Review：The baptism of the Holy Spirit (Put down)
Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy. Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. (Revelation 22:11-13)
Kurikara's cause of enlightenment
Once upon a time, there was a Brahmin monk called Kurikara, who had learned four rupajhana (4 meditations of form) and got five divine powers (divine eyes, ears, and feet and abilities to read others' hearts and fates) and is said to be the incarnation of the black dragon, in India. Indra and Devil (the supreme god and the king of hell in India respectively) are also said to have had admiration for his sermon.
However, Devil began to cry after listening his sermon and told him, "Your sermon is too good. I can not accept that you have only another 7 days' life and will have to come to hell under me." Kurikara heard this and was depressed. But an angel taught that Gautama Buddha, who had recently attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, would solve his worry. Kurikara immediately visited Buddha with flowers of Firmiana (parasoltree) in both hands and with great glee.
Looking intently at Kurikara, Buddha said, "Put down (the word also means relinquish or donate), put down." So Kurikara put the flowers on both sides of Buddha accordingly. But Buddha again said, "Put down, put down." Kurikara was puzzled and asked, "I don't have anything in my hands now. What do you ask me to put down?" Then Buddha preached, "I do not ask you to give me flowers, but ask you to put your front and back, inside and outside, all of them down. If you relinquish 6 dusts (appearance, sound, smell, taste, touch, dharma) of your outside, six sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind) in your inside and six consciousnesses (recognitions through the 6 dusts and the six sense organs) within you and once you have nothing to relinquish, then you can transcend both life and death and obtain eternal life." ≪Kurikara Dragon Sutra≫
Later in Tang Dynasty of China, a monk named YanYang asked ZhaoZhou CongShen (778-897), one of the great Zen masters, "When not a single thing is brought, then what?" Like Buddha, ZhaoZhou answered, "Put it down." YanYang also like Kurikara asked again, "I say, I don't bring a single thing, what should I put down?" ZhaoZhou said, "Then carry it out." ≪Book of Serenity: Case 57≫
Rebuilding of the Faith of Second Coming
John, who had only survived until post Jewish war (A.D. 66-74) era among the Twelve Apostles, seems to have continued missionary work in Ephesus of the Asia Minor.
When the first Jewish war broke out, the most of followers of the Jerusalem Church led by Simon, the younger brother of James the Less, fled the city just before siege by Roman army and withdrew to Pella. But John seems to have been truly ashamed of going into the domain of the Herodian royal family who had killed both John the Baptist and James the Greater. According to tradition, John had received a vision of Jesus in a cave when he had been exiled to the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea and wrote the Book of Revelation in Ephesus based on the vision. In the vision, Jesus ordered John to convey his revelation to the seven churches of the Asia Minor.
Rebuilding of the faith of "second coming" seems to have been one of the objects that John himself or one of elders belonging to the Community of St. John wrote this book.
Divergence of Caiaphas' dream and reality
The Jerusalem Church was established barely one and half months after Jesus' execution and about three thousand new believers including Gentiles were added to the church on that day. Thus, it looks like that the High Priest Caiaphas' aspiration to call back the scattered children of God to Jerusalem (John 11:49-52) realized in a twinkling.
Many Gentiles from the Mediterranean coast and the Asia Minor seem to have rushed into Jerusalem because the primitive Church opened its doors to non-circumcised people and Jerusalem was in the limelight as a shelter of refugees.
However, given that a great number of gentile believers, who had different faithes, flowed into Jerusalem, it appears that various frictions occurred not only between gentiles and Jews, but also among gentiles themselves. After all, The Hellenic believers, except of the personal pupils of Jesus led by the Twelve and the fundamentalists of the Synagogue of the Freedmen, withdrew from Jerusalem.
Parallel run of the Jerusalem Church and the Antioch Church
With this, Paul and Barnabas founded a new Church in Antioch and began to preach mainly for the non-circumcised people.
As a result, the personal pupils of Jesus led by the Twelve continued to carry out their activities in the inside and outside of the temple, while the Hellenic believers, such as Paul, Barnabas and Luke ran parallel to do their missionary work outside of Jerusalem city. Superficial symbiotic relationship of Jews and primitive Christian church was also formed.
Jewish War and the end of honeymoon
However, after the Jewish War, because the followers of the primitive church, who had escaped from Jerusalem city just before siege by Roman army, were boycotted from the Jewish community as traitors, the honeymoon between the primitive church and Judaism was over. And at that time, the followers of the primitive church seems to have been transformed into Christians from the members of a Jewish sect.
Moreover, the hope, that the second Christ coming will be realized at the last day when Daniel's 'Seventy Weeks prophecy' in the Old Testament is fulfilled, was extinguished. The "appointed time of the end" was calculated from the 6th-century B.C.E. destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians based on the prophecy and many of the Jews thought that the magic number 490 would be reached around AD 33-34.
The primitive Church basically followed the concept of the high priest Caiaphas to call back the scattered children of God to Jerusalem. However, the Jewish war abolished not only the temple but also Jerusalem Church which had performed as the shelter of refugees. The slogan of "bringing back the scattered children of God" was not persuasive anymore both for Jews and non-Jews. Therefore rebuilding of the faith of "Second Coming" seems to have been urgently needed.
The second coming of Christ who is the Alpha and the Omega
Initially, the followers of the primitive Church seem to have believed that the second Christ coming would be at around AD 33-34 and then the kingdom of God would be realized immediately in this world. But both the temple and the city of Jerusalem were destroyed by the Roman army in A.D.70. The expectation was betrayed by completeness.
Therefore, the author of the Book of Revelation wrote a sequel of "Daniel's prophecy" and implied that the kingdom of God would not be realized so easily. The book also suggests that even if the Kingdom appears, the evil spirits will be unleashed again after a thousand years, and once again this world will transform to the inferno. However, the author encourages readers of the book that ultimately, the permanent Kingdom of God will be realized and one, who believes this new revelation and keeps the correct faith, will be resurrected with eternal life at the last day, even if he is martyred. Therefore, "Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy. Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." (Revelation 22:11-13)
While Christ in this book implies that the last day will not come soon, but he also says repeatedly, "I will come soon." As it means that if we synchronize with Christ who is the Alpha and the Omega, we can obtain eternal life at once without need to wait the last day and may have the full measure of his joy within us. (John 17:13) Therefore, "Put down." "Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy," he tells us.
Another reason for the Apocalypse was written
The book picks up the practices of the Nicolaitans, who seems to have been active in two of the seven churches in the Asia Minor, and condemns that their practices are abominable immorality as is Idolatry.
The book does not indicate specifically what practices the Nicolaitans did. However, there are following descriptions in the First Epistle of John, which is said to have written in the almost same period with the Book of Revelation; "This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world." (1 John 4:2-3)
In the Second Epistle of John too, we can see following descriptions; "I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist." (2 John 7) The author also says, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work." (2 John 10-11)
Perhaps, the authors of these scriptures seem to have felt a threat from the rise of some group who made little account of the words which had been made by Jesus in his lifetime and also despised the personal pupil of Jesus led by the Twelve and to have asked the 7 churches in the Asia Minor to sever relations with this kind of believers.
Interestingly, Paul says in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, "Wherefore we henceforth know no man after the flesh: even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more." (2 Co 5:16) He also says in the Epistle to the Galatians, "The gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man (lifetime Jesus himself), neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ (resurrected within Paul himself) (Ga 1:11-12)." And he affirms, "whatsoever they (pillars of Jerusalem Church, such as James the Less, Peter and John) were, it makes no matter to me." (Ga 2:6)
By the way, the following description is seen in the Acts of the Apostles. In the early days of the Jerusalem church, the Hellenic believers complained against the Hebraic Jews because they were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. As a result, seven leaders, led by Stephen was chosen from the Hellenic believers. Then the Twelve Disciples entrusted day-to-day management of the Jerusalem church to them. There was a man called Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism, among the seven Hellenic leaders. (Acts 6:1-7) Immediately after this, Stephen was subjected to a hearing of the Sanhedrin, and was stoned to death and the Hellenic believers, excluding Jewish fundamentalists belonging to the Synagogue of the Freedmen, were withdrawn from Jerusalem. The man called Nicolas may have had a faith similar to the one kept by Stephen and St. Paul too and may have been same person who led the Nicolaitans.
On the other hand, In the third Epistle of John, we can see the following description to contradict the first and the second Epistle of John. "I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church." (3 John 1:9-10)
Therefore, Mr. Kenzo Tagawa, one of Japan's leading Bible scholars and an emeritus professor at the Osaka Women's University, Japan, thinks that Diotrephes himself, a person critically mentioned by the Third Epistle of John, or one who belonged the same group with Diotrephes might write the First and the Second Epistle of John. (Wiki) If so, then "Revelation" too might have been written by Diotrephes or one of his fellows.＜To be continued.＞
What is "Baptism with The Holy Spirit"?
According to the dialectic of the Gospel of John,
【Thesis】"A man can possess eternal life through accepting testimony of the Son of man and being baptized by him." (John 5:24)
【Anti-thesis】But "The one who comes from the earth cannot accept the testimony by one from heaven."(John 3:32)
How then can a man possess eternal life?
【Synthesis】"If you want to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, you can just go back to the word which was with God in the beginning (John 1:1) and certify that God is truthful. (John 3:33)"
When he said, "You are Huichao," Zen Master Fayan thrusted vivid Self in Huichao in front of his eyes. (P.171)
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