How To Get To Heaven Part 3

Saturday, 11 November 2006

[Picture of ad for TV show: “My Name is Earl”]Some years ago I published a long essay called ‘How To Get To Heaven’ on the web, but when I migrated it to this blog, I split it into two posts, fiddled with the formatting, did some light editing, added pictures and generally tried to make it less daunting to the reader. I also promised to write a third post. This is it.

[Part One] [Part Two] Part Three:

IF you believe in the Gospels, then I think you must come to the conclusion that Jesus did not want us to copy Him — quite the opposite, it seems that Jesus suffered — but He did so for us — so that we would not have to — not so that we would have to suffer ourselves. He was one hundred percent against violence, and refused to defend himself in word or deed. But even though He went to His death willingly, this was NOT suicide. He does not recommend euthanasia to ease suffering nor suicide by any means. Even though he was beaten and tortured, He does not mean for us to harm ourselves! He had a tendency to cure the sick and offer help and advice for a happier life (rather than afterlife). He does things that we are not supposed to copy.

If we are not supposed to copy what He did, what are we supposed to do — What is this all about? Why Jesus? That’s the Big question. So let’s face this square on, and ask it genuinely and without giving — or taking –offence.

If we accept God as the Creator of everything, then we have to accept that God made all men, and not merely the Jews alone. It would even be a fair supposition that God interacted directly with all groups of men, and not exclusively the Jews. Who knows, maybe their Bibles, their Commandments, their Partings of the Red Sea and other tales were not written down, or were lost — maybe one day someone will find them.

In any case, God was directly involved with the Jews and it was written down and we know about it all even today. The direct interaction with God suddenly stopped; before Jesus, God was very active, even angry at times, but after Jesus — not a peep from then to this very day.

It seems therefore that Jesus was significant and needed. His coming was predicted; the Jews expected Him. The trouble was that they did not like His message; they liked being the Chosen People, and so they (quite reasonably) questioned His identity and Authority — they denied that He was the Son of God and their promised Messiah.

The Old Testament was attached to the New Testament to form the Bible, and most of the New Testament is there theologically in response to the Jewish Old Testament. The whole enterprise could be said to be designed to be a proof.

It may be said that proofs in mathematics and in law are very complicated and tedious, and are designed for mathematicians and lawyers respectively. If the Bible is held as a proof, it would be a proof for theologians, designed to convince the Jews of Jesus’s credentials as the Messiah and Son of God, as such it would be far from light reading! But a mathematical proof is the proof of a useful and simple equation — such as the area of a circle. The outcome of a legal proof is a simple guilt or innocent verdict…

It is not necessary to know all the minutiae, all the pedantic point-by-point parts when the end product is simple and ready to be used. I am suggesting that this may be the case with Christianity, and rather than getting ‘bogged down’ with scripture, doctrine and so forth, the simple thing is to set aside the proof, accept or assume that Jesus is the Son of God and has the Creator’s authority even if it is merely on the basis of the inactivity of God ever since. For some, this is a suspension of disbelief, for others it is a leap of faith into belief: the moment they say they knew they were saved.

“Whatever”: If He is who He says He is, then why did He come? What was his Purpose, what was His message?

But first, “Could it have been done another way?” — No it could not have been done another way, He (theologically) had to be a man; He had to remove “Original sin”, and give everyone a clear slate and a new deal with God. He had to die as a man. But there is more: He left instructions behind. We were not to do as He did (obviously), instead we were to do as He said.

  • The answer to the big question then is that there are two reasons for Jesus. The first is that He was a tool God specially devised to end the Jewish covenant and create a new covenant with mankind, the second is to give us the new laws to follow to achieve heaven.

So this allowed me to set aside the theological nuances of Judaism and begin looking through the Gospels for Jesus’s message — and in looking for the new covenant, I was surprised at how clear it is and how easy to find, and how often it is repeated. Jesus’s message — the reason He came was to tell us how to get into heaven — He gave us two commandments to supersede the Jewish Laws of The Old Testament…

“And Jesus answered him, the first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, And with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:29- 31)


“Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, And with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. this is the first and great Commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt Love Thy Neighbour as thyself”
(Mat. 22:37-39).

As far as my research goes, these two commandments carry so much weight that the person obeying them will inherently satisfy all the other, older commandments and laws combined! because Jesus said:

“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
(Mat. 22:40)

I found the following exchange that took place between a lawyer and Jesus:

“And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, What shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, thou shalt love the lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy
neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do and thou shalt live.”
(Luke 10:25-28 )

  • It is not exactly a “hidden” or “secret” coded message!

I think it is pretty clear what Jesus was trying to tell us: He came, His credentials are presented, He has the authority to overrule the Word of God, scrap the Jewish Laws and tie up a lot of theological loose ends, particularly with respect to dying for our sins and even going to hell to wind up the old Covenant the Jews had with God.

My understanding is that He wanted His message to be spread by word of mouth after His Ascension, so the Apostles were given the ability to speak languages and urged to travel and spread the Good News — the New Word of God, especially the Two Commandments. There is no support for a belief in glossolalia (speaking in tongues) that I can see.
It seems that Paul was charged with converting the general heathen masses, while Simon (Peter) was given the task of converting the Jews. It was to be catholic and not restricted to the Jewish tribes. The message was for all mankind. In my opinion, based upon my reading of the Scriptures, I do not understand the word “Catholic” as being intended to mean anything other than applying to all tribes of men, indeed any other interpretation weakens or risks that meaning, in my opinion.

Unfortunately, mankind is men, and men tend to make a mess of things. It’s not hard to see why — the Jews would find it hard to swallow — they are no longer specially chosen for heaven? The old deal is off? Everything they and their ancestors had lived by was trashed? No more passover, no more temples, no more circumcision. Wow! When the pantheistic Romans (who used to throw Christians to the lions) suddenly adopted Christianity as the religion of the state and empire, saints and feast days were assimilated, and the church organised into a man-made hierarchy.

Jesus elected Simon as the ‘rock’ upon which the Church was to be built. Peter means ‘rock’. Jesus could quite easily have picked a real rock, or renamed Simon ‘architect’ or ‘Pope’ or something else. As far as I can see, it is clear that Jesus intended MAN to be the Church, Jesus did not want buildings. There is no mention of buildings, temples or churches in His two commandments. Further evidence of this is the actual crime that caused Jesus’s arrest — the trashing of the Jewish Temple. Jesus always preached outside too.

It is easy to accuse me of a contradiction — that I earlier suggested that we are not supposed to live Jesus’s lifestyle and that now I am using examples to support a point. Not so. Earlier I suggested that Christians could follow Jesus — that would be perfect. People have and do, and by their own Bible, I could not find them to be entirely wrong. I merely said it was not for me nor billions of others — even people who call themselves ‘Christian’. My understanding of the text is that Jesus was sent to Jews to put them straight specifically and first, and then everyone else. As such the New Covenant was for everyone, but that the Old one was a Jew-God contract, this is the origins of why Christians see Jews as needing saved/converted, and that from being “God’s Chosen people”, the Jews have (from a New Testament perspective) fallen to the very bottom rung. I really do read the Christian Bible as targeting the Jews clearly and directly, and I simply cannot read it in any way that would be kinder to the poor Jews!

What I said earlier was that although I could attempt to be a perfect Christian by giving everything away and being poor, that there were other possibilities just as good for getting into heaven — for example for married couples.

Jesus owned nothing, and so left nothing — there’s no will, no sons or daughters, no house. It seems pretty clear that Jesus did not intend artifacts to be worshipped (sorry Rome!), also that He did not want an army, a clergy, a Church or temple. There’re no commandments of stone to ponder, no written scripture, no complicated laws governing food. No feast days, no rites and ceremonies. Nothing — not even a body.

At The Last Supper He said the bread was His body and the wine was His blood. It is patently clear that He is saying that He is nature, that He is sustenance, that He is not merely confined to a man’s body of flesh and blood. He asked His men to get strength from the wine and bread, or the food and drink, to spread His two commandments on their travels.

I can see why people say “Grace” before meals, but quite why this has become confused into a transubstantiation argument, communion, issues about alcohol and a whole lot more besides is a tribute to the stupidity of mankind. … But that’s just my opinion, and I reserve the right to develop my opinion on my own blog. If I am blaspheming, then I will surely go to hell and it will be all my own fault, so you need not get involved.

Yes, I understand that this looks like I am attacking the Jews and the Christians, but having read the documents, it is my personal opinion that if I said believed in Jesus and then I attended a church or temple building, condoned a religious organisation, or attempted to live by the Jewish Old Testament Laws and Commandments that I would be Doing Wrong, because I would be going against Jesus’s Will.

I am not seeking to upset anyone, but as far as I can determine, Jesus did not write down a Gospel of his own, and He did not have an official note-taker from his disciples. This is important, surely, because reading and writing was around, and they could all do it; the New Testament contains letters, for example. This seems to suggest that Jesus actually did not want anything written down. If He wanted things written down it would not have been too difficult to organise. This is further supported by the apostles gaining a gift of tongues — an oral gift. Having said that, I cannot find that Jesus never ripped up a written page, so although He did not intend for the written Scripture, it exists such as it is, and reading it might be OK…. maybe, but I don’t think we are supposed to. By contrast, and on the other hand, Jesus did wreck a temple (His only violent act, for which He was arrested) and this suggests to me that He was definitely opposed to buildings and church organisations themselves. I would therefore go so far as to suggest that Jesus did not intend for a church of buildings and rich artworks, but that He was actually and particularly against them. There are lots of examples in support of this for anyone who wishes to look through the epistles and Gospels.

In any case, at no time have I said that I believe in any of this. When I refer to the Bible, I do so with a believer’s perspective… which oddly enough seems to be the opposite of what so many ‘official believers’ gave gleaned from the very same document! It seems clear to me that there is a great deal of confused mess resulting from reading Bibles — I would advise against this; no wonder there are so many Christian denominations!

It seems to work like this: because of Jesus, all humans have been forgiven and are completely free of all sin — this is a complete cut and break from Old Testament times: A New beginning and a fresh new covenant with the Creator.

  • So there’s no need to see baptism as a form of exorcism any more.

As a result, we each of us have no sin, but through life we will gather venial sins and commit mortal sins — which we must fix before we die.

This seems to tie in with Jesus’s preaching and teachings; if we repent we can be forgiven. We may not have to confess to a priest or consider absolution and penance within the church as a requirement, as long as we repent and do our own penance.

People who gave everything away and followed Jesus are perfect — they go to heaven straight away. Those who die with mortal sins outstanding go straight to hell.

It is possible that everyone else’s souls go to purgatory or limbo until judgement day when they are re-united with the resurrected body and enter hell or heaven. Those perfect folk who gave up everything to live like Christ, pray for the souls in purgatory, asking God to allow them into heaven on judgement day. Those souls in limbo await God’s judgement.

A belief in limbo or purgatory is unimportant (unless you are a monk or nun, in which case most of your life will have been a waste of time if they turn out to be untrue) , limbo or purgatory — either way or not, according to the Bible’s New Testament and The Word of God, almost everyone needs God’s judgement on how well you followed HIS TWO RULES.

It was a lot of trouble for God to bring His TWO LAWS to all mankind — so the least we can do is try to understand them.

OK, how do you love God? What does that involve?

I think it means respect nature, and science — don’t get carried away with nuclear bombs and genetic mutations. Try to be environmentally aware, kind to all God’s creatures, don’t kill more than you need for food, don’t be wasteful. Recycle, don’t litter. How else can you show you love God? Respect for life extends even into death; Jesus was buried and therefore had a body that was reincarnated, in addition, the ‘Apostle’s Creed’ that dates back to the year 700, the last stanza of which (… Credo in Spiritum Sanctum; sanctam ecclesiam catholicam; sanctorum communionem; remissionem peccatorum; carnis resurrectionem; vitam oeternam. Amen) states a belief in “carnis resurrectionem” or the resurrection of the body, so it would certainly seem that cremation, leaving the body to medical science or donating organs would not be entertained!

Love your neighbour — treat people the way you would like to be treated is pretty straightforward really — don’t steal, don’t cause harm, and so forth.

All the old commandments are automatically covered with this simple rule. It becomes difficult to sin if you live like this. For example, you wouldn’t like to be punched in the face, so even though someone has just punched you in the face, because you wouldn’t like it/ didn’t like it, you cannot therefore do it back — so by following the second commandment, you are turning the other cheek and being a pacifist. Eventually, without response, violence would die out and the meek would inherit the earth. If you imagine what it would be like to be hungry, cold and homeless, you might like to be treated with respect and you might appreciate some money for food. There are no need for churches, cathedrals, stained glass, gospel choirs, TV evangelists, hymns, masses, donations or anything like that. No need for soup kitchens or charity work; everyone would be so much nicer to everyone else.

So where has my investigations brought me? Well, I reckon that Jesus didn’t want Scriptures written down, and I can see why — the myriad Protestant denominations and the sectarian bigotry between Christian sects that has become woven into history and culture. I agree with the old Roman tradition of not reading the Bible; it’s for scholars and specialists only.

However, I disagree with the Church as developed by the Roman Empire — because I think it goes against the very core of what Jesus came to do — He came to sweep away all that nonsense that had grown intricate and complex over years into a weird culture of Jewish tradition. He was against all churches, temples, and religious organisations. He gave His life to replace the old Jew-God contract with the Catholic-God contract. It is so simple; why make it complicated?

It is NOT a sin to remain unmarried, it is not a sin to miss mass, miss communion, miss confession or not have all possible sacraments. There is no need to be baptised or to receive extreme unction before being able to get into heaven. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I feel it is bad, and a even sin to act falsely — to attend communion, to marry in a Church, to be baptised, speak in tongues, sing gospel, or try to convert by evangelism.

I am 100 percent convinced that I would have more chance of getting into heaven if I avoided all churches and religious organisations like the plague. I believe that is what He wanted, that is The Word of God, That is The Good News. That is why He came; and so I am FREE!

 

The second and last commandment is sometimes known as ‘The Golden Rule’ or the ‘Ethic of Reciprocity’ and is found to be the basis of most moral codes and almost all religions, so it is not necessary to believe in Jesus beforehand.

  • Moses: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
    –The Torah, Leviticus 19:18;
  • “What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary.”
    –Talmud, Shabbat 31a;
  • “And what you hate, do not do to any one.”
    –Tobit 4:15;
  • Muhammad: “Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.”
    –The Farewell Sermon;
  • “None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”
    –Number 13 of Imam “Al-Nawawi’s Forty Hadiths”;
  • “This is the sum of Dharma [duty]: Do naught [not] unto others which would cause you pain if done to you”. –Mahabharata, 5:1517;
  • Try to treat others as you would want them to treat you.”
    –The 20/21 moral precepts of L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology booklet “The Way to Happiness.”

There many other examples, from Confucianism to Sikhism, and plenty of quotations from moral thinkers and major philosophers throughout history.

The concept of Karma as advocated by the recent US American TV show, “My Name is Earl” is a good example of penance, or righting wrongs and getting straight with God. Earl will get to heaven for sure.

Jesus wanted us to have a nice life, He told us how to live with happiness and without fear, how to live healthily and well on the planet. Heck, who needs heaven — THAT IS HEAVEN!

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10 Responses to “How To Get To Heaven Part 3”

  1. karen Says:

    The earthly reason Jesus was crucified was because the Jews(Gods chosen people)understood Jesus to be calling himself God. The heavenly reason for Jesus’ sacrafice on the cross was to atone for all sin. This means no more sacrafices on the alter. It was a gift from God to all who would believe. Believe what? That Jesus was the Messiah the Old Testament was speaking of. He was born of a virgin birth, Gods only begotten-son He was sacraficed on the cross, died and three days later He rose to life and He sits at the right hand of God waiting for the day when He will return for all believers who are called the Body of Christ .

  2. karen Says:

    Jesus wants a personal relationship with all who will believe and before He went to be at the right hand of the Father, He left on earth a helper to help us make good choices to help us grow in the image of Christ. We are sinners, we have free will and the Bible says we all fall short of the Glory of God. It is a repentive heart and Gods grace that defines the Christian walk. You cannot enter into heaven on good works or being good we would never be able to be that good. God is a gentleman and will not force himself on anyone its a choice, the best one you will ever make.

  3. karen Says:

    Rocky I have never thought of myself as needing the help I believe you to mean.I didnt blog to upset you. I was looking for some quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt, when I came across a title “How to get to Heaven” So having SOME knowledge of the Bible, I would blog on what the Bible has to say about “How to get to Heaven”. If you want the answers to your questions the answers are in the the Bible. But He does want you to know Him. Jesus is gentle man, the bible speaks of His ways. Is God a man you ask? Jesus was God in the flesh. A repentive heart means to feel regret and to turn from what is evil and change all with the Spirits help.

  4. kiki Says:

    L o n g
    very long, but huge fun! took me all week to read this site best guide to life ever ;)

  5. Damon Says:

    Saul, nice links.
    Great Site, true it is long but I guess it has to be. easy read tho.

  6. Pedro Says:

    all 3 are excellents!!!!

  7. thekid Says:

    “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

    “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn
    ” ‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
    a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law –
    a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

    “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

  8. rtone Says:

    @thekid–
    I found your bible quotes: Matthew 10 and Luke 12. It is as I said in my post, Jesus sent his 12 apostles out to spread the word to the Jews:
    “These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.'” He adds, ‘I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.’ and asks them to turn up in towns without money, “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”.
    Jesus is saying that these men can expect to be persecuted BECAUSE OF HIM, that His message FOR THE JEWS will rock their world – and pit Jew against Jew.
    Jesus knew he would not bring peace, but turmoil for the Jewish (previously) Chosen people!

  9. Deadly Deedes Says:

    One wonders where the notion of EVERLASTING DAMNATION came from; Hell is often described as a temporary place. Indeed, Jesus Himself passed through Hell – so what does that suggest?

    Look up: Naraka/ Neraka / Jahannam /Gehenna /Sheol
    Di Yu / Hades /Tartaros /Hel / Yomi/ Duat / Annwn

    Hell is even explained as a state of mind. You do not even have to die to go through hell. It is a painful cleansing process.

    A lot of beliefs have hell as an afterlife choice, but only Christianity has hell as a destination.


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