There is Someone walking behind you. Turn around. Look at Me.
There is Someone watching your footsteps. Turn around. Look at Me.
There is Someone who really needs you. Here’s My heart in My hand!
Turn around. Look at Me. Understand, understand.
And there’s Someone to stand beside you. Turn around, look at Me.
And there’s Someone to love and guide you.
Turn around! Look at Me!
Oh, I’ve waited! And I’ll wait forever for you to come to Me!
Look at Someone Who really loves you! Yeah, loves you!
Turn around! Look at Me!
– Jerry N. Capehart (1928-1998), from “Turn Around, Look at Me” (1968)
As the Christian religion loses its followers, as it gradually shrivels and dies worldwide, a confident dance continues in Spirit of which we always have been unaware. For most of my life I have worried that the slow and writhing death of the Emperor Constantine’s fear-based Christianity was bound to kill off the genuine Jesus, because naturally most people were likely to see Him as just another part of the Christian package. I thought that we were in a fight against time to separate Jesus from Christianity just as quickly as we possibly could! I never realized that Jesus has always known that this time in history was going to come. And He has been working on making this separation happen for a lot longer than we have been alive.
It turns out that Jesus and His followers in Spirit have been planning for the death of Constantine’s religion ever since at least the First Council of Nicaea, and that was way back in 325 CE! Thomas tells me that Jesus’s spiritual team even influenced the councilors who were assembling the first Christian Bible, as to which of the then-available Gospels to choose. And as the councilors edited those Gospels, and they added their sheep-and-goats and Apocalyptic bits, they were being influenced to keep their editing to a minimum. And to move what was not actually said by Jesus to the backs of the Gospels that were chosen for inclusion, so it would be easier for you and me much later to pluck those suspect additions back out again.
It is thanks to what Thomas tells me now has been a close group of about twenty members of Jesus’s inner circle who have been with Him ever since His Ascension that we have any of Jesus’s teachings left to us at all. Although of course, what we have left still cannot be much. Jesus taught on earth for more than three years, and then it was at least fifty years past His Ascension before any of what Jesus had said was written down, so it is amazing that we have anything left of what Jesus said when He was here on earth. But He was teaching very simple folk a few important things that He had tailored to their level of understanding, so He said simple phrases over and over again. Jesus tells us now that He is satisfied with what has survived. The problem is less that a few aspects of what He taught have been lost to us altogether, and more that fear-based ideas have been added, and human concepts have been inserted that Jesus never would have embraced; and, what is harder to detect, subtly fear-based human thoughts have been stuck to the edges of Jesus’s ideas that were not in His original teachings. We are so used to using language to express our own ideas that we simply don’t realize how limiting language is as a method of precise self-expression.
It is only in the past few years that Thomas has made me see this language issue for the problem that it actually is, as I seek to truly and deeply understand our beloved Jesus across two thousand years of time. And as Jesus seeks to be ever better understood! Thomas and Jesus now think that their problems in perfecting this connection with humankind on earth over all the centuries really have been down to these two issues:
As Jesus made plain to us while we were exploring these issues last week, He did not die for our sins. Instead, Jesus was born to be our Teacher. To put a finer point on it, He was born to be our spiritual Teacher. After studying the topic of Jesus and sin in the Gospels in particular, I am convinced that every reference that Jesus makes to sin is either pro forma, in that He says it because it was expected of Him at some moment by the sin-obsessed Jewish clerics around Him, and not because He believed that sin mattered; or instead, it was a later addition by one of the first-millennium church councils. I think now that if we asked Jesus about sin, He would say that sin is a human-religious and not a spiritual term, and since God is at the highest vibration and God is infinite pure love, the concept of sin has nothing whatsoever to do with God.
And there is something else, too, that we will need to get straight. For Jesus to be born on earth two thousand years ago as the Son of God, which is the miracle that we celebrated two weeks ago, He had to be born into some human culture. And that culture was bound to worship one religion or another. But Jesus is an aspect of God, so whether He wants to claim all or any part of that existing human-made religion will be His choice. We know now that Jesus came to abolish religions altogether, and to teach us instead to relate to God entirely on a spiritual level. But given the time and place where He lived and taught, Jesus was not able to come right out and say that He intended to abolish all religions, so what Jesus said instead was that He was replacing what we now call the Old Testament with just two laws. He said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (MT 22:37-40). And that was it! Jesus did not in fact choose to import Judaism or any part of it into His teachings. He adopted just those two rules: Love God, and love your fellow human being as you love yourself. Therefore, no Adam and Eve with their associated original sin. No Ten Commandments, either. The Way of Jesus is Jesus’s Teachings alone. And your Bible is a whole lot lighter!
So the precise meanings of the words that Jesus actually spoke will be very important to us indeed! Just by even slightly altering the meanings of any of Jesus’s words, perhaps in the simple process of translation, we can hugely – and mistakenly! – alter Jesus’s spiritual teachings. And while I do not now speak any language but English, I have at various times studied Spanish, French, Latin, and a bit of Mandarin. So I do know that saying precisely the same thing in any two of those languages side by side is impossible, since each separate language simply “thinks” differently. And in addition, the words that people say in any language will change in meaning over time. For example, even as late as the early part of the twentieth century, you might have mentioned having seen a gay-looking fellow walking down the street that morning, and meant just that he seemed to be especially happy.
This problem of translation-distortion is of special concern as we try to understand what Jesus actually said. Our beloved Best Friend spoke Aramaic, which is an unusually spiritual and lyrical language. The modern English Gospels were first translated from Aramaic into ancient Greek, and then from ancient Greek into Latin, and then into modern languages. And we frequently see Jesus talking in the Gospels about repentance. The topic of repentance comes up seven times in the Book of Matthew, but an astonishing and even downright punitive fourteen times in Luke. Over and over we see Jesus talking there about “Repentance.” But is that what Jesus ever actually said?
Let’s look at a few of Jesus’s uses of the word “Repent” or “Repentance” in the Gospel of Luke. He reportedly said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners” (LK 5:32). This line is suspect not only because Jesus talks about repentance, but also because He probably did not refer to “sinners,” using that precise word. And He reportedly said in the Book of Luke, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that occurred in you had occurred in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes” (LK 10:13). And what follows here is the worst mention of repentance in the entire Book of Luke! “Now on that very occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had shed along with their sacrifices. And Jesus responded and said to them, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans just because they have suffered this fate? No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish’ (LK 13:1-3). Wow, that doesn’t sound much like the Jesus that you and I thought we knew, does it? All that talk about sinners and repentance and perishing? He sounds pretty harsh and unloving here, don’t you think? Oh my goodness, yes! And there is a reason for that.
Jesus never once suggested that we should “repent.” That word never actually passed His lips. The Greek word which was translated into English as “repent” or “repentance” in all those places is metanoia. And what “metanoia” actually means in ancient Greek is not “repent” at all, but it means instead “change,” “reconsider,” or – more precisely – “reform your mind,” “uplift your mind,” or “transform your mind.” I couldn’t find in a quick search any idea of what the precise Aramaic word or phrase that was first translated into metanoia might have been, but it would have been something more toward the “alter your mind” side of things, which was of course Jesus’s constant theme. And if in all those places in Luke where Jesus seems to be muttering, “Repent!” you simply put something softer like “open and uplift your mind,” you will have a far more Jesus-like, and a far more accurate, set of messages.
Laypeople were not allowed by the Christian church to read the words of Jesus on their own until at least the Middle Ages, and that proscription was enforced by the simple expedient of the church’s decision for its first fifteen hundred years not to translate the Bible into any language but Latin. The complete Bible was first published in English, most likely in Antwerp, in 1535, as a translation out of the German and Latin by an Augustinian friar from Yorkshire named Myles Coverdale (1488-1569) who had been educated at Cambridge. Now, I imagine that the beautifully educated Myles Coverdale was a lovely man. But at some point long before his day, sometime around 300 CE, there lived the man who first translated the words of Jesus into Latin from the ancient Greek in which it had first been written down, presuming that the Aramaic-speakers who had actually heard Jesus speak and had memorized His words had been illiterate. And that first scrivener in Latin was the guy who saw the gentle Greek word “metanoia” at all the places where Jesus had talked about His having come to expand, uplift, and transform the minds and hearts of all people, and to bring light and love to all the world. And that closed-minded and crabby first Greek-to-Latin translator – let’s call him “Igor” – saw only one obvious thing that Jesus must have meant by the word “metanoia.” Igor was working for the current Roman Emperor, and maybe even for Constantine himself, and helping Rome to build a fear-based Christian religion of power and control. What he saw in the Greek word metanoia was, “Repent!” Or in Latin, which is the language into which Igor was translating the ancient Greek, the word would have been “Paeniteat!” And the gentlemanly much later Myles Coverdale, even though he himself was surely a decent fellow, then felt obligated to put the word “Repent!” into Jesus’s mouth, without giving the matter much thought.
Igor’s mistranslation affected John the Baptist’s words as well. In the Gospel of Matthew we read, “Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “The voice of one calling out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight!’” (MT 3:1-2). Of course, what John the Baptist actually would have said was something more like, “Open and uplift your minds, folks, because the moment that Isaiah foretold has come, and the kingdom of God is at hand!” Now, that makes sense! The way that Igor mistranslated it makes no sense at all in Jesus’s terms, because it is sin-based, fear-based, and not remotely love-based. John the Baptist was Jesus’s messenger, and he would at the time have been inspired by Jesus’s mind and under His mind’s influence.
So now you see some of the problems that we face in reaching back toward Jesus from here as we attempt to deal with serial mistranslations, and also some of our problems of understanding associated with Jesus’s cultural surroundings. Our much-beloved Elder Brother and Best Friend is an extraordinary Being, unique in all of human history. He is God born on earth and outside of time! When I first tried to apply Jesus’s teachings to my own life, without knowing that I had Thomas’s help in doing so because I had not yet met my spirit guide, my life was permanently transformed in only weeks. I was amazed at how completely and how fast that happened! It took me most of a decade to figure out what had happened, why it had happened, and how it could have been so self-reinforcing. And once I had put it all together, I fully understood at last that Jesus really did come to us as God on earth.
If we truly want to understand Jesus, we cannot just look back at Him now. There is too much that is human in the way! We have no choice but to go back ourselves for literally two thousand years, and study Jesus where and when He last wore a human body. We have to go back before all the mistranslations, all the human cultural and religious distortions, all the human mandates, and all the ego notions and fabrications, even especially including our own. We have got to sit down at the feet of God, and simply watch and listen. Seriously! If we want to know what made everyone who ever personally knew Jesus later willing, and even glad to die to ensure that Jesus’s Truths would live, then we will have to sit down respectfully at His feet and hear and see what all those earliest martyrs heard and saw.
As I have said before in this space, my weirdly obsessive lifelong twin hobbies of Gospel studies and afterlife studies turn out to fortuitously intersect. I can prove things about Jesus because of what I know about the genuine afterlife and its associated greater reality, things that I learned as a natural skeptic doing evidence-based afterlife research over fifty years of time. And incredibly, I can prove to you that Jesus actually knew things two thousand years ago that He could not have known if He had not been born with extraordinary knowledge which is beyond what even scientists know today. So I was certain that Jesus was genuine, even before the Shroud of Turin proved that He actually did rise from the dead, and even before I met Him in the astral plane twenty months ago and I felt His incredible personal energy.
Which is why I can tell you with certainty that Jesus was born as God on earth. I am Doubting Thomas. There are few things of which I am certain, but this is one thing that I know is true. And since Jesus told me His story twenty months ago, we know that He is even more amazing than that, if His being even more amazing is possible: He was once just an ordinary human being, and He actually has maintained His fully human status. Nobody at even half His spiritual level ever bothers to keep a fully human past! We all join collectives by the time we reach the sixth level, Mikey Morgan and a few others being the only rare exceptions. The effort that is required for Jesus to remain “fully God and fully Man” is extraordinary, but He continues to make that effort for us, so He can effectively minister to us and serve us. Jesus’s love for each of us as individual people, His love for you as a person and for me as a person, is beyond what we can understand. And this may be even harder for us to comprehend, but as Jesus has been planning for the past seventeen hundred years to separate Himself from Christianity now, He also has been planning for the Way of Jesus that will follow it. And now is when it begins.