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The Bible is not Outdated nor Irrelevant
The Bible is Not Outdated nor Irrelevant
Many people will tell us that the Bible is out of date and irrelevant in today's world and society, with modern science, politics and finance as the order of the day and that issues of wisdom and morals are out of place and outmoded. The chief problem is not the Bible per se, but the current attitude that allows for all the abuses in society that the Bible condemned in the days that the books therein were written. The Bible draws from a lot of authors and sources and is a distillation of experience and wisdom from ancient times, recorded for posterity so that they could benefit from that knowledge. It also contains a strong dose of mystery, which is linked to nature and sky, which today science also experiences in quantum physics’ strange realities that are in their own way, mysterious. For the ultimate source of the Bible is nature in all its aspects, which is God's first book and the Bible being a book of commentaries thereon. As nature is the first “book” of God, it is a priori. The Bible and all other sacred writings are a commentary on nature and thus a second book written as best as people understood it during the history of their sojourn on Earth.
“The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament showeth his handiwork Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes." Psalm 19:1 - 8
In answering the great questions, we are still looking, as science is still in the process of resolving them. Nature contains all the answers, even if we are not aware of some of them yet. The Bible makes claims to have solved great mysteries based on faith, but what it does do is provide a codex for living in harmony with one another, nature and God, something that we have obviously failed to do in contemporary society.
“For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.” Romans 2:12-15,29 NKJV
Part of the problem stems from the misuse of the Bible as promoted since the 1980s by TV evangelists and the like who promoted such ideas that "God wants you to be rich" and that "if you are poor, it is the result of your sin and God's resulting punishment". They also promoted ideas such as God will strike the Earth with an asteroid if we allow gay rights. They neglected to mention their own sin in all of this which was summarily exposed and broadcast over the media to their own detriment. This resulted in the turning away from faith by many Christians as a result and this was also predicted in the Bible. The ideas and wisdom in the Bible are indeed profound and we can still learn from its pages.
Jesus summed up the whole of the law as follows;
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all they soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as theyself. On these two commandments hang all the laws and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40; 1 Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:9-18; Timothy 1:5; Galatians 5:14
Jesus was commenting on the old law as handed down from Moses, which is why we see his words are virtually identical to those found in the Pentateuch. He also stated that he came to fulfill the law. The Greek word chosen to translate from the Aramaic word for love is a form of the word Agape; translated to unconditional love in English. As Bible tells us that God created all there is with unconditional love toward all, we at least should return the like in turn. We could learn a lot concerning love and respect for God, nature and one another, which sadly is far too lacking today. Not one of us has the total comprehension of all things, yet we readily condemn people who are different in some way. Jesus addressed this question too when he commented;
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.” Matthew 7:1-5 NKJV
Here we see a parallel with the concept of karma that is found in the Hindu Vedas and in Buddhism. This statement given in the New Testament is closely paralleled by Jesus statement as recorded by Paul;
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:7-10
This continues in the line of thinking of the principle of karma. Let's examine this a little deeper. If you treat another person harshly, you are going to lose the trust of that person at the very minimum. You may never be able to recover a humane relationship with them if the injury you cause is bad enough to induce a neurosis or psychosis in that person. We see this going on all the time with stories of bullying for one reason or another that seems perfectly reasonable, but ends in tragedy where many innocent people wind up dead in a killing spree at the hands of the one formerly bullied. We live in a greater society that claims to be Christian, but bullying is pervasive. Whether we look at boss-employee relations, rich-poor in class relations, teacher-student relations, strong versus weak, military hierarchy, race relations, belief differences, sexual orientation, ethnicity and other differences, we see bullying as the norm rather than the exception. We see this when we hurl insults and act in violence to someone of a different minority that can be triggered by prejudice. All too often, this is founded on questions of money and poverty.
The Bible has much to say on finances and money management and the consequences of mismanagement. Jesus had something important to say here that is often ignored in the modern pulpit.
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:24-34 NKJV; Luke 16:13
Mammon is often translated into money; that idea of the universal commodity that so obsesses most of us, especially in these times of economic uncertainty in the context of specialization and codependence in our civilization. What is being stated here is that all that of use to us is found first in nature; God's store for the use of all without charge or trade with God. We set up stores and yet birds, insects, rats and mice take what they need and offer no money to us for what they take. It is the natural order. The origins of all use value comes from that which we find of value around us, just as other animals find it laying in wait for use. Sometimes we arrange the useful elements with our labor in such a manner so as to raise food or fibers for feeding and clothing ourselves. But the original sources of all of it are from nature and not made by human hands. Some would say that these are the gifts of God to be shared by all equally according to need. The original and basic ideas of socialism and communism come from this idea and this idea is also found in the Bible. Karl Marx derived much of his inspiration from the Bible. The focus of the Bible though, as we have learned is our love to God and neighbor and our service to God and neighbor. According to Marx, communism was just a stage toward the ultimate goal of a classless and stateless society. Up to now, Marx stated and it is still true that "the sum of history hitherto has been the history of class struggle". This idea is born out also in yoga, particularly in bhakti yoga which is all about sacrifice, service and devotion. The idea of sharing all in common comes from the New Testament in the following account.
“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things in common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” Acts 4:32-35
This is the basic idea behind socialism and communism and is an idea that is apparently foreign to capitalist society and imperialism; what Lenin called the highest order of capitalism. Instead of sharing, what we see today is money manipulation which is justified by the politics of our leaders. Money manipulation is currently being used as a device to rescue the economy at the cost of everyone at the bottom of society through the twin evils of devaluation-inflation. Even here the Bible has relevance considering the origins of and the result of our current world economic crisis. The situation had many solutions in Biblical times that we must consider now in order to better live with nature, God and each other. Recall first what the Bible says about living in the now, which does not differ much from Taoism and Zen practice. Then consider what the Bible say concerning usury or interest in the context of money changing.
“And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase. I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God. And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: But as a hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubile.” Leviticus 25:-25-30,33-40
“If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as a usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury. If thou at all take thy neighbor’s raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down: For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious.” Exodus 22:25-27
The Biblical code expressly forbids usury-interest as this is a way of getting rich at the expense of the unfortunate and the poor. We see this in operation with tightening money supply with the consequent raise in interest rates targeted at the bottom of society while the rich get trillions of dollars in bailout packages with no strings attached. We see this in the elimination of the social safety net for the needy brought into effect by Clinton and supported by Obama. This is not to deny the job creation packages, but even here we have to consider what the bailouts do by way of dollar devaluation and inflation as a result of a devalued currency. The chief problem is our obsession and love of money, overdependence on it and the loss of vision of what this all really based upon. We have lost our vision of nature and the real vision of the Bible.
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:10
The Bible also expressly forbids and frowns on the rich and powerful from oppressing the poor including the practices of bullying and torture that is so popular today. Further more, it explains that wealth in the hands of a few is a witness against them. The following excerpts prove that the Bible is not outmoded in our day, nor is it irrelevant. Not only is the Bible relevant to today, it is topical!
“The LORD will enter into judgment with the elders of His people And His princes: "For you have eaten up the vineyard; the plunder of the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?" Says the Lord GOD of hosts.” Isaiah 3:14, 15 NKJV
“Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped downyour fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.” James 5:1-6
The sorrows attached to money can be interpreted as the state of depression that society is drifting toward today. Though many deny we are in a depression, for those already unemployed and those about to, this is a depressing situation. The rich and powerful are nervous to the point of influencing government and the Federal Reserve to mass printing of script currency to help them get a leg up with a devalued currency in the main than will negatively affect many people in the low end of the economic scale such as the working poor, who will find in short order, prices on bread going up from say $5 to $50 to $150 per loaf. Is this not sorrow? This has happened before repeatedly in history, yet we still fail the lesson.
In this day and age, where we think we are better than our ancestors who seem like savages compared to our lifestyle, we have our own shortcomings of which the Bible spoke and are still true. Jesus warns in a particularly poignant parable;
"And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'..... Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' Matthew 25:40,45; NKJV
This above parable is about whether or not we feed the poor, heal the sick, house the homeless, and defend the persecuted and the like. The parable is about the judgment day when people are being sorted into whether or not by their lives they followed the precepts in life and reap the judgment as a result of their actions. Further, the truth is clarified so there can be no mistake as to what is being described.
“For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2nd Timothy 3:2-7 NKJV
According to the Matthew Gospel, Jesus went into the temple and had his way of dealing with usurers and money lenders.
“...and overthrew the tables of the money changers” Matthew 21:12,13
We are told that faith is meaningless unless proof exists by actions.
“What doth it profit, my bretheren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” James 2:14-20; Hebrews 11:1
Is the Bible irrelevant and outdated? I think not! There us much we can learn and apply in modern life that could make life better for many people. For this, there is required a change of heart, mind and soul. Paul says this and it is carried over from the Old Testament and Jesus. We need a soul searching transformation of consciousness that is brought out in action in the real world.
"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12.
The Bible will only become outdated and outmoded when we finally as a whole population live by its guides and principles. Here are some of the ideas and guideline of where the Bible wants us to move toward; to bring "heaven on Earth".
“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die a hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.” Isaiah 65:17 to 25
“And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.” Luke 1:50 to 53
“All the kings, the princes, the exalted, and those who rule over the earth, shall fall down on their faces before him, and shall worship him. They shall fix their hopes on the Son of man, shall pray to him, and petition him for mercy. Then shall the Lord of spirits hasten to expel them from his presence. Their faces shall be full of confusion, and their faces shall darkness cover. The angels shall take them to punishment, that vengeance may be inflicted on those who have oppressed his children and his elect. And they shall become an example to the saints and to his elect. Through them shall these be made joyful; for the anger of the Lord of spirits shall rest upon them. Then the sword of the Lord of Spirits shall be drunk with their blood; but the saints and elect shall be safe in that day; nor the face of the sinners and the ungodly shall they thenceforwards behold. The Lord of spirits shall remain over them. And with this Son of man shall they dwell, eat, lie down, and rise up, for ever and ever. The saints and the elect have arisen from the earth, have left off to depress their countenances, and have been clothed with the garment of life. That garment of life is with the Lord of spirits, in whose presence your garment shall not wax old, nor shall your glory diminish.” Enoch 61:12-18 FME
1. The Holy Bible, New King James Version
2. Jose Miranda, Marx and the Bible, A Critique oth the Philosophy of Opression, Orbis Books, 1974
3. The Forbidden Mysteries of Enoch, The Untold Story of Men and Angels, Elizabeth Clare Prophet, 1977
4. The Emphatic Diaglott Containing the Original Greek Text. The Vatican Manuscript no. 1209
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