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    YieldedOne's Avatar
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    Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

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    What if Christianity is wrong?

    Ie. What if Christians misinterpret Jesus' mystical language for evidence of pre-existence?

    That's a genuine prospect.

    The reason why is because of .... When you look at what Jesus said about "I am the Way, Truth, and the Life!" and "Before Abraham was, I am"...that is all language that is consistent with mystics like Mansur al-Hallaj who have a certain quality of intimacy with the One God, Our Father. But that language would not have been ISOLATED FROM the Shema in Jesus' mind. No way.

    Actually, all of Jesus' language can be explainable by way of Jesus as Mystic in union with his God, the One God of Abraham, Moses, and David.

    Basically, this would be a blow against the idea of 1) Jesus as personal being before God HAVING to be divine in order to have complete union (and intimate communion) with God...and thus 2) Jesus having to be a pre-existent "Son" with whom God the Father eternally existed.

    For example, John 8:58 is taken as evidence for the pre-existence of Christ. Basically, Jesus's proclamation of "I am" was tantamount to 1) saying he predated Abraham and 2) was to be identified with the Name of God ("I Am"). Hence they wanted to kill him. But this exact language could just as well have been Jesus in an "Al-Hallaj" type of exclamation in a state of divine unity with God. They killed Al-Hallaj for his same type of "testimony" of his experience unity with God. According to biblical scholar Marcus Borg, even the "son of God" language is explainable by way of the mystical strands of "charismatic" Judaism at the time of Jesus.

    If you think about it, that actually makes a lot of sense. At the very least, it would mean that Christians would have to ground the idea of Jesus being the Only Begotten Son from before Creation...they'd have to do it on different grounds that Scriptures like John 8:58.

    Make sense? Thoughts?
    Last edited by YieldedOne; 03-17-2011 at 05:23 PM.

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    YieldedOne's Avatar
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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    Interestingly enough, the more and more I read about varieties of mysticism (including Sufi and Jewish), the more and more I'm convinced that it's a possibility that Jesus' language of intense union with God may have been misinterpreted by his followers. The misinterpretation would have had to have happened early. The tradition had to be extant when Paul first got converted because Paul LEARNED his Faith from others by his own testimony; in short, he was TAUGHT that Jesus was God's Son by the disciples already in Damascus (Acts 9:19-22).

    But that's just it. Even IF we say that Jesus claimed to be a "son of God" (ala Psalm 82), that still doesn't mean that he MEANT his pre-existence by the statement...OR his direct NATURAL identification with God. Basically one could say that Jesus was killed (attempted killing, at least) by his Jewish brethren for the same kind of mystical union language usage that Mansur Al-Hallaj was killed by his Muslim brethren. The parallels are just too striking to ignore.

    "I am the truth." --Al-Hallaj

    "I and the Father are one." "I am God's son." --Jesus

    ----------------------------------------

    "This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God." --John 5:18

    and...the situation...

    "At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.”

    The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

    As I look at this account, Jesus could have just as well been in some mystical "fanaa/baqaa" like state saying all of these words as Messiah and Messenger WITHOUT these words necessarily meaning the Jesus is any ETERNAL "son" of God. Just sayin'. It IS in the realm of possibility...which Christians cannot just ignore.

    Interesting, huh? I guess why I'm putting this here is because of the Al-Hallaj link. It was in reading more about him and other strictly monotheistic mystics that put me up on this.

    During one of these trances, he would utter Arabic: أنا الحق‎ Anā l-Haqq "I am The Truth," which was taken to mean that he was claiming to be God, since al-Haqq "the Truth" is one of the Ninety Nine Names of Allah. In another controversial statement, al-Hallaj claimed "There is nothing wrapped in my turban but God," and similarly he would point to his cloak and say, ما في جبتي إلا الله Mā fī jubbatī illā l-Lāh "There is nothing in my cloak but God."

    These utterances led to a long trial, and his subsequent imprisonment for 11 years in a Baghdad prison. He was publicly executed on March 26, 922.
    Last edited by YieldedOne; 03-17-2011 at 05:54 PM.

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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    It's always good to put one's faith under the microscope of scrutiny...

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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    Quote Originally Posted by YieldedOne View Post
    What if Christians misinterpret Jesus' mystical language for evidence of pre-existence? That's a genuine prospect.
    I think I understand the point of your posts, but I may not. You sound like a really well-read, smart, and academic brother. Honestly, I have heard mystics discussed in a religion class before, but I don't know a whole lot about them, or about the history of Judaism post-Jesus (except a little about Moses Maimonides). The point that I think you are making here, however, looks like a bold and good-intentioned one, so I am going to do my best to respond.

    The claim that Jesus (pbuh) is the "only, begotten" son might be a wrong translation/interpretation. Certainly Jesus (pbuh) himself describes his followers as being children of God, which throws a wrench into the claim. Someone might, of course, argue that they are only children in spirit, but Jesus is in the flesh. I don't know about that--sounds like we are going out on the deep end if we make that conclusion. I don't know where to find that statement in scripture, but maybe someone else will be able to correct me.

    The Greek phrase commonly translated as "only begotten son" is actually more like "my chosen son." However, it could also be interpreted as the "son from me chosen." Many Christian bibles translate this phrase as "my beloved son." That fits with the Qu'ran's description of Jesus (pbuh) as blessed by God all the days of his life, and on his death, and on his resurrection (Maryam 19:33). Here is a link to the greek:
    biblos. com luke/9-35.htm

    (I broke up the link, because I am technically not allowed yet. But, as you can see, this is not a link to bad content, and I am abiding by Islamic Board's rules).

    I had also considered that the quote about "Before Abraham was, I am" does not require eternal existence, but rather that Jesus (pbuh) predates mankind. I don't know though. Again, there could always be other scripture I am forgetting which would demand eternal existence.

    Lastly, the nature of Jesus (as) is complicated by him literally being God's Word breathed into Mary, as both the Gospel of John and the Qu'ran (from my reading of it) verify. Do you know what sonar/depth-finders are, and how they work? They send out a sound, and they are able to interpret the shape of objects nearby by analyzing whether the sound comes back or not. I sometimes like to consider the relationship between God (swt) and Jesus (as) like this. God breathes his word into the world, through Mary's mortal body, and it comes back to him whole and purified, thus proving that there is a part of humanity still left that can be saved and purified, and that does not have to be destroyed on the last day. That's part of how I see the Messiah-God relationship. Of course, that is just me thinking deeply, but then there is Revelations and Isaiah and all of the other stuff about the Messiah too, and I don't deny any of that.

    I hope that my response helps! I like your thought project here, and I hope that it continues to grow into something cool!

    Shalom Aleichem

    P.S. Don't say "Maybe Christianity is wrong." It's not necessary. The word Christianity means trying to be like Christ, and submitting completely to God and finding salvation. That's something Muslims and Christians alike can agree on. No reason to create unnecessary divisions over a label.

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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    YieldedOne,

    What you have written is understandable. I do not agree with it, however, because it will not stand up to biblical scruitiny. Before I would begin a long examination of this, I would first make a couple assumptions.

    1. It must be assumed that the biblical record is accurate. Even if you disagree with that, the argument you are presenting is from the biblical record, therefore the biblical record must be presumed to be an accurate account of Jesus words.

    2. It must be recognized that when scrutinizing words and phrases of Scripture, espeically in matters of controversies, the original language(s) may/must be appealed to. If we are limited our discussion to the NT, then that means we might need to turn to the Koine Greek for clarification.

    3. We must not limit our examination of the claim of Jesus' Divinity to words alone. The Gospels record not only the words but also the actions of Jesus. Both are relevant to the discussion.

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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    SalamChristian:
    The claim that Jesus (pbuh) is the "only, begotten" son might be a wrong translation/interpretation. Certainly Jesus (pbuh) himself describes his followers as being children of God, which throws a wrench into the claim. Someone might, of course, argue that they are only children in spirit, but Jesus is in the flesh. I don't know about that--sounds like we are going out on the deep end if we make that conclusion. I don't know where to find that statement in scripture, but maybe someone else will be able to correct me.
    The Greek phrase commonly translated as "only begotten son" is actually more like "my chosen son." However, it could also be interpreted as the "son from me chosen." Many Christian bibles translate this phrase as "my beloved son." That fits with the Qu'ran's description of Jesus (pbuh) as blessed by God all the days of his life, and on his death, and on his resurrection (Maryam 19:33). Here is a link to the greek:
    biblos. com luke/9-35.htm


    There seem to be a lot of questions in the whole "begotten" thing. The major Scripture that is referred to in the New Testament (Acts and Hebrews) is that of Psalm 2:7. But the problems is that the Psalm scripture is most likely first historically located to David and then secondarily to the God-authorized Messianic king. But none of that has to deal with eternal begottenness.
    In other words, the "You are my Son" language is more appropriate for Jesus as chosen and vindicated MESSIAH...not necessarily eternal Son of God.

    *********************************
    SalamChristian:
    I had also considered that the quote about "Before Abraham was, I am" does not require eternal existence, but rather that Jesus (pbuh) predates mankind. I don't know though. Again, there could always be other scripture I am forgetting which would demand eternal existence.

    I think that the John passage is about the strongest declaration from Jesus that is used to assert his pre-existence besides John 1:1. But, we could take the Greek as strong as possible there (ego eimi<=>I am)...and look at this language in light of mystical language (ala Al-Hallaj and the like), then this forceful (shocking) language may be be Jesus expressing his deep union with God. It's fairly certain that Jesus KNEW what he was doing when he said "ego eimi"...and it's possible identification with the Name of God. But this never would have subverted Jesus' understanding and allegience to the Shema. No way.

    So, what's the better explanation? Jesus believing in his union with the One God to the point of daring to associate himself closely with the Holy Name of God...or Jesus believing that he personally antedated Abraham in existence?

    ******************************
    SalamChristian:
    Lastly, the nature of Jesus (as) is complicated by him literally being God's Word breathed into Mary, as both the Gospel of John and the Qu'ran (from my reading of it) verify. Do you know what sonar/depth-finders are, and how they work? They send out a sound, and they are able to interpret the shape of objects nearby by analyzing whether the sound comes back or not. I sometimes like to consider the relationship between God (swt) and Jesus (as) like this. God breathes his word into the world, through Mary's mortal body, and it comes back to him whole and purified, thus proving that there is a part of humanity still left that can be saved and purified, and that does not have to be destroyed on the last day. That's part of how I see the Messiah-God relationship. Of course, that is just me thinking deeply, but then there is Revelations and Isaiah and all of the other stuff about the Messiah too, and I don't deny any of that.

    Hmmm...I hear that. I now like to say that Jesus, as God's direct Word to humanity through Mary, perfectly re-presented the reality of the One God, thus fulfilling human nature's capacity of being "filled with" God's Presence and Power through self-emptying submission to God.

    *************************
    SalamChristian:
    Don't say "Maybe Christianity is wrong." It's not necessary. The word Christianity means trying to be like Christ, and submitting completely to God and finding salvation. That's something Muslims and Christians alike can agree on. No reason to create unnecessary divisions over a label.

    Fine by me. What I mean to say is this: perhaps Christian thought has had the self-understanding of Jesus wrong...which lead to the subsequent misunderstanding of Jesus' claims...which lead to the whole debates about what it meant that Jesus was the "son of God."

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    YieldedOne's Avatar
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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    FiveSolas:
    1. It must be assumed that the biblical record is accurate. Even if you disagree with that, the argument you are presenting is from the biblical record, therefore the biblical record must be presumed to be an accurate account of Jesus words.

    I say we need to do that for the sake of argument. Once we look at Jesus' purported language in LIGHT of Jesus as Mystic, I think that they actually make sense of HOW he was saying things such that his fellow Jews felt that he was associating himself WAY too closely with God (I am one with the Father, I am God's son, etc)...while, at the same time, Jesus, following the Shema, CLEARLY DISTINGUISHING himself from "his God" to the point of saying that "no one is good but God alone."

    It harmonizes things well, I think.

    ************************
    Fivesolas:
    2. It must be recognized that when scrutinizing words and phrases of Scripture, espeically in matters of controversies, the original language(s) may/must be appealed to. If we are limited our discussion to the NT, then that means we might need to turn to the Koine Greek for clarification.

    Absolutely agree. With respect to John 8:58 and Psalm 2:7, it's absolutely imperative.

    *************************
    Fivesolas:
    3. We must not limit our examination of the claim of Jesus' Divinity to words alone. The Gospels record not only the words but also the actions of Jesus. Both are relevant to the discussion.

    The actions of Jesus (the healings, miracles, etc) do not directly attest to the divinity of Jesus' person more than it attests to God's Presence and Power working within him. Plus, Jesus makes very clear that he does NOTHING of his own, but only by his God and Father. So, to try to attribute Jesus' powerful works to his being divine wouldn't really work. See what I'm saying?
    Last edited by YieldedOne; 03-17-2011 at 08:33 PM.

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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    Quote Originally Posted by YieldedOne View Post

    Actually, all of Jesus' language can be explainable by way of Jesus as Mystic in union with his God,

    Make sense? Thoughts?
    I once knew a Jewish man who would agree with you completely. He actually believed in Jesus, not as Messiah, but he believed that Jesus was a great Kabbalist.
    Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    My soul waits silently for God;
    From Him comes my salvation.

    Psalm 62:1

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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    Quote Originally Posted by YieldedOne View Post
    FiveSolas:
    1. It must be assumed that the biblical record is accurate. Even if you disagree with that, the argument you are presenting is from the biblical record, therefore the biblical record must be presumed to be an accurate account of Jesus words.

    I say we need to do that for the sake of argument. Once we look at Jesus' purported language in LIGHT of Jesus as Mystic, I think that they actually make sense of HOW he was saying things such that his fellow Jews felt that he was associating himself WAY too closely with God (I am one with the Father, I am God's son, etc)...while, at the same time, Jesus, following the Shema, CLEARLY DISTINGUISHING himself from "his God" to the point of saying that "no one is good but God alone."

    It harmonizes things well, I think.

    ************************
    Fivesolas:
    2. It must be recognized that when scrutinizing words and phrases of Scripture, espeically in matters of controversies, the original language(s) may/must be appealed to. If we are limited our discussion to the NT, then that means we might need to turn to the Koine Greek for clarification.

    Absolutely agree. With respect to John 8:58 and Psalm 2:7, it's absolutely imperative.

    *************************
    Fivesolas:
    3. We must not limit our examination of the claim of Jesus' Divinity to words alone. The Gospels record not only the words but also the actions of Jesus. Both are relevant to the discussion.

    The actions of Jesus (the healings, miracles, etc) do not directly attest to the divinity of Jesus' person more than it attests to God's Presence and Power working within him. Plus, Jesus makes very clear that he does NOTHING of his own, but only by his God and Father. So, to try to attribute Jesus' powerful works to his being divine wouldn't really work. See what I'm saying?
    Since we agree on point 1 and 2, no need to comment. Point three, I see the point your trying to make but it doesn't follow. Let the Gospels speak for themselves. You think your correct, so you should have nothing to worry about. Jesus Himself said that He did what He does to show who He was/is. Let's let the Gospels speak for themselves.

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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    Quote Originally Posted by YieldedOne View Post
    The major Scripture that is referred to in the New Testament (Acts and Hebrews) is that of Psalm 2:7. But the problems is that the Psalm scripture is most likely first historically located to David and then secondarily to the God-authorized Messianic king
    This is also in II Samuel 7:14. In this passage, it specifically either refers to the Messiah, or at best king Solomon, but not David. In fact, I doubt it refers to Solomon, and my interpretation is that it refers to the Christ. Also, are you sure that Psalm 2:7 isn't referencing the language of God's promise to David in II Samuel 7:14?


    Quote Originally Posted by YieldedOne View Post
    Hmmm...I hear that. I now like to say that Jesus, as God's direct Word to humanity through Mary, perfectly re-presented the reality of the One God, thus fulfilling human nature's capacity of being "filled with" God's Presence and Power through self-emptying submission to God.
    I like that. It reminds me of Paul's statement in I Corinthians that when Allah (swt) comes and brings heaven to earth, "we will see in a mirror directly." Truth also requires perfect reflection of truth--that one doesn't twist anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by PouringRain View Post
    I once knew a Jewish man who would agree with you completely. He actually believed in Jesus, not as Messiah, but he believed that Jesus was a great Kabbalist.

    Is that what you are arguing in this thread, YieldedOne? I was under the impression that you see Jesus as Messiah...Christ.

    Shalom Aleichem

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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    Quote Originally Posted by SalamChristian View Post

    Is that what you are arguing in this thread, YieldedOne? I was under the impression that you see Jesus as Messiah...Christ.

    Shalom Aleichem
    I didn't get the impression that YieldedOne was arguing against Jesus as Messiah. I was only pointing out that the Jewish man I knew, who would agree with YieldedOne about the mystical element of Jesus' teaching, did not view Jesus as Moshiach. He simply viewed him as a great Kabbalist.
    Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    My soul waits silently for God;
    From Him comes my salvation.

    Psalm 62:1

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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    PouringRain:
    I once knew a Jewish man who would agree with you completely. He actually believed in Jesus, not as Messiah, but he believed that Jesus was a great Kabbalist.

    EXACTAMUNDO!

    I've done a good amount of reading on Kabbalah, and I've come to the same conclusion.
    Check out the "Bitul" idea. I think this is EXACTLY what mystics talk about.

    ------------------------------------------------

    Bitul is the spiritual state associated with the inner experience of chochmah, whereby one's consciousness opens up to a continuous flow of Divine wisdom and new insight through one's nullifying his sense of autonomous and self-sustained being. Bitul is the experience of ayin, of being nothing within the omnipresent radiance of God's infinite light. In general, there are two identified levels of bitul:

    Bitul b'metziut ("existential nullification") constitutes the absolute form of bitul whereby one loses all sense of independent existence. This is the state of bitul in the world of Atzilut, whose consciousness, permeated by the supernal level of chochmah (Abba mekanen b'Atzilut), is solely that of God's omnipresence.

    Bitul hayesh ("nullification of [one's] somethingness") constitutes a lower form of bitul whereby one is consciously involved in the process of nullifying the outer layer of self (ego). This is accomplished by the concentrated effort to experience the continual recreation of all reality, including oneself, as "something from nothing." This impresses upon one's consciousness that there is no independent reality attached to one's sense of "somethingness." This is the state of bitul present within the three lower worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, while its conscious experience is dependent upon one's Divine service. Divine consciousness in the three lower worlds derives from the chochmah of malchut d'Atzilut, referred to as the lower chochmah, thus giving rise to the lower level of bitul.

    ---------------
    Whenever Al-Hallaj was talking about "There is nothing in my cloak but Allah" is was probably a form of bitul b'metiziut that he was referring to.

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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    Fivesolas:
    Since we agree on point 1 and 2, no need to comment. Point three, I see the point your trying to make but it doesn't follow. Let the Gospels speak for themselves. You think your correct, so you should have nothing to worry about. Jesus Himself said that He did what He does to show who He was/is. Let's let the Gospels speak for themselves.

    We can definitely do that. From what I read, the works Jesus did were to confirm that he was authorized, sent, and empowered by God as God's chosen Messiah and King. But the Gospels also make it very clear that Jesus didn't attribute his own divinity to anything he did, but the Father's working in him. Even orthodox Christian priests will say that. (See here for an example.)

    *******************************

    PouringRain:
    I didn't get the impression that YieldedOne was arguing against Jesus as Messiah.


    You're right, PR. I'm definitely not doing that.
    Last edited by YieldedOne; 03-17-2011 at 10:25 PM.

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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    Quote Originally Posted by YieldedOne View Post
    But the Gospels also make it very clear that Jesus didn't attribute his own divinity to anything he did, but the Father's working in him. Even orthodox Christian priests will say that. (See here for an example.)
    Whoaaaaa. I read that link. That is some far-out, trippy theological interpretation!! Particularly, I liked this quote:

    Christ, though the incarnate God, avoids any “divine action” of his own, so much so that the Father’s hypostasis [Person] is manifest absolutely through the absolutely “transparent screen” of Christ’s self-emptied hypostasis. Through this kenosis it becomes the “express image of the Father” (Heb. 1:3).

    The trinitarian language of this passage really blows my mind when it at the same time is affirming that Christ avoids any "divine action" of his own.

    Quote Originally Posted by YieldedOne View Post
    PouringRain: I didn't get the impression that YieldedOne was arguing against Jesus as Messiah. You're right, PR. I'm definitely not doing that.
    Cool! :~) Did you grow up as an orthodox Jew? How did you learn about all of this mysticism stuff? Or did you come into it from the other direction?

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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    SalamChristian:
    This is also in II Samuel 7:14. In this passage, it specifically either refers to the Messiah, or at best king Solomon, but not David. In fact, I doubt it refers to Solomon, and my interpretation is that it refers to the Christ. Also, are you sure that Psalm 2:7 isn't referencing the language of God's promise to David in II Samuel 7:14?

    Actually...I think the II Samuel 7:14 passage is most likely about Solomon, not the Messiah...whereas Psalm 2:7 is probably more messianic in nature. Let's look at the II Samuel passage...

    But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’” In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.

    I would say this refers to Solomon. Especially with the "when he commits iniquity" thing. Can't be talking about the SINLESS Messiah with that, right?

    And because of 1 Chronicles 17:11-14...

    When your days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.’”

    Seems pretty straight forward to me that these are most likely about Solomon. The Psalm 2 passage could be related to Solomon, but I think it fits much more with David describing "God's Anointed" in abstract. Much more fitting for the messianic. That's how Acts 4 is like it is...

    When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

    “‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
    and the peoples plot in vain?
    The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers were gathered together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed’


    for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

    The early Chrsitians in Acts appropriated this from David to Jesus as the Messiah. See what I mean?

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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    SalamChristian:
    Whoaaaaa. I read that link. That is some far-out, trippy theological interpretation!! Particularly, I liked this quote:
    Christ, though the incarnate God, avoids any “divine action” of his own, so much so that the Father’s hypostasis [Person] is manifest absolutely through the absolutely “transparent screen” of Christ’s self-emptied hypostasis. Through this kenosis it becomes the “express image of the Father” (Heb. 1:3).

    The trinitarian language of this passage really blows my mind when it at the same time is affirming that Christ avoids any "divine action" of his own.

    What I really like about it is that it is TOTALLY CONSISTENT with how Paul describes Jesus' self-emptying nature. Straight up.

    So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    Look at that closely.

    "Made himself nothing"

    "Did not count equality with God something to be grasped."

    "taking the form of a servant"

    Human self-emptying unto divine exaltation.

    This completely squares with the "Jesus as Mystic" and "Jesus as God's Messiah" views.

    *****************************

    SalamChristian:
    Cool! :~) Did you grow up as an orthodox Jew? How did you learn about all of this mysticism stuff? Or did you come into it from the other direction?

    Nah. I'm just a big nerd. Really. I've been big into World Religions for a while and deep into Mysticism over the last 3 years or so.

    The similiarities between the mystics of the various religions is almost scandalous!

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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    Something else. Paul seems to directly relates Jesus as "Son of God" to the Resurrection. This would probably go along with 1) his Damascus Road experience with Jesus and 2) his time with the disciples of Damascus before his preaching in synagogues began. In Paul's greeting to the Romans...

    Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ...

    I can see how Jesus's resurrection/ascension can be seen as God's vindication of His Messiah and the beloved "son" of God (ala Psalm 82) uniquely called for that purpose...but not how this necessarily leads to the ETERNALITY of Jesus as God's "son." One could just as easily maintain the former without directly asserting the latter.

    Again...all this is in the realm of possibility.

    -----------------------------

    I think Jesus could be seen through the following "lens":

    Jesus/Isa was a sinless human being from birth created directly by Allah's creative "word" to the Virgin Mary...and was a Servant, Prophet, and Messenger of God who perfectly conformed to the "Great Commandments" (ie variation of the Ten Commandments) as a "living example" of the reality within the "Mother of the Book", the "archetypal source" of Allah's revelations to humans (ie Quran, Torat, Injeel) that is in the Presence of Allah. Jesus was a "self-emptying" mystic who was constantly "filled" with Allah's Presence and Power (ala absolute trust in and love for Allah) and, thus, "embodied" Allah's Wisdom and Truth. In Sufic terms, Jesus was a completely human being in constant experience of "fanaa" and/or "baqaa" like unto Mansur Al-Hallaj.

    Jesus/Isa's Message: Human beings are to express singular worship of and submission to the One God, Allah by a) thanksgiving, adoration and glorification given solely to Allah and b) works of loving-kindness and compassion to Allah's Creation (including the Family of Humanity). In this, we are also to consecrate ourselves and be holy, compassionate, merciful, and loving because Allah is holy, compassionate, merciful and loving.

    Notice there's no "Son of God" or "Second Person of the Trinity" anywhere...even in implication. It doesn't metaphysically rule it out. But it definitely doesn't assert or imply such.
    Last edited by YieldedOne; 03-17-2011 at 10:55 PM.

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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    Since the OP began with the Gospel of John, I will begin there as well. From the outset, I want to state that I am beginning from the Gospel of John, but not limiting myself to only one book of the NT, only the Gospels, or only that which can be said to be the quotations of Jesus. Let me explain why. It has always been the Christian belief that the whole of Scripture has one Author-God. While holy men spoke, and their words were written, they did so by the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, it is plain to all that Jesus did not pen the Gospel of John Himself. The Apostle John was the instrument. Therefore, to limit the discussion to only quotes of Jesus is to talk in a circle.

    Here is our question: Does the Bible exhibit Jesus as Divine? Is Jesus God and is this understanding drawn from the Scriptures?

    I am going to begin at the Gospel of John, Chapter 1 and begin to work through it. None of what I am writing here is copied from another website but is the simple result of my own reading of the Scripture.

    John 1:1-5; 14 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."

    One would hope we could end the dicussion right here, as the words are quite plain. If in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and that Word that was God become flesh and dwelt among us, whom we know John is speaking of Jesus, then it is clear this text is saying Jesus is God manifest in flesh, or human form. Regardless of what one believes about the truthfulness of this statement, it seems hardly necessary to show that this is indeed what the text is saying.

    Concerning this testimony of who Jesus is, how does this then compare to a mystic like Mansur? There is no indication that in any mystic, be it Islamic, Christian, Hindu, or otherwise, that they are claiming themselves to be uncreated. Not even the man in South America these days who is claiming to actually be Jesus returned is not saying that his origin was anything other than a human being. What you have here in the opening of the Gospel of John is the testimony that Jesus is the eternal, uncreated Creator.

    A second piece of evidence comes from John 2:23-25

    "Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man; for he knew what was in man. "

    How is it that Jesus knew all men? What kind of man, prophet, or as the OP alleges, mystic, can have universal knowledge of all men? Moreover, to know "what is in man" Do you suppose this text is saying Jesus knew what they had for lunch? Or is it saying that Jesus knew all men, what they are like, even their very thoughts. How can a mere man know such things?

    Here is a third,

    John 3:36
    "He that believeth on the son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not on the son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."

    This is entirely absurd to ascribe to any man. If someone came along and said this to me, the only way this could or should be obeyed is if the one speaking is actually God Himself. Jesus is saying that whoever believes in Him has eternal life. And the one who does not, does not have eternal life.

    Tell me, who can say such thing, even if he be a prophet, unless he himself is God? And what mystic has ever made the claim that eternal life was in them and that they themselves were necessary for it. Do not the mystics rather say they are God, and you can be God too?

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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    Quote Originally Posted by YieldedOne View Post
    Actually...I think the II Samuel 7:14 passage is most likely about Solomon, not the Messiah...whereas Psalm 2:7 is probably more messianic in nature. Let's look at the II Samuel passage...
    Quote Originally Posted by YieldedOne View Post
    And because of 1 Chronicles 17:11-14...

    Check out Hebrews 1:5. It explicitly references both Psalms 2 and the II Samuel 7/Chronicles verses as all references to Christ.


    Quote Originally Posted by YieldedOne View Post
    I would say this refers to Solomon. Especially with the "when he commits iniquity" thing. Can't be talking about the SINLESS Messiah with that, right?
    I wondered about that at first, too. But then I looked at the Hebrew, and I found that Strong's Hebrew translation doesn't specifically identify the precise meaning of the word "when he commits iniquity." I am wondering if it is possible that this is a compound word actually meaning, "when he is imputed with blame," which of course lines up with the other prophecies about the Messiah being "counted among the transgressors." Of course, I can't ever know that unless I learn to speak Hebrew, lol. And even then, maybe there is a nuance of meaning which has been lost today.

    http://biblos.com/2_samuel/7-14.htm

    Also, notice that the "rod of men" translation is weak. The word be-she-vet is a compound word also, and the "vet" word actually refers more to a stick or staff. Vet is used, for example, to describe Moses' staff. Thus, be-she-vet may be a prophecy about the cross.

    Alright, I would love to continue to stay engaged in this debate, but unfortunately I have work to accomplish.

    Shalom

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    Re: Maybe Christianity has Jesus Wrong: Jesus as Mystic

    A quick bit...and that's all for today.

    SalamChristian:
    Check out Hebrews 1:5. It explicitly references both Psalms 2 and the II Samuel 7/Chronicles verses as all references to Christ.

    Uhhuh. I call that one of those Matthew 2:15 prophecies. Where an OT text is obviously postdicted upon the then-current situation with Jesus.

    Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

    The author quoted Hosea 11...

    When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and out of Egypt I called my son.
    The more they were called,
    the more they went away;
    they kept sacrificing to the Baals
    and burning offerings to idols.

    Now, you've gotta admit. If it weren't a biblical author doing this, we'd all be crying interpretational "foul." There's no way that Hosea 11 was REALLY and ACTUALLY talking about Jesus fleeing to and coming back from Egypt all those years before it happened. It completely violates the context of Hosea 11...but the author of Matthew uses it anyway, because it suits his purposes, Gospel-wise.

    I believe that the same thing happens in other places, like the Hebrews passage. Ask yourself...in looking at the texts, by what other than postdiction could the II Samuel 7/Chronicles be directly attributed to the sinless Christ (who is NOT a son of David and did NOT build a temple)?
    Last edited by YieldedOne; 03-17-2011 at 11:40 PM.


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