A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for the ‘forgiveness’ Category

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Warning: This may be a very long post, read at your own peril:

Throughout the great scheme of things you secure a B+ for hard work. Exactly where you confused everybody was on your details. As it is said, details make or break the argument.. And that couldn’t be more accurate right here. Having said that, permit me say to you what did work. The text is certainly quite engaging and that is probably the reason why I am taking an effort in order to comment. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Secondly, whilst I can notice a leap in reasoning you make, I am definitely not convinced of exactly how you seem to unite your ideas that help to make your final result. For now I will, no doubt yield to your point however trust in the foreseeable future you actually connect your facts better.

First of all, thank you for this feedback, I have been hoping to get someone’s critique on the writing, and though this is overall positive, you make a good point about the lightness of the facts presented. In the entire blog, I have presented most of the passages from the Bible and from other sources that I base my argument upon, but you would have to read the entire blog to get that, as they are pretty scattered. In the hopes of not boring my regular readership, I will go ahead and list many of them here, so that you may see them in one post. Forgive me for presuming that most do not want to slog through my many years of contemplation and study, I do understand that most are not into that kind of study in reading a blog, but concede to the need to make the argument clearer and better organized.

I would like to share with you the passages in the New Testament that had me questioning the interpretation of spirituality that was being given in the churches I had attended, mostly Pentecostal and Evangelical.

From John 14 ;12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Now, I had seen true miracles done in his name, and had seen wonders come through my own prayers, but had never witnessed anything that could be listed as being any greater than what the Master is said to have done, either through my hands or through the hands of others. We were either not doing enough, or not believing correctly, or this was a misquote. For many years I thought it might be that I was not believing him for the greater things.

But, wait, there were other passages that had me asking questions. (BTW, please, always, feel free to read the entire passage from which I quote, to do that here would make a post that will already be more than a long chapter longer, it would make it unreadable in one sitting, it may be anyway.) There was the passage in John 4,

32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Now, this has been interpreted many ways, usually to signify that rejection of the Christ would result in eternal damnation, as it was the Holy Spirit that brought Jesus to us. I had other questions that lead back to this, however. What of those who had never heard of him, or those who had heard of him from people who had murdered a person’s family, and therefore made it impossible to hear a gospel of love from them. And what about the idea that one could speak against Jesus himself, but be forgiven, but not be forgiven for speaking against the Holy Spirit, that would make the primary explanation circular, and therefore false.

What about the idea that the Holy Spirit has already spoken to the Ivrit (Jews), giving 600(+) mitzvot or commandments regarding conduct before God. What about the other people with whom there is evidence of awareness of the Holy Spirit, such as the Tao Te Ching , which, in several passages refers to one who can only be interpreted as the Holy Spirit; I have provided a link to one such translation, please take the time to read it, it isn’t that long, and is beautiful. What of Buddha’s teachings, so similar to Jesus’ ; they are spoken differently, and even formatted differently, and if you wish, I will make a post comparing them teaching by teaching. These are only a few examples of where and to whom the Holy Spirit has communicated, there are others, they are prolific, and I will take them example by example if you wish. (and enjoy the task, as it is something I love to contemplate!)

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Compassion-energy_JasonAllenMiller

There is a statement in 1John:4 7&8 that has become a mantra to me;

7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Now, I must digress and speak of the Holy Spirit, most profoundly and beautifully spoken of in Chapter 8 of Proverbs. Note, she is spoken of in the feminine, not the masculine as in the New Testament, because the church fathers did not want to have a comparison of their trinity teachings confused with the trinities from other faiths, Hinduism, Egyptian cosmology, Paganism, etc.. So, we must consider that she had transgendered, or perhaps the church fathers had arbitrarily decided to change her for their own purposes.The Holy Spirit, if I am correct, has spoken to all of compassion. It is here that I take my cue, that compassion is the primary purpose of our lives, we are here to learn to be compassionate with each other, against all odds! Here I also include the indigenous peoples of all the world, for when you study their take on cosmology, we are to be forgiving and to care.

Why I believe Y’shua may not have even implied he was God Incarnate;

During my journey of questions, I stumbled onto some things that were not taught in my Lutheran Catechism class.

♦ The God of the Jews, the God I thought of as my God had not actually insisted on a blood sacrifice for forgiveness of sin(a misconception in modern times, it meant shortcomings, imperfections in the original, not necessarily evil). This is stated several times in the OT but most markedly in Leviticus 5:11-13.

11 “‘If, however, they cannot afford two doves or two young pigeons, they are to bring as an offering for their sin a tenth of an ephah[a] of the finest flour for a sin offering. They must not put olive oil or incense on it, because it is a sin offering. 12 They are to bring it to the priest, who shall take a handful of it as a memorial[b] portion and burn it on the altar on top of the food offerings presented to the LORD. It is a sin offering. 13 In this way the priest will make atonement for them for any of these sins they have committed, and they will be forgiven. The rest of the offering will belong to the priest, as in the case of the grain offering.

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. [Psalm 40:6]’”

Since I am not financially blessed, this would apply to me, and most of the folks who are a part of my circle, and means that it is not a requirement to sacrifice an animal for me to be forgiven. Though this was not hidden from me as a child in the church, neither was it pointed out. In fact, I was told that there was NO remission of sin without blood being shed for me by an animal or a Christ. I thought that the only way God forgave was through bloodshed. The more aware I became of the horrendous price paid on the cross, the less compassionate I thought God, to make anyone suffer so vastly for sins he had not committed, and for my sins to boot!

In my sojourn in the church, I had learned by implication that God was demanding, angry, vengeful, and unbending. People were put to death for walking into the sanctuary if they were not the right tribe, even. Children were put to death for not obeying their parents (I understand the temptation to wring an offspring’s neck sometimes, but, God?) And a God that didn’t understand that homosexuality wasn’t always a choice? Excuse me, if God made me, he can surely look into my heart and see what is there!  And, yes, I am taking the long way around to explain this point, but I will try to explain here all the reasons for my conclusions.

♦ The God of the Jews abhorred human sacrifice. Yes, the OT is clear on this, and states it several places.This is quoted from WhatJewsbelieve.org, just to make it a quick reference, to be sure, these references are commenting on the sacrifice of one’s sons and daughters to pagan gods, but then, we are all sons and daughters:

What does God say about human sacrifice in the TaNaCH? In Deuteronomy 12:30-31, God calls Human sacrifice something that He hates, and an abomination to Him, “for every abomination to the Eternal, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. In Jeremiah 19:4-6, God tells us that Human sacrifice is so horrible a concept to Him, that it did not even come into His mind to demand it from His creation, “They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind.” We see the same thing in Psalm 106:37-38, and in Ezekiel 16:20.

Though there are places online where you can find basic Jewish beliefs, they do not have a central governing body that decides what is heretical and what is not, so there are many areas where there are differences in beliefs from one sect to the next, much the same as Protestants in the Christian faith. I realize I am using Jewish commentary on this, but I do trust the rabbis to be more in tune with what the Tanach says regarding their beliefs, and what the meaning of the verses truly is. I am an Egalitarian in my beliefs, so I am not always in tune with Jewish tradition, either. I do not believe it is right to attempt to own another human, I believe that Homosexuality is not wrong, I believe that pedophilia is completely wrong, I hear voices, and I have seen things in my mind as in visions that have come true, and I may be crazy, (it’s why I share what I believe rather than attempt to tell others this is the way they should believe)

♦If Y’shua had made the implications or said some of the things he is recorded to have said, he would have been stoned to death, as the Mosaic Law was still practiced fully in his time.That means that there are passages that may have been tampered with quite a bit to read the way they read in today’s New Testament. This may be a result of faulty understanding by the translators from the Aramaic notes that would have been available to the Greek and Roman scribes that would have been responsible for those translations, or it may be a true revision of the manuscripts for political reasons. For what ever reason may apply, there are things that he is supposed to have said that make more sense with minor changes. For instance, he is supposed to have said, “I am the way, the truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father except through me.” This would have gotten him stoned, immediately. But, with minor changes, he may have said, “The I Am ( a name used for the very near, very here presence of God) is the way, the truth and the life, No man comes to the Father except through the I Am.” very minor changes, very major change in meaning. This could easily have happened because the yod is added at the front of a word to say, “the”. Easily missed, easily misunderstood.

There are places in the four gospels that feel unchanged, others that feel like there are major revisions. I was taught that the model for prayer that is called the “Our Father” was original with Y’shua, and showed a stroke of his genius, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned that it was a part of Kaddish, the prayers said for the dead. I was taught that there was no other faith that used the baptism as a means of cleansing the soul to prepare for regeneration, so you can imagine my shock when I first experienced a sweat lodge at the invitation of my Shawnee teacher, the concepts run deeper, actually, but the result is the same, a newness of life and understanding. I was taught that there was a blood red line that ran through the Old Testament that testified to Y’shua’s coming. Imagine how frustrating it was to learn that the books that had been excluded from the Tanach had been excluded because they had nothing to do with Y’shua or his coming.

♦I was frustrated, and spoke of it to more than one pastor, that Paul’s words were treated with the same sense of authority as Y’shua’s words. That wasn’t right in my book then, it really isn’t now, as I have found that they take Christianity so completely away from it’s Judaic roots, that it is a Hellenized approach to faith. Paul was a very spiritual, but very human individual with faults that are difficult for me to accept in humans today. One such can be found in Corinthians. In the first letter he berates a man and his sexual practices, having coupled with his wife and her mother. In the second letter he recognizes that this was not the case, but tells them it was all for their good anyway. I really dislike people that do that, and won’t go back to a church where I find the pastor acting like that.

To be sure, there are spots in his letters that I thoroughly enjoy, even in the same letters where he errs. 1Corinthians chapter 13 is as beautiful a recitation on Love as any I have ever read, anywhere. Yet, in some of his epistles, or most specifically one that is supposed to be his, 1Timothy, he basically says women should be kept barefoot and pregnant. Grrrrr! He is pictured here preaching atop the monument in Athens to an unknown God. I would not mind so much his railing against Pagans if he and those who came after him had not made Paganism so much a part of Christianity. This entire passage can be found in the book of Acts in the New Testament.

Well, forgive me, please, I digressed a bit from my point in this section that Y’shua would not have called himself God, but I hope I am making more sense at this point.  If not, I hope you will give me feedback to that, too. I do want to make my point clear and easily understood. I am not here to impress, I am here to communicate. Thanks again for reading my blog!!

The Holy Spirit ~

I love sundogs, for they remind me of Her, the Holy Spirit!

I have spoken of the Holy Spirit before, here most specifically. Also included in that post is the passage from Proverbs chapter 8, that is the place in the Tanakh where she is spoken of most. One of the things that I find most appealing in her monologue is this verse. 17 I love those who love me,  and those who seek me find me. She has always been available to those who would seek her out, she has never been hidden, read the whole passage, please! I am fully aware that Christians call the Holy Spirit him, as they believe that this is Jesus’ spirit, made available to believers when he died. But, as you can see if you read Proverbs 8, she was always available, always.

Now, I don’t personally believe that Y’shua ever said he was God, or any aspect of God. That means that he was speaking of her when he said, (the) I Am (is) the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, save through (the)I Am. Rather than speaking of himself, except as an envoy of her, he would not have implied that he was incarnate of God. That would have led immediately to his being stoned to death. Not crucified, stoned. I do believe he was her student, and one of the best of her students throughout all of time. I find, when I read his words as reflecting that teacher-student relationship, that places that make little to no sense, suddenly have a beauty beyond imagination.

There is much online from the rabbis of today, and I read as much as I can of their words. Because of the format that has been used to introduce Y’shua’s teachings to the world, they have been put off, rather completely. This is because the Tanakh (OT), specifically says God will never incarnate into human form, and because, as I stated in the previous post to this one, God does not require a blood sacrifice for us to be forgiven of our shortcomings. It is by our attitude, and our intentions, that we are judged by God, whether we will be brought into everlasting life or everlasting death. It is by the heart of the human that the human is judged. I also believe that reincarnation may be a real possibility, as it is implied in the Tanakh even if not taught outright. That means that those who truly fouled up in this life may have a chance to redeem their spirit’s place in the heavenlies by their actions and attitudes in the next incarnation of that spirit.

I also want to include in this post the posit that much that has to be “explained” really doesn’t need explanation in the long run, I believe truth will come to the surface, it is not hidden, it does not need defended, it stands on it’s own, shining as a beacon for all who will observe it’s place. There is a physic’s axiom that applies here, called Occam’s razor, the simplest explanation is usually the best.

Attitude ~

11 “But if he cannot afford two turtledoves or two pigeons, then he shall bring as his offering for the sin that he has committed a tenth of an ephah [3] of fine flour for a sin offering. He shall put no oil on it and shall put no frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering. 12 And he shall bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take a handful of it as its memorial portion and burn this on the altar, on the Lord’s food offerings; it is a sin offering. 13 Thus the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin which he has committed in any one of these things, and he shall be forgiven. And the remainder [4] shall be for the priest, as in the grain offering.”

Odd, isn’t it? How the smallest little things can make you question major decisions in your life?  The above passage was the final straw. I had questioned so many of the church’s doctrinal stances, that I had given up going to church, had even stopped calling myself a Christian, as I didn’t believe that God would ask a human, or even a god-human to give such a sacrifice for our sins. The punishment Y’shua took before and during the crucifixion were so extreme, that I could not conceive of God being that cruel to his begotten. And here it is, right there in the Torah, God didn’t require it.

I could be forgiven if I simply offered a 1oth of an ephah of fine flour. Now, to be sure, it needed to be exhibited with a turning from deliberate sin, and with a heart that wanted to serve the Holiest of Holies, but, there didn’t need to be blood shed for my sins. God did not require bloodshed. OK, now I could believe beyond all questioning that God was good, loving, kind, and merciful to the full extent. This is a God with true compassion toward his created.

Yet, there was the story of Cain and Abel. How do you reconcile that? The rabbis explain it. Abel gave gladly of the finest in his herd, while Cain gave of the rotten leftovers from his garden. So, it is an attitude of the heart that God is looking for, not blood. When I realized this, I fell in love with God all over again. God is simply awesome!  There are other passages that echo this, for instance, from Psalms 40 6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire— but my ears you have opened[c]burnt offerings and sin offerings[d] you did not require.

I don’t know how, in all my reading of the scriptures I missed the significance of these passages. I guess I had been taught so long that God required blood to forgive, that I missed it.  The rest of that Psalm speaks of the same change of heart that is looked for in all of those passages that speak of sin. It isn’t about sin, it’s about loving God so much we love our neighbors as equals in the eyes of that same Holy One. We quit wanting to harm others, we quit wallowing in our own mud puddle and start looking at the love we have been given, and are grateful.So, if I read these passages correctly, and according to the rabbi’s whose work I have read, it isn’t blood that gets you into heaven, it’s an attitude of the heart!


More than one path to Love ~

We live in such an imperfect world that it is not uncommon for parents to EXPECT their children to accept their version of God without question. That applies to any religion, whether Christianity or the Islamic faith or any other. I find it refreshing when a parent or grandparent has been so faithful to the God of mercy that the offspring are inspired to believe, even in the midst of loss and pain. Many have  parents not unlike my grandparents whose view of God was much more a “DON’T” God. Don’t do this, you can’t do that, you’re so impossible, you’re going to burn in H*ll. I find that manner of rearing children a shameful thing, and so sympathized with my mother, who never found comfort in God, even to her dying day.

I would rather see people find God, any way they can, Christian, Pagan, Islam, Jainism, any path of spirituality that brings comfort and a manner of life that is compassionate in it’s ways, than see people flounder in a morass of such negativity that they cannot see God as anything but a lightening bolt ready to blast them out of existence for thinking on their own, or questioning their parent’s values. My mother never found forgiveness and mercy at the thought of God, even though she believed God existed, and clung to the hope that Jesus was really God, even on her death bed. But it brought her no comfort, she thought she was going to H*ll.

So, I admit to having a very strong aversion to teaching one’s own view of God as the only path to “salvation”, as the only path to comfort. If I come across as putting down the Christian faith, it is a result of what I have seen, felt, and thought, through many years of attempting to anchor my own spirituality, hearing voices and all, in a God of such mercy that there is room for all who would love God by loving their fellow man.

There is one principle that I was introduced to in my journey that seems appropriate here. “Be certain of nothing, for as surely as you are certain, you are certainly wrong.” The other side of that principle is, “Change is the only constant in the Universe.” I also believe that the energy that moves about from the sun, in the wind, and moving the very planet under our feet, is love. Love has room for more than just my view of God. I hope that those who find no comfort in the thoughts of God’s existence will at least find Love, for, no matter their view of God, if they find Love, they have found God.

The Devil

Does the “Devil” exist? That’s a loaded question, since many believe that if you believe in God, you must accept the existence of this entity. I very much believe in God, HaShem is quite real to me. However, I do not believe that there is an equal entity serving the dark side as leader. I do believe the dark side exists, I do believe that evil is something that must be dealt with, but I do not believe that there is any dark entity with power that equals that of God.

There are many names that have been attributed to “The Devil” over the centuries, some of them truly false, others quite accurate in their naming of an evil spirit. But there is a major difference between the many names of God, and the many names of evil. You see, all spirits in service of God have one goal, to serve the highest and best interests of all persons involved in the long running drama of life. Those which serve the other side, however, have as their guiding principle, service only to themselves. They cannot by definition serve an ultimate goal.

This is easily forgotten, as evil finds many shapes and sizes with which to present itself. Just look around you; the level of brokenness that exists within each of us is the level at which darkness can prevail as a driving force. That’s pretty frightening all by itself. But it is that very same brokenness that precludes that the person who is broken cannot truly serve a larger cause. It is the very reason that the first step in service to the Ancient of Days is healing. Your level of healing is indeed proportionally responsible to your level of serviceability. You cannot truly serve LOVE until you have been healed by LOVE. It is only as the Inner Self is healed that we can let go of the demands for “rights” and replace those demands with the need to give mercy, grace, and pardon. You can only truly serve HaShem with LOVE.

The other side, however, serves with the exact opposite of LOVE, that is, FEAR. Since the broken ones cannot see beyond their own need, the leaders of such an army cannot focus on larger goals before they instill fear of retribution into their soldiers.Once they have instilled this fear, they can bring about cohesion by focusing their troops on bringing about vengeance, pain and further brokenness in all who experience the touch of that army.  It is because of this very need to serve only self that there is no equal in the dark side army, to the power of LOVE. When the leaders begin to reach their goal, instead of celebrating, they begin to devour one another, again, out of FEAR. Ultimately, the very organization of such a structure will fall, if only because of the weakness within the ranks. Such a beast will devour itself and all its victims from within.

Blood Sacrifice ~

blood_spatter1

The practice of shedding blood for the appeasement of a god or gods is part of our communal history since long before any human is capable of remembering. We do not have records that go back that far. I watched Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, and the intensity was shocking, and has had me thinking for quite a while about the idea of Y’shua taking on my sins in such a fashion. It broke my heart. I cannot feel that it is just in any way for someone else to suffer for anything I have done. The very violence of the beating, the blood spatter, the pain. I cannot feel that I would allow that, if I must suffer, then I must suffer, but not an innocent. No!

Then I found out that Hashem would not have allowed it anyway. That it was indeed not possible for Hashem to take another’s blood for my shortcomings.

The Bible is clear, and it is consistent. One person cannot die for the sins of another. This means that the guilt from the sins committed by one person cannot be wiped out by the punishment given to another person. First, in Exodus 32:30-35, Moses asks God to punish him for the sin of the Golden Calf, committed by the people. God tells Moses that the person who committed the sin is the person who must receive the punishment. Then, in Deuteronomy 24:16, God simply states this as a basic principle, “Every man shall be put to death for his own sins.” This concept is repeated in the Prophets, in Ezekiel 18 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die… the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”

In fact, in further investigating that sight, I was reminded that one is allowed to bring a half ephah colonial_wheat_flourof flour if one is unable to afford even a pigeon for the absolution of one’s sins. It is the act of contrition then, that satisfies Hashem, not the act of spilling the blood of one who is not guilty.I must admit to having been greatly relieved that Hashem is more appalled than I at the idea of Y’shua’s having been a sacrifice for my imperfections. Please go to the website above, and investigate further, for if you feel as I do, that no one should have to take on your burdens in such a way, you will be relieved that the just God of the Ivrit does not do this, and it is not part of even the “thinking” of that G-d. In fact you will find that, if you simply stop doing that which is bad in the sight of G-d, and start doing that which G-d considers good, you will be doing all that is required by Hashem. I am most grateful.

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