Christian essentials

 

To 1: Prayer.htm

To 2: Creeds

To 3: Blessings, and baptism, and the Lord's Supper

To 4: The ten commandments

To 5: teachings, parables of Jesus

To 5b: some teachings of Jesus for the work of the disciples

To 5c: some parables of Jesus, given for hostile pharisees

To 6: Prophecy, preparations for the "Last days"

To 7: Digestion of the daily life

An additional service: the free World English Bible.

In the German version there is a page concerning the Corona-crisis and prayer

 

1: Prayer

A Christian prayer for oneself, for others and for the world *

God, my origin, my help and my hope!
In unity with Jesus Christ I thank You for everything coming from You;
and I ask You, forgive me everything, that took me a long way from You;
in this silence, please let me become creative by Your Spirit.

 Guide me, that I will not harm Others in their way to You;
Guide me to help Others according to Your will;
Save me and ... on the way.

 Inspire the people to let decisions about life and death in Your hands.
Help those, who work for Your creation.
Lead this world to the breakthrough to Your promised new time.

* The first paragraph leads to a Christian attitude, adequate to an effective prayer - without much explanation. Instead of the third paragraph you may also give other matters to God. You may change the prayer to adapt it to your feelings. Best pray slowly and with imagination. More: http://www.ways-of-christ.net ).

 

The Lord's Prayer (see Matthew 6, 7-15)

Our father in heaven.
Hallowed be Your Name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation*,
but deliver us from the evil one.
(for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever. Amen )

 

A prayer for protection and peace, which Mother Teresa saw in a vision:

Lead me from death to life,
from lies to truth.
Lead me from despair to hope,
from fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love,
from war to peace.
Let peace fill our hearts,
our world and our universe !
peace, peace, peace !

 

2: Apostles' Creed *

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy universal church*,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. AMEN.

* (Versions of this oldest Christian Creed are still used by the Roman Catholic and Protestant ... Churches. It is not some formula, but a personal Creed, as far as you are convinced.) To what extent you can believe, to that extent your believe can be effective.

 

The Nicene Creed.

"We believe in one God,
The Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth
and of all things visible and invisible;

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only begotten Son of God,
begotten from the Father before all ages,
light from light, true God from True God,
begotten not made,
of one substance with the Father.
By Him all things were made.
For us men and our salvation
He came down from heaven,
was made flesh from the Holy Spirit
and Mary the virgin and became man.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate,
suffered and was buried.
He rose again on the third day,
according to the Scriptures,
and ascended into heaven.
He sits on the right hand of the Father
and will come again with glory
to judge the living and the dead.
His Kingdom will never end;

And in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord and life-giver, who proceeds from the Father.
Together with the Father and the Son
He is worshiped and glorified.
He spoke through the prophets;

And in one holy catholic* and apostolic church.
We confess one baptism for the remission of sins.
We look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the age to come. AMEN

This one is said to originate in the 4th century in the context of the Nicene Council. * The term "catholic" didn't mean the later Roman Catholic Church, but means "general", "the church of all Christians".. (But other parts of the Nicene tradition, independently of such matters of creed, combined religion and state in one hand. This activities of the roman emperor Constantin later had problematic effects, enduring still today in some countries.)

 

3: Blessings, baptism and the Lord's Supper

Blessings:

As a believer, when You are attuned to God, You may bless everyone and everything You want, if You feel it is o.k.. There is not only the priestly blessing of Numbers 6:23. YOU can do it. You need only the right attitude 'be blessed as the Lord wants ...' . This custom has become rare, but it might be helpful.

Zecharja 8:13 : It shall come to pass that, as you were a curse among the nations, house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing...
Acts 3:26:
God, having raised up his servant, Jesus, sent him to you first, to bless you, in turning away everyone of you from your wickedness.
Ephesians 1:3 :Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
1 Peter 3:9-11
: Finally, be all like-minded, compassionate, loving as brothers, tenderhearted, courteous, not rendering evil for evil, or reviling for reviling; but instead blessing; knowing that to this were you called, that you may inherit a blessing. For, he who would love life, and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil, and do good. Let him seek peace, and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears open to their prayer; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
Some more of the bible places: Deuteronomy 11:26; Psalms 115:13; Proverbs 11:25; Matthew 5,44.


Baptism:

Most Churches connect with baptism the begin of membership in a Church, but usually they accept someone as Christian, who is baptized in another Church. The Churches usually accept, that in case of need, when no reverend or priest is there, each Christian is allowed to baptise: 

"I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen" (see Matthew 28,18-20). 

Free Churches stress in most cases, that baptism should be done consciously as an adult one. If one therefore does not want to baptise children, one can bless them (see above) and pray for them, that they will find the way to God...

(More: http://www.ways-of-christ.net/b/baptism.htm  )


The Lord's Supper and the supper of love:

The Lord's Supper means commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus. If remembering intensively, one may share in the transforming power of Jesus, which is present today too. (Mainly in the Catholic Church Christ's real presence in this "Communion" or Eucharist" is essential) Therefore not only Catholic Christians, but also those who practise it in the Protestant way, may experience something more than simply intellectual remembering.
For those who want to practice a blessed meal without a priest and therefore without claiming it to be a "Holy Sacrament" of the church, it can be called "Agape" - supper of love.

Matthew 26,26-29: While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, saying: "Take and eat; this is my body".Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying: "Drink from it, all of You. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my fathers kingdom"

 

4: The Ten Commandments of Moses (Exodus 20) *

1.  I am the Lord Your God... You shall have no other gods before me. (You shall not make for Yourself an idol...)
2.  You shall not misuse the name of the Lord Your God (for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name)
3.  Remember the Sunday/ Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
4.  Honour your father and your mother, (so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
5.  You shall not murder.
6.  You shall not commit adultery *
7.  You shall not steal
8.  You shall not give false testimony against Your neighbour
9.  You shall not covet your neighbours house.
10.You shall not covet your neighbour's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

* (Jesus Christ preferred being good of one's own will and conscience, instead of the fear of punishment...  He stands for the love to God, to the close ones... as to oneself - see Mark 12:33; John 13:34; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8.)

 

5: Significant teachings of Jesus, with comments

The appeal to everyone
Mark 1:14-15 (Matthew 4:17
-22; Luke 5:1-11; John 1:35-51) Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God, 15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand! Repent, and believe in the Good News."

(This was a central part of the preaches of Jesus and his disciples. Concerning the prophesied "Kingdom of God" see the part 6)

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5:1 Seeing the multitudes, he went up onto the mountain. When he had sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 He opened his mouth and taught them, saying, 
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. 
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 
5 Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. 
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. 
10 Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. 
11 Blessed are you when people reproach you, persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you." 
13 "You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its flavor, with what will it be salted? It is then good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men. 14 You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can't be hidden. 15 Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house. 16 Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. ...

(Here Jesus speaks to those who are willing to leave the usual, egotist thoughts of human culture.)

...22 But I tell you, that everyone who is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca! (empty head)' shall be in danger of the council; and whoever shall say, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of the fire of the Gehenna (hell)".

23 If therefore you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are with him in the way; lest perhaps the prosecutor deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison. 26 Most assuredly I tell you, you shall by no means get out of there, until you have paid the last penny.

27 "You have heard that it was said,  'You shall not commit adultery;' 28 but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. ...

In 22-28 Jesus stressed, that now besides the deeds, the words, feelings and thoughts are important too. (But in 28 the topic is the -possibly married- woman and "to lust" after her - and not any kind of interest in a woman or man.)

34 But I tell you, don't swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God. ...

38 "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' 39 But I tell you, don't resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. ... 41 Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and don't turn away him who desires to borrow from you.

43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.' 44 But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don't even the tax collectors do the same? 47 If you only greet your friends, what more do you do than others? ... 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect

(The recommendation to leave the circle of violence and counter-violence does not mean, that the evil is o.k. It is a way to be stronger than the evil, from the viewpoint of the spirit.)

6:4 ...so that your merciful deeds may be in secret, then your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. ... 6 But you, when you pray, enter into your inner chamber, and having shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 In praying, don't use vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking. 8 Therefore don't be like them, for your Father knows what things you need, before you ask him. (The Lord's prayer follows). 
...14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you don't forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.... 
17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; 18 so that you are not seen by men to be fasting, but by your Father who is in secret, and your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.
19 "Don't lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don't break through and steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ... 24 You can't serve both God and Mammon. ...
26 See the birds of the sky, that they don't sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them... 31 Therefore don't be anxious, saying, 'What will we eat?', 'What will we drink?' or, 'With what will we be clothed?'  32 ... for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  33 But seek first God's Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.  34 Therefore don't be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day's own evil is sufficient.

(Jesus stressed the priority of the soul and of being in present time).

7:1 "Don't judge, so that you won't be judged.... 5...First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye.
6 "Don't give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. 
7 "Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened. ... 12 Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets.

7:1-2 advices to put aside one's prejudices. This is a prerequisite for finding the truth of the spirit.

7:13 "Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it.
15"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. 16 By their fruits you will know them... 17...every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. ... 21 Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
24 "Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock. 25 The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn't fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn't do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell--and great was its fall." 

Parables

Matthew 13:3 He spoke to them many things in parables, saying, "Behold, a farmer went out to sow. 4 As he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Others fell on rocky ground, where they didn't have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of earth. 6 When the sun had risen, they were scorched. Because they had no root, they withered away. 7 Others fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and choked them: 8 and others fell on good soil, and yielded fruit: some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty. 9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear." 
10 The disciples came, and said to him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" 11 He answered them, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them. 12 For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn't have, from him will be taken away even that which he has. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they don't see, and hearing, they don't hear, neither do they understand. 

24 He set another parable before them, saying, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while people slept, his enemy came and sowed darnel also among the wheat, and went away. 26 But when the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then the darnel appeared also. 27 The servants of the householder came and said to him, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where did this darnel come from?' 28 "He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and gather them up?' 29 "But he said, 'No, lest perhaps while you gather up the darnel, you root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest time I will tell the reapers, "First, gather up the darnel, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn."'" 
31 He set another parable before them, saying, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field; 32 which indeed is smaller than all seeds. But when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches." **

33 He spoke another parable to them. "The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, until it was all leavened." 
34 Jesus spoke all these things in parables to the multitudes; and without a parable, he didn't speak to them, 35 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying, 
"I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world."

(** 36 Then Jesus sent the multitudes away, and went into the house. His disciples came to him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the darnel of the field." 
37 He answered them, "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 the field is the world; and the good seed, these are the children of the Kingdom; and the darnel are the children of the evil one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 As therefore the darnel is gathered up and burned with fire; so will it be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather out of his Kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and those who do iniquity, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be weeping and the gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. 
44 "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found, and hid. In his joy, he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. 
45 "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 who having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it. 
47 "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet, that was cast into the sea, and gathered some fish of every kind, 48 which, when it was filled, they drew up on the beach. They sat down, and gathered the good into containers, but the bad they threw away. 49 So will it be in the end of the world. The angels will come forth, and separate the wicked from among the righteous, 50 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth." 51 Jesus said to them, "Have you understood all these things?" 
They answered him, "Yes, Lord." 
52 He said to them, "Therefore, every scribe who has been made a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a householder, who brings out of his treasure new and old things." )

 

5b: Some teachings of Jesus for the work of the disciples 

Matthew 10:5 Jesus sent these twelve out, and charged them, saying, "Don't go among the Gentiles, and don't enter into any city of the Samaritans. 10:6 Rather, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 10:7 As you go, preach, saying, 'The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!' 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers*, and cast out demons. Freely you received, so freely give. 10:9 Don't take any gold, nor silver, nor brass in your money belts. 10:10 Take no bag for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff: for the laborer is worthy of his food. 10:11 Into whatever city or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy; and stay there until you go on. 10:12 As you enter into the household, greet it. 10:13 If the household is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it isn't worthy, let your peace return to you. 10:14 Whoever doesn't receive you, nor hear your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust from your feet. 10:15 Most assuredly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city. 10:16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 10:17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to councils, and in their synagogues they will scourge you. 10:18 Yes, and you will be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the nations. 10:19 But when they deliver you up, don't be anxious how or what you will say, for it will be given you in that hour what you will say. 10:20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. 10:21 "Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child. Children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. 10:22 You will be hated by all men for my name's sake, but he who endures to the end will be saved. 10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee into the next, for most assuredly I tell you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man has come. 10:24 "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his lord. 10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he be like his teacher, and the servant like his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household! 10:26 Therefore don't be afraid of them, for there is nothing covered that will not be revealed; and hidden that will not be known. 10:27 What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in the ear, proclaim on the housetops. 10:28 Don't be afraid of those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. Rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. 10:29 "Aren't two sparrows sold for an assarion? Not one of them falls on the ground apart from your Father's will, 10:30 but the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 10:31 Therefore don't be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows. 10:32 Everyone therefore who confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven. 10:33 But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven. 10:34 "Don't think that I came to send peace on the earth. I didn't come to send peace, but a sword. 10:35 For I came to set a man at odds against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 10:36 A man's foes will be those of his own household. 10:37He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me isn't worthy of me. 10:38He who doesn't take his cross and follow after me, isn't worthy of me. 10:39 He who finds his life will lose it; and he who loses his life for my sake will find it. 10:40 He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me. 10:41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward: and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward. 10:42Whoever gives one of these little ones just a cup o f cold water to drink in the name of a disciple, most assuredly I tell you he will in no way lose his reward."

13:18 "Hear, then, the parable of the farmer. 13:19 When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom, and doesn't understand it, the evil one comes, and snatches away that which has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown by the roadside. 13:20 What was sown on the rocky places, this is he who hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it; 13:21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while. When oppression or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 13:22 What was sown among the thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of this age and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 13:23 What was sown on the good ground, this is he who hears the word, and understands it, who most assuredly bears fruit, and brings forth, some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.

Mark 16,15-20.: (Later, before the ascension) He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptised, will be saved; but whoever does not believe, will be judged (other translation: condemned).

 

5c: Some parables of Jesus, given for hostile pharisees 

Matthew 21:33 "Hear another parable. There was a man who was a master of a household, who planted a vineyard, set a hedge about it, dug a winepress in it, built a tower, leased it out to farmers, and went into another country. 21:34 When the season for the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the farmers, to receive his fruit. 21:35 The farmers took his servants, beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 21:36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they treated them the same way. 21:37 But afterward he sent to them his son, saying, 'They will respect my son.' 21:38 But the farmers, when they saw the son, said among themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and seize his inheritance.' 21:39 So they took him, and threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 21:40 When therefore the lord of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those farmers?" 
21:41 They told him, "He will miserably destroy those miserable men, and will lease out the vineyard to other farmers, who will give him the fruit in its season." 
21:42 Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures, 
'The stone which the builders rejected, the same was made the head of the corner. 
This was from the Lord.It is marvelous in our eyes?' 
21:43 "Therefore I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and will be given to a nation bringing forth its fruits. 21:44 He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but on whoever it will fall, it will scatter him as dust." 

22:1 Jesus answered and spoke again in parables to them, saying, 22:2 "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king, who made a marriage feast for his son, 22:3 and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast, but they would not come. 22:4 Again he sent out other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "Behold, I have made ready my dinner. My oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the marriage feast!"' 22:5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his merchandise, 22:6 and the rest grabbed his servants, and treated them shamefully, and killed them. 22:7 When the king heard that, he was angry, and he sent his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 22:8 "Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited weren't worthy. 22:9 Go therefore to the intersections of the highways, and as many as you may find, invite to the marriage feast.' 22:10 Those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together as many as they found, both bad and good. The wedding was filled with guests. 22:11 But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man who didn't have on wedding clothing, 22:12 and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here not wearing wedding clothing?' He was speechless. 22:13 Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and throw him into the outer darkness; there is where the weeping and grinding of teeth will be.' 22:14 For many are called, but few chosen."


*) Here quoted from the "World English Bible" of ebible.org , which is a new revision of the "American Standard version of 1901" - both in the public domain, free of copyright.

 

6: Christian prophecy: Preparations for The "Last days"
according to the Bible, with comments.

If one is seeking insights and preparation of the times to come, the Gospels and the Revelation are the most interesting sources within the Bible.

The prophecy of the Old Testament often matches the prechristian events immediately after the prophecy, named in the historical appendix of many Bible editions - for instance the Babylonian Captivity and the return from there, the later wars in the country and a victory of the Jews at that time; also about the Messiah or Christ. Only a few passages additionally seem to indicate matters of our time or of the contents of the Revelation (for instance Jesaja 24; 25; 27; 66:15; Daniel 7:9-28).

The prophetical teachings of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew 24 * could be called the "Small Revelation" ** : 23:37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to her! How often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not! 23:38 Behold, your house is left to you desolate. 23:39 For I tell you, you will not see me from now on, until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'" 
24:1 Jesus went out from the temple, and was going on his way. His disciples came to him to show him the buildings of the temple. 24:2 But he answered them, "Don't you see all of these things? Most assuredly I tell you, there will not be left here one stone on another, that will not be thrown down."

So far, Jesus must have predicted the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, which happened in the years 70 and 135 AD. But after that he announced tendencies and incidents, which may match our time :

24:3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? What is the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?" 
24:4 Jesus answered them, "Be careful that no one leads you astray. 24:5 For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will lead many astray. 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you aren't troubled, for all this must happen, but the end is not yet. 24:7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be famines, plagues, and earthquakes in various places. 24:8 But all these things are the beginning of birth pains. 24:9 Then they will deliver you up to oppression, and will kill you. You will be hated by all of the nations for my name's sake. 24:10 Then many will stumble, and will deliver up one another, and will hate one another. 24:11 Many false prophets will arise, and will lead many astray. 24:12 Because iniquity will be multiplied, the love of many will grow cold. 24:13 But he who endures to the end, the same will be saved. 24:14 This Good News of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Tendencies like this occurred in many countries, mainly since the last century.

24:15 "When, therefore, you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet***, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 24:16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 24:17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take out things that are in his house. 24:18 Let him who is in the field not return back to get his clothes. 24:19 But woe to those who are with child and to nursing mothers in those days! 24:20 Pray that your flight will not be in the winter, nor on a Sabbath, 24:21 for then there will be great oppression (/tribulation), such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever will be. 24:22 Unless those days had been shortened, no flesh would have been saved. But for the sake of the chosen ones, those days will be shortened. 

If it does not refer to the earthquake with the broken curtain in the temple after the Crucifixion:  the circumstances neither refer to the named destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, nor did they occur clearly in the context of the foundation of the Islamic Mosque at Jerusalem. So it may refer to an unknown possible incident of the future, including a big earthquake (24:17).

24:23 "Then if any man tells you, 'Behold, here is the Christ,' or, 'There,' don't believe it. 24:24 For there will arise false christs, and false prophets, and they will show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen ones. 24:25 "Behold, I have told you beforehand. 24:26 If therefore they tell you, 'Behold, he is in the wilderness,' don't go out; 'Behold, he is in the inner chambers,' don't believe it. 24:27 For as the lightning comes forth from the east, and is seen even to the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 24:28 For wherever the carcass is, there will the vultures be gathered together. 24:29 But immediately after the oppression of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; 24:30 and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. Then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 24:31 He will send out his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together his chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

Here Jesus did not use a parable. Even the "lightning" can be seen in that context as a direct comparison, and is not spoken figuratively. If one takes it seriously, Jesus speaks of universal changes and his Second Coming. Obviously this has not happened yet. The details of future may depend on of the behaviour of man, but the core of the prophecy is not prone to change. 
Mainly this concerns the last time for the decision in everyone's soul, if one wants to participate in the later "Kingdom of peace", which God prepared for the earth. At the end of a difficult "transition stage" the "Second Coming of Christ" is announced. See also Revelation 19, cf. Revelation 12. He does not simply come as a human being born on earth, but as the center of something more comprehensive the approach of God's heaven (and the beyond) and earth ; of spirit, (mind and) body. Nevertheless it means Christ coming back as a real being - not only as his power to spiritualize mankind, as some modern groups may think. This development concerns - directly and indirectly - all human beings, not only Christians. A possible preparation can be - besides changing one's life and attitude - to pray for the Holy Spirit just now.

After that Jesus uses parables to explain the consequences of what he said before.

24:32 "Now from the fig tree learn this parable. When its branch has now become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that the summer is near. 24:33 Even so you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 24:34 Most assuredly I tell you, this generation (problematic translation; Luther translated in German "Geschlecht", meaning here "stock / lineage / generations / people/ culture") or will not pass away, until all these things are accomplished. 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 24:36 But no one knows of that day and hour, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only." 

24:37 "As the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 24:38 For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, 24:39 and they didn't know until the flood came, and took them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 24:40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and one will be left; 24:41 two women grinding at the mill, one will be taken and one will be left. 24:42 Watch therefore, for you don't know in what hour your Lord comes. 24:43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched, and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 24:44 Therefore also be ready, for in an hour that you don't expect, the Son of Man will come. 

24:45 "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his lord has set over his household, to give them their food in due season? 24:46 Blessed is that servant whom his lord finds doing so when he comes. 24:47 Most assuredly I tell you that he will set him over all that he has. 24:48 But if that evil servant should say in his heart, 'My lord is delaying his coming,' 24:49 and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with the drunken, 24:50 the lord of that servant will come in a day when he doesn't expect it, and in an hour when he doesn't know it, 24:51 and will cut him in pieces, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites; there is where the weeping and grinding of teeth will be. 

25:1 "Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom. 25:2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 25:3 Those who were foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them, 25:4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 25:5 Now while the bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 25:6 But at midnight there was a cry, 'Behold! The bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!' 25:7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 25:8 The foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' 25:9 But the wise answered, saying, 'What if there isn't enough for us and you? You go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' 25:10 While they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 25:11 Afterward the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us.' 25:12 But he answered, 'Most assuredly I tell you, I don't know you.' 25:13 Watch therefore, for you don't know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. 

25:14 "For it is like a man, going into another country, who called his own servants, and entrusted his goods to them. 25:15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one; to each according to his own ability. Then he went on his journey. 25:16 Immediately he who received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 25:17 In like manner he also who got the two gained another two. 25:18 But he who received the one went away and dug in the earth, and hid his lord's money. 25:19 "Now after a long time the lord of those servants came, and reconciled accounts with them. 25:20 He who received the five talents came and brought another five talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents. Behold, I have gained another five talents besides them.' 25:21 "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' 25:22 "He also who got the two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents. Behold, I have gained another two talents besides them.' 25:23 "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' 25:24 "He also who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you that you are a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter. 25:25 I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the earth. Behold, you have what is yours.' 25:26 "But his lord answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant. You knew that I reap where I didn't sow, and gather where I didn't scatter. 25:27 You ought therefore to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back my own with interest. 25:28 Take away therefore the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. 25:29 For to everyone who has will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who has not, even that which he has will be taken away. 25:30 Throw out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

25:31 "But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 25:32 Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 25:33 He will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 25:34 Then the King will tell those on his right hand, 'Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 25:35 for I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; 25:36 naked, and you clothed me; I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me.' 

25:37 "Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a drink? 25:38 When did we see you as a stranger, and take you in; or naked, and clothe you? 25:39 When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?' 25:40 "The King will answer them, 'Most assuredly I tell you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' 25:41 Then he will say also to those on the left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels; 25:42 for I was hungry, and you didn't give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; 25:43 I was a stranger, and you didn't take me in; naked, and you didn't clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn't visit me.' 25:44 "Then they will also answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn't help you?' 25:45 "Then he will answer them, saying, 'Most assuredly I tell you, inasmuch as you didn't do it to one of the least of these, you didn't do it to me.' 25:46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Question:
Do I want Jesus Christ to appear again clearly, as prophesied, transforming human life and the world?


*) Here quoted from the "World English Bible" of ebible.org , which is a new revision of the "American Standard version of 1901" - both in the public domain, free of copyrights.

** Its central message is similar to the more comprehensive Revelation of St. John

***) 9:27 / 11:31

 

7: A Christian way of digesting the daily life.

Anyone seeking to progress from their own imperfect state to developing promising qualities - with Jesus as a standard and help -, may first
become conscious of their own weak points, mistakes and the lapses they have made, instead of projecting their own bad moods, problems and harm onto others (compare Matthew 7:1 "Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?...")Afterwards, you may work on that "speck" of someone else as well = how you suffered. 
One notes it down, either mentally or on paper, and seek to improve as soon as possible, quietly, and carefully like manufacturing something. If one has some success, one should take note of it. Our own efforts are called for in this case - maybe with the help of a related prayer, and according to one's faith God's help may come. However, if done seriously, one will look at attitudes, thoughts and emotions, and finally change one's behaviour too. It is easier to first search for a component of a problem, and then to pray for its solution... 
It is difficult to change the "habits of a lifetime", but it is possible, if one is able to find out more and more of their unconscious parts. Nevertheless, in certain cases success may come immediately. Compare the successful decision of a smoker to stop smoking now for good. 
This practice of "looking at what happened and consciously digesting with prayer" could already be a spiritual path that helps us to progress greatly, and can accompany us through our whole lives. However, with intensive practice at least some important changes may occur soon. "Deeper layers" of these problems may still become apparent to us, although there is already some improvement. This leads to a more loving and wise orientation. So one is no longer one's own obstacle on the path. One can observe that Christianity is not only a way of life, but a real spiritual path. On this path one can also use Jesus as a compass that allows us to find a new balance beyond the one-sided "wrong tracks".
- Impulses will come from one's own conscience too... (Matthew 5,5 and 5,9).

 

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