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New Testament - Discussion

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Vadim   

I decided to re-read the bible after exploring the "eastern religions" a little bit. The old testament raised a few questions here and there, but I think I could get the basic gist of it. When I got to the "new one" though, I realised that I couldn't move on by myself.

Everybody interested in this book can share his "favourite" quote and say a few words about it, or ask others opinion on this or that.

Here's the version that I'll be using: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+1&version=NKJV

I'd like to start of with this one: Matthew 2:1,2
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.

Is there a two-fold meaning to this ? Can someone offer another point of view ?

Edited by Vadim

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Vadim   

Thanks, I should have kept on reading, later on in the chapter "the wise men" are offering gifts to jesus (which answers this question)

what about this one, Matthew 5
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

any ideas ?

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Karen   
On 2/20/2017 at 2:42 PM, Vadim said:

Thanks, I should have kept on reading, later on in the chapter "the wise men" are offering gifts to jesus (which answers this question)

what about this one, Matthew 5
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

any ideas ?

This is part of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) that takes place after Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist, my favorite part of the new testament. The overall tone of the sermon is that of instruction on how to live.

These two passages are simply advising us to separate ourselves from that which separates us from God, the heavenly father, and the kingdom of heaven.

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Vadim   

wow, I can tell that you've done your homework. I don't think that it makes sense to study the bible alone now (there's just too much hidden meaning everywhere)

can we move the next one ? (Matthew 5)
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’[f]39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

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Karen   
20 hours ago, Vadim said:

wow, I can tell that you've done your homework. I don't think that it makes sense to study the bible alone now (there's just too much hidden meaning everywhere)

can we move the next one ? (Matthew 5)
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’[f]39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

The eye for an eye is old testament law, I believe from the book of Exodus, placing limitations on punishments for crimes.

In 5:38-42, Jesus' instructions are about not seeking revenge or punishing offenders, but offering kindness instead. It brings to mind the book of Romans where Paul says...

Romans 12:17-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Edited by Karen

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Karen   
1 hour ago, Vadim said:

So will you turn the other cheek if someone would slap you ?

I would likely walk away; I am not a fan physical altercation or violence in general. That being said, I am human and have a bold, fiery personality and if backed into a corner with no escape, I will do what it takes to defend myself. 

I might know the bible, but I have never claimed to be Christlike. I just try to treat people the way I want to be treated.

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Vadim   

So, for you it's something like - don't bear ill thoughts...

It has been more like a dialog until now, guess people are waiting until we get to the "juicy" part :)
what about this one: Matthew 6

22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

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Karen   
On 2/27/2017 at 2:43 PM, Vadim said:

So, for you it's something like - don't bear ill thoughts...

It has been more like a dialog until now, guess people are waiting until we get to the "juicy" part :)
what about this one: Matthew 6

22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

The eye is what illuminates what is within us, values, the path we are on, what is important to us, our perspectives, etc. Some call the eyes the window of the soul. If the eye is good, meaning that your focus is on being Christlike and following his teachings it will be noticeable and light your way. Darkness is the absence of light and if (your eye is bad) we concern ourselves with and focus on worldly and material objects and put them before the teachings the light within us will be greatly hidden causing us to stray from the path of righteousness.

Let's back up an look at 19-21for a little context...

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Here we see Jesus telling us that earthly, worldly, material things, will spoil in one way or another and can be taken from us. If we are living our lives, being kind, doing good deeds for others, turning the other cheek, etc, our lives will be more pure, richer and fuller with less disappointment. In 21, I take this to mean that you where ever you invest, you can expect to be seen and act from that perspective.

Remember, Matthew, chapters 5-7, are really about how to live your life, seeking the kingdom of heaven.

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Vadim   

then the idea from Matthew 7:1,2 says the same thing as "the eye" right ? I'm referring to this one:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

ok, here's a good one: Matthew 7:6
“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

to me this always was something like - don't talk about religion/philosophy with people that are not interested in it, what do you think ?

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Tom   

I would say not just people who are not interested. I know people who are interested, very interested but they will lash out at anyone who has a different view than they do.

To me it is a lot like if a person is not open and ready it does very little good to engage them.

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Vadim   

didn't know that you're also interested in the bible, Tom. glad to see that we're on the same page about this one.
 

What do you think about these verses ? Matthew 7 -

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because[a] narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

What's the narrow gate ?

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Tom   

To me the gate has the same meaning as path.

Narrow is the path and difficult is the way that leads to non duality and there are few who find it.

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Jeff   
On 3/22/2017 at 3:55 PM, Vadim said:

didn't know that you're also interested in the bible, Tom. glad to see that we're on the same page about this one.
 

What do you think about these verses ? Matthew 7 -

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because[a] narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

What's the narrow gate ?

The narrow gate is talking about balancing the two sides of energy and quiet mind.  Finding the perfect balance where those two forces become two sides of the same coin.

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Vadim   
4 hours ago, Tom said:

To me the gate has the same meaning as path.

How did you come to this conclusion ?

 

3 hours ago, Jeff said:

The narrow gate is talking about balancing the two sides of energy and quiet mind.  Finding the perfect balance where those two forces become two sides of the same coin.

The only verses that are somewhat related to this one are:
carnally vs spiritually minded,
and give caesar what belongs...
Jesus said, "I shall choose you, one from a thousand and two from ten thousand, and they will stand as a single one."

but they still don't help much. Can you think about a verse related to this one, or one that explains it ? (I'm referring to Matthew 7:13,14)

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Tom   
15 hours ago, Vadim said:

How did you come to this conclusion ?

 

It reminds me of the path less traveled and in spirituality that path is the one inward.

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Jeff   
16 hours ago, Vadim said:

The only verses that are somewhat related to this one are:
carnally vs spiritually minded,
and give caesar what belongs...
Jesus said, "I shall choose you, one from a thousand and two from ten thousand, and they will stand as a single one."

but they still don't help much. Can you think about a verse related to this one, or one that explains it ? (I'm referring to Matthew 7:13,14)

To me this verse is describing something a little different.  More about how there are different "depths" to that narrow gate. Kind of like one from a thousand will realize the soul and only a small percentage of those will realize "oneness in Christ".  It is stating that there are ongoing realizations.

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Vadim   

Thanks, I guess there's no point in trying to find a better explanation for this one. I'll return to it some other time
until now I was the only one posting verses, hope that'll change in the future.

What do you guys think about, Matthew 9
35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.[e] 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary[f] and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

What do you guys think about the highlighted verse ?
What's the harvest, and who are the laborers ?

The laborers might be the "one from a thousand" and "two from ten thousand", but the harvest...

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Jeff   

The "plentiful harvest" is all of the good people in the world with the potential to realize. The laborers are true teachers of the word of God. So Jesus is saying to pray for God to send more teachers into the world. The harvested would be a "one from a thousand", and "two form ten thousand" would be the best grain of the harvest that could also go on to create a new harvest.

Both of the groups are also laborers for the harvest. :)

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Vadim   

Matthew 12

24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub,[f] the ruler of the demons.”

25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

I don't really see how -29- is related to everything else. What's behind the idea with "a strong man" ?

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Jeff   

Maybe this verse from the Gospel of Thomas will help with the meaning...

21. Mary said to Jesus, "What are your disciples like?" He said, "They are like little children living in a field that is not theirs. When the owners of the field come, they will say, 'Give us back our field.' They take off their clothes in front of them in order to give it back to them, and they return their field to them. For this reason I say, if the owners of a house know that a thief is coming, they will be on guard before the thief arrives and will not let the thief break into their house (their domain) and steal their possessions. As for you, then, be on guard against the world. Prepare yourselves with great strength, so the robbers can't find a way to get to you, for the trouble you expect will come. Let there be among you a person who understands. When the crop ripened, he came quickly carrying a sickle and harvested it. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!"

Any new thoughts?

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Vadim   

Not really, but now I have two things that I don't understand

  • 25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand - this one is related to being "one with christ". being at one = life and being separate is death and suffering
  •  26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? - this one looks similar to Matthew 7, 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
  • 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. - there's a verse about receiving based on how much you give to christ. Something like, if you give as much as a prophet you will receive x, and if you give as a "good person" you will get y (I don't remember the details), but it would've fit here I think
  • 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. - also not sure but I think the one with knowing what is in front of your face and what is hidden from you will be revealed fits here
  • 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. - no idea...
  • 30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. - similar to building a house on rock vs on the ground

The last part: "And then he will plunder his house." means - "being at one" ?

  • 21. Mary said to Jesus, "What are your disciples like?" He said, "They are like little children living in a field that is not theirs. When the owners of the field come, they will say, 'Give us back our field.' They take off their clothes in front of them in order to give it back to them, and they return their field to them. -- means being separated
  • For this reason I say, if the owners of a house know that a thief is coming, they will be on guard before the thief arrives and will not let the thief break into their house (their domain) and steal their possessions. As for you, then, be on guard against the world. Prepare yourselves with great strength, so the robbers can't find a way to get to you, for the trouble you expect will come. 
    -- something I read about buddha comes to mind: "Buddha was well known for his ability to respond to evil with good.  There was a man who knew about his reputation and he traveled miles and miles and miles to test Buddha.  When he arrived and stood before Buddha, he verbally abused him constantly, he insulted him, he challenged him, he did everything he could to offend Buddha.  Buddha was unmoved, he simply turned to the man and said, “May I ask you a question?” The man responded with “Well, what?”  Buddha said, “If someone offers you a gift and you decline to accept it to whom then does it belong?”  The man said, “Then it belongs to the person who offered it”  Buddha smiled, “That is correct.  So if I decline to accept your abuse does it not then still belong to you?”  The man was speechless and walked away. "
  • When the crop ripened, he came quickly carrying a sickle and harvested it. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen! - this one is as tricky as Matthew 12:29

Lots of new thoughts, thanks

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Jeff   

Not really quite sure what you are asking? The gospel texts are about Jesus saying that good seeds lead to good results. Refuting the point that his control of demons, does not come from his being connected with demons. That the devil would not use one side of his family to attack another, splitting the team just makes the whole team weaker.

The Buddha quote is about something different. He is describing how insults and energy only stick if you take it in. Sort of like you accept it. If you don't, negative energy just stays with the person who sent it. Relates to things like curses.

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Vadim   

you mentioning the devil brought something up. I have trouble believing in stuff, like the devil and demons, same thing for the "good guys"
If you assume/believe that there's is evil out there then you would naturally be more inclined to pray and get closer to jesus. I guess what I want to know is, can you be a christian without belief ?

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