. I believe you have my email address, but please let me know if you do not.

Robert March 5, 2015 at 12:01 pm

Anthony,

The major book that has been linked to SOS has been Raymond Phelan’s http://www.amazon.com/TRANSFORMING-YOUR-LIFE-How-That/dp/1477251545

Robert March 3, 2015 at 2:53 pm

Paul,

I take your exhortation to search inside seriously and helpful. I am intending to do my 20 minutes of quality meditation at the same time every day. I am going to call it Paul time, to remember your encouragement. It would be more difficult for me to survive without it. Other readers do their inward search in different ways other than quiet meditation, and feel the same way about their practices. We earnestly seek the same destination through our individual paths. The proof is in the pudding.

In my own path, I am trying to repair a disconnect, due to some esoteric assumptions I might have been following, between some literal applications of scripture and their underlying meanings, because I believe there is some overlooked value there.

I anticipate concluding that the ultimate purpose of a literal Messiah is to inspire us to follow the Messianic spirit within, an inner guide linking us together in a network of divine illumination. I prefer not to skip or deny the historical steps along the path because that approach seems more harmonious than bucking it. I have never had any contention with the historical, just with the misguided church’s oversimplifying and distorting it and then trying to stuff it down my throat. I’ve gotten over that, and now I am repairing my conditioning so the insight from the historical is not lost. This would seem to be the best path for me and others with a similar background, particularly other Messianic Jews who I come in contact with.

Paul March 5, 2015 at 9:41 am

Robert:

I appreciate your comment. Searching inside ourselves is the absolute most important labor we can execute, and far and away trumps looking to each other, and to man in general, for truth (which constitutes Biblical adultery). The inner Christ is the way, the truth and the life. Everything else is just empty wind. We all have opinions, but the spirit within each one of us seeks to communicate with us. The question is, are we open enough to receive it.

Seeking within also includes “watching,” because once you go within, the spirit will always answer you, but if you’re not watching, those answers can appear to be just coincidences (there are none), if indeed you notice anything at all. The scriptural adage to “watch and pray” is critically important. I have experienced that answers come from the darndest of sources and directions, and I almost NEVER expect to receive the answers in the form in which they come, but because I am aware, I do notice them when they come, and they are very validating, especially when you are new to seeking what’s inside you; so I would encourage you to be very attentive to life, in general, so that you don’t miss the answers that you are seeking when they do come.

In addition, it is also wise not to have any preconceived notions about how the answers are going to come, or what the answers are going to be. I have come to see that the majority of what I formerly believed about all this stuff was wrong, and because I had an open mind about it all (although there were many “earthquakes” along the way), I was able to reject all that I thought I knew. I have found that this is how the process works. It is called “emptying yourself.”

Hope this helps.

Robert March 5, 2015 at 11:36 am

Paul,

Yours is very wise advice about waiting for answers without preconceived notions. It happens to be something I am having to do right now about an issue, and your advice is non-coincidentally timely.

anny March 3, 2015 at 3:51 am

Robert,

Thank you for a very interesting and informative article which gave me a lot of food for thought.

I am with you in not wanting to discard the literal version entirely though of course you have to use whatever version you choose with discernment. I believe that the four levels of interpretation that are possible in Judaism (at the moment I cannot recall exactly what each represents) are not meant to be taken as either .. or. Either this one or that one. That is duality in action and I think we should move away from that. We should think inclusively wherever possible. We should go where our heart tells us to go and that can be a different road for everyone but I am convinced that as long as we keep unconditional love as our guideline, we will all end up at the same destination.

As far as the theme of the two Messiahs is concerned, the Suffering Servant and the Triumphant King, I am of the opinion that the two are one and the same, regardless of whether you see them as persons or as two phases of the same process (which however can very well have been embodied many times over).

As such I do believe that Jesus was a historical person and could be considered to be a Messiah, even if not exactly as according to Christian doctrine in my view. I believe that he came to teach and show us again Who we really are (parts of God) and how to regain our real identity. The biblical stories I believe to be a description of the process and not literally of the life of Jesus.

I disagree with you about your view on the serpent. I do not see it as borrowing from other cultures when people think that the serpent was ‘a good guy’. First of all I believe that all cultures derived their ideas from the same source, a universal knowledge, also called perennial wisdom, and not from each other although they may have borrowed images to give if form. But I also believe that this is said in the Bible as well in a hidden way, as the serpent, the nachash, has the same numerical value as the messiah, mashiach: 358.

I believe this can be interpreted as the downward force inside ourself, that leads us downwards from the world of higher consciousness into ever denser worlds in order to have the experiences we were looking for to gain conscious awareness. This force is doing this to help us gain this awareness but gets into terrible trouble itself and has to be crucified (=balanced and integrated) by us. As such you might see it as the suffering servant. When that has been accomplished and its/our suffering has supplied the oil (shemen) in the oil press (gat shemen or Gethsemane), then it can be anointed to messiah or anointed one (mashiach) and become the rising Kundalini Serpent or upward force, which leads us back to where we came from but with all the conscious awareness we gained in the process.

We also find these two phases as the two witnesses in the following text: “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophecy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man hurt them, fire proceedeth our of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.” (Rev. 11:3-5).

The first witness, the olive trees, symbolizes Love and stands for the descending phase of the cycle (involution), while the second witness, the two candlesticks, symbolizes Wisdom and stands for the ascending phase (evolution). It takes great Love to accompany man into duality, and suffering as well as the olive trees stand for the same as Gethsemane, but after the crucifixion and resurrection of the ego it leads to the Wisdom of the burning candles. Which you see as enlightenment.

Love,

Anny

Robert March 3, 2015 at 1:13 pm

Anny,

Great clarification. The theme of developing consciousness through complementary processes rings true to me. I also believe in a universal spirituality that trickles down to different cultures according to their individual conditioning. What seems unique to me about the Jewish people is that their version is written not only through their allegories, but through their literal history, and I think it is important to follow the history and its implications. Their prophets foretell literal events that can be validated more completely as time progresses, bringing with it better technology and record-keeping to do it.
The snake that entices Eve through her ego into an incomplete and nervous state of self-awareness is also used as a corrective tool to punish the Israelites in the desert who did not trust in divine provision. After the snakes stung them, Moses lifted up a snake on a stick, and those who saw it were healed. The symbolism is prophetic, foreshadowing the raising of Jesus on the cross so that those who behold his crucifixion would be healed. Jesus became our sin (incompleteness) for us so we could be completed. Here is a prophetic context that joins the snake (nachach, 358) with the Messiah (Mashiach 358).

anny March 9, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Hello Robert,

Although I do see Jesus, and probably also the prophets as people who actually lived, I do not give such a detailed meaning to what is or is not a fact in the Bible. I do not know and am not really interested in making investigations in that direction one way or another. I can understand that it is different for you as it concerns your people.

Eve I do of course not see as a person but as the female side of man and as such I would not give such a personal description of her state of mind and reason for eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I see that as purely symbolic and as active and courageous.

Also the serpent I do not see as an animal but as a symbolic term. That is also why I do not call it snake. The image of a serpent on a stick reminds me of the Kundalini that has risen along the spine. A sign of enlightenment, of what the process of the serpent, the nachash, will lead to. A reminder of the process, so to speak, which also involves a phase where the serpent bites man in his heel. But man will then crush its head, its downward force, and after that the anointment of the messiah and the rising of the Kundalini can take place. Mankind needs to be reminded of this when they are in the phase of the biting serpent.

That is how I see it anyway.

Love,

Anny

Robert March 9, 2015 at 9:33 pm

Anny,

Excellent comment. Understanding and cooperating with the purifying processes of consciousness is a much higher order of human development than understanding the physical processes of the material world. We may never be able to determine the degree of historicity of events described in the early portions of the bible, but who cares, it won’t make much difference. Also focusing too much on historicity can distract us from the higher purifying processes. That issue is explored in Peter Enn’s popular book from 2014, “The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It”.

Where I am starting to differ from prevailing views of some other SOS readers and authors and participants of other esoterically oriented sites, is recognizing that we should not be so proud or adamant about ignoring historical aspects and implications, such that it becomes a part of our ego identity that we will preserve at all cost. We need to be empty of junk and open minded. A lot of what we consider junk is good stuff that someone twisted and made into something hurtful and caused us to judge and reject it, or at least keep a safe distance from it. I want to review some things I left behind, this time with fresh eyes, to see if I missed something valuable. So far I am finding that I did miss the value of some things, and other things are still the same old same old..

I might have mentioned it before, that there are better and better historical records during later and later periods. It relates to my people, but also to the larger world community that cannot escape being pulled into the conflicts my people are in. The issue of ISIS versus planet Earth is also related to that conflict.

anny March 14, 2015 at 7:19 am

Hello Robert,

When you write: “Where I am starting to differ from prevailing views of some other SOS readers and authors and participants of other esoterically oriented sites, is recognizing that we should not be so proud or adamant about ignoring historical aspects and implications, such that it becomes a part of our ego identity that we will preserve at all cost.”, I am with you there, in a general sense as well.

Unless you have a very good reason not to do so, and explain that, you should at least be willing to look at whatever the subject is without preconceptions and if you do not have the time or willingness to do that – which of course is okay – then you should refrain from uttering your opinion or even from having an opinion about the subject. You as always being the proverbial one of course.

I for me do believe that there are historical aspects in the Bible but I prefer not to go into that field as I want to concentrate on the allegorical meanings of the texts. When I am dealing with history in this respect, I prefer to leave the Bible out of it, so I will not give an opinion on the historicity of the Bible.

I am looking forward to your two final parts of this series.

Love,

Anny

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: