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AWAKEN 4 – The God Connection

AWAKEN 4 – The God Connection

Our Mission

To challenge the narrative of the evil takeover of humanity that is engulfing the world and to bring about a new dawn of spiritual awareness and enlightenment. To realise the true destiny of humanity that God intended.

Aim

For people to come together in truth, spirit, love and community, a new enlightenment for a new age.


Starting point

Your spirituality comes from within you, I am calling it your God connection, it reveals the basic qualities of humanity. Spirituality teaches you to be kind, how to help and love fellow human beings regardless of their religious beliefs or political ideologies. In other words, spirituality is a way of understanding your inner being.


Deepak Chopra puts it simply. “Religion is the belief of someone else’s experience; Spirituality is having your own experience.”


I am not challenging anyone’s beliefs here, I am writing this post as a standalone post, a record of my own journey, and validating in my mind the connection I believe between God and Spirit and where Jesus fits into this relationship which can then underpin our aim of bringing people together in truth, spirit, love and community, a new enlightenment for a new age.

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Background

Whether you are a believer or not, most people would agree that Jesus was an historical figure who was a prominent moral and religious teacher and had the most devoted disciples and followers. Jesus so threatened the religious and political power structures of his day, that he was captured, tried, and executed as a criminal. You know the story.

It was later that Paul, (see below), who became one of the chief followers of Jesus, upon his doctrines and teachings, and upon a belief of a spiritual resurrection founded a new religion called Christianity that has had a profound effect on humanity for the last 2,000 years.

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There are two paragraphs here, I will call it, before Rome – First Century AD, and after Rome – Second Century AD.


Before Rome – First Century AD

Jesus was an itinerant preacher, a rabbi. Most scholars would agree, Jesus never intended to start a new religion. He was instead a reformer who attacked the hypocrisy he saw in his co-religionists, taught a radical egalitarianism, (social equality), and tried to redirect his pupil’s apocalyptic focus from the future to the here and now.


Jesus insisted that the Kingdom of God was not a political reality that would someday arrive, but a spiritual reality that was already present. In his teachings to his followers, he was simply their rabbi. He was in their eyes a great prophet, so great in their eyes that he was the equal of Moses and came to complete the law of Moses.


What Jesus was really offering was not a new religion but the very opposite of religion, a living spirituality dependent not upon any church or dogma, but on the unmediated experience of mystical union common to all true spiritualities.


To his followers Jesus was special, he was different which as you know compelled them to leave family and security behind to follow him. He would need to be incredibly special indeed for that to happen. After his death, his disciples expressed and intense period of grief. Eventually they came to feel that Jesus was present with them and in their midst in a mystical way that they could not quite comprehend or articulate.


And this was the key, the message of Jesus was so profound, so simple, so utterly life changing that it changed the thinking and mindset of many who heard it, especially in a time of great upheaval in 1st Century Judea under Roman rule. It was a reconnection of people with God through the parables and teachings of a simple rabbi that fundamentally gave them hope.


Jesus was not the warrior Messiah that was prophesised in the Old Testament who was going to take back the lands for his chosen people. It was a message to the world of hope and how to live in troubled times. It was a message of freedom, forgiveness, and salvation through the holy spirit. Jesus’s followers knew this, their biggest problem was how could they reach out to as many people as possible, realising this was a message to the world.


The Early Gospels

Gospels definition: ‘The teaching or revelation of Christ.’ ‘The record of Christ's life and teaching in the first four books of the New Testament.’


The teachings of Jesus were life affirming and profound, and people were eager to pass the knowledge which they did orally, as written scriptures were not easily accessible. Over time there would have been bits and pieces of writings, the sayings of Jesus and at then at some point there would be attempts to write a fuller record of his ministry, which a number of the disciples are attributed to have completed.


Over the next 50 years after the death of Jesus there were hundreds of Gospels written, causing new sects and churches to follow a certain Gospel. The Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Hebrews, the Gospel of the Egyptians, are but three examples.


It is important to note here that the Gospels purported to be Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John that became the four canonical gospels of the New Testament were not mentioned in the first century AD, it was not until AD 180 that they were first mentioned, i.e., second century.


The Gospel of Thomas

The Gospel of Thomas is an ancient collection of sayings attributed to Jesus that records the memory and teachings of a very early school of Christianity, the Thomas school. According to their tradition, the founders of the Thomas school were members of Jesus’ own family. The story of this gospel is really the story of the community of Jesus’ earliest followers and the peculiar spirituality they proclaimed to be Jesus’ own.


Over the centuries the Thomas school declined and with the later persecution from Rome of any non-approved Gospels the message and gospel of Thomas was lost to the greater public. At Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt in 1945 the only complete version of the Thomas gospel was found buried at the foot of a cliff, the buried manuscripts date from the 3rd and 4th centuries.


The Gospel of Thomas, once restored to the world, cased a great deal of interest, both scholarly and popular. Far more than any other Gospel available to us today, Thomas presents a Jesus uniquely suited to our contemporary culture. By reading the Gospel contemplatively and opening oneself to the shifts in perspective it nudges us to make, it can utterly transform how one sees the world – and oneself.


I am going to expand on the sayings of Jesus as recorded by Thomas as we continue our journey over the coming months.


The Kingdom of God?

This lies at the heart of our search for meaning and is also at the core of Jesus’ sayings as recorded in the Gospel of Thomas. The Kingdom of God is a state of unitive consciousness when we are fully present with all things, where we are able to live in a state of total awareness and oneness. It is a spiritual reality that is already present for those who know how to perceive it. By living in the Kingdom, we find peace for ourselves, and we can extend that peace to others, not by demanding that they see things as we do, but by simply not expecting anything of them.


Once we learn to simply be, we can let others be as well. This I must admit has been my hardest issue to face over the last three years and I apologies to anyone for being overzealous with my views on the Pandemic and lockdowns. This is something we must explore in some detail over the coming posts.


In the centuries after Jesus, Christians came to believe that the Kingdom was Heaven, the place of eternal rest, bliss, and reward that awaited all faithful Christians in the afterlife. This is the great disconnect, the churchianity. Jesus taught that the Kingdom is already here for those people who want to engage with it. It is here and now, all around us, it does not exist in the future, (or the past). The Kingdom only exists in the present, and the most beautiful thing is we get to choose whether or not we want to live there.


Saul who became Paul

It is Paul’s school which eventually became the dominant form of Christianity. According to the biblical book of Acts, he was originally known as Saul. He originally believed the Jewish Christians to be dangerous heretics and sought to purge Judaism of their numbers. Saul famously converted to Christianity on the road to Damascus, when he was struck from his horse by a blinding light and heard the voice of Jesus, “Saul, Saul, why do you prosecute me.” – “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”


Paul is key here to the forming of a new Roman Christianity, Paul’s great insight was to wed three disparate elements into one more-or-less coherent system: the history of the Jewish people and Jewish scriptures, the story of Jesus and the gnostic myth of the saviour coming down from heaven. This was different in many respects to the earlier Christianity.


Paul believed in the resurrection of Christ, with a spiritual body. His idea of the resurrection, like of Clement of Rome, was that the spiritual body arose from the decay of the natural body. It is manifest that when Paul saw Jesus, he saw what appeared to be a spirit; since it was after the time when alleged, Christ had ascended in the body.


There is no evidence that Paul during his life knew anything of the canonical gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), nor is there any reason to believe he had ever seen a gospel in which Jesus denied being a spirit, after the resurrection. Paul believed that the resurrection and ascension were one and the same thing, a manifestation from the spiritual world.


Paul believed that Christ, after his resurrection, or ascension, communicated to his disciples, by the agency of the Holy Spirit, through intercession with the father, supernatural gifts; “charismata;” and these gifts were imparted by the laying on of hands.


At this time in first century Rome the Roman citizens practiced a polytheistic religion, and the monotheistic faith of the Christians seemed alien and a threat to the majority of the Roman people. Christians were being rounded up, persecuted, and put to death in the arenas in their thousands.


The exact details of Paul’s death are unknown, but tradition holds that he was beheaded in Rome and thus died as a martyr for his faith. His death was perhaps part of the executions of Christians ordered by the Roman emperor Nero following the great fire in the city in 64 AD. It is known that St. Paul was imprisoned in Rome and wrote several of his epistles (letters) during his captivity there. The date for his death is thought to be AD. 67 or 68.


The Church of Rome

Sometime after Christ's death, Peter travelled to the city of Rome in order to spread the faith. Rome was the capital of the Roman Empire and the seat of power in the Mediterranean world. Spreading the faith in Rome would, therefore, seem like a logical thing to do if one wanted to spread the message of Jesus to the world.


The word "pope" is derived from pappas, the Greek word for father. Peter was credited as the first pope of the Catholic Church, was therefore regarded as the father of the Catholic Church. Peter was also the first Bishop of Antioch. Dates for the length of his papacy has never been verified, however it has been estimated to have been between 34 to 38 years.

St Peter as he became was executed by the Romans during the reign of the emperor Nero. He is believed to have died sometime around the decade of the 60s in the first century AD. Again no one knows the exact date.


After Rome - Second Century AD

In 144 AD. Marcion of Sinope (85AD – 160 AD), a shipbuilder, an early Christian theologian and evangelist, and the son of the bishop of Pontus, also a follower of Paul gathered all the authentic scriptures he could find at that time to create the very first Christian bible.


The very first Marcionite bible consisted of the Gospel of the Lord (Evangelion) and the original Epistles of Paul (Apostolikon). Within the Apostolikon are Galatians, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Romans, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon and Philippians and no Revelations and more significantly no Old Testament.


For your information, because it is not known today, is that the Marcionite Christian Church grew to span the known world, and for centuries its bedrock of the very first bible dominated Christian culture and tradition with millions of adherents. The schism that was created here is that the Marcionites recognised the God of the Old Testament as being in direct contradiction to the teachings of Christ, this garnered many rich and powerful enemies.


After the first Marcionic bible was produced it was presented at Rome, which started the redefinition of a New Testament into the new religion of Christianity. AD. 180 Irenaeus of Gaul mentions Luke for the first time. AD. 181 John’s Gospel is mentioned for the first time. It has been purported by many scholars, that over the next 150 years the original gospels were edited and interpolated (added to), and became the gospels we know today as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John towards the end of the second century.


The New Testament

The Muratorian Canon, believed to date to AD. 200 is the earliest compilation of canonical texts resembling the New Testament. It was not until the fifth century that all the different Christian churches came to a basic agreement on Biblical canon.


Roman conversion

The seeds had been sown, by the disciples and followers of Jesus and Roman emperors in the second and third centuries were seeing a massive rise in Christian churches across Asia minor, persecution could not stop it. Slowly emperors became more receptive, as more and more prominent Romans left their traditional beliefs behind to convert to Christianity.


It was in AD. 313 when the emperor Constantine (AD. 280– 337) issued the Edict of Milan, which accepted Christianity. Ten years later, it became the official religion of the Roman Empire.


The 27-book New Testament was first formally canonized during the councils of Hippo (AD. 393) and Carthage (AD. 397) in North Africa. Pope Innocent I ratified the same canon in AD. 405, but it is probable that a Council in Rome in AD. 382 under Pope Damasus I gave the same list first.


Note here. It is a little-known fact that there is a truly massive underground Vatican library where all those very earliest writings and gospels that were confiscated over the first four centuries are probably being stored. Completely sealed off from the general public.


My Take

Remember, this is an individual journey, you will make your own decisions.


The Marcionite 1st Christian Bible completed before it arrived in Rome, also the Gospel of Thomas are two of the very earliest writings, there are many other pre-Roman early gospels that are never discussed today. The earlier the writings the less likely they have been added to.


It is clear once the gospels of Jesus arrived in Rome the Roman Catholic Church over time changed the emphasis from spirituality and oneness to dogma and ritual used fundamentally to control the masses. In my opinion, this is one reason why people turn away from ‘religion.’ It is as if it has been scripted to alienate and drive peoples apart, rather than connect people, in a universal enlightenment through spirit.


My heart and belief system reside in the first Century AD. Jesus is showing us by example how to lead a life of oneness with God, where spirit is the point of connection. He is teaching that in the kingdom of God as we have discussed, there are no hierarchies, no saints, no sinners, no prophets, or messiahs. That every one of us is filled with light, with truth, and we either choose to live into that truth or we don’t. There are no judges, no juries, no condemnation, no blame – just fulfilled or unfulfilled potential. We either bring forth the light that is within us, or we do not.


Once you resonate at the frequency of oneness you become impervious to the negativity and evil intensions of those that wish to enslave or destroy you. This message is even more relevant today, than it was in the first century AD.


Finally

We can see that if we go back to the source, by stripping out all the interpolations, what do you get, you get a Jesus who loves you, who wants to connect with you through spirit, (which is within you), in the here and now. That his timeless teachings and message is life affirming and transforming. By going back to the beginning and becoming first century followers, we can find the answers to this incredible journey we are all on by engaging with the simple message that Jesus was conveying, the love of God. To have a relationship with God, and in having this relationship we are to show our love towards Him by following His commandments so that it becomes a way of life.


That it is also our responsibility to share this message with people, which is exactly what I am doing here and, in the months, ahead.


God bless you


References: highly recommended reading.

‘History of the Christian Religion to the year two hundred,’ (first published in 1881) - Charles B Waite (1824-1909)

‘The very first Bible 144 AD’ - Marcionite Christian Church

‘The Way of Thomas’ - John R Mabry

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