Interpreting Jesus. What was he really teaching?
I read a book a while back about interpreting Bible, and here is a bible verse and an interpretation. I doubt many Christians will agree with it but I do, and I’m a Christian. The book is simply about about interpreting the Bible as it was meant to be interpreted.
The verse is from 2Thessalonians Chapter 1 and it reads:
“The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of the Lord’s power.”
Here is part of the explanation of this verse from the book.
”This may make some people who believe they are saved feel very comfortable. But does it sound like the Jesus who could forgive even those who crucified him? Could this come from Jesus, who made forgiveness a cardinal point in the great prayer (the Lord’s Prayer)? Could Jesus, who made love of neighbor the test of whether or not you were a follower of his, have dealt in this spirit of vengeance?”(1)
The text was never meant to imply that Jesus would come back to punish the people who knew not God. That is not the meaning. That is not the teaching of Jesus, and that is not the kind of God I believe in, depend on and worship.
Those “that know not God” are not the people that do not go to a certain church, nor the people who don’t buy into the Baptist faith, or the Methodist faith, or the Church of Christ faith, or the Catholic faith, or the Mormon faith, or whatever faith. Nor does it mean people who’s lifestyle may be different from our own, people we may not approve of. No. Those who know not God are the negative things in each one of us that are wiped out when Christ (the Christ within us) dominates our hearts and lives. To me that’s what really makes sense. The interpretations most churches use, the ones implying eternal punishment and damnation for those of us who are less than perfect but not necessarily downright evil, never did make sense to me. Those interpretations, in my opinion, have nothing to do with the real and living God and what Jesus was trying to teach. Jesus’ mission was to teach people the truth about God and how to depend on God. Period. He did a great job doing just that, but sadly it’s all been so twisted and made to fit people’s own interpretations and selfish motives that much of what we are taught today has little to do with what Jesus was really saying, and what his true mission was. Jesus taught that God can and will do miraculous things in our lives if we just ask, believe and receive, as “The Secret” says. We reap what we sew, good and bad, in this life and the next. When this life ends and we enter into the next one, we will be exactly where we should be according to what we did in this life.
That’s my opinion anyway.
(1) Emmet Fox, “Diagrams For Living” Harper One, 1-1-93