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Jesus and the New Age
by Kenneth W. Behrendt
About a decade or so ago, I remember reading of a study that was done to determine who the most influential people in history were. The study produced a list of the ten individuals who had affected the most number of human lives on our planet. While I do not remember all of the names on the list, I do remember the top three individuals. They were Jesus Christ, Sir Isaac Newton, and Mohammed...Jesus was at the top of the list.
At the time I found this rather interesting because, aside from the New Testament, we know very little about Jesus and there are only a handful of historical references to him outside the Bible, the authenticity of which are still being debated by scholars. Thus, we have no precise images of Jesus, no writings directly attributed to him, and only fragmentary knowledge of his life and teachings. Yet his story, recorded in the synoptic Gospels, has endured for about two millenia now and is a source of inspiration and hope for over a billion of Earth's inhabitants.
In this, the beginning of the third millenium since the birth of Jesus, there seems to be a worldwide decline occurring in many of the traditional religions, Christianity included, that is unprecedented in history. Actually, the decline started somewhere back in the 15th century as the Renaissance or "rebirth" in classical learning and science got underway. Now, an ever growing percentage of people in the Western world profess that they do not really have any "strong" religious beliefs...some claim outright that they have no religious convictions and that God is not real.
While this movement away from the formal, traditional religions has increased the freedom of individual thought and action, it has, quite unfortunately, resulted in a general decline in the moral and ethical values of people and the societies they form. Indeed, since the Renaissance period, there has been an steady increase in the frequency of wars and the death tolls associated with them. In the last century alone the various "-isms" designed to finally perfect mankind have probably accounted for the deaths of over one hundred MILLION innocent men, woman, and children. In these cases, the moral restraints required to prevent these disasters were tragically deficient.
In consideration of this slow moral decline, I have always wondered if it might not be possible to create a kind of composite philosophy or religion that would perserve many of the values of the formal religions, yet would not conflict with the many scientific revelations that have emerged since the Renaissance. This belief system would not be some strict set of guidelines, but, rather, would be a general philosophy of life and the world which could serve as a guiding light for humanity as it enters the third millenium since the time of Jesus.
Slowly, over the years, I came to the opinion that certain aspects of the so-called "New Age" movement have the potential to fulfill this role. New Age philosophy seems to replace formal religious dogma and ritual with a gentler and more tolerant "spirituality". Although this term is hard to precisely define, it does imply certain concepts. It suggests that all humans beings are brothers and sisters who, despite differences in skin color and language, share and are responsible for the upkeep of the same speck of dust planet in an infinite and eternal cosmos. It also embraces the concept of "karma" which finds its origins in the Eastern religions and philosphies that predate both Judaism and Christianity.
A belief in Karma postulates that every thought, word, and deed of a person has potential consequences for either good or evil. It further suggests that if a person does good, he can expect good to come back to himself in greater measure and if a person does evil, then he can expect evil to come back to himself in greater measure. Thus, with the concept of karma, the person does not do good to appease one or more gods, but simply because the cosmos is so structured that such behavior is in the individual's and the world's best interest. It is almost as though karma was the manifestation of some sort of cosmic "pleasure principle" based on morality and ethics. A sensible person will do good because humans have a natural neurological tendency to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
I have also found that the spirituality of New Age philosophy is, in general, very compatible with the teachings of Jesus as found in the Gospels. In fact, in my limited study of Christanity, I soon realized that practically all of the events of Jesus' life and his teachings can be neatly rationalized in terms of New Age concepts. So, in the remainder of this article, I will briefly cover my own experiences with Christianity, the life of Jesus and his teachings, and how they fit in with the now emerging philosophy of the New Age.
I can begin by stating that I was baptised into the Catholic faith, but, due to a certain unpleasant incident, I stopped attending Sunday masses at the age of eleven. I did not really miss weekly church attendance because at the time the masses were still being conducted in Latin and were unintelligible to me. As a result, I never received Confirmation. While my contemporaries attended our local parish's Catholic grammar school, I attended the public grammar school down the street. To this day, I still feel uncomfortable in churches and will only attend Christmas and Easter services when pressured to do so by friends.
As a youth my only knowledge of Christianity came from the various religious movies that were shown during the holidays. Films like "King of Kings", "Quo Vadis", and "The Robe". From these I learned that Jesus was a real person who could perform miraculous feats of healing and promised that if someone had faith in him and believed he was the son of God, then that person could somehow achieve immortality. The exact details of how this immortality would be achieved were, however, somewhat blurry in all of these movies. In later life I realized that this might have been done intentionally by the screenwriters of the movies. Such films are subject to considerable criticism by various Christian denominations, so that to make a film that will appeal to as many Christians as possible, a conscious effort was made to make Jesus' teachings as general as possible.
During the mid-1980's various support groups were in vogue and I found myself attending several of them regularly. Some were ministries operated by local Catholic parishes and I found that, despite my lack of regular church attendence, I was made to feel welcome at them. Often priests or sisters would address our groups and matters of faith would be discussed.
One Christmas holiday season I made up my mind to read my way through the New Testament so that I might, finally, get an accurate description of Jesus' life and his various teachings. I had been required to read several books from the Old Testament in a college course titled "Introduction to English Literature" and found the Middle English of the King James version of the Bible rather cumbersome. So, for my new study of the holy writ, I managed to obtain a version of the New Testament called "The Good News Bible" which has the text written in contemporary English. Over the course of the next several Christmas holidays, I managed to reread the entire New Testament several times over.
Finally, I reached a point where I was able to discuss the life and teachings of Jesus authoritatively with members of the clergy. It was then that I started to realize that much of Catholic dogma does not exactly agree with the Gospels! Being somewhat of a purist when it comes to such matters, I found this a little disconcerting. But, apparently, what Catholicism teaches about Jesus and the Bible is a mixture of the Gospels themselves, various oral traditions, and later clerical revelations concerning their meaning. From this, I began to realize just why there had been so many "schisms" within European Catholicism over the millenia and why we now have so many different Christian denominations!
Anyway, from my many readings of the New Testament, I finally got what I think was an accurate picture of Jesus and his teachings. For the reader who is unfamiliar with Christianity, I will now give a short description of what I found the "good news" to be.
Basically, somewhere around the year 4000 B.C. God created the universe, our Earth, its life, and the first two human beings, Adam and Eve. They were supposed to be immortal gardeners who would tend to the plants and animals in a paradise-like region of Earth called the "Garden of Eden". One day Adam and Eve were tempted by an evil fallen angel (in the form of a serpent) called Lucifer to disobey God. Their ensuing act of disobedience so angered God that he then punished Adam and Eve by casting them out of Eden. To make matters worse, God revoked their immortality so that they would have to struggle for the rest of their limited lives to grow food if they wanted to keep from starving to death. They could only continue the human race by producing children who, like their parents, would also have limited lifespans and be forced to struggle for their existence.
Four thousand years later (or two thousand years before the present time), God decided that mankind had enough of this harsh treatment. God would forgive the human race for the original sin of disobedience of Adam and Eve. However, this forgiveness was conditional. It would reguire a HUMAN sacrifice and a very special one at that. In fact, the person being sacrificed would be a mortal SON of God himself! Those humans then living who believed that this person was, in reality, the son of God would, themselves, be allowed to achieve immortality. Of course, it was not quite so simple, those who believed that the person sacrificed was the son of God also had to demonstrate this by following his moral and ethical teachings for the remainder of their lives.
Sometime during the summer of the year 7 B.C. a teenage peasant Jewish girl whose name (in English) was Mary was selected by God to bear the child who would become the human sacrifice required for the redemption of mankind. At the time she lived in the Judean town of Nazareth and was betrothed to an older man whose name (again, in English) was Joseph. She was visited by angels one night and, as a result, became pregnant. Since she was a virgin at the time, this causes much distress for her family and husband to be. But, the husband has a dream wherein God tells him that he should tolerate the situation and Mary and Joseph marry and look forward to raising their first child who the Christian world will know as Jesus. Most
likely, Jesus was born around mid April of the year 6 B.C. One of the Gospels indicates that Mary eventually produced six more children with Joseph as the father. Jesus eventually had four half brothers named John, Joseph, Judas, and Simon and two half sisters.
Jesus grows up and helps his adoptive father Joseph in the family business which was either carpentry or some sort of general construction work. The next time we read of Jesus, he is about 12 years old and obviously well informed on the religious matters of his country. In Jerusalem he disputes various religious issues with rabbis at the Temple which was the center of Jewish religion and politics. At a local wedding, he performs his first miracle by converting ordinary water into wine for the guests. He is a robust, intelligent young man who is apparently aware that he has a special mission and role to perform for God.
At this point in the synoptic Gospels, there is an approximate 18 year gap in the story of Jesus! He next appears as a man over the age of thirty years old. After a 40 day period of fasting and wandering about in the desert, Jesus was baptised by a his cousin and boyhood friend, John the Baptist, in the river Jordan. After this ritual cleansing, witnesses claim that a dove descended out of the sky and landed on Jesus while a voice from a cloud announced that Jesus was the Son of God!
After this Jesus begins an itinerant ministry of teaching and healing as he wanders about the countryside surrounding Jerusalem. He was joined by twelve men, referred to as the "apostles", who were convinced that, because of the various miracles he was performing, he had to be a "messiah" that was predicted to come in the Old Testament who would help restore Judea to the dominant status it enjoyed under its former kings like David and Solomon. At the time, Judea was occupied and controlled as a vassal state in the Roman Empire. This was offensive to the Jews of the day who wondered why God would allow something like that to happen because it was a clear violation of a "covenant" or promise that God had made to the prophet Abraham about 2000 years earlier. The apostles believed that Jesus would use his miraculous powers to get the Romans out of Judea.
Jesus continued his ministry for several years and visited many small towns throughout Judea. He performed many miracles of a paranormal nature that include such things as healing, resurrecting the dead, levitation, mind reading, etc. which he said were are not really being performed by him, but rather by God!
After he had people's attention, he would deliver his message to them which he claimed was given to him by God although he never elaborated on the precise details of how he received this message. Basically, the message stated that those who have faith that he, Jesus, was, in fact, the son of God and who followed his moral and ethical code would be granted immortality. He further stated that he would be killed and, as a final proof that he was who he claimed to be, would be resurrected from the dead! He would then depart the scene for a SHORT and unspecified time period afterwhich he would return in a glorious "Second Coming". At that event, which was to occur DURING the lives of some of his contemporaries, the evil forces of Satan, which tempted people to do evil things, would be defeated in a tremedous battle of Armageddon, the dead would then be resurrected, and they and those then alive would be granted immortality.
Jesus would then become the king of a worldwide kingdom and his throne would be located at the Temple in Jerusalem. This kingdom would, literally, be another paradise where all human needs would be fulfilled. Nobody would be sick, hungry, or in need and the whole globe would finally be at peace! However, after a thousand years of this blissful state, Satan would again be allowed to influence people. This would be one final test to see just who deserved to be part of the paradise. Those who failed the test would be cast into a lake of fire, known as "Gehenna", on a terrible day of final judgement. They would not experience eternal purnishment in some perpetual hell, but would just be annihilated for eternity.
The surivors of this final judgement would then be granted a very special privilege. God, himself, would descend to Earth in a giant flying city, referred to as the "New Jerusalem", which would settle on the Earth. Then for the rest of eternity, Jesus, God, all of the good angels, and the surviving immortal humans would live happily forever!
This message (also known as the "Good News") that I have decribed above is not delivered as quickly and distinctly in the New Testament, however. A reader must be prepared to study the ENTIRE text and piece together the various verses that describe the message. No wonder it tends to get muddled in the various religious movies that I enjoyed as a youth.
As Jesus continued with his ministry, he eventually came into conflict with the religious authorities that operated out of the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus considered these men to be a bunch of hypocrites who were more interested in their status then in loving their neighbors and doing good deeds as Jesus claimed God wanted them to do. The religious authorities, which consisted mainly of a group of seventy rabbi's called the "Sanhedrin", considered Jesus to be a troublemaker who was starting to inspire the Jews to take up arms and revolt against their Roman occupiers. Since these high Jewish religious authorities were responsible to the Romans for maintaining order, if Jesus' growing popularity resulted in an uprising, then there was the real possibility that the members of the Sanhedrin might wind up being tried and executed by the Romans!
Just prior to the Jewish Passover one year, Jesus had a most interesting "meeting" while in the company of three of his apostles known as the "Mount of Transfiguration" incident (see Matthew 17:1). Jesus climbed a hill and suddenly his face began shining brightly as the hill was mysteriously enshrouded in mist! His apostles, who remained at the bottom of the hill, claimed that two other people suddenly appeared out of the mist and they could see Jesus conversing with them. When Jesus returned to the apostles they asked him if he had just had a meeting with Moses and Elijah (two important prophets from the Old Testament). Apparently these beings were angels or messengers from God that had told Jesus that he was soon to be executed in Jerusalem and that, after three days of laying in his tomb, Jesus would be restored to life to prove his authenticity to the people of Judea. The apostles were stunned by this revelation.
Jesus then entered Jerusalem and celebrated Passover with his apostles. One of the apostles left the dinner and then led the Temple guards to Jesus who, after the dinner, was waiting for them in an olive grove just outside the city walls. Jesus was captured that night and brought before various religious and political leaders. At the insistence of the Sanhedrin, his was accused of blasphemy, heresy, and treason and condemed to death by crucifixion.
Many attempts have been made to calculate the exact date that Jesus died on the cross. The fact that the Gospels say that a total solar eclipse occurred on that date which was also a Friday has allowed only two possible dates to be determined. They are April 7th, 30 A.D. and April 3rd, 33 A.D. If the first date is accurate, then Jesus would have been 35 years old when he died. If the second date is accurate, then he would have been 38 years old at the time of his death.
After being on the cross for several hours, Jesus finally succumbed to the loss of blood and respiratory distress and died. A Roman soldier involved in the execution then drove a spear head into Jesus' chest to make sure he was dead. The body was removed from the cross and taken to a cave-like tomb where it was annointed with various spices and then wrapped in linen. The entrance wass sealed with a heavy stone and guards were posted outside of it to make sure that the apostles could not steal the body and claim the predicted miraculous resurrection had taken place.
With the death of their leader, the apostles became very depressed and spent the next several days in hiding in Jerusalem. Three days later, some of the women who were associated with the small group decided to visit the tomb. They arrived at dawn on Sunday morning to find the tomb open and empty! This news produced great surprise and joy in the apostles who then were reinvigorated in their faith in Jesus.
For about 40 days after his resurrection, Jesus appeared several times to the apostles and other people. Finally, Jesus met with the apostles one last time, charged them to promote his teachings to the world, and concluded his interaction with them by levitating up into the sky! He then disappeared from their view as he merged with a glowing cloud that then floated away...
With the above, the reader has the basic story of the New Testament. The various epistles or letters to Jesus' early disciples that follow the four synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John go on to describe the trials and tribulations of the apostles as they tried to promote the story and teachings of Christianity throughout the first century Mediterranean world.
It was after my first few readings of the New Testament that I realized that there was a VERY obvious problem with it that most Christians completely overlook. This problem revolves around what was Jesus' MAJOR prophecy during his ministry which was that his Second Coming was IMMINENT and would be occurring sometime BEFORE the last of the original twelve apostles had died off (consider, for example, Jesus' statement in Matthew, Chapter 24, Verse 34 in the King James version). Jesus' Second Coming was to be a dramatic, WORLDWIDE event that would begin a paradise-like existence ON EARTH for his devoted followers. The importance of this prophecy is attested to by the fact that there are over 1500 references to it, either direct or indirect, in the books of the New Testament. That works out to one reference every 25 verses on average! So, there can be no doubt that this prophecy is central to Christian belief.
The problem is that it has now been about two MILLENIA since the times of Jesus and there has been NO Second Coming! In other words, the major prophecy by the central figure of Christianity has proven to be a false prophecy! Such an obvious failing would probably tempt most non-believers to dismiss the entirety of Christianity (and, perhaps, any religion) as just being a hoax with no basis in reality. I, however, am NOT convinced that this is the case at all. A simple dismissal of religious beliefs as having no basis in reality is an approach which I think is untenable for a variety of reasons.
Let me start by saying that I have no doubt that Jesus was an actual living person and that he was, in fact, the product of a "higher power" who was relaying messages from that power to mankind as best he could. However, due to the nature of the communications that Jesus received, it is quite possible that he misinterpreted what he was told and it is this which is the reason for the eventual blatant failure of his major prophecy. It is also possible, of course, that there was no misinterpretation on the part of Jesus, but that somehow the higher power he was in contact with changed or even cancelled its plans with regard to humanity and this accounts for the failed major prophecy. My feeling, however, is that the "misinterpretation hypothesis" is the more probable one.
In the remainder of this article, I shall attempt to give a reinterpretation of the Jesus story of the Gospels with consideration to the misinterpretation hypothesis. Along the way various New Age philosophical concepts will be used in the reinterpretation and, hopefully, the reader will begin to see some of the many parallels between early Christianity and the now developing New Age movement. I believe that this reinterpretation will not in any way diminish the important role of Jesus in history, despite his failed prophecy. Quite possible, this approach may actually reinvigorate those whose faith has waned in our present secular times...
We can begin with the virgin birth of Jesus. In the Gospel account we find that in order for Jesus to be a perfect sacrifice to redeem all of humanity for its sins, he must, himself, be devoid of the "Original Sin" he would have acquired if he had been naturally conceived by a human father. Thus, Mary is visited by an angel who tells her that she has been selected to bear the child of God. She is so overwhelmed by this visitation that she agrees to the process. Only one of the four Gospels gives any detail about the impregnation and the reader gets the impression that she is somehow rendered unconscious during the impregnation.
Since it would be impossible for the cells in Jesus' body to function without a COMPLETE set of 46 chromosomes and the egg that Mary provided only contained 23 chromosomes, one must conclude that the beings who carried out the process of impregnating her must have provided the missing 23 chromosomes. From the single reference in the Gospels to the impregnation process, I got the distinct impression that it was carried out via some sort of artificial insemination.
If artificial insemination accounts for Jesus' miraculous virgin birth, then there may have been more at stake then producing a human free of the original sin which dooms one to a limited lifespan. I am of the opinion that its real purpose was to create a hybrid human; that is, a person who would appear like an ordinary human, yet who would also have advanced paranormal abilities such as telepathy and a healing touch. As Jesus grew into adolescence, these specially inbred abilities would have started to manifest themselves and he would have realized that he was quite different from the other Jewish boys of his age. Around this time, he would probably have learned of his unusual birth from his mother and have begun to take an interest in religious matters.
Perhaps as a juvenile or early adolescent he wandered about in desolate areas near his hometown of Nazareth when he began to receive telepathic calls to be at certain spots at certain times. There he would encounter marvelous beings who would engage him in telepathic communication. He would certainly believe them to be angels and representatives of the God of the Old Testament (known to him as the Torah). From them he would learn that he was sired by the being who had sent the angels to him. They would tell him that in later life he was to conduct a healing ministry throughout Judea and that he was to preach a message of peace and brotherhood to his fellow Jews.
In his late twenties, Jesus would have further contact with these beings and the message he was to deliver would be refined. Now the message was that those who followed his moral and ethical teachings and believed him to be the son of God would see the eventual arrival, ON EARTH, of a world wherein death had been eliminated. It would be a world which would have contact with the one who had sent the angels to oversee Jesus' ministry. These angelic beings would have promised to stay in close telepathic contact with Jesus and to intervene and perform occasional miracles for him at a distance from him so as to gather awed followers to his ministry. He need not worry about his assistants being discovered because, aside from having the power of flight, they were also capable of invisibility!
In his late twenties Jesus began his ministry when he was baptised by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. A miraculous dove (or something which appeared to be a dove) landed on Jesus and a strong telepathic signal issued from the sky to announce to witnesses that Jesus is special. The telepathic signal is so strong that each witness's mind "heard" it in his or her own language.
Over the next few years Jesus traveled around the small towns of Judea with his apostles, preaching the message of personal salvation through belief in him, gave moral teachings, and performed many miracles which were mostly healings. At night, he established telepathic communication via prayer with the beings who were monitoring and assisting him with his activities. Mostly, they remained unseen, but told him in what directions he should travel by day. This assured that they would be at those locations in order to assist him with the various miracles in the event that these required additional abilities which exceeded those that Jesus genetically inherited at his conception.
Unfortunately, the process of telepathic communication is not a perfect one. It is quite possible that during the years of his ministry on Earth, Jesus may have misinterpreted what his handlers were trying to tell him at times. Most likely, his misinterpretations may only have involved certain parts of the message he was trying to deliver.
It should be noted that my study of paranormal phenomena convinced me that telepathy is conducted from mind to mind via the occular system. Thus, a sender's mind causes his mental image associated with a word IN HIS LANGUAGE to be converted into a complex pattern of tremors in the rectus muscles that control the movement of his eyes. These tremors cause his eye muscles to emit short pulses of extreme low frequency electromagnetic radiation or ELF which then travel to a receiver's eyes. The fluids in the eyeballs of the receiver then refract or bend the incoming ELF pulses onto the receiver's rectus muscles were they generate nerve impulses that travel into the receiver's visual cortex. Depending on the strength of the incoming telepathic signal, the receiver may "see" an image of the transmitted concept in his "mind's eye" or both see it and subvocalize the word(s) for the concept in his own language.
While praying, Jesus would have received communication in the form of a powerful telepathic signal from his handlers that, like the incident that occurred during his baptism, originated from the sky, or, more likely, from some sort of airborne craft. The mental images and their associated concepts that he received would then have been translated into either Hebrew or Aramaic by his own mind. It would be in this complex process that the possibility for a misinterpretation by Jesus could have occurred.
For example, when Jesus tells his disciples that the kingdom of God is within them, he may have been misinterpreting a telepathic message that meant to tell humanity that it had the power through its own efforts to achieve a paradise on Earth. When he spoke of a battle of Armaggedon that would precede the establishment of God's kingdom on Earth, perhaps the real meassage was that mankind would have to struggle against and overcome the many problems of the world before its science and technology would allow a paradise to be established.
When Jesus spoke about his return to Earth before the last apostle died, he may have only been referring to future plans by his handlers to return him to the Earth to promote his message in other parts of the world. This message somehow got mixed in with the misinterpreted message he received about a cataclysmic battle of Armageddon that would involve the Roman Empire in the Middle East. I am of the belief that after the resurrection of Jesus, he did, in fact, appear CENTURIES later in various other parts of the world including India, North and South America, and even Africa. Many villages in these parts of the world have legends of a light-skinned man with a beard who appeared amongst them one day and provided the sick with miracle cures and people with moral teachings and prophecies.
When Jesus promised his CONTEMPORARY Jewish followers eternal life in an earthly paradise, he may have misinterpreted a telepathic message stating that EVENTUALLY mankind would, through the development of its science and technoogy, manage to indefinitely extend human life and even "raise" the dead. This, however, would not be happening during the lives of any of his contemporary followers. This misinterpretation, of course, accounts for the failure of the central prophecy of Christianity.
Despite these POSSIBLE misinterpretations of the message Jesus was supposed to deliver to mankind, there can be little doubt as to the validity and strength of the moral message he delivered which is embodied in his "Sermon on the Mount". Here we see some of the finest teachings on the ethics of human interactions ever delivered. He shows that the quickest path to an earthly paradise wherein poverty, disease, and death are banished requires that humans practice patience, tolerance, forgiveness, and genuine love for each other. Humans are to perceive each other as brothers and sisters in one single global community. Their emphasis should be away from material things and toward helping each other. True happiness and fulfilment will not come through the acquisition of material things, but rather through the possession of nurturing and rewarding relationships with the people around oneself.
It is interesting to note that Jesus lived during a time when there was unprecedented violence and bloodshed in the world. The Roman Empire was in a state of almost continuous warfare with its neighbors and poverty and desperation were widespread. The beings who created Jesus and directed his words and actions could hardly have failed to notice these terrible global conditions as they monitored our planet.
I am of the belief that those who directed Jesus were less concerned about the personal salvation and immortality of Jesus' contemporaries and far more interested in the salvation of humanity as a whole on planet Earth. Jesus and Christianity may only have been one of dozens (or even hundreds!) of religions that these beings sowed on Earth during the long and fragile history of the human race. Perhaps these angelic beings appeared at crucial times in our history whenever the level of violence and murder reached a crisis stage at which point it might become possible for all of humanity to destroy itself. In each case they would either select or even genetically create a person who would become a telepathically linked conduit through which they would deliver a message of salvation hope to humankind. To change the course of the self-destructive path humanity was on would always require a change of heart that would have to be spread throughout as much of the involved local populations as fast and as soon as possible. Again, this change of mentality would require INDIVIDUALS to focus on the important issues of life and away from such things as greed, envy, intolerance, and aggression.
Jesus' story ends rather abruptly in the Gospels. He has the one witnessed meeting with two mysterious angelic beings, informed the apostles of his impending execution, and promised that he would be resurrected as a sign that he truly was in contact with God.
Upon arrival in Jerusalem, he celebrated a final Passover sadir (known in Christianity as "The Last Supper"), and dispatched Judas Iscariot (the group's treasurer) to lead the Temple guards of the Sanhedrin to him so that they can take him prisoner. After a secretive trial by the Sanhedrin at which those high priests sympathetic to Jesus are purposely excuded, Jesus is condemned and then taken to both King Herod (the son of the corrupt "Herod the Great" who was alive when Jesus was born) and the then Roman Governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate. Jesus offered no defense of himself and Pilate let a mob decide whether Jesus or a condemned murderer, Barabbas (whose first name was also Jesus!!!), should be set free in observance of a local holiday. The mob, knowing that Jesus was a man of peace and that Barabas might lead a revolt against their hated Roman occupiers, shouted that Barabas be freed. This finally doomed Jesus to execution by crucifixion. After a scourging, he was forced to carry the horizontal beam of his cross through the streets of Jerusalem to a hilltop east of the city's gates. He was crucified there along with two thieves. After several hours on the cross, he died and, before sunset, was placed in a borrowed tomb.
Three days later on a Sunday morning, a female disciple of Jesus and her friend visited the tomb. The massive stone that sealed its entry had been rolled aside and they encountered a mysterious being inside the tomb who told them that Jesus had risen from the dead! Apparently, the Roman guards ordered to guard the tomb were somehow rendered unconscious during the time (probably early Sunday morning) when Jesus' body was removed.
For forty days after his resurrection, Jesus appeared many times to the apostles and, perhaps, to as many as five hundred other people! He finally told the apostles to meet him on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
At Galilee, the original twelve apostles received their final command from Jesus. They were to take his teachings to all parts of Judea and await his IMMINENT return. He then ascended into a cloud and disappeared from the view of the apostles. The remaining books of the New Testament are somewhat anticlimactic and go on to document the efforts of the early Christians to spread their faith not only throughout Judea, but also the entire Mediterranean area.
The reader must remember that the present books of the New Testament found in the King James version of the Bible are only a FRACTION of the early Christian writings in existence! They were VOTED into the New Testament at the Council of Nicea which took place in what is now Turkey in 325 A.D. The hundreds of bishops that attended this large meeting had many biases that influenced their votes on which writings would be considered "canonical". The idea was to make Jesus appear to be a single, celebate man who was at odds with all things Jewish. However, there are other Gnostic Gospels that were in use in Egypt that suggest that Jesus may have had a romantic relationship with one of the female disciples named Mary Magdalene from whom Jesus exorcised seven demonic spirits. It is even possible that he may have sired children by her! Interestingly enough, Mary Magdalene is the only disciple that is mentioned as being at the foot of the cross during the crucifixion in all four of the synoptic gospels. She is also the first of the disciples to discover that Jesus had risen from the dead!
The fact is that Jesus, although only having ONE human parent, was raised as a Jew and participated in all of the rituals and customs of Judaism. He says in the gospels, "I come not to change, but to fulfill". Thus, his initial goal in delivering his message to his LOCAL Jewish contemporaries was to reform JUDAISM, not to start the new religion of Christianity. Only late in his ministry does this goal seem to change when he charges the apostles to take his teachings to all of the Mediterranean world. This change, I believe, was necessitated by the undeniable resistance of his contemporary Jewish countrymen to accept his reforms.
There was an early Christian text that was suppressed during the first century which is known as the "Apochraphon Jacobi". It is very interesting because it gives a slightly different version of the life of Jesus then is portrayed in the four synoptic Gospels. It is filled with the usual miraculous healings and moral teachings, most of which appear in our present New Testament, but gives a fascinating DIFFERENT version of Jesus' ascension.
In the Apochraphon Jacobi, Jesus' final meeting with the apostles takes place on the Mount of Olives which is outside of and east of Jerusalem. He again charges his followers to love each other and tirelessly work to promote his story and teachings throughout the Mediterranean world. At this point in the narrative, a strange dark cloud slowly moves into position just above the Mount of Olives and it begins to thunder and lightning. The apostles are very afraid, but Jesus tells them not to be because it is only God coming to take him away! A flaming chariot (without horses) then descends from the cloud and lands next to Jesus. A DOOR or HATCH in the side of the chariot opens and the apostles can make out two figures inside that beckon to Jesus. He enters the chariot, the door closes, and this CONVEYANCE begins glowing as it carries Jesus up into the dark cloud. The cloud and Jesus then drift off toward the horizon as the apostles are left behind rejoicing at the miracle they have just beheld. Their belief in the authenticity of Jesus is given final verification.
From studying both the Old and New Testament, it became apparent to me that this literature is an abundant source of paranormal phenomena which, as I suggested in my first book on the paranormal, The Physics of the Paranormal, CAN be rationalized in terms of advanced PHYSICAL principles. This leads me to conclude that the events of the Bible are more of a super TECHNOLOGICAL nature than of a superNATURAL nature. In fact, I would venture so far as to suggest that both Judaism AND Christianity have one essential detail in common: they are both the result of advanced beings of an EXTRATERRESTRIAL origin interacting with ancient peoples. If this is the case, then the teachings of these great religions are compatible with the concepts of the modern New Age movement which places an accent on such topics as spirtuality, brotherhood, paranormal phenomena, and, of course, the subjects of ufology and extraterrestrial life.
"New Agers" look forward to a day when Earth, after developing its own UFO technology, will be welcomed into a local organization of spacefaring extraterrestrial races. This is compatible with the (misinterpreted) prophecy of Jesus that the "kingdom" of God would come to Earth during the lives of some of his original apostles. Jesus claimed that after his Second Coming, his disciples who had adhered to his teachings would be able to perform all of the miracles that he did. The New Age research into parapsychology and pschic phenomena promises to one day allow ordinary people to duplicate the various paranormal effects (including healing AND resurrection of the dead)through the use of advanced TECHNOLOGICAL means.
So, in light of the above, I now see Jesus and all the other founders and prophets of other religions as unique people who were either selected or created by extraterrestrial forces for a special purpose. This purpose had two parts. The first was to assure the survival of humanity and the second was to teach it spiritual values that would EVENTUALLY help prepare it to take its rightful place in the community of sentient lifeforms within our galaxy. This process has, most likely, been ongoing for tens of THOUSANDS of years and Christianity is only one facet of it. Jesus was a sincere man who did his best to perform as required by his extraterrestrial sponsors even though it caused him to suffer an excruciating form of execution.
As to the present status of Jesus, I can only offer the most general of speculations. I believe that he DID come back from the dead and then went on to continue spreading his message in other parts of our planet at other times. As I have showed in some of my other writings (see, in particular, "The Preservation and Resurrection of the Dead"), the technological ability to resurrect dead organisms ALSO implies the ability to bestow immortality upon them. Therefore, it is entirely theoretically possible that the person the western world knows as Jesus could, at THIS very moment, STILL be alive somewhere out there in our galaxy. Perhaps someday soon, after we of Earth make "official" contact with extraterrestrial beings, we will see Jesus again. At that time we can look forward to a complete explanation of what occurred during his lifetime in Judea and exactly what the motivations and intentions of our cosmic neighbors toward humanity were at the time he was born.
To conclude this article, I want to briefly explore a final topic. Assuming that one can accept my hypothetical version of the Gospels given above, one might wonder why extraterrestrials would promote the concept of a supreme God in their interactions with mankind. Would it not have been just as easy to promote brotherhood among humans WITHOUT introducing the idea of a deity? For example, the "angels" who contacted various ancients could have just stated that they were flesh and blood creatures like humans that depended upon technology to achieve their various "miracles". Surely, this would so have impressed ancient people that they would all have embraced subjects like mathematics, philosophy, etc. and began to rapidly develop Earth's science and technology. Why the need for angels, deities, miracles, and prophecies?
Upon giving the matter some thought, I realized that there are several reasons why this honest approach was not used. Primarily, ancient people had little or no concept of technology. They basically lived in a "magical" world that they imagined was controlled by spirit beings. To get their attention, a stranger or "angel" would have to claim that he represented a supreme spirit who was more powerful than all of the rest. To prevent general panic among ancient humans that would only have made them scatter in all directions, the angelic beings would restrict their contact to only a select individual and his immediate associates. Since primitive people usually only believe what they can directly sense, it is important that IMMEDIATE prophecies be fulfilled more or less as stated. It is also important that, after a core of followers is secured, the person selected for contact by these extraterrestrial beings be removed from the scene. This lends an air of mystery to the leader's life and prompts his followers to disseminate his message (which is really the message of our local spacefaring extraterrestrials).
As for promoting belief in a supreme being or God, there is a simple explanation for this. It may express a fundamental belief of ALL extraterrestrial races that there is, in fact, a supreme INTELLIGENCE to our cosmos. I, of course, do not believe that it takes the form of the Zeus-like character found in most ancient religions which imagine God as a vengeful, bearded giant who dwells in a cloud enshrouded heaven above waiting to hurl lightening bolts down at evil people. Rather, the "God" of the extraterrestrials is probably a fundamental intelligence that exists throughout the cosmos at a SUBATOMIC level. This intelligence maintains the stability of physical reality and is responsible for the emergence of all lifeforms. It is simultaneously aware of all creation and functions to bring forth balance, order, and harmony. Eastern earthly religions may refer to it as "karma", but I think that it is far more complex than that.
Quite possibly, this supreme cosmic intelligence responds to the well intentioned needs of its children by subtly changing their realities to meet those needs. It MUST do this to maintain the balance of the cosmos. Occasionally, it produces "miracles" of a statistical or probabilistic nature that the secular world dismisses as chance. But, it is omnipresent and accessible at any time of the day or night to those who believe in it. You can reach it with your prayers...
(Note: this article completed October 24th, 2004)
COSMIC VAULT GIFT SHOP