AT LONG LAST WE BEGIN THE SYNOPTIC OVERVIEW OF THE NEW TESTAMENT!
JUST THINK, IN RAPID FIRE WE HAVE COVERED THE HIGH POINTS OF MOST OF THE TEXTS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT, THE BOOK OF ENOCH, AND THE APOCRYPHA.
THESE AMAZING BOOKS ARE RIDDLED WITH TALES OF THE RISE AND FALL OF MAN, AND THE TERRIBLE ACTIONS, CONFLICTS AND WARS OF ISRAEL. HOWEVER, THESE ARE THE LESSONS OF HISTORY WE ALL HAVE TO RECOGNIZE.
FOR NOTHING IN CURRENT EVENTS HAS CHANGED, THE SAME LESSONS ARE NOW BEFORE US HERE IN THE LAST DAYS.
WE FINALLY GET TO THE GOOD NEWS (OR GOSPEL) OF THE SCRIPTURES KNOWN AS THE NEW TESTAMENT.
I WILL NOTE THAT 2017 IS A VERY IMPORTANT TIME IN HUMAN HISTORY AS OUR WORLD IS ON THE PRECIPICE OF UTTER DESTRUCTION, AND ALL AROUND US IS CATASTROPHIC SOCIAL, CULTURAL AND POLITICAL CHANGE.
I KNOW THIS SERIES WILL HELP EACH ONE OF US MAKE POSITIVE CHOICES FOR THE PROFOUND COMING CHANGES AND CONFLICTS.
STUDYING THE ACCOUNTS AND WORDS OF CHRIST IS THE BEST PERSONAL SURVIVAL COURSE THERE IS.
THE GOSPEL (OR GOOD NEWS) ACCORDING TO SAINT MATTHEW —
MATTHEW WAS A TAX COLLECTOR IN CAPERNAUM, WHO WAS CALLED TO BE AN APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST. HE HAD A THOROUGH KNOWLEDGE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT RECORD. TRADITION ASSERTS THAT HE DIED A MARTYR’S DEATH.
HERE IS HIS TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST —
SAINT MATTHEW CHAPTER 1 SYNOPSIS:
MATTHEW BEGINS BY LISTING THE GENERATIONS FROM ABRAHAM LEADING TO JESUS BIRTH OF MARY. (YOU MAY READ THIS FOR YOURSELF).
THE STORY OF CHRIST BEGINS ~
MARY WAS MARRIED TO JOSEPH. SHE WAS A VIRGIN FOUND TO BE WITH CHILD OF THE HOLY GHOST.
JOSEPH WAS A JUST MAN AND THOUGHT PERHAPS INSTEAD OF PUBLICLY EMBARRASSING MARY HE WOULD DIVORCE HER IN SECRET. HOWEVER, AN ANGEL APPEARED IN JOSEPH’S DREAMS TELLING HIM MARY HAD CONCEIVED CHILD OF THE HOLY GHOST. THE ANGEL SAID SHE WOULD BRING FORTH JESUS (MEANING SAVIOUR) FOR HE SHALL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS.
JESUS IS ALSO REFERRED TO AS “EMMANUEL” (MEANING, “GOD WITH US”).
JOSEPH AND MARY DID NOT LIE TOGETHER AS MAN AND WIFE UNTIL JESUS WAS BORN.
SAINT MATTHEW CHAPTER 2 SYNOPSIS:
BIBLE SCHOLARS ESTIMATE THE BIRTH OF CHRIST TO BE 3 TO 8 A.D.
JESUS WAS BORN IN BETHLEHEM IN THE DAYS OF KING HEROD.
AT THAT TIME THERE CAME WISE MEN TRAVELING FROM THE EAST SAYING, “WHERE IS HE THAT IS BORN KING OF THE JEWS?” A NEW STAR IN THE SKY GUIDED THEM. (WE ARE NOT TOLD HOW MANY WISE MEN THERE WERE NOR WHO THEY MIGHT HAVE BEEN). OBVIOUSLY, THEY WERE LED BY THE HOLY GHOST TO WITNESS THE BIRTH OF CHRIST, FOR THEY HAD COME TO WORSHIP THE CHILD.
KING HEROD OF JUDAEA WAS TROUBLED BY THIS NEWS AND HE GATHERED TOGETHER ALL THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND SCRIBES. HE DEMANDED OF THEM WHERE THIS CHRIST SHOULD BE BORN. BY READING THE PROPHETS THEY KNEW IT WAS BETHLEHEM. HEROD SENDS THE WISE MEN TO BETHLEHEM TO FIND THE BABY JESUS, RETURN TO HIM AND REPORT. HEROD TELLS THEM “THAT I MAY COME AND WORSHIP HIM ALSO”, (BUT HE REALLY WANTED TO KILL JESUS).
THE WISE MEN FOLLOWED THE STAR TO JESUS. WHEN THEY SAW HIM THEY FELL DOWN TO WORSHIP HIM. THEY GAVE HIM GIFTS OF GOLD, FRANKINCENSE AND MYRRH.
THE WISE MEN WERE WARNED BY GOD IN A DREAM NOT TO RETURN TO HEROD, SO THEY DEPARTED ANOTHER WAY INTO THEIR OWN COUNTRY.
AN ANGEL APPEARS TO JOSEPH (THE STEP FATHER OF JESUS) SAYING, “TAKE MARY AND JESUS INTO EGYPT BECAUSE HEROD WILL SEEK TO KILL HIM.” THEY GO.
WHEN THE WISE MEN DID NOT RETURN TO HEROD HE WAS ANGRY AND HAD ALL THE CHILDREN (TWO YEARS OLD AND UNDER) KILLED IN BETHLEHEM AND IN THE COASTS SURROUNDING.
HOWEVER, WHEN HEROD FINALLY DIED, AN ANGEL CAME TO JOSEPH IN EGYPT SAYING “TAKE YOUR FAMILY BACK TO ISRAEL”.
SO JOSEPH MOVED HIS FAMILY TO NAZARETH (WE DO NOT SPECIFICALLY KNOW HOW OLD JESUS WAS AT THIS TIME, PROBABLY PRE-TEEN).
THUS IT WAS FULFILLED WHICH WAS SPOKEN BY THE PROPHETS, “HE SHALL BE CALLED A NAZARENE”.
SAINT MATTHEW CHAPTER 3 SYNOPSIS:
IN THOSE DAYS CAME JOHN THE BAPTIST PREACHING IN THE WILDERNESS OF JUDAEA SAYING,
“REPENT FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND”. (REMEMBER ISAIAH PROPHESIED OF THE COMING OF JOHN THE BAPTIST. SEE ISAIAH 40:3.)
JOHN THE BAPTIST WORE A CAMEL HAIR GARMENT AND A LEATHER GIRDLE. HIS DIET CONSISTED OF LOCUSTS AND WILD HONEY.
HE ATTRACTED LARGE CROWDS FROM JERUSALEM AND ALL JUDAEA. HE BAPTIZED MANY IN THE RIVER JORDAN HAVING CONFESSED THEIR SINS.
WHEN JOHN SAW THE SADUCEES AND PHARISEES (SADUCEES: A PRIESTLY JEWISH ARISTOCRACY WHOM DID NOT BELIEVE IN ANGELS OR IMMORTALITY; PHARISEES: ANOTHER JEWISH RELIGIOUS GROUP WHOM WERE STRICT OBSERVERS OF THE LAW OF MOSES AND BELIEVED IN IMMORTALITY AND ANGELS. BOTH OF THESE GROUPS WERE PRIDEFUL AND OBSTINATE) COME TO HIS BAPTISM HE SAID TO THEM,
“O GENERATION OF VIPERS, WHO HAS WARNED YOU TO FLEE FROM THE WRATH TO COME? BRING FORTH FRUIT WORTHY OF REPENTANCE. DON’T THINK WITHIN YOURSELVES WE HAVE ABRAHAM FOR OUR FATHER, ANYONE CAN BE A CHILD OF ABRAHAM. NOW THE AXE IS LAID TO THE ROOT OF THE TREES, AND EVERY TREE, WHICH DOESN’T BRING GOOD FRUIT, IS CUT DOWN AND PUT INTO THE FIRE.
I INDEED BAPTIZE YOU WITH WATER UNTO REPENTANCE, BUT HE THAT COMES AFTER ME (REFERRING TO JESUS) IS MIGHTIER THAN I WHOSE SHOES I AM NOT WORTHY TO BEAR, HE SHALL BAPTIZE YOU WITH THE HOLY GHOST AND WITH FIRE. WHOSE FAN (POWER TO SPREAD CLEANSING FIRE) IS IN HIS HAND, AND HE WILL THOROUGHLY PURGE HIS FLOOR (EARTH), AND GATHER HIS WHEAT (THE RIGHTEOUS) INTO THE GARNER; BUT HE WILL BURN UP THE CHAFF (THE WICKED) WITH UNQUENCHABLE FIRE”.
THIS “FAN” METAPHOR IS ACTUALLY A METHOD OF PURIFICATION OR DESTRUCTION (SEE JEREMIAH 51:2).
JOHN SPEAKS NOT OF SOME IMPENDING ACTION OF CHRIST IN THOSE DAYS, BUT MAKES PROPHETIC REFERENCE TO THE TIME OF THE SECOND COMING WHEN CHRIST WILL PURIFY THE WORLD WITH FIRE, SEPARATING THE WHEAT (THE RIGHTEOUS) FROM THE CHAFF (THE WICKED).
JESUS CAME FROM GALILEE TO JORDAN TO BE BAPTIZED OF JOHN.
JOHN FORBADE JESUS TO DO SO SAYING (RECOGNIZING JESUS FOR THE AUTHORITY HE IS),
“I HAVE NEED TO BE BAPTIZED OF YOU, AND WHY DO YOU COME TO ME?”
JESUS TELLS JOHN IT IS NECESSARY TO FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS.
JOHN PROCEEDS WITH THE BAPTISM OF CHRIST.
AND JESUS, WHEN HE WAS BAPTIZED WENT STRAIGHTWAY OUT OF THE WATER (TOTAL IMMERSION BAPTISM) AND THE HEAVENS WERE OPENED TO HIM, AND HE SAW THE SPIRIT OF GOD DESCENDING LIKE A DOVE AND LIGHTING UPON HIM: AND A VOICE FROM HEAVEN WAS HEARD SAYING, “THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED”.
SAINT MATTHEW CHAPTER 4 SYNOPSIS:
JESUS IS LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT INTO THE WILDERNESS TO BE TEMPTED OF THE DEVIL.
COMMENT: WHY DID JESUS DO THIS BEFORE BEGINNING HIS MINISTRY?
Before St Matthew talks about Jesus wilderness fasting, he shows how Christ recreates the history of God’s other “son,” Israel, by drawing the parallel with the Jesus travel as a child to and from Israel with the exodus of the Jewish people as denoted in Hosea 11:1:
“When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.”
The Messiah would fulfill all the commandments, which were not followed too often in Israel’s history. Their wandering for forty years in the wilderness was because of their disobedience and sins, but our Lord spent forty days in the wilderness in complete obedience to the commandments, and in particular, fasting without complaint, while the Jews in the wilderness incessantly complained about the food they ate.
JESUS FASTS 40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS AND WAS HUNGRY.
SATAN COMES TO HIM AND SAYS,”IF YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD, COMMAND THESE STONES TO TURN INTO BREAD”.
JESUS TELLS HIM, “IT IS WRITTEN MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD.”
Our ego used by Satan always hijacks the truth by masking reality for illusion; in essence, the ego is the anchor to the physical perspective. But Jesus overcomes this perspective. He tells Satan that man does not live by bread alone (physical existence), but by every word from the mouth of God (spirit). In fact since Jesus denies the bread completely, pointing to the ultimate truth beyond the veil of the physical realm and residing in the spiritual realm.
But as the next few verses reveal, SATAN/ ego will never quit here. Now Jesus has to deal with the SATAN on the next level.
JESUS IS TAKEN BY THE DEVIL AND STANDS UPON THE PINNACLE OF THE TEMPLE, SATAN SAYS TO HIM,
“IF YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD, CAST YOURSELF DOWN, FOR IT IS WRITTEN, HE SHALL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE CONCERNING YOU AND IN THEIR HANDS THEY SHALL BEAR YOU UP, LEST AT ANY TIME YOU SHOULD DASH YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.”
JESUS TELLS HIM, “IT IS WRITTEN AGAIN, YOU SHALL NOT TEMPT THE LORD YOUR GOD.”
Remember, Jesus is on the path to higher consciousness. Jesus continues to surrender his ego. In this way Jesus uses Devil/ego as a springboard to higher consciousness. The key is surrender. Remember, our desires and emotions are another part of our ego that furthers to anchor us in the lower planes of consciousness, and usually negative emotions are implanted into our subconscious by the ego itself and the Devil builds upon that foundation.
After this temptation Christ has one more major test that we all must go through on the path to Christ consciousness. In a last desperate attempt of the ego to shake the foundations of Jesus’ detachment to the physical world, the ego unleashes its greatest temptation by offering to give Jesus anything he desires:
AGAIN THE DEVIL TAKES JESUS TO AN EXCEEDINGLY HIGH MOUNTAIN AND IS SHOWN ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD AND THEIR GLORY (PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE). SATAN SAYS TO JESUS, “ALL THESE THINGS WILL I GIVE TO YOU, IF YOU WILL FALL DOWN AND WORSHIP ME.”
JESUS REBUKES HIM SAYING, “GET YOU HENCE SATAN FOR IT IS WRITTEN YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND HIM ONLY SHALL YOU SERVE.”
SATAN LEAVES AND ANGELS MINISTER TO CHRIST. THE 40 DAY FAST IN THE WILDERNESS ENDS IN VICTORY FOR JESUS!
But Jesus so completely overcomes desire that he remains detached from all that this world has to offer! This is the way of the master! Remember, we are sojourners on this earth. We should be looking for a heavenly redemption. Attachment to this world and what this world offers keeps us anchored to the process of life and death in the 3D world.
So ultimately Jesus in this story represents the Christ in each of us that has the power to defeat the ego! During this time, Jesus was involved in some serious meditation. The entire process of Jesus defeating Satan is about surrendering oneself in meditation so that you can see the ego for what it really is.
In a related vein of thought, many years ago I was a student of a several famous American Indian medicine men. For various reasons I wound up engaged in the Amerind ritual of vision quest, where an initiate participates in a 4 day fasting and prayer isolation ceremony in select remote wilderness areas. For the Indians it is a coming of age ritual for their youth to reach adulthood and there are 4 consecutive summer vision quests to reach true adulthood. This ritual places one’s life in perspective through visions of past, present and future by utilizing nature, prayer, fasting and the isolation of 4 days and nights as a spiritual catalyst for guidance in ongoing life. As a Christian, it always amazed me that Christianity never co-opted an archetype of how Christ began his mission to the world. I wanted to know what HE went through on some scale. The Indians I did vision quest with understood I was a Christian and that God the Father, the Son Jesus, and the Holy Ghost was whom traveled up to the mountain with me each summer. You can read these incredible accounts of vision quest (and much more in the way of the topical) in my bombastic and revelatory book Wild Willful Heart.
I GET TIRED OF EXPLAINING TO SOME NARROW MINDED CHRISTIANS ABOUT WHY I ENGAGED MYSELF IN VISION QUEST! THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH VISION QUEST IF YOU HAVE COURAGE, HAVE PREPARED FOR IT AND TAKE THE RIGHT GOD TO THE MOUNTAIN WITH YOU IN FAITH!
FELLOW FLAT EARTHERS, BE ADVISED OF THE FOLLOWING— JOB INFORMS HIS PROUD FRIENDS OF THINGS THEY SHOULD ALREADY UNDERSTAND—
New International Version (NIV)
7 But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
9 Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind.
TOO, IN THE ACCOUNT OF CHRIST’S 40 DAYS IN THE WILDERNESS WE HEAR FROM THE APOSTLE MARK—
Amplified Bible (AMP)
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
10 And when He came up out of the water, at once he [John] saw the heavens torn open and the Holy Spirit like a dove coming down [to enter] into Him.
11 And there came a voice out from within heaven, You are My Beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.
12 Immediately the Holy Spirit [from within] drove Him out into the wilderness (desert),
13 And He (Jesus) stayed in the wilderness (desert) forty days, being tempted [all the while] by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels ministered to Him [continually].
WE RETURN TO THE REST OF THE ACCOUNT OF MATTHEW CHAPTER 4—
JESUS IS NOW PREPARED TO BEGIN HIS MINISTRY TO THE ENTIRE WORLD!
JESUS HEARD THAT JOHN THE BAPTIST WAS NOW IN PRISON AND HE DEPARTED INTO GALILEE, TO DWELL IN CAPERNAUM.
HE BEGAN TO PREACH SAYING, “REPENT FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND.”
WHILE WALKING BY THE SEA OF GALILEE, JESUS SAW TWO BROTHERS, PETER AND ANDREW CASTING NETS INTO THE SEA. (THEY WERE FISHERMEN BY TRADE).
JESUS SAID TO THEM, “FOLLOW ME, AND I WILL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN.” (THIS IS A REFERENCE TO MISSIONARY WORK).
THEY IMMEDIATELY LEFT THEIR NETS AND FOLLOWED HIM.
MOVING ALONG FROM THERE, JESUS SAW TWO OTHER BROTHERS, JAMES AND JOHN IN A SHIP WITH THEIR FATHER MENDING NETS. (THEY WERE ALSO TRADE FISHERMEN). JESUS CALLED TO THEM AND THEY IMMEDIATELY LEFT THEIR FATHER AND FOLLOWED HIM.
JESUS WENT ALL OVER GALILEE TEACHING IN THE SYNAGOGUES, PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM, AND HEALING ALL MANNER OF SICKNESS AND DISEASE IN PEOPLE. AND HIS FAME GREW THROUGHOUT ALL SYRIA. JESUS HEALED THE DEMON POSSESSED, LUNATICS AND THOSE WITH PALSY.GREAT MULTITUDES FOLLOWED HIM FROM GALILEE, DECAPOLIS, JERUSALEM, JUDAEA, AND FROM BEYOND JORDAN.
NEXT— WE CONTINUE WITH ST. MATTHEW’S ACCOUNT OF THE MINISTRY OF JESUS CHRIST