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[Home]>[The Man-Made Church]>[21. Meditation]
This is the 21. Chapter of "The Man-Made Church."
by Frank L. Preuss
Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Mosesí minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper (or, do wisely) whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:1-9.
This is one of the most powerful passages of the Bible. God told Joshua what to do, he did it, and he was extremely successful. What are the secrets of success? Two words are outstanding. They are "strong" and "courageous." Be strong and courageous; a command from God.
How successful would Joshua be? Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you. Use this as a confession and say, "Every place that the sole of my foot shall tread upon, that has God given unto me." And then add this proclamation, "There shall not any man be able to stand before me all the days of my life."
In these 9 verses God told Joshua three times to be strong and very courageous. That is what God wants us to be: strong and very courageous.
This strong and very courageous attitude that we should have, is based on the life with God. We trust God. We are not afraid, neither are we dismayed. God will be with us, he will not fail us, nor will he forsake us.
The foundation of this attitude is God's way, his law, his word; and the observation of this law; and the doing of the law. And that we observe to do according to the law. That we stand back and observe that that we do. And that we do the law and not something else; that we do not turn away from the law. And that we do not let this book of the law depart out of our mouth. This means that we do not stop to speak it. We do not stop to confess it. We do not stop to declare it - especially to ourselves. That we remind our conscious mind to speak it so that the conscious mind can have it in front and do it. We keep on letting words of the law come out of our mouth. We have it always on our lips.
And in order to have it available all the time we put it into our mind. And this we do by reading it and by meditating on it. God says, that in order to be able to carefully keep everything that is written in the law we have to meditate on it day and night. When we want to do the law then we have to know it. We have to know it and we have to understand it. And this comes by meditating on it. It is this meditation that will bring the results. Joshua's job was to meditate on the book of the law day and night. It is a continuous job. It takes place all the time. It is habit forming. It is a very good habit. During the day, when we are busy, our thoughts always come back to this book of the law, it is always in the back of our mind, always ready to be looked into, to check our thinking and doing against it. And during the night it is read and studied and copied and discussed and this may even be done while sleeping and dreaming.
Joshua had this book of the law. Moses had made it available to him. He knew it very well. He was a close associate of Moses. And he watching Moses putting this book together was part of his life. It was the Pentateuch, the Torah. The five books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. These were the 5 books of the law. This was God's word. This was God's word at that point in time.
What did the people of God have as His word before they had the law of Moses? It was the word God had given Abraham. The words God had given to the patriarchs: to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and to the sons of Jacob.
And this word of God may quite possibly have existed in form of books. The books of Moses were not the first books. In Numbers 21:14 we have an indication of the existence of such older books. Some information contained in Moses' five books most probably was drawn from older sources, from knowledge available in book form. As we today make references to other books so did the writers at the time of Moses and Joshua. In Joshua 10:13 we find such a reference, the Book of Jasher. So in the Book of Jasher we have a book of the time of the earliest books of the Bible, a book mentioned in the Bible, but a book that is not part of the Bible - of the canon.
What now was the word of God before that time of the patriarchs? It was the word that God gave Noah. And before that it was the time of the beginning. In the beginning it was the word that God gave Adam and Eve. They were to be fruitful, to rule. God gave them fruit for food. And He told them from which tree not to eat. There are just a few sentences of God's word recorded that He gave men.
God spoke these words to Adam and Eve and since this time he is speaking to his creation. He has never stopped.
And what God said to the first human beings remains valid. When God spoke after that to other people, the words he had spoken to the first ones remained valid. When he spoke to Noah the words he had spoken to the people before the flood did not become obsolete. And when he later spoke to the patriarchs and to Moses and to Joshua, all the messages that had gone before them, remained, and remained valid. God never stopped to speak to his children and he is still speaking to them today and he will continue to speak to the people after us.
The Old Testament is the Bible of the Jews. They are a very good example of how religious people use a canon of Scripture to silence God. For them to agree on a canon was very much an act that repressed everything that came from God - that shut him up. They basically said that these are the books that come from God and these are all of them and this list is now complete and there are no others and there are also no more to come. It was a tactical move that prevented them to acknowledge the newest teachings that came out of their own best sources - from the house of David, from the son of David, the prophet from Bethlehem. By agreeing on that canon they closed for themselves the door to all further revelations from God. And not only that, they also ended the emerging of spiritual people that God used to talk to them. With the bringing to an end of books coming from God they also brought to an end their row of famous Hebrew prophets arising out of their midst and stirring them up to new ventures. They successfully caused themselves to die a spiritual death and to shut up their ears so that they could not hear the greatest of all the Hebrew teachers and seers. First they killed God - or tried to - and then they closed his book as well. And now God is dead.
And so-called Christianity followed suit. Only two or three centuries after they began to exist they did the same. They created their own canon and for exactly the same reason, to kill the voice of God - the voice of the Holy Spirit. This voice told them to stop quenching the spirit, to stop quenching the mouths of the prophets in their midst, to recognize and stop the false prophets, the ones that ask for money, to stop the ones that wanted to build church buildings and organizations and empires, the ones that wanted to create titles and give them and especially be called by a nice impressive one. So they agreed that all the existing writings were all that would ever come from God and that there would be no further such books and a list was made and agreed and with that the case was closed, the canon was established and the book of God was closed for all future times and with it they successfully had managed to put an end to new revelations and they had silenced God. And now a dead God had become their theology. And if now a man stood up in church and dared to give a prophecy, the hand of the priest would go into his pocket locking for the matches.
And the devil used the learning curve. Instead of letting develop a long list of prophets, as it happened in the Old Testament, he handled this new Jesus thing a lot cleverer, he employed this new idea right at the beginning and no such thing as many new prophets with plenty of revelations could grow. The God of the Jews was dead and now the God of the Christians died soon afterwards.
The recipe for success is to get rid of the prophets. They are dangerous. When one gets rid of them then access to new knowledge and revelations is closed off and change to people's life and assemblies' life is prevented and especially constant reformation is terminated.
The Bible of the Hebrews grew all the time. Adam and Eve had just a few simple rules. But God carried on speaking to Cain and to Abel and to Seth and to Enoch and Methuselah and Noah. And after the flood this guidance did not stop. The books became more and more. After the five books of Moses the book of Joshua was added and then the Judges and so on. Later many books of the prophets followed. But then this whole sequence of one book after the other came to an end. The Jews agreed on their canon and the hypocrites - the religious people that claimed to be Christians - created their canon also and the case was closed. No more new revelations from God. That is all. And if you dare to disagree with this then we have means and ways to deal with that.
So after Moses came Joshua and the records of his conquest. The time of the judges followed - and the records about and of them. Then Samuel and the kings followed, Job, the prophets, the exile, the return, the time of the Maccabees, and the New Testament. And now comes the period after the recording of the New Testament books. Where are the books of God's word of the last two millennia? Where are they? What happened to all the things that God told his creation in the last two thousand years? Where is this stuff?
Where is all the stuff that God is telling people today? God is speaking all the time and at many places in many languages. Where is it?
To understand these questions and to find answers to them, we have to understand what happened when the church of God was taken over by the man-made church and destroyed by it - or rather, seemingly destroyed by it. We have to understand church history and especially we have to understand the creation of the Bible. We have to understand church history as it is recorded by the man-made church. We have to understand that this church history is the record of the man-made church. It is the record about the man-made church compiled by the man-made church. It is not the record of the real church. The real church quite often appears in this record of the man-made church, but the real church is not called there the real church. It is called heresy. It is not called "the way" but "heresy" in Acts 24:14. But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets. It is called all kinds of names. And the real church is always slandered. The man-made church is always gossiping maliciously about us, prating against us with malicious words (3 John 10). This is one aspect we have to understand. And the other aspect is the coming into existence of the Bible. To understand how the canon was established. Why and how and who. Why did they need a canon, a list of books, of books that were to be used as the Bible? How did they do it and who did it?
The Bible is the most valuable book in the world. The spiritual content there is unsurpassed. Nowhere else do we find such precious information and teaching. But we must also understand the negative side of the Bible. And this is not the content of the Bible. It is not really what is in the Bible it is rather what is not in the Bible. It is the fact that the Bible is used to restrict the word of God. It is the fact that the Bible is used as a book that contains what God has said and that these sayings of his are recorded in that book and that these records are all what God has said and will ever say. That it is all God is ever going to say and no more. God has spoken and that is it. He spoke in the New Testament to men and that was it. No more. If we take the Bible as a record of what God has said and all of what God is ever going to say, then it becomes a book that proves that God does not speak anymore to us, that he is now silent, that God is now dead. That he is dead since two thousand years. Two thousand years ago he spoke to us and that is the last time he did so and that is all. He can't anymore. He is dead now.
The Bible is, in this sense, a tool of some people to tell us what the word of God is and what not. What is not in the Bible is not God's word. Some people use the Bible to tell others what to accept as God's word and what not. It is used as a tool for censorship.
In the beginning the canon, a collection or list of literary works, was used as a handy list of the existing and known books of this new spiritual awakening caused by Christ, a list of existing books written by Christians of the early Christian era without even trying to evaluate or graduate or judge. But this changed. Out of a list of existing books arose a list of books that were recommended and out of a list of recommended books developed a list of accepted books. And out of this a list of approved books. And then this list of approved books changed into a list of authorized books. In the meantime those books that were not recommended books did not stay books that were not recommended, they became books that received a negative connotation. People were told that they were not so good, then they were told that they were actually bad, then they were told that they were not allowed to read them, and then they were told that if they read them that that would be bad for them and then they were told that if they read them they would be punished, etc.
What was the basic result of this development? It was a development of some people telling other people what to do, what to read. It was the start of slavery.
There is only one way to decide what to do and what to read. It is everybody's own business to decide what is good and what is not good. Nobody can do this for somebody else. If somebody wants to tell somebody else what to do or what to read then he wants to be a slave master. And if somebody allows somebody else to tell him what to do or what to read then he is a slave. I, and everybody else, decide what to do and what to read. Anything else is wrong. I am a spiritual being and my spirit is very capable to do this.
This wrong development culminated in the fact that the Bible not only became a book that excluded all other books, but became a book that itself became forbidden. The more the man-made church guys experienced that the most effective weapon against them was the Bible, when they again and again had to listen to people accusing them of wrongdoing and listen to people using scriptures to prove this, the more they disliked the Bible and finally took it away from the people and punished those who dared to have one and read it. They of course could not do away with the Bible completely because their whole spiritual existence was based on it and so they had this dilemma. But they soon overcame this problem and developed plenty of ways and means to deceive the people. Today it seems that they don't have a problem, because the brainwashing of the last two thousand years was so successful that everybody seems to read the Bible with their religious glasses on. Everybody seems to see the practice of church life of the early church through their experience of the church life of today's man-made churches and is therefore unable to see that the early church life is completely different from what they practise today. So they just let the people have their Bibles. And they just preach and teach what suits them and the parts of the Bible that they ignore, the parts that prove them being antichrists, are also getting ignored by their laity. If the pastor on Sunday never speaks about these parts, then they can't be relevant, so the person never being used to think for himself - being a slave - ignores these parts as well.
They took the Bible away from the people and spiritual literature was especially unwanted by them. Spiritual books might have been tolerated when they supported the man-made church system. These books seemed to be spiritual but as they were written by people of the system, and therefore by carnal people, they were not really spiritual. When really spiritual books appeared they were put on the index, a list of forbidden books, and the people who wrote and published them were persecuted and preferably done away with.
So there was a systematic warfare against the appearance of any kind of spiritual literature and their writers and publishers. The event of the invention of book printing changed the situation. The reformation was another great step forward. And the internet is again causing changes as the censorship of commercialized publishers, distributors and booksellers is reduced.
So the man-made church was in the last two thousand years a mighty weapon in the hand of the devil to fight any kind of distribution of the word that God wished to give to his people. God gave plenty of revelations and inspirations but these blessings had to be kept underground, had to be distributed in secret and seldom came to the attention of the general public and what is most unfortunate, is that they were destroyed wherever the system could get hold of them. And the result is that hardly any of them survived.
The more difficult it became for the clergy to suppress spiritual books by sheer physical power and political influence, the more they changed tactics and reverted to the methods of Diotrephes. They started again to do what Diotrephes did at the time of the early church: They are casting defamatory reflections upon us with insinuating language, they gossip against us with slanderous words, they accuse us unjustly with wicked sayings, they lie and say evil things about us, they are saying wicked things about us and use insulting language.
Whenever a spiritual book is seen by them they will use this method and they know that they can rely on the indoctrination that the western world has been going through for the last two thousand years. For the last two millennia spiritual books and their writers and followers were given all kinds of derogatory names. Names like Pietist, Gnostic, fanatic, zealot, charismatic, Pentecostal, fundamentalist, New Ager, are quite mild, others are esotericist, occultist, mystic, magician.
Everything that had to do with spirituality is derogatorily labelled and this is so ingrained in the thinking of all people that it still works most of the time. People and media so labelled are considered being socially incompetent and inferior. People are so brought into line with this kind of thinking that they automatically see the negative only and shrink away from it.
Everything spiritual is felt to be threatening. The clergy immediately unconsciously knows that when the people get interested in spiritual things their status as mediators between God and man is threatened, the existence of their business is endangered.
This situation is changing however and more and more people accept the spiritual life again. Now how would one find spiritual literature today? How would one know if a book is inspired? The recipe is simple and straightforward. When a person obeys God's will, he will know within his heart whether the things he reads proceed from God or from the writers own vain imaginings. It is our own heart that informs us what is right. We have to find out ourselves. Others might help, but the final decision must be ours.
Now where do we find these media? If you go into a Christian bookshop you might find a lot of interesting things. But there are at least two problems. The owners of such shops are often Christians, but because they are selling their goods, they are thinking that godliness is a means to financial gain; they are peddling the word of God for profit. They are carnal and therefore not spiritual people. So their choice of books they are buying and selling will reflect this. They are also normally members of a denomination and this confirms their carnality but also colours the choice of their books. So what we just mentioned about the clergy applies to them as well, they play the game of the clergy. Really spiritual books, besides from Bibles, will be scarce in their shops.
The other problem is that most of the authors of their books will be carnal people and therefore their works will reflect their carnality. These authors are affiliated to denominations and often leaders in these organizations and therefore carnal. We can't expect real spirituality from them. The monetary aspect of their professional work will always be visible. Just read the information about the author in a book and you will know a lot about the content of a book. Whenever there is information about his ecclesiastical titles and positions then you have the information you need.
So libraries and normal bookshops are the sources that remain. But these are of course also influenced by beliefs and opinions. Then there is the internet. These offers seem to have the disadvantage that one cannot take a book in one's hand, open it and read in it. The good thing about the internet is that one might find comments on a book by one or several readers.
So what must one do to find the right book? As in all others things in life, in the life of a spiritual person, one has to be led by the spirit. He will show us at the right time, at the right place, the right thing. And he will show what is best for a specific growth state. What is really required is the will to seek His kingdom; the will to study and the will to meditate on the material read.
The secret to spiritual growth is formulated by Jesus. Let us read Matthew 13:10-12, "And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath."
The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven we have to know. And to know them we have to exactly do what God told Joshua to do: meditate therein day and night. If we stop then even that what we have gained so far will disappear.
For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
Whosoever has not this drive and this striving to be and keep busy with spiritual growth, from him shall be taken away even that he has.
This is an important principle and therefore we find it in the New Testament several times. Already in the first book, in Matthew, it appears twice: Matthew 13:12 and in Matthew 25:29 it is repeated. It is the Parable of the Talents. And then we find it in Mark 4:25 and in Luke 8:18 and again in Luke 19:26.
Now this important principle is also in the Old Testament. When Daniel wanted to know the dream of Nebuchadnezzar he suggested to his three friends that they should follow the advice that Jesus gives: Ask, seek and knock. And it worked. Daniel received this information and he reacted by singing the song of thanksgiving, Daniel 2:20-23. And in this song we find this important principle again. In Daniel 2:21 Daniel sings, "He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding."
God gives wisdom to the wise. People who are already wise, the wise people, receive more wisdom. The wise have already and more shall be given them. Daniel and his friends were already wise and because they kept on walking the way more was given them. A lifesaving secret was revealed to them. The next expression is even clearer: and knowledge to them that know understanding. People who already know understanding will be given more knowledge.
The King James Version of the Bible is here quite accurate. Some other translations are here misleading. They do not bring this as it is found in the original. For example, "He gives wise men their wisdom, and scholars their intelligence," is misleading. If you take an Interlinear Bible then you can check this out. Daniel does not say that God is giving the gift a man has, that they are from him. Daniel says that God gives to them that already have; for whosoever hath, to him shall be given - the one who already has, to him will more be given.
It is similar to our muscles. When a man uses his muscles then they become stronger and support his spine better but when he neglects them then they deteriorate and can't support the spine anymore properly and he gets a back pain. The man who trained his muscles can carry a bigger load; he spends energy but this does not make him weaker, it makes him stronger. A man who does not train the little muscles he has got will lose the little he has got due to muscle wasting and when the jolts and knocks occur which are part of daily life then there are no muscles to work as a shock absorber and when he wants to carry a small load he will be exhausted and fail.
Here is something from "God Calling" for September 5:
Progress is the Law of Heaven. Higher, ever higher, rise to Life and Beauty, Knowledge and Power. Higher and higher.
To-morrow be stronger, braver, more loving than you have been to-day.
The Law of Progress gives a meaning, a purpose to life.
So there is material that was produced in the last two millennia, it just will probably never have received the approval of the people who approved the canon.
A lot of modern writers of spiritual literature might also sell their works for money. But they might not claim to be Christians. And they might not claim to adhere to the teachings of the Bible. They might not even claim to be knowledgeable of Christian teachings. So we can't accuse them of being carnal - at least not of being carnal Christians.
There are also books that were produced without the authors trying to gain financially. They were, may be at least in the beginning, simply sold for money because it was the only way they could see them getting distributed and made available to the public.
So have a look at these details of the history of a work and they will give you a lot of insight how spiritual a book is. It is actually quite interesting to study the history of a book and see the people who generated it and how they are so careful not to make financial gain from it, or not even try to make a name for themselves - not letting their name appear in the book as authors -, and then watch others joining them and having the same attitude: wanting to just make the content known to others. And watch them being joined again by others who seem to have mainly the financial aspect in mind and how to get monetary benefits from it, and how to build an empire around this spiritual work and gain influence over the content and its distribution and how they start too fight between themselves. It is much like a revival. The spiritual people at the beginning are soon joined by other people who see the opportunity to gain power, influence and wealth. And in no time a new denomination is created - or several, fighting each other.
So there are anointed contemporary books available. They might even have advantages that the books of the Bible have not. They don't have to be translated from an ancient language, from a language that is not anymore used by people today in day-to-day life. Such books might even have been written in your language and don't require a translation at all. The other advantage is that they may be written in a language that is spoken and used today. So you don't have to struggle with English or German that was used a couple of decades or centuries ago. And the content of such a book might also allow for the knowledge we have today about the reality of nature and science. So it might be a lot easier to read and to understand than a book of the Bible. One even might be able to get into contact with the author and so get more insight into his writings or his personality.
Much of the spiritual work received by spiritual people during the last two millennia might have been destroyed and will never be recovered. But works from more recent times are available and we therefore have them for our use and study and for our meditation.
So when God told Joshua, and us, to meditate on His law, then we are not restricted to what was available only up to the time of the writings of Moses or of what followed after him, including the New Testament, but we have also writings that came into being after the time when the last books of the Bible were created.
God is not dead. He has today messengers and prophets and apostles who speak and write to us.
And we must not forget that a real Christian is not necessarily a person that calls himself a Christian, but a person who does what Jesus says he should do. Jesus says that they are his brothers, not just people who call him Lord, Lord. So an author might not appear to be a Christian, not from the description of him given in the book and also not from the content of his book and he still might be His messenger.
Get a red letter edition of the Bible. There all the sayings of Jesus are printed in red. If you look at the book of Acts you will find several verses in red. Jesus is speaking to the believers after his death and resurrection. And he has not stopped. He still does it today. Go and find books that are partly or completely from Jesus, books that are of our time, books that may be even written in your language. And it is maybe even your language of your time, not some language that was spoken decades or centuries ago.
So we have scripture that is written today, at our time, and that is therefore non-canonical, that is not part of the Bible. But now let us have a look at scripture that is of New Testament time and that is also non-canonical and why it is non-canonical.
Here follows a quote:
"The Didache is, in all probability, the oldest surviving extant piece of non-canonical literature."
Let us have a look what contemporary scholars and interested people have to say about the Didache because the Didache is such a book from the time of the New Testament but it is a book that is not part of the New Testament.
Here follow more quotes:
"Since it was discovered in a monastery in Constantinople and published by P. Bryennios in 1883, the Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles has continued to be one of the most disputed of early Christian texts."
"... the picture of the Church which it presents could only be described as primitive, reaching back to the very earliest stages of the Church's order and practice in a way which largely agrees with the picture presented by the NT, while at the same time posing questions for many traditional interpretations of the first period of the Church's life. Fragments of the Didache were found at Oxyrhyncus from the fourth century and in Coptic translations from 3/4th century. Traces of the use of this text, and the high regard it enjoyed, are widespread in the literature of the second and third centuries especially in Syria and Egypt."
"... after which it ceased to circulate independently. Athanasius describes it as 'appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of goodness'. Hence a date for the Didache in its present form later than the second century must be considered unlikely, and a date before the end of the first century probable."
"Now known as Codex Hierosolymitanus 54, that volume was removed to the Patriarchate at Jerusalem in 1887, where it remains."
"Earlier Coptic and Ethioptic versions also exist for a few chapters of this text. Especially important are two Greek fragments, Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1782, dated to the "late fourth century" and published by Greenfell and Hunt in 1922 (12-15). These tiny scraps, about two inches by two inches apiece, contain verses 1:3c-4a and 2:7-3:2. Despite small differences, the wording on those scraps is very close to Byrrenios's text. That is very important confirmation for the basic accuracy of Codex Hierosolymitanus 54, given the gulf of centuries between it and the earlier fragments."
"The Didache is, in all probability, the oldest surviving extant piece of non-canonical literature."
"Most scholars agree that the work, in its earliest form, may have circulated as early as the 60's C.E., though additions and modifications may have taken place well into the third century. The work was never officially rejected by the Church, but was excluded from the canon for its lack of literary value. The complete text of the Didache was discovered in the Codex Hierosolymitanus, though a number of fragments exist, most notably in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri. It was originally composed in Greek, probably within a small community."
""Didache" (pronounced as "dih-dah-KAY") is the Greek word for "teaching" or "doctrine"."
"The Didache has proved to be "one of the most enigmatic and contested of early Christian writings"."
"It (the Didache) was often cited by the so-called "Fathers of the Church". Some of them placed it next to the New Testament. Eusebius of Caesarea mentions the Teachings of the Apostles in his History of the Church (312-324 A.D.)."
"Its rediscovery has had a considerable influence, for the Didache is the first non-canonical text of early Christianity, probably contemporary of the narrative gospels."
"A complete chapter dedicated to genuine prophets! They do not have to work for their bread, receive the first of everything and are the high priests who daily offer to God. The prophets belong to God and by sustaining them one receives the blessing of the Lord. For the centrists, the prophets were dangerous. Christian prophecy was lost as a function of their rise. Not unlike the Gnostics, they had access to special knowledge & realities which could change the dogmatic status quo through direct, personal revelation. The historical community of Jesus existed in continuous reformation. This notion was (and still is) totally alien to the centrists."
"The Didache ("The Teaching") is one of the most fascinating yet perplexing documents to emerge from the early church."
"The title (in ancient times "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles") was known from references to it by Athanasius, Didymus, and Eusebius, and Serapion of Thmuis (4th century) has a quotation from it in his Eucharistic prayer [Richardson] p. 163. But no copy was known until 1873, when Bryennios discovered the codex Hierosolymitanus, which contained the full text of the Didache which he published in 1883. Since then it has been the focus of scholarly attention to an extent quite out of proportion to its modest length. Yet such basic information as who wrote and where and when remain as much as mystery as when it was first discovered.
Dating the Didache is difficult because there is a lack of hard evidence and it is a composite document. It may have been put into its present form as late as 150 CE, though a date considerably closer to the end of the 1st century seems more probable. The materials from which it was composed, however, reflect the state of the church at an even earlier time. A very thorough commentary, [Audet], suggests about 70 CE and he is not likely to be off by more than a decade."
"The Greek word didache means "teaching." The Didache is the short title of an ancient document that contains some very early Christian doctrines. Although a document of that name is referred to by several ancient writers, it apparently was lost. It was re-discovered in Constantinople in 1875, in a manuscript dated 1056 that also included several other documents either known or referred to as having been written before AD 150."
"The Didache seems to consist of five parts, here shown as chapters although these divisions are not in the document."
""Elect for yourselves" is in stark contrast to the doctrine that bishops must only be consecrated by bishops, and the doctrine of "apostolic succession". The fact that it includes this democratic doctrine, later replaced by the hierarchy, was probably another reason why Athanasius excluded the Didache when he finalized the list of 27 New Testament books in AD 367."
"Certainly Barnabas and Paul were "The Apostles to the Gentiles." If the Didache is a sample of their teaching, as it certainly seems to be, then it must be dated no later than AD 49 because that was when they went their separate ways. The most probable date is either AD 44 or AD 47. In either case, those dates are earlier than anything in the New Testament. Therefore, I believe the Didache is the earliest Christian document we have. Although rightly regarded as a church handbook and not a Gospel or absolutely based on the teachings of Jesus, it provides valuable insights concerning the moral doctrines, theology, rituals, esoteric operations and congregational testing of apostles and prophets, and the basic organization of First Century Christianity."
"The Didache was discovered by Philotheos Bryennios at Constantinople in the year 1873, but it was not published until 1883. It excited the interests of many scholars because of was seem to be one of the roots or origins of a later work called the Apostolic Constitution, an instructional guide for the church. The famous church historian, Phillip Schaff, ranks the Didache as first among the works of the post-apostolic age. There are a number of reasons for this and for the belief of many scholars that it is probably the earliest writing available to us outside of the New Testament."
"The "Didache" has so actually occasionally been counted as part of the New Testament writings after all."
These quotations give you an idea what people think and write about this book Didache. Go and read it yourself. It is not a long book. There are several translations available online.
One of the above quotations mentions the fact that bishops were elected by the church and that this is in stark contrast to the doctrine that bishops must only be consecrated by bishops, and the doctrine of "apostolic succession" and that the fact that the Didache includes this democratic doctrine, later replaced by the hierarchy, was probably another reason why Athanasius excluded the Didache when he finalized the list of 27 New Testament books in AD 367.
So you get already a good idea why books were selected to be part of the canon and why others remained "non-canonical."
But the sentence in the Didache that really reveals why this book was excluded from the canon is the statement "But if he asks for money, he is a false prophet." And this sentence is just the culmination of the theme of asking for money being the sign of false prophets in the Didache. Actually this book goes quite into several details about how to recognize the wrong people and how to deal with them. And these are exactly the people who introduced the "apostolic succession" and the hierarchical system and the art of asking for money. They are not calling it asking for money; they call it taking up an offering or fund raising. Basically it is begging. They are beggars. And sometimes they are quite wealthy beggars who employ people to do the begging for them. Some churches have assistant pastors whose job it is to take up the offering and make a special little sermon for that purpose. The leading pastor is not doing it; he might be the owner of this religious business and can effort to employ an assistant pastor to do the begging for him so that he does not appear to get involved with such a mundane thing. Beggars can be quite wealthy people. They are beggars, but we could also call them thieves because the money brought in by the members of the congregation should go, if they would deal with it in a scriptural manner, to the poor. The poor of the assembly should receive the money and not the clergy. And this distributing of the money should be done during the meeting and the use of the gifts of the spirit should be employed to distribute this money the right way. As the gifts are in operation when money is received by the elders, as it was done by Peter when he received money from Ananias and Sapphira, so should it be done when this incoming money is handed out again - to the poor. If there is a man like Ananias (A) there might also be a man (B) called Benanias and he might have a problem with his house and if he does not pay back his loan then his house is going to be taken from him and he has no home anymore, so he goes to the church and brings this problem before the church and by doing so he gets the idea for a get-rich-quick-scheme and declares to the assembly that the amount demanded is double as high as it really is. So when he gets this amount from the church then he can pay back what he owes and in addition he has a nice free gift of a sum of capital that is substantial and lets him live from it. And such an occasion in a church is the ideal time for the elders to employ the gifts of the spirit and let him, the spirit, deal with the situation. The Holy Spirit will know exactly how to deal with such a case and what to do and what to say and what is necessary for brother Benanias to get sorted out. And when then this attempt to defraud the congregation, and especially defraud the poor, is prevented, then the rich who bring in the money will be even more encouraged to bring money because they now know that their money is handled very well - is handled very well by the Holy Spirit. But such a spiritual dealing cannot take place where the elders are false prophets and are beggars and thieves. They will not be able to let the Holy Spirit handle the distribution of the money, they will not even come close to give the money to the poor, they will steel it from them and they will put it in their own pocket. And this is going on since 2000 years. Since 2000 years the poor are defrauded and books like the Didache are suppressed. The Didache was apparently the earliest book that was written by Christians and it is simple and straightforward. And how did the hypocrites deal with it? They did not make it part of the canon. It was side-lined. By excluding it from the books that became part of the New Testament they made it a second class book. Labelling it as lacking literary value they found a good reason, and that was just the beginning. Writing it off as being a second class book was just the first step. The next step was to classify such books as not only to be of second class but to be not good enough, and then to be not good at all and then to be undesirable and then to be heretic and to be forbidden to read and to own. And this development caused the book to be no longer available. It became dangerous to read and have such a book. One could be burnt at the stake. Just because somebody forgot about its existence caused such a book like the Didache to get lost in some archive and survive and get rediscovered a thousand years later. There were substantial periods in the history of Christianity when the use of the Bible itself was not allowed. They could not outlaw the Bible completely because they needed it as their basic reason of their existence, but they would have liked to declare the Bible to be heretical because in it were found all the arguments that condemn the works of the clerics. There is no better weapon against the man-made church than the Bible. And this development of suppression runs parallel with the issue of such doctrines that are in effect saying that God is dead: The apostles existed only at the time when the New Testament was written, not anymore after that. The gifts of the spirit are not all for us today, only the permanent ones; there were gifts that were only temporary, like prophesying; we don't need them anymore because we now have the written word and that makes prophets and prophesies unnecessary. And these two examples are just examples. There is a whole bunch of such methods to declare the works of the Holy Spirit being brought to an end and becoming unnecessary and being of the devil. The minds of twenty-first century Christians have been brainwashed for two-thousand years and these doctrines are kicking in automatically whenever someone wants to get back to the way of the early church. Summing it up, this development can only be described as the theological declaration that God is dead. It is a total victory for anti-Christ. And anti-Christ is declared by such theologians as some extraordinary person that will appear in a worldly setting and they write plenty of books about such a person and Christians buy these books and they never take the trouble to read what Jesus has to say about how to recognize the anti-Christ; on the contrary, they go every Sunday morning to "church" and listen to their local anti-Christ and are therefore so adjusted to the thinking of anti-Christ that they will loudly acclaim the real anti-Christ when he makes his appearance. They will "know" that this person is the man they have been waiting for, that the second coming of Christ has happened. The fact that the Bible clearly indicates that the anti-Christ will come out of Christian surroundings and will appear as one of them, will remain unknown to them. They will know nothing about this and they will follow the anti-Christ the same way as they follow their "pastor" every week of the year. They buy the books of their "Christian" book stores, books that are written by carnal Christian at best, a lot of them seem to be written by anti-Christ himself: full of worldly subjects and lacking and belittling the things of the spirit of God. And the real books bringing spiritual truths to them they do not find there because such authors will not come out of the denominational setting because the true prophets will have no part of the sectarian churches. Such books like the Didache written at the beginning of the existence of the body of Christ and all the books written in the last 2000 years and all the books written this and the last century, books that are spiritual, they will declare to be heresy and will condemn. That God is dead suites them very well and allows them to live a life dedicated to the lusts of the flesh and allows them to take fully part in the ways of the world. They will say, "I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused." And another will say, "I have married a wife, and therefore I have no time."
The Didache teaches that the first sign to recognize the false prophet is to see if he is asking for money, and such people, who all their life have overlooked exactly this fact and have failed exactly in this respect and have every time they were asked by their "prophet" for money reacted in direct opposition to this basic rule, will be deceived by all the small deceivers as well as by the big one.
The simple rule is to resist the devil and he will flee from us. If we do not resist him then we co-operate with him and do his will; we follow anti-Christ.
Worldly and carnal people do not like the Holy Spirit being active in their life. It makes them uncomfortable. They feel restricted. Their status quo is disturbed. They might have to change. They do not want to have something to do with God directly. They prefer to have somebody between them and God. The clergy is exactly what they need. It gives the appearance that they are godly and it gives them the security that when they go to church nothing disturbing them will happen. They are like the children of Israel who did not like to deal with God directly. They preferred that Moses dealt with God and stood between them and God. They said to Moses, "Speak thou to us and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us, lest we die." Worldly people have to fear that they will die when God directly speaks to them - like Ananias and Sapphira. Such people will welcome everything that is against the gifts of the spirit operating in their life. Any argument against a direct contact with God is welcome by them. They are the ideal material for a clergy dominated man-made church.
Let us have a look at the probably most important passage of the Bible, John 17:
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
Our subject is Oneness, Unity. The world's way is divisive, denominational, churchianity - a church that is man-made. We are not of this world. We are in heaven - already now. Heaven is not a place and also not a condition, it is being aware of this oneness, being aware of this pure Oneness. This Oneness is all there is. There is nothing else. There is nothing outside of this Oneness.
Now this chapter 17 of John is part of the speech Jesus made that started with chapter 13. These 5 chapters in the Gospel of John are really containing what Christianity is all about, containing the spiritual side of life. And in verses 21 to 23 of chapter 17 we have the real heart of Jesus' message. In these three verses the word One appears 5 times. This Oneness with God is it what really matters - what is the heart of everything.
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
But the thing I also want to draw your attention to here is the last sentence of Jesus' most important speech, John 17:26.
And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
Jesus says that he declares unto his disciples God's name, and he will declare it.
He says that he has made known to them God's name, and that he will make it known.
Jesus' last word in this important speech was that he has been talking and that he will continue to talk.
Jesus says that he will continue to make God known; that he will not stop to do so.
And he proofed this. After his death he rose and he continued to speak to them. And then he ascended and he still continued to speak to them. He spoke to John many years later and declared to him, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." And he spoke to John about the seven churches. And then he continued to speak and he spoke to his new disciples, his new apostles. He spoke to Paul and said, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" And then he spoke to Ananias, a disciple, and said, "Ananias!" And Ananias said, "Behold, I am here, Lord." Ananias said, yes I am here and I am hearing and I am waiting for what you have to say. And then he heard what Jesus had to say and followed his instructions.
And during the last 2000 years Jesus has not stopped talking to us. Read the history of the church as it is represented by Orthodoxy and you will find plenty of indications where his voice popped up and was noticed and proclaimed and evaluated by Orthodoxy and declared as being heretic and condemned. And the messengers were persecuted and tortured and killed. Jesus prophesied about this in Matthew 23:29-32, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measures of your fathers."
The people of Orthodoxy killed the prophets. And their children, the people of today's Orthodoxy, say that if they would have lived at that time they would not have done this, but by associating themselves with Orthodoxy, by being part of Orthodoxy today, they proclaim that they are the children of them that killed the prophets and therefore they are witnessing to themselves that they are these children of them which killed the prophets and that they are therefore filling up the measure of the sin of their forefathers.
Jesus says in verse 32, "Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers." And with this he identifies them as being children of them which killed the prophets. They are not children of God but children of evil, of people who killed the prophets. They are followers of the enemy of God.
If you claim to be orthodox, if you are part of a denomination, then this prophecy of Jesus applies to you directly. If you want to avoid to be held responsible for the slaying of all these saints then there is only one way of escape from this curse and that is to completely and utterly brake any tie you might have to such anti-Christian organizations and to people who are associated with them. Excommunicate everything out of your life that smells of Orthodoxy; and that must not just be limited to formal membership and to casual friendships, it must include all the influences that you were exposed to all your life. All thinking and everything taught by Orthodoxy has to be re-evaluated and reassessed. Escape the damnation of hell.
And then Jesus continues, Matthew 23:33 -35, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar."
Jesus declares and prophecies that he will send unto us prophets, and wise men, and scribes. And he has done so. He did it all the time. He kept his word. Jesus never stopped talking to us. And the persecution of these witnesses by Orthodoxy proofs that they were and are his messengers.
And Jesus still speaks today. He still speaks today to his disciples. He still speaks today to many disciples and many of them listen and some even write down what they heard Jesus say. And some even dare to make public this what they heard Jesus say and let others also know the words they received.
Let me give you a list of such recorded sayings of Jesus which came across my way.
The Great Gospel of John
Worte der Ewigen Liebe
1937 - 1965
Francis J. Roberts
Dialogues with God
Helen Schucman and William Thetford
A Course in Miracles
True Life in God
Neale Donald Walsch
Conversations with God
Speaking with Christ: Truths
I had read a book and in it reference was made several times to A Course in Miracles. I was wondering what that was and if it was a book because no author was mentioned. So I decided to look out for such a book. Soon after that I was again in an English speaking country and one day I went into a bookshop and right in the centre of the shop was a pallet filled with copies of A Course in Miracles. All other books were nicely displayed on shelves one by one but these copies of A Course in Miracles, there must have been hundreds of them, were all packed on this pallet and looked as if they came straight from the printers and now had been placed in this central spot of the shop. I picked up a copy and opened it somewhere in the middle and started to read and my first thought was, "I know this voice. Here is knowledge and authority." You see, when you are led by the spirit of God you will recognize the Lord when he speaks. His sheep know his voice.
Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make (or, hold us in suspense) us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Fatherís name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:24-27.
We will hear and recognize his voice. The unbelievers and the dividers and the doubters and the hypocrites are not really his sheep and they will not hear his voice. They will reject it.
I bought that book and read it and reread it - several times - and I am still reading and studying it. God is not dead. He is alive and speaks to us today and every day. Go into the internet and read about what people have to say about a book like A Course in Miracles and also read what the people that are opposed to it have to say. Read their opinions and measure their faith and have a good look at their arguments. If the writer for example calls himself Rev. so-and-so then you know already right from the start where he comes from, that he is a divider and a hypocrite who says Lord, Lord, but does not do what the Lord says he should do - that he should not use titles.
This book A Course in Miracles talks to two professors of psychology, Helen Schucman and William Thetford, and the subject is also psychology and about relationships between people and how to find a better way of living together. The book God Calling speaks to two women and helps them in their daily life and is a devotional diary; it has something for every day of the year and brings consolation and courage.
These books are like the books of the Bible. They are each special and each is written by special people for special occasions.
The Bible is not the only book which consists of a collection of inspired books. There are plenty of other inspired books.
Such books are useful to study but it can be even more interesting to study their backgrounds and the circumstances under which they are made available. The book God Calling was written by the Two Listeners. Now these two ladies went so far to not even make their names available to the public. They simple called themselves Two Listeners. They were two women who were listening to the voice of the spirit. They seem to have been ladies who liked to give. Their interest in receiving, in receiving material and monetary things, was little developed, despite them not being rich. Their interest in receiving spiritual things was by contrast of high priority. And these things they liked to give. They write, "So to us this book, which we believe has been guided by our Lord himself, is no ordinary book. It is published, after much prayer, to prove that a living Christ speaks to-day, plans and guides the humblest, that no detail is too insignificant for His attention, that He reveals Himself now as ever as a Humble Servant and Majestic Creator." Their books are made available for free on the internet. This speaks for the people who are now in charge of the publishing rights. The distribution of the material is more important for them than monetary gain. When their book was first published in the thirties of the twentieth century there was no internet and the distribution of their message via printed books made out of paper was the only way to achieve a wide distribution. But when the internet came these messages were made available free of charge.
From this we could deduct that really spiritual books will always be brought to us by really spiritual people. But this is definitely not always the case. The scriptural example comes from the beautiful prophecies that we find in the books of Moses. In Numbers 23:7-10 we have the first of the oracles uttered by a highly interesting prophet. The second is in Numbers 23:18-24. There, Numbers 23:23 , we read, "Surely there is no sorcery against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel." This is a verse to remember and to quote when one might get worried about witchcraft. Now the words Jacob and Israel mean the real children of God, the real church. If you belong to the counterfeit church this protection does not apply to you; the man-made church is not protected, it is cursed. Read Matthew 23. The third oracle is found in Numbers 24:3-9. It speaks of the beauty of the real church, a prophecy about the coming kingdom of God. And in Numbers 24:15-24 is the fourth oracle: about the coming Messiah, the star that will come out of Jacob. But what about the personality of this impressive prophet? Jesus has this to say, "But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock †before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication." Revelation 2:14. So this highly outspoken prophet is in reality a highly dangerous person. He was a man who caused the church to sin. He nearly caused the death of the church. He is so dangerous that Jesus mentions him by name. He was after the money. His real aim was not spiritual, but materialistic. Go and read a detailed discussion about this prophet in "Balaamís Way," which is part of this series "The Man-Made Church."
Now today we can make writings available for free on the internet. So this would be an ideal way for somebody who likes to give things, especially spiritual things, away for free. But is this done by people who have such valuable information to offer? Have a look at the books of the author of the series "Conversations with God." In the book "Friendship with God" you find the following question raised, "Why didnít you just put the books on the internet?" The subject had been the writing and the publishing of his books. And the author was surprised to hear such a question and therefore the question was repeated, and more specific, "Why didnít you just make them available for free?" and then follows a very interesting discussion between the author and the spirit that gives him his inspirations. If you read this discussion you will also probably come to the conclusion that there is a lot of unbelief involved. People simply donít believe God and that God can look after them very well. And of course there is this lust for material things. As so often the issue of money is decisive. And the issue is often side-stepped with neat verbal gymnastics. Read the chapter Two of that book and you will have a typical example. Maybe you are lucky and find it on the internet, not just to buy it, but also to read it for free. If you canít find it on the internet to read for free then maybe you should remember the Didache, "But if he asks for money, he is a false prophet."
So what is the conclusion? If you find a highly inspiring piece of literature then this must not mean that the person from whom it comes is a highly spiritual person, it might just mean that he is open to receive highly valuable information. He himself might be also a person that is worth getting to know and to learn from him; but he might not be. So differentiate between the literary product on one side and the person who is the producer of it on the other side. Have a good look at the information contained in the product, often it reveals a lot about the producer. If you know how to measure faith you will have a big advantage. And check other information about the author. Be wise and donít build your house on sand. Read all about the people who built their houses on sand in "Watch Out!" Ė another discussion in this series "The Man-Made Church." The main point is that the value of a manís action is not determined by the gifts of the spirit he might display but by the fruit of the spirit. Not the miracles are decisive, decisive is what he does. Does he do what Jesus says he should do?
When you study personalities who produce highly interesting information due to the fact that they are used by spiritual beings to bring this knowledge to us, then you will get the feeling that such people are very aware of this priceless information and its value to other people. But they also might be tempted to think that these facts make them knowledgeable and wise and that they therefore need not study and meditate on what they should study; that they do not have to meditate on the law of the Lord day and night. Some of them lead and have led a life full of pain and suffering and the reasons for this can sometimes be found in the material they have brought to us or in the information about them that is available to the public. And such material reveals sometimes that this living and meditating upon the eternal spiritual laws was missing. We have to know these basic laws and we have to apply them in our lives. If we donít do this then all specially received revelations are not of much use.
Such personalities can also be good examples that understanding and wisdom requires more than knowledge. The knowledge that people receive from spiritual guides and that they then use for themselves and that is used by others can be very helpful but it does not bring wisdom automatically. Wisdom only comes when such knowledge is applied and when experience is gathered from a life lived according to this knowledge.
When you study messengers and their messages you are supposed to judge according to 1 Corinthians 14:29, "Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge." Now when you do this "judging," you might not like certain aspects of such a personality and find faults with the person. And then you might think, that these shortcomings of the person will influence the messages they are giving. And as a result you will keep your distance to the content of these messages. The principle however that should govern our attitude in such situations can be found in Matthew 23:2-3, where Jesus says, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not."
So the faults of a messenger canít be used as an excuse not to do what a really inspired message tells us to do.
We canít reject spiritually inspired books just because the person who brought this material to us is not perfect.
There might be something wrong in the life of the postman and we could decide not to pay the invoice that this postman brought to us, but no reasonable person would accept such an excuse.
When you study A Course in Miracles and when you also study its history, by seeing what the internet has to say about this book and by reading books that are written about A Course in Miracles, then you will soon find a pattern that seems to occur again and again when there is some spiritual revival. At first everything is very spiritual but soon the people who are after power and money take over. It starts with genuine people who want to help others and it ends with greed and lust for power. The two scribes of A Course in Miracles, Helen Schucman and William Thetford, spent an immense amount of time and effort to bring this work to us. They did not try to make a name for themselves, quite contrary they did not even want to be known as the scribes of this work and this is the reason why they do not appear as the authors, why this book does not seem to have an author. And they also did not try to make money out of it. They rather invested heavily into this effort to get this work out. And then they got helpers who encouraged and financed and directed. But the interesting thing is that at a quite early stage they also got helpers who had different motives and who not only had spiritual motives but who also had a good nose for the financial side of things, not for the financial side of financing the thing but for the financial side of making a living out of these highly interesting spiritual revelations. And they started to establish a business that made profit out of A Course of Miracles. And then soon others saw this opportunity as well and soon several such businesses were established. And then rivalry started and they started to fight over the right to use the information contained in A Course of Miracles. They had court cases exactly as in 1 Corinthians, as the carnal people in the Church in Corinth. If you go into the internet and search for A Course in Miracles you will find that most of the pages that come up are commercial enterprises. And among them are of course churches formed on the basis of the teachings of A Course in Miracles and organizations that teach it and that ordain pastors and provide them with nice titles such as Reverend. In no time the spiritual impulse that came from this work A Course in Miracles was turned, by some, into a matter of worldly ambitions and greed and lust for power. A Course in Miracles is quite a good example to study the development of a revival into an anti-Christian thing.
Let me give you some examples from A Course in Miracles in order to whet your appetite:
The real purpose of this world is to use it to correct your unbelief.
Because of your likeness to your Creator you are creative.
The body is a learning device for the mind.
Only the mind can create.
Right-mindedness is healing.
There is no strain in doing God's will as soon as you recognize that it is also your own.
The mind is very powerful, and never loses its creative force.
Good can withstand any form of evil, as light abolishes forms of darkness.
Forgiveness is the healing of the perception of separation.
The mind is split between the ego and the Holy Spirit.
The mind can make the belief in separation very real and very fearful, and this belief is the "devil."
But the main point is that Jesus speaks to us today, he has never stopped to do so. And what he is revealing to us is progressive. What he is telling us is growing in scope. The more we progress the more we will be able to understand. Jesus said in John 16:12,
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
Jesus speaks in chapter 23 of the book of Matthew about the scribes and Pharisees and hypocrites and how they are the ones which killed the prophets. And this has been on-going for the last two millennia. It is a historical fact and they are serpents and a generation of vipers, how can they escape the damnation of hell?
But in verse 13 of Matthew 23 Jesus speaks about something else that applies to these people. Jesus says there, "But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in."
These hypocrites shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces, and they themselves do not enter, nor will they let those enter who are trying to.
This is even a more severe act against God then the killing of the prophets, because when they kill a prophet they only kill the body of the prophet and not his spirit, which is not subject to physical destruction. But preventing those who are trying to enter the kingdom of God from doing so is more severe because here we are dealing with spiritual results that have eternal consequences.
That is the whole aim of the antichrist which he pursues with his man-made churches. He generates an elaborate system of religion and theology and liturgy and rites and what have you to prevent the people from entering the kingdom of God who are trying to. He shuts up the kingdom of heaven against men.
And people who have entered the kingdom he tries to prevent from remaining in the kingdom by luring them to become members of his kingdom of darkness.
That is the whole major result of the existence of the man-made churches, that they prevented generations of people to enter the kingdom of God.
I want to give you an example. I went into a Christian bookshop and there I met a young man. He had come to this country as a visitor and to this big city and to this book shop and now enjoyed seeing all these nice books about spiritual subjects. We talked about spiritual things and it was clear that he was a new Christian and full of eagerness to learn more about all these spiritual things. He liked the books and would have liked to buy some but his financial situation did not really allow for this. When we parted we agreed to keep in contact and we became an encouragement to each other. Sometime later I visited him in his country and that was quite an experience. He told me how he had been "saved" and what he was now doing. As a young man he had been interested in the girls and when he learned that all the girls went to the stadium he also went there, to be where the girls where. In the stadium was a man talking about the things of God and he turned his life over to God and shortly afterwards I met him in the bookshop as a visitor in another country. Now this man in the stadium who talked about the things of God was an "evangelist." He had come from overseas and had become on this continent quite famous for bringing many people to God and that was the reason why so many people went to the stadium. He had an arrangement with the leaders of the local denominations that they would help him organizing his crusade, preparing it, advertising it, and also to help counselling the new converts. There had to be a follow-up and this was also done by the members of these denominations and they of course encouraged the new born believers to join them in their churches. The whole support these denominations gave to this crusade had of course the aim to get a substantial boost in their membership numbers and let their churches grow and become bigger. It was a business in which both parties benefited - received financial gain. So there was my friend now, a member of a denomination. His "spiritual" talk centred round his church and what was going on there. Because of this significant increase in its members due to the crusade his church thought it was now able to build a church building. And there it was - the church building. The walls were up, the door opening was there, the window openings were there. But the roof was not on. The walls were not plastered. No door and no windows were installed. They had run out of money. And new money was hardly coming in. So there they were standing in the middle of the church for their worship service. It was winter and the sun shone against the wall and they were therefore in the shade of the wall and they were cold and freezing. They could have gone outside to be a little bit warmer, but that was not acceptable, they had to go to church and be in church. Now most of these people were financially not really rich people, and so was my friend. But now, since he had joined his church, a substantial amount of his money went towards his church, and of course from there it did not go towards the poor of the congregation, but to the "pastor". And some of this money had to be used to build this monument - this church building - to be an outward sign to the world how successful the "pastor's" business was. So in what kind of situation was my friend by now? His financial side had deteriorated. He had now less money than when he had been a "heathen." His money had gone to the "pastor." But the main thing of course was that he had spiritually died. His aliveness had gone. Before he got "saved" he was just a normal young man, but now he had become religious. Instead of being groomed to become, in a quite short time, a mature Christian, as described in Ephesians 4:13, "till we come in the unity in the faith; and of the knowledge of the Son of God, and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ," he had terrible deteriorated - backslid. He had not reached the unity in the faith, he had come to be a divider, a member of a divisive sect. There was no sign of maturity. There was no such thing as attaining to the whole measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. His spiritual situation was sad. He was actually completely back in the world. His short term aim was to get married. He was planning his wedding. Jesus mentions three things that worldly people are busy with and that hold them away from following him. They are (1) buying a piece of ground, (2) buying five yoke of oxen, and (3) marrying a wife. We see that in Luke 14:18-20: "And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come." So the first thing is to get a piece of the surface of the world, the earth, a very earthly, worldly thing. Today we would probably call it buying or building a house. For many people this is one of the most important achievements in their life. Have you built? they ask. If not, then you have not really achieved much in your life. Owning property and real estate is immensely important - for them. It is a measure of success. And then comes transport, five yoke of oxen, a motorcar. What car are you driving? The car, the van, how many cars, a boat, etc. - all these are crucial for recognition. It is a must. And then comes item number three: a wife, a sex partner, a girlfriend, may be even a mistress. These three things, property, transport and wife, are the things that hold a man away from God, especially when they are used as excuse - to make excuses to come to the great supper. Now the "pastor" of my friend was running a divisive business, he was a divider. But he at least had improved financially. He was going to hell, but in this life he at least was not so bad off. He got some money. But my friend was worse off. Previously he had little money and now he had less. But spiritually he was worse off, because before he became "saved" he was just a heathen, and now had become a religious person and a follower of the system of Antichrist. Jesus describes the situation like this, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." Matthew 23:15. They both, my friend and his "pastor," are sons of hell, but the "pastor" is better off, he gained in a worldly sense. But my friend was now more a child of hell than he was before, because he had already hell here on earth, financially. But the financial aspect was just one. All others aspects of life had deteriorated as well. As dividers they now for example had to suffer physically - for this divisiveness causes many to be weak and sickly; see 1 Corinthians 11:30. And what about the "evangelist?" Jesus describes him here in Matthew 23:15 as well. He was from oversees, Jesus calls it "compassing sea and land." What did this man do? He had compassed sea and land to make proselytes, and when they are made, he makes them twofold more the children of hell than himself. This "evangelist" had at least three distinctive signs that marked him as a man in the camp of Antichrist. The first one was that he used titles, for others, but also for himself. He let himself be addressed as "Pastor." The second was that he wanted money - he took up offerings, the sign of the false prophet. And thirdly he was part of the divisive system of denominations. He co-operated and fed denominations. He was therefore a divider. Now this example is just an example, but it is typical for our Christianity of today. There are hardly any Christians. And the new Christians don't remain Christians, they soon are back in the world, and are worse off than before. They are religious. And the world just looks on in disgust. Christianity? - Just a bunch of hypocrites.
So-called evangelizing is used to fill the ranks of antichrist - a very clever system. And most of the Christians support it.
So let us come back to what Jesus says in Matthew 23:13, "But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in."
Christianity has become a comprehensive system to keep people away from the truth.
The forces of darkness want to keep the people under their control and want to keep them in ignorance so that they don't lose them. In Luke 11:52 Jesus says, "Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered."
They have taken away the key of knowledge.
Their main weapon was and is preventing them access to spiritual food.
The keeping away from them the word of God was always their foremost activity. To restrict the canon, and then to restrict what is in the canon.
Just think about all the things that are in the New Testament and that you never hear the little anti-Christ preach and teach about on Sunday morning in "church." And when his "parishioners" then read the Bible and they come across a section where they never have heard anything mentioned in church, then they of course thing that it can't be important and therefore also ignore it and just overlook it as well.
Now don't think that this restricting the canon applies only to the time when the canon was formed - the time of the beginning of the New Testament - of the writing of the Didache. It goes on in our much more modern times. A good example is the King James Version of the Bible, the Authorised Version. Now this version is from the year 1611. But at that time and centuries after it, it contained a lot more books than it contains today. There were books that were taken out, that were taken away, a whole bunch of them, not just one or two. They took 14 books out of the King James Bible. Today's King James Bible contains 66 books. Originally it contained 80 books, 14 were deleted. This development reached its height in the nineteenth century and its conclusion in the year 1885 when the Bishop of Canterbury officially removed them. They of course give all kind of reasons for it. One is to call these 14 books Apocrypha. Others are to complain about some passages that some people don't like. But the main thing is that the hypocrites take more books away. And of course they never added any new ones. New ones were, together with their authors and readers, burned, a favourite sport of the hypocrites. Now you can check this removing the "Apocrypha" from the King James Bible. Firstly they are, the Apocrypha of the Authorized Bible, available as a separate book. I have one. The publisher is the Oxford University Press. But there are also King James Versions of the Bible available that contain the Apocrypha. Just search for them.
So when you get a King James Version of the Bible then don't think that it contains what the King James Version of the Bible contained at the time of King James. They stole 14 books out of it, but they still call it the King James Version. And don't think they will make reference to this reduction, they will not, they will deceive you and not mention it at all. This deception is underlined by the impressive prefatory text that it still contains, the epistle dedicatory: To the most high and mighty prince James by the grace of God king of Great Britain, France and Ireland, defender of the faith, &c. With this dedication therefore the impression is given, that the reader has something in front of him, which really dates back from the time of Prince James. He is deceived.
Now this version of the Bible, the King James Bible, is not just one of many versions, it is considered to be not only the most often printed version of the Bible, but it also is the most printed book in the history of the world.
Widen your scope and look at something where God speaks to us today which is seemingly completely outside of Christianity. Have a look at books written by Sai Baba and therefore at the spirituality of India. His books were written in the last century, the twentieth century, but Sai Baba is also a man of this century, the twenty-first century, because his 80th birthday was celebrated on 23. November 2005. He was born on 23. November 1926 as Satyanarayana Raju in Puttaparthi in India.
And when you look at his books, also look at the person who wrote the books and evaluate the man. He is still alive and therefore this can easily be done. And if he is genuine and a real spiritual person then he most probably will have enemies. So look at them as well. Look at the financial side of their lives, of that of Sai Baba and also of that of his enemies. If one makes his work available free of charge, may be on the internet, then you already have a good indication. If his books are only available in printed form, if you can't find and read them on the internet, then you have an indication that he prefers to make money out of his books. You then will also find his book or his books on the internet, but they are not there to be read freely, they are there to entice you to order them and to send money to the bookseller and therefore to the publisher and to the author.
The beautiful thing about Sai Baba is that we have his writings and that we can study them but that we also have the man himself and we can study him. We can study his life, his work - what he has done and what he is doing. And there is one more thing that we can study, we can study his miracles. They bear witness of him. They speak for him. See John 10:25.
Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.
It is this combination of the words of a man and of his works that allow us to evaluate him. And we have both. So we can form a pretty good picture.
Now if you look at a contemporary work and you find it to be spiritual and inspiring and helpful you might start to think how such a work, such a book, compares to books of the Bible. You might for example realize that you read a specific book more often than you read certain books of the Bible, may be even books of the New Testament. Now what kind of relationship exists then between such a book and the books listed in the canon? Is this book you read often, and which you like, less worthy than the ones of the canon? What about such kind of a problem? You might find that in this book of yours, this book you like, are aspects raised, that challenge you, that challenge you to change attitudes and behaviour patterns that will bring, if applied, some real progress in your life with God. And then you might also realize that this is not just the case in your life, but in the lives of many other people. May be this book appeals to many people, people all over the world, and some of them start to translate it, so that it can reach more people, and you find that it is and gets translated into many languages. Now how does this book then compare to a book that is listed as part of "the" books, the canon? You might decide that for you this book is at least as valuable as the books of the New Testament and simply declare this to be so and declare it to anybody who wants to hear it and also to anybody who doesn't want to hear it. And may be many others think as you do.
If you continue to consider this problem, you will more and more understand the purpose of the canon. The canon of the New Testament was first simply a list of known Christian works and books. It was a collection of known writings and initially the tendency was towards getting into it as many of them as were found. The selection of these books that were taken into consideration was at first not limited, on the contrary the aim was to widen the number of books and attempts to restrict the list or to close it to new ones were absent. There was no tendency to bring this selection to a close. It was felt that the list should remain open and so facilitate to spiritual growth. Enrichment was welcome and expansion expected. The aim was to get as many writings as possible into this collection and it should be comprehensive and extensive.
Now this initial stage then changed and the next step was to call a halt to uncontrolled growth. For example the number of gospels was then restricted to four only. Today there are other gospels known, but at that stage they were then not added to the collection. The time of restricting uncontrolled growth was then replaced with a time where growth itself was restricted. The influence of the growing power of orthodoxy had kicked in. The tendencies of the past, of growth, were suddenly reversed and the tendency became one of restraint. The fear of the workings of the spirit had started. Prophetic gifts started to get considered with suspicion by the emerging clergy. They became hostile towards the gifts of the spirit working in the congregation. The tendency was obvious: Restrict verbal utterances, because they can't be controlled by the organizations that started to be formed. It is easier to control things that are written down. This whole movement of the spirit originated by Christ was a very verbal thing and the use of writings was a more supplementary help. People now refused to recognize the utterances of the spirit. The yeast of the Pharisees started to bear fruit.
The aim was to end the adding of new works, to come to a close of the canon. It became a determined striving to achieve this. Finality and firm limitation of the number of works was the goal. With this the by now established religion achieved that the voice of God got silenced, that for the rest of all time all new revelations would be hindered to spread and therefore effectively prevented. They had managed to declare that God was dead. The books that were included in the canon were now the only ones that were acceptable and this list was final and valid for the rest of time - for eternity. This list was now established for ever. In order to underpin this development some theological props were erected. One of them was to declare all writings that did not come from the time of the apostles as not kosher. With this attitude they of course at the same time basically declared the existence of apostles as having come to an end. Actually the whole early Christianity was declared to have ceased. The existence of a progressive revelation was denied. Antichrist had won a full victory. Early Christianity was now labelled as the primitive church.
They had a couple of problems with this development. One of them was a book called The Shepherd of Hermas. It was very popular and Christians liked it very much. But it only came from the second century, and not from the first century, the time of the apostles, and it therefore had to be declared to be non-canonical. So they had to stick to their guns and exclude it.
For the clergy a Prophet is a highly unpleasant thing. When you read the book of Jeremiah you get a pretty good idea how unhappy people were when a prophet appeared and told them the truth. The clergy of his time, the king and the entire band of courtiers, the leaders of the children of Israel, the leaders of the children of God, the church, were very hostile towards Jeremiah and nearly succeeded in doing away with him. They did not finally succeed but some time later they did, they managed to declare an end to the existence of prophets, they closed the canon, and with that the books of the prophets. Malachi was the last one and after him there were no more prophets. Why was Malachi the last one? Because after him the most powerful prophet of all the mighty Hebrew prophets appeared and told them the truth. The best way to silence him was to declare the end of the prophets - to declare an end to the long row of prophets and establish a canon and with that canon to formally have the list of prophets closed off.
But now this new spiritual thing developed and prophets all over the place appeared and even in many other countries. So what was the solution to this problem? What did the forces of darkness do to combat this development? They had discovered a very useful tool. For hundreds of years prophets appeared and every time a new one came, the children of God added his works to the list of the existing ones. But after they had added number 16, Malachi, a most provoking prophet came, and in order to shut him up, or try to silence him, they got this great idea of a canon and of closing the canon. They just declared that the revelations of God had ceased. That God now unfortunately was dead and spoke no more. And it worked. They successfully had managed to prevent this new prophet to become their prophet number 17. They simply closed the list.
But this great idea did not stop the rise and growth of the teachings of this prophet number 17. His teachings spread quite fast. It even spread in the Jewish community but thanks to this invention of the canon and of closing the canon the main part of the Jews were kept out of these blessings.
So the dark forces had made a very useful discovery of hindering the dissemination of the prophets' messages. So why not use it for this new revival of God's word? If we were so successful in stopping it among the Jews, then we can use the same method to stop this new movement that is called Christian.
A very useful tool for this purpose would of course be the establishment of a clergy. They then could gather all the utterances of these prophets and list them and then we could get a good grip on the whole thing and slowly but surely close the loop and bring the whole thing to a stop. There would be of course the disadvantage that the writings then were established, but with this we could deal later. The main thing is to close the canon. If we succeed with that, we will have prevented for all future times the uprising of the word of God by simple having closed the existence of the prophetic ministry and the distribution of their messages. In fact these guys should - as a by-product - be outlawed as well; it would be a very useful spin-off.
If we succeed with this we would permanently close the source of any new revelation, drain all life out of the assembly, paralyse church life completely.
There will be of course the problem with some very zealous Christians who will go out and make new disciples. But that problem will be solved by guiding these new awakened souls straight into denominations and there they will just die a natural death within no time.
So Christianity will spread and spread and will conquer whole continents, but we have it nicely under control. They will all call themselves Christians and also sincerely believe to be genuine Christians, but we will have made sure by these clever methods that they all remain in effect genuine heathen and completely live worldly lives. What a nice thing to watch to grow and develop.
Now follows what was dictated to and recorded by Bertha Dudde on December 3, 1961 and is numbered B.D. NR. 8054 and titled "Is the Bible completed:"
"What misconception you have: to assume that Scripture - the book of the fathers, my word - is finalized, that I myself have set a limit insofar as that I now have stopped to express myself - that I don't speak anymore to the people. Who gives you the right to such an assumption? Who will keep me from speaking again and again as a father to my children? Who gives you the right to make such an assertion that the Bible alone is sufficient, that you human beings do not need any additional word? You who reject every new revelation are in the deepest spiritual darkness. And in this darkness you will also not understand the Bible and therefore is this also for you still a closed book because you do not understand the spiritual meaning of the letters, otherwise you would also find in this book the references to my perpetual revelations and the working of my spirit would be understandable to you. But as long as you yourselves are of a spirit that is not revived you will not grasp the meaning of the word that I myself spoke to my disciples when I was walking on earth. How poor you human beings would be if you would have to be content yourselves with a book that you can't check anymore regarding its unchanged content, if the pure truth would not be made available to you again and again - the pure truth to which you can apply a standard and check if you yourselves are moving in it. You, who want to allow this book of the fathers only, have yourselves not comprehended the word, you have only read it with your mind, but you have not let the spirit in you speak to you, who teaches you and who reveals the spiritual meaning of the word. You cling to the letter and do not understand its meaning. And if I myself want to introduce you to the truth then you deny my activity and you suspect my servants to be associated with my opponent; you deny my will and my power to speak to those who are offering me their service with all their faith and who are therefore able to hear my voice in them. And you stubbornly stick to your opinion that my word is completed with Scripture, which you acknowledge as an exclusive book through which I have revealed myself. And that does you harm because you proof by your refusal of my word from above that you are just dead Christians because a Christianity that is alive is a work in love, and this would bring you illumination of the spirit, and understanding of my exceptional help in times of spiritual want as well. You also would then understand the words of the Bible, the promises which I myself gave you and which point out that I reveal myself to those who keep my commandments. How do you then want to interpret these my promises when you deny every new revelation? Do you want to call me a liar when I announced my comforter, which will introduce you to all truth? How do you understand these words which must be fulfilled because every promise I gave to mankind during the times of my walk on earth must be fulfilled. And why do you not want to believe? Because you are of an overbearing spirit, because you lack the inner aliveness, the awakening of the spirit, and you therefore believe that you can determine me and my work, that you can limit it as you like. But you are mistaken, even if you believe that you have obtained knowledge through studying which allows you to reject my words from above. You are of an arrogant spirit and cannot therefore receive yourselves a revelation from me, because I only give my grace to the humble and you lack this humility. And that is why you are still walking in darkness and you will not break through this because you avoid the light that could give you knowledge when you would desire to step into its light. The love for my creatures never comes to an end and I will therefore never miss to speak to you human beings wherever the requirements are met. And my word will always be heard by those who are of good will, to whom the father can speak as to his children and who believe him in an alive manner and I will proof myself to them and the ones that belong to me will recognize my voice because I can be present with them, I can reveal myself to them as I have promised. Amen."
Now let me quote something quite different, something that gives us interesting information regarding the need of meditation:
"It is impossible to accept the holy instant without reservation unless, just for an instant, you are willing to see no past or future. You cannot prepare for it without placing it in the future. Release is given you the instant you desire it. Many have spent a lifetime in preparation, and have indeed achieved their instants of success. This course does not attempt to teach more than they learned in time, but it does aim at saving time. You may be attempting to follow a very long road to the goal you have accepted. It is extremely difficult to reach Atonement by fighting against sin. Enormous effort is expended in the attempt to make holy what is hated and despised. Nor is a lifetime of contemplation and long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body necessary. All such attempts will ultimately succeed because of their purpose. Yet the means are tedious and very time consuming, for all of them look to the future for release from a state of present unworthiness and inadequacy."
Now this is a quote from "A Course in Miracles" and has to say something about meditation. It says that a lifetime of contemplation and long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body are not necessary. Now I mention this here because when we think of meditation then this is it exactly what comes to our mind: a lifetime of contemplation and long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body. A Course in Miracles says it is not necessary.
Now how does this agree with what God told Joshua? God told Joshua to meditate in the book of the law day and night.
And this is confirmed in the document Joshua was supposed to mediate upon: the books of Moses. Moses writes in Deuteronomy 17:19 that when the children of Israel will set a king over themselves, then this king shall write him a copy of the law of Moses in a book, and this book shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life.
And in Psalm 1:2 we find that the man that is blessed, is a man who's delight is in the law of the Lord; and in this law doth he meditate day and night.
And in Psalm 119:97 it says, "O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day."
A Course in Miracles says that long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body are not necessary. And the Bible says that we should meditate in God's word day and night.
Both sides have something to do with the intellect. To achieve detachment from the body has something to do with knowledge and with the intellectual use of this knowledge. It has something to do with faith and its application. When the word of God says that I am set free, that I am a new creation, then I believe this, confess it, and live it. And when then the devil comes and tells me that it is not that easy, that I have to put a lot of effort into it, long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body then I resist the devil. And, when on the other side, the Bible tells me that I should meditate in God's word day and night, then I do the same, I use my intellect and realize that freedom will come from having knowledge. And to grow in knowledge I have to acquire it. I have to spend time and effort to collect it. And that is not all, I have to constantly review everything and keep it alive, because if I start to neglect the law it will slip away.
Let me give you another point of view on this subject. I am now going to quote again from the writings of Bertha Dudde. The following was dictated to and written down by Bertha Dudde on April 28, 1965 and is numbered B.D. NR. 8970 and titled "Light beings obtaining the sonship of God:"
"When you are moved by such questions with which you busy yourself then come to Me and I will provide the answer for you. Because you as light bearers should be informed about which beings can start the return to earth for the purpose of a mission. They are always light beings, i.e. such as have covered the road on earth but did not reach God's sonship, which however more and more increased the measure of light and who now in order to reach God's sonship offer themselves for a mission - and unfallen primeval spirits who also strive for God's sonship as their last aim and that is why they walk the way over earth. The latter definitely reach their goal because love is so strong in them and they will also be protected from falling away even though the antagonist will try everything to also cause these, who once did not follow him, to fall away from Me. But their resistance is too great and the bond with Me is kept up by (keeps up) each of these primeval spirits. But not always do those reach their aim - the sonship of God - who thus already once have been through life on earth. But there are only few of them who do not so fulfil their mission since they again are in possession of free will which also allows a decline. Then it is therefore possible that such a being is temporarily perplexed in thought and that it now leaves the earth again in this condition and then also from the other side supplies its confused thoughts to those who it reckons to be understanding. But this condition does last only until he again can get enlightened by the light and now also realizes that he has failed, and again desires to descend afresh to earth. The being can no longer lapse back into the deep, it can only use its free will wrongly, which will be the case when it as a member of a different religion should bring the knowledge of Jesus Christ as the divine Saviour to the people, when an unusual power was (is) at its disposal and it also thinks that due to the fullness of this power it stands on the same level as Jesus Christ and this therefore also means that its mission has failed. However credit will be given to it for its striving for highest perfection, but the advice given from the other side will be erroneous until it again reaches the light which will also bring back to it the full knowledge. The struggle of such people (beings) to achieve perfection still on earth can also only be successful because they are no longer burdened with the primeval sin and exactly that is why they yet would have the possibility to represent the divine Saviour and to also introduce him as only salvation to people of other religions so that they then also would have fulfilled their mission fully. But exactly for this reason I shall also send such light spirits there to earth, which as primeval spirits that have not fallen, despite of free will, proclaim myself as redeemer of the world, and the few which accept the faith in this will also be set free from their primeval sin, and even if they stay far under those wise, but which despite their high wisdom and their striving for perfection do not recognize this one, that they must not see in Jesus one of their own, but that he is all in all, that he only was the shell for the highest being, in which this highest being wanted to be visible to you, and that all of them - despite their wisdom, do not recognize this and therefore also do not support it. A being, that descends to earth as a spirit that has not fallen, shall certainly also reach the sonship of God, but a light being that has already once walked over the earth can no longer fall but still also not reach the final objective when it does not fulfil the mission that was assigned to it. Nevertheless just this job is difficult, to take the teaching of the redemption through Jesus Christ there where people are bound to a way of faith that has completely different aims, who want to reach perfection systematically and who do not seek the prerequisite for it in the divine sun of grace but whose striving is to bring themselves to perfection through extreme self conquest and self-chastisement, which however can be achieved very simply through inner union with God and acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as redeemer of the world. Because he then is rid of his primeval sin and he cannot sink back into the deep. But those light beings put the self gained wisdom before the work of the spirit, and only this can explain that they therefore fail and that they cannot stand in the full truth, until they listen to their spirit, which is always the result of an inner union with Me - but which those masters think they can replace by their own striving. Amen."
So the conquering of the self can be achieved the easy way - by an inner relationship with God and an acknowledgement of Jesus Christ's work of redemption. We simply have to turn to Jesus and then be led by his spirit. It is the work of the spirit. We have to listen to the spirit. This listening is the result of an inner bond with Jesus.
We are dealing here therefore with two aspects of meditation. The first one is meditation in order to achieve detachment from the body. It is not necessary - at least not for somebody who knows a much better and easier way. And the one who does not know this way, should rather spend time to seek more knowledge about the subject than to spend time meditating. The second one is meditation upon the word of God. It is very necessary. It is so necessary that we should do it the whole day. Even at night. It should be our only occupation.
When A Course in Miracles deals with the subject of meditation, it does so under the heading I Need Do Nothing. And the doing refers to the doing of the body. To do something is a typical thing of the body. The body always wants to do something.
And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? Luke 3:10.
The body of the one that has two coats, let him impart to him that hath none and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Luke 3:11. The body of the man who has two tunics should simply share with him who has none - and otherwise do nothing. The body of the man who has food should do the same - but otherwise do nothing. The body of the taxman - the publican - asked, "Master, what shall I do?" And what said the master? "Exact no more than that which is appointed you." Luke 3:13. There was nothing to be done for him, but what he had agreed to do with his employer. He was actually only told what he was not to do. And even more clear is the third case, Luke 3:14, the body of the soldier asked, "And what shall I do?" And the master told him not to do violence to any man, not to accuse any falsely, and to be content with the wages. The master told him what not to do, but gave him nothing to do. He told him only to be content, and that was nothing for the body to do, that was something for the mind.
Let me quote from A Course in Miracles, "Now you need but to remember you need do nothing. It would be far more profitable now merely to concentrate on this than to consider what you should do."
Let us look at some things a body can do.
A body can sew fig leaves together, and can make itself an apron (Genesis 3:7).
A body can hide itself from the presence of the Lord God (Genesis 3:8).
The body of a woman can multiply its sorrow and its conception. In sorrow it can bring forth children. Its desire can be for the body of the husband and the husband can rule over her (Genesis 3:16).
The body of a man can hearken unto the voice of the wife. The ground can be cursed and the body can eat of it in sorrow all the days of its life (Genesis 3:17).
The ground can bring forth thorns and thistles and the body can eat the herb of the field (Genesis 3:18).
In the sweat of the face the body can eat bread, till it returns unto the ground (Genesis 3:19).
These are all things the body can do. There is plenty to do.
The body can be full of action - and of suffering.
But all this is not really necessary. It is only necessary when we hide from the presence of the Lord.
Let us take just one example: Women's Lib. What is the answer to the movement of women to get liberated? How can they get set free? How can they get away from the rule of their husbands over them? The answer is that they simply have to go back to the situation they were in before this sad condition was implemented. Before this sad condition was implemented there was no such thing like a husband ruling over the wife. Why was it implemented? It was implemented because the woman hid herself from the presence of the Lord God. So how can she undo this? Simply stop hiding from God. Simply go back to the presence of the Lord. That is all. Start again the practice of the presence of the Lord. The best way to practise the presence of the Lord is to meditate on his law day and night. It is to be led by the spirit. Just stop listening to the devil, to the TV, and all kind of worldly stuff, and turn your attention to the Lord. Just return to the garden in which you can hear the voice of the Lord God as he walks in the cool of the day. That is all. It is that easy.
If you are a woman and you want to get liberated then just turn back to the way the woman walked as she was still free and liberated. And this applies to all other problems of mankind as well.
To undo the fall we simply have to return to the way it was before the fall.
It is a return born out of intelligent investigation. It is a way that becomes very clear when we start to gather and assemble knowledge of the present situation and of what happened before. It is a way of concentrating on the important aspects of life, of going for what is important, recognizing the less important things and doing away with unimportant doings and events.
We meditate on his law day and night. And his law is all the spiritual guidance mankind has received and is receiving. And no man tells us what this guidance is and what this guidance is not. No man prescribes a canon to us. We meditate on what our inner higher Self tells us to meditate upon.
This is what is important: that women and men start to meditate on the spiritual guidance mankind has received.
It is the only thing that is really important. The relevant guidance has to be recognized and filtered out and then this has to be absorbed, and brought into awareness, intellectually processed, and then applied in practical terms.
All our time should be occupied with this. It should be our only activity.
Now what about meditating in order to find peace, to get out of stress, to be released from physical tension and become still?
The Bible says, be still and know that I am Lord.
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore will not we fear,
though the earth be removed,
and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled,
though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.
There is a river,
the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God,
the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
God is in the midst of her;
she shall not be moved:
God shall help her,
and that right early.
The heathen raged,
the kingdoms were moved:
he uttered his voice,
the earth melted.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
what desolations he hath made in the earth.
He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth;
he breaketh the bow,
and cutteth the spear in sunder;
he burneth the chariot in the fire.
Be still, and know that I am God:
I will be exalted among the heathen,
I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
So it is Psalm 46 that contains this:
Be still, and know that I am God.
We simply always walk in peace and when we for any reason lose this peace than we return to it as soon as we realize we have lost it. It is a matter of decision. We do not need times of meditation in order to find our peace again. If we meditate in order to enjoy especially this peace then we can do this anytime. To lie on ones back and feel and direct the inner vibrations of the body is quite an enjoyable thing to do. I can do this for a couple of moments or even longer if I feel to do so. But if I meditate then I meditate upon something. I use my time intelligently and enjoy the unravelling of mysteries. I am then active with my mind. I then apply my mind to something. I meditate upon a thing. There is then something there upon which I meditate. I meditate upon a subject.
It is not a situation where I try to do the opposite, where I try to still my mind, where I try to gain control over my mind.
Now what about a situation where my mind is agitated and I want to return to a situation where there is no agitation?
Or when I am in a situation where I want to display a hesitant behaviour and want to turn to my higher Self - when I want to have a prayer meeting with myself.
Or when I am very busy and lost my concept and want to go back to my schedule of activities that I had planned but now I lost the way and want to know again what the next step of my plan was.
I can do the following in such situations. I stop doing what I am doing and get some sort of rest. Preferably I should sit down or lie down. I then turn my thoughts to the inside. Closing the eyes will help. That is why we close our eyes when we pray. It helps to turn inside. The next step is to try to stop the racing thought processes. One way to do this is to start observing our breathing. We let our thinking think what our breath is doing. We consciously take note of how we inhale and how we exhale. We turn inward. We turn to our higher Self, which is God. We are still and know that we are God. Now the breathing is not the important aspect of this. The important aspect is that what we do with our thoughts. That we direct our thoughts in such a way that we observe our breathing is just a strategy to get control over them. When we then lose this control and the thinking starts again to race in all directions then we rely on our previously installed mechanism that the Holy Spirit will always remind us of this fact and point it out to us so that we become aware of it and do something about it. We simply have to become aware of it. We leave the making us aware of it to the Holy Spirit. We rely on him. And when he has made us aware of it then we again return to this observation of the breathing.
Now the breathing is just one of several things we can observe. A better way is for example to observe the inner vibration. I also can direct them. I will get them to move in waves from the top of my head to the soles of my feet or from there back to the top. When I do this observation and this directing then I have gained control over my thinking. I have gained control over my inner dialogue.
What is my inner dialogue? It is keeping chewing on events of the past and of the future. I am then basically chewing the cud of episodes that my mind and my senses have experienced or might experience in the future. It is an activity of the mind. It is not meditating on something and it is also not planning something. When I meditate upon something, like upon a passage from Scripture, then I use my intellect; and I also use my intellect when I am planning some future action and future events or when I intent to solve a problem. But when I am busy with this inner dialogue, this controversial conversation, this inner chatter, then I am not solving problems, but I am very busy creating problems.
The best way to understand this perpetual dialogue is to observe a man who is talking to himself. If we see a man in the street who talks to himself then we have a situation where this inner dialogue has become so dominant in a person's life that it has become visible or rather audible. Such a man has less control over the inner dialogue than a normal man, a man that does not talk to himself - a man who also talks to himself, but in such a way that it is not recognizable by others. So a man who talks to himself is a man who has lost completely control over his inner chattering.
Now a person who wants to gain complete victory over this inner dialogue would be a person who also stops the inner dialogue that is not audible to others - only to himself. The first step to achieve this is to know that there is such a thing as the inner dialogue. The next step is to recognize that such dialogues take place in ones thinking. Whenever we start to think about events of the past or of the future we might start to formulate them into words in our mind. When you observe others having a conversation then notice when people say things like, "Then she said to me, ..., and I then told her, ..." Such a telling of a past event is a typical outer dialogue that also occurs as an inner dialogue and was probably practised by such a person as an inner dialogue before it became an outer dialogue.
When the Bible tells us to cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, then the Bible talks exactly about this inner dialogue. And when we do this what the Bible tells us to do, then we use the weapons of our warfare that are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.
The pulling down of strongholds means that we pull down things that have a strong hold on us: we pull down this repetitive thinking of harmful thoughts.
It is these thoughts that cause us plenty of problems. They are for example thoughts of events, past or future, where the shortcomings of others are the main subject or where we try to prove that we were or are better, superior, cleverer, wiser.
So we try to stop these inner dialogues. We can also describe such attempts as attempts to stop the world. We stop the world when we do this because we then concentrate on the inside of us and this causes the outside world to disappear. We turn to the things of the spirit and away from worldly things - the world.
So we turn inside.
We try to stop thinking and become still. It is a matter of bringing the mind to a stop.
So the first way to achieve this would be to observe our breathing. The second way would be to observe our inner vibrations. A third way could be to close ones eyes and to concentrate our sight on a point in front of our eyes. We are then looking into the dark but in this dark surrounding we pick a point directly in front of the eyes and there we stare at this spot and observe exactly what happens there. Also here we probably will lose this aim and find us thinking of other things. But that does not matter. We can then just return to gaze at that spot. A fourth way could be to observe our mind in a direct way by watching it and finding out what it is up to. We could concentrate on the next event of our thinking. What will be the next thought that comes to my mind?
I am walking on the beach and notice a crab disappearing into a hole in the sand as I am approaching. I now sit down not far from the hole and keep an eye on the hole. The crab escaped into this hole and I now remain silent and don't move and make the animal believe that I am no longer there and so cause the animal to come out of its hole again. So I keep staring at the entrance of the hole in order not to miss the re-emerging of the animal, of the first movement I can detect, of the moment the first part of the body of the animal moves over the edge of the hole.
Now instead of the animal we watch out for the first thought that we recognize. So we sit there and wait for the first thought to appear.
We can also do several or all these things together. So we can observe our breath, we can observe also our inner vibrations, we can also stare at this spot in front of us and we can wait for the first thought to appear. It is a matter of becoming more conscious and increasing our ability to be conscious of several events at the same time.
It is also a state in which we become highly creative. A state in which we for example can have good or better control over involuntary body functions.
But all this is not really meditation. It is a situation where the world seems to have got out of control and where we want to get centred again. It is a situation where the earth seems to have been removed, where the mountains seem to have been carried into the midst of the sea. It is a situation where we simply get out of worldly worries and back into the presence of the Lord.
Actually it is a situation where we cannot meditate, because the agitation prevents us doing so. Only after we have found again this place of stillness can we meditate again. When we are still again, then we know that we are God.
It is this stillness that is necessary to meditate. Leisure is what gives the scribe the opportunity to acquire wisdom; a man with few business affairs grows wise.
Physiologists talk about the two different hemispheres of the brain and people who are interested in meditation belief that if these two brain hemispheres are in harmony then an ideal situation is reached. In reality it is of course the mind that has to be in harmony, the brain is just the physical organ that is used by the mind, but measurements can be done and brain waves can be detected and therefore it is the brain they speak of. When we bring the state of the mind to be still, to be relaxed, then we move ourselves into a powerful situation. We then have control over the mind and the mind does not control us. No internal dialogue or similar activities are happening. The mind has become our tool and so has the body. It is a situation where the body is more of less totally relaxed but the mind is alert and vigilant. So outwardly such a person looks as if he is very quiet, maybe even asleep, and an observer could come to the conclusion that such a person is far away and not really present and hardly awake. But that is just the external side of such a man; the internal side is quite the opposite: a state of wide-awake vigilance. It is this combination of bodily relaxation - free of stress - and mental attentiveness that is important.
Such a combination leads to the complete normalisation of all bodily systems. It is the ideal situation to let healing take place - bodily healing. And it is also the most effective and simplest of all mental therapies. So go for this if you want to become whole - holy.
But for a person who is whole it is a state in which victory can take place all the time. It is a state where we can easily meditate on the secrets and sayings of the wise. It is the state in which we are strong and courageous.
So we are bodily relaxed and mentally fully present and this state we do not just use for its own sake but to live a full live, a life of growth and victory. And this state we call the presence of the Lord, living in the Now, being led by the spirit.
Now the important side of this state is the mental state, not the physical state. When we have control over our thinking then the state of the body is secondary. We can go about our daily things and move our body but we keep our mind at peace. It simply becomes a way of life - a permanent attitude.
So we have to differentiate between the act of meditating and the act of being still. The act of meditating I do day and night, but the act of being still I do in special situations. My act of being busy meditating includes being still. When I am meditating then I am in a situation where I am centred, where I am on top of the situation, where I am not disturbed, where I am not in need of becoming still. But when I am in need of becoming still then I have a shortcoming and I have to do something about it: I have to become still. I have to change the situation and change from being disturbed and uneasy to being still and relaxed.
When I am meditating then I am conquering the world Ė like Joshua. I am then busy applying Joshua 1:8, "Thou shalt meditate in this book of the law day and night."
And on the other side, when it looks as if the world is conquering me, as if the world is collapsing around me, as if the earth is going to melt, as if the sky is going to come down, then I am applying Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God."
Let us take an example. Normally Joshua meditated upon the word of God day and night. But then something happened: the children of Israel got defeated. They were routed by the men of Ai, who killed about 36 of them (Joshua 7). "They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted and became like water."
And now see what Joshua did in such a situation where his world seemed to collapse: he became still, and knew that God is God.
"Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell face down to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there till evening."
He put his body into a position where it could become still and he put his mind into a position where he could practise the presence of the Lord. The ark of the Lord is the symbol of the presence of the Lord. The ark is right inside of us, we just have to turn to our inside - be still and know that God is God.
And then it says, "remaining there till evening." He did not practice this until the end of his life, just till evening. Why only till evening? Because the Lord said to Joshua, "Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?"
Get up Ė and resume conquering.
What are you conquering? What is the territory you are supposed to conquer? Who are the people you are supposed to fight against?
Your good character traits are supposed to stand up against the bad ones. And that can only happen when you are living a full life Ė a life of activity. It cannot really happen when you are completely withdrawn, when you are spending most of your time "meditating" Ė meditating on nothing specific.
So get up and conquer. How about conquering fear? Are you hesitant to go out of your home because of what might happen to you? Are you hesitant to move to another country because of the completely different culture there?
What about conquering a thing like anger? Are you again and again getting upset and angry when things are not going the way you think they should go and are you then letting other people know you are displeased? Are you quick to open your mouth and complain or to bully or to express your impatience or are you letting people know that you are in a hurry or are an important person?
These are the things we are supposed to conquer and we conquer them by constantly observing what we are doing and because of this distance towards our activities we are able to realize what we are doing and then we can start implementing changes. And something like that is not done in a day or two. There we have to work on it and constantly keep ourselves busy with little improvements and little steps in the right direction.
So there are many territories we have to conquer. Territories like unforgivingness, hate, feeling lonely, sickness, pride, slave mentality, poverty, thinking, addiction, arrogance, all the senses.
There is plenty to conquer. So be strong and courageous and meditate day and night in the words God has given us.
And when you have failed again then simply be still and know that God is God - that he is still on his throne.
And when you then have achieved this Ė became still Ė when you are again cool, calm and collected, when you again know that God is God, then return to do what you do day and night: meditate on the spiritual messages that mankind has received since aeons and is receiving now.
So there is really only one person in the world that can assess what is real and true for you and that is yourself. And writings that you find to be true for you will come from various sources but the really true sources seem to be people who are independent and free from associations and affiliations. If an author belongs to a denomination you have already a serious reason to be sceptical. But also if he has a background of being associated with any kind of organization his views might be limited. At the time of Jesus there existed people who were Pharisees or Sadducees or Zealots, who were a kind of denominational people, but Jesus did not come from such a group of people. He also did not have links with the ruling classes such a priests and scribes and lawyers. He was independent of all of these and free from their influences.
Jesus did not come out of the scribes, but from outside the established system of the religious people and so it is today, the truth does not come from the religionists but from individual people outside all systems.
Ecclesiasticus 37:13-16 reads:
And let the counsel of thine own heart stand:
for there is no man more faithful unto thee than it.
For a manís mind is sometime wont to tell him
more than seven watchmen,
that sit above in an high tower.
And above all this pray to the most High,
that he will direct thy way in truth.
Let reason go before every enterprise,
and counsel before every action.
Jesus seems to have relied mostly on his own counsel and depended on what he heard his father tell him. It is the most reliable source. When our self is connected to the higher self, to God, then we have all we need. This connection will tell us what the truth is and which source to believe.
It is this God in us, our higher self, who will always guide us to the truth.
Our main aim is to seek wisdom and there we seek from old and from new, from ancient sources and from the newest prophecies:
But he that giveth his mind to the law of the most High,
and is occupied in the meditation thereof,
will seek out the wisdom of all the ancient,
and be occupied in prophecies.
He will keep the sayings of the renowned men:
and where subtil parables are,
he will be there also.
He will seek out the secrets of grave sentences,
and be conversant in dark parables.
It is this combination of scripture Ė the wisdom of all the ancient Ė and prophecy Ė the progressive revelation Ė that is the source of life for us.
So remain wary of teachers who come from organizations and all kinds of systems and societies.
Now let us look at another case where the hypocrites Ė hypocrites are people who pretend to have admirable principles, beliefs, or feelings but behave otherwise Ė have taken scriptures away from us.
We had a look at the Didache, a book that is the earliest of all known writings of the early Christian time, earlier than all the books of the New Testament, and how the churchy people did not include it in the canon.
And we also saw that in our more modern times the denominational guys removed 14 books of the King James Bible from the King James Bible but still call it the King James Bible.
So now we will have a look at a book that definitely is a book of the New Testament but you will not find it in the New Testament. A New Testament Book that is not in the New Testament.
Paul was in Rome and wrote two letters to two churches that existed in places that are now part of Turkey. And these two places are quite close to each other: Colosse and Laodicea. They are close to a place called Hierapolis which is called today Pamukkale, which is a popular tourist attraction today with a hot spring that is spilling over spectacular calcium deposits of a hillside.
So Paul, together with Timotheus, wrote two letters, or maybe he, or they, dictated two letters, and send both to Asia Minor, and as messengers Tychicus and Onesimus were used. The last sentence in Colossians reads as follows: "Written from Rome to the Colossians by Tychicus and Onesimus." This is just after the last verse in Colossians, Colossians 4:18. So Tychicus and Onesimus were the writers of these two letters and also the messengers who brought them to Colosse and to Laodicea. We can see this in the verses 7 to 9 of Colossians chapter 4: "All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your heart; with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here."
That these three places, Colosse, Laodicea and Hierapolis are close together can also be seen from Colossians 4:13. It says there: "For I bear him (Epaphras) record, that he hath a great zeal for you (in Colosse), and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis."
Now the important verse in this connection is verse 16 of chapter 4 of Colossians: "And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea."
So here it is quite clearly stated that Paul wrote and sent two letters at the same time. But even more important is that Paul here declares and documents that he wrote a letter to the Laodiceans Ė the epistle from Laodicea.
Now where is this letter Ė this epistle from Laodicea? In the New Testament it should appear right after "The epistle of Paul the apostle to the Colossians."
But there is no such epistle in the New Testament. Why not? "Oh Ė it probably got lost." One could think of plenty of excuses for not having this epistle in the canon. But let me show you the real reason.
In Colossians 4:15 we read, "Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house." Now why would Paul write this to the people in Colosse when he is, at the same time, also writing another letter directly to the people in Laodicea, in Laodicea where Nymphas resides? Nymphas does not reside in Colosse, he is in Laodicea. May be Paul had already a feeling that his epistle to the Laodiceans might be in danger; and that might have been one of the reasons why he mentions Nymphas and why he explicitly mentions his letter to the Laodiceans.
Now remember that there are four places in the Bible where it is stated where the church meets. The church meets in a house. Read "The Meeting Place," a chapter in this series "The Man-Made Church."
These are these four scriptures:
Greet Priscilla and Aquila my (Paul's) helpers in Christ Jesus: Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house (in Rome).
1 Corinthians 16:19:
The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house (in Ephesus).
Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.
Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer, and to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy (Philemon's) house (in Colosse).
So the real church meets in a house, in a normal house of a normal person. But what happened in Laodicea? They, the believers in Laodicea, or rather some of them, started to meet in a special place, in something like a temple. The real church in Laodicea met in the house of Nymphas, and the church nearby, in Colosse, the real church in Colosse, met in the house of Philemon, the Philemon to whom Paulís letter "The Epistle of Paul to Philemon" is addressed.
Laodicea is a scriptural case where the ceremonial church Christianity started. Jesus used quite strong language as he rebukes the church of the Laodiceans. Read Revelation 3:14-22. He has nothing positive to say to them. He says, "I will spue thee out of my mouth."
Paul and Timotheus received word from the Holy Spirit and from their brothers Epaphras and Nymphas that the Laodiceans had lapsed from their faith, had fallen away (Laodiceans 1:4).
The Laodiceans elected themselves a bishop and a clergy, they wanted to make an idol out of Christ, and they fixed themselves a building, and a holy day and adorned robes (Laodiceans 1:5), as it was among the heathen and the Jews (Laodiceans 1:6). Paul says, that they are adversaries of Christ and of his word (Laodiceans 1:17).
Now what the Laodiceans here did is exactly the same what the people did who established the canon. They went back to pagan practices: temples, priests, robes. So you can see already why the people who established the canon did not make this epistle part of the canon, they made it getting lost. They let it fall under the table, because this letter was a harsh criticism of their practices.
Now you have probably wondered how I can quote from a letter to the Loadiceans when such a letter does not exist or got lost. I will come to that later.
In Laodiceans 1:26 Paul accused them that they want back the old circumcision, and ceremonies, and the Sabbath and in verse 27 that they want gold, and a prayer house, and a feast-day, and elaborate robes and in verse 28 that they say there must be a sacrificial ceremony.
And verse 30 Paul again mentions a ceremony, so the Laodiceans really were back into the ceremonies and started the ceremonial church Christianity.
And in Laodiceans 1:33 we find a confirmation that the breaking of bread is not a ceremony. He writes, "As the Lord called me without ceremony, but in my blindness, how could I have ever made a ceremony out of the Communion?"
And in verse 34 that we can only be amused when we watch the ceremonies of the world, and in verse 35 that for us all the world with their ceremonies is a thing of the past and so are temple service and special clothes.
And in verse 36 Paul is still busy pointing out that a new establishment of the ceremony is not part of Christianity. He speaks of the freedom of the spirit, verse 37, and so makes this epistle to the Laodiceans a much more plausible epistle than the epistle to the Galatians, because he brings plenty of examples of what constitutes bondage, in this case ceremonial services.
And in verse 40 he tells us what the abomination that maketh desolate really is. In Daniel 11:31 and 12:11 this abomination that maketh desolate and that is replacing the daily sacrifice, the walking in the spirit, is mentioned; and the Laodiceans want to take away the leading of the spirit and set up again the abomination that maketh desolate. They are polluting the sanctuary of strength, Daniel 11:31, and therefore the presence of the Lord Ė the daily sacrifice they take away. And Paul says that this going back to ceremonies would bring about again this abomination that maketh desolate and of that Daniel had spoken.
In verse 44 Paul writes, "O you blind fools of all foolishness! In Christ you became free Ė and now you want to become again slaves and servants of sin, judgement and death!"
And in verse 53 he points out what really causes them to be like this: they want to be like the world, and that they lust after gold, and reputation and dominance.
And in the last verse of chapter 1, in verse 54, he calls on them to turn around and to let go their self-chosen spirituality, their temple, their feast-day, and their embellished vestments.
And in the second chapter of Laodiceans, starting with verse 9, Paul speaks of a person who walks after unauthorized self election like a humble person but is conceited in his carnal sense which is full of dirt and self-interest and deception and lies and lust for power and miserliness and envy. And such a person is self-appointed as if he were called by the Lord, but that he has the spirit of the devil and that he runs around like a wolf in sheepís clothing who wants to devour the Loadiceans. They should chase him away and turn back to Nymphas, whose house is a right assembly of Christ.
And in verses 17 and 18 Paul says that Nymphas has recognized the wolf and that they should go to Nymphas and become again a church in his house.
The second chapter has 36 verses and the last chapter, the third, has 50 verses. In verses 6 and 7 of the third chapter Paul tells them that they have been pestered by an apostle of Satan and that Jesus had admonished them to watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees and the Priests. And in verse 8 he says, "How blind must you be and how much must you conform to the world that something like this does not strike you at first sight!"
This statement is actually very much applying to our situation today. When one studies the Bible then one can only wonder how blind all the Christians, or the so-called Christians, must be that something like this does not strike them at first sight. The Bible is full of warnings, warning us against the hypocrites, but nobody sees it.
And then in verses 11 and 12 of chapter 3 we read this, "I, Paul, however say to you: Go there and destroy the temple, wipe out the indicated feast-day from the calendar, dismiss the false bishop and his servants, which like the ones in Jerusalem want to stuff themselves with the works of your hands and have built themselves a big brass box, which is supposed to receive your savings of gold and silver, and burn the fancy dresses."
Now this is a very clear statement what one has to do, it goes right into details. Have nothing to do with a church building, a religious holiday, a clergyman. Destroy and wipe out these things from your life.
In verse 43 Paul writes, "I however ask you for Godís sake that you bring worthy fruit of a full about-face from your new paganism into the living church of God, which resides in you, but not in temples and robes and any ceremonies."
So Paul spends the whole letter in urging the Laodiceans to turn away from their new paganism. And then he comes to the end of the letter:
In verse 48 we find the instruction that corresponds with Colossians 4:16. We read there, "But when the Colossians have read their letter then you also read it, as I ask you for the Lordís sake, that you just let the Colossians also read this letter!"
In verse 49 this admonition is continued, "Because they need it as much as you do! Finally however I admonish you here in writing Ė as Tychicus will announce to you all this also verbally Ė that his letter shall be read in all assemblies, as the one to the Colossians."
Now this canít be done, because the guys who closed the canon took the letter to the Laodiceans away and it canít therefore be read in all assemblies.
These guys have one day to stand up for this.
The letter to the Laodiceans is considered to be lost Ė despite keen research, keen research because this letter is so directly mentioned in Colossians but is not in the New Testament.
And the letter to the Laodiceans comes to a close with verse 50 of chapter 3 and with a closing remark:
"My greetings with my own hand: Remember my love! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!
Written at Rome by Tychicus and his companion Onesimus, who both are sent to you and are sent to the Colossians."
So this information shows us that Paul dictated this letter and that he only wrote the greetings himself, that it was written in Rome, that Tychicus and Onesimus were the two who actually did the scribing, and that the two letters, the one to the Colossians and the one to the Laodiceans, were written and sent together.
Now when all the scholars consider the letter to the Laodiceans being lost how does it come that I quote from this letter extensively?
We have seen in another discussion in the series "The Man-Made Church" Ė in the chapter called "Book of Life" - that information canít really get lost. So the guys who "lost" the epistle to the Laodiceans made a mistake, they will be found out, everything will come to light, no information will ever get lost.
A crucial ministry to the people of the church of God is the ministry of prophecy. The ministry of prophecy guarantees the continuity of revelation of Godís will: "to change the dogmatic status quo through direct, personal revelation". For the last two-thousand years there does not seem to have been such a ministry. But that is only so because of the systematic persecution that the hypocrites have exercised. Only recently was it possible to survive as a prophet. And the same applies to the prophetís work: prophetic utterances.
In Acts 13:1 we read, "Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the Tetrarch, and Saul." That was in the first century.
In the nineteenth century there were in Austria certain prophets and teachers. And one of them was Jakob Lorber. He prophesied for quite a long time, from 1840 till 1864: for 24 years. He was born 1800 and he died 1864. In the year 1844 he wrote down Paulís letter to the church at Laodicea. He had access to the Book of Life. So this letter is available since quite some time, since 1844. The theologians will ignore it, as they have abolished prophecy; it no longer exists Ė for them. So they will not even look at it. They will simply ignore it and in doing so they prove to any spiritual person that they are utterly worldly. This letter is available on the internet for everyone to read Ė for free: Paulusí Brief an die Gemeinde in Laodizea (Paulís letter to the assembly at Laodicea).
Jakob Lorber wrote in German. So the letter to the Laodiceans exists now in German. It is not extant in Hebrew, or in Greek, or in Latin, or in Aramaic, or in Coptic. It exists in German. It is a German from the nineteenth century and it is so new that a German from the twenty-first century will have hardly any problems to understand it. So there are no problems arising from translations as we have them with texts that are ancient - at least not for a German person. The original letter that Paul wrote might have been written in Greek, or as some claim in Aramaic. So now we have an epistle from the New Testament whose original language seems to be German. At least one could say that this German version of the letter is the best translation of the letter into German that one could wish to have. It was translated by heavenly beings.
Now let us have an overview of some aspects that the New Testament reveals to us about the establishment of the man-made church. In Laodiceans we have information that mainly concerns ceremony. About 150 km west of Laodicea we have Ephesus, also now in Turkey, close to the sea. There we have the place where Paul prophesied about the ravenous wolves. And again west, about 400 km west of Ephesus, we have Corinth in Greece. All three places lie on a more or less straight theoretical line in east west direction, just south of the 38th parallel.
In Corinth we had the problem that the believers started to follow men. There one of them said, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos, and a third said, I am of Cephas: 1 Corinthians 1:12 and 3:4. There were contentions among them. There were divisions. Today we have the same in the denominations. They say they are of Luther, of Calvin, of Wesley, or they are part of denominations that were established by men who wanted their own following and therefore they are basically following these men. So the problem arose from the members; it actually just invited men to become wolves and to become their leaders. And from the first letter of Clement to the Corinthians, which he wrote from Rome and therefore from the Roman church and therefore from a positions of an office that was or that was to become the office of a pope, we can conclude that the Christians at Corinth had followed Paulís admonition and got rid of the bishops and clergy and Clementís letter complains about this and protests against it and he tries with his letter to fight against this development. So this was what happened at Corinth.
In Ephesus the situation was as we find it in Acts 20:29-31 where we have the prophecy of Paul about the grievous wolves and how they will arise from among the elders of Ephesus to draw away disciples after them. We seem to have a confirmation that this actually happened in the third letter of John where he describes Diotrephes to be such a wolf because we can assume that John was an elder in the church in Ephesus and that he wrote to the church in which he was an elder. So the problem in Ephesus was that the wolf came out of the eldership of that church - that Diotrephes was an elder there, probably even ordained by Paul himself and probably even present when Paul prophesied. May be Paul even knew while he was prophesying that Diotrephes would do this. An elder who came out of a real church and who became an elder the scriptural way turned around and became a wolf.
In Laodicea the main problem was the return to ceremonies.
One canít really think of a clearer statement of what the man-made church is all about than this letter of Paul to the church that is at Laodicea. And all these statements in this letter to the Laodiceans agree in their spiritual content completely with the rest of the New Testament.
The guys of the canon fought this letter so successfully that nothing remained of it. No trace could be found. But they were no match for the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, and a man turned towards it, brought it back from the Book of Life and it is with us now to read and to meditate upon it.
But in all three cases, in Corinth, in Ephesus and in Laodicea, the development was that certain people used the situation and took over. They became leaders and they drove out the Holy Spirit and replaced the guidance of the spirit with their lust for power.
And then they closed the canon and they closed the door to continuous revelation - they did away with prophecy. They took away all the material that emerged during the last two-thousand years upon which we were supposed to meditate.
For the sake of completeness I want to mention the existence of a letter to the Laodiceans that is known since the early times of Christianity but todayís theologians consider it to be not kosher. It comprises about 20 verses. So it is quite a short letter. Compared to Jakob Lorberís work, which has 140 verses, it is much shorter and this outwardly difference could be used to easily identify the two letters and to differentiate between them.
About this shorter letter one can find comments in the literature. Montague Rhodes James describes it in his "The Apocryphal New Testament" as being wholly uninteresting and as merely written to justify or explain Paulís mention of the letter from Laodicea in his letter to the Colossians. It is not easy to imagine a more feebly constructed cento of Pauline phrases, he writes. Now a cento is a literary work made up of parts from other works. Wilhelm Schneemelcher in his "Neutestamentliche Apokryphen" (New Testament Apocrypha) thinks that if one considers this small work then one is surprised that it even got into some Bibles and that there is no doubt that Colossians 4:16 is the occasion for this forgery and that Paul refers to his letter to Laodicea, but it did not get into the group of his letters and that the remedy for this shortcoming was supposed to be this piece of hack writing of an unknown person who had Bible knowledge but was not really theologically trained. He also states that the theologians were for a long time to a large extent of the opinion that the letter to the Laodiceans was a colourless and a dull arrangement of sentences from Paul. One would give too much honour to the author of this poor and pieced together miserable effort when one measures him by the yardstick of antique literary habit. It is a clumsy fake for the purpose to have the letter to the Laodiceans in the body of Paulís letters, he thinks.
Now my opinion is that the theologians of that time were very aware of the fact that the real thing, Paulís real letter to the church in Laodicea, was removed by them and wiped out and now they had the problem that the people asked about it and so they tried to give them something to keep them quiet and forged a piece of scripture. And the result was this short piece of fake scripture.
They simply replaced the genuine on with a forged one.
I would not be surprised at all if this real letter of Paul to the Laodiceans, the one that comes to us from Jakob Lorber, was not the only letter they suppressed. What about for example of a third letter to the Corinthians? Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 5:9, "I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators." That indicates quite strongly that there was a letter before 1 Corinthians and that 1 Corinthians should be rather 2 Corinthians. If you read 2 Corinthians 10:9 and the verses that follow then you get the impression that Paul wrote more than just 2 letters to the Corinthians: "That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters. For his letters, they say, are weighty and powerful." So this seems to also indicate that there was not just one letter before 2 Corinthians simply because Paul speaks of letters (plural).
Such other letter or letters to the Corinthians were probably as explicit in the detailing of the churchy peopleís paganism as the Laodicean letter was and were therefore thrown away and moved out of the way as well.
So if you are investigating the letter of Paul to the Laodiceans you will come across this forgery and you will also come across the work of Jakob Lorber. Read both and you will know a lot more.
The theologians and scholars will mock Jakob Lorberís work. But it will only proof that they are hypocrites because a real theologian is a person who has knowledge of God. And that is exactly what they donít have. If they would have studied God and knew him then they would not do what they are doing. They would not belong to denominations, they would not use titles, they would not build church buildings and they would not work for money. A person who really knows about God and knows God is led by his spirit and would recognize his word and not scoff at it.
I want to give you an example. The German Wikipedia writes the following paragraph in their article "Laodizenerbrief:"
"Jakob Lorber's Letter to the Laodiceans. In 1844 the self-proclaimed mystic Jakob Lorber (1800-1864) published the writing "The Letter to Laodicea by the Apostle Paul", which he claims to have received as a revelation. This writing has nothing to do with the apocryphal Letter to Laodicea of the Vulgate."
The writer of this article scoffs at Jakob Lorber and his work. He calls Jakob Lorber a self-proclaimed mystic, his first derision. His second mockery is his statement that Jakob Lorber claims to have received a revelation. In this article of the German Wikipedia we have a writer who pretends to know something about spiritual works but in reality denigrates a really spiritual work and gives much space to the Vulgate Letter to the Laodiceans which is a miserable effort.
A person led by the spirit, a real theologian, would recognize a spiritual work; and he would use as a tool of measurement his spiritual capacities. A false theologian will only then accept a work when an ancient physical manuscript in the Greek or in another ancient language exists.
This is the main aspect of the difference between spiritual people and carnal people. Carnal people will always be drawn to the material side of life and they will also always look to find the approval of men. And this difference is very nicely described by Paul in his real letter to the church that is at Laodicea. Paul uses his letter to bring out the spiritual reasons why people go back to pagan practices. He says that the Laodiceans have gone back to man-made rules and that a temple is such a man-made rule, a dead work of the hand of man. And he says that these carnal people are doing secret busyness with the pagans and do their utmost to just not spoil their secret friendship with them.
The whole religiosity of so-called Christianity is a pagan outfit. They suppressed the letter to the Laodiceans and probably other letters as well, they suppressed the Didache, they are taking books out of the Bible now and act as if the Bible is complete. I would not be surprised if we find out that they had done away with much more important documents, that they have destroyed documents that much more clearly point out to us the difference between a life with Christ and their life of paganism Ė their life dedicated to anti-Christ.
What are the most important aspects of our discussion?
We do not have to "meditate" as we are told by numerous sources and spend years and decades, maybe in some lonely place, and live like a hermit.
An "enlightened" life is achieved by simply gaining understanding through the knowledge of the universal laws and their application in the things of the daily life.
Gaining this understanding is the main activity we undertake.
And while we are gaining this understanding we become very much aware of the forces of light and also of the forces that want to keep us in darkness and want to keep us away from that that brings us life and want to suppress life-giving information.
We meditate on the unchanging eternal spiritual laws and we do this day and night.
And the secret of gaining control over one's mind is not trying to stop thinking, but trying, very sincerely, to stop thinking the wrong stuff and to start thinking the right thoughts.
This is the end of "Meditation"
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