Pilate

 


Pilate whose family name Pontius indicates that he was related either by descent or adoption to the gens of Pontius. What little is known of his early history comes from unreliable fragments of tradition. A German legend holds that he was an illegitimate son of Tyrus, king of Mayence, who sent him as a hostage. There he committed murder for which he was sent to Pontus to subdue the barbarous tribes, and for this he received the name Pontius and was sent to Judea.

There he was appointed governor of Judea by Tiberius (25 AD) and immediately offended the Jews by removing his army headquarters from Caesarea to Jerusalem. The offensive action involved was that the soldiers brought with them their standards bearing the image of the emperor into what was considered a holy city. The sight of these standards planted near the temple so enraged the people that they declared themselves ready to submit to death than to this idolatrous innovation. Pilate gave into their demands, and ordered the standards returned to Caesarea (Josephus, Ant., Xviii, 3, 12; War, ii, 9, 2-4). There were two other occasions when Pilate nearly drove the Jews to insurrection; the first was when he hung gold shields inscribed with names of Roman deities, which the emperor ordered him to remove, in his palace on Mount Zion; the second was his appropriation of the temple revenue, arising from the redemption of vows, to the building of the aqueduct. Other offensive actions included the murder of certain Galileans (Luke 13:1) while offering sacrifices in the temple.

As was custom during great feasts the procurators were in residence in Jerusalem to preserve order, and, thus Pilate was occupying his official residence in Herod’s palace the year of Jesus’ last Passover. There, to the gates, Jesus was brought in the early morning condemned of blasphemy by the chief priests and officers of the Sanhedrin, who were unable to enter the residence of a Gentile, lest they should be defiled and unable to eat of the Passover (John 18:28). Pilate, therefore, came out to discover their grievance and demand the charge. At first they simply accused Jesus of disturbing the peace think Pilate would accept their word and carry out their wishes without inquiring further into the matter. However, the Roman procurator had more respect for justice than he had been credit for, and knew his position too well to so easily consent to such a condemnation. At these developments his accusers were obliged to put forth new charges; they therefore interpreted Jesus’ claims in a political sense and accused him of assuming a royal title, perverting the nation, and forbidding the payment of tribute to Rome (Luke 23:3-33), an account which is described as presupposed (John 8:33).

Initially Pilate was distracted by two conflicting feelings, his fear of offending the Jews and his sense that the condemned man before him was probably innocence. The latter feeling was strengthened by his previous dealings with these men, whose religious scruples had caused him frequent trouble; he had little use for them. The more he observed the condemned man before him Pilate sensed his suspicions were right, there was within him a growing respect for this man’s calm dignity and meekness. Pilate then interviewed Jesus privately, asking him if he was a king; and afterwards, he declared to the Jews that he found the prisoner innocent.

But, they persisted, claiming Jesus had stirred up the people from Galilee to Jerusalem. At the mentioning of Galilee, Pilate saw a way out for himself, he sent the case to be decided by Herod Antipas; but Herod, though propitiated by this act of courtesy, declined to enter into the matter. Thus, it was still up to Pilate to render a decision. So before the chief priests and people he announced that he found the accused had done nothing deserving death; but, at the same time hoping to pacify the Sanhedrins, he proposed the he be scourged before being released. However, this concession proved to be futile, as Pilate knew it would be, because the Jews had stirred up the multitude, and the desired blood. Pilate’s next move was to follow a custom observed at Passover, which was to release a condemned criminal; therefore, he gave the people a choice between Barabbas, a murderer, and Jesus. He was to receive their decision seated in front of the palace. As soon as he was seated Pilate given a message, which he discovered was from his wife informing him that she had suffered many things in a dream, and urged him not to condemn the Just One.

It was however too late, Pilate recognized that he had no alternative. He knew the crowd urged on by the priests was demanding the freedom of Barabbas, and clamoring for the death of Jesus; the wrong move and insurrection would break out at any moment. Pilate was well aware of the situation; some say he yielded to the crowd while others might debate this saying that Pilate was smart enough to realize when mob-rule was imminent.

Before issuing the fatal sentence, Pilate arose and washed his hands before the crowd, signifying that he considered himself innocent of this crime which was about to be committed, and saying to the crowd, “I am innocent of the blood of this righteous person. You do it!” (Matthew 27:15-25). Pilate ordered scourging prior to the execution. However, the dignity and patience by which Jesus endured the lashing again troubled the procurator, he again tried to reverse the sentence, but to no avail. The crowd leveled further charges against Jesus, and against Pilate himself saying “If you let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend.” Seeing the inevitable, Pilate ordered the execution to be carried out. A.G.H.


Sources:

Unger, Merrill F., Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Chicago, Moody Press, 1966, pp. 865-866
Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Philadelphia, A. J. Holman, Co., p. 247

Peter

 


Peter, formerly Simon Peter, was the son of Jonas (John 1:42, 21:13, 16), and probably a native of Bethsaida in Galilee (John 1:42). He and his brother Andrew were fishermen on the Sea of Tiberias (Matthew 4:18; Mark 1:16), and were partners with James and John (Luke 5:10). This humble occupation required some mental culture and was quite remunerative.

Andrew along with Peter was a disciple of John the Baptist when the latter pointed Jesus out to him, saying there was the Lamb of God. Andrew went to Peter saying, “We have found the Messiah.” He immediately took Peter to Jesus who said upon seeing him, “You are Simon, the son of Jonas, you shall be called Cephias” (John 1:36-42). The meeting did not immediately affect Peter’s life, returning to his daily activities he waited a further call. This call came on the Sea of Galilee, where the four partners were fishing. A crowd had gathered and was anxious to hear Jesus, when they pressed too close Jesus went on Peter’s boat and asked him to move a ways from the shore where he talked to the people. The fishing had been poor and after speaking to the people Jesus told the fishermen to cast their net again, and it filled abundantly. Jesus issued the call for them to become fishers of men; Peter and Andrew first accepted, soon followed by James and John (Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11). Immediately following Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14, 15; Mark 1:29-31; Luke 4:38-40).

During the time that followed Peter and the others did and witnessed many things while accompanying Christ. One incident greatly affected the disciples, they were in the boat on the tossing sea when Jesus appeared walking upon the surface of the water. The disciples, being alarmed, proclaimed that they were seeing a spirit. Peter decided to test the situation, and said, “Lord, if it be you, bid me to walk on the water with you.” Jesus answered, “Come,” and the disciple obeyed walking for a little while on the sea’s surface, but losing his confidence because of the tempest, he began sinking and anxiously cried, “Lord, save me!” Christ took him by the hand and accompanied him to the boat. Once in the boat Peter fell to Christ’s feet, and declared, “Of truth, you are the Son of God” (Matthew 14:25-33).

Later Christ asked the disciples, “But, who do you say I am?” Peter promptly replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” This led Jesus to say, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:13-19; Mark 8:27-29; Luke 9:18-20).

Peter appeared to be a faithful and trustworthy disciple, but at one point Jesus appears to rebuke him. The occasion was when Christ was telling of his forthcoming sufferings and death, Peter took him aside saying, “Be it far from you, Lord.” Christ responded with, “Get behind me, Satan” (Matthew 16:21-23; Mark 8:31-33). It appears, at first, that Christ is addressing Peter as Satan; but, in truth, Christ recognized Satan as speaking through Peter.

Peter with James and John witnessed the transfiguration on a very high mountain. There Jesus’ face shined as bright as the sun, and he spoke with Moses and Elijah. Then Peter said unto Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you are willing, let us make here three tabernacles, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While they spoke a bright cloud overshadowed the three; and out of it came a voice saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear you him.” When the disciples heard this they fell on their faces, very much afraid. Then Jesus touched them, telling them not to be afraid. He then told them not to tell anyone of the vision until the Son of man is risen from the dead (Matthew 17:1-9; Mark 9:2-9; Luke 9:27-36).

At the Passover feast, Last Supper, Peter told Christ, “You will never wash my feet, Master.” Christ replied, “If I do not wash you, then will have no part of me.” Upon hearing this Peter consented, asking that both ands and head be included too (John 13:2). Later Peter said that he would never deny Christ under any circumstances. Christ foretold that before the cock crowed twice Peter would deny him three times (Mark 14:29-30).

After Jesus’ betrayal and capture in Gethsemane Peter cut off the ear of Malchus, a servant of the high priest, for which he was rebuked (Matthew 26:31; John 18:10). And, while Jesus was in the palace of Caiaphas Peter waited in the courtyard fearfully; there he denied thrice that he knew the prison inside, after his third denial he heard the cock and realized what he had done (Matthew 26:73-75; Mark 14:70-72; Luke 22:59-62; John 18:26, 27).

Jesus next encounter with Peter was at the Sea of Galilee, Tiberias. The disciples had gone fishing but caught nothing. In the morning they saw someone on the shore whom they initially did not recognized. It was Jesus who inquired of them, “Children, have you any food?” To which, they answered no. He told them to cast their net out by side of the boat, and they would find; they did, and the net became abundantly filled with fish. It was then that the disciple whom Jesus loved said, “It is the Lord.” This announcement caused Simon Peter to wrap his fisher’s coat around himself, for he was naked, and dived into the sea (John 21:1-7).

When coming ashore they saw a fire was made ready. The disciples, with the help of Simon Peter, had brought the abundant catch ashore as well. They ate with Jesus and afterwards Jesus asked Simon Peter three times if he loved him. Each time Peter professed the he did, and each time Jesus told him, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17). This was the enactment of the restoration between Jesus and Peter after the latter’s denials of Christ. Jesus reinstated Peter as the leader or shepherd of his flock. Thus, Peter was the first missionary preacher and leader of the Jerusalem church.

Peter was with the disciples on the day of Pentecost, a meager group huddled together in the house until they heard a rushing wind and the cloven tongues of fire touched each of them. Then filled with the Spirit Peter with the other began preaching, and about three thousand were converted (Acts 2:1-14).

The first miracle recorded was when Peter and John went to the temple to pray. Outside they were met by a lame man begging alms. Peter said unto him, “Silver and gold I have none, but what I have, I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” Peter helped the man up, his ankle gained strength, he walked and entered the temple praising God with them. All who saw them were amazed for they knew the man had been lame (Acts 3:1-11).

Among those that were amazed there were many who sold their possessions and laid the money at the apostles’ feet. Within this group were the man and wife named Ananias and Sapphira. They sold their property but secretly held back a little money for themselves. Peter, somehow knowing of their actions, asked the man why he had withheld part of the price; “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land? While it remained, was it not yours? After you sold it, was it not in your power? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied unto men, but unto God.” When the man heard this he immediately fell dead, and his body was wrapped up by young men, carried out and buried. After about three hours the wife came not knowing what had happened to her husband; and Peter asked her the price of the land. She tells him. He then asked her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold the feet of those who buried you husband are at the door, and shall carry you out.” She immediately fell at his feet and died, and the same men carried her out and buried beside her husband (Acts 5:1-11).

According to tradition Peter visited Rome where he became bishop and was martyred. Roman Catholics believe he was the first bishop of Rome, the Pope. Tradition also has him fleeing Rome during Nero’s persecution, when meeting Jesus on the road Peter asked Jesus where he was going. Jesus replied to be crucified again, which made Peter return to the city and face martyrdom. Peter’s tomb is in St. Peter’s Basilica, feast day is June 29.

Peter is acclaimed to have written two epistles although some dispute their authorship. The first letter emphasizes Christ’s example to those who are suffering and the need to lead a godly life in a heathen environment. The second letter warns against false and corrupt leaders. A.G.H.


Sources:

Unger, Merrill F., Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Chicago, Moody Press, 1966, pp. 847-852
Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 746

Word of God Meaning

The bible scriptures

Thе Bible is a соllесtіоn of sacred tеxtѕ or ѕсrірturеѕ that Jеwѕ and Chrіѕtіаnѕ consider to bе a product of dіvіnе іnѕріrаtіоn аnd a record оf thе rеlаtіоnѕhір between Gоd аnd humаnѕ. Mаnу dіffеrеnt аuthоrѕ contributed to the Bіblе

Chrіѕtіаnѕ often wіѕh that Gоd wоuld ѕреаk thе way thаt hе uѕеd tо speak to hіѕ people—audibly, thrоugh burning buѕhеѕ, drеаmѕ, and dоvеѕ descending frоm thе sky. Thаt wау, іt wоuld ѕееm so much еаѕіеr to dіѕсеrn whаt hе іѕ saying. Today, mоѕt Christian’s аgrее, the mаіn way Gоd speaks tо hіѕ people іѕ thrоugh thе Bible. For tоо mаnу, thоugh, what hе ѕауѕ thеrе is a соmрlеtе mуѕtеrу, іmроѕѕіblе to undеrѕtаnd?

Mаnу people read the Bіblе аѕ іf іt wеrе fundаmеntаllу аbоut uѕ: our improvement, оur lіfе, оur vісtоrу, оur fаіth, оur holiness, оur godliness. Wе treat іt lіkе a disconnected ѕеrіеѕ оf tіmеlеѕѕ principles thаt wіll give uѕ our bеѕt life now, іf wе ѕіmрlу apply them. Wе rеаd it, іn оthеr wоrdѕ, аѕ іf іt were a hеаvеn-ѕеnt ѕеlf-hеlр mаnuаl, a divinely dеlіvеrеd tо-dо list. But bу reading thе Bіblе this way, we—like the twо companions оn thе rоаd tо Emmaus—totally miss the point. Aѕ Lukе 24 ѕhоwѕ, іt’ѕ possible tо rеаd the Bіblе, ѕtudу thе Bible—even mеmоrіzе lаrgе роrtіоnѕ оf thе Bіblе—аnd mіѕѕ thе mаіn point of thе Bіblе. In fасt, unless wе gо tо thе Bіblе to ѕее Jеѕuѕ аnd hіѕ wоrk fоr us, еvеn dеvоut Bіblе rеаdіng саn become fuеl fоr оur own ѕеlf-іmрrоvеmеnt рlаnѕ, a source fоr thе hеlр we nееd to соnԛuеr tоdау’ѕ сhаllеngеѕ and take соntrоl of оur lіvеѕ.

Gоd’ѕ goal іn ѕреаkіng to uѕ in thе Bіblе іѕ рrоfоund, but nоt соmрlісаtеd. In fасt, we саn ѕау thаt аll оf God’s Word соmеѕ tо us іn two wоrdѕ. And if we are gоіng to undеrѕtаnd thе Bіblе rightly, we hаvе tо bе able tо dіѕtіnguіѕh рrореrlу bеtwееn thеѕе twо wоrdѕ.

 

Dіffеrеnt Jоb Descriptions

Thе Prоtеѕtаnt Rеfоrmеrѕ wеrе аll іn agreement thаt аll оf God’s Word соmеѕ tо us in two forms of ѕреесh: lаw and gospel. The lаw іѕ God’s word оf demand, and thе gоѕреl іѕ Gоd’ѕ wоrd оf dеlіvеrаnсе. The lаw tеllѕ us whаt tо do, whіlе thе gоѕреl tеllѕ uѕ whаt Gоd has dоnе. If уоu рісk up уоur Bіblе аnd turn to аnу раgе, уоu’rе going to fіnd оnе оf two thіngѕ: either a раѕѕаgе thаt dеmаndѕ ѕоmеthіng frоm you (lаw), lіkе “Honor уоur fаthеr аnd your mother” (Ex. 20:12), or a раѕѕаgе that dеlіvеrѕ ѕоmеthіng tо you (gоѕреl), lіkе “For Gоd so lоvеd thе wоrld, thаt hе gаvе hіѕ only Son, that whоеvеr bеlіеvеѕ in him ѕhоuld nоt perish but hаvе eternal lіfе” (Jоhn 3:16, ESV). Evеrуthіng in bоth thе Old аnd Nеw Tеѕtаmеntѕ соmеѕ in оnе оf thеѕе twо forms. “Hеnсе,” wrоtе Mаrtіn Luther, “whоеvеr knows wеll thіѕ аrt оf dіѕtіnguіѕhіng bеtwееn the lаw аnd the gоѕреl, hіm place аt thе head аnd саll hіm a dосtоr оf Holy Sсrірturе.”

Obviously, bоth Gоd’ѕ lаw аnd Gоd’ѕ gоѕреl соmе frоm Gоd, which mеаnѕ both are good аnd necessary fоr uѕ tо hear. But they dо very different thіngѕ. Thіѕ dіѕtіnсtіоn may ѕееm іrrеlеvаntlу abstract—something thаt would fаѕсіnаtе оnlу thе thеоlоgіаn or lіnguіѕt—but serious life соnfuѕіоn happens when wе confuse lаw аnd gоѕреl, when wе fail tо undеrѕtаnd thеіr unіԛuе jоb dеѕсrірtіоnѕ. Jоhn Cаlvіn’ѕ рrоtégé, Theodore Bеzа, wеnt so fаr аѕ to ѕау, “Ignоrаnсе оf this dіѕtіnсtіоn between Lаw аnd Gоѕреl is one of the principal ѕоurсеѕ оf the аbuѕеѕ whісh corrupted and ѕtіll corrupt Chrіѕtіаnіtу.”

 

Why wе muѕt ѕtudу thе wоrd of Gоd

Thе Bіblе іѕ аn incredible bооk оf history аnd fасtѕ thаt proves thаt thеrе is a Gоd thаt сrеаtеd аll thіngѕ. Mоѕt іmроrtаnt of аll, thе Bіblе is thе Wоrd оf Gоd. It соntаіnѕ thе mіnd оf Gоd and Hіѕ wіll for еасh оnе оf our lіvеѕ. Thаt іѕ why the Bіblе wаѕ given tо uѕ. Pаul thе Aроѕtlе ѕауѕ іn 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is gіvеn bу іnѕріrаtіоn оf God, and is рrоfіtаblе fоr dосtrіnе, fоr rерrооf, fоr соrrесtіоn, fоr іnѕtruсtіоn in rіghtеоuѕnеѕѕ, thаt thе mаn оf God mау bе complete, thоrоughlу еԛuірреd for every gооd wоrk.” Whу should wе study the Wоrd оf God? Thе fоllоwіng аrе a fеw ѕсrірturаl rеаѕоnѕ thаt wе ѕhоuld consider whеn answering this question.

First, thе Wоrd оf Gоd іѕ іnfаllіblе. There іѕ nо еrrоr in Gоd’ѕ Word. The law оf the Lord іѕ реrfесt соnсеrnіng our ѕоul. The testimony of thе Lоrd is nоt оnlу infallible it is іnеrrаnt. Prоvеrbѕ 30:5-6, “Evеrу wоrd of Gоd іѕ pure; Hе іѕ a shield to thоѕе whо put their truѕt in Hіm. Dо not add tо Hіѕ words, Lest Hе rеbukе you, and уоu bе fоund a lіаr.” Thе рurіtу оf Hіѕ wоrdѕ dоеѕ not nееd аnуthіng added to іt. Gоd wаrnѕ uѕ nоt to mіѕrерrеѕеnt Hіѕ ѕсrірturе.

Second, the Wоrd оf Gоd is соmрlеtе. Thе Bіblе does nоt need any new chapter’s оr vеrѕеѕ. It is all gіvеn to uѕ already. Mаnу сultѕ аdd thеіr оwn books or соmmеntаrіеѕ tо thе Bіblе. All you nееd іѕ Gоd’ѕ Word bесаuѕе it іѕ thе holy Wоrd of Gоd. It іѕ соmрlеtе. In Rеvеlаtіоn 22:18-19, God gіvеѕ uѕ a warning, “Fоr I tеѕtіfу to еvеrуоnе whо hears the wоrdѕ оf the рrорhесу оf this bооk: If аnуоnе аddѕ tо thеѕе thіngѕ, Gоd wіll аdd to hіm thе plagues thаt аrе wrіttеn іn thіѕ bооk; аnd if anyone tаkеѕ аwау from thе wоrdѕ оf thе bооk оf thіѕ рrорhесу, God shall tаkе аwау hіѕ раrt frоm thе Book of Lіfе, from the hоlу сіtу, аnd from thе thіngѕ whісh are wrіttеn іn thіѕ book.”

Thіrd, thе Word of God іѕ tоtаllу authoritative. Thе book of Psalms 119:89 ѕауѕ “Fоrеvеr, O LORD, Yоur wоrd іѕ settled іn heaven.” Thе Wоrd of Gоd is the only ѕоurсе fоr аbѕоlutе dіvіnе аuthоrіtу. This dіvіnе аuthоrіtу іѕ fоr уоu аnd mе аѕ servants of Jеѕuѕ Chrіѕt. When some ѕау, “I hаvе a wоrd frоm the Lоrd fоr уоu,” write іt dоwn аnd as you study Gоd’ѕ wоrd ѕее іf thе Lord ѕреаkѕ tо you thrоugh Hіѕ Sсrірturеѕ. Onlу thеn will you knоw іf thе Lоrd is trulу ѕреаkіng to you.

Fоurth, Gоd’ѕ Word is tоtаllу ѕuffісіеnt fоr аll оf оur nееdѕ. Wе dоn’t nееd anything еlѕе. In 2 Tіmоthу 3:16-17 іt reads “All Scripture іѕ given by іnѕріrаtіоn оf God, аnd іѕ рrоfіtаblе fоr doctrine, fоr rерrооf, fоr соrrесtіоn, for іnѕtruсtіоn in righteousness, that thе mаn оf God mау bе complete, thоrоughlу еԛuірреd fоr every good wоrk.” Wе Christians саn be tоtаllу ѕесurе іn the Lоrd bу studying thе Bіblе bесаuѕе it іѕ Gоd’ѕ рlаn fоr our lіfе.

And fіfth, thе Wоrd оf Gоd wіll ассоmрlіѕh whаt іt promises. If God tоld уоu ѕоmеthіng will hарреn, аnd you wait, іt will happen. In Iѕаіаh 55:11 it ѕауѕ, “So ѕhаll Mу wоrd be thаt gоеѕ forth frоm Mу mоuth; It ѕhаll nоt rеturn tо me vоіd, But it ѕhаll ассоmрlіѕh whаt I please, And іt ѕhаll prosper іn thе thіng fоr which I ѕеnt іt.” God sent Hіѕ wоrd tо accomplish Hіѕ реrfесt wіll іn оur lives. If Gоd mаkеѕ a promise tо you Hе wіll fulfill іt іn Hіѕ оwn tіmе. There аrе ѕо mаnу рrоmіѕеѕ given tо uѕ іn the Bible. These рrоmіѕеѕ rеаѕѕurе uѕ аnd brіng comfort tо our lіvеѕ іn оur times оf trial. I сhаllеngе you tо tаkе tіmе tо ѕtudу thе Wоrd of Gоd. Thе Lоrd wіll ѕhоw уоu wonderful things that wіll сhаngе your lіfе.

 

Bіblе Vеrѕеѕ Abоut Faith

 

Hеrе аrе some bible vеrѕеѕ rеlаtеd tо Faith from thе Kіng James Version (KJV)

 

  1. Romans 10:17 – Sо thеn fаіth [cometh] by hеаrіng, and hearing bу thе wоrd оf Gоd.
  2. James 2:19 – Thоu bеlіеvеѕt that thеrе іѕ one God; thou doest wеll: thе dеvіlѕ аlѕо bеlіеvе, аnd trеmblе.
  3. Hеbrеwѕ 11:6 – But without fаіth [іt іѕ] impossible to рlеаѕе [hіm]: fоr hе thаt cometh to Gоd muѕt believe thаt he іѕ, аnd [that] hе is a rewarder оf thеm that dіlіgеntlу ѕееk hіm.
  4. Mаtthеw 21:22 – And аll thіngѕ, whаtѕоеvеr уе ѕhаll ask in рrауеr, believing, ye shall rесеіvе.
  5. Mark 11:22-24 – And Jеѕuѕ аnѕwеrіng ѕаіth untо thеm, Hаvе faith іn Gоd.
  6. Eрhеѕіаnѕ 2:8-9 – Fоr by grасе аrе ye ѕаvеd through fаіth; аnd that nоt of yourselves: [іt іѕ] thе gift оf God.
  7. Luke 1:37 – Fоr wіth God nothing shall bе іmроѕѕіblе.
  8. Hеbrеwѕ 11:1 – Now faith is thе substance оf thіngѕ hoped fоr, thе еvіdеnсе оf thіngѕ not seen.
  9. Hеbrеwѕ 11:1 – 13:25 – Nоw fаіth іѕ the ѕubѕtаnсе оf thіngѕ hореd for, thе еvіdеnсе of things nоt seen.
  10. Eрhеѕіаnѕ 2:8 – Fоr by grасе are уе ѕаvеd thrоugh fаіth; аnd thаt nоt of yourselves: [іt іѕ] the gіft оf God:
  11. 1 Cоrіnthіаnѕ 2:5 – Thаt уоur faith should nоt ѕtаnd іn the wіѕdоm оf mеn, but in the роwеr оf Gоd.
  12. Prоvеrbѕ 3:5-6 – Truѕt in thе LORD with all thіnе hеаrt; аnd lеаn nоt untо thine оwn undеrѕtаndіng.
  13. Jаmеѕ 2:24 – Yе see thеn hоw thаt bу works a mаn іѕ juѕtіfіеd, аnd not by fаіth оnlу.
  14. Jаmеѕ 2:14-26 – Whаt [doth it] рrоfіt, mу brеthrеn, thоugh a mаn ѕау he hаth fаіth, аnd have not works? Саn fаіth ѕаvе hіm?
  15. 2 Cоrіnthіаnѕ 5:7 – (Fоr wе wаlk by faith, nоt by ѕіght 🙂
  16. Psalms 46:10 – Be still, аnd knоw that I [аm] Gоd: I wіll be еxаltеd among the hеаthеn, I wіll be еxаltеd іn thе еаrth.

 

Bіblе Verses about Aсknоwlеdgіng God

 

Bіblе vеrѕеѕ related tо acknowledging Gоd from thе King Jаmеѕ Vеrѕіоn (KJV)

 

  1. Prоvеrbѕ 3:5-6 – Truѕt іn thе LORD wіth аll thine hеаrt; аnd lean nоt untо thіnе оwn understanding.
  2. Revelation 4:11 – Thou art wоrthу, O Lоrd, tо receive glоrу аnd honour аnd роwеr: for thоu hast created аll thіngѕ, аnd fоr thу pleasure they аrе аnd wеrе сrеаtеd.
  3. Aсtѕ 10:1-48 – Thеrе wаѕ a сеrtаіn mаn іn Cаеѕаrеа called Cоrnеlіuѕ, a сеnturіоn оf thе band саllеd thе Itаlіаn bаnd
  4. Pѕаlmѕ 115:16 – Thе hеаvеn, [even] thе heavens, [аrе] the LORD’S: but thе earth hаth hе given tо the сhіldrеn of mеn.
  5. Genesis 1:3-31 – And Gоd ѕаіd, Let there bе lіght: and thеrе wаѕ light.
  6. Joshua 1:3 – Every рlасе that thе ѕоlе оf your foot ѕhаll trеаd uроn, thаt have I gіvеn untо you, аѕ I ѕаіd untо Mоѕеѕ.
  7. Romans 1:28-31 – And even as thеу dіd nоt like tо rеtаіn Gоd in thеіr knowledge, Gоd gave thеm оvеr to a rерrоbаtе mіnd, to dо those thіngѕ whісh аrе not соnvеnіеnt.

Yahweh in Christianity

 


In the article “Yahweh” one sees how Yahweh advanced from a tribal god of the Israelites to a dominant god of the Western world. Part of this advancement resulted from the development of Christianity. Christianity may be seen as a natural extension of Judaism, Hebrew beliefs built upon.

However, beliefs along did not give rise to Christianity. The majority of the early Christians were Jews predominantly believing in Yahweh. This alone would establish Yahweh as the dominant god. Jesus himself was a Jew. Jesus was to be the son of god, Yahweh, which later presented a problem. Eventually this was solved through the biblical interpretation of God Yahweh saying, “Now they know right and wrong as we do. (Genesis 3:22) This was after Adam and Eve had sinned and “they” thus referred to Adam and Eve. The term “we” is interpreted as meaning Yahweh is speaking to other gods who are with him. Within the Christian sense this is assumed to mean that Yahweh is speaking to Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

However, when considering the article “Yahweh” such an interpretation may not be accurate. Remember initially Yahweh was a tribal god sharing the patronage of Israel with six-nine other gods within the Canaanite pantheon headed by El and his consort Asherah. Even though within the post-Exilic area Yahweh was considered the dominant god of the Israelites other interpretations were plausible, but none were forthcoming because Yahweh was their God, they considered themselves his children, and therefore they would not consider Yahweh speaking with false gods of other nations.

Another tie in for Christians was Yahweh’s anger toward the Serpent,

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (3:15). This passage is interpreted as the foretelling of the birth of Jesus Christ to the Virgin Mary; Christ was to be conceived of God’s seed and is the son of God, Yahweh.

The pivotal doctrine that Jesus is the son of God is that of the virgin birth which was declared in the second century. The biblical references are Matthew 1:18 and Luke 1:28-35. The apostle Luke gives the most description of this event. Christ himself never speaks of it. In fact, once Christ seemed to dismiss his mother. Those around him told him that his mother and brethren were outside seeking him. He replied, “Who is my mother and brethren…For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brethren, and my sister, and mother” (Mark 3:33-35). Here Christ said only if you did the will of God were you kin to him. One sees at times he paid her little, if any, respect treating equal to his followers.

This again raises questions concerning the virgin birth. As noted Luke is the only biblical writer who thoroughly describes it. Matthews mentions it (Matthew 2:16-25). So this miraculous birth is recorded in the Books of Matthew and Luke, notably Luke. The authorship and dating of both books prove critical to the question of Christ’s birth. As noted in the article “Matthew’ most Christians believe the apostle wrote it but critics think the author used the Book of Mark and a lost section of Q (from the Dead Sea Scrolls) to complete the book. There is an indication of the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 CE (verse 22:7) dating the writing between 60 to 100 CE. Also as mentioned in the article “Luke” the Bok of Luke was written around 61 CE. Given the possible dating of the writing of these books one experiences a lapse of twenty-eight to seventy-seven years after Christ’s death. It is also known that Luke was not among the original apostles, he never personally met Christ.

Especially concerning Luke the question is from where did he get his information, especially pertaining to the virgin birth? The answer is from word of mouth as it is with almost everything in the Bible. Even if part of his information came from the Dead Sea Scrolls this answer still applies, word of mouth. In conclusion, the bulk of the New Testament was initially memorized. Thus it is not hard to see how objective readers and skeptics conclude Christianity to be another myth. This is true because of the inaccuracy of the human memory demonstrated by the incident of the teacher who told the first student in class something and by the time it reached the last student who told the teacher what he had been told the thing was entirely different than the teacher first relayed. A.G.H.


Sources:

God in Christianity. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahweh_%28Christianity%29>
Virgin Birth of Jesus. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgin_birth_of_Jesus>

Trinity


Trinity is the term by which is expressed the Christian belief that there are three persons in one God. Christian doctrine holds that a) there is only one God, one divine nature and being. b) This one divine being is tripersonal, that is, three persons in one God, designated as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. c) These three persons are joint partakers of the identical nature and majesty of God. While this doctrine is a preeminent mystery of revelation, the believed revealed nature of God, transcending human or finite comprehension, it is considered essential to the understanding of the scriptures.

Even though the Trinity doctrine is implicit rather than explicit in the Old Testament, it is believe that with the accompanying knowledge of the New Testament, evidence of the Trinity can be found in the Old Testament (e. g., Numbers 6:24-26; Isaiah 6:3; 63:9, 10 the sanctity of the symbolical number three-the plural form of Elohim, also places in which the deity is spoken of as conversing with himself). This is thought to be in accordance with the gradual development of revealed truths in other particulars. However, the Hebrew religion of the Old Testament is emphatically monotheistic; a principle reason for this is thought to have been that such religious rigidity was that it provided a safeguard against polytheism.

The following Biblical passages are examples of the deity conversing with himself: “And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness'” (Genesis 1:26). “And the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” (Genesis 3:22).From these passages it is believed in Christianity the God was talking to the other two persons within the Trinity.

The comprehension of the doctrine is extremely complex, but the basis for the concept of three persons in one God lies in the inner nature of the Godhead; each of the three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, although separate but equal share the nature of the Godhead. Each of these separate but equal persons of the Trinity has a unique function as Jesus alludes to: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever” (John 14:16). Jesus had elaborated on the distinct functions of each person: “For as the Father raised up the dead and give them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he will; for the father judges no man, but has committed that all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:21-33). “But if the Spirit of him that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised Christ from the dead shall also give life to your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you” (Romans 8:11).

The Trinity is the predominantly Christian understanding of the inner nature of the Godhead. Trinitarian understandings of God may arise primarily from revelations, as Christians claim, but they are more widely embedded in a belief that there is a analogical relationship between God and the created or manifest world since in this world it is only possible to be a self in a field of selves, the inference is drawn that the inner nature of God must be relational, and not monistically abstract

Eastern Christianity has attempted to understand the nature of the Trinity by analogically describing it: “We may be confronted by many who individually share in human nature, such as Peter, James, and John, yet the ‘man’ in them is one” (Gregory of Nyssa, On Not Three Gods). “It also holds that the Father is the single focus of unity in the Godhead, and the source of the other two persons.”

Western thought, however, appears to have taken a reversed approach in its study of the Trinity; it begins with the unity of the Godhead and attempts to understand its threeness. Augustine’s contribution, influenced by the scholastics, described it in terms of relations: in his best-known analogy, the Father, the lover, the Son, the loved one, and the Holt Spirit: the love between them. Also, in the traditional debate with the East, Western dogma states proceeds from the Father and the Son in order to insist on the equality of the Persons.

Some modern scholars acknowledge the Trinity argument between the East and West by recognizing the complexity of its mystery may be so great that both arguments may not be incompatible: the doctrine of the Trinity is a necessary consequence of Christology, and takes seriously the necessity for interrelation in the formation of all appearance or unity. Therefore, the current patristic model or concept of the Trinity has developed: three distinct realities, inseparably requiring each other to be the sort of reality that they are, and therefore also only one reality. A.G.H.


Sources:

Unger, Merrill F., Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Chicago, Moody Press, 1966, pp. 1118-1119
Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, pp. 990-991

The Snake Christianized

 


A part of the story of the snake or serpent can be described as its JudeoChristian demonic decline: from being a highly sacred creature to the Goddess Hecate, a snake goddess, to a symbol of evil, Satanhimself. Like Hecate, the serpent represents birth and rebirth whereas Satan represents death.

“The snake is the main image of vitality and continuity of life,” wrote anthropologist Marija Gimbutas, “the guarantor of life energy in the home, and the symbol of family and animal life.” Within each and various culture the snake symbolizes the same and yet different things. It is a feared goddess of the river, a messenger and spirit being of Native America, a water spirit and a god of Africa. These similar characteristics compose a powerful symbol universally.

As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, casting off dead tissue, they symbolize rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing. The ouroboros symbolizes eternity and the continued renewal of life.

But, opposite symbolism of the snake lies in Biblical lore: the Serpent of Genesis, Satan himself. Representing Satan the snake becomes the great tempter, as noted by historian Jean Markale, helped by the Apocalypse where the “great serpent…is the image of absolute evil.” The snake represented life renewed for thousands of years until the Hebrews and Christians waged successful campaigns fighting such symbolism.

With the emergence of the all-male Canaanite God, Yahweh/Jehovah, the feminine deity and snake were relegated and associated with evil. The Hebrews fiercely believed the snake was possessed by Satan or was Satan himself. Originally in Jewish folklore, according to Page Bryant, the serpent walked upright the same as man and ate the same food. Once he saw Adam and Eve engaged in sexual intercourse and became jealous which caused him to tempt Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit. Legend goes onto say as a punishment from God the serpent’s hands and feet were to be cut off so he would crawl on its belly, all the food it ate would taste of dust, and it became the eternal enemy of man. However before his punishment was inflicted he had the opportunity to have sexual intercourse with Eve. Because of this the Israelites were not purified until they stood at Mt. Sinai and received the torah. “‘Gentiles however,'” according to Alan Utermann, “‘were never cleansed of the serpentine impurity'”

Contrast to this anti-serpentine attitude in Armenian folklore, according to Anthony S. Mercatante, “Christ himself is identified with Shahapet, a beneficent serpent who inhabited olive trees and vine stocks in ancient mythology.” Other scholars found similar serpentine attitude in European and Indo-European mythology. Prior to 4500 BCE in Old Europe the serpent was considered benevolent, a symbol of life and fertility in plants, animals, and humans as well. Snakes were thought to be guardians of life and immortality, and of those superior riches of the spirit symbolized by hidden treasure. However, the poisonous snake in Old Europe lore signaled the epiphany of the Goddess of Death. Coinciding in Indo-European lore (4000-2500 BCE) began describing the snake as evil to promote the God of Death, an anniversary of the Thunder God eventually leading to the decline of Goddess worship and the establishment of the male-dominated religion of the Sky God.

Bodily the snake is not sacred, noted Gimbutas (op. cit.); it is the energy exuded by this coiling creature which transcends its boundaries and influences the surrounding world. But in Christian theology, Hans Leisegang notes, the serpent becomes the prince of the world, the adversary of the transcendental God, the dragon of the outer darkness, who has barred off this world from above, so that it can by redeemed only by being annihilated. A.G.H.


Sources:

Armenian mythology, “Shahapet,” < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_mythology>
Serpent (symbolism), Fertility and rebirth. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serpent_%28symbolism%29#Fertility_and_rebirth>
Varner, Gary R. Hecate the Witches’ Goddess, 2011 ebook.

Shadows of God

The Shadows of God: A “Gnostic” Analysis of the System of Antichrist


by Charles Upton

[This essay is a slightly expanded version of the chapter The Shadows of God from
The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age,
Sophia Perennis, 2001]

If Gods combine against Man Setting their Dominion above
The Human Form Divine. Thrown down from their high Station
In the Eternal heavens of the Human Imagination: buried beneath
In dark oblivion with incessant pangs ages on ages
In Enmity & war first weakened then in stern repentance
They must renew their brightness & their disorganized functions
Again reorganize till they assume the image of the human
Cooperating in the bliss of Man obeying his Will
Servants to the Infinite and Eternal of the Human form

William Blake, from The Four Zoas

In the well-known words of St. Paul from the book of Ephesians, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” These principalities and powers, in my opinion, can be legitimately seen as elements of the developing system of Antichrist, a system which “constellates” only at the end of the aeon, but which is virtually present all throughout “fallen” human history, as when Paul speaks of “the god of this world [who] hath blinded the eyes of them that believe not” (II Corinthians 4:4). The “god of this world” is obviously Satan, but Satan in his particular aspect as the patron of “worldliness,” of the organized social and mass psychological system created by the human ego in rebellion against God. The Antichrist per se represents the establishment of this system in its terminal form for this aeon via the breakthrough (in René Guénon’s terms) of sub-human, “infra-psychic” forces into human history, just as Christ-and Muhammad, and the Buddha ((see Buddhism), and the Avatars of Vishnu— represent the breakthrough of Divine Wisdom and Love.

For many of the early Christians, the Roman Empire represented, for obvious reasons, the system of Antichrist. The Roman Emperor was worshipped as a god at one time, at least in the provinces, and the Number of the Beast, 666, is often solved as a numerological reference to the emperor Nero. The central grievance of the Jewish Zealots, the anti-Roman guerrilla terrorists of Jesus’ time, was that to require that the Jews pay taxes to Rome was an act of emperor-worship and thus a blasphemy against God, especially since the Roman denarius in which the tax was to be paid bore an image of the emperor, and so was technically an idol in the eyes of many Jews, who, like the Muslims in later centuries, prohibited the making of any image of Yahweh, and considered any deity who could be visually represented as inherently false. That Jesus was on one level sympathetic to the Zealots, though he was certainly not a political revolutionary-any more than he was a collaborator with Rome-is shown by the fact that he criticized every known Jewish sect of his time-Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes and Herodians-except the Zealots and the Essenes, and numbered one Simon the Zealot among his disciples, though we can’t be sure whether “Zealot” refers to Simon’s affiliation or only his character.

In the Apocalypse, the central symbol of the Antichrist is the Beast, who acts as an agent of the Dragon (Satan). Upon the Beast rides the Whore, whose name is Mystery, Babylon the Great. The seven heads of the Beast, which are seven kings, are also seven mountains upon which she sits, like the seven mountains of Rome. And so, on one level, the Beast is the Roman Empire, compared by the writer of the book to the Babylonian captivity of the Jews. This identification of the Beast with Rome has led certain Protestant sects to see it as a symbol of the Roman Catholic Church–an attribution which would be partly justified only in the case of the complete apostasy of Catholicism, which has only been in force since the Second Vatican Council.

The Dragon of the Apocalypse, identified with Satan, represents a perverted spiritual order. Based on this Satanic order is the perverted social order of the Beast. And the Whore of Babylon, who rides the Beast-that is, who both guides it and is carried along by it-is the perverted psychic order of the latter days. The seven heads of the Beast, who are seven kings with whom Babylon consorts and seven mountains upon which she reigns, symbolize–among other things–the seven major faculties of the soul, which in antiquity were represented by the seven planets: the Moon, fertility and sub-conscious emotion; Mercury, thought, cunning and the ability to deal with information; Venus, love, sexuality and relatedness; the Sun, intellect, the spiritual center of the soul and source of its life; Mars, will and aggression; Jupiter, leadership ability and philosophical intelligence; Saturn, long-term planning ability, mystical knowledge and the wisdom of old age. If the Beast and the Whore “occupy” the seven provinces of the soul, this indicates that the regime of Antichrist has conquered and perverted all these aspects of human life, both socially and psychologically, a perversion which is represented in Catholic theology by the seven deadly sins. According to Martin Lings, in his article The Seven Deadly Sins in the Light of the Symbolism of Number, “superbia (pride) is related to the Sun, avaritia (avarice) to Saturn, luxuria (lust) to Venus, invidia (envy) to Mercury, gula (gluttony) to Jupiter, ira (anger) to Mars, and accidia (sloth) to the Moon.” The power of the Beast over the human soul is symbolized by the “mark of the Beast”–who in this case is actually, according to the Apocalypse, a second Beast, servant of the first, identified as the False Prophet–which is placed either upon the right hand or upon the forehead. The mark upon the right hand symbolizes power over the will, and that upon the forehead power over the intelligence: when the intelligence is darkened, the will is overpowered as well, since it must now follow error instead of Truth.

The regime of Antichrist, then, operates on three levels, which are the three ontological levels of the human being: the material level, including both the socio-historical realm and the human body; the psychic level, embracing both the conscious and the sub-conscious mind; and the spiritual level, which though it cannot ultimately be perverted, since it is Divine, can be obscured by the powers of darkness, and also counterfeited, according to the principle that “Satan is the ape of God.”

The Beast, who is Antichrist, is thus the counterfeit of Christ, a perverse and distorted version of the image of God within us. Under his regime, all the powers and qualities of the human form, considered as God’s central act of Self-revelation in this world (“who has seen me has seen the Father” said Jesus, speaking as the Divine Archetype of Humanity) are aped by demonic forces: wisdom, love, miracles of healing and control over natural forces, and even the resurrection of the body, all will be enacted in counterfeit, “so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”

Evangelical Christians tend to concentrate on predictions relating to how the system of Antichrist will appear in future history and society. This is a valid and important level upon which to view the matter, though we have to be careful not to interpret scripture too narrowly, since an event recounted in a densely–symbolic text like the Apocalypse may appear in history as several different events, or trends, happening at various times. My intent, however, is to concentrate more on the psychic and metaphysical aspects of “the darkness of this world,” including that level of things where the unconscious mind interacts with society, the realm where the powers of darkness appear as unconscious belief-systems and social mores.

A spiritually degenerate society rules its members not only by police-state tactics, or by influencing them to consciously believe in false doctrines, but also by indoctrinating them to adopt certain beliefs unconsciously, beliefs which will have all the more power over them by this very unconsciousness, since they are never brought into the light of day where they can be critically evaluated. An evil society will inculcate these beliefs deliberately, through various sorts of propaganda, indoctrination and mind-control. On the other hand, the rulers of the society in question will, in some ways, be just as unconscious as the population they indoctrinate. While they may consciously lie to the people on questions of fact, nonetheless they take the fundamental beliefs they disseminate absolutely for granted, and are therefore unconscious of them. The deepest lies-the unconscious social mores and the false conceptions of God on which they are based-appear to our rulers simply as the nature of things. Because they believe in them implicitly, they never have to become aware of them as beliefs. If you want to delude others it is best to begin by deluding yourself; that way no one can question your “sincerity.”

These beliefs act like possessing demons, controlling the psyche from within, and punishing any move of thought, feeling or intuition which is at odds with their view of reality, most often through feelings of shame, fear, uncontrollable anger, frigid pride, or deep depression, all of which will be temptations to the same fundamental sin, the sin of despair. (This is not to say that all such feelings are demonic attacks. There is also a healthy shame which protects us from shameful acts, a healthy fear which defends us from physical and spiritual danger, a healthy anger at evil or injustice, a healthy “pride” which takes the form of self-respect or veneration of the worthy, and a healthy sorrow which appears as compassion, or remorse.) Furthermore, what is an unconscious false belief on the psychological level is precisely a devil on the psychic or spiritual level. In the parable of Jesus’ exorcism of the lone demoniac, the demons which possess him give their name as “legion,” which is an obvious reference not only to the Roman military occupation of Judea, but also to the possession of the Jewish soul, via “internalized oppression,” by the unconscious social mores of the Roman imperium.

The devils who “administer” the false belief-systems in question are not to be compared with those who tempt us to personal self-indulgence, to lust, for example, or sloth, or anger. They are more on the order of fallen cherubim, great spiritual intelligences who have turned against God. They are demons of the intellect, not demons of the will. When St. Paul speaks of “principalities and powers” who are “the rulers of the darkness of this world,” these are the beings he is referring to, the ones that the sectarian Gnostics of late antiquity named the “Archons”.

On a certain level, these Archons constitute an articulate system of error, a direct counterfeit of the divine or celestial pleroma which appears in the Apocalypse as the Throne of the Lamb surrounded by the four Living Creatures, the seven Lamps, the twenty-four Elders, etc. The symbolic meaning of these figures may never be precisely known (though it clearly was at one time); it is enough to say, in this context, that they represent God’s first, spiritual creation, prior to the material universe, though they are “prior” more in the spiritual than the temporal sense, since the first creation is eternal in relation to our temporal, material one, not simply “prior” to it in time.

After meditating for many years on these subjects, I believe I have gained a certain amount of insight into what C.S. Lewis jocularly named, in his Screwtape Letters, the “Lowerarchy”-the system of infernal domination of collective human society, not simply of individual human beings-and most particularly into the level represented by the number four, which would appear to be the Satanic counterfeit of the Four Living Creatures. I have been deeply influenced in these meditations by the “prophetic books” of William Blake, The Four ZoasMiltonand Jerusalem--themselves influenced by the Hebrew Kaballah–where in obscure and flaming visionary language he analyses the Fall and Redemption of Man in terms of the fall of the four central faculties of the human soul, the Four Zoas or Living Creatures, and their redemption by Christ, who is the eternal spiritual Intellect. My intent here is certainly not to create an alternate theology, but merely to throw a poetic and metaphorical light on certain psychic consequences of the fall of man, which, according to traditional authorities, as well as to the fairly obvious meaning of the book of Genesis, includes both the perversion of the will and the darkening of the Intellect.

The fall of man, seen in intellectual terms, begins as a primal misunderstanding of the true nature of God. All else follows from this, since a failure to understand Who God really is distorts our picture of every other thing, person, situation or level of being. Where the intellect is darkened by spiritual ignorance, it can reveal to us only shadows of the Truth, false objects which the will is attracted to because of their partial resemblance to the Truth they hide, in the course of which it becomes weakened and distorted, till it can no longer will the Good-even if, by the Grace of God, the darkness of the Intellect were to be lifted for a moment, and that Good revealed.

A shadow requires three things: a source of light, an opaque object, and a field where the shadow falls. If the light is God, the opaque object, the ego, and the field where the shadow falls, the universe, then the shadows of the ego, projected by the Divine Light, are false beliefs, which appear to that ego not as its own shadows, nor even as beliefs, but as the literal nature of reality: the shadows of God.

The ego, by definition, does not know itself. It tries to convince us that we can become unique and original if we submit to its magic. It forgets that egotism actually stereotypes us, makes us drearily predictable, because human egos, at root, are much alike. Our deepest fears and desires, of which the ego is composed, are very few and very common.

God is the only Reality, the sole object, and subject, of all knowledge. But when
primal fear and desire, which are the seed-form of the ego, separate subject from object, so that the perceiving subject is apparently no longer God-as in Reality it always is, since only God, in the last analysis, is Witness of His own manifestation-then limited and conditioned views of Reality are born, held within the minds of limited and conditioned sentient beings. From one point of view these limited notions, and the limited subjects who perceive them, are the creative manifestation of God in space and time; from another, they are God’s shadows, His veils. When these shadows become thick, and their darkness intense, it appears as if God were absent from His creation. It is into these places and times of the apparent “death of God” that God sends the prophets, saviors and/or avatars who found and renew the great wisdom traditions.

Looked at in one way, false beliefs are nothing but illusions; to take them too seriously is to grant them more reality than they deserve. But to the degree that false beliefs are actually believed, especially on the collective level, they produce real effects, not only on the psychic plane, but on the social, physiological and environmental ones as well. Illusion-whose moral name is evil-is essentially a privation, a lack. One can never make complete sense of it because, as a “hole” in reality rather than a reality in its own right, it is fundamentally absurd. However, a condition such as starvation is also a “mere” lack, a lack of food; but its consequences are far from illusory. In the same way, false beliefs, and the demonic powers who administrate them, have real effects, which we ignore at our peril. The “principalities and powers,” then, can be considered as fundamental misperceptions of the nature of God by the deepest, most hidden layers of the human ego–which, from another perspective, is entirely composed of these misconceptions. In other words, they are idols, false gods like the Golden Calfdestroyed by Moses, or the pagan idols swept out of the Kaaba by the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

Imagine with me the most fundamental and universal idols, or Archons, the primal shadows of God, as four: the idolatry of Law, the idolatry of Fate, the idolatry of Chaos, and the idolatry of Self. These are the primordial elementals of the human ego, the analysis of the darkened order of perception created by the fall of man, the “rulers of the darkness of this world.” To the darkened perception of the self-worshipping ego they appear as powers in their own right, and also–since they are in perpetual conflict–as real alternatives. But in reality they are in perpetual collusion to prevent us from seeing any light of Truth beyond the tragic and ironic alternatives they propose. And far from being independent self-existing powers, they are nothing at root but the emblems of our fundamental recoil from the incandescent Glory of God, projected, like the shadows in Plato’s cave, on the landscape of the psyche, and thence on nature and society. Yet from another perspective, they are, precisely, demons, spiritual powers in rebellion against God. We can solve this apparent paradox if we realize that it is only the ego’s alienation from God which opens it to the influence of such demonic forces, who are in a similar state of alienation, and that the origin of such alienation in both cases is ignorance or delusion. The deluded ego worships itself instead of God–whether in arrogance or in despair–and the forms which this self-worship takes are the forms of demonic powers. Practically speaking, we must admit both that these powers are in deliberate, active opposition to God and the spiritual life, and that they themselves are deluded, even as they attempt, with infernal cunning, to delude us. In other words, their power is entirely negative, being based on ignorance alone, which is why they are called “powers of darkness”. And though it will always necessary, given our fallen condition, to struggle with them will-against-will, it is only the dispersal of the shadows of ignorance, in the light of the Divine Intellect, which finally breaks their power.

 

Idolatry of Law
God is a lawgiver. The Torah, the Laws of Manu, the Islamic shari’at were given to humanity not as an arbitrary imposition of tyrannical rules, but as mercy-which is why ancient peoples looked on lawgiving kings and sages as among the supreme benefactors of the race. Given that humanity had fallen from Eden, from the direct perception of Divine Reality, law became a necessity. A sacred law is an expression of the true shape of the human culture, and ultimately the Human Form, to which that law applies. By the divine act of lawgiving, God creates a given culture in space and time: not through an arbitrary decree, but through His vision of that culture as an eternal facet of the Divine Humanity within His own nature. To command, “you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not forget to acknowledge the Divine Source of your life” is like ordering us not to cut our arms off or put our eyes out. As a safeguard of our integral humanity, the sacred law is beholden to that humanity. It is cut to fit us; we are not, as in the myth of the bed of Procrustes, mutilated to fit it. As Jesus said, “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Revealed law is necessary because we find ourselves within time, and so need a vehicle whereby eternal principles can be applied to changing situations.

The very sacredness of revealed law, however, makes it vulnerable to the growth of idolatry. We forget that it was given to protect us, and begin to use it as a tool in the service of the collective ego, a weapon against the Image of God within us. God is Absolute, and the eternal principles are absolute relative to cosmic manifestation, but when our sense of absoluteness is displaced by being identified with contingent situations, idolatry is born. And the essence of the idolatry of Law is that we impose it blindly, mechanically, without regard for the actual shape of the situations it was created to regulate, or the true nature of the people it was written to protect. Every truly sacred law is not merely a set of duties and prohibitions, but an expression in the moral realm of eternal, metaphysical principles. “Keep holy the Lord’s Day,” for example, refers, on an esoteric level, to the Eternal Present as God’s resting-place, and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife” to what the Hindus call swadhar’ma, one’s unique spiritual duty and destiny-symbolized by a man’s wife, the image of his soul–‘which cannot be exchanged, and which no other can fulfill: “Better one’s own dharma, no matter how poorly performed, than the dhrama of another, no matter how well.” These eternal principles do not exist behind the letter of the law alone, but equally behind the face of the human situation the law must confront and regulate. But when this is forgotten, when law is applied indiscriminately rather than impartially, it is transformed into a bloody idol, demanding, like the pagan god Moloch in the Old Testament, the sacrifice of our children (esoterically speaking, our creativity) and, like the Aztec war-god Huitzilopochtli, our still-beating hearts (the Image of God within us). Prescribing the same remedy for all seems impartial, yet nothing is more destructive, precisely as if a physician were to prescribe penicillin or insulin to every patient indiscriminately, to avoid the work of diagnosis and the humbling realization that he or she does not already know the precise nature of the disease. As Blake said, “One law for the Lion and the Ox is oppression.” When the certainty derived from an understanding of eternal principles is used as an excuse for failing to engage with real people and actual situations in the work of discernment, the idolatry of Law is in full force.

The false religion of Law is best represented by the legalism of the Abrahamic religions, when it expands beyond its legitimate bounds and denies Mercy. A great deal of Jesus’ ministry was directed against this idolatry, represented in the Gospels by the Scribes and Pharisees. The idolatry of Law includes either the false doctrine that God’s law is greater than God, that He is a slave to it rather than its Creator, or the allied error–held by the more extreme Asharites within Islam–that His Will is arbitrary, and thus takes precedence over even His Nature, as if God could will to be whatever He wants, even if it be something other than God. This second error, however, could better be described as a synthesis of the idolatry of Law and the idolatry of Selfhood (see below) since it sees God as a kind of rebel-a rebel against Himself. When this spirit of legalism is expressed socially, it becomes a tyrannical police state, most likely (at least in these days) protecting an economic monopoly which impoverishes the masses and excludes them from participation in the life of the nation and/or world, and which protects its own power through various forms of propaganda, mind-control and state terror. Expressed psychologically, it becomes the rigid, authoritarian character, filled with frigid pride, which represses and dominates its own thoughts, feelings, sensations and perceptions as brutally as any dictator domiates the unfortunate populace.

 

Idolatry of Fate
God is the nature of things. A recognition of the nature of things, which the Chinese call Tao, the Hindus rta, and the ancient Egyptians maat, the manifestation of Necessary Being in the cosmic order, is the basis of contemplative spirituality. The way things naturally are, the realm of natural law, manifests as appropriateness, beauty and inevitability; through it we can contemplate the Names of God or Platonic Ideas, the eternal archetypes within the mind of God.

Contemplation is like space. Empty in itself, it shows us the pattern whereby things are related to one another outside time, sub specie aeternitatis. Law enters time, and so manifests as speech and spoken scripture; contemplation, being of the nature of space, is better symbolized by the Hindu mandala, the sacred calligraphy of the Qur’an, or the Eastern Orthodox icon. But when pure contemplation is darkened, when the primordial receptivity of the soul is lost, then Fate is born. We can no longer contemplate the eternal pattern of things; consequently the Always So is transformed into the fated, the hopelessly inevitable. The still surface of the lake of contemplation is disturbed by time-not the creative time of sacred law, but time as conditioned by the fear of what might happen in the future now that we can no longer see the shape of what always is. Under the regime of Fate, vertical causality–the sense that everything happens by virtue of God’s eternal will for this particular moment–is veiled, and replaced by horizontal causality. Past causes are now seen as the origin of future events, but since the roots of the past are hidden, the shape of the future is hidden as well. Events are unpredictable because their causes are veiled in mystery; by the same token, they are inevitable.

The pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus said “character is fate,” an oracular statement that can be taken in two different ways. In the words of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), “he who knows himself knows his Lord.” This means that if one can see oneself with the perfect objectivity of the Divine Self or Witness within the human soul, one will know that little “me” out there as a projection into space and time of a specific archetype within the mind of God–and so fate holds no surprises. All happenings are seen as perfectly appropriate to the shape of the self to which they happen; God’s will for a particular individual within a particular moment is indistinguishable from that person’s will for himself in obedience to God, since the two are one. On the other hand, if character is unconscious–which it usually is, no matter how much psychological introspection we do or how much feedback we get from others, since we can only know who we really are in the objective light of God–then it is projected into the world of events as a mysterious fate which we can’t escape, no matter what we do. The same things keep happening to us, over and over again, and all our attempts to escape them only seem to quicken the pace of their pursuit. The Greek tragedies, with their sense of the “fatal flaw,” are the best illustrations we have in literature of this darker side of Heraclitus’ saying.

These obsessively repetitive events continue to happen because of the kind of fundamental forgetfulness which the Greeks called amnesia, and the Muslims ghaflah--the forgetfulness of the Divine Witness within us, which leads to a general inability to pay attention, as well as to an ignorance of our essential character and real needs. We keep asking for certain things, forgetting that we’ve done so, and then reacting with shock when our unconscious wishes come true. If we were aware of the wishes hidden within us then we could distinguish between essential and imposed character, between the accidental wishes implanted in us by circumstances or other people’s agendas, and the essential wishes that are inseparable from who we are in the mind of God. The first kind of wish can never really be fulfilled; the second kind is fulfilled already, in a higher world-a world which, paradoxically, can only be unveiled to us through our struggle to find and fulfill our true wishes in this imperfect world, where that fulfillment can never be complete–or, even if momentarily it seems complete, can never last.

Until we awaken from our amnesia, we are under the regime of Fate. Every time something “fatal” happens, we are appalled to realize that we haven’t escaped the curse even yet. And as each twist of fate which has sprung at us out of the mysterious future passes into the hidden past, it adds to the store of apparent karma by which the mysterious past seems to be the origin of the hidden future. Just as our body can become addicted to certain drugs, our destiny can become addicted to certain events. If an eternal archetype or character in the mind of God is veiled by the darkening of the individual mind, or the mind of society as a whole, it becomes the center of a karmic cycle or “vicious circle,” something which Blake called “the circle of destiny.” When the Stoic philosophers tried to absolutize natural cycles in the doctrine of the “eternal return”, which maintained that all events endlessly recur in exactly the same way to exactly the same people through vast and unending cycles of time, they were erecting the “circle of destiny” into an idol, like the Greek Fates, or the Roman goddess Fortuna who used to be worshipped by spinning the familiar “wheel of fortune”. In so doing they were reacting to an alienation from the sense of eternity which was prevalent in classical antiquity. St. Augustine, in The City of God, criticizes this doctrine, implying that the belief in a circle of destiny is actually based on a circular argument, since (I would add) if the premises upon which an argument is based are not seen as axiomatic, and thus eternal in relation to the motion of the argument, that motion becomes circular. Those who remember God in eternity know all events as eternally present. Those who forget God become like “moving white dots” (Blake) between a forgotten past dominated by nostalgia and a mysterious future ruled by fear. They live in a world where forgetfulness of the past is compulsory, and where all who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

The false religion of Fate manifests either as a cult of the cycles of nature, as in the negative and mechanistic aspects of the Mesopotamian star-worship from which astrology is derived (which is not in all cases fatalistic, since it can sometimes approach a vision of the eternal archetypes) or the Calvinist denial of free will based on a false doctrine of predestination, which sees God’s eternal will for the individual as something other than the sum total of the individual’s own decisions, whereas in reality God’s “foreknowledge” of our decisions does not cause them, but is simply His vision of them sub specie aeternitatis. Expressed in psychological and social terms, this Fate-worship becomes a largely-unconscious “zodiac” of social typology--of imposed rather than essential character–where the unconscious social mores determine the individual’s fate via society’s expectations for him, which progressively become his own expectations for himself. As the idolatry of Law is pride, so the idolatry of Fate is fear.

 

Idolatry of Chaos
God is infinite life. The vast profusion of the “ten-thousand things” eternally overflows into manifestation out of the Divine Infinity. God sends sacred laws, but He is greater than they. He manifests as the cosmic order, but He is not limited by it. There are no barriers in God to the infinite radiation of His Being, and this is His perfect freedom, a freedom which does not begin to be exhausted by universe after universe, bursting with life.

But we cannot act as God does. We are contingent, He is Absolute. He is beyond form, while we are bound to the forms in which He has created us. He absolutely transcends us. But when we forget this, when His transcendence is veiled and we see only His immanence in the world visible to our senses, and then identify with it, we start to believe that the path to freedom lies through formlessness and dissipation. Since we’ve lost the vision of how form emanates from what is above form, we seek the divine Infinity in what is below form, in a Dionysian intoxication which ends as it did with King Pentheus in Euripides’ The Bacchae. Pentheus, king of Thebes, despises the new cult of Dionysus (or Bacchus, god of wine, and perhaps also of the psychedelic mushroom amanita muscaria) which has invaded Greece, and been taken up by women–the bacchantes–who dance ecstatically, and tear living animals apart in their frenzy. Dionysius assumes the guise of a suspicious underworld type, is arrested and brought to the palace. There he offers to tell Pentheus where he can view the Bacchic revelers in their secret forest sanctuary. Pentheus, voyeuristically fascinated, takes him up on his offer, goes out to spy on the bacchantes, and is torn limb from limb by his own mother, Agave, who in her frenzy mistakes him for an animal. Euripides is saying here that to seek the divine life in what is below form, by idealizing and worshipping one’s animal nature, is to be torn to pieces by our mother, who is material nature; mater=matter. This is the idolatry of Chaos.

The false religion of Chaos is the Dionysian, which includes various kinds of political, social and moral anarchism; those forms of false mysticism which identify God with formlessness instead of supraformal Essence, and higher consciousness, in a simple-minded way, with intoxication; and those forms of psychotherapy which make release from constriction, inhibition and character-armor the central factor. Those who, like Pentheus, are narrow-mindedly “civilized” rather than broadly cultured, will often seek this kind of release in a return to the simplicity of Nature, conceived of as a maternal paradise of safety, self-indulgence, ease and irresponsibility-forgetting that, for example, no African Bushman or Australian Aborigine could survive for a single day without a greater degree of endurance, courage, and vigilance than most city-dwellers will ever possess. If the dominant emotion of Fate is fear, the dominant emotion of Chaos is shame.

 

Idolatry of Selfhood
God is the Absolute Subject, the atman, the transcendent and immanent Self, the imago dei within each of us. By virtue of this atman, we are, at the deepest level of our being, both unique and universal. The Self within us is pure, impersonal, universal Being, without attributes; according to some metaphysicians it is better described as Beyond Being, given that it can never be an object of consciousness subject to definition, since “the eye cannot see itself.” But because God is unique as well as universal, this Self is also the principle of our unique human integrity, the way in which we are not simply humanity in the abstract, but actual human beings, commanded by God to be precisely ourselves, no greater, no less, and no other. And yet this uniqueness is also universal, since it is shared by all human beings, and in fact by all things. Self as the principle of uniqueness is not other than Self as the principle of pure Being, as when God, speaking to Moses in Exodus, names Himself as “I Am That I Am”: My unique Essence is not other than My pure Being; it is My unique Essence to be pure Being. And what God can say of Himself, we can also say, certainly not of our limited human personalities, but of the God, the atman, within us. In St. Paul’s words: “It is not I who live, but Christ lives in me.”

But when uniqueness is separated from being, it loses its universality. This is what happens when we ascribe uniqueness to ourselves alone while denying it to others. This is the idolatry of Self. When we worship our own separate selfhood as if it were God, we start to believe that self-willed isolation is the road to integrity, and that, in Sartre’s words, “hell is other people.” Consequently we can only relate comfortably to others if we see them as subordinates-that is, as lesser parts of ourselves. This is the irony of self-worship. Seeking unity and integrity through isolation and dominance, we gradually become filled with the ghosts of all the relationships we have denied and betrayed. Our quest for individuality (“undividedness”) at all costs results only in fragmentation. We ourselves become “the lonely crowd”.

The false religion of Selfhood is Prometheanism, which includes all forms of hubris: the solipsistic, New Age belief that “I create my own reality” (the truth being more on the order of “I create my own illusion”); the idea that spiritual development is a kind of exploit or heroic achievement to be gloried in; the sense that the individual can only gain integrity and significance by breaking the law and rebelling against the mores; and the driving will of Western, and by now global, society to conquer nature, deny God, and remold human life according to the most demented “idealism” imaginable, even at the risk of destroying both humanity and the earth. If Law is ruled by pride, Fate by fear, and Chaos by shame, Selfhood is ruled by anger.

These four idols-Law, Fate, Chaos and Selfhood–are an analysis of the fallen order of perception known in Christian theology as “this world.” They do not operate in isolation. Tyrannical and mechanistic Law takes on the aspect of mysterious Fate. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, we are told, and yet who can ever know that law in its entirety? And Fate, in reality, is not the operation of being-in-itself, but of an established, though hidden, order of things, an artificial system, an idolatrous Law. Tyrannical Law imposed on the individual produces the self-willed rebel, and so Law reinforces Selfhood. Imposed on society or nature, it produces Chaos by violating natural, intrinsic order in the name of an artificial, contrived order. And both Rebellion and Chaos make necessary ever-more tyrannical, blind and mechanistic Law. In the name of the war on drugs, we destroy civil rights. In the name of wildlands management, we burn Yellowstone National Park. But the more blindly we try to impose order on nature and society, the more chaos and rebellion we create.

Fate imposed on the individual promotes Selfhood, since to be self-willed, and suffer the consequences, seems inevitable, while the only way of possessing individual integrity seems to be to submit to one’s Fate: “a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do,” even if–or especially if–the results are fatal. And Fate imposed on society produces Chaos. If a whole generation of adolescents believe that they are fated to fail, drug-taking and dissipation seem the only way out, and society dissolves. So both the self-willed individual fated to die–like the Irish hero Cuchulainn who was chosen, empowered, exalted and ultimately doomed by the Goddess Morrigan–and the chaotic individual destined to degradation and madness, are servants of Fate. The chaotic individual is susceptible to shame in the face of those more fortunate individuals upon whom Fate seems to smile; and these fortunate sons and daughters must maintain their high position in the court of Fate by casting shame upon those who are vulnerable to it, in an attempt to avoid an adverse fate by forcing others to live it out. So while Law manifests in terms of explicit rules, Fate often wears the mask of unconscious social morality. If we are the “right kind of person,” society welcomes us; if we are the “wrong kind,” even though our actions are impeccable, we lose. And if we try to free ourselves from this enforced moral typology, the only alternatives seem to be to violently rebel, or else to embrace the very shame society imposes upon us, and overcome its stigma by reveling in it. But to revel in shame is only to descend into Chaos, while to rebel against Fate is to sacrifice oneself to it. Cuchulainn fought against the Goddess to whom he owed his prowess, and was destroyed: he rebelled against his fate, and therefore met it.

So we can see that both submission to and rebellion against these Archons only grants them a reality they do not in fact possess, thereby increasing their power. To submit to false Law is ultimately to be forced to commit the very crimes which that Law punishes, just as to worship a false moral uprightness is to place oneself under a false shame. In the words of Blake, “Prisons are built with stones of [false] Law/ Brothels with bricks of [false] Religion.” And to rebel against Law is to finally become it, as in the well-known fate of the successful revolutionary who replaces one tyranny with another. Furthermore, to become Law is to ultimately fall under the power of Fate, as when the established system grows beyond the control of those administering it, and descends into Chaos. To submit to Chaos in a deluded search for peace, as in the case of alcoholism or drug addiction, is to fall under both the shame of Fate and the punishment of Law, and to expose oneself to the willful impulses of the separate fragments or “complexes” of one’s soul, which are part of Selfhood, thus making that soul vulnerable as well to the violent and willful Selfhoods of others. A person who is violently out of control attracts the violence of other people; a woman who has been drugged is in danger of being raped. And when the soul makes this willfulness its own in hopes of defending itself, when it aggressively asserts itself in an attempt to overcome Chaos, or to defend itself against other people’s aggression, Law is always there to pass sentence. Likewise those who rebel against the shame of Chaos by trying to be “the right kind of people” in the eyes of a degenerate society, who seek the moral blessing of the system of “this world” in an attempt to get Fate on their side, will find themselves shamefully compromised. Passing from Fate to Law, they will become agents of the very system of oppression they once sought to oppose, of that tyrannical establishment whose blind, mechanistic Law created Chaos in the first place.

It should be obvious, then, that “this world” provides no way out, because no single worldly idol can give us shelter from, or power against, the others. They are in collusion, and their function is to prevent us from glimpsing any Reality outside the hopeless terms they lay down.

But why are the primal idols four in number? Is this just a convenient way of looking at things, or is there a deeper structure underlying this fourness? In a way, both statements are true. The mysteries of the Divine Nature, Its relationship to Its creative manifestation, and Its distortion by the human ego, can never be perfectly defined or systematized, mathematically or otherwise. And yet, in the process of contemplating these mysteries, certain forms arise, which are more suggestive of the “deep things of God” than anything our material or psychic consciousness can perceive or create. From tradition to tradition, from moment to moment of spiritual insight, the forms which appear are always similar but never identical, thereby demonstrating both that God is perfectly concrete, infinitely real and absolutely unique, and that His ultimate Essence is totally beyond conception.

See it like this: The subject/object mode of perception in which we find ourselves immersed, where “I” am a human subject, and “that out there” a world, is a projection, on a lower level, of God’s mirror-like Self-understanding within the depths of His own nature. Hidden within my perceiving human subjectivity is the Divine Subject, God as the eternal Witness of all the worlds. Hidden behind the “world out there” is the Divine Object, the face of God eternally present behind the forms and events of our lives. Thus the dyad “God and His Self-knowledge” is the archetype of the dyad “me and my world,” making four in all.

When the Divine Subject is veiled, its Divine Object is transformed from a perfect reflection of that Witness into a mysterious world with a “will of its own”–the world of Fate. Simultaneously, the Subject becomes conditioned by its attempt to make sense of that mysterious world–in other words, to impose Law upon it from without, rather than seeing the harmonious pattern within it–and is finally obscured. All that remains of it is the idol of Selfhood, an egobound, self-identified human subjectivity, attempting to impose its own will upon a “world out there”–a world which, since the one perceiving it is conditioned and obscured by that fallen subjectivity, must appear as a meaningless Chaos, as in Heisenberg’s view of random indeterminacy as the fundamental principle of the material world. In other words, as consciousness falls from the level of Divine Self-understanding to the level of human egotism, idols are generated, which fill the void left by the (apparent) withdrawal of the Presence of God.

From one point of view, these four idols are the satanic counterfeits-the ego-based distortions–of what in the Hebrew Kaballah are called “the four worlds,” which are related to the Four Living Creatures (Hebrew hayoth) that appear both in the vision of Ezekiel and the Apocalypse of St. John. From the standpoint of the four worlds, the descent from Divine Subject to human ego is not a “fall” but a progressive manifestation of God which never fundamentally departs from the Divine Nature. Leo Schaya, in The Universal Meaning of the Kaballah, describes these worlds in the following terms, as the “esoteric anatomy” of Man considered as “the image and likeness of God”:

The revelatory, creative and redemptive light of the divine Being is, so to speak, ‘refracted’ through the causal ‘prism’ of his aspects, the Sefiroth, into the indefinite multitude and variety of universal manifestation. The immense hierarchy of onto-cosmological degrees, with all they contain, is established by this ‘refraction’ of the divine light; these degrees are recapitulated in the four ‘worlds’ (olamim), namely” olam ha’atsiluth, the transcendent ‘world of emanation’ which is that of the Sefiroth; olam haberiyah, the ideal or spiritual ‘world of creation,’ filled with the divine immanence (shekhinah) alone; olam ha’yetsirah, the subtle ‘world of formation’ inhabited by angels, genii and souls; and olam ha’asiyah, the sensory and corporeal ‘world made of fact.’ (p. 26)

Man is the most perfect image of universal reality in the whole of creation; he is the ‘incarnated’ recapitulation of all the cosmic degrees and of their divine archetypes….he represents the most evident symbol of the ten Sefiroth, and his integral personality embraces all the worlds: his pure and uncreated being is identified with the Sefirothic ‘world of emanation’ ….his spirit, with the prototypical ‘world of creation’….his soul with the subtle ‘world of formation’….his body, with the sensory ‘world of fact.’ (p. 70)

The “world of emanation” is related to the Divine Subject; it is the archetype of sacred law–the ten Sefiroth being the prototypes of the Ten Commandments. The “world of creation” is related to the Divine Object; it is the archetype of wisdom and contemplation. The “world of formation” is related to the subtle form of the cosmos as the object of the individual human subject; it is the archetype of universal life-energy, of the perceived world considered as the shakti, or radiant self-manifesting energy, of that subject, by virtue of the Divine Subject hidden within it. The “world of fact” is related to the uniqueness of the human person. It is the archetype of the human subject itself, as represented by the human body, the most concrete fact of our experience. The idolatry of Law is the counterfeit of the world of emanation; the idolatry of Fate, of the world of creation; the idolatry of Chaos, of the world of formation; the idolatry of Selfhood, of the world of fact.

But what is the way out of the system of this fallen world? The true and sufficient answer to this question is: to plumb the depth and fulfill the conditions of any one of the great religions or wisdom traditions, which were sent by God to save us from our fallen, or forgetful, or ignorant human condition. And the specifically intellectual or jñanic answer–within the context of one of these traditions, sincerely embraced and fully lived–is: not to struggle with the shapes of idolatrous illusion, not to rebel against or seek power from the shadows of God, but simply to see them, and, thereby, to see through them. Behind Fate is pure contemplation, whose symbols include the Buddhist Prajñaparamita, the White Buffalo Cow Woman of the Lakota, and the Judeo-Christian Holy Wisdom. Behind Law is the prophetic function which Blake called the Imagination, by which eternal principles forever renew their covenant with the unique moments of our lives. Behind Chaos is shakti, the universal power of the Absolute, the “spirit of God” which “moved on the face of the waters,” and which, in its redemptive mode, is the cosmic attraction which returns all things to their single transcendent Source. And behind Selfhood is the unseen Seer, the One Self of All within the human heart. As we awake to these four aspects of the Divine, these “four living creatures”– by God’s grace, and by our own full and willing cooperation with it–the abstract separative ego is dissolved in the light of the One Reality.

But to return to our main subject: how does this system of idolatry, and the fallen world based upon it, relate to the Antichrist? If we take Antichrist to be an individual, we can see the four primal idols as a kind of analysis of his character. In other words, we can expect Antichrist, and the system he administers, to be simultaneously the most authoritarian, the most rebellious, the most chaotic, and the most fatalistic one imaginable. To the degree that Antichrist is the “ape of Christ,” however, his character as the quintessence of idolatry will be hidden from the people. His fatalism will tend to appear to them as certainty and assurance, his chaos as freedom and spontaneity, his rebelliousness as courage and integrity, and his authoritarianism as the aura of divine right.

All four of these elements, in one degree or another, appear in the character of Adolf Hitler, who can certainly be described as a precursor to the Antichrist. His authoritarianism is obvious, since he created an iron police state over most of Europe. But he was also a rebel, a “socialist” revolutionary, who overturned the hereditary power of the German nobility and the landowning junkers. His appeal to the generation of his time was a call to “rebellion” against real or imagined authority: the Versailles treaty, the Weimar Republic, the Jews. And yet his language, and ultimately his actions, were fatalistic. In Mein Kampf he appealed to such “gods” as “nature” and “destiny” to support the contention that his Reich was destined to last a thousand years (making it, incidentally, a satanic counterfeit of the Christian millennium). He placed great reliance on astrologers and other prognosticators. And late in the war, with Germany in full retreat, when he could have cut his losses both militarily and politically in many ways, he chose to look at Germany’s defeat in fatalistic terms. Rather than recognizing it as a tragic but not terminal setback for the nation, he saw it as a Götterdammerung, an inevitable and apocalyptic cataclysm. Far from trying to avoid this fate, he demonstrated the depth of his fate-worship by ultimately siding with it, and doing all he could to make it as destructive as possible. He ordered Germany’s vital remaining food stores and industrial plants destroyed, and even flooded the Berlin underground, killing thousands of German citizens who has taken refuge there against the invading Red Army. And apart from the chaos created by his authoritarianism, rebelliousness and fatalism, he also incorporated chaotic self-indulgence into his party program, as in the “Strength through Joy” movement within the Hitler Youth, where sexual promiscuity was made nearly compulsory. Furthermore, his erratic decision-making late in the war, to take only one of many possible examples, demonstrated the fundamental chaos of his character.

But we don’t always need to turn to Hitler to understand the system of the Antichrist, though he will always be a highly valuable case-in-point. What about present day global society? Dictatorial regimes, religious and ethnic terrorism, a multinational economic order which enriches the few and impoverishes the masses, international criminal cartels which massively profit from this state of affairs, widespread moral degeneracy which calls into being repressive moral codes and attitudes, the natural environment descending into chaos, threatening our food and oxygen supplies, spawning new diseases, various proposals to turn the human body, via genetic engineering, bionics, psychopharmacology and electronic mind-control, into a bio-technological robot in order to control this social and biological chaos, if not the ultimate fantasy of “up-loading” human consciousness into sophisticated computers and so dispensing with the body entirely-this is the state of the world we live in. And so those who want to pinpoint the exact year and month the Antichrist will appear may be missing the point: in a sense, he is here already. And even if he is destined to appear at one point as a single individual, as evangelical Christians, traditional Muslims, and Traditionalist writers (notably René Guénon and Martin Lings) all predict, nonetheless we cannot conveniently isolate him within that individual form and that historical period. He is everywhere and at all times in the fallen order of human history, because, in essence, he is nothing but the human ego in rebellion against God. He has been virtually present in the human soul, and its social expression, ever since Adam and Eve ate the apple.

In the 60’s it was generally true that those with a liberal or left-wing background would tend to see political or economic tyranny (Law) and repressive, compulsive morality (Fate) as the ultimate evils, whereas people with a right-wing, conservative background would be more likely to view as absolute the evils of violent revolution and/or criminal activity (Selfhood) and moral degeneracy (Chaos). This assessment is still accurate to a great degree. However, it has been equally true since at least the late 70’s–if not the 30’s–that “politically correct” liberals will identify with certain established governmental policies which conservatives view as tyrannical; and now that the radical anti-government torch has been passed from the leftist revolutionaries to the right-wing secessionist militias, many conservatives, both radical and moderate, perceive the government as singling them out for persecution. But in any case, I cannot stress strongly enough that these partial views, true as they may be in their own sphere, are totally insufficient to define the social manifestation of the spiritual evil we are here calling the Antichrist. Infernal evil can use any set of social mores and any political or economic system to build its power, since one of its ploys is to set up insoluble conflicts based on falsely-defined alternatives. In other words, it draws the sides wrong, so that, for example, “liberals” who think that they believe in the sanctity of life as an absolute, opposing all war and defending even the worst mass murderer against the death penalty, will find themselves supporting doctor-assisted suicide, deaf to all stories of its abuse (as well as to the understanding that it is an abuse in itself), while “conservatives” who vociferously oppose the use of illegal drugs will take somebody like Ollie North as their hero, deaf to all evidence that he may have participated in cocaine smuggling to help fund the secret Contra war. And once the conflict of good against evil is falsely defined, then all the courage and idealism in the world only goes to strengthen the evil and erode the good. Infernal forces set right against left, Jews against Muslims, women against men in such a way that their respective positions become so narrowly conceived that damage is done and darkness spread no matter which side one takes-a situation which led W.B. Yeats, in his poem “The Second Coming” which prophesies the advent of the Antichrist, to describe the latter days as a time in which “the best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity”. This is not to say, of course, that some social systems are not better than others, and that we are not sometimes called upon to take sides in social conflicts. Not all perceived oppositions are demonic delusions; to believe so is a delusion in itself. But unless we have a broad enough view of the nature of collective evil-which is nothing but the outer expression of the power of the human ego, and the infernal forces which that ego invokes, to pervert and appropriate anything it can imagine--then we will never understand the system of the Antichrist, and may consequently find ourselves unintentionally paying tribute to it, even (or especially!) in the very act of opposing it. It is true that Jesus said, “I come not to bring peace but a sword”–but he also said “resist not evil”; and “sit thou at my right hand, while I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

According to the story told in Plato’s Republic of the degeneration of human society over the course of the aeon, first comes “aristocracy,” which is identifiable with theocracy; this is rule by the “best,” the spiritual intellectuals, in Hindu terms the Brahmin caste. Next “timocracy” (“government by fear”) appears, rule by those of warlike character, the king and his courtiers, the Kshatriya caste. Next comes “oligarchy,” rule by an ill-defined class of powerful individuals-perhaps the rich merchant class, given that Plato’s other name for oligarchy is “plutocracy”. After oligarchy comes “democracy,” rule by the people. And last comes “tyranny”, rule by dictators and demagogues. Thus, according to this view, even though we may lament that we are no longer ruled by wise philosophers and noble kings (to the degree that we ever were)-remembering that the “throne” itself could be a good thing, in times when the institution was spiritually alive, even if a particular king abused his authority and so was justified in being deposed-the fact that we are now in the phase of democracy means that we must do our best hold the line here as long as possible, whatever democracy’s shortcomings (the degradation of objective truth to majority opinion, the attempt to base morality on an “enlightened self-interest” which always seems to degenerate into the worship of passions), since the only alternative, according to Plato, is tyranny. And when it finally arrives on a global scale, this tyranny-authoritarian, rebellious, chaotic and fatalistic-will be the socio-political expression (the Beast) of the mass cultural and psychic disposition of the end times (the Whore), which is in turn the reflection of a counterfeit, and thus satanic, spiritual order (the Dragon). This is one possible rendition, and I believe it is a useful one, of the system of Antichrist.

But we must be careful never to assume that whatever most repels us and seems most evil to us must be the regime of the Antichrist. In worldly terms-and “this world” has struck its roots deep in the souls of most of us-the Antichrist will look like a good proposition. He will attract us by making a perverted appeal to what is best in us. He will not only seize power; he will also appropriate values. In the Shi’ite Muslim account, the Mahdi-the Islamic “messiah,” sometimes identified with Elias, who will appear before the Second Coming of Jesus-will wear a yellow turban, and the servants of the Antichrist green ones. This is strange, since the color yellow in Islam usually symbolizes weakness, as in western folk-symbolism it stands for either cowardice or infectious disease (remembering that plague-ships used to fly yellow flags to warn others to steer clear). But green is the color of Paradise-specifically, in some systems, of the Paradise of the perfection of the Divine Immanence, which comes after the blackness of the transcendent, unknowable Divine Essence, and thus represents the highest stage of realization. So in the regime of Antichrist, as René Guénon predicted in his prophetic masterpiece The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, the significance of spiritual symbolism itself will be inverted. As it says in II Corinthians 11:14, “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”

The Antichrist, or the system which will function as his “mystical body”, must emerge in the Latter Days, at the end of the Kali-Yuga, because as the veils covering the radiance of the Divine Light have started to thin due to the coming dissolution of this world; consequently God will dawn upon all of us whether we like it or not. When the Presence of God presses in upon the human soul, due to the approach of either physical death or ego-death, the ego rises up against Him. Realizing that the full dawning of the Presence of God will mean its own annihilation, it throws up every passion, mental distraction, intellectual error and emotional obscuration in its arsenal in order to hide from the face of that radiant Divine Reality-and when it fails in this, as ultimately it must, its last ploy will be to deify itself; its final way of denying God will be to present itself as God. And it’s no different when it comes to the human collective: In its fear of the coming end of this world-which swiftly-advancing environmental destruction and the ever-present threat of thermonuclear war confront us with daily in increasingly undeniable terms-the collective psyche of global society will give birth to the Antichrist, just as the psyche of the passion-bound individual will inevitably attempt to take refuge in the ego-ultimately the self-deified ego-when confronted with the fear of death. God is rapidly approaching, faster every day-which is only another way of saying that God’s eternal Presence, here and everywhere, is becoming increasingly apparent-but the collective denial of that Presence on the part of our benighted and God-denying society is swiftly expanding too, as our increasingly widespread use of “weapons of mass distraction” makes all too apparent. God will come; Antichrist will hide Him and impersonate Him; and finally Jesus Christ-the eschatological Christ, the “rider on the white horse” who appears in both the Book of Revelations and the Bhagavata Purana, and who is equally Maitreya Buddha and the Kalki Avatara–will slay him. Truth invokes the lie, is obscured by it, and ultimately triumphs over it. In the words of the Noble Qur’an, Truth has come, falsehood has vanished away; truly falsehood is ever destined to vanish.

It is important for us to be able to see the shape and nature of Antichrist in the beliefs, actions and agendas of the collective human psyche and the global society which it projects. Without a psycho-social analysis of these dynamics based on sound spiritual principles-an analysis which is adequate to the extremely dark times in which we live- our beliefs, the quality of our consciousness, and ultimately our most crucial choices, will be dictated by that very darkness; this is why the Eastern Orthodox Christians pray that God will forgive them for sins both conscious and unconscious. But unless collective evil is progressively recognized as a projection of the ego–and, ultimately, as the projection of my ego–then it will defeat us. In the last analysis we cannot conquer and save this world, except in very limited and temporary terms, no matter how acute our analysis, how energetic our actions, and how great our sacrifice. God has not granted us this power, nor will He come to our aid if in our hubris we foolishly attempt to do His work for Him. But He will and has granted us the power to overcome our own egotism–if, that is, we have true faith in Him–and He is ready on a moment’s notice to aid us in this struggle. The war against the Antichrist may begin as the “lesser jihad”, the battle against outer conditions, but it can only end after it has been transformed into the “greater jihad”, the battle against the Dragon Within. And when the sword of askesis and gnosis is drawn in that battle, it encounters no alien flesh, it meets no enemy–because only God is.


 

Satan Meaning

 


Meaning

Satan comes from the Hebrew word meaning “the adversary.” In the Old Testament the term Satan when used commonly refers to a function, not a proper name. An example is seen in the Chronicles of Jerahmeel, the fallen angel is described as the chief of the Satans. Gradually throughout the generations Satan became the Adversary par excellence, the infernal Lord of Demons governing the armies of Hell.

However, in the Book of Job Satan makes him memorable appearance as the Adversary when with God’s permission he tests Job’s faithfulness to God. Throughout the Old Testament and into the New Testament Satan retains this position as tempter of men on the behalf of God and adversary. In the New Testament he stands in direct opposition to Christ, therefore the zenith of evil. Many no longer recognize the importance the importance of Satan’s position as the tempter of men because they think that over all the generations the humankind has betrayed the Lord that God would have acknowledged humankind’s weaknesses and depend less on Satanic temptation. Therefore it is generally acknowledged that the principle role of Satan and the multitude of demons or devils which he commands is to torture and torment human beings. This includes Satanists who ally with and depend on Satan in mutual supporting role to carry out their plans. Many Satanists figure the trouble which Satan and his demons give them just strengthens them.

The main description of him originates from the Abrahamic Religions, Hebrew, as the accuser. He is evil personified, the tempter of men. He acquired this position, according to Hebrew tradition, by sinning against God. Generally this is described as a sin of pride. Other legends say the God wanted Satan to honor, bow to man, and Satan refused. Some add that he loved God so that he refused to bow to the human. This made God, Yahweh the jealous God of the Jews, furious and he cast him from heaven into hell. From hell he became the accuser and tempter of the human race. This is the role he played in Genesis, tempting Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the Book of Job, tempting Job.

As the tempter Satan tests men to sees if they will remain faithful to God. According to Hebrew tradition he does so with God’s permission. Such belief is continued in Christian tradition. However, this belief has declined among many because of man’s many failures throughout the centuries; they reason God no longer needs to tempt man to know he will be unfaithful. Also, the entire concept of God testing man seems ridiculous if God is omniscience since God knows the past, present, and future, therefore, God knows the future actions of men, also Adam. If God needs to test men then he is not omniscience.

Within the previous argument that Satan refused to adore man which caused God’s anger one sees another contradiction. Both God and Satan are spiritual deities, therefore, why would God ask Satan to adore physical man? This conviction just makes sense only when viewing it from the human viewpoint. God would not ask a spiritual being to adore a physical one, a spiritual being possesses more powerful qualities and capabilities. Two explanations are possible: the jealous Jewish God was unjustly exercting his power or this portion of the legend was written by man so to emphasize man’s importance.

In spite of the previous contradictions most Christians continue holding the Biblical concept of Satan; he is a malevolent spiritual god-like being possessing demonic (evil) powers who opposes God and tempts and torments mankind. Seen as the Devil, who can do no good, the opposite of Christ, is view which can be traced back to Zoroastrianism, the two opposing brothers, good and evil.

But this dark view of Satan has not always been held by everyone. The Gnosticic Christians around the second century BCE held Satan befriended man. He gave him knowledge and enlightenment, gnosis. The God of the orthodox Christians was the demiurge; he entrapped the soul of man within the material, the flesh.

One can find such sentiment within modern Satanists, particularly those believing that Satan is only an energy force, and the theistic Satanists who believe Satan to be both a deity and a force. La Veyan Satanists of the Church of Satan only honor Satan as a force whereas the theistic Satanists honor him both as a deity and a force. Both do not view Satan as all evil but as helping others deserving of the help and themselves. Also, and most important, the theistic Satanists do not fear the lost of their souls as Christians do but vigorously use their souls to help themselves and others deserving their help.

Satan is equivalent in infernal rank to LuciferLeviathanBelial as they all have placed at the head on the infernal hierarchy by various traditions. Berbiguier in his nineteeth-century work Les Fardates depicts Satan as a deposed prince and leader of an opposition which was ousted by Beelzebub. This same hierarchy is again described and repeated by A. E. Waite in his treatment of the Grand Grimoire. In Mathers’ 1898 translation of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, Satan is identified as one of the four principle spirits overseeing all other demons in the work. Satan is equal in rank to Lucifer, Leviathan, and Belial in the Munich Handbook. In this work he is invoked several times but frequently his name is spelled SathanA.G.H.


Sources:

Belanger, Michelle. The Dictionary of Demons: Names of the Damned. Llewellen Publications. 2010. ebook.
Chrinicles of Jerahmeel. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronicles_of_Jerahmeel>
Chrinicles of Jerahmeel. <http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/coj/index.htm>

Rosary

The Holy Rosary Definition, Catholic, How to pray, Mysteries, Meaning


The Catholic Rosary resembles prayer beads, used as counters, of the Eastern religions, particularly Hinduism. In fact, the first rosaries were probably knotted string or cords dating back to antiquity. Other prayer counters, knotted ropes, originated in the fourth century by the Church Fathers of the Eastern orthodox and Eastern-Rite Catholic Churches. These rosaries were used when praying the Jesus Prayer or the Prayer of the Heart which was composed simply as “Lord, have mercy” or “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.” Other counting methods, such as pebbles and pegboards, were also used by the early Desert Fathers. The various initial type rosaries eventually evolved into the great variety availed today.

In the Western Church, according to the Roman Breviary, The Rosary is a form of prayer which consists of praying five decades or ten Hail Marys (Ave Maria) with the Our Father (Pater noster) and Glory be to the Father (Gloria Patri) between each of the ten. While reciting each of the fifteen decades the one praying is to be in pious meditation upon the mysteries of the Redemption.

The Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee;
blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now
and at the hour of our death.

The origin of the Rosary, according to tradition, began in 1214 when the Virgin Mary gave St. Dominic (c. 1170-1221) the Rosary in the similar form as it exists today except with various wordings of the Hail Mary. It seems the troubling occasion was the Albigensian heresy. During the devastation of the heresy within the area of Toulouse St. Dominic besought the help of the Virgin; she, in turn, instructed him to preach the Rosary to the people to ward off the heresy and sin. Since that time the Rosary has been firmly established within the Church through the apostolic letters of various pontiffs beginning with Pope Leo XIII in 1883. All the encyclicals describe the same form of prayer as the Rosary and instituted by St. Dominic as a historical fact.

This historical fact is challenged by archeological evidence of numerous papers and works written by and about St. Dominic which do not mention the rosary or draw any connection between it and the saint. There was no allusion to the Rosary in the eight or nine early works of the saint’s life. Witnesses that gave evidence for cause of his canonization were equally reticent. This in itself is a strange coincidence since Mary and the Rosary are so admired by the Church. Furthermore, the constitutions of the different parishes of the Dominican order of the time make no reference of the devotion. There are thousands of pages of information concerning St. Dominic which bear no mention of the Rosary.

However, the biographer of St. Albert (d. 1140) description of the man “A hundred times a day he bent his knees, and fifty times he prostrated himself raising his body again by his fingers and toes, while he repeated at every genuflexion: ‘Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb’.” The name of Jesus was added by St. Bernardino of Siena (1380-1444). In summary, there is historical information that St. Dominic did not institute the Rosary. There are indications that the initial formulations of the rite begun long before St. Dominic. Others before him were practicing saying the fifteen prescribed decades of the, the doxology. Hail Marys with the Our Father and Glory be to the Father determinedly spaced between them. The mysteries to be meditated upon were not introduced until some two hundred years after St. Dominic’s death. Then, the question still remains, why was St. Dominic given encyclical credit for introducing the Rosary to the people.

An answer to this question seemed to have been discovered by the Bollandists, an association of ecclesiastical scholars engaged in editing the Acta Sanctorum, who sought to trace the origin of current tradition. Their findings converged upon the preaching of the Dominican Alan de Rupe, around the years 1470-1475. Apparently he was the first to suggest that St. Dominic instituted or revived the devotion of “Our Lady’s Psalter” (one hundred and fifty Hail Marys). It was agreed that de Rupe was a very earnest and devout person but possessed by delusions that caused him to base his revelations on the testimony of writers that never existed. His preaching, however, was well attended leading to the establishment of the Confraternities of the Rosary by de Rupe and his colleagues in Douai, Cologne. De Rupe gained some reputation in the surrounding area that led to printing of books impregnated with his ideas. For these good works he repeatedly received indulgences as was the practice in this uncritical area. The historical information inspired by de Rupe’s writings was later contributed by the confraternities themselves in the usual way thus increasing the Dominican influence. The first Papal Bulls wrote of the Rosary’s authorship with some reserve but later pontiffs used less caution thus allowing St. Dominic believed to be the author.

Traditionally the recitation of the Rosary means praying five decades of Hail Marys. Assigned to each decade are mysteries of faith which the person is to meditate as he prays the decade. These mysteries are prescribed and are to be meditated upon on certain days of the week. The Joyful Mysteries, said on Mondays and Saturdays, are The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Nativity of Our Lord, The Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, and The Finding in the Temple. The Sorrowful Mysteries, said on Tuesdays and Fridays, are The Agony in the Garden; The Scourging at the Pillar, The Crowning with Thorns, The Carrying of the Cross, and The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus. The Glorious Mysteries, said on Wednesdays and Sundays, are The Resurrection of the Lord; The Ascension of the Lord, The Descent of the Holy Ghost, The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 2002, Pope John Paul II in an encyclical letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (October 2002) recommended an additional set of Luminus Mysteries (or the “Mysteries of Light”), said on Thursdays, which are The Baptism of Jesus; The Wedding at Cana, The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God, The Transfiguration, and The Institution of the Eucharist.

The Rosary has always been used as a form of punishment in the Catholic Church throughout Europe; during the Middle Ages people were frequently forced to wear heavy rosary beads around their necks and occasionally made to stand in front of the cathedral, sometimes in sackcloth, where they were ridiculed. Often the victims were just guilty of minor sacrilegious acts such as falling asleep in church, not giving enough during the taking up of collection, or just not coming to church at all. Even though the Rosary was instituted to honor Jesus and Mary, it can be seen that it also has been used to serve the Church to keep the flock in line.

Even today priests frequently give the Rosary as a form of penance following the absolution for sins in confession. Penance given in this manner is not usually meant as a punishment, but as a form of reflection and spiritual growth to help the penitent to abstain from sin. A.G.H.

What is the Rosary

The Rosary, one of the most widespread Marian devotions in the Christian people and which stems from the apostolic zeal of Santo Domingo, is for the Dictionary: “Prayer of the Church, commemorating the twenty principal mysteries of Life of Jesus Christ and the Virgin, reciting after each one an Our Father, ten Hail Marys and a Gloria Patri. “In truth, there are enunciated the essential elements that constitute it, to which are added, according to regions and devotions, other also important . If we are allowed, we could say that the rosary is made up of first quality evangelical materials: the selection of the mysteries, ordered in four groups, joyful, luminous, painful and glorious, which are decisive steps of Jesus and Mary that lead us Of the Annunciation and Incarnation until the coming of the Spirit and the coronation of the Virgin; The prayer that Jesus taught us to address the Father, and that which the tradition of the Church has prepared to greet Mary, using in part the words addressed to her by the Angel and her cousin Elizabeth; And, as a finishing touch to every ten Hail Marys, the formula of trinitarian praise. It is necessary to add that meditation and contemplation of the mysteries are essential parts of the Rosary, without which his prayer would remain like a body without soul, and the vocal prayers impregnated of that climate of prayer and devotion. The Church celebrates on October 7 the feast of Our Lady, the Virgin of the Rosary.

rosary

How to pray

1. Make the sign of the cross and pray the symbol of the apostles or the act of contrition
2. Pray the Lord’s Prayer
3. Pray 3 Hail Mary and Glory.
4. Announce the first mystery. Pray the Lord’s Prayer.
5. Pray 10 Hail Marys, Glory and Jaculatoria.
6. Announce the second mystery. Pray the Lord’s Prayer.
7. Pray 10 Hail Marys, Glory and Jaculatoria.
8. Announce the third mystery. Pray the Lord’s Prayer.
9. Pray 10 Hail Marys, Glory and Jaculatoria.
10. Announce the fourth mystery. Pray the Lord’s Prayer.
11. Pray 10 Hail Marys, Glory and Jaculatoria.
12. Announce the fifth mystery. Pray the Lord’s Prayer.
13. Pray 10 Hail Marys, Glory and Jaculatoria.
14. Pray the Salve

SIGN OF THE CROSS + By the sign of the Holy Cross, of our enemies, deliver us Lord, our God. + In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

SYMBOL OF THE APOSTLES I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under the power of Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried, descended into hell, Day rose from the dead, ascended to the heavens and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the flesh and eternal life. Amen.

ACT OF CONTRICTION Lord my Jesus Christ, God and true Man, Creator, Father and Redeemer of mine; For being you who are infinite goodness, and because I love you above all things, it grieves me with all my heart to have offended you; Also weighs me because you can punish me with the pains of hell. Helped by your divine grace, I firmly propose never to sin again, to confess myself and to fulfill the penance

OUR FATHER Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; let your kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; Do not let us fall into temptation and deliver us from evil. Amen.

AVE MARIA God save you, Mary; full of grace; the Lord is with you; Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

GLORY Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, and for ever and ever. Amen.

JACULATORIES You can use one of these two: Mary, Mother of grace, Mother of mercy, defend us from our enemies and cleanse us now and at the hour of our death. Amen. O Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell and guide all souls to Heaven, especially those who need more of your mercy. (Prayer of Fatima).

HAIL God save you, Queen and Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope; God saves you. We call you the exiled sons of Eve; To You we sigh, groaning and weeping, in this valley of tears. Therefore, Lady, our advocate, return to us those your merciful eyes; And after this exile show us Jesus, blessed fruit of your womb. Oh most clement, oh pious, oh sweet ever Virgin Mary! Pray for us, Holy Mother of God, so that we may be worthy to reach the promises of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Sentence. Omnipotent and everlasting God, who with the co-operation of the Holy Spirit, prepared the body and soul of the glorious Virgin and Mother Mary so that she would be worthy to be the abode of your Son; Grant us that, as we celebrate with joy his commemoration, by his pious intercession we may be freed from present evils and eternal death. By the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Mysteries

JOYFUL MYSTERIES (Monday and Saturday) 1. The Incarnation of the Son of God. 2. The Visitation of Our Lady to St. Elizabeth. 3. The Birth of the Son of God. 4. The Purification of the Blessed Virgin. 5. The Loss of the Child Jesus and his find in the temple.

PAINFUL MYSTERIES (Tuesday and Friday) 1. Our Lord’s Prayer in the Garden. 2. The Flagellation of the Lord. 3. Coronation of thorns. 4. The Way of Mount Calvary. 5. The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord.

GLORIOUS MYSTERIES (Wednesday and Sunday) 1. The Resurrection of the Lord. 2. The Ascension of the Lord. 3. The Coming of the Holy Spirit. 4. The Assumption of Our Lady to the Heavens. 5. The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin.

LUMINOUS MYSTERIES (Thursday) [1] 1. The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan. 2. The Self-revelation of Jesus at the wedding of Cana. 3. The proclamation of the Kingdom of God inviting conversion. 4. The Transfiguration. 5. The institution of the Eucharist.   New mysteries proposed by John Paul II to the contemplation of believers in the Apostolic Letter “Rosarium Virginis Mariae” (16-10-2002.) They are called mysteries of light or luminous mysteries because in his public life Christ manifests itself as a mystery of light : “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (Jn 9: 5). These new mysteries are prayed on Thursday, passing the second contemplation of the joyous mysteries to the Sabbath.


Sources:

Alan de Rupe, <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01246a.htm>

Albigensian heresy, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albigensian>
<http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01267e.htm>

Bollandists, <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02630a.htm>

Hail Mary, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hail_Mary>
<http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07110b.htm>

Rosary, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosary>, <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13184b.htm>

Resurrection of the body

 


Resurrection of the body is an important Christian belief that the body is reunited with the soul after it has been separated by death. It is revealed through scriptures although many details describing its exact occurrence are not given.

The article of faith within the Apostles’ Creed was the expression of faith by the early Church in the teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles. It was also intended to confront the Manichaen
heresy that there is an essential antagonism between matter and spirit, that matter is by nature evil, and accordingly the soul of man is degraded by its union with the body. It was thought that such a statement of confrontation dignified the human body as well as the spirit, and both the soul and body were destined for immortality.

A summary of scripture teaching may be presented as follows: The body shall rise again. The integrity of man’s being, a creature of soul and body, shall be restored. In some sense the identity shall be preserved. The body will be changed and relined so to fit its new surroundings in the future life. It will be the “glorified body” of the saints. This is believed because of the belief in Christ’s resurrection, for he said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).

The theological significance of the bodily resurrection is present in the New Testament and is variously expressed by God’s vindicating Jesus and raising him to his right hand in heaven (Acts 2:34-36); as an anticipation of the general resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:14); as Christ’s victory over death (1 Corinthians 15:57); and as the basis for a new life as Christians (Romans 4:24). A.G.H.


Sources:

Unger, Merrill F., Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Chicago, Moody Press, 1966, p. 921
Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 813