Pentecost, what happened?

Door AnnaElize gepubliceerd op Sunday 20 May 17:18

The first Pentecost was 1985 years ago [1] when  Christ’s disciples were baptized in the Holy Spirit, and could speak in languages they themselves did not understand, but their audiences could, and in those languages they told about  Christ and His message [2]

Christ had promised that the Holy Spirit, whom, we are told, descended on Him in the form of a dove,  could help those who did what Christ said, and that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we would be able to  do even more than Christ could.

Christ said so in John 14

12Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.15If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you do know Him, for He abides with you and will be in you.18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19In a little while, the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. 21Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.”

22Judas (not Iscariot) asked Him, “Lord, why are You going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?”

23Christ replied, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him. 24Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words. The word that you hear is not My own, but it is from the Father who sent Me.

25All this I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you.”

Christ Promises the Holy Spirit

(See also Joel 2:28-32; John 16:5-16; Acts 2:1-13; Acts 10:44-48; Acts 19:1-7)

(BSB)

We are told Christ could raise the dead, heal people instantly, even from a distance, make the blind see, make the deaf hear, make the lame walk, make the mad sane, even make limbs grow back instantly.

However, as far as we know, aside from Christ’s disciples, no one to this day has been able to come close to doing what Christ could.

Some people claim that science  has now explained God away, but even top scientists admit we cannot even build one cell of a dove. [3]

Nevertheless, humankind has made amazing progress , but  much of this progress  has come at a high cost on all levels, world peace is still not a fact, oppression still exists, and corruption  is deeply embedded in each aspect of society.

Why is that? Could it be because we have failed, to this day, to really understand Christ’s message?

Bishop Michael Curry, the preacher from the Episcopalian  Church  at Prince Harry’s and Meghan’s wedding, was referring to Mark 12:28 to 34 when talking about what Christ taught the most important commandments of the Jewish law were[4]:

There we can read:

28Now one of the scribes had come up and heard their debate. Noticing how well Christ had answered them, he asked Him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”

29Christ replied, “This is the most important: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is One Lord, 30and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’e 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’f No other commandment is greater than these.”

32“Right, Teacher,” the scribe replied. “You have stated correctly that God is One and there is no other but Him, 33and to love Him with all your heart and with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, which is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

34When Christsaw that the man had answered wisely, He said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

And no one dared to question Him any further.”

(BSB)

Matthew 22 says it like this:

34And when the Pharisees heard that Christ had silenced the Sadducees, they themselves gathered together. 35One of them, an expert in the law, tested Him with a question: 36“Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in the Law?”

37Christ declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’e 40All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.” ( see also Deuteronomy 6:1-19 and  Mark 12:28-34, Berean Study Bible)

In Luke 10:25-26, it is actually the expert in the law himself who correctly cites what Christ calls the heart of the law:

25One day an expert in the law stood up to test Him. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26“What is written in the Law?” Christ replied. “How do you read it?”

27He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

28“You have answered correctly,” Christ said. “Do this and you will live.”

(Berean Study Bible)

Close reading and cross referencing shows there is more to this passage than directly meets the eye.

It’s true, that according to Christ the most important commandments in the Jewish law were: loving God above all else with one’s whole soul, mind, heart (Matt 22:37-38) and strength (Mark 12:29-30, Luke 10:27 from Deut. 6:4-5), and loving one’s neighbor as one’s self. (Matt 22:39-40;Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27, from Leviticus 19:18)

According to Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:29-30 and Luke 10:27, Christ made an alteration to Deuteronomy 6:4-5, which only mentioned might, heart and soul.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 reads:

   4“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

(New American Standard Bible)

 In Matthew 22:37-38, Mark 12:29-30  and Luke 10:27 Christ substitutes might for mind,  and Mark adds strength as well.

The addition of mind is interesting, because the prophecies said that Christ would save the world with His knowledge, (Isaiah 53:11) and indeed, Christ encouraged thorough analysis of the Scriptures by inviting critical discussions about them. (Matthew 22:42-43) as well as encouraging people to use their own imagination to have a clearer, more workable picture of what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.

His parables encouraged people to think up their own analogies to explain God’s relationship to mankind. (Matt.8: 5-13, 15:21-28)

He would make sure God’s “Holy Spirit” would be sent to those who wished to receive Him after He had gone back to heaven. (John14: 15-17, 16:7) Christ described The Holy Spirit as “teaching all things” (John 14:26). Christ mentioned the Holy Spirit (or God’s (Holy) Spirit or the Counselor or the Comforter) quite often, and even said it was better for people if the Holy Spirit came than if He, Christ, were to stay. (John 16:7-15)

According to Christ, the way to love God was by obeying Him. (Matthew 7:21) Christ described God as a loving Father. (Matthew 7:11) He said we are able to love God by doing what He wants us to do (Matthew 7:21), which is, doing to others whatever we desire they should do to us. (Matthew 7:12)

In Matthew 7:12, Christ says:

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

(English Standard Version)

Christ said nothing was impossible for those who lived according to His Teaching, and His miracles proved His point. (Mark 11:24, Matthew 17:20)

He and His disciples were able to make the blind see, heal the sick and even raise the dead. (Matthew 4:24; 10:1; John 11:43-44)

Christ was called “the Son of God”. Christ referred to Himself as the Son of Man. He did call God Father, and He also called those who obeyed God, God’s children.

When people asked Christ if He was the Son of God, He did not deny it, and every aspect of His life was either surrounded by miracles or exactly in accordance with prophecies about the Messiah made over a period of thousands of years before His birth, beginning with Abraham.[5]

According to Matthew’s Gospel, when Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, a voice from heaven said “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” right after God’s Spirit descended on Him. (Matthew 3:16-17)

From the moment He was born, Christ was persecuted, and finally became the victim of an elaborate conspiracy between the Roman authorities, the Sadducees and the Pharisees, who after His death proceeded to distort His message, with Paul as their main spokesman. This will be discussed later. The way it is described in the Gospels Christ was not exactly pleased with what the religious teachers had done to Judaism, and was explicit in His criticism of them. Undoubtedly they were extremely irritated with Him, but their excuse for persecuting Him was that they found His claim that He was the Messiah blasphemous, and for this reason, they pressured the Roman authorities into torturing Christ to death through crucifixion. (Matthew 26:65-66, 27:1-2 Mark 15:1-39) Having protested that no fault had been found in Him, the Roman procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate, tried to release Christ in pursuance of a Jewish custom of setting free a prisoner at Pass Over, and to this end offered the people the choice between Christ and Barabbas, who was in prison for murder and robbery. (Matthew 27:16-26, Mark 15:7-15, Luke 23:18, John 18:40). Instigated by the priests, the multitude shouted for the release of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Christ.

Christ had predicted this would happen, and promised He would rise to life in three days, and He did just that. It says in Matthew 20:17-20

17 Now as Christ was going up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, 18 "We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!" (NIV)

He did not speak very highly of this miracle. He said in Matthew 12:39-41

39 “ An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah:

40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

(KJV)

The Acts of the Apostles, written by the same Luke as the one who wrote the third Gospel, comes right after the Gospels.

After Christ rose from the dead, He appeared to His disciples and many others for forty days. (Acts 1:3)

Then many witnesses saw Him as He ascended to Heaven. (Acts 1:9)

Christ told the disciples to wait for God’s Holy Spirit to come (Acts 1:8-14), and ten days later tongues of fire came upon them and they were able to speak about the great deeds of God in languages they themselves did not understand but that their audience did. (Acts 1:  15-19; 2:2-6)

This seemed to be the fulfillment of the prophecy by John the Baptist, who had said that while he was only able to baptize with water, Christ would baptize with God’s Holy Spirit and with fire. (Matthew 3:11)

Christ had also promised these gifts would come, (Mark 16:17-18) and the people who were impressed by what the disciples had to say and the miracles they did [they could pass on this same gift of “speaking in tongues” to others, and they were also still able to heal people by laying on hands (Matt. 10:1;Acts 3:6) ] massively converted to Christianity.

According to what Luke says in Acts, the new converts sold all they had, gave all their money to the disciples, and lived in communities where no one had any personal belongings. (Acts 4: 32-37)  It seems as though the disciples were turning into tyrants.

However, the fact that Acts was written by Luke, who was close to Paul, is reason to be suspicious of its contents, so what Luke said about them may well be false. The same is true for the following story from Acts:

In the fifth chapter of Acts, the sad tale of Ananias and Sapphira is told. They were a couple who claimed the money they had given to Peter (the apostle) was the whole sum they had received by selling their property. Peter accused them of lying to God’s Holy Spirit, because he was convinced they received more than they gave him, and Luke claims that for this reason they were struck dead .(Acts 5: 1-11)

This made people afraid of Christ and of God’s Holy Spirit, and encouraged them to seek mediators between them and God instead of wishing for the personal contact Christ spoke of, thus weakening the individual and opening the way for people to present themselves as mediators between them and Christ.

The tale of Saul, then a fanatical persecutor of Christians (Acts 8:3), comes next. In spite of the efforts to exterminate them, the number of converts to Christianity kept growing.

Suddenly, so one version of the story goes, Saul saw a bright light, which his traveling companions did not see. (Acts 9:3,7) He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying: “ Saul, Saul, why are you persecu­ting me?”(Acts 9: 4). Christ, who normally gave sight to the blind, is now said to have blinded Saul for three days. (Acts 9:9) His companions are said to have heard a sound, which does not necessarily mean they heard these words.  Christ then supposedly told Saul through another Ananias that he was to “bear His (Christ’s) name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel”  (Acts 9:10-17). After that Saul, who was also called Paul (Acts 13:9), was able to do “miracles” as well, and he started converting people to “Christianity”. In another version, all of Saul’s companions fell to the ground as well because of a blazing bright light, but there is no mention of any blindness in anyone, and this time there is no mention of them hearing a sound, just of Saul hearing a voice. (Acts 26:1)

There are several problems with the stories of Saul’s or Paul’s conversion and of Ananias and Saphira. The story of Ananias and Saphira would make it seem Christ who forgave and preached forgiveness of sins, had a Spirit sent who kills people for not giving all their money away.

Why would Christ, suddenly reveal Himself in a manner that completely opposed His actions during His lifetime? Why would the Spirit who was supposed to act and speak according to Christ’s wishes (John 16:13) suddenly be impatient, unforgiving and murderous, while Christ was patient, forgiving and gave life and healing, never death or disease? This makes no sense whatsoever.

It does, however make sense that Saul, while failing to exterminate Christianity by the sword, would try a new method and try to create confusion by preaching an opposite message to Christ’s, and thus weaken and eventually wipe Christ’s message from the earth.

Even if Saul or Paul had actually seen Christ, it is strange that he did not delay his preaching until he was more certain of himself. He could have checked with the disciples, but he did not. (Gal 1:11-24) He claimed Christ was revealed to him personally (Gal 1:15-17}, and his attitude towards the other disciples, once he finally did bother to meet them, was quarrelsome.  (Gal 2:11-14) Paul might have seen something quite opposite to Christ, and may have been deluded himself. Or, he may have made the whole event up and persuaded his companions to lie about it as well.

During His mission, Christ prophesized that someone would come in His name and cause many to err.

Matthew 24: 4-5,11-13 says the following:

 4 “And Christ answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

12 And because iniquity (=lawlessness, wickedness) shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

Christ also predicted that this deception would come very early: the bad seeds would be thrown on the field along with the good seeds. (Matthew 13:24-30)

The “Christianity” Paul preached was completely opposite to Christ’s, as were his “miracles”, and thus Paul was exactly what Christ warned His disciples for.

Paul even speaks of himself as laying a foundation and planting seeds! See: 1 Corinthians 3

Where Paul says: in verse  6

“I planted the seed and Apollos watered it, but God made it grow”

And in verse 10  “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise master builder.”

So Paul admits himself to laying another foundation than Christ and planting other seeds than Christ.

Where Christ only did miracles that benefited people, such as healing the sick and making the blind see (John 9:1-7), Paul would strike seeing people with blindness. (Acts 13: 9-11) Christ cast out demons (Mark 5:1-15) and His disciples were able to cast out demons in Christ’s name. (Mark 6:13)

On Paul’s side the accounts are less impressive.

One story describes how one possessed man overtook seven men who tried to cast out his demon in the name of “the Jesus Paul preaches about”. The demon answered, so the story goes: “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”  and sent them running off “naked and wounded”.   (Acts 19:13-16).

Paul also did his “miracles” without being asked to (Acts 14:9-10), whereas Christ was always asked (Matthew 4:24,9:27-30), either by the sick themselves, or by their caretakers or others who were concerned about them. (Matthew 9:32-33) His waiting to be asked illustrates His great respect for the free will of each individual, a respect that is absent in Paul.

Paul’s letters contain numerous examples of people in Paul’s churches being miserable.

Every time something went wrong, Paul blamed others instead of doubting whether what he said was true, a logical question when one considers that Christ said that one recognizes the tree by its fruit (Matthew 7:15-18), or in other words an action can be judged by its results.

For example: 1 Corinthians 11: 17-19, 29-30 speaks of people quarrelling, being weak and even dying after the Holy Supper, a ritual in Pauline tradition where people eat bread and drink wine as a symbol for eating Christ’s body and drinking His blood.  Paul blames the negative effect of this ritual on their well being on them not being sensible in how they partake in it. (1 Corinthians 11:27-30) He says they should only eat the Holy Supper when they are not hungry (1 Corinthians 11:34) instead of seeing them as signs that his teaching was false. That is provided there were any links at all between the two events, after all, the people probably did more than just eat the holy supper. And if there was a connection, the reason could also have been perfectly natural: the bread or wine could have been over due or even poisonous.

Where Christ’s message consisted of the three central messages of loving God above all else with all one’s soul, mind, heart and strength, (Mark 12:29-30; Luke 10:27)  loving one’s neighbor as one’s self (Matt. 22;39; Mark 12:31) and doing for others what you would wish they should do for you (Matt. 7:12), Paul’s message was that Christ was crucified for our sins and that in order to be able to be forgiven people must accept His sacrifice, so that God will give them grace, the inheritance of Christ. (Romans 5: 9-19; Ephesians 1:18) This message, which is given many times over in Paul’s letters, is actually what Christ warned people the false teaching would be in Matthew 21:33-41 and Mark 12:1-9, with the parable of the vinedressers.

This parable is a literal description of Paul's crucifixion theory. It is about vinedressers who would not give the owner his share, and finally killed his son hoping they would inherit the land in His place (Matthew 21:33-41; Mark 12:1-9), Mark 12:1-9 says: “A man planted a vineyard, and put a fence around (it), and dug a place for the wine vat, and built a tower. And (he) gave it out to vinedressers, and went away. And at the season he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive from the vinedressers of the fruit of the vineyard. But taking him they beat (him), and sent (him) away empty. And again he sent to them another servant; having stoned that one, they struck (him) in the head, and sent (him) away insulting him. And again, he sent another; and they killed that one; also many others, indeed beating these and killing these. Yet having one son, his own beloved, he sent him to them also, last of all, saying:” They will have respect for my son. But these vinedressers said to themselves: “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.” And taking (him), they killed him, and threw (him) outside the vineyard. What, then, will the lord of the vineyard do?” (Greek text) Christ made it clear that he would certainly not give the land to those who killed his son. This should demolish Paul’s teaching, which speaks of the Kingdom of Heaven as an inheritance passed to believers because Christ, God’s Son, was killed (Ephesians 1:14), but instead Paul’s message is printed in the Bible right after Christ’s warning for it.

Where Christ told people to sin no more (John 5:14, 8:11), Paul said it is impossible not to sin, all are sinners. (Galatians 3:22) He said people have to accept Christ’s sacrifice in order to be forgiven. (Romans 3: 23-26)  However, Christ was already forgiving people all their sins before He was crucified. (Matthew 9:2-7; Mark 2:5) He never mentioned accepting “His sacrifice” as a precondition for forgiveness. The condition He gave was that people should forgive others if they want to be forgiven by God. (Matthew 6:14; Mark 11:25)

Where Christ healed people by forgiving them all their sins (see above), Paul cursed people, told them they were sinners and is described as making them ill. (Acts 13:10-12)

Christ gave various reasons for His crucifixion, but Paul’s explanation was not one of them.

One reason Christ gave was so that His friends, the disciples, would not be hurt. (John 18:8) He thereby practiced what He preached when He said that no one has greater love than he who gives his life for his friends. (John 15: 13-14)

Another reason He gave was so that the Scriptures would be fulfilled which predicted the Messiah would die in this way. (Matt 26: 53-54; Mar 14:21; 49; Ps 22;69; Isa 53)

A third reason He mentioned was that it would be better for His disciples if He went to the Father, so that the Comforter could come. (John 16:7) Christ spoke of Him often, as another Spirit who would live in and with those that who followed His advice after He had gone.

The fourth reason He gave was that His death and resurrection would be a sign for “an evil and adulterous generation.” (Matt 20:17-20)

This is all quoted from Intelligent Devotion, which can be found on https://uvrm.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/what-is-intelligent-devotion/

 , and where the differences between Christ’s and Paul’s messages are further elaborated on, as well as what Christ’s message looks like without the Pauline influences.

It demonstrates Christ gave an easily accessible message, and gave the Holy Spirit as a help to be able to bring it into practice.

But this message was sabotaged from the very beginning. First of all by Paul, and further more by misinterpretations of Revelations , which says:

Rev 22:18-19

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

(NIV)

And Matthew 5:17-20, where Christ says:

17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

(NIV)

So what exactly did Christ mean with this? Obviously not that nothing in the Jewish Law and Prophets could be altered, because He was making alterations all the time:

In the second part of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:17-7:14), come Christ’s 6 expansions of the Mosaic Law. Christ is described as saying He has not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it, and that heaven and earth will pass before one jot or tittle will pass from the Law.

However, Paul says in Romans 10:4-5 “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone believing. For Moses writes (of) the righteousness of the law: ‘The man doing these things shall live by them’ ” (Greek text),.

But Christ says He expects people to keep the law and for their righteousness to exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees.

He explains how they should do this in six verses starting with a phrase like: “You have heard that it was said [by] the ancients,” followed by a Law of Moses from Exodus, Leviticus or Deuteronomy. This He then deepens with the introductory phrase “but I say to you” (Matthew 5: 21-48, Greek text).

Christ mentions

(1) The law for not being allowed to kill (Ex 20:13; Deut 5:17) and deepens it to not being allowed to be angry or hateful at all. (Matt 5:21-22) He says in Matthew 5:22 “Who ever says, Fool, shall be liable to the hell of fire” (Paul calls people fools all the time, also in  Galatians 3:1)

(2) Christ deepens the law for not being allowed to commit adultery  (Ex 20:14) and not being allowed to covet your neighbor’s wife (Ex 20:17) to not being allowed to have adulterous thoughts towards anyone at all, because then you have committed adultery in your heart (Matt 5:27-28).

He even goes as far as saying settling disputes with brothers (or sisters) comes before religious duties (Matt 5:23).

(3)The divorce law, which He sharpened by saying that the only reason why a man may send away his wife is if she has been unfaithful, (Matt 5:31-32) while under Moses law a man could send his wife away simply because she was not pleasing to him anymore. (Deut 24:1)

(4)Christ deepens the laws for swearing, that people may not use the Lord’s name in vain (Ex. 20:7) and that they must keep their oaths (Deut 23:21-23)  by saying people are not allowed to swear at all, (Matt 5:33-37) but that every word should be kept, and everything that goes above it is from evil. The way He says it is

Matthew 5:37

37 Simply let your `Yes' be `Yes,' and your `No,' `No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

(NIV)

It means that you should only say what you truly feel, and not go against your deepest nature, and you should not say things you don’t mean. Christ not only tells people to be reliable, He also tells people not to be two-faced, a message that is repeated many times in the Scriptures, for instance:

Prov 21:29

29 A wicked man puts up a bold front,

But an upright man gives thought to his ways.

(NIV)

The cleverness of Christ’s way of putting it in Matthew5:37[4][6], is that in one short sentence, He tells people to be true to their nature, as well as reliable to others and not to swear, whereas usually being true to ones nature is used as an excuse for being rude or unreliable. But as always, Christ shows the way where there is a perfect balance in being upright, sincere, reliable and kind.

It also has to do with circumcision of the heart: (Deuteronomy 10:16, Jeremiah 4:4, 9:26) to think righteously and truthfully, and to speak as one thinks politely, with kindness and respect for other people’s feelings.

(5)Christ changes the “eye for an eye” (Ex 21:22-27) rule into “turning the other cheek,” (Matt 5:39) and He expands the “love thy neighbor” (Lev 19:18) rule to loving everybody, also your enemies. (Matt 5:43-44)

Turning the other cheek (Matt 5:39) is more than passively standing by or walking away when someone offends you. It can also be seen as a way to regain control over a situation where someone tries to control you, comparable with going the extra mile, which is mentioned right afterward:

Matt 5: 38-42

38 "You have heard that it was said, `Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'  39 But I tell you, Do not resist evil. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

(NIV)

For much of Christian history, people have heard these verses as affirming political acquiescence, not active resistance. Yet Martin Luther King and Gandhi interpreted Chrsit as justifying political action. Which interpretation was right?

Recent Christ scholarship suggests these verses are creative non-violentstrategies of protesting oppression. Such is the persuasive argument of New Testament scholar Walter Wink.

In his books "Engaging the Powers" and "The Powers That Be," Wink argues that Christ rejected two common ways of responding to injustice: violent resistance and passive acceptance. Instead, Christ advocated a "third way," an assertive but non-violent form of protest.

The key to understanding Wink's argument is rigorous attention to the social customs of the Middle East in the first century and what these sayings would have meant in that context.

To illustrate with the saying about turning the other cheek: it specifies that the person has been struck on the right cheek. How can you be struck on the right cheek? As Wink emphasizes, you have to act this out in order to get the point: you can be struck on the right cheek only by an overhand blow with the left hand, or with a backhand blow from the right hand. (Try it).

But in that world, people did not use the left hand to strike people. It was reserved for "unseemly" uses. Thus, being struck on the right cheek meant that one had been backhanded with the right hand. Given the social customs of the day, a backhand blow was the way a superior hit an inferior, whereas one fought social equals with fists.

This means the saying presupposes a setting in which a superior is beating a peasant. What should the peasant do? "Turn the other cheek." What would be the effect? The only way the superior could continue the beating would be with an overhand blow with the fist--which would have meant treating the peasant as an equal.

Perhaps this would not have stopped the beating. But for the superior, it would at the very least have been disconcerting: he could continue the beating only by treating the peasant as a social peer. As Wink puts it, the peasant was in effect saying, "I am your equal. I refuse to be humiliated anymore."[7]

Luckily today in most civilised countries, we are not confronted with slapping anymore, but symbolically sarcasms and cutting remarks can be compared to the backhanded slap: insults that hurt, but that are given in such a way that it is if you are not even worth confronting.

Turning the other cheek then means work on your side. You will need to analyse what happened, what was said and done, why it hurt you, and then determine what action to take. This will also be what you feel you need to do, since being humiliated is not something we are made to endure.

Also in this case, dong for others what you would wish they would do for you is the answer. Perhaps they hurt you without meaning to.  If you did such a thing, you would want to be made aware of this, so you could improve your behaviour. This can be done in the kindest of ways, understanding that if someone meant well, it will hurt them too if they learned their good intentions had had an adverse effect.

But also if someone does intend to hurt you, gently getting to the heart of the problem is a smart way to go, as is also advised in

Prov 15:1

A gentle answer turns away wrath,

But a harsh word stirs up anger.

(NIV)

Proverbs advises against starting quarrels:

Prov 17:14-15

14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;

So drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

(NIV)

Prov 16

23 A wise man's heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.

24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

32 Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.

(NIV)

In conversation, turning the other cheek can also mean that one shows another perspective, so that the offender might change his mind. Or, to go the extra mile by making a joke out of it. Or if it keeps on going, a way to turn the other cheek would then be to ask the person privately what they mean, or to seriously pick up what they seem to try to say, and talk about what is bothering them or the reason they feel offended by you which makes them act this way, and in this way prevent people from pushing you around. In any case, these are all methods to peacefully take the initiative into your own hands and regaining dignity when you are being humiliated.

The Jewish laws as Christ and  prophets before Him explained, and as Christ fulfilled and deepened them have value to give guidance and structure to our lives, and to better understand the Holy Spirit within us. (Matthew 6-7:12)

Christ and earlier prophets, beginning with Moses, put the emphasis on being circumcised of heart , which means meaning what you say and saying what you mean ( Deuteronomy 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4)

Other practices are concerned with standing up for what is right (Isaiah 1:11-19; 58:6-14; 59:15), being merciful (Samuel 15:22; Isaiah 1:11-17; Mal 3:1-5; Matthew 12:7) and pure (Matthew 15:17-20; Mark 7:15) and using common sense to determine which tradition should be followed in which way. (Mark 2:21-22)

So what is this about not one jot and tittle being changed to the law, when Christ changed many of them?

He is clearly referring to the deeper law all the written laws try to express, the law that we should do for others what we would wish they would do for us.

Change the slightest thing about that, and you end up with a mess, like “Do to others what you wish”, Or “Do to others what they did to you” which in practice means “Do to others what you think they did to you” causing victims of slander to be revictimized by people who buy into the lies told about them.

Doing for others what you would wish they would do for you invites empathy, invites self knowledge, because you can’t do for others what you would wish they would do for you if you do not know what you want.

See how different that is from the selflessness Paulinism preaches, or the individuality negating idea that God is trying to make us carbon copies of Christ. All this is larded with Pauline texts of dying to self, as if individuality is filth that needs to be washed off, whereas in Christ’s teaching it is the very instrument to know how to treat others, how to treat God, and thus the instrument of salvation.

Christ invites you to do it in your own way, as a joy, relaxed, remembering what He said about what is most important.

Christ's words were meant as seeds, but the wrong interpretations of His words block the way to finding out what the other things were that Christ did, for which there would not be enough room in the world for all he books that would need to be written to describe them, as John 21:25 says.

Intelligence is an aspect of love that can’t be skipped, and without which well meant actions have disastrous outcomes. The Holy Spirit gives the answers, but then we will have to be searching for them, and understand that the Holy Spirit does not replace common sense.

He gives a reason for living, a reason for asking questions, a guarantee it’s not all in vain, that we are seen, that we are loved, and that there is fairness. But we have to ask the questions before He can answer them. We have to have the prayers before He can fulfill them. And we have to learn to wish fairly, think truthfully, speak kindly and act healthily for Him to be able to bless us.

It seems simple enough, but the resistance to these simple truths is astonishing, and comes from all sides.

People who do not believe in God or Christ do not understand why anyone would bother trying to find out what Christ said exactly.

People who claim to follow Christ, but who are in fact either Paulines, or take one aspect of what Christ said out of context and run with it, can do what they want, it’s no one’s business, but it does become painful when they accuse you of cherry picking or even call you a heretic if you choose to emphasize Christ’s central teaching.

The sad thing about this, is that by condemning followers of Christ who make other choices then they, they ignore  what Christ says in John 5:12”This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”(NIV)

The conflict between the  unreasonable and reasonable texts in Bible was there from the very start, and emphasizing the texts which are in accordance with treating others as you would wish to be treated (Matthew 7:12) always means interpreting the ones that are not compatible with decent, civilized living, differently, and certainly not seeing them as instructions to be followed.

Of course Paul, opposing Christ as usual, tells us to treat the weak followers of Christ more harshly than those who have no intention of  following Christ at all:

1 Corinthians 5:

9I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” (NIV)

With Christ there is no double standard. He teaches whatever path He chooses to take with other children of God is none of our business. (John 21:21-23) Our business is to love and support one another(  John 5:12)

And then you have those who slander you and lie about you, who claim that if your conscience is clear, then their isolating you should not bother you.

But science now shows "When someone is ostracized it affects the part of their brain called the anterior cingulate cortex.  Silent treatments trigger what is called “Social pain” in this part of the brain, which also detects actual physical pain."[8]

Yet ostracism is an integral part of many, if not all belief- and social systems, as is scapegoating.[9]

The following shows that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was not a one time occasion. It tells about the dispute concerning the non –Jewish people who received the baptism in God’s Holy Spirit concerning whether non –Jewish believers should follow the laws of Moses or not.

First of all it shows how Peter, who really was Christ’s disciple, as well as Christ’s hand picked choice to guide his people, became convinced that non-Jewish people were acceptable to God as well as Jews:

Acts 10:1-48

10:1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, "Cornelius!"

4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it, Lord?" he asked.

The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea."

7 When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. 8 He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.

9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13 Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat."

14 "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."

15 The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."

16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon's house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.

19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Simon, three men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them."

21 Peter went down and said to the men, "I'm the one you're looking for. Why have you come?"

22 The men replied, "We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say." 23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.

The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along. 24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he said, "I am only a man myself."

27 Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?"

30 Cornelius answered: "Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31 and said, `Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.' 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us."

34 Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favouritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached- 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

39 "We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen.   41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen-by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

Then Peter said, 47 "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of  Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

(NIV)

So the baptism in the Holy Spirit was not a one time occasion, it is one of the main things Christ came here for, and it is going on to this day. It has everything to do with being a decent , kind hearted, person, who treats others as he would wish to be treated. If that is what you are, you too can ask for the  baptism in the Holy Spirit. Christ guarantees that if you ask God for what is good, He will give you what is good in

Matthew 7:

 7Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

9Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

(BSB)

Luke 11 says it even more explicitly:

  9“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10“For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. 11“Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12“Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 13“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

(BSB)

And don’t worry, it is not the spectacular scene with blowing winds and tongues of fire, just a warm glow in your solar plexus. And speaking in tongues feels like baby talk, like you are just babbling, only instead of babbling beautiful sounds in a strange language come out of your mouth.

And don’t worry, you control it completely. God is a gentleman, and so is His Spirit. You remain in total control. It s nothing like a trance.

The Holy Spirit is more like a megaphone to your own conscience, ground under your feet, wind beneath your wings. But it is you who will have to have the faith to act upon His cues, which keep feeling like walking in water. But you start experiencing nothing can substitute living fairly, truthfully, lovingly and healthily by your deepest convictions,, since this is building your house on the rock.

Christ , with His scapegoat-free teaching, was so ahead of His time, that nearly 2000 years later, people still haven’t figured it out.

Christ’s message was as seeds that He planted, He said so many times. But the misinterpreted warning in  Revelations 22:18[10] has blocked the way for those seeds to germinate, let alone come into full maturity.

Lets hope that people will catch on while there still is a possibility for humanity to survive.

Christ said He will come back, it does not depend on whether enough people believe in Him. He asks He will find faith on earth (Luke 18:8) . I hope so.

I also hope people will stop interpreting warnings as instructions, and start understanding that every improvement in society has been brought by several people acting, perhaps independently, but in like spirit.

Christ was on earth in an era of truth seeking and story telling.

We will not get there if the sketches are all rejected because they are not perfect. Every voice for truth, every effort for kindness , no matter how flawed, is valuable, and should be valued for its effort, instead of rejected for its imperfection.

The world needs our effort, animals and nature need our effort, oppressed people need our effort, no matter what they believe.

So please stop isolating family members and alienating friends just because they have slightly different beliefs from yours, stop thinking bad deeds become good when you pray  for them. That’s not how it works.

We need sound convictions, true knowledge, kind words and healthy deeds if we want to survive as humanity and help earth survive. If that is what we want, the Holy Spirit is a wonderful help. He is not here to gloss over ill intentions.

And we are not here to criticize people who are doing what they can to help others and help nature. We are here to be supportive of each other and each other’s efforts to do good, and do good ourselves.

With the Holy Spirit’s help you can sense what is good on a deep level, and you feel nourished on a deep level when you do what Christ told us to. It is a huge force, and makes John 4:34 true for us as well, where Christ explained, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me.” (BSB)

With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you immediately feel nourished when doing what Christ said, and you feel uneasiness when you are missing the mark, which motivates you to do better.

With that kind of help, it is possible for us to solve the problems the world faces today, and that’s what we should be doing instead of ignoring and rejecting those who are also doing the very best they can. [11]

Since the method and intention of complete following of Christ free from Pauline influences as described in Intelligent Devotion is different  from any  denomination, it makes sense to write down the major points. Since this is what Christ said we are  (Matthew 5:13-16; 10:27) , the most sensible name for people following Christ in the way described in Intelligent Devotion [12] seems to be

Salt & Light. So here is the Salt & Light BICTO (Believers In Christ’s Teaching Opened)  Coare (Compassionate and Real)  BCS (Beliefs and Commitments Statement)  (Matthew 5:13–16)

 

  1. God and Christ. We believe that God, who is Christ’s and our Father, who loves righteousness and has created all there is and  lives in a high and holy place and also in who is contrite and lowly  in spirit (Isaiah 57:15)   has given  Christ, His first born Son, the greatest to ever walk the earth ( Matthew 11: 11-14;  12: 41-42; John 1:26-27) as well as our  friend and brother (Matthew 12:50) ,  all authority in heaven and on earth. (Mark 16:18-20)  We are aware of how careful we must be to get it right (Matthew 22:42-43, see also point 11) , and are committed to live as He taught in His message that ruled out cruelty and scapegoatism in any form (see also Intelligent Devotion: https://uvrm.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/what-is-intelligent-devotion/ )  and are aware that Christ has His own plans for each of us (John 21:21-23), and we are committed to finding out the true meaning of His words and living by them, and to being supportive, not judgmental of how Christ leads other people’s roads to fulfillment and salvation, and what part they have in building Paradise on earth. (Matthew 7:1-5;  John 13:34-35; 21: 15-18, 21-23)
  2. Christ’s Central Message: We believe in the testimony given of Christ’s message and manner as written down in the Gospels, especially that of Matthew, and especially the Sermon n the Mount (Matthew 5-7)  and all testimony from the Holy Spirit, who was given by Christ to live in and speak through those who love Christ with words given by Christ, provided  those words agree with Christ’s central message, that we should love God above all else with all our soul, all our mind, all our heart and all our strength, ( Matthew 22:37-38; Mark 12:29-30; Luke 10:27; Deut6:4-5) and our neighbor as our self, ( Matthew 22:39-40; Mark 12:31;Luke 10:27; Leviticus 19:18) and that we should do for others what we would wish that they would do for us. (Matthew 7:12), that we should greet all people, also our enemies (Matthew 5:9) , and we are committed to doing just that by praying fairly, thinking truthfully, speaking kindly and acting healthily , and letting ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit in all things at all times.
  3. Christ’s mission: We believe that Christ came to earth to fulfill the Jewish Scriptures and to bring the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 3:16-17; Acts 1:8-19; 2:2-6) who brings us Christ’s words, which come from God  ( John 14:24), teaches all things (John 14:26) and which bring comfort and truth. (John 14:12-20; 16:7-15)   and are committed to living holy lives, led by Christ and thus God through the Holy Spirit. (John 21:15-19; Acts 9:40; 10-11:18)
  4. Christ’s laws: We believe that the Jewish laws as Christ and  prophets before Him explained, and as Christ fulfilled and deepened them have value to give guidance and structure to our lives, and to better understand the Holy Spirit within us, and are committed to following that guidance and having that structure in our lives always. (Matthew 6-7:12), being circumcised of heart ( Deuteronomy 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4)  standing up for what is right (Isaiah 1:11-19; 58:6-14; 59:15), being merciful (Samuel 15:22; Isaiah 1:11-17; Mal 3:1-5; Matthew 12:7) and pure (Matthew 15:17-20; Mark 7:15) in the common sense manner that Christ taught (Mark 2:21-22)  See also intelligent devotion chapter III.6.g. The place of Jewish traditions and feasts in Christ’s Teaching 
  5. Open: We believe that if all the great things Christ did were written down there would not be enough room in the world for all the books that would be needed to be written to describe them (John 21:25)  and are aware Christ does great works through the Holy Spirit to this day (John 14:20) , and we are open to the blessings He gives, and are committed to be blessings to God, Christ,  and all those He trusts to us. We understand that when the warning at the end of Revelations was issued that the Bible in its current form was not yet assembled , and so that it could only pertain to that one book called Revelations, and so we agree, that Christ’s central message should not be tampered with (See also intelligent devotion, Chapter III.7.1.e. Love waxing cold can thus be caused by the following errors in conviction  and  Appendix 7a Responses to attacks on following Christ’s Teaching), but can and should be built upon as Christ said should happen, openly  (Matthew 10:27)   in order for the miracles He promised those who followed His word can happen ( Matthew 6:3;17:20;  John 14:12-14; 15:16; )  We are thus spiritual treasure gatherers, hungry for the words of Christ, and eager to spread them and bring them into practice (Matthew 6:20)
  6. Our position and mission: We believe God is our Father, Christ is our friend and brother who speaks God’s words, and who baptizes us in the Holy Spirit who brings us Christ’s words,  (John 15: 10-27)and we are all brothers and sisters, equal in status (Matthew 23:8)   , unique in gifts and talents (John 15:8-9), and ultimately that people should build paradise on earth for all that lives, (Matthew 25: 14-30) , and we are committed to use our unique gifts and talents to build paradise on earth in how the Holy Spirit leads us to.
  7. Inner and world peace: We believe that following God’s rules as explained by Christ is necessary for inner and world peace as well as for eternal life hereafter. (John 15:10-27) and we are committed to understanding them as fully as we can and living according to them as completely as we can. (Matthew 7:21). See also Appendix 35.a. Realspaces: A practical guide to forgiveness in intelligent devotion ( https://uvrm.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/what-is-intelligent-devotion/ )
  8. Empathy and Compassion We believe that we should be born again, be as children,  (see III.8.11. a. What is “being born again”and what is being led by the Holy Spirit like?) and how we treat the least if Christ’s brothers or sisters is how we treat Christ, and how we treat Christ is how we treat God, and this determines whether we will be saved. (Matthew 25: 3-46) and that we should greet everyone, pray for everyone, and help those in need,  also our enemies, speak up and stand up for what is right in peaceful, (Matthew 5:38-48) kind ways, and be peacemakers every where and in every way, and we are committed to being and living empathically with compassion, treating others always as we would wish to be treated ourselves, as we would treat Christ Himself. (Matthew 7:12)
  9. Serve: We believe we are here to serve, and that who is first does the lowliest work and serves others, since that is what Christ taught  and the example He gave. (Matthew 20:25-28; John 13: 3-17) and we are committed to serving Christ as the Holy Spirit guides us with compassion and empathy always.
  10. Christ’s return: We believe that Christ’s return will be as He said in Matthew 24:26-2726 "So if anyone tells you, `There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, `Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (NIV) and we are committed to always being  ready for Christ’s return (Matthew 24:42-51)  and hospitable, presentable and pleasant, every second of the minute, every minute of the hour, every hour of the day, every day of the week, every week of the year, every year of our life, to live just as Christ wants us to.
  11. In case of conflicting messages in the Bible, we understand that all the prophets prophesied until John the Baptist (Matthew 11:12) , and that Christ testifies that John the Baptist was the greatest that ever lived,(Matthew 11:11)  and John the Baptist says thet he is not worthy to untie Christ’s sandals (Matthew 3: 11, John 1:26-27) . He is clearly talking about Christ, as can be seen in Matthew 3:13-16, and Matthew 12:41. Christ brought the Holy Spirit, of whom He says He can do even greater things than He (John 13:12-14; 14: 15-17) So it makes sense to let Christ’s central message as described in point 2 preside whenever there is a conflict within the Bible,   Of Paul we believe what Christ said in Mark 12:1-9, since that describes Paul and his message perfectly, and what Paul says of himself in 1 Corinthians 15:9, where he says he is not worthy to be called Christ’s disciple, which is true, because he contradicts Christ thoroughly. Paul himself advises people not to follow him ( I Corinthians 4). Peter, who Christ commissioned to “guide his sheep” (Matthew 16: 15;18) , also warned against Paul (2 Peter 3:16) One example: Paul says that who expects to be saved by the law is cursed (Galatians 3:10), whereas Christ showed how it must be interpreted, (see point 4) For the incompatibility of Chrst and Paul, see chapter 2 in https://uvrm.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/what-is-intelligent-devotion/  For a quick overview compare Christ’s and Paul’s salvation charts in appendox 7   Almost all conflicts between interpretations of Christ’s Teaching can be brought back to:a. Not understanding that John is greater than any before him, and Christ is greater than John,thus you find people marginalizing Christ, letting minor prophets preside over Him, causing  scapegoating b.Not reading properly, and taking instructions out of context and running with them.

 For a more thorough explanation of these errors and more, see III.7.1.e. Love waxing cold can thus be caused by    the following errors in conviction:[13]

Christ’s rules cleansed of Pauline influence are so logical and clear even atheists admit that if everyone lived by them world peace would be a fact.

How perfect life would be if they would be understood and practiced, and if all that power of the Holy Spirit could be used for building paradise on earth, instead of having to be used to survive the incessant unfair attacks people who believe in Christ’s Teaching endure.

 

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