THE BIBLE FOR PRAGMATISTS…

“The Holy Bible” is a selection of books written by different authors, taken from HEBREW SCRIPTURES. This blog is a practical summary of what the authors of these books thought of this world; – from its Creation to its End.

First of all, please understand that Hebrew and Greek are VERY different languages to English. The Holy Bible we read in the Western world was translated from these 2 languages. If English is your primary language, you are likely to be quite rigid in your comprehension and application of words, and thus – you are faced with many translation errors when reading these ancient Scriptures. For example – a Hebrew word can have several different meanings dependant on the context and position within a sentence… In Greek, where the words; ‘eros’, ‘phileo’, ‘storge’ and ‘agape’ all have distinctly different meanings; – the English of the Bible translates all 4 words as, ‘love’.

My paradigm, cosmology and world-view is formed largely from what the Hebrew Israelite people wrote many, many years ago…

The Elohim (or God) of the Hebrew Israelites named “YHWH” or Yehovah, (the Creator of all things) created the earth. It was once formless and void but YHWH changed all that.

He created a man we call ‘Adam’ and a woman we call ‘Eve’. These were images of YHWH Himself. NO OTHER CREATURE bore YHWH’s image. These two human beings were the walking, talking, living embodiments of YHWH’s glory. Let us remember what an ‘image’ does… An image glorifies that which it is ‘imaging’. Think of statues, paintings etc; – they are not the real thing but they seek to represent and/or embellish the things that they reflect.

YHWH made a garden called EDEN. This was a special location on the earth in which He placed Adam and his wife to live. It was a kind-of “Crossover Space” between “YHWH’s Space” (Heaven) and “Man’s Space” (earth). It was what we would call “heaven on earth”.

This “Crossover Space” was the ORIGINAL PLAN for mankind… God & man dwelling in the same space forever. If you are a “Holy Bible” reader you will find this “Crossover Space” or ‘Heaven’ at the beginning of the narrative in Genesis and also at the end of the Biblical narrative in Revelation.

EVERYTHING that happens in the Bible after the fall of man, documents YHWH attempting to restore this dual existence with mankind; – and Satan (or “the Adversary”) trying to stop this from happening by many (and any) means necessary.

YHWH is perfect. Our minds as humans are so far away from perfection that we cannot even imagine what ‘perfect’ actually is. YHWH chooses to dwell (reside and live) in perfect places only.

A cunning, crafty creature called the serpent tested the faith of Adam’s wife (later named Eve). The serpent led her to doubt the words and instructions of YHWH and she sinned. She – in turn led her husband Adam, to also sin. Adam and Eve disobeyed YHWH by eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. They had not had any children at this point. They were banished from this “Crossover Space” into the wider earth, which was a considerably rougher terrain – now cursed to make their job of tending to it, subduing it, eating from it and sustaining their lives a hard task.

Everything (literally EVERYTHING) that we read about in Hebrew Scripture (or see in life) from there on in, is an on-going attempt by YHWH to restore ‘heaven on earth’; along with continuous attempts by the Adversary (or Satan, or Opposer) to disrupt this plan from taking place.

In A Nutshell:

  • A band of angels named the Watchers went beyond their station and fathered hybrid children (Nephilim) with human women. This created a bloodthirsty war between the different classes of these creatures and mankind got caught in the crossfire. These Watchers taught mankind (and their Nephilim hybrid sons) things about the earth and stars that they were not instructed to tell them. These were things like the understanding of herbs and their uses, the art of seduction and make-up, how to extract metal from the earth and forge weaponry, how to read signs in the stars and worship them and much more… The earth was full of bloodshed and all manner of sin and disorder. This era is known in the Bible as ‘the days of Noah’.

  • YHWH regrets that He created mankind and is disgusted by their sinful ways. He decided to flood the earth, saving only 8 human beings. This served as a ‘soft reset’ but did not reinstate the “Crossover Space”. It did not bring heaven to earth. Soon enough – sin was back on earth, this time with the aid of the now disembodied spirits of the Nephilim who are tormented, longing for bodies in which to walk and dominate the earth again. These are described in Scripture as ‘evil spirits’ or ‘demons’.

 

  • YHWH makes a promise to a man named Abram (later renamed Abraham). Abram has great faith and he follows YHWH’s instructions, taking Him at His word. YHWH promises to restore the earth by using Abram’s family/bloodline. He promises him that he will have more descendants than he is able to count in the night sky.

IT IS ABRAHAM’S FAMILY (Hebrew Israelites) THAT WRITE THE SCRIPTURES FROM WHICH WE GET – “THE HOLY BIBLE”.

 

  • These Hebrew Israelites kept an account of their lives. After their enslavement in Egypt, they went into a direct Covenant with YHWH. This is found in Exodus 20-24 and it’s where you will see the 10 Commandments. This was another MAJOR attempt by YHWH to bring about the “Crossover Space” or ‘heaven on earth’ through the Israelites. They were to be a ‘royal-priesthood’. They were to be a peculiar nation, set-apart from the rest of the peoples of the earth. They were to rule in righteousness and be a beacon of hope, wisdom and goodness for all to see. They were meant to be ambassadors of YHWH. They would have truly glorified their God – just as any good ‘image’ does; – but alas, they sinned repeatedly and continuously.

 

  • The Israelites could not keep their end of the Covenant. They broke it time and time again despite YHWH putting in contingencies like Sacrificial Laws, sin offerings and Atonement festivals. They were enslaved time and time again as a result throughout history and to this day – still suffer under the curses prescribed for their disobedience in DEUTERONOMY 28.

  • Prophecy is a MASSIVE-yet-understated part of Hebrew Scripture. It was prophesied by several writers of their books; that one day – the New Covenant would replace the Covenant they went into at Mount Sinai. One such reference is in JEREMIAH 31:31-34.

 

  • A Messiah was prophesied to come and do the mighty work of saving His people from death and the grave due to the hopeless situation that they were in because of their rebelliousness. He would replace the Old Covenant with a New One. This Covenant would be open to ALL nations; – no longer would Israel have exclusive rights to YHWH.

This Saviour was Yeshua Hammashiach aka JESUS the ‘Christ’.

The book of HEBREWS does an excellent job of explaining exactly what Yeshua did and why He had to do it. On the run up to Yeshua’s execution/Sacrifice – He taught His disciples how to pray – starting the prayer with the same sentiment that John ends the book of Revelation with in chapter 21 –

“…Thy kingdom COME, Thy will be done ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN…”

The ultimate “Crossover Space” comes down out of “YHWH’s Space” in REVELATION 21. John calls it New Jerusalem. Before this, we see glimpses of these spaces throughout Scripture – they are usually called ‘the tabernacle’, ‘the sanctuary’, ‘the tent of meeting’ or the temple. It is in these spaces that both YHWH and mankind coexist – briefly.

 

This is why the metaphor of our bodies being the temple of YHWH would have been quite startling and avante garde for Yeshua’s Jewish audience. The tabernacle or temple was a holy place that only a priest could enter. Only the highest priest on duty could enter the ‘Most Holy Place’ and live; – even then, the priest’s life depended on his ceremonial cleanliness.

 

Yeshua turned this doctrine on its head by tearing the veil of the temple/sanctuary (this separates the holy from the ‘Most-Holy’ place) – allowing anyone other than priests to approach the ‘Mercy Seat’ (throne of YHWH)… Also – by saying that the temple is now within us and that YHWH is to reside inside of each of us; – this put the responsibility on each individual to ensure that their hearts were pure and clean – fitting for YHWH to descend down into.

To conclude – we have a few things yet to happen in terms of the narrative according to the Hebrews. REMEMBER – YHWH’s end-game is to restore that “Crossover Space” down here on earth.

FORGET the old notion of us flying away into ‘Heaven’ to live with God forever. Hebrew Scripture does not say that.

We are human beings…

EARTHLINGS. 

According to Scripture – YHWH created a special place just for us!

He called it ‘earth’.

HALLELUJAH!!!

 

ONLY. ONE. MIIKZ.

 

CHRISTIANITY VS BEING A CHRISTIAN

UH-OH…

UH-OH...

 

 

 

 

 

So you call yourself a ‘Christian’ do you?

Here we go… I knew it wouldn’t be long before I spoke on religion in some way, shape or form. Since my blog on ‘Eostre’ – I have had many personal messages asking me to expand on this topic. Now although making people uncomfortable with my writing is not my aim; – I still have a mandate to speak on things that are on my chest. That said, this subject area is a rabbit hole that sucks you in and spits you out in the middle of a vast religious, cultural minefield. The only escape from such a place is to close your eyes as hard as you can, hoping to wake from it; – or by clicking your heels together thrice while saying, ‘There’s no place like home’, over & over, lol

Nah, all jokes aside – I really would need more than the mere 1300 words I try to limit these articles to… Even if I wrote a thesis on the subject, I may not come to a definitive conclusion on such a monster of a topic. SO – I’ll try to keep it brief.

(that’s approx 190 words gone!)

Let’s start by defining the two – then we can tackle them both individually.

BEING A CHRISTIAN/CHRISTIAN LIVING…

Assuming we are all reading from the King James Version of the Bible; ‘Jesus, the Christ’ travelled around the land teaching people how to live according to the Commandments that Moses received from YEHOVAH (the ‘LORD GOD’ of the Bible) and passed on to the Israelites. He untwisted the fallacies that had befallen His people via the erroneous teachings of the Pharisees – Israel’s  ruling class at the time. His real Hebrew name was Yehoshua or Yeshua. He was of Israelite descent, from the tribe of Judah. We get the word ‘Jew’ from this. According to the Bible, Jews are descended from the Israelite tribe named JUDAH. ‘Jew’ is a shorthand word for the people descended from this tribe.

A ‘Crucifix’ – symbol of Christianity.

Yeshua (aka Jesus in Latin) performed miracles, healed people’s bodies and minds, and even cast out evil spirits (exorcisms). Following His crucifixion and resurrection, his remaining 11 apostles (plus Paul and a few others) travelled the land, teaching the people as Yeshua did – continuing His work and ‘spreading the Gospel’. 

Yeshua was a Jew. His apostles including Paul were Jews. But they were also Christians. They were ‘Christians’ because they were followers and advocates of the Christ’s (Yeshua’s) teachings. By definition, they were Jews by blood and Christian by faith. It was not Yeshua’s intention to make a new religion. It is believed that His coming was prophesied to the Jews long ago. He is believed to be the prophesied Messiah who came to set right, the way His people were living; because they were way off from the original plan and Covenant they had made with their God; Yehovah – many years before.

 

CHRISTIANITY…

‘Christianity’ is a term derived from two root words, ‘Christ’ and ‘Christian’. Believe it or not, the word Christian only appears in the Bible 3 times. It was  used by two apostles: Luke (Acts 11:26 & 26:28) and Peter (1 Peter 4:16).

The word Christianity never appears in the Bible. Christianity is a religion instituted by the Romans – specifically the emperor named Constantine The Great. The story goes like this…

(long story but stay with me…)

Twin brothers Romulus & Remus suckled by Lupercal – a she-wolf. Romulus is said to be the founder of Rome.

 

Constantine was the son of a Roman military officer named Constantius. Constantius rose to become emperor of a quadrant of Rome. Upon his death in 306AD, his troops proclaimed his son Constantine as emperor in his stead. However, there was another claim for this position by the emperor of another, larger quadrant of Rome; his name was Maxentius.

For 6 years, the dispute between Constantine and Maxentius remained unresolved. Finally in 312AD, Constantine marched on Rome and met Maxentius’ army at the Milvian Bridge. According to Roman historian Zosimus, Constantine’s army was considerably smaller than Maxentius’ army (approximately half the number of troops).

Constantine was a pagan. The state-wide Roman religion was Paganism which is an amalgamation of the religious beliefs and practices of the people who Rome conquered. This made it polytheistic in nature. As Rome conquered the world, the enveloped nations all added their flavour to Roman life; – this composite culture was a mosaic comprised of different foods, music, philosophies and of course, religions. It is worth noting at this point that Jews and Judaeo-Christians both already co-existed at this time. The Christians were seen as a small but growing sect of people whose numbers started off being comprised of mainly Jews.

(THE IMPORTANT BIT…) 

According to Eusebius of Caesarea and other sources, Constantine had a vision before going into battle with Maxentius in 312AD. He saw a vision of a cross made of light, with words above it. The words were: ‘in hoc sign vinces’ – ‘in this sign, you will conquer’. So, like any good pagan Roman would, Constantine took heed to this omen and ordered his troops to put a Christian symbol known as the Chi-Rho on their shields before going into battle. Against the odds, Constantine won the battle – taking over Maxentius’ territories. He later went on to become the first emperor of all the territories of Rome. He attributed this victory to the God of the Christians, IGNORING the usual celebratory sacrifices and traditions that came with victory in battle for Romans. Instead, he went straight into the imperial palace – with his thoughts alone. What follows is the steady process of how Christian living was replaced with ‘Christianity’…

‘Chi-Rho’ above Roman battle-flag

The next year, in 313AD Constantine and the emperor of the other half of the Roman Empire – Licinius issued an edict called the Edict of Milan. This law gave all the people of the Roman empire the freedom to worship whoever they pleased. Christians and Jews had been persecuted severely prior to this, so this neutrality of the State was felt the most by these groups. Freedom to worship Yehovah and thank Yeshua for His sacrifice included the usual prayers, singing and observing the Sabbath. (Bear in mind ‘Christianity’ didn’t officially exist at this time but there was a growing number of people that called themselves Christians) The property and monies confiscated from the Christians was returned to them by order of this edict. This allowed the Christian message to spread unhindered amongst the people.

On March 7th 321AD – Constantine issued the first ‘Sunday Law’. This effectively outlawed Sabbath-keeping as Christians and Jews knew it. Constantine called himself a Christian, so this ‘rest from work’ was actually a dark replacement for the true Sabbath which was instituted by Yehovah at Creation. This rest from work was in line with the Roman Julian calendar and their 7-day, perpetually cycling week. The Jews and the Christians were fully aware of the implications of this law and most of them refused to replace their practices with this Roman-instilled dark replica of the Sabbath; unless under threat of death; – and die, some of them well did.  It replaced the one obvious marker that the Hebrew people were known by – the Sabbath. As Sun-day worship and Sun-day rest became more popular; the Julian calendar gained strength as the ancient Hebrew calendar lost observance and support.

In 324AD, Licinius and Constantine battled and Constantine became the sole emperor of the entire Roman Empire. He called himself a Christian and throughout the years, Constantine’s Christian attitude and ideas were reflected by the laws made, favours granted and general support given to the Christians. This included tax rebates, special allowances, the design and construction of Church buildings and favour when granting governmental and official advisory positions to Christians.

But ‘Christianity’ still hadn’t had its official birth; – not the one that would see it to where it is today…

Roman god ‘Jupiter’ – king of the gods and god of the sky & thunder.

Constantine died in the year 337AD. Despite his profession to be of Christian faith and the numerous steps he had taken to legitimise and enlarge his beliefs; – much of the Roman Empire was not Christian. This included not only government officials, but the general population also. The Edict of Milan was in place and it meant that anyone could freely worship who/whatever they chose without fear of persecution. Traditional Sabbath observance was made illegal and this effectively meant that the original Christians could not worship Yehovah the way they believed they should. At this point, you were not breaking the law if you were not a Christian – unless you kept the true Sabbath. Christian, Jew or otherwise; – if you observed the traditional Sabbath and ignored the Empire-wide law to rest on the ‘venerable day of the Sun’ – you were committing an illegal offence.

Roman god ‘Saturn’ – god of agriculture, time and death.

Some people continued to hold on to their beliefs, some more-so than others. The nationally recognised festivals, sacrifices, customs and traditions were held fast to a large portion of the people throughout the Empire. Romans – including some converts to ‘Christianity’ still kept up with the major festivals such as SaturnaliaLupercalia and Eostre etc. At this point in time, to be a non-Christian was not a crime. Even Constantine himself, was not considered a devout Christian by today’s standards. His personal theology seemed to evolve during his time as Emperor. He raised his children in ‘Christianity’ and had Christian clergy as personal advisors; however he held on to the title, Pontifex Maximus until his death. Another example of his ‘duality’ would be the appearance of the Christian cross on Roman coins, while having the Roman god; ‘Mars Conservatoron there simultaneously.

Roman coin during Constantine’s reign as Emperor.

One of the things Constantine did to spread his faith among the people, was to give certain favours once they professed to being a Christian in Christianity. One such favour was tax relief. If you were not a convert to Christianity, you were taxed heavier than if you were; this paid for the building of Constantinople – the city that he built in his name in place of its predecessor, Byzantium. Constantine, ‘the first Christian Emperor’ also actively encouraged, advocated and taught the people to despise their old beliefs, their many gods, their temples and the idols & images they held. This led to a slowing of funds and thus, maintenance of the pagan temples and other religious buildings declined. Devout pagan and other religious communities died off; – instead Roman Catholic ‘Christian’ churches began to grow in number and with it – so did Church funds. Slowly, the old temples were not up-kept and gradually died off until Constantine began tearing them down – building Churches in their place.

Roman god ‘Mars’ – god of war.

It was not until 380AD when the 3 emperors of Rome, Theodosius I, Gratian and Valentinian I gave the monumental Edict of Thessalonica.

CHRISTIANITY would now not only have legitimacy (which it already had from the Edict of Milan), but much heavier weight on the world stage by virtue of the sheer size and extent of Rome’s territories. This Edict made ‘Christianity’ the official, national Roman religion across the Empire. Anything else was heresy.

So you see – social norms, a thoroughly mixed plethora of people and an absorbed, assimilated and Hellenised culture are all elements that have influenced the religion of ‘Christianity’ we see today. Now one may argue that they are Christian and that ‘Christianity’ doesn’t mean that to them. Here’s a question – does your opinion change the meaning of a word? If I use the word ‘NI**ER’ – does it change its meaning if I am Nigerian, English or Chinese? The origin of the religion first named (and currently known) as ‘CHRISTIANITY’ has not changed.

‘Christianity’ had a pagan birth and has lived a pagan life. It has evolved over centuries but its roots will never change. I believe that Yehovah is sovereign and is drawing those that love Him away from organised religion and closer to Himself.

‘CHRISTIANITY’ is a far-cry from what Yeshua, Paul and the Apostles originally taught; – as described in the Bible.

Here’s some rhetoric for you… Are you a Christian, or is Christianity your religion??

END OF PART 1.

ONLY. ONE. MIIKZ.

LAZY FAT MIND…

Yeah I said it!

Ever heard of ‘Cognitive Dissonance’?

NO?

BINGO!

Case. In. Point.

Lots of you would have clicked on this blog entry with a vague idea of what it might be about. Mostly not though.

Cognitive Dissonance Theory was proposed by psychologist Leon Festinger in 1956. In his book A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, Festinger explained, ‘Cognitive dissonance can be seen as an antecedent condition which leads to activity oriented toward dissonance-reduction; just as hunger leads toward activity oriented toward hunger-reduction.’

So what does that even mean?? Basically, ‘cognition’ is to do with your thought process, ideas or notions – and ‘dissonance’ is a lack of agreement or inconsistency between one or more things. So Cognitive Dissonance (CD) is the feeling that one experiences when they are presented with information that clashes with information they already have and hold dear.

An example of CD would be this…

Say a Creationist believes that God created the universe – at a time when the world believes the same thing. Time goes on… World opinion and society changes its mind. So now, according to modern science there was in fact a Big Bang; and this is what caused everything to come into existence; not a supernatural deity or Supreme being.

The Creationist experiences CD and tries to eliminate it as soon as possible. How so? Either by switching beliefs and going along with the status quo, or he could choose to deny this Big Bang Theory outright, clinging tightly to his Creationist belief…

A third option is this; – he could absorb this new information into his already held beliefs i.e. – ‘God created the universe. In the Bible, when He said, ‘Let there be light’ – the Big Bang was the light so yes – the Big Bang Theory is correct.’ You see what happened there? Rather than explore the new information and debunk it if necessary; this Creationist accepts and absorbs the new information, accommodating it by changing his own beliefs slightly. His beliefs still stand… AND he is still in line with modern science… Balance is restored!!!

I see nothing wrong with a little CD.

Cognitive Dissonance causes us to carve, shape and define our beliefs one way or another. Most of us don’t like the feeling of being unsettled mentally. We like to make sense of our thoughts because it makes us feel mentally strong and unwavering. We like to speak with confidence and assertion. We don’t like to have our paradigms shifted but if we value hard truth over comfy lies – we will endure the tough process of reviewing what we think we know.

Having a keen interest in Science, I remember learning in school what a ‘FACT’ is. A scientific fact must be the following:

  1. Observable
  2. Repeatable
  3. Verifiable

If we agree with the above definition on what a fact is – we quickly realise that there are very few facts out there. There are lots of opinions though. Some of these opinions hold heavy weight due to who’s they are i.e. specialists or qualified professionals; but still – if they are not facts, they are OPINIONS.

We live in an age where we only seem to value facts. People’s opinions mean less and less because we would rather trust cold, hard, empirical evidence than what a person reckons. I don’t think there is anything wrong with trusting people’s opinions. Trust (or faith) is what makes us human and not robots. Our intuition, our gut instincts, our perception – these are the things that make us uniquely equipped to make decisions without waiting for a computer read-out on the probability of what is going to happen next, according to what we decide.

If you want to believe something – fine.

Identify that thing as fact or opinion and stand strong in that. Know why you believe it rather than just going along with what everyone else thinks like a mindless sheep. For starters, any historical event can never be a ‘fact’. You can’t observe, repeat or verify it!!! So you can only decide to believe the evidence presented, one way or another.

EVIDENCE IS NOT PROOF.

Evidence is not proof. I can explain this simply… In a court of law, the prosecution presents something to back up their case; – evidence. Guess what the defence presents to back up their case… That’s right – evidence! So you can’t have two opposing sets of ‘proof’. Evidence is just evidence; – FAITH is the determining factor in a court of law. The judge/jury look at both sets of evidence and decide where they put their faith. The outcome 100% relies upon convincing them one way or another.

The next time you hear something you think is ludicrous like ‘the earth is flat’, or ‘the moon landings were faked’ or ‘the government is killing us via vaccinations’; – try asking yourself what you believe on the said subject and the reasons you have that point of view. If it’s simply that you’ve got that opinion because you were taught that way and everyone else thinks that way and it’s too big of a lie for so many people to believe; – try digging a little deeper.

You might be surprised at what you find.

The truth is stranger than fiction.

 

ONLY. ONE. MIIKZ.