Archive for February, 2011

It is ironic that the doctrine of Hell, adamantly held to by many Christians as a truth being taught by the one and only God, is actually not new to the Bible at all….it is in fact a myth that originated with the ancient Greeks. Tartarus, and Hades are both Greek gods that pre-date the New Testament by at least 700 years.

Tartarus is used only one time in the Bible as the place where the Angels who sinned are chained until judgment. The Greek philosopher, Plato wrote that souls were judged after death and those who received punishments were sent to Tartarus.

2Pet.2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (Tartarus), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

Tartarus in Greek mythology, is both a deity and a place in the underworld even lower than Hades. In ancient Orphic sources, Tartarus is also the unbounded first-existing entity from which the Light and the cosmos are born.

In Hesiod’s Theogony c. 700 BC, the deity Tartarus was the third force to manifest in the yawning void of Chaos. In The Iliad (c. 700), Zeus asserts that Tartarus is “as far beneath Hades as heaven is high above the earth.” It is one of the primordial objects that sprung from Chaos, along with Gaia (Earth) and Eros (Desire).

Now doesn’t it seem a bit odd that the Bible states that God is sending the angels who sinned to a mythological place called Tartarus?

The word Hades refers both to the ancient Greek underworld, the abode of Hades, and to the god of the underworld. The term hades in Christian theology (and in New Testament Greek) is parallel to Hebrew sheol (שאול, grave or dirt-pit), and refers to the abode of the dead.

In older Greek myths, the realm of Hades is the misty and gloomy abode of the dead where all mortals go. Later Greek philosophy introduced the idea that all mortals are judged after death and are either rewarded or cursed. Very few mortals could leave this realm once they entered. Five rivers are part of the realm of Hades, and their symbolic meanings, are Acheron (the river of sorrow, or woe), Cocytus (lamentation), Phlegethon (fire), Lethe (oblivion), and Styx (hate).

Also, what I find extremely interesting is that one of the five rivers of Hades is “Fire” which is a direct parallel to Revelation where it is written that Hades is cast into the lake of fire. So, my question is why is the mythological realm of Hades, being spoken of by Jesus as a real place of judgment?

Rev.1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore Amen; and have the keys of hell (Hades) and of death.

Rev.6:8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell (Hades) followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Rev.20:13-14 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (Hades) delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell (Hades – the Grave) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Kind of makes one question where the whole doctrine of eternal damnation came from?

Transforming how we look at Scripture….

Changing the interpretive foundation of the Bible from the letter of the law, to the spirit of freedom from the law….allowing what we read in Scripture to be transformed, by letting its true image reflect on our souls like a mirror….only then can its message for this age be realized.

Written language began with letters (egg); then the birth of Scripture began with Moses (the caterpillar), starting the process of growing until that stage of development was complete and reached its maturity….becoming a bound book around the 3rd century (much like when the caterpillar reaches maturity and is bound into a cocoon), now in the 21st century with the advent of the Bible Wheel – Scripture can be seen to have transformed into a book to be viewed from a dimension that is beyond words on the printed page – to that of transcending  into the realm of the heavens (like the emerging of the butterfly from the cocoon, being released from the bondage of its earthly tomb to fly free)….metamorphosing into a design of awe inspiring beautiful numbers….leaving behind the earthly and taking on the heavenly.

Galatians 4:25-26 For this Hagar … answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

With this in mind the words of the Bible that record the progress of human history as being written to people of a different time, can be transformed into a message of sacred design that is formed from that same written word. Much like the metamorphosis of the butterfly….taking the DNA of the caterpillar and within the cocoon, transforms the same DNA into that of a beautiful butterfly bearing no resemblance to it original form.

Gen.1:27 So God created man (adam) in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Then God blessed them, and God said be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.

Gen.5:2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name adam (man), in the day when they were created.

I find it fascinating to observe that the first time the Bible mentions God creating man adam, is that of male and female being made equally in His image….with no mention of any kind of difference being made in their creation….both are given the blessing to go forth and multiply. It is only with the advent of the Garden story that a whole different picture is presented of man and woman’s creation, and that being of man formed from the dust, and woman taken from man. The Garden story is somewhat resolved with the closing verse uniting Adam and Eve as one flesh….thus, being deemed as equals.

Gen.2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Now, jumping way ahead in the Bible to the words of Jesus in the New Testament, one finds that He not only brings together Gen. 1 and 2 to blend them and reiterate the equality in the formation of male and female, but also their uniting into one flesh.

What is particularly striking to me though, is that Jesus seems to deliberately overlook everything between Gen.3 and Matt. which documents a litany of negative results from God’s curse on Adam and Eve after they were kicked out of the Garden. These curses destined woman to a veritable “prison sentence” of suffering, and gave man a license to rule and abuse her….instead of them working together as equal partners, one part is elevated in status above the other. This seems to go against and revoke God’s previous proclamation of man and woman being one flesh, thus having an equal status.

Matt.19:4-5 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

Mark 10:6-8 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

Another interesting point to note in Mark 10 is that Jesus maintains symmetry between a man putting away his wife, and a woman putting away her husband even though under the law of Moses women had no divorce rights.…keeping perfectly with the idea of a woman’s equality in the eyes of God.

Mark 10:11-12 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

Finally, the last place that male, female equality is mentioned is when Paul declares in his Epistle to the Galatians, that all peoples no matter what their gender, race, or status in society are united as one in Christ.

Gal.3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

 

Any minister, or teacher that tries to impose restrictions on the freedoms of women simply because of their gender is in serious error, and going directly against the words of Jesus.

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