Shrine of the Báb, Haifa, Israel

Jesus told a parable about the Pharisee and the Publican. Quoting an online dictionary: “Pharisee-a member of an ancient Jewish sect, distinguished by strict observance of the traditional and written law, and commonly held to have pretensions to superior sanctity. Publican-(in ancient Roman and biblical times) a collector of taxes. (More recently a manager of a pub or liquor establishment.)”

According to the parable, in the New Testament of the Bible, told by Jesus, a Pharisee and a Publican were in a house of worship. The Publican knew he was a sinner and repented, beating his chest and begging for God’s mercy. The Pharisee prayed a prayer of thanks that he was not like that Publican over there, and listed his virtues, including tithing leaves from the herb plants of his garden. The soul of the Publication was justified by his repentance. The soul of the Pharisee was not justified by his prideful prayers.

What an irony that prayers of prominent Bible-thumping Christians of today sound more like the arrogant comparisons of that Pharisee, than the meek repentance of the Publican, in spite of this story being in all of their Bibles, and in spite of Christ’s clear statement on which prayer brought justification.

“Lord, I thank Thee that I am married to one person of the opposite sex, and I never commit sexual transgressions, unlike those people there who don’t even know what gender they are. I thank Thee for procreating life through my body, unlike those people there who want to murder the life Thou hast given them. I know Thou wilt come quickly as soon as Thy people, the Israelis, murder the apostates standing in their way, so I am backing weapons of destruction for Israel. In fact, I am backing the proliferation of weapons everywhere white. Praise Jesus, Amen. I thank Thee that I don’t have to worry about the environment. My family and I will be removed from the escalating tribulations and taken to a base on the moon, where in safety we will wait for Thy forces to decimate the non-believers on Earth, before bringing us home again to live in peace with Thee forever. Let Armageddon come! Lord Jesus, with Thee on my side, I’m ready! Amen, Amen.”

I wish I could watch when these modern-day Pharisees die, make their appearance before the Great Throne to be told, “Depart from Me, workers of iniquity! I never knew you!” This is God’s judgement, and it is up to Him, but, like Jesus said, you know a tree by its fruit.

Jesus said, “The Son of Man is coming on the clouds with great glory, every eye will see him, and every knee will bend.” The Bible is mystical writing, particularly the quotes of Jesus. Do you think everyone at once is going to look up and see Jesus coming in glory? Or could it mean that we, each in turn, when our life is over, look up and see our Lord coming for us? Or could it mean that the truly spiritual of all paths will one day unite and institute a just world government, effulgent in the glory of God? It is imperative to understand scripture for yourself, not from the ideas of someone else only.

Physical life on this planet is fleeting. It will be over, and we will go on to the next plane of existence. There are religious theories about how a certain select few can live forever on Earth in their physical bodies. I used to be part of a church that promulgated such an idea. The founder of the movement was supposed to be the first one to develop the glorified body and defeat death. But he died in 1983. Everyone dies. I think that, of all the very important things, the very most important, is what emotion we are going to be feeling when we pass from this world. We need to figure that out and practice it constantly, so we will be ready when the time comes. I know it won’t be spiritual pride, and it won’t be hate. If I’m annoyed because my keyboard won’t come up, and that breath turns out to be my last, that’s not so good. LOL, kidding aside, God is Merciful, but still we need to try to please Him.

Religious bigotry is not okay for those who wish to be counted with the sheep on judgment day. Jesus said, “I have other sheep that are not in this fold.” Jews are not non-believers. They believe in Moses and Abraham. Jesus said, “Before Abraham, I Am.” Abraham and Moses taught the same truths as Jesus. Muhammad was sent by the same God and with the same message as Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Muslims are believers too.

In 1844, the Millerites, forerunners of the Seventh day Adventists, were expecting the return of Christ that year, based on prophecies in the books of Daniel and Revelation. Turns out, that year, a man, who had been born in 1819, announced that he was the Fulfillment of Prophecy (in May of 1844). He was executed a few years later for being a heretic. But was he? Bahá’ís all over the world will be celebrating the bicentennial of the birth of the Báb, October 29, 2019, for the first of three co-founders of the Bahá’í Faith.

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