Kingdom of God - The subjective? The objective?

JoeT

The faithful in Christ know that apostolic teachings are important, as faith is believing in something yet unseen. Thus the intellect must know of the existence of the true Christ, His Messianic ministry, and His teachings before faith can work. The Twelve Apostles were told to go and baptize and teach to all nations (they were also told to go preach something else). In this regard Catholics conform their beliefs to the God’s Truth as taught by the Apostles. Truth is immutable, therefore if it is Truth for Peter, we can be assured it is Truth for us today, and it will be Truth for us tomorrow. This Truth cannot be destroyed regardless of how distorted it is presented. If you ever wanted to use the precepts of Solo Scriptura as the rule of faith in discerning truth in Scripture, you still need these eight individual principles to ‘measure’ or validate truth we need to look to Scripture, Tradition, the Catholic Church, Councils, the Fathers, the Pope, miracles, and natural reasoning. But this sounds like ‘Church.’

Private interpretations must conform to the doctrines of the Church, or better still, be reform. Those interpretations of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church have been jealously guarded by the Holy Spirit. Faithfull Christians of any stripe have an obligation to Christ to either ‘sign-up’ or like the rich man, walk away. Furthermore, there is an obligation “to strive so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all people throughout the world.” That is, we can’t hold our understanding, as it were, secrete. But, you shouldn’t expect to see ‘eye to eye’ there will be conflict or differences. When in good conscience I can’t conform, I remain silent until, as you say, I see the light. With prayer, perseverance and God’s good graces I will conform heart and mind to the Magisterium – that infallible teaching arm of Christ.

All of which is to say the Church forms our faith. But, where did ‘Church’ come from? Is it a body of likeminded JoeTs . Maybe it’s what in Scripture – Church is a body of bible reading and believing people? That is, Church is a subjective organization, haphazardly thrown together meant to ‘support’ my ideas and ideals of just what Christ is and what he means to me? But, I don’t need a ‘Church’ for that. I can get all the ‘T’s together and say ‘you believe in a way that supports my faith.’ In my household I’d add an ‘or else’ or two – they work pretty good for compliance. When the kids were small a switch worked – wouldn’t try it now though, I might be the one receiving stripes. That’s not faith for the ‘T’s or for me, and sure ain’t Church – because the authority resides in the ‘Big T’ – ME. I need some authority in which I can put my trust. If I get a chance I’ll try to explain that this should be a ‘guarded’ trust. Nevertheless, collecting all the T’s or T-like people and putting my soul in their hands makes me nervous. I’ve got to have something much better however.

In trusting my eternal soul to the Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, the Kingdom of God, I am trusting in God’s promise to Moses’ covenant Kingdom who established an eternal Seat of authority. I can reach back five or more millennia to test this authority. Now I’m getting somewhere - something to trust.

I’ve started off assuming there is an ‘authority,’ is this in fact the case? Where does this authority come from – yeah I know, God – but to whom and when was this transfer of authority made. What was Christ’s role in all this? Does this authority still exist, where’s the seat? Is, as a matter of fact ‘The Kingdom of God’ the seat of this authority; what happened to it? Your help exploring these questions would be appreciated; a lively debate is encouraged (of course, within the guidelines of our host).

JoeT

I’ve never been accused trying to be overly intellectual before, or for that matter I’ve never been called an ‘intellectual’. So, you can see why I’m not sure whether to take it as a compliment or not. It is, however rather interesting and unexpected comment.

No, now your becoming a Pharisee and looking for “rules” you can follow. Why is your complete trust wrapped up on the Old Testament covenants, when with Jesus Body & Blood He established the New Covenant of forgiveness of sins and salvation in following His Way, His Truth and His Light? The majority of Old Testament Jews pushed Jesus away, and He then gave His new covenant to the gentiles. The OT and the NT truly support each other and are amazingly interlocked, but look to Jesus not to Moses.

I’d disagree with this comment. These are not pharisaical comments. The only reference to practicing strict observances of ceremonies was perhaps the use of the word ‘rules’. But, since you were kind enough to make some reading suggestions, let me make one. Read “The Catholic Controversy” a compilation of several of the works of St. Francis de Sales, the ‘Rule of Faith’ being one of them. It’s interesting work and it’s quite Catholic, worth emulation.

begin to read the Bible, starting with the NT. Simultaneously, go to www.salvationhistory.com and get several CD’s from Scott Hahn on the topics with which you are confused. And finally enroll in an RCIA class.

I’m quite an avid fan of Scott Hahn, at least I read several of his works years ago. I’m familiar with his work. And, I’m quite convinced that he has used St. Francis de Sales’ works in several of his books. Either way, I really think you’ve made a misjudgment; if after you’ve re-read my post and still feel the same way let me know. I’d be interested in your comments. (Don’t check the spelling – intellectuals like me get embarrassed when you find spelling errors.)

JoeT

The Old Testament tells of the coming of the Kingdom in the Messianic age. The Kingdom is meant for the sanctification of the twelve tribes as well as the Gentiles. Even kings serve and obey (Psalm 21:28 sq.; 2:7-12; 116:1; Zechariah 9:10). It’s clear that a Catholic (universal) faith and common worship is implied, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared in the top of the mountains, and high above the hills: and people shall flow to it. And many nations shall come in haste, and say: Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob: and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth out of Sion, and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem.” (Micah 4:1-2) A unified worship, One worship under a teaching authority, keeping the Divine Truth for all; “And it shall come to pass in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem: half of them to the east sea, and half of them to the last sea: they shall be in summer and in winter. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name shall be one. “(Zechariah 14:8)

Prophecies in the Old Testament tell of a future Kingdom holding the authority in the rule of the Messiah; Psalms 2 and 71; Isaiah 9:6 sq. We see that authority in the shepherd that leads his sheep between in the pastures of Divine Truth (Ezekiel 34:23; 37:24-28).

Taking the seat of Moses, Christ is the High Priest of the Kingdom of God, “The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech.” (Psalm 109:4) And that priesthood is institutionalized in the Kingdom, “For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 1:11). The priesthood in this Messianic Kingdom is a continuation of the priesthood in the Old Testament with continued sacrificial offerings; “Thus saith the Lord: if my covenant, with the day can be made void, and my covenant with the night, that there should not be day and night in their season" (Jeremiah 33:20)

The importance of “God’s Kingdom” is that it is a direct connection with the Divine by which we are “ruled” in our faith and love of God. I like to make that connection this way:

The Roman Catholic holds that both Scripture and tradition must be a harmonious foundation for the infallible rule and measure of faith. Thereby, the only legitimate interpreter of Holy Scripture found in apostolic tradition.

On the other hand, we have another view (primarily Protestant) that canonical Scripture in itself is the only infallible basis for the rule of faith. Each individual holds the principle key to Sola Scriptura asserting the right to unlock the meaning of Scripture. Most Christians, other than Catholic, form distinct groups of likeminded sole judges of the rule of faith. Since each individual has the same rights there can be as many different measures in faith as there are non-Catholic denominations. Hypothetically we could end up with as many denominations as there are Protestants (Since the number of Protestants faiths are increasing exponentially it won’t be long before we reach this asymptotic state). This produces chaos in the order of faith, a state antithetical to moral order. One and only one faith can be representative of God’s absolute truth. We can’t be left wondering which faith is correct and which isn’t? Nor, is it acceptable to believe that one faith is as good as another; this cheapens Catholicism. So we’re left with the real question, which has Christ’s Authority, and which doesn’t?

We see that Protestantism isn’t ‘one’ faith and can never be ‘one’ given that each is the arbitrator of his own faith. As you may recall Christ prayed, “And now I am not in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name whom thou hast given me: that they may be one, as we also are.” (John 17:11). This is the Tradition guarded, kept, and taught, one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic faith.

We take God’s Word as being immutable. God promises Moses a Kingdom; nowhere do we find a verse that terminates the Kingdom of God. Moses is told, “If therefore you will hear my voice, and keep my covenant, you shall be my peculiar possession above all people: for all the earth is mine. And you shall be to me a priestly kingdom, and a holy nation.” (Ex.19: 5, 6), which is the Old Testament equivalent of Matt 16:18. The promise made to Moses is an integral part of the Old Testament. The Jewish Kingdom was both a spiritual and temporal Kingdom of God with a priestly hierarchy, where the presence of God was veiled and only found in the Tabernacle. Mosses’ sacrifices, different from the Christ’s sacrifice, was given up to be consumed by God. Conversely Christ is sacrificed at the altar continually each and every day consuming us, bite by bite. (Cf. Tractates on the Gospel of John, CHAPTER 26,) newadvent.org/fathers/1701026.htm

JoeT

Christ didn’t overturn this Kingdom by creating a new one; in fact He couldn’t because His ministry was the fulfillment of the Old Covenant, which included the Messianic Kingdom along with the prophecies for a new King. To overthrow this Kingdom would have been to overthrow himself – which of course is nonsense. However what Christ was to do was to turn over the ‘Key’ of the Kingdom to a new tenant, what is today the gentile Kingdom we call the Roman Catholic Church. Which is the reason that in Matthew, we hear Christ say, “I say to you [the Pharisees] that the kingdom of God shall be taken from you and shall be given to a nation yielding the fruits thereof.” This too is a pronouncement of on Mt. Sinai. It’s here we see Christ conquering the world in the Messianic vision of David; but instead of today’s “nation building” it is called Christ’s “Kingdom” building.

Where is the Church’s authority in scripture? The precepts for authority are in fact scriptural. Accordingly, doctrine is obeyed out of obedient love for the Church; we do it willingly, like a new bride obeys her husband. The Church is constituted for the salvation of the faithful. Its claim as the Messianic Kingdom is the envy of the world.

At the synagogue at Nazareth,”And he began to say to them: This day is fulfilled this scripture in your ears.” (Luke 4:21) Christ lays claim to His prophecy as Messianic King, in person, in his ‘real presence’. If you will read your book, you’ll see that Christ claims his universal Kingship in the New Solomon. “And behold more than Solomon here. The men of Ninive shall rise in the judgment with this generation and shall condemn it; Because they did penance at the preaching of Jonas. And behold more than Jonas here.” (Luke 11:31); THE KING IS HERE is the proclamation, one greater than the Temple. (Matt 12:6). Lord over the Sabbath (Luke 6:5). The personification of Elias (Mat 12:6), He requires our faith based on His Divinity (John 6:29), “Jesus answered and said to them: “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” To glorify the Father he created a in their midst, the Law and the Prophets had been, He said, but a preparation (Luke 16:16; cf. Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 13:17; 21:43; 24:14; Mark 1:14; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2, 60; 18:17).

The Church is absolutely necessary for redemption; this is explicit particularly in baptism only because it opens the door to the other sacraments. A corporate family of adopted ‘sons of God’ we are redeemed through the graces given freely. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: he that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

The body is animated by the soul, as the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, is animated by its soul the Holy Spirit. The third century St. Origen (185-232) who once said “Let no man deceive himself. Outside this house, i.e. outside the Church, none is saved" was equally unyielding concerning Apostolic teachings, warning that Holy Scripture should not be interpreted based on our own judgment, instead said interpretation should be “on the rule of the Church instituted by Christ”.

When asked by non-Catholics, I explain, Yes, I do place my faith in the Catholic Church, particularly what you call the Roman Catholic Church. I receive in return a direct connection with the Divine, a guide and rule over my faith, along with the administrations of sacraments Christ ordained for His Kingdom of redemption.

JoeT

In my discussions with Protestants and Evangelists often we touch on the idea that the Kingdom of God can’t be the Roman Catholic Church. The reason given is simply, ‘Luke 17:20-21.’ It’s left to you to deduce that what’s meant is that “the Kingdom of God is within each individual’. That is to say, they hold within themselves that same authority in the rule of faith that Catholics most often attribute to the Church.

But looking at these verses a few simple but pertinent questions need to be asked. For example, who is being addressed when Christ says “kingdom of God is within you.” Then we’re left with the question of whether or not the Pharisees would have understood that the Church was within them; and what sense would have been made of it? How would, or how could one think that the Church of Jesus Christ IS within His enemies, those same said enemies of that Kingdom? In so doing wouldn’t Christ be feeding pearls to swine? So, we’re left with, do pigs fly? I understand the verses quite different; I wonder if you would agree with my rendition?

Christ said these very words; ***“And being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come.” ***(Luke 17: 20) Douay-Rheims. Christ’s words are directed at the Pharisees not to his followers, then or now.

Close your eyes and envision, (wait! not just yet - don’t close’em till you finish reading), Christ is addressing the Pharisees with Christ’s faithful mingled among the Pharisees. After all, they’re both of Judah and the erudite Pharisees would grudgingly permitt the closeness of the lower classes to their person. Nobility must stoop down once in awhile to mingle amongst the rabbel. This group of Pharisees sarcastically asks Christ, where might this great and wondrous Kingdom of God hail from and where can they see it. All the while their great lofty refined beards fain a mock search. Hand to forehead, they shade their eyes, looking with a mocking double-wide-eyed stare into the heavens while swiveling heads turn – some may have actually turned more than 360 degrees - several times. Imagine several elbows reaching for a funny bone, one or another points to the boys playing in the dusty road, snidely saying, “His Praetorian Guard, all that’s lacking is the Roman Aquila standard.“

But, Christ brings the jerks back to real world with a sobering verbal slap; ***“The kingdom of God comes not with observation. Neither shall they say: Behold here, or behold there,” ***after all those who are among the first of ***“the kingdom of God [is among] you” ***(Luke 17: 20-21). Look around you arrogant pips, there are no holier men in the world than in Kingdom of God which so happens to mingle with you right here. Behold where is there any holier than these among you? Behold here is the last of the Old Pharisee who falsely claim holiness; behold the first of the next generation, these holy men among you.

Christ warns them that before the changing of the guard takes place and my standard replaces yours, I must first ***“be rejected by this generation. And as it came to pass in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” ***(Luke 17:15-26) What a bunch of morons these Pharisees, because then a great tribulation will come to pass, like that of Noah’s. Those who look back on these times will have their hearts turn to stone like Lot’s wife who turned into a pillar of stone. (Cf. Luke 17:27-36). Listen to what Christ says to the Pharisees, ***“Wheresoever the body [Church, the Kingdom of God] shall be, thither will the eagles also be gathered together.” ***St. Jerome in his letter to Marcella (letter 46), tells us that these that follow Christ’s standard are legions holy; the holy priests, monks, and virgins, that march with an enormity of holiness;

…they all assemble here and exhibit in this one city the most varied virtues. Differing in speech, they are one in religion, and almost every nation has a choir of its own. Yet amid this great concourse there is no arrogance, no disdain of self-restraint; all strive after humility, that greatest of Christian virtues. Whosoever is last is here regarded as first. Matthew 19:30 Their dress neither provokes remark nor calls for admiration. In whatever guise a man shows himself he is neither censured nor flattered. Long fasts help no one here. Starvation wins no deference, and the taking of food in moderation is not condemned. To his own master each one stands or falls. Romans 14:4 No man judges another lest he be judged of the Lord. Matthew 7:1 Backbiting, so common in other parts, is wholly unknown here. Sensuality and excess are far removed from us. And in the city there are so many places of prayer that a day would not be sufficient to go round them all. Here lies Christ’s equivalent of the Roman Standard; Before the Church marches the Aquila (eagle). This is His Kingdom, i.e. the Church.

Source: CHURCH FATHERS: Letter 46 (Jerome)

Simply put, my take on Luke 17:21 seqq is that Christ is establishing His Kingdom, not within each of us, but in the middle of Judaism with His first Saints. Thus, we can conclude that these verses support the idea that ‘Roman Catholic Church’ is in fact the Kingdom of God.

JoeT

Wowee, JoeT!

That is quite some response you’ve got there. It’s pretty strange that you don’t consider yourself an intellectual with all that background information you’re bringing in. Nice that you mentioned the phrase could have been “Kingdom of God is among you” instead of “within you”… but we’ll probly never know for sure, as the Truth could have been lost in translation, interpretation.

I instantly noticed some huge jumps you were making in your first few posts that, essentially, broke continuity of any “logic” or ability to shine enough light at the curtain to reveal the shape of the shadow figure on the other side. Basically, in Calculus class, we call that lack of continuity “non-functional”.

At the same time, I love this thread. Just a couple days ago, I came across the Wikipedia article on Kingdom of God, and I came to the conclusion that it is both internal and external. I came to this conclusion based on Christ’s PRIME commandment…

[quote=Luke 10]27 He said in reply, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."
28 He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”
29 But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
31 A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
32 Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
33 But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight.
34 He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him.
35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’
36 Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
37 He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
[/quote]

From this we can tell that we must simply “Love God & Our Neighbor”.

Love = Sacrifice. If you continue with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, you hear him tell us to turn our cheeks if someone slaps us. That is sacrifice to not hit him back. This is the part that I refer to as the internal Kingdom. You have to “eat” the evil and bury it deep within you in order to truly love all men.

This internal Kingdom is a big part of Leo Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God Is Within You. I have only made it thru 10% of the book, but I can already tell I would HIGHLY recommend this book to EVERYBODY that considers themselves a Christian. Basically, if everybody could actually turn the cheek and stand in opposition to the military… we would have “Thy will be done… on earth as it is in Heaven”. If you don’t get the same message of non-resistance to evil by force that Leo Tolstoy got… I’m not sure if I’d consider you a Christian. But basically… if everybody could just “eat” evil for one day and not spit it back out… we truly could drive evil out with love. We could truly drive darkness away with light if we truly had the power of Christ. This book that Tolstoy has written is essentially an apologetic defense of his faith, which was written in What I Believe… because people at that time were calling him crazy, Christians and free-thinkers alike!! So the apologetic version essentially sets up a ton of examples… even if someone were about to slap your friend, you shouldn’t stop them with force. Some people might think that’s crazy, but it’s almost crazy enough that it might work!!! And what’s even funnier is that it actually does work. Gandhi actually read this work from Tolstoy and it changed his life. He didn’t “convert to Christianity” in the way that you’d want him to, to be saved and join the “one, true Church”… but he picked up on the message of how each of us should “resist not evil”. That, I believe, is what it means to be a true Christian.

Anyway… continuing on, I think that the Kingdom of God is also external to us TODAY, not in the afterlife. Since Tolstoy is a Christian Anarchist, he believed that change could only come from within, thanks to God. But… looking back at Christ’s PRIME commandment… we see that we’re supposed to love the Lord God with every bit of power He has given you. So there’s no better way to do that than to worship Him daily, preferably with a community of fellow Christians (I do not necessarily believe they must be Catholics), and we should ALWAYS try to share Christ’s PRIME message with anybody whenever they present us with an opportunity.

In this sense, I believe Christianity to be the one, true religion… not Roman Catholicism. If Christ says that a Samaritan can fulfill the desires of God, entering into the Kingdom of God… then by golly… why can’t any other Christian who can fulfill the Word of God? Why can’t a Hindu, like Gandhi, be exalted by Catholics as one of the greatest Christians in the past century??

My belief is that the Kingdom of God is everywhere, but it’ll take an Active Christian Anarchist to truly share that message. Being a Christian Anarchist isn’t enough… you need to be actively sharing Christ’s Word and worshiping your one, true authority.

Likewise, Active Agnostics get a lot more respect from me than a typical agnostic who doesn’t care. Anybody who is causing the faithful to ask questions and build their faith on solid ground is precisely what we need. We need more ACTIVISTS, whatever route you might take.

Nice thread, tho. A++

And wanted to drop this post in here from another thread, because I love it so much…

So we can look at this Kingdom of God as a gift from our Creator to each of us. We can have it if we really want it. :thumbsup:

Yeah right; that’s what my wife says just before she lets the missiles fly – at me. I’ve learned to be quick on the duck.

Somebody else accused me of the intellectual thing? That’s funny. I haven’t posted much on this forum, but I have been familiar with it for years; it was my habit to use it for reference material. So, if we want, we could blame Catholic Answers; they’re getting some of their own material right back at’em. Apparently, they’re responsible for an ‘intellectual Frankenstein’!

Nice that you mentioned the phrase could have been “Kingdom of God is among you” instead of “within you”… but we’ll probably never know for sure, as the Truth could have been lost in translation, interpretation.

That’s one reason I referenced St. Jerome’s letter. Writing in 386 A.D. St. Jerome validates what I had only suspected. It was my view that the entire meaning of Luke 17: 20, 21 seemed to put, as it were, flesh on these verses.

I instantly noticed some huge jumps you were making in your first few posts that, essentially, broke continuity of any “logic” or ability to shine enough light at the curtain to reveal the shape of the shadow figure on the other side. Basically, in Calculus class, we call that lack of continuity “non-functional”.

I am also proficient in calculus and algorithmic solutions for programming, but the technology gotten one-up on me and I’ve given up keeping-up. I can buy a program cheaper than I can write it myself. In any event, I would be very interested in any discontinuity you’ve seen in this equation’s syllogism. However, watch that you don’t mistake points of singularity with discontinuity.

At the same time, I love this thread. Just a couple days ago, I came across the Wikipedia article on Kingdom of God, and I came to the conclusion that it is both internal and external. I came to this conclusion based on Christ’s PRIME commandment…

I’ve never been much on Leo Tolstoy; most of what I’ve read was unflattering. As I understand it Tolstoy was a Christian Anarchist of which I have very little knowledge. But I will point out that when I paraphrased Luke’s verse “the kingdom of God [is among] you,” I was referring to “standing among you”, physically standing alongside the Pharisee. I thought I made that clear enough – but apparently not.

From this we can tell that we must simply “Love God & Our Neighbor”.

From Tolstoy you couldn’t even discern war from peace. I’m sorry, I just don’t hold much in common with Tolstoy.

Love = Sacrifice. If you continue with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, you hear him tell us to turn our cheeks if someone slaps us. That is sacrifice to not hit him back. This is the part that I refer to as the internal Kingdom. You have to “eat” the evil and bury it deep within you in order to truly love all men.

I don’t look at the slap in the face spoke of in the Gospel of Matthew during the Sermon on the Mount as passivism. Also I view ‘love’ differently. Love or charity shouldn’t be equated with ‘sacrifice’ as in a ‘hurt’. First, if to love, or to be charitable, is a sacrifice then you’ve done something wrong. I understand ‘sacrifice’ as presented here to mean that ‘love hurts’ (isn’t that a song title?). Such a charity wouldn’t be a theological virtue; it’s far from a perfect charity, a as this type looks to profit.

Opposing virtuous love (or charity) is ridicule or indifference, the opposing hope is isolation and opposing faith is ignorance, because the object of faith is the first Truth, i.e. God’s truth. A virtuous faith produces hope in us, in its turn hope produces charity, but the greatest of theses is charity which can be given to produce hope and faith. (Cf. 1 Cor 13:13). Therefore, to love or be charitable so that it ‘hurts’ would be a hindrance to hope and faith – not normally a good thing.

St. Thomas suggests that one should “hate the sin not the sinner” so to “eat” hate would be repugnant to me. I have no intention of ingesting sin.

It’s my understanding that the Church has a different view of this verse, “I say to you not to resist evil: but if one strike you on your right cheek, turn to him also the other.” If you’ll notice it was the right cheek that is struck. This is one of those Jewish idioms where it is understood that the back of the left hand strikes the right cheek (try it - it’s demeaning.) Thus, “what striking on the face is, viz. to be contemned and despised” (St. Augustine, On the Sermon on the Mount, 58). This is an act of a master over his servants and it is meant to demean one into subservience. Scorn and contempt are similar to ridicule and seems to be the moral opposite of charity, therefore an attack on the greatest of virtues, charity – I don’t think we could place this in the good category. As servants we would deserve our stripes, however in turning the other cheek, it becomes nearly impossible for the back of the left hand strike without turning (not very easily). Thus, the uncharitable person is now confronted with an equal, so to speak, eye to eye. Only now when equals meet can the virtue of loving one’s enemy become perfect - no longer being the servant. “But since the face cannot be called right and left, and yet there may be a worth according to the estimate of God and according to the estimate of this world, it is so distributed as it were into the right and left cheek that whatever disciple of Christ might have to bear reproach for being a Christian, he should be much more ready to bear reproach in himself, if he possesses any of the honours of this world. “ (Ibid)

JoeT

If we consider whether there is a TRUE belief in Christ, His teachings, and His Church we will quickly find that if that truth doesn’t reside in the Roman Church then there is no Church, no Christianity, nor is there Truth. Taking Truth as being a subjective thing then the Will of God is subjective and Truth doesn’t exist nor does God. There is one and only one Truth, which reason demands to be Divine will.

There is a modern mode of thinking which a mutated part has combined with the philosophies of Locke, Rousseau, Lessing, Kant and the like. I believe this to be a designer virus attacking right reasoning from the very day of its first form introduced by an errant monk in 1520. As an inherent right this viral thought holds the act of deliberation as emancipation from Divine Authority and therein free from His sovereignty in all sectors of life to control and judge all matters. Fundamentally it requires God to conform HIS will to that of man’s; because according to the infected, true authority resides in the interior, it’s the right of the individual, to which God’s exterior creation must bow. In short, these new thinkers place God in the proverbial box only to bring Him out to validate their pomposity. The philosophy holds that it "is contrary to the natural, innate, and inalienable right and liberty and dignity of man, to subject himself to an authority, the root, rule, measure, and sanction of which is not in himself.” At least in part, these infected deny God and His supernatural creation. This autonomous intellectual freedom from moral and social order is in conflict with the Church. It’s in conflict with a simple gloss of what a ‘Christian’ should be. A Catholic child in the 4th grade knows this. We serve God, God does not serve us!

Truth functions within the intellect and is the processes of knowing, weighing and dissecting both the essence and form of anything whatsoever. We know that truth is desirable in knowledge as good is desirable in nature, thus we see truth is convertible with knowledge as good is with nature; “so the true adds relation to the intellect.” Consequently we can see that, in any supposition, that seeking the truth adds weight to the idea that the proposition is good, e.g., in discernment of anything or any action we ask, ‘is it true’. The greatest of good is found in God’s act of intellect, the measure and cause of all things, thus it “follows not only that truth is in Him, but that He is truth itself, and the sovereign and first truth.” Since truth mirrors the Divine truth and since God is one, we can conclude that there is one truth and that truth is immutable and eternal. (Cf. Summa Prima Q, 16 5a)

Let’s speculate whether God and Truth are convertible:

God exists (see Summa Prima Q,2,3). Truth exists.

God is Immutable (see Summa Prima Q,9, 1). Truth is immutable.

God is Eternal. “Now God is His own uniform being; and hence as He is His own essence, so He is His own eternity.” (see Summa Prima Q,10 2). Truth is eternal.

God is Spiritual (see Summa Prima Q,3,3 & 6). “…it follows that there is no accident in God.” Truth is spiritual.

God is not contained in Space, Time or Matter. “It is therefore impossible that in God there should be any potentiality. But everybody is in potentiality because the continuous, as such, is divisible to infinity; it is therefore impossible that God should be a body… its animation depends upon some other thing, as our body depends for its animation on the soul. Hence that by which a body becomes animated must be nobler than the body. Therefore it is impossible that God should be a body. “(See Summa Prima Q,3,1). Truth is not constrained by time, location, or the matter.

God’s law (Divine law) is superior to man’s law. (see PRIMA SECUNDÆ PARTIS Q,91,4) Besides the natural and the human law it was necessary for the directing of human conduct to have a Divine law. And this for four reasons. First, because it is by law that man is directed how to perform his proper acts in view of his last end. And indeed if man were ordained to no other end than that which is proportionate to his natural faculty, there would be no need for man to have any further direction of the part of his reason, besides the natural law and human law which is derived from it. But since man is ordained to an end of eternal happiness which is inproportionate to man’s natural faculty, as stated above , therefore it was necessary that, besides the natural and the human law, man should be directed to his end by a law given by God. Truth is superior to man’s law.

We can unequivocally conclude; **God=Truth **and such Truth is absolute.

O soul pressed down by the corruptible body, and weighed down by earthly thoughts, many and various; behold and see, if thou canst, that God is truth. For it is written that “God is light;” not in such way as these eyes see, but in such way as the heart sees, when it is said, He is truth [reality]. St. Augustine, On the Trinity, 8,2

To emphasis what was written in previous posts of this thread; there is but one and only one faith that can be representative of God’s absolute truth. From which it can be shown that there is one and only one truth of meaning in Holy Scripture that resides in apostolic tradition. A Holy Scripture born out of God’s will, witnessed and validated through the lives of Holy men, and penned by the Tradition of the very same Church Christ commemorated.

JoeT

“Under the fig tree I knew you” (John 1:48): Where do I know you from? Not to unusual a question when a familiar face jogs the memory. The question isn’t ‘where’ did we meet but ‘from what source’ do you hail, i.e. who sent you. This, on the other hand, is an unusual question to ask, you don’t normally ask ‘who sent you’. Nathanael’s question went straight to the quick; he was obviously a blunt person. This is the type of person whose conversations are ‘eye to eye,’ without any pretense. In fact in this scene John seems to be sketching Nathanael as measuring up Christ; he draws himself up, setting himself face to face with Christ but turns to Philip to ask, “Can anything of good come from Nazareth?.” Christ immediately recognized the intangible qualities of the man; “no guile” here.

In response to Nathanael’s question to Christ, he got, what would seem perfectly ordinary response, “Before that Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” This can be taken to mean that Christ had his eye on Nathanael for selection as an Apostle – ordinary small talk. John had more in mind with these verses than to waste precious words on simple conversation. There’s a undercurrent of a parallel at play. The clue to a parallel is the usual response given by Nathanael, “Rabbi: You are the Son of God. You are the King of Israel.” Now, that’s a strange response, or was it?

The fig tree is a symbol that runs deep in Judaism. It was more than a national symbol, it was a symbol of the Kingdom of God, a priestly nation, “And Juda, and Israel, dwelt without any fear, every one under his vine, and under his fig tree” (1 Kings 4:25). It was a symbol of the comfort in nationalism the Old Covenant brings. However, there is a prophetic image conveyed by the imagery of the fig tree, “I saw their fathers like the firstfruits of the fig tree in the top thereof: but they went in to Beelphegor (the ball of Mt. Phogor), and alienated themselves to that confusion, and became abominable, as those things were, which they loved.” Hosea 9:10. The ultimate outcome of which we get to see in Matthew, fib tree was unfruitful (The Jewish sons of the first Covenant had not answered God’s call to holiness).

Nathaniel was one of those who followed the one who was crying in the wilderness, St. John the Baptist. So Christ’s response would have explicitly understood as recalling Hosea, “The days of visitation have come, the days of repaying have come: know, O Israel, that the prophet was foolish, the spiritual man was mad, for the multitude of your iniquity, and the multitude of your madness. The watchman of Ephraim was with my God: the prophet has become a snare of ruin upon all his ways, madness is in the house of his God. They have sinned deeply, as in the days of Gabaa: he will remember their iniquity, and will visit their sin.” (Hosea 9:7-9). The parallels in John chapter 1 are so strong that every first century Jew would have understood Christ was to take the Seat of Moses replacing a spiritual barren land for a kingdom where, “For the Lord your God will bring you into a good land…wherein fig trees and pomegranates, and oliveyards grow: a land of oil and honey. (Deut. 8:7-8).

In the most innocuous verse we find a call to a new Kingdom. The very same Kingdom promised Moses, “If therefore you will hear my voice, and keep my covenant, you shall be my peculiar possession above all people: for all the earth is mine. And you shall be to me a priestly kingdom, and a holy nation.” (Ex.19: 5, 6). The nation of Israel which failed to bear first fruit, “Therefore I say to you that the kingdom of God shall be taken from you and shall be given to a nation yielding the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it shall grind him to powder.” (Matt 21:43-44).

The Kingdom of God, the New Covenant, what history produced in the Roman Catholic Church, can be found even sitting in the shade of a fig tree. This we see even in the most inconsequential Scriptural verses Christ’s ministry to bring us the Kingdom of God.

JoeT

WOWEEE again!!

Are you really not copying this from some website? If not… :thumbsup:!

Where have you gotten this background information anyway? Just curious. :slight_smile:

Your thoughts are extremely hard to read, but not in a Leo Tolstoy way. Yours are “legible”, but incredibly dense with information. I have to re-read each paragraph 2 or 3 times sometimes because it’s hard for me to soak all this stuff in.

I’ll have to read it again whenever I get a chance to see if I still see the continuity issues in the first couple posts. But it’s gonna take me some time. :wink:

Thanks, I’ll take a compliment most days of the week. It’s my work, can’t you tell! I mean good grief, misspelling, typos, and bad grammar, can’t you tell?

Most sources come from oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Home , newadvent.org/ and drbo.org/ . Every once in a while I’ll Google or do a Yahoo search across the internet. I’ve got a few history books, different bibles, and books I’ll use. Another great source for old references is ccel.org/ . I always try to reference the root source of an idea. And of course I’ll cite the source of a quote. I think I’ve given away all my secrets.

To explain why these may seem ‘dense’ is more difficult. My career deals with detailed data, calculations, and decision making that underlie even more complex procedures and predictions all of which need to be drafted for others to implement. I’ve found that including the more critical data and findings in the drafting memorializes the decision making process. This is done so that years down the road when served with a frivolous lawsuit, (of course all the notes and calculations are long gone), I can emphatically state the decision making process and the judgment calls, you might say as easily as reading the plans. It’s not lawyer proof, more like an umbrella. At least when lawyers rain down, you won’t get soaked (yes the pun was intended). Even still, I hadn’t thought of any of my posts as ‘dense’ – now if you were talking about the post writer as ‘dense’ that would be all together a different matter.

The reason they seem so hard to read is me that should be obvious. I tend to over complicate some of the simplest matters – but, that, a brief case, and proof of an airline ticket, you can charge more as an out of town expert.

JoeT

Here is some additional connections to the fig tree (patched together from the Ignatius Catholic study Bible). Nathanael being called while sitting under the fig tree is a way of Jesus saying the messianic age is here.

On that day, says the LORD of hosts, you will invite one another under your vines and fig trees." (Zech 3:10)

This would happen with the coming of the royal shoot- a messianic figure modeled on Zerubbabel (descendant of David who rebuilt the Temple after the Exile).

Listen, O Joshua, high priest! You and your associates who sit before you are men of good omen. Yes, I will bring my servant the Shoot. (Zech 3:8)

The “shoot” is a Hebrew term netser that is linked to Nazareth.

But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. (Isa 11:1)

And once these oracles converged in the mind of Nathanael, he could reason that Jesus is the messianic Shoot and royal Son of God. Jesus goes on to refer to Jacob’s ladder (Gen 28:17), claiming he is: the true house of God, the place where heaven touches down to earth, and the mediator through whom the angel exercise their ministry.

I appreciate the contribution – and an excellent one at that. Thanks,

JoeT

I appreciate the contribution – and an excellent one at that. Thanks,

JoeT

You’re welcome!

I agree Jesus sits enthroned in heaven, exercising his dominion through his universal kingdom the Church. Here is more I put together with ICS Bible help. Jesus is forewarning his disciples in (Lk 17:22-37).

Then he said to his disciples, "The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. (Lk 17:22)

He is refering to Daniel chapter 7. Soon after he is raised up and seated on his royal throne, the father will vindicate him by destroying his enemies. This is the vintication they will long to see, but they can’t see it first hand. They have to make sure they flee without hesitation, because Lot escaped but his wife perished for turning back. Later he will remind them.

"When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that its desolation is at hand. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. Let those within the city escape from it, and let those in the countryside not enter the city, for these days are the time of punishment when all the scriptures are fulfilled. (Lk 21:20-22)

And the wicked will not escape.

For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation." (Lk 19:43-44)

And because they didn’t understand, They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.” (Lk 17:37)

Under God’s curse, Jerusalem will appear as a corpse. The Roman scavenger (who’s military standard is the eagle) will eat the remains of the carcass Jerusalem. In the OT, the eagle/vulture symbolized pagan nations who brought suffering upon Israel (Deut 28:49; Hab 1:8; Hos 8:1).

Obviously you’ve got the touch; these are very good. I never made the connections for any of these verses. Maybe I should get out my old study bible?

Take a look at Luke 12 and see if you can make some of these verses connect to the Kingdom. In particular how would you suggest verses 51 through 53 fit with Christ’s mission to create a new Church out of the Old, if at all? Actually, I’m in discussions on another forum and I’m having difficulty connecting these verses. I’ve got a few ideas but they seem a bit too tenuous. I’m either missing something or they don’t work in this context.

JoeT

Thanks for the compliment. I’d be lost with out my study bible.

Well it kind of goes along with the whole repent or parish message. Loyalty to Jesus is more important than family unity (Lk 14:25-33). Also:

Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved. "When you see the desolating abomination standing where he should not (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, (and) a person on a housetop must not go down or enter to get anything out of his house, and a person in a field must not return to get his cloak. (Mk 13:12-16)

The scenes of family strife recall (Mic 7:6), when the prophet condemns Jerusalem for her rampant injustices (Mic 6:9-7:10). Although families were suffering internal division, Micah assures Israel that the faithful will be vindicated by God. Also Ezek 22. Jesus is refering to these oracles to paint a similair portrait of Jerusalem in his own day: disciples may suffer persecution, but they will be vindicated and delivered in the end.

Here is something to consider. The Church is the Kingdom because the Lord is head of his own body, but don’t focus only on the Church. The Kingdom is complex. Jesus is the Kingdom. The Kingdom is the active lordship of the king. It is God’s actual sovereignty over the world, in a new significant way.

So, when Jesus says the “kingdom of God is in your midst”, he is talking about himself. There is some truth to the interpretation of the interiority of the kingdom, but that is not sufficient. It is the Lord himself, and not simply his physical presence, but in his actions accomplished in the Holy Spirit in union with the Father. For example, “But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Lk 11:20). It is in and through him that the Kingdom of God becomes present here and now. It draws near through him

Now jump to (Lk 12:49-50). It is totally about the Kingdom. Jesus is present in the world ushering in God’s active lordship, but the fire he talks about comes in (Acts 2:3 Lk 3:16), and his judgment on sinners in (Mt 22:7) and divine purification in (1 Pet 1:7).

I guess what I’m saying is, the Kingdom is more than the Church. Sometimes Church and Kingdom work in scripture but it can’t be forced to work that way. There is more to the Kingdom.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.