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Sermon on the Mount (Part III)

Posted by Roberta Grimes • August 29, 2020 • 41 Comments
Jesus, The Teachings of Jesus, Understanding Reality

I really want to see you,
Really want to be with you,
Really want to see you, Lord,
But it takes so long, my Lord.
– George Harrison (1943-2001), from “My Sweet Lord” (1970)

Modern humans have existed on earth for roughly two hundred thousand years. Those earliest moderns lived in terror of predators, disease, hunger, weather, and lethal attacks by one another, so among the earliest human inventions were religions that featured powerful gods. In an effort to ease our fears in a world where we had no control and even less understanding, we imagined large beings in human form who could protect us. And to ensure the favor of these made-up gods that we imagined were as brutal and as fickle as people, we invented the notion that they could be placated by sacrificing some of what we most valued, especially our firstborn children. The whole concept of religions to serve cranky gods is an entirely human invention. And this idea that we can improve our lives by placating gods is a stubborn one, so even as late as the birth of Jesus the Jewish tribes were still sacrificing birds, animals, and grain to a god they called Jehovah. With such a history, it is easy to see why the execution and the miraculous rising from the dead of the greatest Jewish Teacher Who had come to us from the genuine Godhead must have seemed to be the ultimate sacrifice. God sacrificed His Firstborn to Himself! Now God is placated forevermore!

But the genuine Godhead doesn’t play human games. There is no evidence that the death of Jesus has ever made an afterlife difference for a single human being, and if it ever had happened we would know that by now. The genuine Godhead is all that exists, and that Godhead is infinitely greater and far more perfectly loving than any religion ever has imagined. Each of us is inextricably part of the Godhead. And God doesn’t want our sacrifices, our worship, or anything from us at all but that we work in eternal harmony toward eventually achieving the Godhead’s own level of  absolute and perfect love. And since all religions are based in fear, one of the primary missions of Jesus when He came to earth two thousand years ago was not to start a new religion, but rather to free us from all the old ones. 

Chapter Six of Matthew is the second of the three chapters that give us the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount. It feels like a cozy harbor after the sea of surprises in Chapter Five; it rests so gently on our minds that we fail to realize how radical these ideas were when He first spoke them. Chapter Six is about rising above religious fears, how essential that is, and how easy it can be.

My children are in their early forties. They are successful enough in earthly terms, but they are even more successful at what is more important: they live useful lives of love and kindness. Our oldest often reads these posts, and she was so bothered when she read last week what Jesus had supposedly said about divorce that she brought it up to me. “That doesn’t sound like Him,” she said. “That’s not loving. That’s legalistic.” And she is perfectly right! I have been through the Gospels repeatedly, but I never had noticed that the early church had apparently slipped in among the Lord’s exhortations about love this legalistic whammy: “I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of un-chastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery (MT 5:32). Of course that has to be wrong. If Jesus had ever said anything like that, He would have been injecting a fear-based, arbitrary rule and polluting the purely love-based substance of His Gospel message. There probably are other such religious insertions lurking among the Lord’s love-based teachings. My firstborn has given us a timely reminder that we should be seeking out and discarding them all.

Chapter Six is so straightforward that I am giving it to you without comment, and with its superscripts intact so we can more easily discuss it. Let’s sit together on the hillside and listen.

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.

“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

“Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is
the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’

14 “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

16 “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face 18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew’s Chapter Six is about easing the terrors of people whose ancestors always had lived deep in human-made and fear-based religions. It is the Lord’s first gentle instructions to people who never had lived without religions, who never had attempted to venture into life without worrying about offending their imaginary gods. They were free now to seek and find the true Godhead as they never before had been free in their lives! Jesus couldn’t take them in one leap to His own perfect level of understanding, but He could support them in learning to be less afraid. He could help them begin to trust in the comforting certainty that the genuine Godhead loves them infinitely, so there is nothing that can harm them. In Matthew’s Chapter Six, Jesus speaks to us about daring to free ourselves from fear. Now next week we will listen as He begins to teach us some of the practicalities of this freer and more abundant life.

My sweet Lord, Mm, my Lord.
I really want to know you.
I really want to go with you.
Really want to show you, Lord,
That it won’t take long, my Lord.
– George Harrison (1943-2001), from “My Sweet Lord” (1970)

 

Burning idol photo credit: Laser Burners <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/37996622043@N01/3195362119″></a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>

 

Roberta Grimes

Roberta Grimes is an internationally recognized expert on death and the afterlife. Learn More

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41 thoughts on “Sermon on the Mount (Part III)

  1. Hi Roberta, hi everybody!

    Quote from above: “The whole concept of religions to serve cranky gods is an entirely human invention.”

    Then Jesus in His Sermon in the Mount and all of His teachings reveals God as loving spirit serving cranky humans (and, it turns out, sparrows and all of creation).

    As with so much of what He teaches, the whole fabric of our materialist world view is turned inside out.

    1. Dear Mike, even in college it horrified me to suddenly realize that the religion we call Christianity is basically a fancier version of the same religions that were being practiced long millennia ago. It features a cranky and demanding human-like god that makes rules that we have to obey if we want the god’s favor, and that will punish us horribly if we fall short. The Christian god doesn’t demand that we sacrifice our firstborn, but that is just because the Christian god kindly provided His own son, Jesus, to be our perfect sacrifice. And that’s it. That is the basic bones of all the forty thousand modern versions of Christianity. So, at what point did what were obviously made-up gods ten thousand years ago somehow become the genuine Creator of the universe?

      I was a zealous Christian when I made these connections, and I was a zealous Christian for another quarter of a century, but studying the history of religion in college was what planted in me that first, awful seed of doubt. Christians treat the Lord’s teachings as just nice suggestions, and even when they study Him they do it on a very superficial level because so much of what Jesus said interferes with what Christians believe. I know. I was there once, too!

      Christianity in 2020 is just an updated, cleaner version of the same religion in which the Canaanites were compelled to sacrificed their children. To combat that, Jesus flat-out tells us in the Gospels that the genuine God is nothing like those artificial gods, and in particular the genuine God never judges us. That news should all by itself have given the earliest Christians reason enough to rethink all their beliefs; but even now, two thousand years later, Christians don’t believe that God doesn’t judges us, even when I cite the Lord’s own words.

    2. Mike and Roberta, Religion is aptly blamed here for generating fear of offending a jealous God, and fear of violating “His” church rules. But there would be fears anyway, as Roberta well described for early humans struggling to merely stay alive in a Nature full of threats and pains. Erich Fromm, a psychiatrist who survived the holocaust, afterwards wrote an interesting book, Escape from Freedom. He explained that when individuals in Western society are freed of obligations to an authoritarian government or church, and the rules of life that they provide, many then experience the anxiety of not knowing how to live, what to do, what is honorable in taking advantage of a situation vs immoral when benefiting at the expense of others. Thus, he argued, there is a human impulse to actually seek authority to remove the anxiety generated by owning individual responsibility to act. I’m persuaded by his reasoning that many of us are eager for church and governmental authority to be relieved of the stress of figuring out right from wrong, and how to live.

      My extensive study of the Near Death Experience literature, in which people report having met with Christ, or even with God, convinces me that Roberta is exactly right in how she characterizes a loving God who places us here for spiritual education, an education unavailable in Heaven, for Heaven lacks any stressors and invests us in God’s loving presence.

      We are His children, and he loves us as such. He may also delight when we are loving too, and disappointed when we are selfish and hateful. I expect He is greatly disappointed by our current political situation in this country and worldwide. In fact, I recently read an extensive report posted on IANDS with the claim made that Christ was so disappointed with the moral climate of Earth that he has turned away from it to pay more attention to Heaven. I cannot vouch for authenticity about that, but would not be surprised.

      1. Dear Jack, of course we know that no near-death experience has anything to do with reality. Every NDE is just a trauma-induced out-of-body trip in the gigantic astral plane, and the vivid-seeming experiences that many of them contain are simply pulled from the experiencer’s own mind; so the notion that Jesus is fed up with those on earth was merely that one experiencer’s notion. And I can assure you that Jesus is even more involved with the earth now than He ever has been!

        Yes, people love rules, and that is not just Westerners. I have finished writing the upcoming post, on the final part of the Sermon on the Mount, and there we clearly hear Jesus saying that rules are the easy way, but they lead to destruction; while following God’s Law of Love is the narrow gate that leads to life. He was frustrated by the fact that even when His listeners were told that once they were following God’s Law of Love alone they could bring the perfect kingdom of God on earth, they still wanted the easy out of just having to follow a few fear-based rules! But He was right two thousand years ago, and at last in this century we know WHY He was right. What might seem like the easy way at first is very often not the right way, and that is as true in spiritual matters as it is in anything else.

        Yes, just having to stay on the lawful side of “Thou shalt not kill” or “Thou shalt not steal” is so much easier! But it does nothing to raise your spiritual vibration. Having to so internalize God’s perfect love that you will not feel conflicted for a moment about what the Law of Love commands when your choice is whether to watch someone murder a child or pick up a gun and shoot the murderer feels a whole lot harder; and loving enough that you won’t worry about going to hell in the extreme situation where you must steal food so a starving child can eat is something that you have to work to attain. But that is the only way to grow spiritually! There never has been any fear-based rule that helped with spiritual growth at all.

        1. Roberta, I too started out expecting to find that the NDE OBE reports were about hallucinations induced by brain trauma or drugs.
          So, I was surprised to find that there has accumulated extensive empirical documentation that during the OBE the observations reported about activities distant from the traumatized body are accurate. The 2016 text, The self Does not Die, documents over a hundred such cases verified by researchers who went out and checked ( https://www.amazon.com/Self-Does-Not-Die-Experiences/dp/0997560800/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2S25EM1N4DHS0&dchild=1&keywords=titus+rivas&qid=1589967631&s=books&sprefix=titus+rivas%2Cstripbooks%2C224&sr=1-1 ). UVA prof Bruce Greyson presents here several lines of evidence supporting that consciousness is discarnate ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aWM95RuMqU ). My own research findings and conclusions demonstrate the the OBE reporting is actually consistent with physics (Relativity Theory and quantum mechanics) as summarized in the IANDS’ posting
          ( https://www.near-death.com/science/articles/nde-of-space-time-and-consciousness.html ). You will thus be surprised to learn that what the OBE reports say about the world, God, and Christ are perfectly consistent with what you believe to be true. Muhammad never appears, or the Buddha, but Jesus, and God do appear during the OBEs, as I have published about ( https://scigod.com/index.php/sgj/article/view/730 ).

          In sum, the NDE/OBE reports actually complement what your excellent posts have explained.

          1. Sure. As is true of all OBEs, NDEs are genuine out-of-body experiences which often include distant verifiable events. They seem to me to be wonderful, and I think conclusive proof that consciousness exists easily apart from the body.

            BUT NO NDE-er HAS EVER BEEN TO WHERE THE DEAD ARE. And NO NDE REPORT OF A MEETING WITH GOD IS REAL. I am less certain of reported meetings with Jesus, but after having read a few I think they also are highly suspect.

            How do I know these things so conclusively? Because the dead consistently tell us that death is ALWAYS a one-way trip. NDE reports themselves confirm this, since many of the more extensive ones include a point where the experiencer is told that he or she has reached the boundary, beyond which he or she cannot venture if they hope to return to life. Passing that boundary to where the dead are cuts the silver cord, and that cord cannot be reattached. So they are dead. End of subject.

            Where God is concerned, you have the same problem with NDEs because in fact the dead consistently tell us that God NEVER appears in any sort of body, not in the afterlife and not anywhere else. One of the reasons why this is true is probably that the Godhead is a Collective of Perfected Beings; but for whatever reason, no “God in a body” experience is real, no matter how impressive that body might be and no matter what that “God” might say.

            (There is quite a bit of evidence, incidentally, that the experiencer’s guide might take on the persona of Jesus or God in order to comfort people who are temporarily out of their bodies. There even are categories of these Jesus impersonations, in particular. For example, the version that some children see has been described as blond and blue-eyed and is always laughing. So these beings are not hallucinations, but they are not the genuine God or Jesus either.)

            We all have a very serious problem with NDEs that was not a problem until recently. All the NDE experts until about five years ago knew that NDEs are not related to actual death, and I was happy to have them as Seek Reality guests; but more recently, some experiencers insist on talking about having “died and come back to life,” and then they spew the garbage they saw and did while “dead,” which is often things that never happen in the actual afterlife. If we allow the truth that the afterlife experts have accumulated over the past hundred years to be polluted with these extraneous fantasies, many of which contradict one another, then we will not ever again have the ability to teach people what is consistently true. And it won’t happen, dear Jack. Not while I can still prevent it!

            NO ONE WHO TALKS ABOUT HAVING COME BACK FROM AN NDE HAS BEEN TO WHERE THE DEAD ARE, OR HAS SEEN GOD. PERIOD.

          2. Roberta, The NDE status of nearing death or of having died is a red herring for assessing OBE authenticity. The trauma, as you noted, is key to generating the OBE, although OBEs can occur during meditation, or even spontaneously. There is also a legitimate issue about the authenticity of the reporting as you wrote, so each report needs to be reviewed for authenticity.

            When Jesus appears during an OBE, he is generally reported as a being of intense light, all other beings of light too, but not nearly as intense. God is rarely reported to appear as any sort of being, but is almost always experienced as a huge source of light that is intensely loving.

            An interesting question concerns why God would have anything to do with any NDE (or OBE) as compared to ordinary life, day by day. Quite by accident, when I studied the most recent NDE reports posted by NDERF, the reason popped out when I had not even been looking for it. The proportion of people who had not believed in God before their NDE was substantially higher than for the population average– the NDE was being used as a wake up call for a life course correction. I recently discussed this finding with Ken Ring, one of the founders of IANDS along with Bruce Greyson, and he said that he had come to that same conclusion.

            I ought repeat that the great majority of OBE reports describe God as intensely loving of His creation, not judging when the life review is held, and disappointed at how humans have constructed religions that misrepresent His being and wishes. He is not the angry, jealous villain of the the Bible.

            FROM ROBERTA: No Reply Link, so I will reply here:

            Dear Jack, I have seen no evidence whatsoever that an NDE is anything but a spontaneous OBE in which the experiencer’s own guides often impart to that specific experiencer communications intended for that experiencer and not for the greater world. They are often so vivid that it is hard to believe they are not of tremendous import – communications directly from God! – but that doesn’t make them anything more than individual experiences that contain individual messages.

            Please have joy in whatever you want to believe! But I will say it again: NO NDE INCLUDES A VISIT TO THE GENUINE AFTERLIFE OR A DIRECT ENCOUNTER WITH THE GENUINE GOD. I ask you as a courtesy to people who are seeking only the truth that you not share your beliefs here as if you were talking about any sort of objective truth, any more than you would insist on sharing your Mormon or Episcopalian faith as if that were objectively true. And all of us will be a great deal happier!

  2. Dearest Roberta,

    As one who has married two divorcés and survived them both, MT 5:32 seems to rub salt in the wounds. What should have been a 100% joyous occasion had a little reminder that we were entering into a not quite perfect union by having to get permission from our Bishop to marry due to their divorces.

    More than being a “sinner” because I married divorcés, I became a sinner because of what others, my future brides, did. My status would have changed depending upon the actions of my future wife and her ex. This seems to harken back to the Old Testament times when children could be held responsible for the sins of their fathers

    Talk about legalisms. This is exhibit A.

    Yours,

    Cookie

    1. Oh my dear Cookie, thank you for giving us such a perfect example of that awful, blatant insertion of negativity that came with the councils’ pasting in of that later rule! You show us how sharply this ban on divorce contradicts God’s Law of Love, and therefore you emphasize how impossible it is for Jesus to have spoken those words. What you did in marrying women you loved whose previous marriages had failed was to demonstrate the triumph of God’s Law of Love over that petty, human-made marital law that came out of the Old Testament patriarchy. Thank you!

      It took me awhile to get there, and considerable thought and prayer and parsing of the Lord’s Gospel words with the patient insistence of my beloved Thomas, but eventually it became clear to me that Jesus really did mean to replace every Old Testament law altogether. So therefor He meant to replace even the very concept of sin! Whatever we do, if our motive is only perfect love, then Jesus smiles. Amazing. Why do Christians not care to really know Jesus the Christ, even to this day?

      1. It’s because we have been so brainwashed over the centuries that many of us are still afraid to accept Jesus’ teachings without the same old fear factor. If his teachings were left the way he meant them to be, there would be no need for a Vatican or a fear based church. And last (but not least), there would be no reason to dole out money to these institutions. The Vatican became incredibly wealthy because of the fear factor. Also, Christianity as we know it had its start many years after the crucifixion. At no time did Jesus ever mention anything about money or tithing. In fact, I’m sure that never even entered his mind, as that was not what he was about. I know a lot of people would want to hang me for saying this, but I think that associating Jesus with Christianity is a gross insult to him.

        1. Dear Lola, I agree with everything you say, and even the fact that Christian dogmas insult and humiliate Jesus. What Christians believe is massively insulting to God as well! Contrary to everything Jesus came to teach us, we are taught to believe that the God Who wants us to forgive “seventy times seven times” is so unforgiving that God can’t forgive us for even just Adam’s sin unless God gets to watch Jesus being horribly murdered. Why is that not so insulting to God that we would expect God to simply abandon us as hopeless? And yes, I am aware of some of the justifications. That this whole ghastly charade is nothing God needs, but it is for us, since otherwise we can’t forgive ourselves; and so on. There are a number of theories, but in point of fact they all directly contradict the words of Jesus – Who came from the highest aspect of the Godhead to be our Teacher! – and they humiliate Jesus even as much as they insult God. In frank violation of His insistence that His teachings are what matters, Christians ignore the Lord’s teachings almost entirely and instead treat Him as just a human sacrifice.

          I’m sorry. I am blathering. Just the thought of how badly Christians have treated Jesus ever since the First Council of Nicaea and even up to this very day upsets me tremendously 🙁

          1. Jesus was a pawn for their agenda. Who would not feel guilty if a wonderful person like him died for our sins? This instilled a feeling of guilt and a fear of God, as if God could casually send his own son to a horrific death at the hands of violent psychopaths, then what would he do to us if we ticked him off in some way? Again, the fear factor must have made many people afraid to even sneeze This resulted in religions that prohibited dancing or listening to music unless it was boring hymns, as it would upset God if we didn’t constantly worship him. This makes God sound like a narcissist. This is totally not in line with the teachings of Jesus.

          2. I have long ago given up the idea that Jesus died for my sins!
            I should die for them myself, if they were that bad, but I have not committed any deadly sins, that I am sure of.

            But I can’t help wondering why Jesus said he knew what death he would suffer – if he said so. Can we ever be sure of what he really said?

            Why did he not go in hiding, or flee to a different country, without the Romans and the Jewish priesthood? Would his teachings be better known through this misconstruction of the reason for his crucifixion?

            Gerda.

          3. Dear Lola and Gerda, since you posted your comments at the end of a chain there was no “Reply” option, but I think this might work as well.

            Lola, of course we are meant to feel guilty that Jesus had to die for our sins! And fearful as well that if He hadn’t died, we were for sure going to end up in hellfire. But all of that is bogus. None of it makes any sense on any level to any but the most primitive people, which is why so many are falling away from Christianity today. And as you point out, what that old Christian dogma says about God’s barbarity is really horrific! But nevertheless, I am being strictly told that I must stop speaking directly against Christianity. The religion is going to fall of its own sorry weight.

            And Gerda, we are told that for Jesus be crucified was not part of His original life-plan. Apparently the original plan was that He would simply be subsumed back into the astral. But He was having so much trouble convincing His primitive followers that they were not going to die, when of course they saw people die all the time and be allowed to rot in caves, after which their bones were put into bone-boxes. So to demonstrate that we really won’t die, He arranged almost at the last minute to have a horrific public death, be laid out, then the after a few days to re-animate His body. “Ta-DA! See? I didn’t die, and neither will you!” At least, that is what we are being told!

    1. Oh dear Michael, you are very sweet! And I love having you here with us, too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts today 😉

  3. Thank you Roberta, look forward to your message every sunday,may God richly bless you. My eyes have been opened to love not fear for many years,love the reassurance you give us.

    1. Dear Millie, thank you for saying something so lovely! Actually, God has blessed me beyond anything I ever could have imagined, in that every week I am given these topics and I have been richly assisted in writing about them. What greater blessing could there be than just being empowered to do this work? And the deeper we go into these truths, the more I am given to know and understand them, and shown how well they fit with all the other great truths being revealed to us now. At this point, I am so happy that I can never stop smiling!!

  4. Hi Roberta, I haven’t communicated with you in a while. Your books helped me so much when I began this journey of finding the truth for me. I was raised Southern Baptist. All the years I was growing up, I watched my mom, in particular, not live by the words she spouted all the time. That was confusing for a little Southern girl. Both my parents have passed away and I can live my life the way I want to. You have been a big help in my forming my belief system. Thank you for sharing your ideas with us!!!

    1. Hello Nancy – It’s lovely to hear from you again!

      As you point out, a very many strict Christians in fact don’t live by the dogmas of their own religion. People often complain to me that they left Christianity because the people in the churches they had been attending were so cliquish and so judgmental, rather than even trying to follow the literal Gospel words of Jesus. The Lord Himself said, “By their fruits will you recognize them.” And the characteristics of very strict Christians are so often so off-putting that you have to wonder what He would say now about the religion that bears His name!

      It’s nice to hear that I have been of help to you, but to be frank I am thrilled to be of help to you, Nancy. No need to thank me! I am the luckiest person on the face of the earth to be able to live all day every day of my old age not rocking and knitting, but instead serving God and serving people in such a wonderful way!

  5. Gerda, you raised some some interesting points which no one picked up on so I will take the liberty of giving my perspective. All humans have a plan or purpose in this life and Jesus was no exception. I often observe positive or negative events in the lives of otheres and realize it is all part of a life plan. It is not my business to judge or determine the exact purpose although I am certain there is one. Jesus could have run away but in doing so would have at least partially rejected his purpose for being here.

    1. Yes, Thomas, Jesus indeed had a life-plan; and unlike nearly all the rest of us, He seems to have been always cognizant of what His life-plan was. He doesn’t reveal it, but rather He tells His followers that He must go here or there or do this or that at given times; when you read carefully, you can see him saying He has to hit those marks. It would be so nice if you and I knew what our plans were, and why, to the same extent! But for all of us who are still incarnating, our plan is to live these life-lessons in order to grow spiritually so we can then stop incarnating, while Jesus had nothing more to learn. He had already progressed spiritually to the perfect level of the Godhead. His sole purpose was to teach! And He was so zealous a teacher that we are told that His going through such a horrible death and then re-animating His dead body – which was another ordeal, apparently – were late additions to His life-plan, because He was having so much trouble convincing His primitive followers that human life actually is eternal. He went through all of that for us, and gladly. No greater Teacher ever lived!

  6. One of my favorite — well, “favorite” isn’t quite the right word, but one of the most compelling, for me — passages from the gospels tells of many disciples turning away from Jesus because His teachings were “too hard.” And odd passage from our contemporary perspective, but it makes sense in the local context of people who were so accustomed to a long list of rules that proscribed behaviors at every turn, and an image of religion as something they “followed” rather than participated in. Now here’s a teacher who tells them THEY are in control, that the Kingdom is “within” and all they need to do is love everyone, forgive everything in order to find bliss.

    WTH, they all said!

    1. I like your point Mike. Jesus was gently transitioning his followers from smugly practicing legalisms or the “Law,” to practicing how to truly love and live – so simple, yet so hard, even for Christians today.

      1. Exactly, dear Scott. Having rules feels so easy: just obey those rules and you’re fine. But learning to love perfectly and forgive completely? How do you even measure how you are doing with that? It requires that you be working at it all the time! And yes, precisely, that is the problem with Modern Christianity: its adherents love those Old Testament rules, and especially enjoy applying them to other people’s failings. This is fixable, but those of us who want to help the Lord do that have so much long and patient work ahead!

    2. Dear Mike, this is such a wonderful point! I love it! And it’s something I have been trying to emphasize, but not doing it as clearly as you have done here. For all of human history, religions had consisted of external rules that we had to follow; and since those rules didn’t change us internally, they didn’t help us to grow spiritually very much, if at all. So when Jesus gave us teachings meant to change us internally, to uplift us away from fear and toward love, it was a shock for people. WTH, indeed! When we read closely and from a position of modern understanding of the role of consciousness, we can clearly see that Jesus knew how reality works to an extent that very few people still do, thanks in part to the willful ignorance of the scientific community in the area of consciousness. But His followers certainly couldn’t understand, so they couldn’t make sense of a lot of what He was saying. It feels like such a miracle that even without a deep understanding, they still managed to pass so much of what He said down to us!

  7. Hi,
    I have been wondering about this now for the last few weeks, and tonight I found this blog. It’s taken me years to find that the Lord didn’t die for our sins. I went through so much religious rituals daily thinking this is the way to heaven. Anyway, the lord appeared to me in 2010 and what he showed me was nothing but pure light as bright as the sun and the most blissful love not from this earth. We are that light and love and how can any being in that form judge anybody, much less throw them in flames. Thanks for this site.

    1. Linda: That was one of the most dramatic experiences I have ever heard of. Could you elaborate on it a bit more? In other words, was it a near death experience? Was it through a dream?

    2. Dear Linda, we are delighted that you are here! And like Lola, I would love it if you would describe your experience in more detail. From what you say, it may well have been an Experience of Light, which is a rare and wonderful thing! Moses with his burning bush, and Saul’s encounter with Jesus on the road; also my own confused and confounded self, at eight and again at twenty: Experiences of Light are direct encounters with the Divine. Will you please tell us more?

  8. Dearest Roberta,
    This chapter is remarkably freeing. It is as if Jesus is giving us wings. I guess as fear diminishes and it starts to sink in how much we are actually loved, we feel that wonderful things are indeed possible.

    I love that an internal relationship with God based on love, trust and authenticity is the way to go. If a person is real and ardent in that relationship, then he/she won’t want to broadcast how much money he/she gives to charity. Nor will that person make an external show of praying, piety or fasting. Prestige has no real meaning. Neither do displays of religiosity. There is no ego satisfaction in remembering how many good deeds are done for others.

    In the love transformation the false or superficial self falls away. Thank you my dear for this beautiful blog post. 🙂❣️🕊

    1. Dear Efrem, Jesus tells us pretty emphatically that an intense internal relationship with God that is based on love alone is the ONLY way to go! There is one theme that unites the whole Sermon on the Mount, and it is that. Ditch the rules, the rituals, the traditions, and every outward show of piety, and live internally devoid of every fear and in peaceful love and trust for the one true Godhead. That’s it! That’s all. It’s a lot, true, but it is the whole reason why we are here!

      Oh, and I appreciate your including me in your gratitude for what is said above, but please never forget that the real Author of this post is the One who first spoke these words long ago!

  9. So many of my own thoughts and questions are covered here! Thanks Roberta and to all who contributed. Your carefully thought-out words are deeply appreciated. As one who has, for many years, participated in a never-ending wrestling match between religious dogmas and simple logic, this blog post alone has proven to be one of the most freeing and personally satisfying for me. Even with the hardships and terrors of our world (which very often cause me to question my faith in God) I could not, and would not, ever believe in a God of such character as the one depicted in my Christian upbringing. It was scary and made absolutely no sense to me. Yet it was and still is, unfortunately, the ‘status-quo’. The world is waking up, though. Love and forgiveness is the answer. I often wonder why we are even here. God could have made us perfect to begin with. No suffering, no problems – only the purest love and bliss in Heaven. It is almost as if He needed something to do, so here we are. Attempting to think in a purely logical sense, unraveling the meaning of life is difficult, even impossible, to understand with any degree of absolute certainty. I can only assume we were booted out of Heaven to work on some things before we could return – sort of a ‘time-out’ for bad kids, perhaps. After a sufficient amount of time, we would finally (hopefully) get it and not have to return to this beautiful, amazing, spinning globe. You have to admit, He did give us a wonderful and beautiful place for a time-out. Unfortunately, several of the worst cases are ruining even that. Anyway, enough rambling for me but I would like to add one last thought. Wouldn’t it be amazing for Jesus to pay us another visit now? Social media would be an excellent platform for His use to finally set the record straight. Of course, even that would be challenged as a hoax and might create even greater problems for society. As I always text to my kids, nnlysd (night-night, love you, sweet dreams). Thanks again Roberta and all.

    1. Dear Jeffrey, It feels like a wonderful advance that we finally know why we enter these lives on earth, which is to learn and grow spiritually. But we still don’t know why, when we are inextricably part of the Godhead, we are not already perfect! I don’t thing we are in a time-out (although that is a cute idea); and nor do I think we are less than the Godhead, since – as A Course in Miracles says – spiritual growth consists mostly in “removing the barriers to love’s awareness.” Or you might say it consists in cutting away all the not-God until all that is left of you is God. We are learning the process now! But what we still don’t know is the ultimate WHY.

      And Jesus doesn’t have to come back, because of course He never left. And He has given us every necessary teaching already. Now all He needs is the public platform! We are talking now about how to give Him that platform….

      1. One important perspective is that our “view” from here is not objective, nor is it even remotely positioned to be objective. We are not actually “here” of course but are perceiving this particular experience as incarnation, as part of an eternal creative process. To us, this would feel like “growth” from imperfect toward perfect. It is a better metaphor to think in terms of God’s creative nature as an eternal process. The caterpillar never stops becoming the butterfly. The mustard seed never stops becoming the Kingdom of God.

        1. Yes, dear Mike. But the discarnates who are helping with this process will often themselves talk in terms of spiritual “growth,” and to those who are undergoing the process it feels transformational, rather as growing would feel. Caterpillars, too, eventually leave the chrysalis with a transformed body and beautiful wings, so there is a desired end-point. We all are so very close to the beginning of an unfathomably long process! Our desire now is to achieve the point where we no longer need to incarnate on earth, and to see that as our target feels manageable. But to focus on the fact that once we stop incarnating here we will have graduated from kindergarten, and this process actually goes far beyond post-graduate school seems so discouraging! Heck. If we were up-front about that, the goal might seem so far away that some people would give up and not bother!

          1. I guess to a kindergartener, grad school is so far beyond comprehension as to feel like an irrelevant destination. But for us, there is no dropping out on the supreme base creative force.

  10. Dear friends, I remain so troubled by my exchanges with Jack Hiller toward the top of this comments chain that I feel the need to apologize to him here, and to further explain the problem to all of you. I know Jack Hiller. He is a beautiful human being. And to see him, too, being pulled into the enticing maw of the NDE mess upsets me so much! I wrote about this issue several months ago, but you deserve a further explanation now.

    Dear friends, I began to research the afterlife right out of college, in the early seventies. When I chanced upon the wealth of communications received through channels and deep-trance mediums in the decades before and after the turn of the twentieth century, I was in heaven! (Literally.) So many communications received in southern England and the eastern U.S., all carefully researched and documented, and all describing precisely the same glorious and truly gigantic reality. Same process, same geography, same physics, same pastimes, same details: I had found hundreds of people sharing the same incredibly varied but still amazingly consistent reality. Then as the decades passed, I learned more and more about this exotic place. And it was all consistent! Not a single account had us in blue bodies with antennas after death; not a single account of the afterlife judgment process had us suddenly being judged by God Himself at a tall desk; not one of them even suggested that a fiery hell was real, and so on. It was possible, while NDE experts were careful to treat their discipline seriously, to study NDEs while still protecting the truth about the greater reality and life after death; and in the eighties I did quite a bit of that. More than enough to figure out what NDEs are, what they can tell us, and what they emphatically cannot tell us.

    But the NDE experience feels so real to experiencers, nearly all of whom are ignorant of the genuine post-death process, that more and more of them nowadays are certain they have died and come back to life! And in an age of such easy communication, these folks have in recent years polluted what is a genuine and very important field of study to an alarming degree. Nowadays I hear from people who have bought the whole idea that NDEs are real to such an extent that a few months ago some poor woman approached me about coming on Seek Reality to promote her book that was meant to tell the truth about death and was based entirely on her extensive reading of NDEs! She sent me a PDF. I couldn’t bear to do it, but I did it: I told her that her masterwork was based in what amounted to many people’s individual experiences that had been produced for their own edification by their own spirit guides. It bore no relationship whatsoever to the genuine afterlife.

    In my beloved friend Jack’s case, he is focused on communications from God and Jesus that have been produced the same way: guides created these experiences for the personal edification of individual experiencers. It is common for guides to take on the persona of whichever religious figure the people they are guiding would most like to hear from. Is it possible that some of these communications actually came from God? I doubt it, since even back a hundred years ago the Godhead Collective worked through our guides, much as all the less elevated but still exalted collectives work through one individual. Is it possible that some of these NDE communications came from Jesus? Yes, it’s possible. But since Jesus is by far the most impersonated elevated being, it is very unlikely. I used to be puzzled and frustrated by the fact that Jesus kept turning up in accounts from the dead, and there seemed to be several versions of how He looked; but eventually there were enough hints that these were guides impersonating Him to comfort new arrivals that I relaxed about it. The kid-version is usually blond and often laughs; the older-person versions vary, and if people need Him to look ethnic to further comfort them, then He does. Do guides tell us untruths to comfort us? Oh, all the time! There is a prominent book by a child who had an NDE, whose father is a minister. So to comfort him during his NDE, they produced a Throne Room, a battle between good and evil, and so much other religious nonsense! I’m sure they enjoyed it, to them it was harmless, and they frankly would have done just about anything to avoid confusing that child. But there is no real Throne Room of God, no physical God at all, and certainly no Armageddon-like battle.

    A communication from Jesus during an NDE is always going to be something produced for one person by guides who know that one person best.

    You can find NDE accounts on the Internet now in which Jesus warns us to return to Christianity, accounts where people were rescued from an actual fiery hell (that fiery hell appears in NDEs surprisingly often), and accounts in which just about anything happens. We either accept all of it as true – which means that reality is so inconsistent that we can never learn anything about it at all – or we realize that it is all just dreams. We cannot pick and choose! So every researcher who cares about helping humankind MUST reject EVERYTHING that happens in NDEs, even if some of those communications could have been from the genuine Jesus. And I have given my life to teaching only the truth as I have spent fifty years learning the truth. I am convinced that to pollute that truth now will mean that it will never be possible to bring the kingdom of God on earth, so the stakes in this could not be higher.

    I hope this explanation helps. And Jack, I am so sorry!!

    1. Hi Everybody! It is important to bear in mind that the body of research on NDEs is relatively new, and that many researchers agree that what is most notable about an NDE is the personal, long-term impact each experience has on the NDEr him- or herself. That is more significant than details, which do vary across experiencers.

      The research into genuine afterlife experiences shows that these reports have more universal value. Check out https://robertagrimes.com/resources for some informative resources.

    1. I just want to add that to call NDEs “dreams” does not in any way diminish or denigrate them as genuinely transformative experiences. Our materialistic culture has convinced us that dreams are “random” or “junk” thoughts but, really, from the perception of our genuine eternal nature, all of our experiences “on earth” are a dream. Dreamwork is actually a very powerful experience when undertaken in earnest. All “dreams” can be transformative and should be embraced not dismissed.

  11. Hey Roberta and everyone,
    I just want to share here my take on all this. It might be a bit helpful. Maybe.

    I first looked at NDE literature several years ago and I grew frustrated that there were glaring differences in the accounts of experiencers. Then I kept hearing NDErs talking about “over there”. It was always ‘farther on’ that the true heavenly place was located. ‘Over there’. But the experiencer was never able to get to it !!

    Though I was frustrated that the NDErs could not get ‘over there’, I did enjoy the way the NDEs made the experiencers feel and how it changed their lives forever.
    Inspiring stuff, yes. But it nagged at me: What was ‘over there’ ?

    The NDErs themselves often say that they could not go farther into the beautiful place, or else they would have to die and not return to life on Earth. We know they returned to earth because they have subsequently shared their NDEs with us.

    I began to want to know what was over there with increasing curiosity. So it was that a few years ago, I stumbled on Roberta’s works. (I had long known of the trance medium work of over a century ago, as my own mother used to read about this when I was young. We used to talk about it, including the evidential proof that these mediums provided.) Roberta was the one though, who provided the consistency of information about the actual Afterlife. (I have even done my own research into this topic. Roberta offers an excellent bibliography of source texts to look into.)

    And finally I have found the beautiful consistency and absolutely love based realms of Spirit that will be our inheritance after our body’s death. I realized that people look at death as a ‘dark’ experience with who-knows-what fate lying beyond it. In fact the opposite is true. This earth is the ‘dim’ world we struggle through. The Afterlife we are heir to is ‘bright’. And yes – that means for each one of us!

    I was kind of nudged to realize that the Astral realm, where NDEs happen, can be accessed by people who are alive, even if almost dead due to some misfortune. But this is highly creative territory. It is ‘manifesting space’ for we human creators to generate, or to inform a generated experience from our Guides in Spirit. I reckon, out of great mercy people are lead through the trauma of the catastrophe that triggered the NDE, back to a state where they can reenter the body and continue their lives. The NDE then, is deep therapy. To me, that’s the miracle; the often beautiful NDE that helps someone at a time of pressing need. The gift is that it may enlighten and transform their lives.

    And I’ve got to say, that looking at the Dreaming of the Australian Aboriginal people helped me to understand just how ‘excited’ the Astral Realm gets to create experiences when the human mind is in this place. We are part of the Creative Force, even if humanity as a whole doesn’t see this yet.

    However the Afterlife Realm is different, in that it is designed for us as a consistent Greater Reality for our ascension. This is humanity’s centering place; this is our true Heaven. And apparently it is so breathtakingly beautiful that it makes the grandest earth panorama look like a vacant suburban lot weltering in all its relentless banality.
    🙂🙃😉

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