Aloha Friday Message – March 23, 2018 – A Look Beyond

1813AFC032316 – A Look Beyond

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Matthew 27:51 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Today I want to look several of the things that we read in Scripture during Holy Week, the week which begins with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and ends with his passion, death, and burial. We will look beyond the words and try to piece together a little history and some other insights. We begin with a comment about an impending event being advertised on television – a broadcast of Jesus Christ Superstar on NBC. Crucita and I remember when this first came out in the early 70’s. We were living in Tucson at the time and a DJ there (who later became a dear friend here on Kauaʻi) was playing excerpts from the musical on his radio show. It really was an amazing experience and initially we thought a step forward in bringing the Gospel to a new audience. Then we noticed some disparities such as Judas and Mary (the Magdalene) saying “he’s just a man.” Mary Magdalene knew Jesus was not “just a man.” In addition, during the entry into Jerusalem, Jesus is portrayed as helping lead the signing of praises to God and states the kingdom of God can be won. In a scene purporting to be Jesus at the Temple he is approached by lepers who beg to be cleansed. His response is, “There’s too many of you – don’t push me! There’s too little of me – don’t crowd me! Heal yourselves!” At Gethsemane, Jesus laments that he is no longer inspired; he is just sad and tired. The Libretto by Timothy Rice intimates that Jesus is not Divine, and that he accepts the death of a martyr as an assurance that he will be famous afterwards. There is no mention of the Resurrection.

I bring this up because I see it as another manifestation of the poisoning of hearts and minds by the surging tides of evil in these days. Nearly 50 years ago this musical drama was hailed as a breakthrough, a beginning of a new era of “Rock Opera.” In the ensuing years other mass-media productions mocked the Messianic reality of Christ’s life, passion, death, and resurrection; they were so vile I will not even mention the names. Now this production will bring all of those errors (blasphemy, or heresy, or both?) into the public arena again. This is another attempt by the forces of evil actively persecuting the Church to damage and interfere with the spread of the Gospel. The implication that Jesus lost sight of his mission while on the way to Jerusalem is a blatant lie. At the institution of the Eucharist he opines “For all you care, this bread could be my body ….” This must be utterly rejected. With all my heart, I earnestly implore you to avoid viewing that broadcast. I sincerely believe it will be damaging. It brings filth into the Temple. “How is that possible?” you say. Let’s turn to something the Apostle Paul said about our individual Temples.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. There is a Tabernacle in that Temple, a place where the Holy Spirit dwells, where the Sh’khinah Glory can work in your soul. Did you know you have a Holy of Holies inside you? It is that place in you where you and God speak to one another “in Spirit and in Truth.” It is the life-core of your existence, the part of you made in the image of God. For that reason it is the holiest part of your life. You have heard and read that our bodies are to be a temple for the Holy Spirit. In the most-perfect portion of that temple is your spirit, and we think of it as dwelling in your heart. It is hidden and protected by a Gift called Life. When the veil is removed, the spirit is released from your Holy of Holies and joins its Creator.

Surrounding that Holiest place is the manner in which we live in the World. If we are “in the world but not of it,” then the life we live is protected by morals that defend and protect all living souls. Our beliefs match our actions and our actions match our belief that all life is sacred; indeed, all Creation is sacred because it was made by and in God for his Glory. This is the Truth that is mentioned in these messages previously as described by Frank Peretti: “There’s no way for you to know whether what I’m telling you is true unless you know what the truth is. And there’s no way for you to know what the truth is unless there is a truth that you can know. (If you’re searching for the truth, and there is none, then what are you searching for?) You’ve got to have a truth that true whether you believe it or not. It is a truth that is true whether you like it or not. It’s true whether you even know about it or not. It’s just TRUE: OBJECTIVE EXTERNAL ETERNAL TRUTH THAT STANDS IN AND OF ITSELF.” Life is sacred because it comes from God, so it is the Gift of Truth that shelters that Sacred Place, and helps protect the innermost part of our being. Without that Sacredness, the Holiest place can be defiled with Worldly corruption leaving just a hollow shell without true Life at its core.

If we allow worldly corruption of the Gospel of Christ to enter our hearts and minds, we in reality surrender to evil. One of the greatest lies we hear almost daily is that sin is irrelevant, or that only seriously wicked souls can sin. We are taught that sin is actually a minor problem because “it really isn’t that bad,” that “everyone does it,” and “besides, nobody really gets hurt.” I remind you to look at 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and Galatians 5:19-21 for lists of things we see daily (especially through mass-media outlets – print, video, cinema, and social). The World tells us “It does not matter.” We can turn to Jesus and see his plan for those who practice and perpetuate evil in Revelation 22:14-15 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. The musical described above delivers a great deal of falsehood!

Going back to our Key Verse about the veil of the temple being torn, there is an abundance of commentaries about how it happened, when it happened, and why it happened. I’ve read and heard many expositions about that event. Many suggest (or in the view of some, affirm) that it was the inner veil, the Veil to the Holy of Holies that was torn. That would indeed be a formidable event because that veil is described as being about 60 feet high, 30 feet wide, and 4 inches thick. This teaching is an indication to many that the veil separating humankind from God has been taken away and that now humanity has direct access to the glory of God and no longer has to go through the Ritual Sacrifice prescribed by Moses. There are also accounts that the veil that was torn was visible from the place where Christ was crucified. From that we can infer that it was the outer veil that was torn. Descriptions of it are not as easily found as are descriptions of the inner veil. We do know that it was a veil, a “doorway” that kept the gentiles from entering into the Temple proper. The conclusion of this teaching is that the way for gentiles to approach God has now been opened. In either case, I believe that the real lesson is that [1] the curtain was torn supernaturally at the moment of Christ’s death, [2] that it was torn from top to bottom, and that [3] the rending of the curtain points to the rending of Christ’s flesh as described by the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 10:19-22 19 Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

There were two veils torn that day. We have thought about the veil of the Temple, but there was also the Veil of the Flesh of Jesus. In this passage about the torn flesh of Jesus, Paul says we now have entry to the Holiest of places by “the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,” And because these two veils were torn apart for us, our bodies are the dwelling place for God. The Temple was an extraordinary building fabricated of the finest materials and a symbol of the great wealth of Israel even as a subjugated nation, a source of nationalistic pride, and it was afforded deep reverence. In Israel’s past, the desecration and destruction of the Temple was seen as the consequences of their failure to love and serve God as He commanded. Now, in this act of destruction – the rending of the veil – the Temple is essentially decommissioned – laicized if you will. It is no longer a place for God’s Sh’khinah Glory – the Spirit of the Living God Dwelling Among Us. He has removed the barrier and commissioned billions and billions of new Temple locations. That would be us, temples of the Holy Spirit.

When Christ sent His Spirit to the Disciples at Pentecost they were prepared by the Holy Spirit to do the work of evangelization as the Spirit descended on them as tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. God took up His dwelling, his presence, his Sh’khinah Glory, in them; and in us as well. Once we open the door at which Jesus stands and knocks, the Glory of the Lord is enshrined in our hearts, and our bodies house this astonishing shrine, the Tabernacle of the living God. Paul warns us that we should not desecrate it, especially with immorality which he describes as sins against ourselves. You see, while every sin we commit is a sin against God because it is a rejection of His Love and Grace, we also sin against our own being, or own life, our own bodies which are all a gift from God.

Our bodies are equipped with a tabernacle, a perfect meeting place, and it is the special Meeting Place for us and God. He is always at the Meeting Place – always. And as long as we live, so are we. That means we and God are always in the presence of one-another. He waits for us to open our tabernacle for Him so he can take up residence there. How often should we tidy up that room? How often do we need to clean out the garbage, the filth, the desecrations we pile up because they give our bodies pleasures that are illicit and offensive both to us and to God? How often do we point an accusatory finger at someone else when it is our sin that needs purging, our Temple that reeks of the worst of human aberrations?

Consider this passage from farther down the page in Hebrews 10:

Hebrews 10:26-29 26 For if we willfully persist in sin after having received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has violated the Law of Moses dies without mercy “on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” 29 How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by those who have spurned the Son of God, profaned the blood of the covenant by which they were sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? Look beyond what The World tries to tell us. We know better!

Please use the following link to find Philippians 2:4-11. Use that to fill up your Easter Sunday time, and not the farce that NBC will present.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

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Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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