UNITY OF VANCOUVER
3814 FRANKLIN ST. VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON 98660 360-696-0996
What Jesus Said About The Sabbath
Reverend Bernadette Voorhees
May 16, 2021
All Rights Reserved
I invite you to turn within, and feel a stirring of spirit. Like a seed in the earth, you seek the light. Your life has come to this place, at this time, and this moment as part of the divine plan for you. Now inside yourself, in this time of prayer, you sense that there is more to come for you, through you. In consciousness, stretch yourself, all levels of yourself, to move beyond boundaries. Turn to the light and heed the call of God to accept the power of spirit to transform your life.
Align to the divine higher will in willingness to be created anew. In the light of God, you will find value in all situations and people, and be inspired to find positive ways of looking at situations that you can’t control. Affirm: “I am in harmony with all of life, and all of life is in harmony with me.” In the silence, discipline your thoughts using this affirmation, to trust in God to prove the divine good in every situation. Affirm: “I am in harmony with all of life, and all of life is in harmony with me.”
As spirit wells up in you, there is within you a sense of things that are yet to be for what is to be is up to spirit, which is greater than you, yet living deep within you as you and working through you and uniting you with everything and everyone. Affirm: “I am in harmony with all of life, and all of life is in harmony with me.”
With your mind and heart one with God, you are guided to choose to act in the highest way and to consider the effects of your choices upon others as well as yourself. You trust knowing that every experience shall ultimately hold only good results for you and for everyone concerned. Affirm: “I am in harmony with all of life, and all of life is in harmony with me.”
In oneness with God know that you walk in the light and in the world. With God directing you, taking one step at a time you are moving in the right direction for your growth and highest good. Amen.
WHAT JESUS SAID ABOUT THE SABBATH
What is a Unity student? A Unity student is first and foremost a Truth student. A Truth student is someone who searches for the Truth. I’ve been searching for the Truth for as long as I can remember and I have discovered a lot of what I had been taught growing up, simply wasn’t true. It was made up by people who didn’t know the Truth themselves and/or who just filled in the blanks with whatever they had been told or whatever seemed to make sense to them at the moment. Much of what I was taught was superstition or beliefs carried forward from more primitive times. As your Minister, I do my best to share what I’ve discovered with you so that you can use that knowledge to accelerate your own search and spiritual unfoldment if you choose.
In this lesson we are exploring three questions:
1. What did Jesus teach about the Sabbath? But the bigger question is:
2. Are we followers of Jesus and present day disciples of Christ or are we Christians?
3. Are they the same thing or something else entirely?
In his teachings, Jesus explained the nature of God as love and said that love is our nature as well. He said that when we drift from that Truth about ourselves we make mistakes in judgment, yield to temptation and become sick, impoverished and old. He also explained how these experiences can be overcome. In his book, “Sermon on the Mount”, Emmet Fox said, “The first thing that we have to realize is that Jesus’ teaching was entirely Spiritual and Metaphysical. Unfortunately, historical Christianity has largely concerned itself with theological and doctrinal questions, which have no part in the Gospel teaching. It will startle many good people to learn that all the doctrines and theologies of the churches are human inventions built up by their authors out of their own mentalities and foisted upon the Bible from the outside. There is absolutely no system of theology or doctrine to be found in the Bible. It simply is not there. It was invented by people who felt the need of some intellectual explanation of life and who believed that the Bible was a revelation of God to man. Such people drew the conclusion that the one must be within the other; and then, more or less unconsciously, they manufactured the thing that they wished to find. In other words, they sought a purely intellectual and three dimensional explanation of life when according to Jesus the actual explanation of life lies in the fact that we are Spiritual and Eternal as well as physical and temporal.”
In other words, “There is only one Presence and Power” but one of the chief characteristics of that Presence and Power is that it has two sides, an invisible side that can only be perceived with the five extraordinary senses like faith, love, and imagination and a physical side that can be known through the five ordinary senses. As Jesus told his disciples, while showing them the two sides of a coin, “Render to Caesar that which is Caesars’ and to God that which is God’s.”
If you were to look at the outside world from a single window facing east in a room, you could say that what you see through that window in that moment is reality. It is the outside world and you could say that the outside world is only what you see through that single window. And yet, people looking out from other windows in that same room and looking through them and out to the North, south or west would see something else entirely and say, “No, what I see is reality.”
Emmet Fox said, “Glimpsing only one tiny corner of the universe and that with half-opened eyes and working from an exclusively Egocentric point of view, men built up absurd and often very horrible fables about a limited man-like God who conducted his universe very much as a rather ignorant and barbarous prince might conduct the affairs of a small Oriental Kingdom. All sorts of human weaknesses, such as vanity, fickleness and spite were attributed to this being. Then a far-fetched and very inconsistent legend was built up concerning Original Sin, vicarious blood atonement, infinite punishment for finite transgressions and in certain cases, a horrible doctrine of pre-destination to eternal torment or eternal bliss was added. No such theory as this is taught in the Bible. If it were the objective of the Bible to teach it, it would be clearly stated in some chapter but it is not.
The ‘plan of salvation’ which figures so prominently in the Evangelical Movement and others is completely unknown to the Bible just as it is unknown to the Koran. There never was any such arrangement in the universe and the Bible doesn’t teach it at all. What happened is that certain obscure texts from Genesis, a few phrases taken here and there from Paul’s letters, one or two isolated verses from other parts of the Bible were taken completely out of context and pieced together to produce the kind of teaching which it seemed to them ought to have been found in the Bible.”
Jesus knew nothing of all of this. He taught that we are only punished by the results of our own choices which can lead to error thinking and actions and mistakes. This idea of a mistake in judgment, when translated into Greek, became the word ‘sin,’ which is an ‘archery term’ that means ‘missing the mark.’
Jesus taught that no matter how many mistakes a person makes, every person always has direct access to an all-loving, all-powerful ABBA God; an Aramaic term of endearment meaning ‘daddy’, who will continually forgive and supply them with his own strength and substance to enable and guide them to find their way up and out of Gehenna (the pits of despair again and again and again, unto 70 times 7 if need be. Gehenna was the name given to the garbage pit outside the wall of Jerusalem that had been burning for hundreds of years and that had been used for human sacrifice at one time. To say, your life is going to Gehenna, is to say “Your life is going to the garbage dump if you keep making fear based and ego based choices thinking that you are only human.
Jesus was misunderstood and misrepresented by Paul and his Greek followers. There is absolutely nothing at all in his teachings for the setting up of any form of ‘church’ or any form of a hierarchy of priests or other religious officials, or system of ritual of any kind. Jesus didn’t authorize any such thing and in fact, the whole tone of his ministry is the anti-establishment of organized religion.
During His entire public life, he was at war with the Temple Priests of Jerusalem and with the hierarchy of religious officials of his own country and religion, which was Judaism as taught by the Temple Priests. This has been confirmed by the discoveries unearthed called the Dead Sea Scrolls. In this find there were two completely different versions of the Book Of Isaiah. One was an exact copy of what we find in the Jewish writings and current Bible that other is totally different representing the Oral Tradition of Jesus and other spiritual teachers who had not been a part of Babylonian exile.
As we have recently learned from the Dead Sea Isaiah Scroll and the many new gospels of the Nag Hammadi find, Isaiah predicted the coming of two Messiahs, not one. One Messiah would come from the Priestly Tribe and the other would be a descendant of King David. Many believed that John the Baptist, son of the priest Zachariah and Jesus who was descended from King David through Mary, were the two longed for Messiahs. One a Priest and one a descendant of King David who had a 6-point program represented by the Star of David for ruling Israel. Here is the outline of that six pointed dynastic Davidian ruling party talked about in the oral tradition of Isaiah and recently translated newly found documents.
1. Fulfill the right bloodlines of the two Messiahs. Once this was done the two Messiahs would then complete the following.
2. Purge Jerusalem and Israel of foreign rulers and foreign misleading teachings.
3. Establish a rule of righteousness based on original (oral) teachings and laws of Moses.
4. Separating sinners from the people of Israel;
5. Extend and share this rule to all Godless nations of the world (There is only one God);
6. Gather together all the scattered tribes of Israel and restore their original gifts of land as was proposed by Moses be done every 7th or Jubilee year so that there would never be a ‘landless class’ of people.
As you can see, this plan for Israel and the New Jerusalem had nothing to do with organizing a new religion or church. However for centuries, the church organized in his name taught that Jewish officials had ridiculed and persecuted him and then handed him over to the Romans. The early church taught that Pilate actually tried to spare Jesus and spread the story that Pilate’s wife had a dream in which she was told “Jesus is innocent”. It was also rumored that a child Jesus raised from the dead was actually Pilate’s only child and that his wife was a secret disciple.
But as new history is being uncovered, many Bible authorities now believe that the blame for Jesus’ Death that resulted in the practice of antisemitism was shifted onto Jewish authorities and the Jewish people by the earliest Gospel writers who were themselves being confronted by Roman persecution for their beliefs. This was done because they didn’t want to further alienate the Romans.
The Truth as we know it right now (and that could change if other documents are discovered) is that Jesus was condemned and executed as a nationalistic freedom-fighter who threatened Rome’s authority. He claimed to be the Davidic Messiah; the hereditary descendant of King David and rightful heir to the throne.
Even though the Gospels report that Pilate turned Jesus over to the Jewish crowd to do with as they pleased his execution was clearly carried out by Roman soldiers. This is a historical fact, confirmed not only by the method of his death but by the Roman historian Tacitus (55-117C.E.) who wrote in discussing the early Christians, “Christ, the originator of the name, had been condemned by Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius.” This is just one of the references to Jesus’ life and death that can be found outside of Bible sources. The Jewish Historian Josephus also briefly mentions this fact in his books, “The History of the Jewish People.” This belief resulted in the origin of a feeling of distrust and hatred for Jews and what the church felt was the ‘justifiable’ death of millions of Jews for this crime.
Then finally in 1959, Pope John XXIII removed the phrase, “perfidious Jews” from a Roman Catholic prayer said by the faithful on every Good Friday. And before his own death Pope John composed a new prayer asking forgiveness for the church’s antisemitism, which he called a ‘second crucifixion of Jesus.’ At a Vatican Conference in 1962, the Catholic church officially exonerated most of Jesus’ Jewish contemporaries and all subsequent Jews of the charge of ‘killing God’ or decide.
It was too little too late. There was no big announcement or discussion about Jesus being a Jew himself or mention that all of Jesus’ first disciples had been Jewish or that the leader of the group passed to his younger brother James for the next 30 years and then to his next younger brother Simon after James was stoned to death. There was also no clarification of what Jesus’ actual teachings really were or information about Peter and Paul’s roles in the development of the early church.
The word Jesus is Greek and is found some 900 times in the New Testament, Book of Acts, etc. The word is actually derived from the word ‘Zeus’ and literally translates as “Hail Zeus.” The correct pronunciation of his name is “Yeshua or Eeaysoos”.
His Hebrew name was "Yahushua or Joshua” which translates, “The Lord’s Salvation” or “Cry out to the Lord for Help” or literally “YHWh saves us.” The evolution of Jesus’ name is a lesson in and of itself.
Jesus made a special point of discouraging outer observances and hard and fast rules and regulations of every kind. What he insisted on was a certain ‘compassionate spirit in one’s conduct.’ He was careful to ‘teach principles’ only, A ‘principle is a Spiritual Law’, knowing that when the ‘spirit of the law is right, details will take care of themselves.’ In other words, life flows from the ‘within to the without’. He said, “the letter killeth but the spirit giveth life.”
Yet Christianity as we know it is largely made up of attempts to enforce all sorts of external observances and church laws upon the people. And the church was very successful in doing this because once it became the only official church of Rome, it had its own army and often used force. It exterminated approximately 11 million Catheri (Gnostics) in France as well as most of the Knights Templar in the Middle Ages by launching the Inquisition. This is known as the Dark Ages of Humanity which lasted until the Renaissance.
Jesus particularly discouraged superstitious Sabbath observance, saying that ‘the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.’ In Judaism the Sabbath is on Saturday and not on Sunday. The change of the day was to put distance between Christians and Jesus’ Jewishness. The point that Jesus was making is that every day is a ‘spiritual Sabbath ’ He taught that you ‘keep the Sabbath Holy by doing everything in the light of Spiritual understanding on that day and with the realization that God is the substance ‘standing under everything.’
Emmet Fox said, “It is interesting to note that many devout Christians have difficulty accepting the ‘miracles’ of Jesus and think of them as the kinds of myths that surround a great historical person.” Thomas Jefferson cut them all out of his Bible. I have no problem accepting miracles as fact. I’ve experienced many miracles in my own life.
There was obviously something very extraordinary about Jesus that compelled his family and disciples to continue his ministry in spite of persecution by the Romans. There were a lot of great Prophets and teachers before Jesus but nothing that sparked a movement that lasted over 2000 years, regardless of the distortions in his teachings. If the miracles didn’t happen, if Spirit cannot be released to over come the limits of matter, the rest of the Gospel and Bible for that matter lose all significance.
Marcus Borg writes in his book “Jesus A New Vision”, "We commonly think of Jesus as the founder of Christianity. But, strictly speaking, this is not historically true. We are not accustomed to thinking of Jesus as a political figure. In a narrow sense, he wasn't, he didn't seek political office, nor was he a military leader. He was political in the sense that politics are the shaping of a community. His concern was the renewal of Israel. He created a sectarian revitalization or renewal movement within Israel whose purpose was the transformation of the Jewish social world." (p125)
His own society was deeply political and so was he. Jesus challenged the Conventional Wisdom at the heart of his social world. He did not intend to create a new religion but intended to change his social world by revitalizing Judaism and uniting his people in hopes of avoiding the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans that appeared to be bearing down on them.
This doesn't mean that Christianity was a mistake. Christianity as a religion separate from Judaism came into existence a result of a historical process which took several decades after his death and is a result of two primary factors.
1. As a revitalization movement within Judaism, the Jesus movement failed. Though early members were Palestinian Jews, it did not capture the allegiance of the majority of the Jewish people.
2. The great success of the movement in the Mediterranean world outside of Palestine, where it quickly became a mixed community of Jews & Gentiles. The more Gentiles it attracted the more it seemed distinct from Judaism.
By the end of the first century, Christianity had become a 'new religion." While it initially affirmed and recognized its connection to Judaism, as time passed the connection was increasingly to the Old Testament rather than to the Jewish people themselves.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER AND DISCUSS
1. What is a Unity student?
2. What is a Truth student? What is Truth?
3. What did Jesus teach about the Sabbath?
4. Am I a follower of Jesus and present day disciple of Christ or am I a Christian?
5. Are these identities the same thing or are they something else entirely?
6. Do you believe in miracles? Share a first hand miracle experience from your life.
What do you think?
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