Love, Faith & Stewardship
Second Sermon in Bethany
Upon returning to the land of Palestine, Yeshua and his family visit Miriam’s family in Bethany. While there, Yeshua is persuaded to give a sermon to the friends and family of Lazarus. He speaks of the pull everyone has between the light of their soul calling them to do right and the weakness of their flesh enticing them to do wrong and surprises everyone by stating that it is Elohim that made man to be at war with himself. He speaks about how repentance washes away the sins of the past and gives the specific steps necessary to accomplish a full repentance. Yeshua is also challenged by a Pharisee and rebukes him strongly and explains why lineage is not a path to Heaven. He ends by reminding his listeners that they are the masters of themselves and their eternity.
1 And it came to pass that Yeshua and Miriam returned to the land of Palestine and journeyed to Bethany so that they might see again their friends and family that dwelt there.
2 Miriam’s family was overcome with joy when she arrived and embraced her and the children with tears of happiness. Her father called for a feast to be held, and from the first moment of their arrival, there was much merriment and celebration.
3 Many people from the town soon came to the house of Miriam’s father when they heard that Yeshua of Nazareth had returned. Among some, he was held to be a prophet and among others, a master storyteller. Still others felt he was a rabbi of great knowledge, while more than a few considered him sacrilegious and a blasphemer. But among all, even those who disdained him, there was an anticipation to be able to hear his engaging and intriguing words again.
4 Yochanan and Martha soon joined them, as did Lazarus and Hannah, and the children of several families played together while their parents renewed everlasting bonds of friendship, love, and faith forged in unforgettable mutual experiences.
5. For three days, the welcoming feast continued and crowds gathered each day, hoping to hear Yeshua speak. But each day Lazarus came to them and told them that Yeshua would not speak that day.
6 After seeing the disappointment in the faces of so many people he knew, Lazarus went to Yeshua and beseeched him to say something to the townspeople else they begin to have their good joy of anticipation turn into the anger of frustration.
7 Yeshua explained his reluctance, saying, “Lazarus, my good brother of spirit, I do not wish to make a host of enemies before my time, for it will come soon enough. Though my teachings will bring the elect to God, they will only inflame the pious and anger the unrighteous. That is well and as it should be, but before the persecutions begin, there are still many things I must do and wish to do, in quiet and peace.”
8 Upon hearing the words of Yeshua, Lazarus pleaded all the more, saying, “But these are my friends and the friends of my family, and they are here at our feast, at your feast. It would honor us if you would impart your wisdom among us. I know they will not vilify you even if they disagree with your words. And perhaps there is one among them whose life will be changed, who will find the Celestine Light of Elohim, this day, because of the things you say.”
9 Yeshua was greatly moved by the words of Lazarus, and he told him, “God has truly touched your heart, Lazarus, for you have spoken words of might and right. Let us go even now to the courtyard to see if the winnow of my words will uncover the pure grain from the chaff.”
10 And it came to pass that Yeshua entered the courtyard of the house of the Father of Lazarus and stood upon the large fountain at the center as a crowd of friends and family and townspeople gathered beneath him.
11 And he said unto them, “Good people of Bethany, I and my family are honored to be among you once more. I am humbled by your desire to hear my words and may each of you find the lamp you need to light the darkness before you.
12 While my family and I traveled in Egypt, we came to know wonderful people of many different nations and races and religions. Despite the differences, in their character, they had many good things in common.
13 Whatever the color of their skin, they loved their children. Whether they were Egyptian or Roman or Hebrew, they desired to please the God of their understanding. Whether they were rich or poor, they sought good things for their family. Whether they were city dwellers or desert nomads, they showed us friendship and hospitality.
14 Only among the zealots of every religion did we find harsh judgment and even hatred spit out upon everyone who believed not as they did, sometimes so much so that to take a man’s life in the name of their God seemed to them very reasonable.
15 Yet these same men also loved their children and desired good things for their family. When among those who believed as they did, they were honorable and of good character.
16 How then can it be that the precepts of religion or loyalty to tribe or country can cause a man to act in ways that are repugnant to his very soul?
17 Is man’s soul at war with itself? Even in your own home, do you find that sometimes you are a dutiful and considerate father and husband or a caring and loving mother and wife, but then at another moment, you say or do things to those whom you love which cause them pain and grief and your own soul, anguish because of that which you have done? Is your soul at war with itself?
18 When you see the clouds begin to gather upon the mountain slope, you know that rains will soon come. But it is not because of the clouds that the rain will fall, but because of the mountain.
19 If the mountain were instead a plain, the clouds would pass on by. But they are blocked in their progress by the wall of the mountain, and the clouds continue to gather and thicken upon the slopes until a storm is brewed.
20 So it is with you. Your immortal soul is a piece of the Celestine Light of Elohim. It is the cloud in its whiteness and purity. For the breath of eternity that you dwell upon this Earth, your mortal body is the mountain. And the pure cloud of your soul cannot avoid the impure mountain of your mortal life any more than the clouds of the sky can avoid confronting the mountains of the Earth.
21 The war is not within your soul any more than the cloud is at war with itself. It is the encounter with the mountain that causes the storm, even as your own soul is ever at odds with the natural man that is the rawness of the physical.
22 All things have been made by God. Therefore, I declare to you that it is Elohim that has made man to be at war with himself, to be tempted by evil even as he is prompted by the light of God within his own soul to forsake evil and do only good.
23 Verily, this quandary God has given to man that man might overcome himself and discover and follow the Celestine Light of Elohim within his soul.
24 In this, man becomes more than he was, and for this cause has Elohim created all the heavens and the Earth and put man upon it, that he might become more than he began.
25 Who then is the adversary? Where is the root of evil that continually torments and tempts man? It is you. Man is his own enemy.
26 To conquer yourself in a far greater measure than you are conquered by yourself is the supreme challenge of life, and only those who succeed will pass the portal of harmonic judgment into eternal glory.
27 Verily, the first door to the first Heaven is only opened by a worthy life. Riches cannot open it, except the richness given in a life of service to others.
28 Living the law and only the law cannot open it, except the law to love God with all of your heart, and if it is so, then your love is shown in the good you do for your mother and your father, your wives and your children, and your fellow men upon the Earth.
29 Each day, you must choose who will be your master, the light of your soul or the darkness of your earthly body. Each hour, you must choose to listen to the quiet voice within you, the Celestine Light of Elohim, or give into the temptations of the dark weakness within your body. But remember, nothing is hidden from God.
30 Therefore, choose wisely, for you know not the day or the hour that your life ends and your eternity begins. Whether you rise to eternal glory or fall into the long darkness of desolation depends upon the lamp of brightness or the cold chains of misery you forged for yourself in life, for thus you pass by your resonance through the harmonic portal of judgment into your eternity.
31 Elohim gave you the instrument of your body, but you are the musician that decides the music your life will play.
32 And I say unto you that when you see a man showing goodness and light by his actions, you can know regardless of his color or his tribe or his religion or even his conception of God that he is heeding the promptings of the Celestine Light of Elohim, which resides in his soul, that he is growing closer to Heaven, and that God is well pleased with this man at this moment.
33 Likewise, when you see a man that is acting in darkness, disobeying the commandments of Elohim and disrespecting himself or his family or his fellow men, regardless of who he is or what he believes, then you can know with a certainty that this man, at this moment, has forsaken the Celestine Light of Elohim that resides eternally in his soul and has heeded the empty promptings of the lower mortal man that feeds his desires but gives him no succor.
34 Verily, this dance of light and darkness is of greater importance to your eternity than you know, and you dance it every day of your life.”
35 Then Obadiah of Bethany rose to speak and said unto Yeshua, “I am a good and pious man. I am faithful to my family and to my God. I am not perfect, but I think all among us will acknowledge that I am a good and godly man. You would make it seem as if I am always at war with myself, and such is not the case.”
36 Yeshua smiled warmly and answered, “Your heart is surely good, Obadiah, and your actions speak louder than words that you strive each day to live your life in ways that are pleasing to God. But did you come out of the womb such a good man?”
37 “No, I did not,” Obadiah answered, “I have been taught from an early age in the ways I should go and I have strived mightily to follow the good things I have been taught. In my youth I sometimes made foolish choices, but I have learned from my errors, even those I repeated because I did not fully understand them at first.”
38 Yeshua smiled and said unto him, “Verily, you are fulfilling the desires of Elohim. It is for this cause, that you might perfect yourself, that God has given unto you and all men and women this life in mortality.
39 That you are a better person in your old age than you were in your youth bears witness that the Celestine Light of your soul has shown through the darkness of your mortality.
40 Yet even today in the wisdom of your years and the fortitude of your experiences, are you not still tempted to sometimes raise your voice in unrighteous anger, to sometimes not say all that you know if it could be to your advantage, even while it is to another man’s disadvantage?”
41 Obadiah wrung his hands as he silently sought to control his displeasure at the words Yeshua had spoken, and he said, “While it may be true that I sometimes think to speak in anger, as I did even now, and sometimes think of an advantage I would gain by my silence that would be lost by my speaking, in my old age, I no longer give into such temptations; I speak only with respect and calm, even if I am in turmoil in my heart. And I speak the truth to my fellow men, even when my silence would not be dishonest.”
42 Yeshua smiled again and there was on his face a great contentment, and he said unto Obadiah, “Verily, you are dancing even now, as I have spoken. Thus do all men and women. This is the never-ending dance of perfection. It is the dance of light and darkness. It is your lower mortal man tempting you to darkness, but your higher man heeding your eternal soul calling you to the light that is your birthright.
43 Each day, your lower man invites you to eat what you should not eat, to say what you should not say, and to do what you should not do, all things which lead to an empty cup, no matter how many times you fill it.
44 And every moment, step by step, your higher man, which is the Celestine Light of Elohim in your soul, whispers in your ear, touches your heart, and asks you to turn from darkness and choose the light, to eat what you should eat, to say what you should say, and to do what you should do.
45 The day will come when you will stand before Elohim and be judged by the resonance you have danced in life, with all things revealed, both your virtues and your weaknesses and your sins. And you shall inherit the resonance in eternity that you choose, both openly and in secret, in life.
46 Therefore, let each man and each woman remember that every step you take, every word you speak, and every deed you do is inscribed in either the book of Light or the book of Darkness.
47 On the Judgment Day, Elohim will take the pages from the books, and they shall be weighed in the balance to see if you are found wanting.”
48 Then rose Saul the Shepherd from among the crowd, and he asked, “What of one such as me? I am ashamed to say I have lived a very ungodly life for most of my years as many amongst us know. I am sorry for so many of the things I have said and done, but I cannot take them back. Now I am an old man, and by your words am I to understand that I am condemned in Heaven while I still yet live in mortality? Is there nothing I can do?”
49 Yeshua was touched by his humbleness of heart, and he said unto him, “Elohim takes deep joy in the repentant sinner, and from a true repentance, you are born again; the record of the book of Darkness is taken away, never to be seen again for the years that came before, for your resonance has changed, as long as your repentance is true, and you continue to walk in the light, with faith in the love and justice of Elohim, from that day forth.
50 What then is a true repentance that is so great that Elohim would remove the record of your sins in the book of Darkness? Verily, it is this: that you would feel a sorrow that grieves your heart and brings tears of shame to your eyes, that you would pray to Elohim and confess all of your sins acknowledging your error, promising to sin no more, and humbly asking for forgiveness.
51 Then you must prove the truth of your repentance by seeking out the people you have sinned against, be it small or great, and confess your sins to them or to their posterity if they have passed on and, as much as is possible, make restitution for the darkness you have done.
52 Yet for some things, because of the sin or the circumstances, there can be no direct restitution. For these, you must make amends in the best way that the light of Elohim whispers to your heart is right and just.
53 Repentance is not easy, nor is it done in a day; but it is given to all men and women that once they find again the Celestine Light within their heart, mind, and soul, they may put it in a lamp that will burn from everlasting to everlasting.
54 But I say unto you, do not procrastinate the day of your repentance, for the days of your mortality are numbered, and very small they are. You know not upon which day Elohim will call for your soul and open the books of Light and Darkness to weigh your life in the balance to discover the resonance of your soul.”
55 Hearing this, Saul the Shepherd fell on his knees upon the ground and, crying out with a loud voice, asked God to forgive him for his sins and promised to live in the light of Elohim from that day forth.
56 Then he arose and immediately went among the crowd and began to confess to them sins he had done to them in the past, to express his deep sorrow for his wrong, and to ask their forgiveness. And many were the embraces of love and friendship that came forth from those to whom he spoke.
57 But some among the people were affronted by the words of Yeshua and thought to themselves that they needed no repentance, for they were descendants of Abraham and Isaac and obeyed all the letters of the laws.
58 And from among them arose Yagur the Pharisee and he said unto Yeshua, “By what authority do you say these things? Which prophets are you quoting that we may know that your words are of true merit?
59 In truth, we know all the prophets and you do not speak their words, but seem to be creating your own. We know the prophets, but we know not you. So by what authority do you speak things that have never before been spoken?”
60 And Yeshua looked down upon Yagur and said unto him, “I speak by the authority of Elohim, and it is from the words of Elohim that I speak. Hear my words, O men of the world, for by them you will be justified, and by them you will be condemned.”
61 And many were stunned by the words of Yeshua, for he spoke with power and authority such as they had never before heard.
62 And they turned to whisper to one another, saying, “Surely, this man must be a great prophet, for he speaks with the calmness of still waters, the confidence of a lion, and the power of thunder. He does not quote the prophets that came before, but speaks as if he has been given the words from the very mouth of Elohim.”
63 Yagur paled because of the words of Yeshua, but still rose to contend with him again, saying, “The time of the great prophets has passed, and you are blasphemous to speak as you do. You do not speak to uphold the laws that have been given, as a true prophet would, but think to make new laws unto yourself.
64 And more, you speak in ways that are contrary to the law, for you have spoken that even those who are not a part of us, not one of the chosen, can still find equal favor with Elohim, simply because they live a good life.
65 You have spoken of the commandments of Sinai, but then speak as if the law is nothing more than living a life of service. To me, it seems as if you say one thing, then contradict it with the very next breath. And in almost all things you have said, you speak at odds with that which is sacred and holy and has been so from Abraham to our fathers.”
66 Yeshua answered him firmly, “Every child born of woman is the chosen of Elohim, for they are all the children of God, and Elohim does not favor one over the other from their birth, any more than you should favor one of your children over another from the time they are born.
67 It has been the custom to favor the firstborn and to give unto them the greatest opportunities and inheritance. Although this may conserve the family’s wealth, where is the fairness to the siblings of the first? Are they less deserving simply because they came out of their mother’s womb upon a later day?
68 And if the first son should grow into a man of darkness while his brothers and sisters grow into men and women of light, where is the fairness to give all that a family has as an inheritance to the first?
69 Which is more important, preserving the family’s wealth even if it is given unto darkness or using the wealth to uplift the righteous and reward those that walk in light?
70 Verily, I say unto you: Elohim does not reward the wicked simply because of their lineage, and those who say it is so speak as men cloaking their falsehoods in piety to justify themselves.
71 But be they king or pauper, the only reward for the wicked in the kingdom of Heaven is desolation.
72 When a child grows into an age of understanding and accountability, their sins are not overlooked by virtue of their lineage, but only by virtue of contrite repentance.
73 Neither are they rewarded because of their lineage, but only because of sincere acts of devotion and kindness, worthy of praise and great blessings.
74 So it is with the blessings of Elohim upon all men. Each reaps what they sow, not what their fathers sowed, not what the prophets of their faith sowed, but only what they sowed, each and every day of their life.
75 And what think you of the commandments of Sinai? Were they given to be a prison for man or a freedom? I say unto you that Elohim asks nothing of man except to live in ways that would help man to grow into the Celestine Light that Elohim gave to him.
76 So it is with the commandments of Sinai. A man may live them all and follow every letter of the law, but if he does so grudgingly, then in his heart, he obeys none of them, and on the day of judgment, he will be weighed in the balance by the sincerity of his heart, not the pretense of his actions.
77 But any man who loves God with the depth of his heart also loves all that lives because Elohim has made it, and this man will live the commandments of Sinai, even if he is from a far land and has never heard of them.
78 Because he loves God, including the light of God that is within him, and respects and cherishes all the life that Elohim has put upon the Earth, to live the commandments, even unseen and unknown, is as natural for this man as every breath he takes.
79 And Elohim loves him and favors him, not because of who his father was, nor whether he was the firstborn or the last, nor whether he is a Hebrew or a Gentile, but because of who he has chosen to become inside himself, because of how he has chosen to live both seen and unseen by men, because of the light he gives unto the world.
80 Verily, I say unto you that all who are humble, repent of their sins, and always strive to live in the light shall be blessed with peace in their heart and true friends beyond price.
81 Their faithfulness and goodness in life will open the doors to the glory of Heaven, and in eternity, they shall reap the everlasting harvest of the good seeds they have sown.
82 Before you sleep this night, look upon yourself. Among men, only you know your true heart. But Elohim knows all. Therefore, that which you cannot hide from God, hide no longer from yourself, nor support that which is wrong by contriving to justify how it is right.
83 Vow unto yourself a sacred promise to raise the lamp of the Celestine Light of Elohim that resides in your soul and henceforth always walk with your light held high that darkness can no more dwell within you.
84 You are the master. The light of your soul contends with the temptations of your body. Choose to be the master of your body instead of its slave, and you will find a joy and peace in this world such as you never have imagined and a great reward in Heaven, beyond the descriptions of men, built with every good you have ever sown.”
85 Then Yeshua came down from the fountain and walked among them. And many were the men and women who touched him and asked blessings upon him, and many were those whom he touched and blessed with a portion of his light.