The kingdom of God is within you.
KJV Luke 17:21
So what do you believe? Not what others have taught you, but how you experience God. You see, we only KNOW what we have experienced ourselves, everything else is testimony. Where do you find God? Where do you hear God? What does your gut tell you about the creator of the galaxies? What makes sense to you, --agrees with you inside.
I am not saying that the testimony of others is not inspirational-not at all. But too much emphasis is placed on the words of others rather than on the living words of life that we experience ourselves. I challenge you to see the living word as words spoken by those who are experiencing life, for in life you find the law.
(Jesus said) The law is the living word of the living God to living prophets for living men. In everything that is life is the law written. You find it in the grass, in the tree, in the river, in the mountain, in the birds of heaven, in the fishes of the sea; but seek it chiefly in yourselves" From the Essene gospel of peace.
(Jesus said) split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there. From the gospel of Thomas
"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." NIV Luke 19:40
I will take a moment here to address the arguments that are sure to come out,
1) God is not supposed to make sense. I understand that we are but children, but we are not robots. To make the choice to follow ANY religion it must make sense to us. Think about it. What religious faith do you reject? Is it not that some part of that faith that doesn't make sense to you?
2) We cannot trust ourselvesSatan may be influencing us. I also understand where one is coming from. We always must be aware that the potential for evil stems from within us. By their fruits you will know them. Once again back to the gut reaction and our common sense. If the kingdom of God is within us, and we know what rotten fruit smells and tastes like-I believe we have a right to make this journey. I mean how do we know that we are not being fed stinking fruit where we are now if we are unable to trust our gut reaction and the kingdom is not supposed to make sense to us?
This is our first and what I believe is the most important step in finding God. Trust what your heart tells you, for the kingdom of God is within you. The law is life, all that is alive is here to show us God and to tell us of the law of the living God.
Be aware of God. Be aware of the warmth of the sun, of the touch of water, of the breath that is life.
God so made life and all living things that they might by the everlasting word teach the laws of the true God to man. God wrote not the laws in the pages of books, but in your heart and in your spirit.
From the Essene gospel of peace
NIV Matthew 22:36-40 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Can we find the laws of God in the bible?
The answer is a complicated yes. Of course we can find the laws that govern the kingdom of God written in the bible. However the Jewish faith will say that it is in the Torah (Levitical law) and the Christians will say it is in the Gospels (the teachings of Paul). They are both right, and both wrong.
I challenge you to examine scripture and see the big picture for yourself. The Jewish faith says that there are hundreds of laws given in the Torah, and there are. Are these the laws of men, or the laws of God? Lets look at scripture.
NJB Jeremiah 7:22 For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, I said nothing to them, gave them no orders, about burnt offerings or sacrifices.
23 My one command to them was this: Listen to my voice, then I will be your God and you shall be my people. In everything, follow the way that I mark out for you, and you shall prosper.
NJB Psalm 50:7 'Listen, my people, I am speaking, Israel, I am giving evidence against you, I, God, your God.
8 'It is not with your sacrifices that I find fault, those burnt offerings constantly before me;
9 I will not accept any bull from your homes, nor a single goat from your folds.
10 'For all forest creatures are mine already, the animals on the mountains in their thousands.
11 I know every bird in the air, whatever moves in the fields is mine.
12 'If I am hungry I shall not tell you, since the world and all it holds is mine.
13 Am I to eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?
14 'Let thanksgiving be your sacrifice to God, fulfill the vows you make to the Most High;
15 then if you call to me in time of trouble I will rescue you and you will honor me.'
NIV Psalm 50:23He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.
Here we have God telling His people that the only thing that is important to him is that they Honor Him, that they love Him. Yes it is important not to have other Gods before Him, but if you love him-why would you? Yes it is important not to kill, but if you love Him-why would you?
The teachings of the Torah can be summed up in one sentence (as the great Rabbi Hillel taught)
Love the Lord thy God and your neighbor as yourself.
All else is commentary (and the laws of men).
What about the Gospels? I prefer to use the teachings attributed to Jesus (Yashua in Hebrew) rather than quoting the letters of Paul, just as I like to refer to the words attributed to God (Yahweh in Hebrew) rather than Moses. Once again lets see what the Divine has to say about the subject.
NIV Matthew 22:36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
37 Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
See also Mark 12:28-30 and Luke 26-28.
Now, Christians will tell you that their doctrine of laws (the final sacrifice) is the true law of God. I challenge that with these scriptures:
NIV Deuteronomy 14:22 Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.
23 Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the LORD your God always.
24 But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by the LORD your God and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the LORD will choose to put his Name is so far away)
25 then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the LORD your God will choose.
26 Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice.
NIV Deuteronomy 12:20 When the LORD your God has enlarged your territory as he promised you, and you crave meat and say, "I would like some meat," then you may eat as much of it as you want.
21 If the place where the LORD your God chooses to put his Name is too far away from you, you may slaughter animals from the herds and flocks the LORD has given you, as I have commanded you, and in your own towns you may eat as much of them as you want.
22 Eat them as you would gazelle or deer. Both the ceremonially unclean and the clean may eat.
23 But be sure you do not eat the blood, because the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the meat.
We have seen scripture telling us that God never really wanted the sacrifices and were not happy with them, and we also now see that He made it clear that we no longer needed to follow the rules of temple sacrifice after the Hebrews crossed the Jordan river into the promised land. If the temple was too far away, just have a great thanksgiving feast in Gods honor to remember that all bounty comes from Him.
In reference to the final sacrifice doctrine, I challenge Christians to study the actual law of sin sacrifice in Leviticus. A lamb was not used for atonement of sin for Gods people. It was 2 goats, and the actual goat that was set aside for atonement was never killed, it was set free in the wilderness and God dealt with it himself (the scapegoat).
NIV Leviticus 16:5 From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.
6 "Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household.
7 Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.
8 He is to cast lots for the two goats-- one lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat.
9 Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering.
10 But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat.
NIV Leviticus 16:20 "When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat.
21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites-- all their sins-- and put them on the goat's head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task.
22 The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert.
Does this mean that Jesus life wasnt significant? Of course not! It is his life that is most significant. He taught us of the kingdom of heaven. The greatest teaching ever given us was from Him.
NKJ Luke 17:20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation;21 "nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you."
God did carry out the levitical practice of sin sacrifice in the final chapter of Jesus life, just a little different than we have been taught. It happened when the crowd was asked to pick between Jesus and Barabbas.
First let me teach you a little biblical Hebrew. Jesus in Hebrew is Yashua, which means salvation of God. Barabbas in Hebrew is Barabba (Bar-Abba), which means son of God. Are you starting to see it yet?
When the crowd was presented with the salvation of God verses the son of God, who did they kill and who did they let go into the wilderness, never to be heard from again?
The blood that was shed by the son of man as the salvation of God was the goat that cleansed the sin of the Holy place (see Leviticus 16:10-22) (are our bodies The Holy place- the temple of God?) and the son of God was the scapegoat that bore the sin of the people. Was Jesus one and the same- both characters? Or was this added on to make it seem like the sacrifices? Was it Barabbas who actually died and Jesus that was set free for the sins of the world? Was the life of Jesus or the death more important? You decide.
Dont take our word for all this information. Study it! Find out what those two words mean in Hebrew. Get a Tanakh from a book store or library and read in original Hebrew (with translations) what it says. . Read the bible about the sacrifices. Dont take our word for it!!! Dont ever accept anything at face valueeven your minister! Study! Talk to God! What bears witness DEEP in your heart?
p.s. One more note there is no other documentation of any other time in history when 2 prisoners were stood before the crowd during Passover. It was not a yearly practice as it was claimed to be in the bible. Look it up! Ask a good Hebrew scholar or any source of biblical history.
p.p.s. For more information on the sacrificesrequest a copy of our booklet Perspective on the sacrifices of the Old Testament.