Search This Blog

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Bright and Sudden Cognition (Part I)

                The Story of How I Came to the Knowlege Leading to Atavist Biblicism (Part I)

It was a Saturday seemingly no different than any other. Around midday I had received long anticipated mail from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain State. Eagerly I opened the letters, hoping the copies of the Arabic New Testament had been been received with joy. They were not. Each of my friends expressed horror and outrage that I had sent them such a despicable book with such heinous claims for Jesus of Nazareth. I remember the letter from Saudi Arabia said, “I received the package and opened it, when I saw the book I opened it at Mark the first chapter and saw it, The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;' and I quickly closed it!” This was a massive miscalculation on my part. I had believed five of my one hundred pen-pals were at least ready and open to reading the New Testament. I was very wrong. And I felt vulnerable. I began to pray to God, asking him to make me strong becauseI felt as weak as water. They said God could not have a Son.
     They said Jesus was only a prophet—but a mere man. They said the New Testament was corrupted by Christians to say otherwise. I prayed, O, God, give me strength! Show me Christianity is the truth! Refresh me! Help me! Wearied, I sat down with my Bible and resolved that I would read an entire book of the New Testament with but one purpose in mind: to reflect on the story of our Lord as if I was there in the theater of antiquity. I chose the Gospel According to Luke (I don't know why). I began at chapter one and read all the way to chapter 11. And it was there that I came upon a discussion I had surely read countless times before,
“And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of robbery and wickedness. Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also? But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you. But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: that ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets. Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are unaware of them.”

    What Jesus was saying got my undivided attention. Before this I had never read this as Jesus basically upbraiding (or, if you prefer, dressing down) the Pharisees and the Scribes. I had been trained, from early on, to see these excoriations as aimed directly at generic and nebulous “religious people”—or, more than likely, Roman Catholics. So I had never ever seen or understood these passages as examples Jesus aiming charges at the synagogue of his day. I read on with deep interest:

“Then answered one of the Lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also. And he said, Woe unto you also, ye Lawyers! For ye burden men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe unto you!  For ye build the supulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation . . .”

     Jesus was telling the Pharisees, Scribes and Lawyers of his time that the crimes of murder from the foundation of the world would be required of his contemporary generation! I was amazed! Although I knew the Bible very well and considered myself a “Walking Bible,” somehow I had never remembered reading this or ever seeing it. I read on. “From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zechariah, which ye slew between the altar and the Temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.” There. He said it again—“It shall be required of this generation”! My mind began to percolate. Hadn't I read of a city in the Book of Revelation that was paying for killing the prophets, apostles and saints? It seemed so, but I wasn't sure. But I grabbed my copy of Strong's Exhaustive Concordance and looked up the word, 'blood.' And there it was—Revelation 18:24!~ I quickly turned to it and read it with awe and amazement: “And in her [Babylon] was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” Another reference sent me back to Matthew 23:29-39. In verse 36 there, he stated again, “Verily I say unto you, All these thingsshall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

     My head began to spin like a top! How could this be!? How could this city not be who I, all my life, was taught she was?! Could it be that Jerusalem committed the crimes Babylon the Great in Revelation was also paying for? Could Jerusalem be Babylon? The idea seemed crazy on its very face! It seemed to be so obvious and yet so utterly ridiculous at once! And then it hit me all at once! Something happened a long time ago that I do not know about! I began to tremble uncontrollably. Cold beads of sweat broke out on my forehead and an ill feeling washed over me. My strength seemed to flow out of my heels. I looked to my left and I saw down a long tunnel what looked like bright flashes of fire and dark billows of smoke!

     Something had happened! It was something big and something dangerous! It was something very, very serious! Something singularly unusual! Something exceptionally grave had happened a long, long time ago, and I had never been told about it! In utter amazement and trepidation, I thought to myself, What church teaches this?

No comments:

Post a Comment