"You know the commandments – ‘do not commit adultery; do not kill; do not steal; do not lie; do not defraud; honor your father and mother.’" (Mark 10:19)Jesus is having a discussion with a man who approached him:
Later he was traveling on the road and someone ran towards him and kneeled in front of him and asked him, “Honorable teacher, what should I do in order to receive eternal life?” (Mark 10:17)Jesus is drawing from the teachings of Moses as he states these commandments. We can find them written in Exodus and Deuteronomy:
"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." (Exodus 20:12-16)
"Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." (Deuteronomy 5:16-20)Thus we can see clearly that Jesus was not making up his own teachings. He did not teach something different than the Prophets, as many sectarian teachers have proclaimed. In fact, Jesus specifically wanted his followers to follow the pure teachings of the Prophets. Why?
An ancient lineage of Teachers
Jesus was, in fact, passing on the teachings of the Prophets. He was a disciple of John the Baptist, who was a disciple of the priest, Zechariah - who was a priest in the lineage of earlier Prophets:
At the time of Herod the ruler of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias of the devotional order of Abijah. He had a wife named Elizabeth from the devotional heritage of Aaron. (Luke 1:5)So what is this "devotional order of Abijah"?
Abijah was the student of the priest Samuel. Thus Abijah was Samuel's student (there is another Abijah the student of Becker, who was also in Samual's teaching lineage).
Meanwhile, Samuel was the disciple of his teacher, Eli:
The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. (1 Samuel 3:1)Eli was a priest in the priesthood of Melchizedek. Samuel was Eli's disciple, and Saul and David were Samuel's disciples.
David mentions this priest in the order of Melchizedek in his Psalms:
The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4)Thus we have a reference from David to this priestly order. It is confirmed elsewhere that David often wrote his Psalms to be sung to Saul, as Samuel instructed him. Therefore David is ultimately Samuel's student. This means that David and Saul were also in the order of Melchizedek.
In fact, we find that Abraham was a student of Melchizedek. And because Eli came within the teaching lineage of Abraham, that Eli was as well.
But notice that Samuel was not Eli's son. And David was not Samuel's son. And Joshua was not Moses' son. And Abraham was not Melchizedek's son. Yet Moses was Joshua's teacher, Eli was Samuel's teacher, Samuel was David's teacher and Melchizedek was Abraham's (Abram's) teacher:
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. (Genesis 14:18-20)We also see that John the Baptist was Jesus' teacher, as Jesus accepted the baptism of John:
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. (Matt. 3:13)
Not a chosen people by bloodline
So what we find here is clear evidence of a lineage of teachers - Prophets. Each Prophet was a student of the Prophet before them. While some of these Prophets were also biological sons of their Prophet/Teacher, this obviously wasn't required, since some of the most doesn't matter. What matters is that they eventually passed on the teachings of their Teacher, and thus became Prophets themselves.
In other words, this is a teaching lineage connected by devotion - not bloodline. Yes, each of these prophets became devoted to the Supreme Being and to their Prophet/Teacher, whom they understood to be God's representative.
This issue has been vastly confused by sectarian institutions, who have become focused upon some sort of family heritage of some kind of a "chosen" people.
What these sectarian institutions are teaching is simply racism. They are indicating that if a person is born into a particular family or race with Judean heritage then he or she is now somehow one of God's chosen ones. This racist viewpoint has been maintained by many of the early institutions and their scribes - who fed this racist notion of the "chosen people."
Such a notion would suggest that the Supreme Being is unfair. That He only gives the opportunity of becoming saved to those who are born into certain families.
No. The Supreme Being is inviting every one of us back home. He gives each and every person - regardless of what family their body was born into - the opportunity to come home to Him. Anyone who humbly asks the Supreme Being to help us regain our loving relationship with Him can be guided by the Supreme Being.
This is in fact what makes a person "chosen": It is the "choice" that each of us can make. Should we make the "choice" to focus our lives upon the Supreme Being and prepare ourselves to return to Him, He will guide us: And then we will be "chosen" - because we made the choice.
Jesus passed on John's teachings as well as the previous Prophets' teachings
With regard to Jesus' passing on John's teachings as mentioned above - some sectarian teachers might scoff at this. But it is clear from the Book of Matthew that Jesus specifically passed on John's teaching. Consider these three passages:
During this time John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the wilderness of Judea – and teaching, “Change your heart, for the sanctuary of God is readily available.” (Matt. 3:1)Then after John was put in prison, Jesus began teaching the same thing:
From that time, Jesus began to preach, and taught, “Change your heart, for the sanctuary of God is readily available.” (Matt. 4:17)Then Jesus sent out his disciples, asking them to preach the same message:
"And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The sanctuary of God is readily available.’ (Matt. 10:7)While this does not describe all of the teachings of John, Jesus and Jesus' disciples, it provides a capsule within which we can understand that Jesus was passing on John's teachings, and Jesus' students were passing on Jesus' teachings.
Now when we correlate this with Jesus' many quotes of the teachings of the Prophets, including Moses, Isaiah, David, Joshua, Jonah and others, we find clearly that Jesus was passing on the teachings of the Prophets, as was John.
In fact, John the Baptist was also considered by contemporary Jews after his passing as also a Prophet:
"But if we say, ‘From men’ – we are afraid of the people because everyone holds John as a Prophet.” (Matt. 21:26)
Jesus was in the same teaching tradition as the Prophets
Meanwhile, we find sectarian institutions and their teachers try to separate Jesus from the Prophets. As though Jesus was not a Prophet? As though Jesus didn't teach the teachings of the Prophets? This completely contradicts the Scriptures, for even Jesus' most important instruction was quoted from Moses' teaching:
Then one of the scribes approached – after hearing their argument, and seeing that Jesus answered wisely – and asked him, “What is the most important instruction of all?” Jesus replied, “The most important of all the instructions is, ‘Hear O Israel – the LORD our God is our only Lord – and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ – this is the most important instruction.” (Mark 12:28-30)This precise quote can be found in Deuteronomy 6:5-6 - spoken by Moses.
So where do these sectarian teachers get the idea that Jesus' teachings were somehow different from the Prophets? Or that he is somehow not in line with the Prophets, also making him a Prophet?
Surely Jesus' teachings were adapted to the time and the circumstances of those Jesus was teaching. This means there were minor differences relating to culture and ritual. This didn't mean that Jesus taught something else.
Jesus is not a personality cult
Instead of reading the Scriptures as they are, sectarian teachers have chosen to create a personality cult around Jesus: They have proposed that Jesus is the Supreme Being.
In doing so, they ignore the very person that Jesus is asking us to love - the Supreme Being.
Who is Jesus speaking of in this passage:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘lord, lord,’ shall enter the sanctuary of the spiritual realm – only one who does what pleases my LORD in the spiritual realm." (Matt. 7:21)And who is Jesus speaking of in this passage:
"For whoever does what pleases my LORD in the spiritual realm is my brother, sister and mother.” (Matt. 12:50)Again, Jesus is standing in front of them - he is speaking of someone other than himself, who is in heaven.
“O my LORD, if possible, please let this cup be taken from me – yet not what pleases me but what pleases You.” (Matt. 26:39)Jesus states clearly: "not what pleases me but what pleases You." How can Jesus be God if he wants to do God's will rather than his own will?
"For I have descended from the spiritual realm not to please myself but to please Him who sent me." (John 6:38)Jesus' focus is upon pleasing God. He is also feeling dependent on God:
"By myself I can do nothing; As I hear, I make choices, and my choices are just because I do not seek to please myself but to please Him who sent me." (John 5:30)Thus to state that Jesus is the Supreme Being completely contradicts the Scriptures. The one statement that these sectarian teachers use to profess Jesus is God (most sectarian versions):
"I and the Father are one." (John 10:30)Yet this is taken so far out of context it is ridiculous. The statement right before this one is:
"My LORD who brought them to me is greater than all, and no one can remove them from the LORD’s protection." (John 10:29)So how could they be the same person if God has brought the people to Jesus? How could they be the same person if one of them brought people to the other?
The "oneness" that Jesus is speaking of is a oneness of will. A oneness of desire. Jesus is doing God's will, so their will is the same. Jesus is doing what God wants him to do. This creates a unity: A oneness of will.
Furthermore, the more appropriate translation of the Greek word ἐσμεν is not "one" - it is "united."
In their fervor to profess Jesus as someone he wasn't, they completely ignore his teachings. If one is misidentifying Jesus as the Supreme Being, how can they follow Jesus' instructions and come to love the Supreme Being as Jesus (and Moses) instructed? They can't.
Until and unless we accept that Jesus is God's representative - and he came to re-introduce us to the Supreme Being and show us how we can come to love Him and serve Him with all our hearts - then we can never follow the true teachings of Jesus:
"Not everyone who says to me, ‘lord, lord,’ shall enter the sanctuary of the spiritual realm – only one who does what pleases my LORD in the spiritual realm. Many will say to me at that time, ‘Master, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles? And I will say to them, ‘I never knew you: Get away from me, you who practice wickedness.’" (Matt. 7:21-23)