Christianity

Jesus of Nazareth (Yeshua) – lived in the land of Galilee from approximately 6 BCE to 33 AC (Palestine and Israel.) He was born into a Jewish family during a time of Roman rule. At the time of Jesus’s birth the Romans had been in control of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for 100 years.

25 – 30 AC – Around the age of thirty, Jesus began teaching that the “Kingdom of God was within.” This was contrary to Jewish belief and Roman law. He inspired Jews, Gentiles (half-Jews) and Samaritans (non-Jews) to know the divine spark within them. He taught non-judgment, humility, compassion and forgiveness.  He saw how money, greed and power were blinding people from seeing their soul’s truth.

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Orthodox Icon of “I am the Vine.” Jesus with his 12 Apostles.

John 15:5 – 8 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

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Matthew 13:31–32 – “He set another man before them, saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field; which indeed is smaller than all seeds. But when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches.”

Many saw Jesus as a teacher or Rabbi, to others he was a charismatic rebel.

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Sermon on the Mount – Jan Brueghel the Elder. Belgium 1598.

Mark 15-20:  Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

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Fresco at Scrovegni Chapel.Artist – Giotto di Bondone, 1304.

30 – 33 AC – Jesus traveled with his apostles to Jerusalem for the annual Jewish Passover Festival. He was greeted with leaves from Palm Trees.

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“Jesus in the Garden” Gustav Dore 1832-1883.

Luke 22:39-46 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, Pray that you will not fall into temptation. He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

He was arrested and brought before the Roman Prefect, Pontius Pilate who asked him if he was the King of the Jews. Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Pilate crucified him for challenging Roman authority.

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Mosaic of Jesus as the Tree of Life at St. Paul’s Church in Rome.

The symbol of Jesus on the Cross, is also seen as the living embodiment of the Tree of Life, for it represents the past separation of man from god, man from nature and man from himself. It is a symbol of resurrection, rebirth and reconnection. Jesus is like a Tree of Life in the sense that Christians who believe in Him have eternal life through Him. Early scripture did not describe his crucifixion on a cross but on a tree.

Deuteronomy 21:23 – “His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.”

After Jesus’s death some called Jesus “Christ” and his followers “Christians.” But most Jewish leaders felt that Jesus had not fulfilled the Messianic prophecy foretold in the Tanakh.

In 31 AC, Pilate was ordered back to Rome to stand trial for cruelty and oppression, particularly on the charge that he executed men without proper trial. Pilate killed himself on orders from Emperor Caligula in 39 AC.

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Revelations 2:7 “To him who overcomes, to him I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. The tree of life is here again offered to man. Due to the fall the tree of life was closed to him. Throughout the redemption of Christ, the way to touch the tree of life has been reopened.”

In 108 AC – Father Ignatius wrote a letter that used the word Katholike to describe the formation of this early church: “Where so ever the father shall appear, there let the people be, even as where Jesus may be, there is the universal katholike church.”  The word “Katholike is a word created by Aristotle (384–322 BCE) meaning “throughout the whole – of the four winds.”

150 AC – St. Irenaeus wrote a letter based on the four winds and identified the four evangelists: “There are four gospels and only four, neither more nor less: four like the points of the compass, four like the chief directions of the wind. The Church, spread all over the world, has in the gospels four pillars and four winds blowing wherever people live.”

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Spinello Aretino, the Four Evangelists with their Symbols. Sacristy of San Miniato al Monte

The Four Evangelists and how they relate to the winds, directions, archangels and the elements. They were also aligned with the four creatures from the Merkaba vision in Ezekiel 1.

East – Matthew – Gabriel – Man – Messenger – Earth

South – Mark – Michael – Lion – Guardian – Fire

West – Luke – Raphael – Ox/Bull – Healing – Water

North – John – Uriel – Eagle – Serpent of Light – Air

313 AC – Constantine, the Western Roman Emperor, and Eastern Roman Emperor Licinius signed the Edict of Milan, which finally ensured religious tolerance for Christians. The agreement granted freedom of worship to all, regardless of deity, and brought an end to the Age of Martyrs, which had begun after Jesus’ death.

325 AC – Roman Emperor Constantine gathered the First Council of Nicaea in Iznik, Turkey to debate and define who Jesus was. They named him Christ, the Son of God. They identified Jesus’s resurrection as the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 20th, the nominal date of the Spring Equinox. This was done so it would never fall on the Jewish day of Passover or the Spring Equinox. The year-to-year sequence is so complicated that it takes 5.7 million years to repeat. They created the Holy Trinity of Father/Son/Holy Ghost. Named Sunday as the holy day of rest replacing the Jewish Sabbath on Saturday.

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Currier & Ives, 1870.

Revelations 22:2 – “On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve [c]kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

339 AC – Constantine declared that the Winter Solstice, which celebrated the birth of the “Sun”, would now be a celebration of the birth of the “Son” of God. This became known as Christmas. The Romans incorporated their celebrations of Saturn and Mithras. Saturn is the Roman God of Harvest and Agriculture who was  worshiped during a festival called Saturnalia. The Saturnalia festival started on December 17 and lasted for seven days, ending before the Winter Solstice December 25th. It was a celebration marked by carnivals, exchange of gifts, feasting, and a cessation of all public works. Mithras, “invincible Sun god” who dies and rises again, god of Vegetation, born from stone. Mithra was originally a Persian and Indus Valley god. The worship of Mithras emphasized correct behavior in this world, which was the only way to win favor with god in the next. The Winter Solstice was celebrated on Dec 25th at the end of Saturnalia.

379 ACE – Theodosius became the Roman Emperor and ordered the destruction of all Gods and Goddesses created by Romans, Greeks and Egyptians.  He expelled Pagans and Gnostics and destroyed the Library and School in Alexandria, Egypt.  To be Pagan meant you were from nature and soon became associated with evil and heresy.

In 590, Pope Gregory the Great began forcing the conversion of pagans by building churches on their sacred sites.  Pope Gregory also identified Mary Magdalene, as Mary of Bethany the “sinful” woman and led people to believe she was an adulteress or prostitute repenting for her sins.  From this point on women were seen as inferior to men within the church.

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750-785 ACE – Boniface and Charlemagne chopped down the sacred Thor’s Oak and Irminsul to force conversion of the Germanic Saxons to Christianity.

800 – Pope Leo III crowns Charlemagne as the Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas day to solidify the imperial protection of the papacy.

800 – Islam conquers 50% of what was the Roman Empire

800 – Germanic invaders pillaged many parts of Rome, including the catacombs. Popes of the era removed the valuable relics of martyrs and saints for safekeeping.

810 – The Christian Church absorbed many Celtic beliefs to aid in their conversion. Pagan temple sites became the location of cathedrals.

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This is extracted from Caricatures III from the Bowles & Carver album 1750s London. Christ crucified on a tree which bears fruits carrying the names of virtues.

Primary examples of Celtic/Pagan influence:

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Easter – The origins of the word “Easter” come from Eostre, the Germanic Celtic goddess of Spring, Rebirth, Fertility and New Beginnings. Before this “Easter” was referred to as Resurrection Sunday. Easter Eggs were originally celebrated in the Germanic Celtic tradition for fertility. Christians view the Easter eggs as symbols of joy and celebration (as they were forbidden during the fast of Lent) and of new life and resurrection. A common custom is to hide brightly colored eggs for children to find.

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Painting by Franz Kruger

Christmas – is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ that is observed on December 25. The English word “Christmas” derives from the old English Christes maesse, meaning “Christ’s mass.” In fact, some early Christians, most notably Origen of Alexandria, strongly opposed the celebration of Christ’s birth. Pointing out that only Pharaoh and Herod celebrate their birthdays in the Bible, Origen argued that birthdays were for pagans, not Christians.  Christmas borrowed many traditions from the Germanic solstice celebration of Cernunnous. The Yule log and the Christmas tree are both pagan traditions and rituals surrounding the Winter Solstice, which included the use of evergreen boughs, and an adaptation of pagan tree worship.

1437 – The First bible is printed using the Guttenburg Press in Germany in Latin

1534 – the Bible was translated from Latin to German.

The ancient names of Anu, El, Adonai, Yahweh and Jehovah were replaced with the proto-germanic word Guden, meaning: “to invoke.”  Woden, Odin and Irmin were the Celtic/Norse/Germanic tree deities. The sound they invoked was the sound of wind blowing in the trees.

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Genesis 3:8:And they heard the sound of the Jehovah walking in the garden in the cool of the day.”  The “cool of the day” is interpreted as the evening winds.  When the Bible was translated to English, Guden was replaced with Gud, meaning good.

1582 – Pope Gregory XIII – instituted the Gregorian calendar. The calendar had shifted enough due to the earth’s wobble (precession of the equinoxes) that the date of the Winter Solstice on December 25th was now December 21st. Pope Gregory XIII chose to keep the celebration of Christmas on December 25th thus separating the pagan holiday from the birth of Jesus.

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Revelations – “I give to eat of the Tree of Life. Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” 

“When thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.” – Jesus

 “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” – 
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“What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul.” – Jesus

“Whatsoever things you desire, believe and you shall have them” -
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“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. From anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again.” – Jesus

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” – Jesus

“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Jesus

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” – Jesus

“You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” – Jesus

“Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” – Jesus

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Jesus

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” – Jesus

“I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.” – Jesus

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Jesus

Recognize the Divine spark in you to draw a step closer to the Divine. – Jesus

“The lamp of the body is the eye.  If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! – Mark 22- 22

“Why do you notice the splinter in your brothers eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ´Let me remove that splinter from your eye, while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brothers eye.” – Matthew 7:3

“When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, then you will enter the kingdom.” – Gospel of Thomas: 22

Beatitudes – words spoken by Jesus at the “Sermon on the Mound”

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.