Jesus lived and died to teach us, and show us a better way of living. We were doing such a poor job of following God on our own, that our Heavenly Father sent his first born creation, Jesus the Christ, the Father’s very first creation before anything or anyone else was created, to show us a perfected way of living, with the dignity that we were intended to live, and in the order created by God our Father. As you have seen, I stepped out of fear of studying other religions (each with their limited viewpoints and reasons), so I can better take a clear look with the eyes of my heart, to what my Heavenly Father God, Jesus and the gift of God’s holy spirit said and did, and what the Father expects of each of us, as explained by Jesus. You will, of course, be getting my understanding of these considerations.
As I let my guard down to take a better look at what Jesus actually said, I also let my defenses down, my justifications and my rote Catholic answers. I allowed the possibility that (heaven forbid) I might be wrong, or that the Catholic Church might be wrong on critical points of faith. No one of us is perfect, not even the Catholic (means universal) Church. I do understand that Jesus will be with the church until the end of time, as he promised. We are human and fallible, and God is infinitely wise and compassionate. I ask in this moment for God’s holy spirit to come to me now as I continue further with this discussion.
First I observed what Jesus did, and did not teach. Jesus did not teach the Trinity, taught not to call any man Father, said not to worship him but to worship the Father alone, said not to worship idols, said not to take up arms but to turn the other cheek, summed up all the Ten Commandments and the other over 600 man-made Jewish laws into the Golden Rule to do unto others the way we would want to be treated, taught against inter-faith religious practice, did not teach the hellfire lie, and many other teachings so numerous that they could not be contained in all the books in the world. Let’s take a deeper look.
First I must say I have loved my Catholic faith and do not have an ax to grind. I have always felt very protective about preserving the integrity of the Catholic faith since I started teaching it 42 years ago. The last six months of my much deeper study has shone a bright light on many things, like lifting a veil that I knew was hiding “something.” I always knew there was more, more to women’s roles in the Church, more to what Jesus had to say, more to what God through Jesus was asking of each of us so that we can live more authentic Christian lives. Here is what I found:
Simply put, God created our reality beginning with a garden on earth, the Garden of Eden. It was made perfect, and humankind was made perfect, but with free will. Jesus was the first-born of all creation, including the angels with free will. As the story goes, God created a perfect angel, Satan, who uses his free will to refuse to follow God’s way, refuses to honor mankind, and instead wants all the glory for himself, his perpetual sin of pride, which is usually one of the first things to trip us up in our lives as well.
I realize that all parts of human history, including Catholic history, is marred by the lack of love that Jesus lived and died for. We, the people, are the church. We, as human beings in human bodies with human minds and understandings will make mistakes, and obviously, not just the Catholic Church either. But our hearts are restless until they rest in the truth of God, or at least, our perception of the truth of God. More wars have been fought, and lives lost, to the very day, regarding what humans believe God to have said, or to have meant, since the beginning of creation. So I am not placing blame on any one group nor religion, as I make my way to greater understandings that I now share.
I agree that we must look at the totality of Jesus message and mission, as well as the Holy Bible in its entirety. Limited Bible passages, taken out as fragments and taken out of context, change the meaning of the original intent. Because of this, I will share with you Bible verses, confirmed by other Bible verses, from the viewpoint of looking at the entire Bible as a composite, rather than individually written books. I used to say Jehovah Witnesses come to limited conclusions when compared to the whole. I worked as a reporter for a local newspaper for over 20 years, and am well aware that there is usually a story behind the story, and a hidden agenda for many things people portray as the truth, when it is not. So it is with a very keen eye, that I have recently been investigating what the Jehovah Witnesses say, and why, and also with a very soft spot for Catholicism in my heart, for my past learning tradition and belief system. However, I have learned some important things I would like to share with you.
One conflict in principle concerns idols. “God told Moses to mold a bronze serpent in the wilderness and whoever looks at it will be saved…” yet, this same God who in the same book of Exodus gave the Commandments —-“You shall not make any graven image in the likeness of anything …… ,You shall not bow down and worship them”. You will notice that God did not tell Moses to tell the people to bow down and worship the graven image of the bronze serpent. There is no graven image with any power or protection that is to take the place of our Heavenly Father in Heaven. You will remember that Moses asked God for a sign so that God’s people would know to follow Moses, to take him seriously. God did not tell Moses to have the people bow down and worship the idol image of the bronze serpent. The same thing goes for the beautiful pictures of our beloved family members we carry in our wallets or on the walls of our homes. We have images of people we love in picture form because we love the people, not the paper the image is on, nor do we bow down and worship the pictures of our family members, nor the family members themselves, taking the place in our minds and hearts of our Heavenly Father. I know you already know these things already. It helps my mind also to explain in more depth what I believe as well.
I think one of the most amazing things I discovered by studying the Bible lately is how true the Bible is throughout all of history, despite its numerous authors and literary styles. Every prophecy announced by the prophets who spoke for God, came true, like 500 years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Daniel pinpointed the time when Jesus would be anointed as the Messiah, or Christ. The fall of Jerusalem was foretold before that, and the fall of Babylon never to be rebuilt even before that. Babylon, don’t forget, was the breading ground for many false doctrines still at large today, like the Babylon belief that the soul will never die at death. Yet, that is not a belief taught by Jesus, nor anywhere in the Bible.
It was through humankind’s initial disobedience (the original sin of Adam and Eve) that death of body and soul entered our human experience. Genesis 2:16-17 says, “And Jehovah God also laid this command upon the man: “From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction. But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it, you will positively die.” Check out Ezekiel 18:4, “The soul that is sinning – it itself will die.” Often the Bible speaks of mankind as “souls,” but never does it refer to the soul living on past physical death until after Armageddon, when God’s Kingdom replaces all earthly “kingdoms” or governments as we now know earthly rulership by; and the souls are raised.
It is at Armageddon when all souls rise from the dead. In the garden of Eden, all humankind was told that the wages for sin is death. This is echoed again in Romans 6:7, “For the one who has died has been acquitted from his sin.” Death is the penalty for our disobedience, not the hellfire lie that has been taught throughout the ages. God’s perfect creation begins with a garden in the book of Genesis, and ends with a perfect and eternal paradise garden in Revelation. This prophecy will also be fulfilled as all other prophecies have been fulfilled. Our Creator God is true to his word.
God’s name is Jehovah. The Hebrew word for “YHWH” includes no vowels. The Greek word for God’s name is Yahweh. The English translation for “YHWH” is Jehovah. Psalms 83:18 says, “That people may know that you, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are Most High over all the earth.” Jehovah’s name was mentioned in over 7,000 times in the scriptures. But so that the Jewish people would not misuse the holy name of God, his name was removed from the Bibles, until the current time, when it is being put back in the Bibles. Jehovah asked us to keep his name holy, sanctified, not to eliminate it. After Jehovah’s name was removed, the name Jehovah most often was changed to a title, such as “Lord.” But the words “Lord,” and even “God,” are titles, not the name of our Divine Creator. Jehovah gave us his name because he wants us to use it. When a person wants to get to know us, and when we want to get to know someone else, we get to know they by their, and our, names. In the prayer, the Our Father, taught to us by Jesus, Jesus teaches us: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by they name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven …” Jesus tells us to use Jehovah God’s name and to keep it holy. Jesus does not tell us NOT to use Jehovah God’s name. Notice too, that Jesus instructs us that Jehovah God’s kingdom is coming. It is not here yet.
The coming of Jehovah God’s kingdom is the important message of our time. Will we choose to follow God’s way, or the world’s way, void of God, ridiculing God, and hopping on the band wagon of materialism and greed?