'Who is this Messiah [Christ]? Who is Jesus?', and how has two millenia's been influenced by the legend's of one mythic-figure?
I wouldn't expect a laugh or two to this perhaps childish or elementary question for some, but I would like to hear others thoughts on this figure in the middle of the confusion I've had about this legend since a child, concerning the man, and the myth; for some reason I just can't accept the mainstream idea of Jesus Christ, I've asked myself many times, "who is this guy?"
I always wondered why Jesus supposedly said all those exalting statements of Himself; to identify himself with the 'Father in Heaven? 'his Father in secret, was the inner God or some external God? or is that all blasphemous jargon and Jesus is the only Son of God literally sitting next to His Fathers chair in Heaven?' The legend of the virgin-birth? anything about Him; discuss from what you understand or think about Him here.
I've been interested in Zoroastrian inlfuences on Christianity and came across this summary:
All these are precursors to corresponding beliefs in Christianity. The notion of a savior being born of a virgin is obviously well known, as are the concepts of heaven and hell, judgement at death and also at a later day of Judgement, and the existence of evil. Evil as an independent force was an idea that had its roots in Zoroastrianism, and in particular the terrible events that Christianity holds will be unleashed by evil upon the world are thought to be taken almost directly from Zoroastrianism (Zoroastrianism, 575). In short, Christianity has been very visibly influenced by Zoroastrianism.
Calendars of various sectarian Jewish communities deviated considerably from the normative calendar described above. The Dead Sea (or Qumrān) community (made famous by the Dead Sea Scrolls discoveries) adopted the calendrical system of the noncanonical books of Jubilees and...
The disciples of John the Baptist and Jesus seem linked to me in some ways to the Essene community..
The accounts by Josephus and Philo show that the Essenes led a strictly celibate and communal life – often compared by scholars to later Christian monastic living – although Josephus speaks also of another "order of Essenes" that observed being engaged for three years and then being married. According to Josephus, they had customs and observances such as collective ownership, elected a leader to attend to the interests of them all whose orders they obeyed, were forbidden from swearing oaths and sacrificing animals, controlled their temper and served as channels of peace, carried weapons only as protection against robbers, had no slaves but served each other and, as a result of communal ownership, did not engage in trading. Both Josephus and Philo have lengthy accounts of their communal meetings, meals and religious celebrations.
You say you often wonder why people go round and round on something like the authenticity of Genesis, what is literal and what is allegorical etc. No one likes going round and round, but the reason is because the existence of a Creator (God) as described in Genesis is a foundational issue, and if true our relationship with Him an eternally vital concern for each of us. If people's present life on Earth is all there is, then with the Apostle Paul, we might say "what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die" (1 Cor. 15:32b).
I can't speak for anyone else, but at least for me, I can say from the heart it's not about me or agreeing with me, and it's not about 'religion' as conventionally understood. My sincere goal is to glorify God and help others, and I believe our eternal destiny depends on what we believe about who Jesus Christ is, and how we individually respond to Him. Even if I am mistaken, my intent is to help others while there is yet time to do so.
Whether people agree with me or with each other, or whether religious groups agree with each other is all of relatively little or no eternal consequence. If a personal Creator (God) of the universe and life exists and has an eternal purpose for each of our lives, and if Jesus Christ is that eternal God as He claimed, what is of preeminent importance is if we agree with Him, not any men or group of men.
We can go round and round on this or other issues as you say, but the topic of this thread is vitally important, namely Who is Jesus Christ?. If the Bible is historically accurate, as I believe and have provided positive evidence to support, here's some of what it says about Him:
Jesus is God (Gr. Theos)
Nowhere in the Bible is it declared that Jesus is a created being at all, and certainly He is not like the angels. Hebrews 1:6-8 declares “And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom”. This is an undisputed text that records God the Father directly referring to the Son as God (Theos), and distinguishing Him infinitely from the angels, as the Father makes the Son the object of every angel’s worship!
Christ is the Creator
Colossians 1:16 (KJV) says “For by him were all things created …” The context demands this translation, since the preceding verse (15) says of Jesus “who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature”. The word used for image here is Gr. eikon, from which we get our English word ‘icon’. This word always means a reflection, never just a similarity. Also, note the remainder of verses 16 and verse 17, which state “all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”. The fact that all things were created for Jesus Christ is an even stronger indication of his absolute deity than the fact that he created and sustains all things.
Jesus Christ is the very essence of God
In the very next chapter, Colossians 2:9 says of Jesus “of him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”. The word used for ‘fulness’ here is Gr. pleroma, which means ‘full to overflowing’, the word for Godhead is Gr. Theotes, which means ‘the person of God’, and the word bodily means physically or corporeally. In other words, this verse says that the essence of God’s person was full to overflowing in Jesus Christ, in a physical form.
Christ has all God's attributes
I Tim. 2:5-6 reads “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Jesus demonstrates the same attributes as God, including being called God (Isa. 9:6, John 1:1, 20:28, Rom: 9:5, Titus 2:13, Heb. 1:8, II Pet. 1:1), being referred to as the Lord of the Old Testament (Jehovah) (Rom. 10:9-13, Phil. 2:9-11, Heb. 1:10-12, I Pet. 2:3, 3:15), being unchangeable (Heb. 1:11-12, 13:8 ), eternal (John 1:1-2, 8:58, 17:5, Col. 1:17, Heb. 1:2, 12), all-powerful (Matt. 28:18, Eph. 1:21), all-knowing (John 16:30), all-present (Matt. 18:20, 28:20, Eph. 1:23, 4:10, Col. 3:11), beyond human comprehension (Matt. 11:27), receiving the same honor as the Father (John 5:22-23), receiving reverence (Eph. 5:21), being loved more than anyone (Matt. 10:37), being believed and trusted as God (John 3:16, 14:1, Acts 10:43), being worshiped (Matt. 28:17, Heb. 1:6, Rev. 22:3), and receiving prayer from all Christians (John 14:14, Rom. 10:12-13, I Cor. 1:2).
Of the generation of men Christ lived among during his earthly sojourn, he stated:
"And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept ... But wisdom is justified of all her children" (Luke 7:31-32, 35).
This is all pretty untheosophical. I would encourage you to read volume 2 of Isis Unveiled. The things that have come to light since the writing of that amazing text only support Blavatsky's findings. What you fail to understand is how his original teachings, which concerned the Kingdom of Heaven, have been tampered with, in oreder to create a religion that Christ NEVER INTENDED, and yet at the same time PROPHESIED. He KNEW what would happen, but he also knew that the GERM of his teaching was important enough to push it forward into the conciousness of humanity. Just look at the parable of the Good Samaritan. Christians somehow feel that they're above that kind of thinking. God doesn't give a rat's ass whether you're Christian, Hindu, or Scientologist--it's whether or not you help those in need.
Interesting. I have to agree with you, especially your last phrase. A.P. Warrington gave a lecture on the First Object of the Society, which is undated and quoted in Krotona of Old Hollywood (1914-1920) Volume II by joseph E. Ross, in the preface, where he is quoted as saying, "We theosophists could be called the Gnostics of our day. There is no telling what the happy results would have been had the Gnostics of the early centuries been allowed to be the bearers of the priest's message to humanity instead of those who were animated more by the teachings of St. Paul and the old Jewish prophets who thus unfortunately won the day...Suppose the old Jewish doctors of Christ's day had eased up a bit on the rigid interpretation of their doctrines and the observance of their religious forms and had added to their faith and practices the Master's teachings of loving kindness, and all that went with it, would any damage have been done to the Hebrew religion or people?"
Staying on the topic of Jesus Christ, what is there in His recorded life or actions specifically that you have an issue with, that would cause you to be more ashamed of Him than if your father were Hannibal Lecter? What fault do you find in Him?
If (hypothetically for the sake of discussion ok?), He died a horrific death in my place and your place to earn a restored, loving relationship with God and moreover eternal life in paradise, would you not consider this sacrifice an act of extreme love, mercy and grace?
I consider your answer reasonable, from your perspective. I also believe/agree in taking full responsibility for our own actions.
In the case of vicarious atonement though (again, hypothetically ok?), there is no way to dig oneself out of the mess we are in, for any of us, because that would require attaining a state equivalent to the perfect nature and works of Christ (absolute perfection), for past, present and future. A completely perfect life in motive, thought, word and deed none of us has, not even close. Only the insane or masochistic would want our thought life on public display even for our best 24 hour period.
If indeed there is no vicarious atonement, Christ is not the Creator, and He did not come to give Himself a ransom for many as the Bible states, then of course the death of Christ would cease to have any eternal purpose or meaning as applied to any of us.
However, and although you did not say anything positive about Jesus Christ, you also did not state any fault in Him that would cause you to have such disdain for Him, even exceeding the evil nature of a Hannibal Lecter. Whether He is God or not, why do you have such repulsion to Jesus Christ, as you have indicated? Do you really find His recorded life, words and death (even if you do not believe in His bodily resurrection) "stupid"?
Thanks for helping me understand your position better.
So I have another question then. If Jesus' life is an example for all of us, how is He a good example if He claimed the following amazing things, among many others, that you seem to believe are untrue?
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).
"And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was" (John 17:5).
"Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent" (John 6:28-29).
"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am [he], ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24).
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28:18).
"Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:57-58).
"Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:28, Mark 10:45).
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also" (John 14:1-3).
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:25-29).
Then, there is the record in all the gospels of Christ's miracles, apparently many thousands of them, including healing of incurable handicaps and diseases as well as rasing the dead. Even the Jewish Talmud, which speaks blasphemously of Christ, does not deny His many miracles, but simply attributes them to demons. Did you read the article I referenced in a previous post about Christ's miracles and the laws of science, and what they tell us about origins?
There is solid and abundant documentary evidence that Jesus Christ said the above things and did many genuine miracles. If He said and did them, but His statements and works are not true, then Jesus Christ was either consciously lying and deceiving others, or an insane madman (an unwitting liar), wouldn't you say? How do you say He is such a great example for us if He is a deceiving charlatan or a madman?
He doesn't seem to be a madman, considering His incredibly wise, consistent statements, such as the 'Sermon on the Mount' you mentioned, and neither is there any record of Him having been proved a liar or of any fault. Moreover, His character has been analyzed thoroughly and found flawless.
If Jesus Christ is not a knowingly harmful deceiver or a madman, then what He said is true, and we should believe it. It is not reasonable to reject the manuscript evidence that testifies of these things, since it is much stronger than for any document of ancient history.
Please show me where my reasoning is flawed here, thanks.
Reasoning from the Bible is not tautological since there is solid manuscript evidence for the New Testament, any more so than it would be tautological to quote any other ancient book, many which are assumed factual with much less evidence.
You even referred to the Sermon on the Mount yourself, which you claim makes Jesus a great example for us. Why can you reference the Bible and I cannot?
Why do you not welcome other views for discussion, even when polite?
Why is vicarious atonement necessarily evil, how do you know this?
Why won't you explain the reason for your views?
I'm not trying to attack you or anyone, though you act like that is my intent, and am trying to be as gracious as possible while remaining direct.
Your view is your own business, as is mine. What's the problem, can't we have a discussion about Jesus Christ on a discussion forum thread that asks who is Jesus Christ?
I've noticed that there seem to be some evangelicals and some Orthodox that insist on pushing their wares on various forums that are clearly not evangelical or orthodox.. It's rather sad to me that in the pushing they generally are very one sided and can be a little abusive too..not always but it does I think interfere with the purposes of some of these forums and can be intrusive to say the least... Well I can't really see myself doing that .. say going to an evangelical forum and telling them what they should believe.. I think once you've given your pitch that should be it.. Everyone knows pretty much what standard Christian ideology is like and to continue though with the pitch after awhile gets really tiresome because you're using someone else's forum to promote your particular ideology when there are far more evangelical forums on the web to share your message..
For whatever it's worth, when I came here I merely saw the topic 'Who is Jesus Christ?' and tried to stay on topic about that. From what I read, theosophy was open to a broad understanding or investigation of theology and philosophy (hence 'theosophy'), which would would theoretically include an interesting discussion I could contribute to.
If I had known my views would not be welcomed here by anyone, I certainly would not have participated at all. Now that this seems to be the case, I have no desire or interest in participating where I and/or my views are not welcome or edifying (if this isn't true for some reading this please speak up), and in such case I bid you all a respectful and well-intentioned farewell.
Doesn't Genesis mention the Elohim (plural) saying "Let us make man in our image?" plural? The whole Christian bible starts off with the Creator actually being plural. Should be referred to as "they" not "him" or "her"