The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Inner Sanctum

We have just celebrated the birth of Emmanuel, or 'God with us'; as Christians, of course, this is something we celebrate year 'round (let that sink in ), but how often do we really think about what that means; in other words, 'what does it mean to us that God is with us ( John 14:23 )?' As discussed in a previous post, 'sure, we have the Spirit indwelling us', but why are most Christians waiting for more, in other words, why do they continue to look for salvation outside themselves? The concept of looking within oneself for salvation will most likely sound heretical, even blasphemous to most, but given the twin facts that Israel was the receptor of the salvation we read of in the Scriptures & that the so-called Godhead, or Trinity now dwells with us, in our hearts, so to speak, it should really not be shocking to realize that it is within ourselves that we should look for the Strength to work ( out ) our own salvation!

The subject of 'Heaven' is quite a controversial one: whether it is an actual 'place' out there somewhere, in the heavens or whether it is a separate realm or dimension, one thing is clear; it is the Dwelling ( place ) of the Creator God, also known as our Heavenly Father! Jesus told the Pharisees, who were a bit confused about the Nature of the coming Kingdom, 'the kingdom of God is within you' ( Luke 17:21 ). Coupled with Jesus' words in John 14 ( 23 ), 'if anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him', it should not be hard to understand that 'Heaven' is in our hearts. By saying 'in our hearts', of course I do not refer to the physical organ, nor to biology at all, but to our inmost being, our spirit. As the Kingdom of Heaven & the Kingdom of God seem to be interchangeable in Scripture, we may safely conjecture that they are the same & refer to the Realm of the Creator God!

The Creator, or 'God', if you will, though He has made His ( Her, Its ) Home with man, is not however confined to mankind: He ( She, It ) is still the Creator! One issue I have encountered when bringing up John 14:23 in conversation is the supposed omnipresence of the Creator God. I do not mean to say, along with the Deists, perhaps, that after everything had been finished, the Creator God stepped out of the picture & let it all go to hell, nor do I mean to imply that it is only with ( in ) His human Creation that He abides, or dwells. I mean simply to say that our Heavenly Father has awakened us, opened our eyes, so to speak, to the Reality that we can exist on two different planes, in two dimensions at once!

The fact that we are spirit beings having a physical experience is one that I have tried to make clear in my writings, as it has become more impressed upon my own mind of late. Along with this realization has come its own difficulties, leading to further study & consideration. The issue of gender, for instance, has been a rather hot topic lately! If, as I posited in a certain conversation recently, the body, not the spirit, determines gender, then may we rightly say that there are male & female spirits? Could this be one thing that the apostle Paul  referred to when he wrote, 'there is neither male nor female' ( Galatians 3:28 )? Another question that might arise is, 'do spirits dwell in the physical ( biological ) realm, or do they exist in the another dimension altogether, although right alongside the visible realm?' Is this not what the prophet's servant saw, as recorded in II Kings 6:17? Could this be the real import of what Jesus said in Luke 20:34-36?

Jesus, as recorded in John 6:63, said, 'It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and [ they ] are life'. A bit out of context maybe, but couple this with the fact that in the beginning, the Creator God breathed into Adam 'the breath of life' ( Genesis 2:7 ) Along these same lines, the prophet's vision in Ezekiel 37 showed that it was not the physical, or biological body of Israel that needed to be resurrected, it was the spiritual body which was about to be raised to life once more.At the end of his famous diatribe on 'faith without works', in James 2:14-26, the apostle wrote 'the body without the spirit is dead' & in the same breath that 'faith without works is dead also'.

Believing in a Covenant Creation, as I & many others do, one might note a seeming inconsistency with this viewpoint, in that the body of Adam, as the Body of Israel in Ezekiel 37, had no life until 'the breath of life' entered the picture, because that would mean that Adam, or mankind, had no life in them previously. Well, that might pose a difficulty if it were not for the fact that Ezekiel 37 at least, is metaphorical of the fact that the body of Israel had become entangled in the lies of Sin & Death! With that aside, one might well note that it is the spirit, with or without the blessing of the Spirit of Life, that animates the body!

The spiritual dimension, though known & experienced by many since the dawn of time, has recently been opened to the eyes of even more. Some religions, but the Christian religion in particular, has traditionally taught that it is not until the spirit leaves the body that one enters this realm, also known as 'Eternity'. This could lead to another discussion entirely, but I believe that, since the Resurrection occurred in the first century, we inhabit that Realm! As human beings, yes, our biological 'self' is confined to this earthly ( physical ) realm, but as spiritual beings, we have ascended, or at least are ascending, in a manner of speaking, to the spiritual, or heavenly realm. Is this not what the writer to the Hebrews meant when he wrote 'you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn [ who are ] registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect' ( Hebrews 12:22 & 23 )?

The Creator God, we can truly attest to, operates without the confines of Time, which all human beings, biologically speaking, are liable to! Since the Kingdom of Heaven has been brought to earth, we, though not our 'flesh and blood' ( I Corinthians 15:50 ) have entered this Hidden Realm. One might wonder if the spirit had not always existed in that other dimension, but that might be another matter for another post. While in this body, we often feel as if we're in 'Hell', so to speak; it is with our spirit & strengthened by the Spirit, that we can choose to transcend this mere biological experience & make a home in 'Heaven'!

'Somewhere, out there.............' is a cry of hope that a host of dreamers have uttered for millenia! The traditional Christian hope of 'Heaven' is not a false hope ( 'Yes, Virginia, there IS a Heaven!' ); it is simply a misplaced one! Heaven is not some place that we will inhabit only in the after-life ( ? ), 'Heaven' is another dimension, another plane of existence, if you will, in which our spirituality leads our biological bodies to live in a way that's heavenly!

As we prepare to enter upon a New Year, in a timely manner, let us determine within ourselves to live beyond the mean, to realize that we are spiritually with our Lord, the Creator God, our Heavenly Father! Though these biological bodies will never enter this Realm, we may, through the Strength of the Spirit Within, transform our World into a recognizable 'Heaven', as the Spirit causes Life to flow through our fingertips, from one Realm into another!

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Pattern of Prophecy & the Exodus Theme

The Story of Scripture, from Adam to Jesus, is the Story of Israel! If you follow my meanderings at all, this is not an unfamiliar notion to you. The concept that our first parents, Adam & Eve, were not the first human beings to traverse the planet is not a new one, though among most Christians, it is a fairly radical notion. Scientists, especially those who cling to the theory of evolution, have purported for ages that mankind has roamed the earth for tens of thousands of years. The notion that Adam & Eve were not the first humans to inhabit the region we know as the Near East is an idea whose time has come; the fact that they were simply the first ones through whom the Creator God deemed to enter into His Creation, is a radical one indeed, so radical, in fact, that it may just end up transforming our theological landscape!

The question has come before this blogger recently, of why we are reading the Hebrew & Greek Scriptures, rather than learning about the life of the Buddha, or other Ancient Near Eastern 'gods' ( or their servants ). Why are we, here in America, studying the Bible rather than the Q'ran? As I discussed in one of my recent posts, it is because of 'The Resonance of the Story'! As I discussed, the Story of Israel is really the story of humanity. The Story of Scripture, though it tells about how the God of Creation chose to make His Purpose known through a special people, the children of Israel, or Jacob, actually mirrors humanity very well, as it records the rise & fall of many an individual, corporate body & empire!

Following the Story of Israel, from Adam's Fall in the Garden to the Fall of the Corporate Body of Israel, from the murder of Abel to the murder of Zechariah, we may note a pattern throughout that resonates within us, even here in America, so far removed from the original subject matter. From the first prophecy of a messiah ( Genesis 3:15 ), to when that longed-for Messiah came 'in the fullness of time', as recorded in the Synoptic Gospels, we see a pattern throughout, prophecies which pointed to & were indicative of a time to come when the Creator God would dwell with His People, as pictured in the tabernacle & the Temple. We've covered this ground before, but as He walked with Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden ( the original Temple ), so He would again, through Jesus, walk among His People &; indeed, fashion them into His New Temple!

As we have been blessed, at Covenant Community Church, by the ministrations of our two teaching elders, we have become fairly familiar with the Exodus Theme that runs throughout Scripture. The Captivity of Israel, in its many iterations, was typical of the bondage that the human race has been embroiled in since its inception! The Fall of Adam & Eve in the Garden, especially when read with the understanding that it is apocalyptic literature & Ancient Near Eastern at that, should resonate with anyone who reads the account in Genesis 3. The following accounts of the murder of Abel, the Falls of Noah & Abraham, the wilderness wanderings of the children of Israel & their fleshly struggles throughout those wanderings, the times of the Judges & Kings, all leading up to the Final Exodus of the Israel of God & the Birth of the Promised One in the midst of captivity & His ministry remind us all of our own struggles & search for salvation!

The Exodus, from Egypt, of the children of Israel, although traditionally understood as historical narrative, has come under critical fire in the past few decades, as there seems to be no evidence, aside from Scripture, that it ever occurred exactly as we read it in the biblical narrative! There can be found, with some speculation, records of similar events that happened around the same time, but the main weight, which we can ascertain from a cursory reading of the Greek Scriptures, is that the events of the first Exodus ( from Egypt ) served as a picture of the Final Exodus that Jesus ( who was the Great Anti-type ) led His People in, an Exodus from the Bondage of Sin & Death!

The Creator God not only walks with His People once again, He has made us His Temple, His Dwelling on Earth! The Pattern of Prophecy, as we have noted previously, pointed to this Reality & still today, as the Scriptures are carefully read, resonates within the hearts of true believers, reminding us of this Chief End of Man ( kind ). As the Israel of God, the True Temple where He now resides in His fullness & having been made aware of our true, spiritual nature, we serve as the purveyors of His Love. It is when we fail to share that Love that we notice problems such as are recorded in the pages of Scripture!

The Hebrew Scriptures, standing alone, would indeed paint a far different theological landscape than that which we admire today! Though much of our orthodox doctrines are still based on the teachings of the Hebrew Scriptures, it is widely accepted that most of what was prophesied in them was fulfilled in the Christ. We, here in America follow the Scriptures rather than the Q'ran because of what I'll call 'The Fulfillment Factor'! 'The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed'. This is a true & noteworthy statement; Jesus, or the Messiah of Israel, being prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures, was truly & finally revealed in the Greek Scriptures. In the Q'ran, we see no such thing: like many Christians, we may note that the Blessed Hope of Islam lies primarily in the 'afterlife'. Unlike most Jews, these Christians believe that though the Messiah came as prophesied, He must come again to finish His work of Redemption. The Realization that He came as promised & prepared us as His Dwelling ( place ), His New Temple, helps us to understand that His work, to Redeem Israel, WAS finished; now we simply fulfill ( continue ) that work!

Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Out of the Bag

'Mom.....Dad.....Y'all might wanna sit down for this.....'

Lynn should have known better; every parent dreads what comes next-okay, so sometimes it's not nearly as bad a their child thinks it is-but especially Lynn's folks; both were good upstanding members of a local congregation & her dad was even a deacon! Lynn Gaylord had always felt...............well, special; never quite fitting in with all the others-boys or girls-but somewhat of an affinity for both. She had, up to this point, led a fairly normal childhood, but now that she had hit puberty, full-force, so to speak, Lynn was beginning to hear 'The Call of the Wild' even more!

As her parent's blood began to warm their faces again, Lynn continued her confession; 'I always had this nagging feeling that I wasn't quite like all the rest-I'm sure you had your suspicions too-but as I've bee doing a lot of growing in the past several years, I've discovered that I prefer...................'Boyz II Men'. As soon as the words had left her mouth, both of Lynn's parents jumped to their feet, words rushing out of their mouth like water from a freshly un-kinked hose!

'Oh, honey, we're so relieved; we had noticed as you were growing up that you were a bit.....different, but this is such a load off our minds!

'But,', Lynn replied, as she picked her mouth up off the carpet, 'I said I like 'Boyz II Men', not boys in general; I'm both cissexual & cisgender, if that's what you were worried about!'

Well, of course, being old 'fuddie-duddies', Lynn's poor parents had never even heard the term ( s ) before, so back up went the blood pressure, almost immediately reaching the boiling point-for her dad, anyway!

'What the hell..........' her dad began to protest, as her mother quickly tried to calm the storm that was brewing. 'we love you anyway, dear, no matter what you choose to be..............' Lynn's mom had heard terms like 'transgender' & transsexual' before, so she knew enough about those kinds of things to know that they just weren't quite right. Lynn's dad, on the other hand, knew enough about these 'things' to know that no child of his was gonna have anything to do with such 'things'!

'I forbid..............', he tried again-more weakly this time-as Mom turned the full force of her 'death stare' on him! 'Dear', her mom asked, 'what exactly do you mean by 'cisgender' & 'cissexual'?' 'We've heard other similar terms, but these are new to us.' To tell you the truth, Lynn's mom was actually more worried about the 'sexual' part more than ''gender-her little baby daughter was only 15, for God's sake!

With a petulant, almost perturbed look on her face, Lynn gave her parents the definition of both cisgender & cissexual. 'Cissexual' , she replied as her eyes tried to roll up like some old window blinds, 'simply means, 'noting or relating to a person who is comfortable with having the physical characteristics of that person’s biological sex'; in other words, one who is not transsexual!'

Both Lynn's parents felt quick & obvious relief at this, though, now that her father had gotten past the first stages, he too felt a twinge at the word 'sexual'-both parents had grown up in a puritannical environment, so this was to be expected! Their daughter was simpy pulling one on them, they quickly realized, assuring them she was straight, while 'getting their goat' by using unfamiliar words like 'cissexual' & 'cisgender'!

Lynn was relieved; 'you're not mad about the 'Boyz II Men' thing?', she asked, somewhat incredulously! 'Oh, dear,' her mother replied-her father hadn't found his voice yet-he'd talk to HER later, 'we're just so relieved that you haven't made any..............strange, choices, we really didn't even pay much attention to the 'II Men' part; of course it's okay that you like them, but be careful who you tell though, those boy-groups ARE a bit....strange!'

This has just been a parable of sorts, but also a warning, a warning that one day your own son or daughter might face you-the parent-with such a confession! When he or she does, the best thing to do is.......'SHUT UP & LET ME FINISH!' They might be trying to tell you, in their own weird way that they're pretty normal, or, they might actually like 'boy-groups': then, my friends, you might have REAL cause for concern!

Charles Haddon Shank

Monday, December 19, 2016

Emmanuel-'God With Us'

Yes, it's that time of year again, the Season in which we traditionally celebrate the Birth of the Savior of the World! We know that Jesus was most likely born in a very different Season, but, as the story goes, religious leaders borrowed from pagan tradition & settled the day that we celebrate Jesus' Birth to coincide with the Winter Solstice, or the time when the days begin ( slowly ) to get longer: some call this 'the coming, or appearing of the light'. No matter its origins, the Christmas season has been one in which we lay aside our worries for a season & gather together as friends & family, whether to celebrate the Birth of Jesus, or just to have a jolly good time!

Seasonal Affectations aside, the Winter Season is harder on us then any other Season; especially living in any of the northern states, where it usually dumps a lot of snow & the temperatures often drop ( way ) below most people's comfort level, the Winter Season can be one of the hardest to survive while maintaining any degree of sanity. While there are many who work year-round, there are quite a few, particularly in the more rural areas, who work seasonally, in other words, as the conditions allow; hence, for those whose work is primarily done outdoors, the Winter season IS a time of Rest, but if not careful, it can be a time of hardship as well!

What does it mean to you that God, or the Creator is with us? Ask anybody, including most Christians & you'll probably receive a fairly 'pat' answer, something like 'His Spirit dwells in us!' True enough; His Spirit DOES indeed indwell His people, but, Scripturally speaking, nowhere does the Bible record those words; sure, a general misreading & misunderstanding of certain texts ( John 8 & 14 ) seem to IMPLY that He does ( or will ), but only one portion actually says ( outright ) that ANY part of the so-called 'God-head' will indwell us & the Spirit is not even mentioned ( by Name? ) there: 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him'. These are the words of Jesus, as recorded in John 14:23.

The Creator God, as far as we know, is a Spirit! It is universally accepted that this is so, yet still, we have most Christians saying that within the so-called 'God-head', we have the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit. I've asked this question before & it sounds almost so profoundly simple as to be somewhat ignorant, but 'does a Spirit have a spirit?' Such a concept might lead to other seemingly ignorant questions like, 'IS the Creator God a Spirit Being?' One might be lead to ask, 'is the Creator God human, like us?' 'Is that what it means when it says we were made in His Image?' Believe it or not, I've actually heard reasoning akin to this!

Whatever the case may be, when Jesus was born of the Virgin ( young woman ), He fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy, 'Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel' ( Isaiah 7:14 ) A natural objection might be, 'but Jesus was NEVER called Immanuel ( Hebrew? ), or Emmanuel ( Greek? )!' In Matthew's record of the Gospel, though, the Birth of Jesus IS recorded as fulfilling this hopeful prophecy & it is universally accepted that this Jesus was, as the hymn-writer put it, 'Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing'!

The Indwelling of the Spirit HAS made a world of difference! No more do we strive with 'the flesh', though at times it sure seems like it; no more must we wait for a time when our Messiah will come (unless we, like the Jews of Jesus' Day look for a political Savior )! Whether one trusts the biblical record or not, Jesus came as 'God in the flesh-God with us' & so brought to an end the reign of terror that the children of God had labored under since Adam fell!

With this Season of Rest comes hardship as well; for those who do not carefully prepare during the previous times ( seasons ), Winter can be the worst season, especially for those who can only work 6-8 months ( if that ) out of the year. You've no doubt heard the saying, 'make hay while the sun is shining'; those who make their living doing mostly seasonal work ( Spring through Fall ) know the meaning of this well-used phrase best! In order to make it through the Winter months, these must often scrimp & save to put aside during the months when certain kinds of work can be done.

The Celebration of Christmas, or the Mass of Christ, is a long-standing tradition, one that will probably never die! Though most who celebrate it realize that it is most likely the wrong season, not many realize, or acknowledge it's pagan roots. Like a good friend of mine recently said, though,'we have co-opted it'; in other words, we have made it our own! We do dot celebrate the birth of the Sun ( god ), we celebrate the Birth of the Son. We do not honor the false deity of the Roman god Saturn, we honor the Living God, who in the form of His Son, Jesus who was the Christ, came to dwell with us forever!

As 'God with us', Jesus brought to fruition the Promise of the Ages! He did not come simply to set His People free & then return to some far off 'Heaven' where He bides His time waiting to return & finish His Work; He came to indwell them so that they could continue His Work! The Dominion Mandate given to Adam so long ago is at the heart of this Season; through the Spirit Within, we have the Strength, not only to continue His Work, but to Rest, like He did, in an Eternal Seventh Day!

Charles Haddon Shank

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Lust of the Flesh, the Hope of the Resurrection & the True Nature of the Human Being

So, the question might rightly be asked, 'why do most people, maybe Christians especially, focus so much on this physicality, this biology?'

Well, not surprisingly, the Bible seems to tell us so! For whatever reason, most, Christians in particular, though this is not limited to Christianity, seem to cling, almost voraciously, to the fact that we were created in God's image. There has been some disagreement, among Christians, even, on what exactly this means, for instance, 'if man ( kind ) was created in God's image, does that mean that the Creator God is a human being?' One might well ask, on the other hand, 'does that mean we are spirit beings, as He/She/It is?' This may come as a shock to some; it may even seem heretical & blasphemous, but if man ( kind) was indeed, as a whole, created in the Image of the Creator God, then we must indeed be like Him/Her/It!

The Time of year when we ( Christians ) traditionally celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord is near! The Easter Season has already begun, starting with the Season of Lent, wherein many Christians traditionally give up something, meat, for example, in preparation for the Easter Season & the Hope of the Resurrection ( ours, not Jesus' ). The fact that the Resurrection of Jesus recorded in Scripture was primarily indicative of the Resurrection of Israel seems to have been 'lost in the translation' for many Christians; although we speak, somewhat wistfully of what most call 'the effects of the Fall' not affecting this biology anymore, in other words, having a 'perfect resurrection body'; the great hope of orthodox Christianity is that, like our Lord Jesus, we will one day be a able to walk through walls, so to speak ( Luke 24:36 ). This, of course, is loosely based on Scripture, but what most Christians seem to forget is that the post-resurrection body of Jesus was nothing but a sign for the first century Jews that He had triumphed over ( overcome ) Death!

What has been traditionally called 'the lust of the flesh' by modern Christianity is most often viewed as the result of 'the Fall' & although this paradigm is biblically defensible, the question might well be asked, 'is our definition of 'the lust of the flesh', in essence, our tendency to satisfy our fleshly desires, what the Bible is really talking about, or were the writers of Scripture referring to something else? Rather than referring to something which is innate in the human being, were they speaking of something pertaining to national physical Israel? The Story of Israel, as we have seen, is a kind of metaphor for the history of humanity & so 'the Fall' of Israel ( Adam & Eve ) is itself indicative, not so much of the fallen nature of humanity, but of their child-like propensity to do what they're told not to. The Fall of our first parents, as it is traditionally read in Genesis 3 is a metaphor, then, for those, even in this day & age, who separate themselves from the Creator God, through whatever means, because they consciously do what is wrong, or because they are told that what they're doing is wrong, even though it isn't!

In this day & age, especially among Christians, we are taught about the evils of lusting, or, to be more precise, longing for something that is forbidden. Longing for our neighbor's wife or indeed any of his possessions would definitely fall into the category 'the lusts of the flesh'! According to Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, the primary definition for 'lust' is 'pleasure, delight, personal inclination or wish'. Secondarily, it is defined as 'usually intense or unbridled sexual desire'; neither of these definitions necessarily bespeak a wrong, or evil desire!  Given the wrong object of that desire, lust does indeed become an evil emotion, especially when acted upon, but under the right circumstances, lust need not be viewed as wrong!

A husband & wife, according to the given definition, then, are most certainly doing no wrong, when in the throes of sexual ecstasy, they let loose their lusty flesh upon each other! Within certain parameters ( this is right, that is wrong ), lust is a good & healthy thing! Under the right circumstances, one might well lust for anything from a good steak for dinner, to the one preparing the steak. Lusting for flesh, as the children of Israel did in the wilderness ( Numbers 11 ( Psalm 106:14 ), was a punishable offense because they complained against Yahweh's provision. Lusting, in Scripture, is decried because of the reason for their lusting & for the object of their lust, not for the emotion of lusting!

The hope of & desire for a biological resurrection is one that has remained extant in the orthodox church for ages! Though the Scriptures, or more specifically the Bible, has been translated & understood, whether with or without bias, to teach a bodily ( biological ) resurrection, the bodily Resurrection of Jesus is most often seen as proof that, as He was physically raised, so will we. This has been a matter of contention, even division ( heresy ), throughout the Church for ages. Even in Jesus' own day, the Pharisees were reprimanded ( Matthew 22:29 ) when they questioned Him about the Resurrection, thinking that it pertained to biology. Though Jesus' biological body was raised to life ( re-animated ), when digested within the context of the Story of Israel, it is clear that the Resurrection Story did not pertain to biology, but to spirituality, 'to the spirits of just men made perfect' ( Hebrews 12:23b )!

Humanity, as we have begun to realize, is comprised of 'spirits having a bodily experience'! This is not to say, as we are often accused of, with the Gnostics, that 'the body is a prison-house for the soul'; we are not imprisoned within this biology: we ARE, however, given these biological wonders to house our spirits, in order that we might serve as the Hands & Feet of the Creator God! Our true, spiritual nature is one that many have realized over the ages, but for whatever reason, seems to have been pushed to the back burner, so to speak, or relegated to the after-life, though many believe that, even in this so-called 'after-life', we will inhabit this biology!

Since we are indeed, of the same Essence as the Creator God, we are, in ourselves, creators! It has been shown, on a much smaller scale, of course, that mankind has shown this creativity in manifold ways. There is nothing in nature that mankind has not recreated, usually to a much lesser degree & the miracle of birth may be seen as the culmination of one of the greatest act of creation that humanity can achieve. Though we, through the aid of Science & Technology have yet to achieve many great things in the manner of creation, those achievements will never come close to that of the Creator God, the One who is the Origin of the Universe!

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Nibiru, the Annunaki & the Broken Planet

'Is this Earth our home?'

Well, not if you ask most Christians, but if you ask pretty much anybody else, the answer is pretty obvious: we are born here & we die here, right? Taking into account, of course, the fact that we are spirit beings having a biological experience, it's not really that simple! Humanly speaking, since we ARE born here & we DO die here, this is without doubt our home. Exploration has been made & is still being advanced in search of other habitable planets, in the likely case that the Earth will again become uninhabitable as it once was, according to the Bible, 'without form and void'!

The ancient Sumerians, the forerunners of the Babylonians, so to speak, left behind a wealth of information for us to decipher (  if one believes that sort of thing ), telling us, among other things, that the human race was 'created', not by the Almighty, as the Scriptures tell us, but by an alien race of gods called the Annunaki. The Annunaki, according to these tales, were scientists who fashioned ( 'formed'? ) human beings in their own image to serve their own purposes on Earth; sound familiar? The planet that they called 'Home' is '
Nibiru', lately called 'Planet X'. Planet X is not native to our own solar system, but, as the story goes, invades it every 3600 years in a clock-wise ( apparently, everything else rotates in a counter-clockwise pattern ), elliptical orbit.

NASA, among other researchers, has noted seeming 'evidence' of claims that at one point, many millions of years ago, this 'Planet X', on one of its intrusions, struck one of the planets in our solar system, a planet called 'Tiamat'. Now, 'Tiamat' no longer exists, as such, anyway; now, she is known as 'Earth'! According to this tale, when 'Nibiru' struck, 'Tiamat' was cloven, forming what we now know as the asteroid belt ( between Mars & Jupiter ) and the planet that human beings now call 'home'. Looking at Earth from space ( ? ), one can see that most of her land mass is gathered on one side of the planet, in & around the Atlantic basin. Much of the landmass in the Pacific region is evidence of volcanic activity. Not only was this planet cloven in two, so to speak, but the impact moved it into a different course, somewhat closer to our Sun, a relatively small star as stars go!

If one believes this sort of thing, there was a time long ago that the landmass which is contained in the Atlantic basin was gathered together into one large 'super-continent' named 'Pangaea'. At some point, over a hundred million years ago, as the story goes, this 'super-continent' began to drift apart, forming the continents as we now know them.Again, looking at the relative shapes of the continents, both in the Atlantic basin as well as those few in the Pacific region, one can see that the various shapes do fit together, almost like a simple jig-saw puzzle. Though much of this information makes some sense, it goes against the grain of most Christians, as it seems to be in contradiction to the biblical Story of Creation!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness [ was[a] ] on the face of the deep. 
And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
 Genesis 1:1 & 2 

Okay' there's 'proof' that everything you just read above is based on a bunch of hogwash! Right? Well, not necessarily, for a couple reasons. The most obvious, maybe, to those who know me & have read my 'blather', it should be clear that I, along with a relative host of others, believe that these words, including the rest of the Genesis Creation Account, speak, not of the Creation of the material universe, but of a more complex Covenant Creation. We do not deny that this same Creator God did call the Universe into existence, but as the Scriptures are the Story of Israel, it begins & ends, not with the physical creation, but with the institution & final revelation of the Israel of God!

Secondly & maybe not quite so clearly, the Creator uses means to accomplish His Purpose! This is not to say that He could not or did not speak the worlds into existence or create the material universe & everything it contains ( including human beings ) with the appearance of age ( as many Christians will tell you ), but who is to say that He/She/It did not use these lesser gods ( angels? ) to accomplish His Purposes? A famous writer of almost a century ago, J.R.R. Tolkien, in his 'Silmarilllian', advances much the same notion! If the Creator God did indeed use these Annunaki to engineer the human race, it would explain a lot, would it not? 

There is some question, in recent times, though it IS based on an ancient notion, whether Earth actually IS a globe! A flat Earth might destroy much of what I've written about here, rendering much of it moot, but if indeed, as the story goes, a planet from outside our solar system, with a contrary rotation, divided Tiamat & birthed the asteroid belt, Earth & her Moon, then much of what Science has revealed to us about, not only our origins ( human beings ) but the origins of Biology itself would make a lot of sense; as well, we might better understand the apparent retreat of Life from other planets, Mars, for instance!

One might should take these 'ancient' accounts with the proverbial grain of salt! As ancient writings go, there is a likelihood, even a probability that they were, to whatever extent, embellished & relayed in such a way as to conform to a certain type of literature; as we all know, even myths have a basis, however strong, in truth! 

Truth be told, however, does it really matter whether human beings were spoken into existence, along with the rest of Creation, with age or not, or whether the supremely wise Creator God divided His forces, so to speak, much as Moses did in the Wilderness, at the behest of his father-in-law & delegated responsibility to other beings? If Scripture does not tell the Story of Creation, but simply that of Israel, then what is so unbelievable or reprehensible about the notion that humans may have been formed in test-tubes by scientists that were set to the task by an Almighty but Wise Creator? The term 'alien' is used many times in the Hebrew Scriptures & simply refers to foreigners, whether those from other nations or to the Israelites themselves, so who is to say that the Annunaki were from another planet? Maybe they were from another realm, or dimension entirely!

While most Christians would immediately discredit such a notion, even vehemently deny such an explanation, in the grand scheme of things, one might note, it doesn't really amount to a hill of beans! 'What the hell......?', some might exclaim! How dare I suggest that what one purports to believe about the Origin of Life doesn't really matter all that much! But, don't get me wrong; I'm not saying it doesn't matter where we came from, or who we are, but when it comes down to brass tacks, where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, what really matters is how we live in this human experience: we may claim, even if it borders on nonsense, to believe everything that orthodoxy tells us, blindly accepting it as truth, but if we do not love our ( human ) neighbor as ourselves & treat them as we want to be treated, then our profession is suspect, to say the least!

Charles Haddon Shank

Thursday, December 01, 2016

The Resonance of the Story

'The Holy Bible, or Scripture, is the Story of Israel!'

These words, in one form or another, have been swirling around lately, not leastly in my own head! So, one might ask, 'why then are we reading it as applicable to our time & place?' 'Good question', another might reply. One response could be & should be, is that, in what we call the Greek Scriptures, or the New Testament, the teachings of Jesus, Paul & the apostles are more or less universal, that is, they transcend time & place, being applicable to our Heavenly Father's children at all times & in all places. One must be careful here, of course, to discern between something like, 'this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place' & 'just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise' ( Matthew 24:34 & Luke 6:31 ) Even 'God so loved the world.....' must fall under this heading!`

The Hebrew Scriptures, or what we usually call 'The Old Testament', although based largely upon what some call 'the Mosaic Law' ( including the Ten Commandments ), are given for our learning & instruction as well! Much of what we read in the Law & Prophets was fulfilled in the Christ, or Messiah of Israel & so no longer bears the sword for us, but even though these prophecies came to their fulfillment in 'Immanuel', or 'God with us', in the truest sense of the word, it is being fulfilled through us, who might be termed 'little Christs', or Christians!

The earliest Scriptures should resonate with us as well, because we can therein read the history of humankind! This blogger believes, as do certain others, that, beginning with Adam ( who was NOT the first human to walk to & fro upon the earth ) the Story of Israel flows, meanders, really, throughout the Hebrew Scriptures & into the Greek Scriptures, where it finally reaches its End, or the ultimate Goal, that which had been prophesied. We, humans in all times & places, can herein relate to Israel's Story, because, in reality, it is our Story as well! The ups & downs that Israel experienced throughout her sordid history speak to us as well; this is one reason that most Christians today are still enamored with saying, along with the prophet Jeremiah, 'The heart [ is ] deceitful above all [  things ] and desperately wicked; w ho can know it?' ( Jeremiah 17:9 ) We can all relate, at one time or another & some more than others maybe, to the apostle Paul's words to the Church at Rome; 'For the good that I will [ to do ], I do not do; but the evil I will not [ to do ], that I practice' ( Romans 7:19 ).

However one reads the words of Scripture, we must understand first of all, that they were written, as Paul wrote to Timothy, 'for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness' ( II Timothy 3:16 ): they were, in that sense, written 'for' us, though not 'to' us! Another thing we must take into account is the wickedness, or wilfulness of humankind, in that, down through the ages, who is to say that what most Christians call 'The Word of God' has not become somewhat garbled, with certain meanings having been 'lost in translation'?! This is not to say that the words we read therein are ALL suspect, for certain of its teaching flow smoother than others & of course, we also have the Spirit Within that discerns which are veritable & which are not. Here again, because we can relate so well with the history of Israel, humanly speaking, much of what we read in its pages strikes a chord with each of us & otherwise bares a nerve which has been covered over!

Jesus WAS the Messiah of Israel & even though that famous passage quoted, John 3:16, did indeed refer primarily to the Roman 'world' of Paul's day, I believe that we can read it today as inclusive of the Creator's entire Creation! As Christians, or 'little Christs', we are faced with the very same prospect that Jesus, as the Christ, or Messiah of Israel faced, that of redeeming the Creation! Just as the prophets of old held Jesus up before the eyes of Israel under that first covenant, or Israel according to the flesh, so many Christians today feel that old familiar 'twinge' when they are called to stand up for what they believe in the midst of an almost 'hellish' world.

At this present time, we live in a New Era, in a New Covenant, so to speak, one in which the Fulfillment of 'God with us' 'is met in us' ( which we celebrate in the upcoming Christmas Season )! No longer does Israel look for & long for its Messiah; He came in the flesh on that Blessed Day so very long ago & far away, but in some sense, you might say, the world still looks for & longs for its Messiah! Sadly, many Christians think they are still waiting for their Messiah, not realizing that the Messiah of Israel, through the ages, HAS redeemed them to be the Messiah to the World!

The Story of Israel then, is OUR Story! We have overcome, through the Power of the Spirit Within, 'God with us' the sins that plagued Israel! Though, in our humanity, it often seems we must still utter the words of Paul & Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 17:9 & Romans 7:19 ), realizing our Spiritual Nature, which was the End the Creator had in mind for us, helps us ( daily ) to overcome our 'worldly desires' & the inherent 'evils' which seem to beset us all around Understanding the Story of Israel resonates with us because we can all relate to their struggles, we can feel their pain!

In the letter to the Hebrews, we read 'we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all [ points ] tempted as [ we are, yet ] without sin' ( Hebrews 4:15): if THAT does not resonate with us, it should!

Charles Haddon Shank