All hail the power of Jesus’ name! Let angels prostrate fall.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all!
O seed of Israel’s chosen race, now ransomed from the fall,
Hail Him who saves you by His grace, and crown Him Lord of all.
Hail Him who saves you by His grace, and crown Him Lord of all!
– Edward Perronet (1726-1792), from “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” (1780)
I had planned to write about gratitude. Gratitude as a constant habit is the essential prelude to using Jesus’s teachings on forgiveness and love to raise our personal consciousness vibrations. But Thomas has been telling me for days that I have already written about gratitude. And, sure enough, he was right about that! What I wrote about gratitude two years ago was better than anything I could have written this week, so please simply read that post again, with thanks to our dear friend Hillis Pugh, our illustrious Guru of Gratitude.
But rather than giving me a pass altogether, what Thomas has asked me to do today is to share with you all of Chapter 13 of the Gospel Book of Matthew. What is irritating him now about that Chapter is two things in particular:
- First, Thomas is freshly annoyed by the First Council of Nicaea, which claimed in 325 that the Lord’s parables had been meant to deceive His listeners, rather than being just a useful way to keep the Temple guards from understanding what Jesus was actually teaching. Some of what Jesus taught went directly against the religion of the day, so He used parables not to deceive His followers, but rather to deceive those Temple guards.
- And second, Thomas is especially bothered by a certain internet preacher, who has of late been claiming that Jesus was calling down the wrath of a nonexistent Satan with His parable of the sower and His parable of the weeds. As we prepare to bring the Lord’s Gospel teachings to modern people using teachingsbyjesus.com, Thomas wants us to be ready to deal with these savage religious falsities coming from modern preachers spouting groundless fears.
So let’s look at those two parables. Please transport yourself far back, if you can, and stand among the people on the shore who are listening to that itinerant Preacher who has rowed out a little way into the water so everyone can better see and hear Him. Remember that Jesus back then looked nothing like church-Jesus, but He looked more as Jesus looks today, with olive skin and dark, curly hair:
“On that day Jesus had gone out of the house and was sitting by the sea. And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach. And He told them many things in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and they sprang up immediately, because they had no depth of soil. But after the sun rose, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. But others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times as much. The one who has ears to hear, let him hear.’
“And the disciples came up and said to Jesus, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” And Jesus answered them saying, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,
‘You shall keep on listening, but shall not understand;
And you shall keep on looking, but shall not perceive;
For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their heart, and return,
And I would heal them.’
But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it’” (MT 13:1-17).
But of course, you and I well understand now that Jesus spoke in parables not to confuse His own followers, which would have made no sense at all, but rather to confuse the Temple guards, who changed frequently. And whenever Jesus spoke of “having,” He was referring to spiritual growth and understanding, which to Him was the only thing worth having. Now let’s listen as He explains His parable.
“‘Listen then to the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the Word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one sown with seed beside the road. The one sown with seed on the rocky places, this is the one who hears the Word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution occurs because of the Word, immediately he falls away. And the one sown with seed among the thorns, this is the one who hears the Word, and the anxiety of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful. But the one sown with seed on the good soil, this is the one who hears the Word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces, some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times as much.”
“Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and left. And when the wheat sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also became evident. And the slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No; while you are gathering up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and at the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.”
“He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a person took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all the other seeds, but when it is fully grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the sky come and nest in its branches.”
“He spoke another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”
“All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak anything to them without a parable. This was so that what was spoken through the prophet would be fulfilled:
“I will open My mouth in parables;
I will proclaim things hidden since the foundation of the world.”
“Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the weeds are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. So just as the weeds are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. The one who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells everything that he has, and buys that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold everything that he had and bought it.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they pulled it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. So it will be at the end of the age: the angels will come forth and remove the wicked from among the righteous, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.” And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure new things and old.”
“When Jesus had finished these parables, He departed from there. And He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, with the result that they were astonished, and said, ‘Where did this man acquire this wisdom and these miraculous powers? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is His mother not called Mary, and His brothers, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man acquire all these things?’ And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not dishonored except in his hometown and in his own household.’ And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief” (MT 13:18-58).
So immediately you see the problem. Since the First Council of Nicaea did not understand that Jesus spoke in parables not to hide His truths from His followers, but rather to hide what He was saying from the listening Temple guards, the First Council of Nicaea treated His parables as something like a secret code meant by Jesus to separate the saved from the damned. But their notion is absolute nonsense! Jesus wanted every person of good will to understand what He was saying. He sought only to deceive those Temple guards, who could bring Him on charges before the Sanhedrin if they heard Him say anything subversive of Judaism. And we now know that there is no hell anyway, and we know that the place of wailing and gnashing of teeth is only an outer darkness to which we might temporarily condemn ourselves if we find self-forgiveness to be too difficult.
And as we read more closely, it looks as if the latter part of this Chapter might well be bits of wisdom remembered at random from the Lord’s many sayings, and compiled here much later when this Biblical Chapter was eventually assembled. That remark about scribes who are disciples of the kingdom of heaven is certainly a later addition. The final paragraph is tacked-on, too, and it makes you sympathize with Jesus. Indeed, no one is a prophet in His own village!
I should note that I can’t find anything like the two passages that Jesus is said to have quoted from the prophets, nor did any of the prophets use parables much at all. But the crucial point that Thomas wants us to take from reading this Biblical Chapter is that all four of the canonical Gospels were edited when the Christian Bible was first assembled by Roman Councilors in the year 325, so we must be wary. We must always engage our growing understanding of Jesus as we read the Gospels, because the mistakes made by those Roman Counselors, whether they were innocent or venal, cannot be allowed to come between us and the precious truths that Jesus means to teach us. Indeed, we are fortunate to still have remaining any of Jesus’s genuine teachings at all!
The fundamental truth that we receive now with joy is that everything is Consciousness. Which means that the righteous who will shine like the sun include every last one of us! Since we all are inextricably part of a single Consciousness, as each of us raises our own individual consciousness vibration, we all will minutely raise the consciousness vibrations of everyone else on earth. And so, as Jesus knew, the kingdom of God will then gradually and gloriously overspread the whole earth. This is indeed more like the process of leavening bread than anything else. As Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened” (MT 13:33). And that process of leavening, as we might well speak of it, affects even the upper realms as well. Because Consciousness is all that exists.
So never for a moment think that your efforts to raise your personal consciousness vibration are only a little thing. Those efforts that you make are EVERYTHING. Because YOU are everything. In some way that researchers are struggling now to better understand, it is you who encompass all of Consciousness. All of this is somehow happening in your own individual mind. And if each of us sufficiently understood that this is how it all actually works, there would be only love, forevermore.
Let every tongue and every tribe responsive to His call,
to Him all majesty ascribe, and crown Him Lord of all.
To Him all majesty ascribe, and crown Him Lord of all!
Oh, that with all the sacred throng we at His feet may fall!
We’ll join the everlasting song and crown Him Lord of all.
We’ll join the everlasting song and crown Him Lord of all!
– Edward Perronet (1726-1792), from “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” (1780)