A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for the ‘Hashem’ Category

Jesus was not the sin offering ~

Yeah, I know, that is a point of debate for many, but I have felt this to be the truth for a long time. I have recently found teachings online from observant Jews that show why this is the case. Here is an essay on why there was no need for bloodshed to absolve sins: here is commentary from a contemporary site for Jews. There are others and I will bring them in as I discuss this issue. Jews also believe that HaShem told them that  He would not incarnate,  Judaism 101 shows perhaps the most comprehensive list and references regarding why.

Now, here is where I depart slightly from general Jewish thought. I believe Jesus (Y’Shua) came for a specific ministry, not as a God-man, but as a guide, to help us find our way home. Please bear with me here, as this is ground I am still sifting, to find the truth for myself as well as to share on this blog. I have said before that I believe the four extant gospels were tampered with. What I now suspect is that, rather than tampering with something already written, the Greek scribes took lists, as you would find in the Gospel of Thomas, and wrote narrative that would fit with Constantine’s perception of the God-man. One of the reasons I believe this scenario to be close to the truth is that the 12 did not forsake their parent faith after his death, but continued to attend synagogue. If they had believed he were a God-man, they would simply have forsaken their Jewish roots, knowing that such a concept was unacceptable among their peers.

Within the extant gospels, I believe Y’shua’s teachings to have been preserved, albeit mixed so thoroughly with the scribes work,  so that one must filter and sift in order to find them. Filtering here, would require a thorough understanding of what Y’shua would not, or could not have said as a Jew, honoring the faith of his fathers. One of the things that has always struck me as somehow wrong, is that the church teaches a Jesus plus nothing doctrine in order to gain heaven, yet, Y’shua most emphatically stated that one must forgive in order that the Father might forgive us each our transgressions, he also taught that living a compassionate life fulfilled the law, in fact he said more than once that he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. This implies that his ministry had another purpose altogether.

Throughout Y’shua’s ministry he speaks often and consistently of the Holy Spirit. It is this knowledge that brought me to the conclusion that places where he is said to have been speaking of himself, he may have been speaking of this emanation. For instance, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”, this passage could easily have been intended to be “The I Am is the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father save through the I Am.” As that phrase is often used in the Tanakh to speak of the very near, very clear, very now presence of God Very God, i.e. the Holy Spirit. If that measure of change has occurred in the gospels, and I believe it has, then the places where Y’shua appears to have been speaking of himself as the Source of eternal life, he may have been speaking of truths his Jewish followers could accept and understand.

Because of all these things, I have come to understand why the pastors in the churches I attended years ago were uncomfortable with “too much” study of the Old Testament, since one would discover that it was not an old covenant, but a very vibrant and living covenant that still speaks to us today. I am quite aware that there are many passages in the Tanakh that have little to do with life today, the treatment of women, for example, would not work in today’s world. But, here, you must look at the surrounding cultures and realize that the Mosaic Law treated women with much more respect that did the neighbors. I believe that perspective would need updated to fit now.

Now, however, comes the hard part. The ground explored in the above statements has been covered by others and is by no means new. If Y’shua did not perceive himself as abolishing the law, but rather fulfilling it, what was his purpose? Why would he put himself through the horrible ordeal at the hands of the Romans? I have seen with my own eyes and senses the power of the Native American holy men and women who have been through such ordeals in the quest for their own spiritual enlightenment, and have felt the “mighty rushing wind” from a holy man of the Lakota Sioux. It occurs to me that Y’shua may have been simply working through the power of his own “medicine” to open the door for the event that he spoke of in his teachings. That is to say, the Gift of the Holy Spirit.

What would this be for? Jeremiah speaks of a New Covenant, one I do not believe has yet come, (just look at the world today and observe that there is no peace in it.) Now, he may have been speaking of the time of the Moshiach, which, in spite of the Christian insistence that Y’shua was that person, is not here. What if Y’shua were preparing the way for that one to come? What if the Holy Spirit, dwelling with each of us as a guide, indeed, dwelling within us so that the law was written on our hearts, was his goal. It hasn’t happened, but then, his ministry was side-tracked by the God-man doctrine, and the Jesus plus nothing doctrine so that what could have happened within a generation if all had gone according to plan, has now seen many generations pass. I pray that the Holy Spirit write the law on my heart that I may serve Hashem in all his glory.

 

 

Heartbreak ~

In looking back at my path these several years, I find myself looking with melancholy at the transformation from innocent faith; in God, in Doctrine, in other humans to have interpreted what they saw and heard correctly, and in the Church, to a perhaps wiser (no guarantees), certainly sadder, older believer in God, though not in God as presented. I am not sure, in that long look, that what I have found is just for my own benefit, or is to be shared with others. This blog is probably the extent of that sharing, though I have shared with others in my circle of friends.

I miss the old days. I miss the days when I could sing a hymn and not feel a cringe at the theology of the lyrics. I miss the simplicity of the days when it was just “Me and Jesus”, yeah, when we had our own thing going. I look with longing at the innocent faces of the children singing “Jesus Loves Me”, and ache for those days.

Do I still believe Jesus loves us? Well, that’s complicated. First, there’s the fact that his name was most likely Y’shua, or possibly even Mishe, for the name Jesus(Greek), or Y’shua(Hebrew) is symbolic and means savior, so it might have been changed to fit the story. Do I believe the teacher we know as Jesus would have loved me? Actually, yes, he was a teacher of unconditional love, so I still hold that thought dear to my heart. Do I believe that he taught that he, himself, was the “I Am”? No, I do not. I believe he taught of the “I Am” that she, yes she (check Proverbs chapter 8), was present in every moment of life? Yes, I do. Do I believe that it was his intent to form a new religion? No, not even for a moment. First, there is a prohibition against such in the Tanakh, and he taught obedience to the Law so thoroughly that we were to walk in unconditional love, thus fulfilling all the Mitzvot having to do with our fellow beings on this planet. Even to the point of saying that not one jot or tittle of the Law would pass away until all came to pass.

Do I believe Jesus was one with the Father? Yes, of course, in so far as those of us who act of one heart are at one with one another. He taught constantly of Hashem (The Name, YHWH) that that presence loves us and loved us always, now and forever. He felt that love, and acted in that love. Therefore he was at one with Hashem. Do I believe that the only way to come to the Father is through Y’shua? NO! I believe that the way to the Father is through the “I Am”, the very near, very here, presence of God Very God. If that Spirit guides you, you will live a compassionate life, caring deeply for all beings your life touches. I believe that that is the criterion heaven uses for whether we get to go home, and when we get to go home.

Yes, I have come to believe in reincarnation. *Gasp* I know, leaves me out of a lot of Christian conversation, doesn’t it? So, you see, my faith has gotten quite a bit more complicated at the same time it’s gotten simpler. I believe the only thing required is compassion, IJohn4:7-8, I believe that nothing else really matters. All the ceremonies are for the sake of man, not the sake of God. All the fancy buildings and garments are for the sake of man, not the sake of God.Please believe me when I say I like the fancy ceremonies, I often attend high Mass at Christmas, just because it is a beautiful ceremony, and puts one in the Christmas Spirit. But, it isn’t for God that I do that, God doesn’t need me to attend a ceremony to be in the mood to love me, that’s always and forever. God loves us all that way. Every moment of every day. Even when we are broken and in need of severe repair, (which is most, if not all, of the time).

I am also certain that it is not necessary to have a particular religion to obey God. A heart that wills to do good to one’s fellows, and holds no guile, is a heart that will be going home. So, yes, I miss the simple faith of my childhood, and wish I was back there at times, but my faith is actually simpler now, so, perhaps, it doesn’t matter, I can enjoy all the ceremony, knowing God loves each of us with or without all the fancies. I guess, with all that I have learned and seen, mayhap I should  simply count my blessings that I still have faith in the One.

 

 

Geeez, I can’t spell!!!!

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.

Change ~

deltablueYes, change is the only constant in the Universe. That is one of the most difficult things for us to cope with, most especially as we grow older. We want the security of certain things in our lives remaining constant. That does not happen on this planet, it may not happen anywhere in the Universe. There are references that say that Hashem remains the same forever. That may be quite true, and indeed, I suspect it is, But our understanding of Hashem has changed many times through the ages, and will yet again. Part of that is that we as a race of beings are getting “older” in our understanding of ourselves.  Some say our culture is in it’s teens. Which means we are capable of depth of thought, but not of sustaining depth of being. I can believe that.

All of the pieces parts are there in the Law to show us a way of life that is compassionate and gentle. Yet, because of the various instructions to oust and decimate unlawful peoples we have a perception of Hashem that is harsh and even possibly cruel. Certainly, there is a verse in the Tanach that says Hashem is a jealous G-d. Yet, what is asked of us is a kindness at the level taught by the Buddha some years later in another area of the Globe altogether.

It is in contemplating this factor that I have come to believe that all inspiration, no matter the timing or the person, comes through our own filters, and if we are not absolutely clear, afi50000with no agenda of our own, we will hear what we want to hear. In other words, in order to change our perspective of Hashem, or Moses, or Buddha, or Y’shua, or Mohammed, we may need to change internally enough to hear with the clarity of a clean and polished bell what Spirit has to say to us as individuals.

That requires a change that can only come from within, not from others, not even from Hashem, except that it is the Eternal Spirit that puts the tools in our hands to effect those changes:

In Aramaic, the word “mitzvah” means connection. Here, then, is the next level for understanding the word’s meaning in a modern context. The business of every Jew is to testify to God’s goodness and God’s sovereignty by fashioning our lives in ways of holiness and peace. We connect ourselves to our Creator; we link ourselves to the one who liberated us from slavery, by the way we live our lives. Each deed either strengthens our connection to God, or attenuates that link. There is no neutrality in the world of action: we either weave a web of goodness, with each new action adding a new strand to the fabric of our lives, or we snip away at the weave of righteousness that Judaism establishes in the world. In this second sense, mitzvah isn’t just what you do because God said so. God isn’t a cop, and mitzvot are not simply statutes. We do mitzvot because we seek to allow holiness into our lives.

From a website called Tikkun, to big-blue-marble-transparentheal, repair, and transform the world. This is Judaism today, marvelously translating Hashem’s words to us in a manner that brings out the goodness and love of the One who asks that of us.

Y’shua is taught to have said,

John 14:21, 15:12-13 He that has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves me; but he that loves me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself to him. This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this that one should lay down his life for his friends.

It was not Y’shua that taught us to kill one another in the name of religion, we have been doing that for a very long time, much before Moshe, much before the Sumerians. We have an attitude from our very outset that says our own perspective is right, and anyone who disagrees must die. In the days before the Law, this was understandable if only in that no matter who won, there would be a blood bath. It is in the Law that you see an attempt at an orderly means of working things out, at all levels. In fact, I find myself wondering if the laws regarding sacrifice were a concession to the already extant system of appeasing  deity, and rather than make wholesale change that folk would not think came from deity, Hashem toned down the slaughter immensely.  (The Eternal understanding that we are not good at change, eh?)

It is in that little added codicil allowing the very poorest members of society to bring somewhere between 1.5-2.5 gals of flour for a sin offering that we begin to understand that 449146a-i101Hashem may indeed have never needed blood shed to be satisfied. That leads to the conclusion that all of the shedding of blood was for our own need, not Hashem’s, so that we would feel that some greater justice had been served. And the very fact that Hashem does not seem really fond of blood letting at any level makes it even more poignantly our problem, not the Deity’s. I wonder when it will begin to dawn on the world at large that Hashem is quite a bit more civilized than the wild children on this planet?

If, then, we factor in Buddhism, which practices compassion as well as vegetarianism, and is tied to no Deity, but actually allows an individual the choice of whether to follow a deity or not, since the focus is on one’s own eternal happiness rather than service to G-d, we are left with the idea that perhaps there are still a great many changes we need to make altogether.

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.

Sin ~

adam-and-eveSin has been a thoroughly contended concept since long before I was born, and, since the major theologians cannot agree, I may be treading where even the angels will not go. Since the genome project assures us that Eve was of darker skin tone, there are no depictions of her that can even come close to accuracy, but hey, I want to discuss the inaccuracy of our perception of sin, anyway.

Calvinism provides a definition of sin as being that of total depravity, a twisting of what is right into something altogether wrong. That kind of nastiness is present in our world, but is not what was meant by the teachings of old. It would seem that the intent was to understand that humans were incomplete, and imature, in the sense that mistakes are more easily made than correct moves in the dance of life. Hence, humans are born with intelligence, the ability to learn how to “dance”.

When one looks at the average individual in our world, this, indeed fits far better than the

Dance of Life

Dance of Life

idea of depravity. The issue then, in the Tanakh was that G-d was perfect, complete, and therefore man needed a buffer between himself and G-d in order to participate in a relationship with G-d. I believe that the reason that modern Christianity, Calvinistic Christianity needs Y’shua to be a G-dman is that, for them, nothing less than that could untwist the twistedness of the soul. Yet, if Hashem did not see man, per se as twisted, there remains a question of degrees.

I was contemplating David’s words in the psalm, “cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean”. If the ancients sensed that, that something like hyssop, an essential oil from plants, would cleanse one both physically and spiritually, where did the need to place one’s sins on the back of an innocent lamb and slaughter the poor thing come from? I have wondered if there were a larger lesson even in this command from Hashem. What if the desire of the Holiest were that we see just how wrong it is to put our shortcomings on the backs of the innocent?

Look at Buddhist practice for a moment, here. The ceremonies and rituals, as well as the bloodpractice of mindfulness in order to get one’s mind out of the gutter and thinking on higher thoughts is rather effective, as well as accepting the issue of taking responsibility for one’s own thought processes. I like that. If I take responsibility for thinking what I think, then there is no “power” that can coerce me into doing something I do not feel is right. If I lay the blame on the “devil”, then the devil can make me kill or mame others, not acceptable behavior before any court of law. If the voices in my head tell me it’s time to kill the neighbor, then I can tell the voices to do it themselves, I have other things I prefer to do rather than shed the blood of a human.

The Promise of the Rainbow ~

rainbow2There is just something so uplifting and beautiful about a rainbow. I remember as a child oohing and ahing, and still do so when I see a particularly bright one or a complete one. They are gorgeous. When I went to Sunday school and learned that that was G-d’s promise that the earth would not be drowned again, but burned next time, I was thrilled, there was a reason to love the rainbow as much as I did. The Bible would have you believe that the rainbow did not exist before then, or I should say my Sunday school teachers, as I recall, the Bible says nothing one way or the other. A large part of my heart fears that’s just another lie, though there is this little corner that sort of wishes the statement were true, since it would mean that the communications from G-d that each of us gets might have a source other than somewhere inside us.spectrum

Whether it is G-d’s promise of no more mass drowning of the world or not, it “feels” like a promise from Hashem. There is this sense of inclusiveness about the rainbow, it includes all the colors we can see. Now that we know through science that there are most likely many more colors that our eyes cannot see, one wonders just how big a rainbow really is. But that is just my silly mind wandering off on one of it’s tangents. The point I was writing about has more to do with that feeling of “promise” I was talking about.

The sciences have shown us clues for many years now, that the basis for many of our traits is in our genetic make-up. What it seems to be showing is not that genomeour “fate” is pre-written, but that our reactions to events are somewhat pre-ordained. Now, personally, I believe that there are many things we can choose to live above. Do I believe that is easy? No! But there are many who are unable to feel empathy toward others of our kind, yet do not go out and murder dozens of their fellows, and until we understand the mechanism that drives those toward murder that do commit it, we are not going to be any closer to living free of that horror than we are today.

But, there are other things where our genetic make-up may indeed lead us to possibilities that are not necessarily “right” or “wrong”. When the imperative of the species was to pro-create, I can accept the idea that Hashem might have indeed said, “Go forth and multiply”. The Earth had plenty of space for all. As medicine has given us longer lives and more live births, I cannot accept that that genetic imperative is there any longer if Hashem truly wants us to live and be free to enjoy the bounty of the earth.

Indeed, I do not believe that it is. There are many couples choosing not to have children. Other couples of the same gender stay together out of caring for one another, not an imperative to have children. This is not just in one area of the world, it is all over the world, where people are too crowded to live healthy lives, including our own cities. I am aware that most people do not like to be compared to the “lower” animals, (so maybe they are glad of that, ’cause we don’t make that great a contribution to the well-being of their living space either.) but we are all here, and we all share the earth!

prismaspirianWhoa, that came around to my point almost as if I’d planned it that way. To me, that is where the rainbow is both a promise and a command. We are all here together, whether green (plant life), blue (some insects and birds), two-legged(most of the other colors), purple (flowers), we are here in the same eco-system, we must learn to work together to survive, and if we do learn that little trick, if we learn to work in harmony, we’ll fit together like the colors of the rainbow. In learning to honor our selves, we’d learn to honor Hashem, and, oh, I think Y’shua and Buddha taught that long before we came along.

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