It was a gala day in Nazareth. The people there had met with one accord to celebrate some great event. And Jesus and the foreign masters and the twelve, and Mary, mother of the Lord, and Miriam were there. And when the people were assembled in the great hall of the town, the graceful singer, Miriam, stood and sang a song of praise. But few of all the multitude knew who the singer was; but instantly she won all hearts. For many days she sang the songs of Israel, and then she went her way.
The Sabbath came and Jesus went into the synagogue. He took the book of Psalms and read: Blest is the man who puts his trust in God, respecting not the proud nor such as turn aside to lies. O Lord, my God, the works that thou hast done for us are wonderful; and many are thy thoughts for us; we cannot count them all, Thou dost not call for sacrifice, nor offerings of blood; burnt offerings and offerings for sin thou dost not want; and lo, I come to do thy will, O God, thy law is in my heart, and I have preached the word of righteousness and peace unto the thronging multitudes; I have declared the counsel of my God in full. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and grace. I have not kept thy loving kindness and thy truth away from men; I have declared them to the multitudes. O Lord, make wide my lips that I may tell thy praise; I do not bring the sacrifice of blood, nor yet burnt offerings for sin. The sacrifices I would bring to thee, O God, are purity in life, a contrite heart, a spirit full of faith and love, and these thou wilt receive. (Aquarian Gospel 121:1-15)
The sacrifices I would bring to thee, O God, are purity in life, a contrite heart, a spirit full of faith and love, and these thou wilt receive. For many centuries the prophets (all of whom were persecuted and many of them martyred) had taught that blood sacrifice was wrong and not part of the authentic Law of Moses. The Essenes held this view, also. Here we see the real sacrifices: purification of the entire person in order to fit them for the highest spiritual experience and realization. “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification” (I Thessalonians 4:3).
And when he had thus read, he gave the book back to the keeper of the books, and then he said, Upon these ends of earth these messages of God have come. Our people have exalted sacrificial rites and have neglected mercy, justice and the rights of men. You Pharisees, you priests, you scribes, your God is surfeited with blood; God does not heed your prayers; you stand before your burning victims; but you stand in vain.Turn you unto the testimonies of the law; reform and turn to God, and you shall live. Let not your altars be accursed again with smoke of innocence. Bring unto God as sacrifice a broken and a contrite heart. Lift from your fellow men the burdens that you have imposed.And if you hearken not, and if you turn not from your evil ways, lo, God will smite this nation with a curse. (Aquarian Gospel 121:16-24)
Our people have exalted sacrificial rites and have neglected mercy, justice and the rights of men. Ritual is a part of every viable religion, but ritualism is a sign of degeneration. Spiritual laziness prevails in a ritualistic system, and right living and thinking are neglected. And there is no idea of esoteric or mystical viewpoints. The religion becomes a husk, a dead or dying form without soul or life. This sometimes happens under persecution. Under the Communist persecutions the Russian Orthodox Church withdrew into ritualism with the clergy rarely giving any kind of spiritual teaching. Hopefully the free Russian Church is recovering from that and returning to its former spiritual vigor.
You Pharisees, you priests, you scribes, your God is surfeited with blood; God does not heed your prayers; you stand before your burning victims; but you stand in vain. To violate the commandment against killing and declare it pleasing to God and even required by him is a demonic evil.
Just before this I mentioned the Russian Orthodox Church in the twentieth century persecutions. One of the greatest mystics of Mount Athos, Elder Joseph of New Skete, said that the Russian Revolution had occurred as a direct result of the widespread corruption of the Russian Orthodox clergy. He said that because God no longer heard their prayers evil was able to arise and engulf the Church. In The Idyll of the White Lotus Mabel Collins wrote of her past life memories in Egypt when an evil being “possessed” a temple of Isis. So this is not an unusual situation, and therefore is something we should always be on guard about.
Let not your altars be accursed again with smoke of innocence. Although exoteric Christians do not engage in blood sacrifice, they have created a theology based on the blood sacrifices of the Temple, claiming that such sacrifices are no longer needed because Jesus was a totally innocent being who was sacrificed on the cross for the guilty.
A friend of mine took a course in theology at a local Presbyterian seminary. In one class the teacher (a minister) said that God had been angered with humanity and planned to condemn them all to everlasting hell, but that Jesus offered himself as an atoning sacrifice, and when the smell of the blood of Jesus rose into God’s nostrils his anger was appeased. My friend said to him: “Frankly, what you have just said makes me sick! To think that God is such a monstrous being is itself hellish.” And it is thoroughly based on the practices Jesus himself condemned.
It is my observation that Christianity in general has gotten the personalities of Satan and God confused–even switched. Satan is always intent on humanity, doing everything to win them over to his ways. God on the other hand is a distant and snobbish dictator disgusted with humanity and thoroughly contemptuous of such sinful and worthless beings. He main interest is in punishing them or kicking them into submission. Much ordinary Christian theology is blasphemy against God and Jesus. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23). Miracles are no proof of righteousness or God’s power.
And if you hearken not, and if you turn not from your evil ways, lo, God will smite this nation with a curse. Certainly we see that the Jewish people have suffered horribly, often at the hands of Christians. But note that Jesus says “God will smite this nation with a curse” if they do not abandon blood sacrifice and religious repression in the form of social injustice. He does not say they will be cursed because they were going to kill him. The belief that the Jewish people are guilty of Jesus’ death is completely insane. That is like saying that because some Americans engineered the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, all Americans since then, including us, are guilty of his death.
And when he had thus said he stood aside, and all the people were astonished, and they said, Where did this man get all his knowledge and his power? From whence did all this wisdom come? Is not this Mary’s son, whose home is out on Marmion Way? Are not his brothers, Jude and James and Simon, known among our honored men? Are not his sisters with us here? But they were all offended by the words he spoke. And Jesus said, A prophet has no honor in his native land; he is not well received among his kin; his foes are in his home. And Jesus wrought not many mighty works in Nazareth, because the people had no faith in him. He did not tarry long. (Aquarian Gospel 121:25-31)
At the beginning of my first trip to India I met a man who was an influential person because of his great religiosity and charity. In our conversations, more than once he described some social or religious folly and remarked: “That is the way of the world!” Here we see the way of the world. The people know Jesus is extraordinary, but they are offended by him. Little, cowardly and corrupt people are always getting offended about something. At least they had the sense not to demand an apology from him as their modern equivalents do.
But as he passed from thence two blind men followed him and cried, Thou son of David, hear! Have mercy, Lord, and open up our eyes that we may see. And Jesus said, Do you believe that I can open up your eyes and make you see? They said, Yea, Lord, we know that if you speak the Word then we can see. And Jesus touched their eyes and spoke the Word; he said, According to your faith so will it be. And they were blest; they opened up their eyes and saw. And Jesus said, Tell not this thing to any one. But they went forth and told the news through all the land.
As Jesus walked along the way a man who was obsessed, and who was dumb, was brought to him. And Jesus spoke the Word; the unclean spirit came out of the man; his tongue was loosed; he spoke; he said, Praise God.
The people were amazed; they said, This is a mighty deed; we never saw that done before. The Pharisees were also much amazed; but they cried out and said, You men of Israel, take heed; this Jesus is a tool of Beelzebub; he heals the sick and casts the spirits out in Satan’s name. But Jesus answered not; he went his way. And with the foreign masters and the twelve he went up to the town where he once turned the water into wine, and tarried certain days. (Aquarian Gospel 121:32-45)
Jesus ignored the nonsense spoken by the Pharisees, who actually knew they were speaking nonsense but wanted to prejudice the simple, ordinary people and turn them against Jesus. Instead he went about his Father’s business (Luke 2:49). And so should we.