Updated: Feb 5
Welcome to social distancing Bible Studies. This is a new venture I am trying. Your participation is important, so feel free to ask questions about what the lessons are focusing on. I want to keep the topic as specific as possible, so important elements of Christianity can be explored, one or a few at a time. Whether one wants to believe this or not, Christianity (the religion most Christians confess belief in) is dwindling. The reason is simple: Christians mostly (the vast majority) do not know enough about the meaning of the Holy Bible to teach their children AND answer the normal questions their children will ask. Without an ability to answer those questions, which are the transformation points from belief to FAITH, or from belief to disbelief, the direction of the children predicts the direction of the religion. That direction is going down, and it has been heading that way for decades now. Certainly, questions or comments are welcome about how one feels about that assessment. However, that decline brings me to offer this as the topic of this Bible Studies discussion. Rather than coming from the pages of the books in the Holy Bible, this comes from the pages of the liturgy, such that the post communion prayer (Rite 1 Eucharist) begins by saying: Almighty and everliving God, we most heartily thank thee for that thou dost feed us, in these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ; and dost assure us thereby of thy favor and goodness towards us; and that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, the blessed company of all faithful people; and are also heirs, through hope, of thy everlasting kingdom.
The topic is then based on belief in “Holy Mysteries.” What does that mean to you?
According to a Wikipedia article entitled “Sacred mysteries” (please read), under the heading “Christian mysteries,” the following is written:
Although the term is not used equally by all Christian traditions, many if not most basic aspects of Christian theology require a supernatural explanation. To name but a few key examples, these include the nature of the Trinity, the virgin birth of Jesus, and the resurrection of Jesus. These are mysteries in the sense that they cannot be explained or apprehended by reason alone.
The word mysterion (μυστήριον) is used 27 times in the New Testament. It denotes not so much the meaning of the modern English term mystery, but rather something that is mystical. In the biblical Greek, the term refers to “that which awaits disclosure or interpretation“.
Now, the bold-underlines are my additions, but the focus on those words can be grasped as why Christianity is in decline. Since the advent of modern physics and the worship of science and the “scientific method,” logic (a division of mathematics, from which Philosophy arose) has become the test of religions. Parents who were raised to simply believe and not question never learned the answers that are now needed to be known … not only to explain to one’s children, but more importantly to secure one’s own faith and quell all doubts.
Just from the three examples listed in this Wikipedia article – the Trinity, the virgin birth, and the resurrection – ask yourself: “How do I explain these mysteries?”
If only getting into Heaven were this simple, right?
As for the Trinity, I believe most Christians would define the word as meaning “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Many Episcopalians I have heard believe that Jesus was the Trinity as the manifestation of God on earth, as the Son, with the Holy Spirit being a third entity that kind of stands around being Holy, but difficult to explain. Still, all three are seen as incorporated into Jesus as the Christ.
How do you define (not explain) the word “Trinity,” relative to Christianity?
As for the virgin birth, where an angel came to young Mary and told her she would give birth to a baby to be named Jesus, at which point she (as engaged and a virgin) became pregnant, how do you explain that to your children, especially young daughters?
While there are species of life on planet earth that have the ability to impregnate themselves and give birth without another life form present, human beings are not such a species. There are no other known cases of virgins giving birth (although some have claimed that to conceal having had sex). Is there a need to believe because the Bible tells you so, even if you doubt the reality of this happening?
Finally, as far as the Wikipedia examples stated are concerned, do you believe resurrection from death is possible? If you do, how do you explain it?
There are many people who have given testimony that they died – officially declared dead – and had what is termed “Near Death Experiences” (NDE), where their souls floated around operating rooms or went through a tunnel with a light at the other end, meeting people they knew were dead, only to suddenly be back in their bodies and alive. Do you believe those stories, told my too many to write off as people trying to be famous by lying and making things up?
Do you think Jesus had a NDE and was pierced by a spear, losing bodily fluids, and pronounced dead when he really was just near death and the Romans were to stupid to know a dead person from one still alive?
What about Lazarus, who was raised from death by Jesus just saying, “Come out!”?
These are just three examples of Holy (or Sacred) Mysteries, from which a Christian’s faith grows. Still, according to the Greek intent of the word “mysterion” (“μυστήριον”), its usage implies an explanation – “disclosure or interpretation.” Who would you expect such a disclosure or interpretation to come from? Should a priest, pastor, minister, or preacher be the one who knows those answers?
If the explanations should come from sermons, should sermons be limited or limitless?
If someone like that knows the explanations that clarify the “mystical” to brains that do not understand, from simply reading the verses in the Holy Bible themselves or listening to others read them to them, why have you not been told? Why has no one amended the Wikipedia article to explain Sacred mysteries, so Christianity stops declining in membership (aging congregations and ‘millennials’ fleeing) and begins (like Jesus) to resurrect itself?
In the spirit of revelation, I would like to offer interpretations for all three items brought into focus by the Wikipedia article “Sacred mysteries.” Everything I say is mine, as my beliefs, based on what my inner voice tells me. It might or might not be offered in other publications. I don’t know what others offer because I have complete trust in that inner voice of mine.
My beliefs can only become the beliefs of others IF others have a similar inner voice that tells them the same and they trust their own voice. That is important, so more than just me shares the same beliefs, as faith that comes through personal ownership and personal knowledge. Knowledge is what supports and enhances faith. Ignorance will not lead one to stand and fight for one’s beliefs.
With that said, let me share my beliefs of these matters. First, let me say that the Trinity is not shaped like a triangle, with three separate sides.
The Trinity is shaped like a cross. The cross has a horizontal line that intersects a vertical line. The Father is the horizontal line, the Son is the vertical line. The point where the two join, where the intersection has one line merge with the other (not one above and one below, in a three-dimensional perspective), is the Holy Spirit. The Trinity was present in Jesus of Nazareth, as he was the Son who was connected to the Father, via the Holy Spirit.
The depiction of the rose at the intersection says God joins with the Son in the heart.
The cross is a symbol of death, not because Jesus died on a Roman tool of crucifixion, but because we of belief are called to sacrifice ourselves (our self-egos), so we take the place of Jesus of Nazareth and become the Son (the vertical line) and intersect with God, via the Holy Spirit. As those who profess belief in God and Jesus Christ, but as those who retain Self-identity, the lines of Self and God do not merge as one. When one cannot understand the meaning of the Trinity, one’s brain is confused by self-importance.
To lift up one’s cross and follow Jesus means to become righteous, so the fruit of the vine cannot be destroyed on the ground where sin waits. To be that cross of righteousness, one has to die of self-ego.
To understand the virgin birth, one needs to return to the Book of Genesis and the creation of males and females by the elohim (the “gods”). That becomes the age old question, “What came first – the chicken or the egg?”
The answer becomes clearer when Genesis 2 is read and one reads how God formed Adam from dust or clay and breathed life into that. Adam was the first “Holy Man” (created on the seventh day), while the first regular male and female human being (capable of producing offspring of their own, created on the sixth day) were originally the creations of Earth (the mother) and God (the Father). All fetuses are the creations of God in a woman’s womb, just like all body functions that require subconscious brain commands to regulate everything about human growth and maintenance are due to God’s Mind. When a woman gives birth to a baby, God’s breath of life in the body of flesh means being given a soul from God.
One needs to understand this basic factor of all human life: the flesh and bones are from the Earth, just as a baby is born from its Mother. God, as the Spiritual Father, fills the flesh with a life soul. Therefore the first human formed was a virgin birth, if one is defining the first human as needing two human parents (an impossibility). Therefore, young Mary must be seen as the clay or dust of the Earth who would have a baby formed within her womb, with God the Holy Husband of Holy Priests. When Mary gave birth to Jesus, God not only filled his flesh with a life soul, but he filled that soul with His presence, via the Holy Spirit (see the explanation of “Trinity” above).
Finally, the resurrection of Jesus (and Lazarus) means mortal death has to be defined as different than divine death. All mortals are given God’s life breath for a limited length of time [time is a worldly dimension, not a spiritual one]. Under normal circumstances, the mortal body of flesh begins to break down and become incapable of sustaining a physical environment in which the breath of life (a soul) can remain. Death is then an expectation of birth in a body made of Earth.
Because God breathed the Trinity into His Son at his birth, the body of flesh formed in Mary’s womb and the body of flesh given the Trinity at birth was not mortal but that of a demigod. Keep in mind that Adam lived for 930 earth years. Jesus was less than 40 when he died. Thus, the divine soul of Jesus’ body was capable of separating from the flesh, similar to one who dies and has an NDE. In the case of Jesus, his soul having merged with God, via the point of the Holy Spirit (+), means that divine soul could re-enter his flesh (or the flesh of another even) and reanimate that flesh, as the Trinity has access to eternal life – God. Once back in the body of flesh, the Christ Mind (being much greater than a human brain) could repair the wounds of death, just as a soul returned to a NDE body will also recover, be it by medical assistance or a miracle return to health.
The aspect of Lazarus’ resurrection is then in many ways more important to have explained, because Lazarus was not from a virgin birth. Lazarus had a mortal mother and father, meaning his flesh was not divine. Lazarus had been dead for four days (John 11:39) and decomposition of the mortal flesh had set in. His soul was also returned to his corpse, with a difference. The soul of Lazarus had been in the hand of God, at which point God transformed Lazarus’ life breath soul to a divine soul, one merged with God’s Holy Spirit. Jesus did not perform a magic trick to make Lazarus come back to life, God did what only God can do. Jesus commanded, “Lazarus, come out!” and the soul of Lazarus (just like would happen with Jesus) returned and reanimated his body of flesh. That body no longer needed to be capable of supporting the life breath of a normal soul, as the divine soul of Lazarus in the Trinity returned eternal life to dead flesh, likewise making all the necessary repairs of the flesh so his resurrection would bring about a miraculous recovery.
Again, I have not read any of what I have written from some other book or article. If someone else has written similar explanations, then that speaks for a common influence that is spiritual in nature, not material or earthly. Rather than shrug your shoulders and walk away from what I have said without confronting me as a heretic (a Christian responsibility), one needs to tell me where one thinks I am wrong. I welcome comments, questions, or arguments (pleasantly stated), which I will share in this forum.
Thank you for joining with me today.