Homily for the fifth Sunday of Easter (Year C) – Praising the new that replaces the old

Updated: Apr 20

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Good morning bus riders!


We have reached the fifth Sunday of Easter. The Easter season reflects a Christian way of counting the days to Pentecost (a Greek word that means “Fiftieth Day). The fifth Sunday then says we are thirty-five days towards that countdown (as the Jews count the Omer).


As the Christians count the days of the Easter season, with Easter Sunday ground zero, today is the twenty-eighth day towards Pentecost Sunday. But, who's counting, right?


While the Jews recognize a “Counting of the Omer,” which the Easter season is modeled after, the difference is Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, who stayed with his disciples until they were prepared to take his place in ministry … as him resurrected within the souls of all Christians.


The “Counting of the Omer” is a period when the unripe ‘”first fruits” are placed in the Temple until they are matured and ready to be consumed. The counting of the Easter Sundays is when the disciples were the first fruits of Jesus reborn, with Pentecost Sunday being when they were matured and ready to serve the world the Word of Yahweh, for others to consume.


The lessons of this Sunday place focus on this separation that Yahweh commanded be counted over seven weeks. The children of Jacob were the first fruits who were taken from Egypt and prepared to commit to Yahweh in marriage on the fiftieth day, when Moses came down from the mountain with the Law.


The Law being sworn to amounted to the marriage of their souls to Yahweh, receiving His Spirit into their souls, so they became the separate entity that was Israel, a name meaning “Who Retains God” in their souls.


When Yahweh sent His Son Jesus to the Jews (who had fallen greatly from being Israelites), the counting of the weeks after the resurrection of Jesus from death, to enter into the first fruits that were his disciples (as the true resurrection of the dead), the separation that took place on Pentecost Sunday was a new marriage of souls to Yahweh, so their souls could receive the soul of Yahweh’s Son.


That new separate entity was no longer a collection of Jews, but a collection of men and women all reborn as Jesus; and, to be Jesus reborn, each soul had to be married to Yahweh, so His Spirit made each and every one become a Christ. As Christs in the name of Jesus – a name that means Yahweh Saves – the Fiftieth Day became when Christianity began.


Just as the Israelites in the wilderness, led by Moses, were not like anyone else in the world, so too are Christians a select group in the wilderness that is unsaved souls, as those who are divinely led by Jesus.


This separation and selectivity is the issue found in the Acts reading for today, where the first Christians had all been Jews; and, they still carried with them their training that Jews were a separate and select group of people who served Yahweh, the one God of Israel.


Christianity means being a soul in a body of flesh – one bound to die if not saved by Jesus – being raised from the dead.


When we read, “Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God,” the word translated as “believers” is “adelphoi,” which says “brothers.” A “brother” means one reborn as the Son of God. Christianity is a collection of such "brothers" (in male and female bodies of flesh), all having been reborn as “apostles” ("messengers") in the name of Jesus. His soul possessing each meant they were “brothers” spiritually.


When we read “Judea,” that capitalized word divinely means “Place of the Jews,” with “Jews” divinely meaning “Praisers” (of Yahweh).


So, when we read, “So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” this again refers to “brothers,” where “circumcision” means the male Christians in Jerusalem. As a capitalized word that must be read as divinely elevated, that name "Jerusalem" means “Teaching Peace.”


So, what is written in the first three verses says all Christians were “brothers” because Jesus was resurrected within each of their souls; so, “circumcision” was no longer how the 'sons of Yahweh' were identified. Men and women have souls; and, the soul of Jesus – the Son of Yahweh – will be resurrected within all souls that marry Yahweh. This presence means the truth of “Teaching Peace” comes from all true Christians.


Can you see how this rises from the text, giving it depth of meaning?


<Look for nodding heads and quizzical faces.>


This is important to grasp. It is key to the four lessons today. So, bear with me.


When the other apostles questioned how Peter could break a law and mix with Gentiles (a Roman centurion and his household), we read that he gave them a “step by step” breakdown of a vision he saw.


Now, last Sunday I asked if anyone present had ever experienced a vision or dream where they saw spiritual entities surrounding a throne and the Lamb. Nobody raised their hands last week. So, using that qualifier that says most people have not had such a vision or dream, when Peter said (as the first step), “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision,” that in itself should be reason for everyone to say, “Stop! I don’t know what that means.”


Remember, when Peter and the twelve first began ‘speaking in tongues’ from the place the Spirit entered their souls, some of the Jewish pilgrims' first reaction to them was, “They must be drunk on new wine.”


Simply by nobody interrupting Peter when he gave this breakdown of a vision says all those to whom he spoke were nodding their heads as he spoke, saying to themselves, “Yes. I know what you mean. I too have divine visions when I am praying. They began after Jesus was reborn in my soul and I became a Christian.”


I paraphrase.


This past week, for the first time I delved into the Greek text written that tells of Peter’s dream-vision. What I found was revealing; and, I want to share that insight with you.


Where we read, “There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me,” the Greek word translated as “something” is “skeuos,” which means “a vessel” or “implement.” This can have a meaning that is relative to ships, as “tackle.”


Knowing Peter was a former fisherman, “tackle” would mean: “an assemblage of ropes and pulleys arranged to gain mechanical advantage for hoisting and pulling,” as “a ship’s rigging.”


The Greek text then says this was not unknown to Peter, but it was “certain” (from "tis"), meaning recognized by him, with the text then adding, “like as a sail great.”


To me, the translation of “a sheet” made this vision difficult to understand. However, the same word can mean "a sail," as on a ship or large boat. To hear Peter explain that he saw “rigging like that of a ship’s sail,” the image that came into my mind was Noah’s Ark.


Rather that find the text telling of “corners,” the “four” are “directions,” where the Greek word translated as "corners" can equally mean "rules, beginnings, or starting points." This means the “four corners” reflect the winds that direct sails on ships: North, South, East, and West. Thus, ships navigate the entire world (the "four corners" of the globe) using sails that utilize the natural winds.


Now, I know Noah's Ark did not have a sail; but when the description of different kinds of animals is then presented, as if sources of food to be killed and eaten, that strangeness becomes dream symbolism for Noah being told to gather two of every kind of species on earth, to place in the Ark. The Ark became a "vessel" for salvation.


The Ark was a “vessel” that “sailed” those that would have certainly died, so they would be raised from the dead of the Great Flood.


When we then read, “I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat,’” the reality is not “Get up,” but the past tense participle form used, saying “Having been raised from among the dead.” (Strong's usage) That was a divine voice – that of Jesus resurrected within the soul of Peter – telling him that he had himself been dead, but he had been “raised from the dead.” Thus, Jesus told Peter to select animal species on Noah’s Ark to “sacrifice” and “eat” or "consume."


Before Peter had his vision, he had become hungry; and, while food was being prepared for him, he went onto the roof and had his vision. Rather than his belly being hungry, Jesus was telling him to "consume" spiritual food. The different species aboard Noah's "vessel" included animals that represented unclean physical food. Still, they had been saved, along with those animals deemed clean to physically eat.


When Peter complained that this was against Jewish law; and, he had only physically eaten clean food – that allowed by law – never anything unclean, to then be told by the voice of Jesus within, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane,” that told Peter, “You no longer serve Judaism. You serve Christianity.”


Judaism's rules for physical food no longer governed a soul in need of spiritual food. Judaism was a material religion. Christianity was a spiritual way of life.


Can you see that?


<Look for nodding heads and shocked looks.>


When we then read of this vision ending and men arriving, calling for Peter to come with them to Cornelius’ house, Peter said, “The Spirit told me to go with them.” That command was followed by Jesus adding to the command to go, “not having discriminated,” meaning “go without judgment.”


Peter did not go alone, as he went with “six brothers,” which says others who were reborn as Jesus, just like Peter, accompanied him to a Gentile’s house.


We then read of Peter explaining, “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning.” In this, Peter recalled the men sent by Cornelius had been told by a voice in a vision to seek “Simon who is called Peter.” That name change – given to him by Jesus – reflects upon Cornelius being told by the voice of Jesus, “Go seek the man named Simon who is called Peter, because I will be within his soul.”


Cornelius was told to send for one reborn as Jesus. Six who had been reborn as Jesus went with Simon who was called Peter.


Then Peter said he recalled how, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” He realized that was a prophecy of the advent of Christianity, when souls would receive the soul of Jesus through Baptism by the Holy Spirit.


This is calling upon a priest to officiate a most divine marriage, between a soul and Yahweh, where the ring of forever bondage is the presence of His Son resurrected.


Peter then said, “If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” That said Peter and the others who were “brothers” in Christ (men and women) all had the soul of Jesus as their internal “Lord.” They all were Anointed by Yahweh for that presence to come; so, all were Christs. This meant Christianity was officially not Jewish. It was raised from that stagnant state of beliefs.


We then read, “When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.”


That not only says Christianity included those who the Jews considered to be Gentiles, as it equally says (without saying) all Jews who do not receive Yahweh in marriage and the resurrection of His Son within their souls are Gentiles.


Can you see that?


<Look for nodding heads and stunned faces.>


If you can see that, then you can see the same exclusivity exists for everyone … including people who say they are Christians, but never marry their souls to Yahweh, never receiving His Spirit as a Saint, never being spiritually reborn as Jesus, renewed in the flesh.


This says Christianity is not a club to join; and, it is not a religion one is born into by blood or water. It is not a physical expression of beliefs. It is a Spiritual commitment, through willing sacrifice of self – submission of self into a divine marriage – which brings about the soul of Jesus to be resurrected within one’s soul


One’s soul born into a mortal body, bound to die, receives the gift of eternal salvation by being reborn as Jesus. Salvation only comes from that marriage gift received.


In Psalm 148, which is only sung on this fifth Sunday of Easter in Year C, the words of David need to be seen like him having had a divine vision. He sings of “angels, the sun and the moon and the stars, sea monsters, all forms of weather, mountains, trees, animals like Peter saw, and humans rich and poor, young and old."


All of that sings symbolically, as the metaphor of a divine vision.


The repeated theme in Psalm 148 is “praise.” Some form of the Hebrew word “hallu” is written, thirteen times (in fourteen verses), all meaning “praise.”


Included in that number are two translations that say “Hallelujah!,” where that is actually two Hebrew words put together: “hallu” and “YAH.” The word “YAH” is short for “Yahweh.” So, “hallelujah” says “Praise Yahweh!”


Now, in verse one we sing, “Praise YAH! Praise Yahweh from the heavens; praise him in the heights.” The metaphor of “heavens” needs to be read as the “spirits,” with “the heights” a divine possession that takes an ordinary soul and raises it to the “heights” of everlasting life.


When that concept is heard to sing, “Praise Yahweh! Praise Yahweh from our souls; praise him from the presence of Jesus within,” then David wrote a song that was to be sung by all souls that would be raised from the dead. Thus, it is only an Easter song of praise.


Can you see how “heavens” means “souls” married to Yahweh and the “heights” are symbolic of Jesus reborn within?


<Look for nodding heads or shocked faces.>


If you can adjust your mind’s eye to seeing that, then look at how verse two sings: “praise him all his angels; praise him all hosts of hosts.”


This is like the vison John saw, with angels surround the throne and elders talking to him. John was in a soul state; so, John, like David, was a soul married to Yahweh’s Spirit, with each a soul united with a Yahweh elohim – or an ‘angel in the flesh.’


The “hosts” of such “angels” included the seraphim Isaiah saw in a vision, who were not only eternal spirits out of a flesh body, but David, John, Peter and Isaiah were all souls in bodies of flesh that were allowed into that ‘heavenly’ realm where visions are seen.


In verse five, where David wrote: “let them praise the name of Yahweh, for he commanded and they were created,” this is like how Peter explained, “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning,” before Peter recalled, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”


When Peter and the six spoke as Jesus reborn to Cornelius and his family, it was Yahweh who “commanded and they were created.”


When David said “let them praise the name of Yahweh,” that name is “Israel,” which means a soul “Who Retains God,” where “el” means one of the Yahweh elohim placed within one’s soul.


The name that Christianity uses is “Jesus,” which means “Yahweh Saves.” Thus, “let him praise the name of Yahweh” as Jesus reborn.


Now, in Psalm 148 there are six verses that do not contain a form of the word “praise.” In those six verses there is a lot of duality stated, like “fire and snow; clouds and storms; mountains and hills; fruit trees and cedars; beasts and cattle; and creepy things and flying fowls."


This duality can be viewed as things similar, yet different. In terms of the Acts reading, the vision shown to Peter asked him to determine what was made clean by God. All of the duality in David’s Psalm 148 says it is hard for a soul alone – unmarried to Yahweh – to determine such things. Thus, we need that inner voice to tell us, “What Yahweh has deemed clean, do not call profane.”


Everyone is potentially a soul to be saved by Jesus. Jesus is reborn in the souls of those who are truly Christians. Those seeking to marry Yahweh and become Jesus reborn will need to be officially married by one who is Jesus reborn … a Saint [Holy] with the Spirit of Yahweh [a Christ].


One should not reject anyone because of one’s own judgments. One needs to be led by the judgment of Yahweh, as spoken to one’s soul by the voice of Jesus within.


Thus, Jews who were not Christians were Gentiles; but all Gentiles [including Jews] were welcomed to marry Yahweh and become a Christian, reborn as Jesus.


As such, in David’s thirteenth verse he sang, “let them praise the name of Yahweh for exalted his name is alone; his majesty, above the earth.” That says no one is “exalted” or “raised” (from the death of mortality) as a soul “alone.” The “majesty” that comes to save a soul is Jesus, whose soul joins and become “above the flesh” as one’s Lord.


When verse fourteen sings, “he has exalted the horn of his people of all his saints; his saints, as the sons of Israel people near to him,” this sings of the people led by David, being married to Yahweh as “sons of Israel.” The “sons” are equal to Peter meeting with his “brothers” that were all Jesus reborn. This verse is then singing of Christianity to come, after the “sons of Israel” will fall away from that divine commitment, leading to their ruin.


One can then see this duality stated in the vision that is told in John’s Revelation, which is the Epistle reading for today.


Likewise, where David’s Psalm 148 told of “Praise Yahweh from the heavens” and “his splendor is over earth and heaven,” where “heaven and earth” are metaphor for eternal spirits in bodies of flesh, as those souls married to Yahweh, John said he “saw a new heaven and a new earth.” This needs to be read as a “soul new importantly (from “kai”) flesh new.”


When this is followed by John writing, “for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,” that needs to be seen as the submission of a soul and the symbolic death of the flesh that led a soul to sin. In other words, John “saw a soul and body raised from the dead.”


The soul of Jesus becomes the "new Lord, and, the soul of Jesus walks the earth plane in new bodies of flesh."


Can you see that from this written in the Greek of John?


<Look for nodding heads and stunned faces.>


In David’s Psalm 148, he wrote of “Praise Yahweh from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps,” where the “earth” is the material realm that encases a soul, thus “flesh.” The “sea monsters” or “dragons” or “serpents” are the Leviathan, which are the elohim that merge with souls on the earth plane. They can join with a soul and make it be divine, like the soul of Jesus; or, they can be sent by Satan and possess a soul as a demonic spirit. They come from the “depths,” where a “sea” of souls fills the material plane.


Religions (as David sang in another psalm symbolically) act as the boats that sail the "sea," keeping souls from spiritual possession, while fearing the Leviathan can break the surface and devour them at any time.


Thus, when John wrote, “the sea was no more,” this means the “sea” of souls still existed, as a "sea" still filled with sinners, but those with “new souls and new flesh” were no longer part of that “sea” of uncertainty.


When John then wrote, “I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband,” this speaks of Christianity being raised from the “sea” of uncertainty, as a place where those married to Yahweh, reborn as His Son, enter ministry “Teaching Peace” … the meaning of the name “Jerusalem.”


Then John heard a voice say, “Behold!, the tabernacle of God is among mankind. He will dwell with their souls and they will be his peoples; and this soul of God will be with their souls as their god.”


This says a soul will marry Yahweh, becoming His tabernacle, where His throne will be placed. Then, His Son (the Lamb in the center of the throne) will enter their tabernacle as the High Priest. When he becomes one with their souls, Jesus will enter as a Yahweh elohim (a lower-case “god” - like a possessing Leviathan) of every true Christian.


This is a powerful statement for John to hear and write down. It is most important to grasp. It defines the Easter season as being when lost souls will be raised from the dead … when they become tabernacles of Yahweh.


The tears that will be wiped away are those caused by the fear of death and reincarnation. Baptism by the Spirit of Yahweh will make all fears be erased, with all sins forever cleaned. Jesus will be sent into those souls to ensure righteousness takes over.


In verse five, where John wrote, “Write,” which can also mean “Written” or “Writing.” This one-word statement, important through capitalization, places important focus on “Scripture.”


It is the “truth of the Word” that leads souls to the altar of divine marriage and salvation.


Then, in verse six, John said loudly, “He is born,” where this heralds a new “Birth” or “Coming,” this reflects the resurrection of Jesus in the souls of those who hear and see divine visions.


John then said the existence of self will surrender to the “I” of Jesus, stating the soul of Jesus as “the Alpha" (meaning a soul's Lord). In this, John did not write the word “omega.” Instead, he drew the symbol - "Ὦ," transliterated as "Ō."


The word “omega” means “large O,” where the transliteration is reflecting a full circle. The capitalized Greek letter omega is open at the bottom. The open bottom reflects where sin enters into a soul. Therefore, when the Alpha of Jesus is added to the non-complete O, it becomes complete.


Thus, the word translated as “the end” – “telos” – means, “consummation (the end-goal, purpose), such as closure with all its results.” (source HELPS Word-studies)


When the Revelation selection ends by the souls of Jesus saying to John’s soul, “To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life,” this says only the seekers will receive the outpouring of Yahweh’s Baptism.


This is why Peter was told, “sacrifice.” To be like all the animals cleansed by Yahweh, one has to want that strong enough to become a “sacrifice” unto Him. That desire – that “thirst” – will allow one to “eat” or “consume” everything necessary to gain eternal life.


This same sense of commitment can then be seen in the Gospel reading from John. When we read, “when Judas had gone out,” that removed the one of the group at the Seder meal that did not desire to “sacrifice” himself, to be one with Jesus. He chose to leave and join with the Jews of the temple in Jerusalem.


Judas Iscariot chose Judaism over Christianity. He chose a religion over a way of life.


When Judas had departed, Jesus made much of “Now” – a capitalized word written by John – being when Jesus could present himself to his disciples as he truly was. He said, “the Son of man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.”


That is not boastful talk. That is Jesus explaining how his soul was the “Son” of God, in the body of a “man” (where “man” is not capitalized). Jesus explained, "I am like you, with the exception that God is within me. God is one with my soul."


The word translated as “glorified” can be nebulous and difficult to understand. The root Greek word means “to ascribe weight by recognizing real substance (value).” That means the ‘weight’ of Jesus’ self-worth was truly judged by the ‘value’ God added to him, through His inner presence.


After saying that, Jesus presented a ‘conditional’ scenario to his disciples, which said, "if God enters into one’s soul – as He has mine – then God will elevate the value of that soul as I have been elevated in value.”


In this, one must see the limitations of the English word “you” must be removed, so the possessive pronouns translated in Scripture as “you” have the ability to be translated as “self,” where a “self” equates to a “soul.”


I welcome all to read my commentary about this reading, which brings out how “you” becomes “yourselves,” with that being Jesus speaking about “their souls.”


Still, after presenting that ‘conditional,’ where there must be a personal desire – a thirst to serve Yahweh – Jesus addressed the group by what shows as “Little children.”


The Greek word “Teknia” figuratively means “someone deeply loved (endeared).” To have Jesus address his grown disciples as “Little children” can be confusing. However, based on the new commandment Jesus would give them, the better translation of this capitalized address is “Dearly Beloveds.”


That states the love Jesus had for all his disciples; and, he waited until Judas had left to call them that. Judas not being present must be seen as playing an important role in the command to, “your souls should love each other’s souls.” This, again, sees “you” in a spiritual light.


Before Jesus gave that new command, he said, “in addition little with your souls I exist.” This is a literal translation that the NRSV cannot see. This was Jesus telling his disciples that his soul had remained in close contact with their souls, which was how they went into internship performing great works in his name.


Jesus then told them, “you will seek my soul,” which is Jesus restating the “thirst” and desire that makes a Christian different from ordinary souls in bodies of flesh.


A confusing element of what Jesus next said comes from reading “Jews” and thinking that meant the Pharisees and Sadducees, who constantly berated Jesus. Instead, the “Jews” were his disciples and all of Judea and Galilee, to whom Jesus had been sent. Jesus had told all the Jews the same thing: the truth. Some rejected the truth, while others welcomed it … thirsted for it.


The statement that adds to the confusion is a misreading or weak translation. Jesus said, “Where I come,” such that the Greek word written means both “come” and “go.” Then Jesus added, “your souls not are able to come,” in the way that the soul of Jesus will “come.”


Jesus then finished that quote by saying, “to your souls I name now.” That was Jesus telling the souls of his disciples that they were marked to be in the name of Jesus, after his soul would resurrect in them.


In the new command Jesus then gave, the conditional was stated in the subjunctive use of “you should love” (again, the second person “you” is speaking to the souls making them be “you”). This completes the “if” scenario, such that when the soul of Jesus has been reborn into each of his disciples, then they will all become Jesus reborn; and, as Jesus, "they will love one another as Jesus loves them all.”


Here, it is important to realize that Jesus loving everyone is not a statement that says “Jesus told us to love everyone in the world.” It is a statement that says, “When you are me resurrected within you, then you will be a Christ of the Father, with each of you His Sons in my name. As Christian brothers (including souls in male and female bodies of flesh), we will all love as I love.”


Jesus waited until after Judas had left to make this promise.


With that, I see the bus pulling up now; so, I will end here.


Please, think deeply about what I have said. Christianity is not a club with a membership card that gives one privileges. It is a way of righteous living, led by the soul of Jesus having been raised within.


It is the difference between being eternally alive and being mortally dead.


I look forward to meeting with you all again next Sunday. I wish you all a good week ahead.


Amen

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