An interesting Article: THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE by Alvin Boyd Kuhn

THE FOLLOWING IS A “SPIRITUAL VIEW” OF THE MEANING OF THE FALL OF MAN,THE TREE OF LIFE & THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF DEATH: TAKE WHAT YOU CAN FROM THE MEANING “BUT BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVERDO THE SPIRITUAL AND MISS THE LITERAL TRUTH!The story of Creation in Genesis contains the item that represents mankind as having been condemned to eternal death as the consequence of our first parents’ disobedience to God’s command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of life and knowledge which is in the midst of the Garden of Eden. Here we are confronted with another of those features of the great allegorical drama of creation that has more than baffled the best efforts of theologians and scholars for two millennia……………………….. What the individual learns in his childhood serves him throughout life, for the memory of childhood is everlasting. It is the same with humanity in its infancy. The early races were all given the systems of moral and spiritual philosophy, done in myths and dramas, so that the graphs of living truth should never be wanting for human instruction in wisdom. The evidence is mountain high that all early peoples were the beneficiaries of essentially the same original body of sage wisdom, and that this primal deposit was the one unitary source of all the world’s religions. They are thus proven to have been the “one true religion” at the start. By recovering that deposit the greatest need of the world today could readily be met, – a universal religion for all mankind. Toward this desirable consummation the present series should contribute no mean impulse, since its articles will come close to reconstructing in to the outlines and substance of that mighty truth of old time.


The Tree of Knowledge was one feature of that great formulation that depicted truth in graphs and symbols. The Sages of antiquity did not have far to go to find not only apt and felicitous, but absolutely inerrant types, symbols and mimeographs of the cosmic laws and principles they had in mind to picture forth. The tools and instruments for truth’s portrayal lay right at hand, or right outside the door. They were present in multitudinous form in the world of living nature. The sky, the earth, the ocean; vegetation and animal life; the universal daily phenomena of natural forces supplied the materials able to clarify the speech of truth. These ancient dramatists knew a fact that we are largely ignorant of, – that the processes and phenomena of creatural life are everywhere themselves, the pictorial dramatizations of universal verity. They knew that every tree, bush, insect, worm, beast, every tumbling rill upon the hillside, every cloud, snowflake, mist and rainfall, was each in its way a visible delineation of cosmic principle. For these processes and creations were themselves the outward visible manifestation of the Soul of the Universe that was working to give itself concrete expression in myriads of variant forms. They were themselves truth come alive in the actual world. They were Universal Spirit’s ideas that were now crystallized in material form in the outer world. They were God’s archetypal ideas concreted in atomic matter, as an architect’s ideas become substantialized in brick, mortar, wood, stone and iron. And precisely so. God, the great Architect, first formed in his cosmic mind the shape of things to come in his purposed new creation and it was over their ideal pattern that he later formed the physical universe. In our benighted ignorance today we deride the idealist. But unless the individual is at all times striving to build his life in conformity with the pattern of a noble ideal, he will get nowhere except possibly to that bourne of all aimless drifting, or to the asylum over the hill. Psychology tells us now in tones we dare not disregard, that minds break down because of their want of aim, purpose and meaning in the struggle of life. Bizarre and almost ridiculous as it sounds in the ears of modern people, it can be said truly that Philosophy is and must ever be man’s true savior.

But the sublimest truths and ideals are pictured to us ubiquitously in the commonest things in nature. Possibly the commonest things in the world are trees. Just because this object is so common, it must be presumed to embody universal ideation in truest form. It does so indeed. When nature tells a story it cannot be false, it cannot lead the mind astray. Nature can tell nothing but the truth, because it is truth itself come to view in the actual world. Philosophers have argued for ages whether the actual things such as trees, rocks, streams, are real things, or only the appearance of real things. The whole visible world of things may be an illusion of man’s mind, they contend. The obvious truth is that these things are indeed the appearance of real things, for they have emerged from the invisible world of noumenon or divine thought and made their appearance in this outer world of actuality. They were not, however, mere appearance in the sense of being an unreal semblance of ghost or shadow of reality, as has so generally been the way of describing them. They were the forms of reality itself, arrival at actualization in our world. Philosophy needs to make this vital correction in its thinking. Anything that is must be real. The philosophical dispute over reality or illusion is only a matter of relativity, contingent upon the levels of consciousness that is present to evaluate reality. Anything is real to that level of consciousness that can cognize it, but real for that level and not for other levels. A radio wave a eight hundred is real for the receiving instrument set to catch that frequency. It is not real a different set of the dial. Man – and the philosophers – had better settle this question of reality on the basis of a naïve acceptance, that our experience here is real. This world is real, terribly real, for us. It may not be real for cherubim and seraphim; but that should not mislead us, as it has done some misguided “spiritual” religionists in our own day and all past days, into thinking we can treat this world as unreal. Along that ideological path lie the whitened bones of many a wrecked personality, philosophically and psychologically speaking.

The tree, as symbol, tells the story of life with marvelous completeness and vivid explicitness. In its shape and configuration it is almost a picture itself of the structure of the cosmic creative plan, and it is a a true picture of man’s ideological conception of the form and modus of life manifestation, If one were to try to diagram the processes of creation, one’s pencil would almost find itself tracing a figure that would much resemble a tree. Why? Because one would have to draw a heavy line out from a plane of rootage or origin, like the ground, representing the one first and undifferentiated stream of creative energy, and then branch it out into two streams and again divide these and their branches and branchlets into ever-multiplying separation and division. For that is precisely how the creative impulse emerges from its basal center and branches out into numberless arms and lines of force, to permeate at last the whole area of the universe it is to create.

The tree and the river were the two most apt and frequently used symbols of the outflow of living energy in creation. The one so vividly depicted the emanation of the life stream from one undivided source and the subsequent dividing and branching; thus typifying the emanative or involuntionary direction of life outward at the beginning of a creative period. The other equally graphically symbolized the return or evolutionary direction from the many terminal streamlets back into the one main channel and the universal ocean. For the tree emanates from the ground as one shoot, to divide later into many. The stream begins with multitudinous rills and springs and ends by reuniting them all in the common sea. When typological genius wished to show that the two forces of life, the outgoing and the returning, conjoin and intermingle their energies in the worlds of manifestation – as they do in man’s sphere and in his body – they represented the two as working together. Speaking of the righteous man, the beautiful language of the Bible says: “He shall be like a tree planted by the river of water.” The Solomon’s Seal, or interlaced double triangle of esoteric symbolism is a monograph of this interrelation, as the one triangle points downward, the other upward. The downward direction represents the descent of soul into matter, the upward typifies the return back to infinite spiritual source. The Nordic mythology, however, pictured the two directions by portraying the great Tree of Life, Ygdrasil, as both rooted in earth, reaching up to heaven, and also rooted in heaven, extending its arms downward to earth. Involution brings life downward and branching out toward and upon earth; evolution takes it back to the empyrean. The banyan, and less visibly, other trees exemplify both directions. Any tree goes down to earth as seed or shoot, and returns to heaven as developing body.

Thus the tree, along with the stream, was employed by the ancient mythicists of divine truth as the symbol of first, the distribution, and then the reuniting of the living rivers of creative power that, like the four in Genesis issued forth from the being of God and returned to him. The magnificent Greek esoteric philosophy – the suggested revival of which can be the answer to the world’s great cry for humanitarian culture today – represented the gods, who are the long arms and agents of God’s own working energy, as being the “distributors of divinity”. No phrase could be more enlightening for our dull powers of comprehension. Jesus says: “I came to send fire over the earth”, and he later, illustrating his meaning by breaking a loaf of bread into pieces and distributing one to each of his disciples, declared that he was breaking his body into fragments so that a piece might be distributed to each. Again he exemplified this division in “multiplying” the loaves and the fishes to feed the enhungered multitude. All was drawn to illustrate the great and forgotten principle of the ancient “divine theology” that the rays and streams of creative force that flow forth from the heart of God issue first as one undivided stream, then break and divide endlessly to reach and supply every nook and cranny of being in the universe. The Greeks called these streams of formative power “rivers of vivification”. They start out from heaven as one undifferentiated current and reach the periphery of creation in countless branchlets. Then, having gone out and done their work of “watering all the face of the ground”, they precisely like the capillaries of our own blood system, turn back from their numberless end springs and begin to merge the many into fewer, and finally end in the One from which they emanated. If that does not picture to the mind even of the dullest the methodology and processes of God’s creative work, it is hard to conceive how we can be taught obvious truth.

It is interesting to learn of the particular trees which the Sages chose as typical of creative mode. The northern nations used the ash and the pine, the latter because of its thrilling suggestion of the soul’s immortality by its remaining ever-green in winter, the period of “death”. The Druids, as well as the Greeks, used the oak. Mediterranean an Eastern religions used variously the palm, the olive, the banyan, the pine, tamarisk or tamarand or tamarack, the fig, the boddhi, juniper, cypress, cedar, ilex, persea, locust or acacia (the sacred tree of Masonry), and the fig under the name of sycamore. (Gerald Massey calls it the sycamore-fig). Revelation speaks of the two witnesses, whom it calls the “two olive trees”. Egyptian texts speak of the “two divine sycamore trees of heaven and earth”, a most revealing nomenclature indeed, since the description enables us at last to know what these two witnesses or the “two trees” in reality connote. They are now clearly seen to be the two streams of living power, the one emanating from heaven, the other rising up from earth, whose correlated work carries life through each of its great cycles. The one witness is the stream of involution flowing forth, the other the stream of evolution flowing back, – carrying its gains with it. The mysterious sealed meaning of many a text in the Bible has had to wait these two thousand years for the discovery of the Rosetta Stone (in 1796) to supply the key to a lost interpretation. Egypt will redeem a decadent Christianity and its baffling Bible. The time for Christian scorning of “paganism” is past.

There is now to be sought the solution of the perplexing dialectical problem involved in the conventional, time-honored and orthodox, but not rationally intelligible, theological propositions based on the Genesis verses which seem to declare that man was forbidden by divine command to eat the fruit of the tree of life and knowledge. Language is incompetent to convey any adequate realization of the damaging stultification of wholesome common sense which the utterly bungled and garbled distortion of the purport of this supposed divine ordinance has inflicted upon Western mankind over many centuries. The “forbidden fruit” and man’s alleged disobedience to God in the eating of it and the penalty incurred for all humanity thereby have become bogies of Frankenstein proportions, charging the general conscience of the Occident world with a paralyzing obsession of wonder, doubt, fear and vicarious remorse for all too many ages. The psychological devastation and havoc wrought upon sensitive minds indoctrinated from childhood with this baneful conception is past all calculation. Its doleful preeminence in the center of the West’s structure of theology amply justifies its place in the first three lines of Milton’s great epic:

“Of man’s first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world and all our woe.”

Gruesome and blighting have been the fatalistic implications of the theological legend that the eating of the fruit of a tree – in literal sense – by our “first parents” caused the “fall” of man and fastened upon the race of their descendants for all the future the penalty of expulsion from a land of Paradise and a life of toil, pain and sorrow upon the earth, with death the inevitable casualty in the end. It has lurked in the murky shadows of the Western subconscious, a threat to happiness and a rasping brake upon the natural joyous zest for life. Only the robust rebuff to the theological imposition by the natural hearty strength of man’s instinctive sense of the preciousness of life, in spite of the deadening power of miasmatic religious misconceptions, has reduced to some mild extent the crushing consequences of the falsification. Had the West been disposed to subjective introversion as was the East, the fatal aftermath of its blind addiction to a weird and macabre theology such as that haunting prevalent belief, would have been catastrophic beyond all credence. It would have sunk the Occident in a morass of morbidity that would have sickened its whole moral psychology. Indeed to a degree not commonly glimpsed it has actually done just this, in spite of all the West’s aggressive objectivity and extraversion of view. Protagonists of other religions, debating with Christianity, could well say that Christianity is the religion that has afflicted its devotees with the conviction of universal sin, and that without reference to the sinner’s merit or demerit. It has convicted them of sin before they were born. What the psychological resultant of such a general persuasion and infatuation on the minds of billions of people over the generations since Bethlehem could be, and tragically has been, the modern revelations of the science of Psychoanalysis are well prepared to inform us. This science asserts that for every depressing mental influence we have to pay a heavy penalty in the form of inhibitions,neuroses, pathologies and wretchedness grievous to contemplate. The enormity of this psychic bill is beyond estimate.

This cultural catastrophe is all the more unaccountable because there are other verses and clear statements in the Bible that virtually contradict or flatly controvert every implication of the divine command as theology has taken it. Reason and philosophy should of themselves have intimated to any thinking mind that God could not in simple consistency place man in a garden of life and then forbid him to eat the fruits of its living experience. Tragic mistake on a world-wide scale could have been averted if human reason had not been subverted by doctrinal obsession. With life given, and knowledge the certain fruit of its experience, a modicum of logical thinking could have assured the reason that God’s alleged command at once convicted him of dialectical inconsistency. It accuses him of both giving life and forbidding him to live it in the same breath. How could it be seen as compatible with itself that God would place man in the world of life, order him to grow and multiply, and then deny him the right to partake of the fruit of his experience, and predominantly of the fruit of that one tree that yields life and knowledge, both inevitable and indispensable to his increase and multiplication?

The artistry of ancient allegorism caught the world at a low point of its intelligence and mired the interpretative mind in Christianity in the worst slough of misconception ever to afflict the human fancy. Our dullness of comprehension and blank stupidity in handling our great heritage of ancient mythicism have marred and scarred the face of history.

But if reason failed to avert the mental cataclysm, there are things in the Bible which should have counteracted the direful aberrancy. If the eating of the fruit of the tree of life is seemingly forbidden in the third chapter of Genesis, it is, on the contrary expressly asserted as man’s right in the last chapter of the Bible. The Book flatly contradicts in its last chapter what it seems to say in its first ones. The 14th verse of the final (22nd) chapter of Revelation runs as follows: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Here man’s right to eat of the tree is enunciated in forthright terms. Likewise one does not find anything like forbiddance in the statement in the Bible that “the leaves of three shall be for the healing of the nations”. Unfortunately the illuminating power of such a verse has been dimmed by the ignorance of all that this tree is the same one as that in the garden. All this sad mental mishap has come from failure to know that the Bible is beautiful allegory and not weird and eccentric “history”. Allegory talks of but one tree, for symbols carry but one specific connotation. History would argue that this tree of the healing leaves was another tree. It would even try to locate it somewhere on some mountain or in some valley, as it has tried to locate the garden itself in the Euphrates Valley. Just in passing one can mention the sacred tree of Tibetan lore, called Mani-Koum-Boum, or the “tree of the ten thousand precepts”. It was asserted that on the under side of every leaf was written a golden precept of religious truth. One reads that it stood on the temple ground in some locality. That such a figure to cover splendid truth should have led minds into egregious folly is pitiable. An astute mind with a moment’s reflection can see that it is a dramatization or symbolization of the very great truth that the forces of life branch out into living expression, and that each factual experience, poetized as one leaf on this mighty tree, unfolds its own moral lesson, or precept, for the creature living it! The fantastic literal idea corrupts and diseases the mind, the allegorical redaction of it frees and sanifies it. Tolstoy, the great Russian, in 1911 had a remarkable vision of the Balkan wars and the first world war, all of which was accurately fulfilled. One of the features of his vision still to come to reality was that he saw religion saving itself by returning to symbol and allegory. The early learned Christian Fathers urged the allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures! Later and less learned ones excoriated and anathematized them. The result of the latter blunder is only too inexpressibly apparent in a million forms of mental delusion and psychological wreckage under our eyes in the history past and present.

The recondite elements of the allegory have utterly miscarried and piteously misled the credulous minds of religionists for these many centuries. The tree of life is the branching stream of living experience, and the gods sent man into this mundane milieu expressly to partake of its fruits to the full measure of his capability. The conception of the forbidden fruit in its gross theological and popularly accepted form, it must be said, is close to the most outrageous delusion of human belief ever to snare man’s gullible fancy.

The sentence in the last chapter of Revelation completely upsets the idea that first man violated divine law or disobeyed God in the garden. It asserts man’s right to eat of the tree’s fruit.

Representations and vignettes found in ancient documents picture the scene of the “temptation” in the garden. There is the tree, with the woman standing close beside its branches, the serpent reaching out its head from the foliage and whispering into her ear, while she hands a cup of the juice of the fruit of the tree to her husband at her side. It the allegory done over in vignette.

What the juice of the fruit of the tree signifies is most necessary to understand if one is to discern the full relevance of every item of the symbolism. It is glaringly obvious and there is no excuse for its having been missed for so long, to the universal detriment of mankind. What is fruit juice? It is the liquid essence which is forced out under physical pressure and contains in it the inmost essence of the fruit’s powers of nourishment. This description adumbrates for us a large segment of the meaning of all experience. It hints volubly at the great fact that all life is constituted of finer essences contained within coarser shells, and needing to be express (out-pressed) through the pressure of life’s physical circumstances. In the tree there is the hard exterior, then the fluid sap and within that the vital essence. Matching this in man, there is his gross outer physical body, within that the blood, and in that, as we know, the pranic electricity of life. All of this furnishes us with an analogy with experience itself. Externally our experience consists of physical acts, states and phenomena, first. But a step farther inward it consists of conscious reactions to the crude physical contacts; first sensation; then, a step inward, emotion; another step inward, and as the result of sense and emotion, thought is generated; and still going inward, there is aroused at last the final spiritual being of the man in an assertion of will and purpose, the ultimate response.

Now it requires it requires a vast quantity of outer experience to reach deeply within and deposit its final effects upon the innermost soul, and, so to say, squeeze out its spiritual reaction. Just as it takes hundreds of tons of crude coal to produce by distillation an ounce of sublimated power in radium form, so it takes vast quantities of crude physical, sensual, and emotional experience to generate in the depths of being one single dynamic realization, one single flash of more splendid light, in the profoundest depths of consciousness. It is a most edifying analogy and a true one.

The most sublimated and hence most precious essence of the meaning and the good of man’s conscious experience must thus be forced out to realization under pressure of vast amounts of outer sensual experience. Of this process and phenomenon the squeezing out of the juice of the fruit of a tree is the perfect analogue and outer type.

The juice of the fruit of the tree of life and knowledge is therefore to be sense in a powerful mental way and understood as the ultimate soul reaction, or deposit in consciousness, from the whole process of mortal experience. Man partakes of this life-giving nectar, this wine of life, just in so far as his experience presses upon him with sufficient force to draw out from his deepest soul its divinest reactions.

And now comes a startling release of lost truth, impressive and significant enough in itself to cause a furore in religious circles. It is beyond dispute that the cup of this living essence, this sap of the tree of life, this juice of the fruit of the living tree of creation which the woman offers to the man in Genesis, is the same cup which the Jesus character in the New Testament, in his agonizing cry from the cross, pleads that his Father may let pass from him! After the first shock of its revelation, this statement should not be considered as either so strange or so unlikely, when another release of forgotten truth and another astonishing dénouement of a correct following of symbolism, brings up beside it the similar pronouncement, even more revealing, that the Tree of the creation garden is the same tree as that on which Jesus was crucified! “Him whom ye slew and hanged on a tree” is one of the Bible passages which uses the word “tree” instead of “cross”. It is not know that there are extant many old legends of ancient days in which the tradition was kept alive that the cross of Golgotha was cut from the wood of a tree which had been propagated from a branch, seed or shoot of the Tree of Paradise. Legend has sometimes preserved truth more securely than written Scripture. It is markedly so in this case.

When the allegorical -symbolic nature of ancient Biblical composition is better known, there will be no question that the Christ was crucified on the Tree of Life. As this tree keeps on unfolding its growth throughout the lengthy cycle, obviously the Christos must be represented as being crucified on its continuing fresh propagations from generation to generation.

Likewise Jesus was tempted by Satan, “that old serpent” of Revelation; And so we have four central items of the same story, the tree, the cup, the serpent and the temptation, in both the Genesis and the New Testament formulations of the archaic typology. These marks of identity between the two sweep aside all possible chicanery that has been resorted to to hold them apart as separate and different historical episodes! The certification of this identity constitutes a revelation and a revolution of gigantic proportions in all religious systemology. It renders obsolete at one stroke a whole vast mass of theological lucubration, heavy and sodden, that has deplorably misconceived and misrepresented the true and luminous meaning of the fabric of theology. The benignant rays of a new dawn of light and understand break above the horizon with this announcement.

Equally revolutionary in it significance must be seen to be the next point of exegesis – that of the identity of the character of the “serpent” in the drama. The grand enlightenment which the creation story was designed to give the world has been sadly bedimmed by our sheer inability properly to identify the characters enacting the great cosmic scenario. In ecclesiastical religion not a word has been uttered in centuries that would give the remotest intimation as to the true reference of this subtle villain of the creation piece. Still the ignorant gape and their wonder grows as to why God, omnipotent and all wise, allowed a snake to come in to annoy the first human pair and so quickly seduce them to their – and our – eternal “fall”. Common reasoning suggests that it was a bit unfair and inconsiderate of the Almighty Father to throw a giant temptation in the way of our first progenitors at the very first moment of their career. One must think that he should at least have given them time to get their bearings and learn by experience the operation of his divine laws for their guidance, before bearing down on them with a stern and grim prohibition, with their eternal destiny dangling on the issue.

Common credulity and as ignorant seminary tutelage have assumed that, from all the surface intimations of the story, the crafty serpent was the arch enemy of God and a fell plotter against his good work. Corrected understanding must clear this dramatis persona of both wicked plotting and enmity against the Supreme. One of the very first sects of early Christians was that of the Ophites who “worshipped” the serpent (Greek: ophis) as their prime symbol. A naïve mistaught Christian would from this jump to the conclusion that these Hebrew Christians must have been of the status of savage tribesmen under the horrid delusion that their God was the serpent. But we can see that if even Moses raised up the serpent on the cross in the wilderness, acting assumedly under God’s control, that in some fashion or other this fearsome reptile must have stood as symbol of something on the good side of the meaning.

Ordinary familiarity with the serpent symbol of ancient literature, especially of the uraeus-snake of the Egyptians, and a wiser study of comparative religion, would have obviated the world-wide and age-old blunder of mistaking the serpent for a hostile element in the work of creation. People have been puzzled, after reading the stories of the evil serpent, to hear the Divine Teacher in the New Testament enjoin upon his followers to “be wise as serpents”. Popular Christian belief has surely reduced the mythical representation of great cosmic truth in its own Scriptures to a mélange of incomprehensible oddities.

The graphic and vivid instructive significance of this animal symbol inheres in the suggestive hints and analogues which the creature supplies to thought. Sagacity in olden times quickly caught at a quite thorough-going analogy between its shape, its characteristics and life habitudes, and the general form of evolutionary processes themselves. Its length of body, permitting it to coil, in general spiral shape, around seven folds, with its head rising at the top or culmination, furnished a striking picturization of the great creative force itself. Like the serpent, this energy swings ever seven times around its great and lesser cycles, and erects its culminating product, which is clearly enough the higher consciousness centering in the head, at the topmost point of attainment. The snake lying coiled seven times round on itself formed a circular central hole, which was called by the Greeks “the snake’s hole”, or the Cycle of Necessity (kuklos anagkes – the Kukl-os becoming cycl-e in English). This was to emblemize the inescapable necessity of the soul’s swinging seven times through the rounds of the elements to gain its evolutionary growth.

The serpent, then, accurately typifies, and as dramatic figure in the allegory, represents the great Cyclic Law, or Law of Evolution, which takes all creatural life swinging eternally round the seven-ringed cycles of incarnation in lower grades of matter. Without this immersion in matter’s depths and the increase in growth accruing therefrom, the soul could not further evolve. The serpent symbolizes, therefore, the wholly beneficent law of life itself. As nearly as we can paraphrase it in modern parlance, the serpent is just the “natural law”.

But now, as, for the sake of dramatic representation and the accentuation, for weak human ideation, of the difference in cosmic rank, and opposition of function, between the automatic natural law of physis, (as the Greeks called it) and the higher spiritual law of the divine mind,the first being, as with us, God’s subconscious activities, and the second his conscious directing intelligence, the dramatists painted the crawling reptile that carried the symbolism of the lower automatism in the colors of (comparative) evil. The two laws, the natural and the spiritual, operating jointly in man’s nature, do stand in contrariety, even in a sense in opposition to each other. As soon as life bifurcates into the eternal duality of spirit and matter, soul and body, the two forces are set in opposition to each other. But thousands of years of acumen to evaluate this opposition in its true measure and proportion of balanced understanding. The gross misconception to which all ancient symbolization of high and abstruse truth has been subjected and by which it has been mutilated into a veritable travesty of its true interior sense, has wrought havoc with the original high purport of the construction. It has mistaken the opposition of relation, position and function, for the opposition of moral and spiritual design and purpose.It has mistaken the opposition of polarity for the opposition of good and evil. Or, it has misconceived the opposition as of right and left, lever and fulcrum, symmetry and balance, fingers and thumbs, for the opposition of evil to good. It has taken one of the two opposing arms of being that uphold the worlds and, abstracting it out of its relation to the whole process, declared it to be evil. All work, including all creative work, is accomplished by the mutual exertion of force against resistance and of resistance against force. And what folly for philosophers so far to forget themselves as to fall into the error of calling the resistant force evil, because it seems to be blocking the effort of the working force! Both are equally necessary and are therefore equally beneficent and good. They are the two halves of total being. It is their function to balance, to stabilize and finally to actualize the values their tension brings to birth. If one of them failed to stand up to its nature and function, the other would collapse with it immediately. It is the pull and attraction between the two that upholds the universe. Their cooperation is that of function and instrument, purpose and means, and it is required that they take their place a opposite ends of the polarity and provide for each other the resistance that alone would stabilize their activities at given times and locations in the cosmos. No more is the opposition of matter and spirit evil than is the opposition of man and woman, darkness and light, heat and cold. Life could not advance to higher ends in its unfoldment if the two ends of the everlasting polarity were not opposed to each other and countervailing against each other. They are opposed to each other; yes, in sheer mode of function, but certainly not opposed in ultimate aim and goodness.

Reckless misconception of the opposition of polarities has introduced into all religion the most damaging eccentricities of belief and conduct perhaps ever recorded on the weak side of human ideation. The story is too gruesome and horrifying to recount. It has caused billions of minds to live under the darksome shadow of the presupposition that nature, the world, the flesh, the very body of man – as against his soul – the natural functions and desires, the very enjoyment of man’s life in the body, are all foul forms of evil. It has led millions in all ages to attempt to crush and mortify the natural bodily side of their lives. (A later work will deal exhaustively with this feature)

It is so deeply interwoven in the texture of the present essay in relation to the tree of knowledge that it had to be given cursory introductory treatment. It can be seen that the ability of man’s philosophical sagacity to discern rightly the very truth here expounded, and so to balance his life between the two functional pressures of the good and the evil, as there are seen in the common human view, and to realize that ultimately all things, in spite of appearances to the contrary, are working together for his good and are good in themselves, understanding them as the good divided into its bipolar aspects of function and instrument, balancing, not thwarting each other, – this ability of man to achieve one aspect of this balance in the conceptual realization that the opposition of the two is wholly beneficent and salutary, is itself one of the prime goals of his life.

Hence it is woven into the story in the very name of the tree. The tree of life bears on its outermost branches the ultimate buds and blossoms and fruits of knowledge, which fruits consist of man’s final attainment of the genius to know that both good and evil, as apparent to lower discrimination, become resolved in a higher synthesis of understanding, in which both merge into that which lies “beyond good and evil”. But it takes the whole experience of life in earthly bodies – and the ancients added, many such lives – to open the eyes of mortals to the perception of the non-reality of the apparent opposition between good and evil. So it was not until the human pair – themselves an expression of the polarduality – the “opposition” of man and woman – had eaten of the “forbidden” fruit that “that the eyes of them were opened”. For the serpent had expressed to the woman the very essence of the paragraph here written, that if they ate of the fruit of this tree, “then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”.

Here is the clinching certification that man’s deification, the distant goal and crowning achievement of his long course of evolution, comes with and through his rising in mind estate to the mountain-top of vision wherefrom he can see good and evil melt together in one transcendent consummation of beneficence.

Again the last chapter of the Bible supplements and illustrates the first ones. Nothing is more revealing than its second verse. The seer announces that the spirit has shown him the “pure river of the water of life, proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb”. And in the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

Hardly could there be found a more sublime delineation of the graph of man’s historical existence and its scheme of unfoldment anywhere in poetic literature. The great stream of vivific creative energy flow forth from the highest or innermost seat of Being and nourishes the growth of this tree of constructive organic existence, man’s creatural life among the rest. The most luminous item of the depiction is that the tree grows on either side of the river of water. In this single phrase, had esoteric penetration prevailed over stupid literalism, was to be seen the immediate rebuke and denial of that vast sweep of pious religionism and alleged “spiritual” philosophy which elevated and worshipped spirit and equally deprecated nature, matter and body. For the tree has, and must have, its roots firmly grounded in both banks of the stream, the spiritual and the material. Here is truth mankind sorely needs, and never so as now. The fate of religion, philosophy, human culture, hangs precariously in the balance until this point is certified in all thinking minds.

Genesis does not expressly say that the tree bears “twelve manner of fruits”, but Revelation does. Again here is mighty instruction. Man, it was once known, is to evolve in his entire live course twelve distinct forms or faculties of higher consciousness, to which he will give full function as becomes the god he is destined to be. This basic knowledge was the ground and origin of all the divisions of twelves in arcane literature and religious symbolism. It is generic for the twelve months of the year, the twelve hours (twice) of the day, the twelve tribes of Israel or sons of Jacob,the twelve disciples of the Christos, who were “shepherds” under the sign of Aries, “fishermen” under that of Pisces, the twelve stone pillars in ancient temples, the twelve lines of the four faces of the great pyramid, and many another twelvefold type of depiction. Men will be as gods when they shall have perfected these twelve fruits each “month” is a further play on the symbolism of the evolutionary process, in which each cyclic period is thought of as producing its given spiritual product in regular order of growth.

The significance of the poetic assertion that “the leaves of the tree shall be for the healing of the nations” is of transcendent value; and again it has been missed by purblind religiosity. Why it is the leaves, and not the roots or trunk or branches, that are to heal mankind, is the point of keen allegorical reference that must be brought out. The instruction for us here lies hidden in the realization that the leaves a re periodical and distinctly cyclic manifestation in the life of tree. They are projected seasonally on the outer body of the perennial and live and die in a regular periodicity. The life of the permanent body of the tree annually pushes out beyond its previous boundary and builds for itself a new extension of its body through which it can experience a new era of growth. The permanent soul of being must put itself forth to exercise in new embodiment constantly and recurrently. The soul of the tree has its seasonal experience in this transient vehicle, produces its fruit and withdraws at the cycle’s end, appropriating the products of its annual activity in the leaf, but leaving the outer body of that leaf to wither and die off in the winds of autumn.

In the face of this eternally repeated demonstration of life’s processes it is futile for stolid ignorance to deny any longer the methodology by which it carries the gains of one cycle over to use as capital in the endlessly following cycles. It speaks in unquestioned tones of affirmation of the universal ancient and early Christian thesis that spirit reincarnates in material bodies over and over till the day of its perfection in each cycle’s range of teaching power. The Church violently threw out the doctrine in the six century at the Second Council of Constantinople, but it harbored it until that time. It would be well if this prominent fact of Church history were not so sedulously concealed. The Successive incarnations of units of spiritual Mind, which are the “Sons of God”, individualized seed fragments of God’s own consciousness, in bodies of physical matter on a given planet are indeed the “leaves” put forth by the tree of life season after season, and these incarnations and the experience they give the souls undergoing them shall truly enough be “for the healing of the nations”. For only through repeated embodiment in such mundane vessels of flesh can the soul from God gain that long course of instruction and enlightenment that will eventually, through the opening of its eyes to truth, heal it of all the imperfections that limit and distress it because of its ignorance at the start. The tree is the Tree of Knowledge, and its twelve fruits are those twelve segments of complete divine understanding and mastery of life’s deepest secrets. With such perfected wisdom will the men of the nations of mankind heal their infirmities and unfold their lives in beauty and happiness. How insistently the Book of Proverbs drives home the preciousness of knowledge, wisdom and understanding, asserting that they surpass in value all that the heart can desire. And specifically it says that they shall be “health” to the man possessing them. Only through continued incarnation can the soul rise to the point of knowledge which will enable it to free itself from all its ills.

The annual round of living activities of the tree form a perfect analogue of the similar activities of the tree of life in every higher and vaster sphere of being in the universe. We have lost the principles of the great illuminating science of analogy. The tree teaches us irrefutably and inescapably that a permanent and eternal part of life, namely the soul of divine consciousness, periodically puts forth into manifestation an arm of its power, which expresses itself in a cycle of birth, growth, maturity, decay and “death”, appropriates to itself the increment of growth gained thereby, and withdraws into the invisible world of spiritual being at the end. If, then, man is made in the image and likeness of this cosmic pattern, it must be true beyond debate that a permanent and eternal part of him – his immortal soul – periodically puts forth a ray of its own power in order to relate itself to the forces at play in the material world, appropriates the harvest of many such repeated experiences and thus increases its own expansion into infinite divinity and glory of conscious being. The tree settles this debate beyond cavil.

It is necessary next to extract from the allegory the hidden meaning of the puzzling item of the “temptation” of the women by the serpent and of the man by woman.

This “temptation” has been another of the numberless characterizations designed to portray recondite truth that have caught the dullard intellect of the West in the toils of its cryptic subterfuge. People of incapacity for reflection have wondered without end why God, just and fair in his judgments (“the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether”), would permit a “wicked adversary” such as the theological Satan, “that old serpent”, to connive to torment his most righteous servant Job, and here in Genesis to scheme subtly to defeat God’s own creative work in the formation of mankind. It has all come from the failure of philosophical acumen to catch the sane significance of the item of the opposition of polarities analyzed in an earlier paragraph. Due to this failure of insight there has been (mis) read into this term “temptation” a low human connotation of the word, which leaves the mind miles away from its intended significance. To “temp” is to present desirable nature with the hope that he may “bite” on it and thus fall into the designed trap set by the tempter. Common view at any rate has largely taken this for of understanding. A very minute element of this reference, perhaps, does inhere in the evolutionary situation which the Bible glyph is dealing with, but only in the most playful form. The real meaning is concerned to picture cosmic procedure, all of which is intrinsically normal and good.

The word itself -temptation – comes either from the Latin tento, “to try”, “to test”, to experiment with”, or from tempto, “to tempt”. It is likely that both these forms are but variants of one original root. In the first instance, if from tento it would carry the meaning of “to give trial to”, “to try out” in actual practice, “to test”, or “to put to the test or trial”. In this reference it would indicate that the “temptation” to which God subjects all his creatures – who are, be it remembered, the cells or members of his own body! – is nothing more nor less than his sending them out into incarnate life, his planting them in his gardens, that “they may have right to the tree of life” and grow by developing their latent capacities and powers through overcoming the “opposition” of inert matter in the duality of Life. In the Book of Revelation the seven great rewards are promised to “to him that overcometh”. To grow to higher beauty Spirit must overcome the inertia of matter. Its aeonial victory can be gained only as the outcome of incarnational effort, continue until the goal is attained. So God’s Sons must continuously reincarnate. This is to subject them to the tension that prevails between them and the force of matter. An this is the ordeal, the trial, the testing, the “tentation”, as it might better be named. It has nothing to do with the theological”sin” of disobedience whatsoever. It is God’s pathway for all his children, the natural beneficent course of his plan for their evolution.

If, on the other hand, the word derives from tempto, it stands related to an even more significant background of meaning. It would be revealed at once as being connected with the Latin word tempus, “time”. To “tempt” man would then be to bring his soul down from the realms of spirit, where all religions have asserted that consciousness lies above the human apperception of time – where time exists not – and throw it under the illusion of the time sense. To “tempt” man would be to subject him to the time consciousness. This type of consciousness comes through the reduction of higher mind to a lower tempo of vibration as it falls under the limitations of brain activity. And it would be hard to pick a truer psychological definition of the situation confronting the soul in the Genesis recital than this very one here depicted. It is exactly what happens in the genesis of humanity, and incarnation does expressly subject the soul to a reduction to the time sense. So the “temptation” is just another glyph for the descent of the soul into mundane life, with the hidden accentuation on the sad diminution of the soul’s powers under the trammels of the flesh. It is in the Greek philosophy of esotericism that one finds this rationalization of the soul’s loss of divine in exchange for human powers of consciousness so thoroughly illuminated. It in reality constitutes the loss of Paradise. For what is Paradise but a higher dimension of consciousness?

The “temptation”, then, resolves back into the same thing that is otherwise indicated as the meaning of all those other forms of the experience of the Son of God on earth: his baptism, crucifixion, transfiguration. All these refer to but one thing, the incarnation. All are but facets of the career of the divine fragment of soul when imprisoned in mortal body, or just that career viewed from the various angles of its involvement.

Few have ever asked the question why the temptation came first from the serpent to the woman and from her to the man. Yet this procedure points to most significant understanding. The point is that the cyclic law tempt woman first, because “woman” typifies matter (the word “matter” is identical with the Latin word for “mother”, mater), the eternal mother of all life, and matter is the first element visibly projected on the scene of creation. Matter, the mother, the “woman”, is the embodiment of the first grades of life and consciousness in a cyclical round, and is therefore first on the scene. Matters must be produced and brought to organic form, so as to generate the highly complex mechanisms of brain and nervous system, ere consciousness and spirit, the male principles, can be brought to birth and function. The “mother” must have grown to adulthood in the vast cycles of time, before she can produce her Christly offspring of divine mind. So the Cyclic Law, the old, old serpent, involves “woman” in its toils first. It “tempts” her in the lighter sense of the word, because it offers to every atom of her body an infinite career of growth and expansion to the eventual crowning goal of self-consciousness. So the “woman” takes and eats first.

Then matter produces the element of soul as its son, and having in its old age of the evolutionary cycle prepared the organic bodies capable of registering the high vibrations of a soul’s consciousness, it invites “man” (man is the Sanskrit verb meaning “to think”), the first thinker, to unit with it in partaking of the living experience and eating its glorious fruits. This all comports most harmoniously with the Bible’s statement already canvassed, that God formed man from the atomic dust, rendered as “the dust of the ground”, which in effect says that God formed man from atomic matter, the “woman”.

Now, since the Bible itself contradicts the popular conception as to the prohibition enjoined on man against eating of the tree of life, the great wonder arises as to how such an apparently direct and positive injunction found its way into the sacred text. This does not yield so readily to clear elucidation, yet the thesis here presented for the first time does provide the necessary elements of explanation. And this again constitutes an epochal disclosure.

It must be seen through the eyes of dramatism. These old formulations are dramatic allegories. The apparent, but by no means actual prohibition falls in because of a faulty way of transcribing the construction of the original story. It is possible, with the keys already in our hands, now to reconstruct the Genesis dialogue so as to see what a fuller account would have brought out in clearer focus.

What, then, has been taken to be God’s interdiction of man’s doing the very thing he was sent here to do must be reformulated so as to bring out what it was intended to convey – or more likely to conceal! The gist of the speech made by Kurios ho Theos (Lord the God) in which the fatal command was given, might be restated somewhat as follows: Here, Adam, the man, I have created you and placed you in the wonderful garden of life and consciousness. All the fruits of its many trees of thrilling experience you may eat. But the central and greatest tree of all is the tree of life and knowledge. This you will desire to eat; but I must make it clear to you: if you desire to partake of the fruit of this wondrous tree, you must suffer “death”.

Now, the entire clarification of the exegesis rest upon our correct understanding of one word, “death” and its verb “to die”. One of the later numbers of this series will deal with the lost theological meaning of these words. It has been already pronounced the most significant single revelation in religious study in modern times. Briefly put here, in anticipation of its fuller development in the later work, it may be stated that he Bible writers employed the words in that cryptic sense in which it was used in the Greek religious philosophy. There we find “death” used to denote the reduced state of the soul’s life when it descended into the earthly body and became torpid and inert under the slower pulse of life’s energies in the material worlds. Paul clearly states that the soul came under bondage to the law of sin and death “which is in our members” when in incarnation. In short ancient wisdom conceived and called the soul’s life i mortal body its “death” – on the “cross” of matter.

Here, then, is our key to man’s “death” coming with his “fall” in Genesis. Light shines at last. God laid down to his creatures the law of being, that under the irrevocable and inexorable Cycle of Necessity, if they wished to partake of all the largesse of his bounty in conscious life, they must know that it involved their descent into the valley of the shadow – of “death”. It is as if he said: If you wish to gain all this wondrous life, you must lose it , down in cyclical “death” in earthly body. To gain the distant heights of being you will have to cross the low valley, where the soul lies long buried in its earthly tomb. You will have to cross the blood-red sea of life in physical bodies, but I will be with you and the waves shall not overwhelm you.

One need not go outside the letter text of the Bible story itself to find the essential confirmation of the correctness of this reading. God issues his “command” – now better seen as a dramatized manual of instruction for his creature, man; and then the serpent, the Cyclic Law, has its rejoiner. Says it to the “woman” and through her to the “man”; God has told you only that if you eat of the fruit of the tree of life and knowledge, you will surely “die”. Now I must add that this is in reality not the death you think it is. Hear me further; I will give you the comforting assurance that if ye eat of this fruit, ye shall not die in any final sense; nay more, if ye eat of this fruit, ye shall from the eating thereof become as gods, knowing good and evil, for your eating will open your eyes to see all life with the understanding of gods.
And the revealing utterance of the serpent is his statement to Eve that “God doth know’ that the eating will make you as one of the Elohim, who know the eventual beneficence of the tension between good and evil .Unless this rendition is accepted, exegesis faces the insoluble problem of reconciling a vast logical inconsistency, if not the most eccentric and irrational conduct on the part of omniscient Deity. If, as the serpent states, God knew that life for man would end in his elevation among the gods, which very goal he had set for man, on what logically consistent grounds could have forbidden the creature the right to eat? Any other answer but the one here suggested argues undeniable whimsicality and caprice on the part of the all-just Creator. It must be seen that the entire orthodox Christian interpretation does thus rest on the accrediting God with gross and weird inconsistency. God cannot offer man life and knowledge and then be reasonable in forbidding him to take them. Here has been a huge stumbling block in all Christian theology over the centuries The plain common sense of thinking people detects this flaw – and wonders. It is questionable whether the allegory of the “forbidden fruit” has been clearly seen as a rational item by a single mind in Christendom. It has contributed its obscurantism to a hundred similar illogicalities to defeat the high good that religion and the sacred Scriptures could have rendered. It is time such things were corrected.

Then in the 22nd verse of the third chapter of Genesis the truth comes out! For there the drama has God saying: “Behold the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever: therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.”

All hinges here on the conjunctive adverb”lest”. It must be a sound argument that contends there may have been either deliberate tampering with the original text (as, to our disgust, we learn there has been all through religious history), or equally deliberate clever covering of the real sense by dramatic subtlety, which could the more likely here. We can conceive the dramatist as desiring to veil the open sense by a playful ruse. Much as a rich and indulgent father, head of a great business concern, would offer his son full participation in the enterprise, yet at the start of the son’s serious career, he would say to him: “You are to be one of us in the management, but lest you try to take hold of your prerogatives before you have mastered all the details of the business, to know the right fro the wrong course of procedure, I must send you out into the factory to learn it all from the bottom up”. This sums almost incontestably the gist of the logic of the situation, let the argumentative chips fall where they may. And it does bring out rational light, when all previous exegesis has left the matter shrouded in Stygian darkness it may be the final basis of all sanity in our religious psychology to understand that even God cannot give unto his beloved children the bliss and blessedness of divine life without imposing on them the ineluctable condition that they earn the right to it by developing the capability for it in the time-tempting mill of evolution.

And now, as a climactic dénouement to the whole tragic muddle of centuries, comes the astonishing disclosure that all the while the confusion and misunderstanding prevailed, the words of the Bible text itself are found to have clearly stated that the “woman” was not gullibly victimized by a trap set by the wily serpent at all, that “she” had not been weakly “taken in” by sly deception, but that made her choice to eat of the tree in full knowledge and realization of the consequences, understanding that “she” was making the wholly right and true choice in the situation, The old traditional sense of the temptation as disobedience to God’s command and errant waywardness is directly shattered to bits by the actual wording of the story! For after the serpent had amplified the Lord’s brief assertion that the eating would bring the “death” of incarnational existence,the narrative uses language which negates utterly the assumption that the “woman” was lured unwittingly into a trap. It says that “when the woman saw that the tree was good for food; and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof.” Here is not hint of deception and dupery, but deliberate intelligent choice, based on “her” own knowledge and observation. She acted on what “she” saw. “She” saw that the eating would eventuate in giving “her” and “her husband” wisdom. From every point of view it was overwhelmingly desirable. It meant a plunge into the waters of “death” and a long struggle with the serpent’s forces, but not all of this was to be compared with that glory which should be its outcome. For the “death” on the cross of matter would be temporary, while the guerdon of the trial would be life and light everlasting. No other choice was possible to a mind that saw the eventualities, the risk and its enchanting reward.

Of the many trees denominated by ancient fancy as trees of life none was more generally prominent than the sycamore-fig. Particularly in Egyptian symbology was it outstanding as the Tree of Life. As the branches of the living tree that spread out their arms to erect the structure of life’s expression clothed themselves with leaves each season, there is a reference to life clothing itself with fig-leaves in the creation narrative. Adam and Eve, finding themselves divested of their radiant spiritual garments, hastily sew together leaves of the fig tree to form aprons with which to cover their “nakedness”. The obvious albeit esoteric reference is, of course, not to natural clothing, but to the outer physical bodies which the nucleus of spiritual soul puts on to give it contact with the lower planes. The tree is itself the broad picturization of life clothing itself in material body.

These considerations put us directly on the track of an explanation for the strange episode of Jesus stopping to curse the unfruitful fig tree in the New Testament. The tree is to bear the twelve manner of fruits on its branches. As the one noted by the Christ had not borne its fruits, the dramatist made a point of representing the failure as bringing the natural order under the “curse” of the divine Son. The Gnostic Christian literature laid great stress upon the failure of Mother Nature to bring forth the Sons of God, awaiting the coming of the Christ-Aeon, going so far as to denominate her effort “the great abortion”. Of all this deeper sense the episode of the Christ figure “cursing” the fig tree is an analogue thrown off in a somewhat lighter vein of dramatism.

But there is deep relevance in this tree name “sycamore”. The syc-root is most interesting. According to Gerald Massey it is derived from the same Greek root which gives the Greek word for “soul” – psuche (psyche). It is therefore the tree of soul, the tree which incarnates and typifies the life of soul.

It can be noted in passing, also, that the symbolic tree of Masonry, the locust-acacia, is another typal representative of the tree of Eden. For it is the Greek a-ka-kia (acacia), meaning “innocence”, “harmlessness”. The Edenic tree has often been called “The Tree of Innocence”, indicating the condition of life in its pristine “purity”, before its “fall” into matter, “death”, and generation.

The tree is prolific in the fruit it bears for man’s enlightenment merely through its analogical intimations. Aspects of these will be limned in succeeding essays; they are central in the work of interpretation. But one feature of analogy must be presented here. The tree bears its fruit through the intercourse of male and female organs out on the extremity of its numberless branches. So does the tree of life and knowledge. The creative streams permeate the worlds of matter as far as their initial impulse will carry them. They come to a standstill on the outermost rim of their movement; there they form a liaison with matter, they unite their energies with the powers latent there in the atoms, and, impregnating those physical powers with the germs of mind, they give the initial impulse and direction to the evolutionary drive.

In actual fact life reaches the periphery of its creative sphere when its impulses have planted its seeds in the root soil of matter. Where the seeds are implanted growth naturally begins. Away out, then, on the farthest boundaries of its reach the tree of life bears its fruits. Here male and female potencies come to full and separate embodiment and through mutual attraction united their father and mother capabilities for the generation of new life.

There is an impressive reminder of all this in the allegory of the gestation of the twins Jacob and Esau in the womb of their mother Rebecca. Theological dullness has been slow to catch the significance of the many pairs of twins or brothers (sometimes sisters) introduced into sacred literature the world over and plentiful in the Bible. They are even found in the astrological symbolism in the Gemini pair of the Zodiac. They represent – it could not be otherwise – the two nodes or poles of creative force, spirit and matter, or male and female creative potentiality (even when both are of one sex). These two forces are released or separated off from primal unity at the dawn of the cycle and swing apart into opposition, so as to balance the universe between them. Hence they are shown as fighting, the one generally “slaying” the other, as in the Cain-Abel instance. In the Egyptian allegorism they continue to “slay” each other in turn, over and over again. Here is the final proof that this “slaying” is only figurative. On the descent or involution of spirit into matter, matter is said to “slay” spirit; on the evolutionary return spirit overcomes matter. In the Jacob-Esau birth narrative (Genesis 25:33) the common features of the cosmic allegory are well limned. The two children “struggled together within her”. And God explained: “Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger”. The one, of course, is the material nature; the other is the divine spiritual Principle, in man’s constitution the Christos. The elder is Mother Nature, matter, “the first old Mother” of the Egyptian depiction. She is first on the scene of creation and is grown old before she gives birth to her Son, the Logos and its ray, the Christos. And nature serves the younger power of Mind, which is indeed born out of her womb.

In the New Testament there is a suggestive little allegory in which the tree is used to bring out one tiny aspect of significance. We have it in the words of the Massachusetts Bay Psalm Book:

Zaccheus he Did climb a tree
The Lord to see

The story represents Zaccheus as so eager to see the Christ as he came by that to get above the press of the milling throng he climbed into a tree. The moral here is both obvious and charming. If one would see the Christos, amid the press and throng of worldly interests, one must climb pretty far up in the branches of the tree of evolving life, where the vision is not obstructed by the dense pressure of lower abstractions. Allegory is ever a sublimer teacher than history.

A study of the tree emblemism would not be complete without touching on the great religious tradition of the “golden bough”. The tree of life was said poetically to bear on its topmost branch a bough of gold. The tree planted in the primordial garden,with its roots in heaven, its branches on earth, was in the course of the cycle to culminate in the production of a branch of shining glory. One of the names given to the Christ in the Bible (and previous literature) was “the Branch”. Indeed the Hebrew word for “branch” is natzer, which is believed to be the base of the words Nazar-ene and Nazar-eth.

The tree of evolution is to end in the generation of the Christ nature in man, and when the Christ is generated the man is transfigured until “his face shines like the sun and his garments become white as the light”. Oddly enough the words for light and for gold in the ancient books are practically identical throughout. Spirit is the great “golden light” of divine radiance. It is the refulgent aur, ar, or, ur, er of the various languages. When man’s evolution terminates in the flowering out at its summit of the golden light of spiritual radiance, then indeed it has put forth its “golden bough”, It is no wonder, then, that legend truly has it that the tree on which the Christ “died” for man’s redemption, is a branch or shoot, or the wood, of the Tree of Life and Knowledge in the eternal Garden of Paradise. We are the fruit bearers on its earthly branches, and glory will be ours if haply we shall produce our topmost bought of golden light.

The tree has now contributed generously of its amazing symbolic light to our deeper understanding of hidden truth. Its trunk, branches, leaves, roots and fruits have carried home to reflective thought the priceless instruction they adumbrate. But it is a reflection that has come to few minds, that the fruit is at one and the same time both the end product of the cycle’s growth and the beginning seed of a following cycle! In this startling realization of nature’s marvels of economy lies buried the germ of perhaps the greatest of all mysteries of life, that end and beginning are one and the same thing, as they must be if life is to continue swinging round its endless cycles.


Exodus Chapter 20
The ten commandments
1 And God spake all these words, saying,
2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:(LET’S NOT FOOL OURSELVES,THIS IS PLAIN ENGLISH AND THE ORIGINAL HEBREW SUPPORTS THIS WORDING,SO DON’T WIGGLE OUT WITH ANOTHER TRANSLATION..THIS INCLUDES ALL YOU PRODESTENTS OUT THERE AS WELL,AND IN CASE YOU THINK YOUR FREE AND CLEAR,IT ALSO INCLUDES “MENTAL IMAGES”OF GOD!!
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; (IS IT WORTH PUNISHING YOUR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN FOR A FALSE WORSHIP OF A FALSE IMAGE?)
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God:(SO UNLESS GOD HIMSELF MADE THE “NEW CHRISTIAN CALANDER” IT CANNOT BE USED TO CHANGE THIS COMMAND,WAS GOD MISTAKEN OR MIXED UP ON HIS DAYS? I THINK NOT!) in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days(SUNDAY THROUGH FRIDAY) the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.(HAVE YOU EVER DISHONORED YOU MOTHER AND FATHER WITH YOUR LIFESTYLE OR DISOBEDEANCE ?)
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.(BOTH IN THOUGHT AND ACTION )
15 Thou shalt not steal. (BOTH IN THOUGHT AND ACTION)
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.(IT SEEMS TO ME,THAT THE “SO-CALLED CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF TODAY MUST REPENT IN TRUE CONVERSION BEFORE GOD BECAUSE WE HAVE ALL BROKEN GOD’S LAWS AND STILL DO.AND BEFORE YOU SAY “I’M FORGIVEN…WATCH THE VIDEO ON “FALSE CONVERSION”,YOU MAY STILL BE UNSAVED AFTER ALL,NO MATTER HOW MANY “SINNERS PRAYERS” YOU’VE SAID BEFORE:DON’T TAKE YOUR SALVATION FOR GRANTED….Matthew 25:31-46 (KJV) 31 “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was thee “>an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
Matthew 7:21-27 (KJV) 21″ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. ”
Hebrews 2:1-4 (KJV) 1 “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; 4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? ”
Romans 14:23 (KJV) “And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”

1 Corinthians 2:3-5 (KJV) 3 “And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men(ALL MEN OF ANY FAITH OR DENOMINATION?), but in the power of God.”

Hebrews 6:1-9 (KJV) 1 “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit. 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,(FALSE CONVERTS DO ALL THESE THINGS IN OUR CHURCHES) 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance(YOU CANNOT RENEW SOMETHING IF IT WAS NEVER CHANGED..THE SAME FALSE REPENTANCE WILL REPEAT AND NO CHANGE WILL HAPPEN THEREFORE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE! IF THEY DON’T PROPERLY REPENT FROM SIN THEY WILL KEEP GOING BACK TO THIER VOMIT AS A DOG DOES!); seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.(EVERY SUNDAY REPENTANCE,THE SAME PEOPLE AT THE ALTER WEEK AFTER WEEK HAVE NOT REPENTED OF SIN THEY’VE REPENTED OF “GUILTY FEELINGS” ABOUT SIN COMMITTED.) 7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.(NOTICE: THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT JESUS TAUGHT IN MARK 4:1-20 ABOUT THE DIFFERENT GROUNDS OF THE HUMAN HEART AND THE WORD OF GOD” 9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. ”
Hebrews 2:1 (KJV)” Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.”

2 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV)” Examine yourselves(YOU AND YOU ALONE KNOW IF YOU ARE TRUELY SAVED AND IT DOES NO GOOD TO TRY AND FOOL ANYONE BECAUSE ON JUDGEMENT DAY YOU’LL BE THE FOOL STANDING THERE ALONE TRYING TO JUSTIFY YOURSELF BEFORE A JEALOUS GOD,DON’T WAIT DO IT NOW!!), whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? “

Galatians 1:6-8 (KJV)6 “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”

NOW…DO NOT CONFUSE “FALSE CONVERSION” WITH “HAVING FAULTS” THEY ARE RELATED TO EACH OTHER BY THE FACT THAT OUR FAULTS CAUSE US TO HAVE BAD JUDGEMENT AND TO FALL INTO SIN,BUT A FAULT IS NOT A SIN AS A THOUGHT IS NOT AN ACTION;BUT ONE CAN LEAD TO THE OTHER WITHOUT RESTORATION TAKING PLACE…Galatians 6:1-10 (KJV)1 “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden. 6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”Hebrews 2:1-4 (KJV)” Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”
EXODUS 20 Words WE ALL MUST FOLLOW or else HOW CAN any of us call ourselves TRUE CHRISTIAN (Christ-Like) BELIVERS IN G*D?
1. Then Elohim spoke all these words:
2. “I am YHWH your Elohim, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt–out from the house of subjugation.”

In Hebrew tradition, THIS is the first “commandment” (the second, then, is everything from verses 3-6), because these ten are not called “commandments” in Scripture, but “words” or “statements”. The inherent “command” is to simply recognize this fact. The word here for “I” is a specialized one that indicates an intimacy between the speaker and the one spoken to. But recognizing that His name is YHWH and that we are to have a relationship to Him as on those terms is the foundational principle He lays down. He often places this phrase ?I am YHWH your Elohim? next to a command, partly to say, ?You must do it because of who I am, and I said so?, but also because it is only through obeying these commands that we can truly know what He is like.
3. “For you there will not be any other elohim in My presence.
Other elohim: There are in one sense “gods” in the world–powerful spiritual rulers placed over certain regions (1 Cor. 8:5), which, as long as they do not interfere with His purposes for Israel, have a rightful place in keeping order among men. (See Daniel 10:13ff). But for Israel there is a direct relationship. In My presence: literally, above My face. Nothing is to be between us and His face, blocking it. There are to be no intermediaries between ourselves and the highest of the “mighty ones”, except Y’shua, who, in accordance with Torah, acts as “kinsman redeemer” to bring those who left the covenant back into relationship with YHWH, but does not take His place. In a special sense, YHWH is called ?Yaaqov?s share?. (Yirmeyahu 51:19, etc.) Recall that this is a betrothal contract, of which human vows to ?forsake all others? are a picture. This is the preamble to the covenant, in which the generalities are presented first, then the specifics. He had to be so possessive because He knew Israel?s tendencies to stray after other elohim. He had to ?get the upper hand? so that He would be free to do what was best for us. Israel is His property, for He redeemed her from Pharaoh. (v. 2) Through Y?shua, He has paid for us again, so how much more are we His property to command as He wishes? The term elohim really means ?mighty ones?; we are not to consider anything mighty to exist in relation to ourselves, except Him. What is a major threat to others (such as the Reed Sea) is not aproblem for Him, and is not to be feared.
4. “You will not make for yourself a carved image or any resemblance of what is in the skies from above, or what is on the earth from beneath, or what is in the waters [that are] lower than the earth;
Carved: or “engraved”. Resemblance: or “representation”. This is the next logical step in idolatry, followed by the third in v. 5. (Hirsch) This connotes a three-dimensional image formed out of something else.
5. “You will not bow down to them, nor will you serve them, because I Myself am YHWH your Elohim–a jealous Elohim, laying the punishment of fathers on [their] children, even the third and fourth [generation] for those who hate Me,
Serve: or ?minister to?, a work done on another?s behalf that one is not paid to perform. I.e., YHWH?s bride is not to go clean her old boyfriend?s house for free! This term for “jealous” is never used of men in Scripture; we can never attain to this type of jealousy, because it implies a deserving more pure than anything we can ever achieve. It means He wants to be our desired. Hirsch: “Demanding His exclusive rights”. On their children: the Aramaic renders it “rebellious children”, and adds “when the children follow their fathers in sinning”, to avoid the idea that a son or daughter who repented of his parents’ ways would still be punished. This agrees with Yirmeyahu 31:29ff. Holding us guilty until something is done to rectify it is a blessing since He does not let anyone go on thinking they got away with doing wrong without consequences.
6. “but doing [deeds of] lovingkindness to thousands [of generations] for those who love Me and who observe My commandments.
Lovingkindness: or “mercy”. Note how “mercy triumphs over judgment.” Observing (keeping or guarding) His commandments is the sign Y?shua gave that we actually do love Him. (Yochanan 14:15; 15:7-10)
7. “You will not carry the Name of YHWH your Elohim in a wasteful manner, because YHWH will not hold the one who carries his Name wastefully [as] guiltless.
Carry the Name: or “take the Name upon yourself”; Aramaic, “swear falsely with his name”. Swearing calls down on oneself all that YHWH is, in the event that what one says is not true. It combines the belief that He is always watching over us with the idea that He holds the power over all that will happen to us; to swear falsely in His Name is to ignore both of these. In a wasteful manner: in an empty way, in vain, in a way that indicates devastating or ruining it, treating it as useless. This means so much more than just using it as a profane epithet. It makes Him out to be just like all the gods, which in popular belief acted little differently than men; i.e., His existence makes no difference in our plans, decisions, or expectations. When we worry, we are doing this as well. In Hebrew something that is not unique, but is just like everything else, is conceptually nonexistent, having nothing of its own to show for its having lived (both ideas being expressed by the same word). Thus it is purposeless. Making a superfluous oath is thus “playing with the most solemn of all solemn acts of men”. (Hirsch) Lifting up His Name to devastation also includes diminishing His true Name (YHWH) by replacing it with other, lesser names, especially those with pagan background usages. So in endeavoring to hold His Name as sacred, He does not, on the other hand, want us to stop using it, but only to not use it lightly, being responsible in our usage of it, and not apply it to things that are worthless or that He does not approve of (as outlined by the Torah). And it means to live in a way worthy of those who have His name upon us, doing nothing that is not commensurate with that awesome privilege. If we are going to say we are YHWH?s wife, we must act like it. Guiltless: or exempt from punishment.
8. “Remember the Sabbath day in order to preserve its set-apart [status].
Remember: recall, recognize, or make mention of it–because it is nothing new at this point; it has been around since creation (and verse 11 makes this connection overtly). This assumes we keep track of which day it is. But to look around today is to see how easy it is for even very religious people to forget. This is the one commandment YHWH repeated after all the words Moshe brought down from the mountain (31:13-17), perhaps because He knew it would be the one most frequently susceptible to mis-obedience by otherwise-righteous people. (It does not just say “one day in seven”, but specifically the seventh day of the week ) But keeping it in mind also requires a concrete participation as acknowledgment of its spiritual reality. The tense of “remember” here extends indefinitely beyond merely the day itself (S.R. Hirsch), since in a sense all days were created for the purpose of having a Sabbath rest. The liturgy for the end of the Sabbath blesses YHWH who, as He created a distinction between the Sabbath and the ordinary days, has also distinguished between light and darkness, and between Israel and the rest of the nations, since it is not to be a nation just like all the others.
9. “Six days you will labor in service and do all your work,
Work: here, occupation for the sake of gain or the continuation of creation by altering the nature or form of anything. Herein again is the importance of finishing the work YHWH gives us to do in this age, and not waiting until it is convenient to obey (as it will be in the Kingdom) to show with Whom we stand. Notice that even on the six ordinary days, service takes priority over employment.
10. “but the seventh day is a sabbath devoted to YHWH your Elohim; you shall not carry out any employment–neither you nor your son, your daughter, your male or female servant, your livestock, or the foreign guest who is within your gates,
Sabbath: time of ceasing and desisting. Employment: or “constructive work”, or “using the material of the world for our own purposes” (Hirsch). We do this for six days, but only this is excluded on the Sabbath; the “labor [for service]” in verse 9 (for which we expect no reward in return and through which others benefit and are moved to bless YHWH) is not prohibited, so we do that type of work seven days a week, not just on the Sabbath when we desist from the work for our own gain. The first three commands pertain specifically to our relationship with YHWH, and twice as many–six–that pertain to our relationship with our fellow men. Yochanan the Envoy emphasized this, asking how we could love YHWH, whom we cannot see, if we cannot even love our neighbors, whom we can see, as ourselves. But the hinge on which the gateway between them swings is this fourth command. Service to one another [the first type of work (labor) listed above] is not forbidden on the Sabbath; indeed, on the Sabbath the priests in the Temple doubled their work of sacrifices. What is forbidden is doing things for our own pleasure (Isaiah 58:13)–the opposite of serving one another and focusing on YHWH–and anything by which we participate in an act of creating or gainful activity, since it is a reminder that YHWH, not Mammon, has the final word and ultimate ownership of our lives. Everything else takes a back seat to this and does not matter. (As demonstrated by the Maccabees and in the Six-Day War, or more commonly by continuing to run hospitals, deeds necessary to preserve life are exempted from this prohibition, though those who do so should not earn anything by doing so, or if they must, then give it away.) We also let others rest, and even our animals have a day to be themselves, and not “ours”. Guest who is within your gates: an idiom for someone who has come under Israel?s authority to learn from her about YHWH, with a view to one day becoming part of the community. But even a guest who was passing through was responsible to know the rules of what could or could not be done on the Sabbath. Rashi comments that our ceasing is also to be in attitude, not just deed; we are to enter into the Sabbath with the same ease we would feel if all our other work was actually completed, just as YHWH did after creation. Though it was not on a Sabbath, Y’shua exemplified this idea just before his death, when he said he had completed all the work YHWH had given him to do.
11. “because in six days YHWH set in order the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He desisted on the seventh day. On account of this YHWH blessed the seventh day and set it apart [as holy].
12. “Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged on the land which YHWH your Elohim is giving to you.

This is “the first commandment with a promise”, as Paul writes (Ephesians 6:2). It does not mean to obey them in everything (though in Ephesians 6:1 children are commanded to do so while under their tutelage as long as it agrees with YHWH’s other commands, and in the Land no parent should have been teaching his children anything pagan), but rather to literally “treat them as important”, “give weight to” their teachings, as Proverbs constantly reminds us. The greatest honor that we can give them is to insist on YHWH?s standards, even if they do not, for we will have proven that they have raised worthy children insofar as they were able to bring us before we transferred that obedience directly to Him. Notwithstanding this literal command, on another level (especially being right after His mention of creation) we could read “Consider Adam and Chavvah [our singular father and mother] so that your days may be lengthened on the soil” (rather than shortened and relegated to tilling the soil in drudgery, as theirs were). Our days can be prolonged into the age to come, even if our physical lives in this age are cut short because faithfulness to YHWH requires us to lay them down for Himself or for our brothers. Also, Y’shua put this command in perspective by saying that if we are not willing to forsake our physically parents for the sake of the Kingdom, we are not worthy of it. He said his true mother was anyone who did YHWH’s will, whether a blood relative or not. This would have a special reference, then, to those who are inauthority over us within Israel.
13. “You will not commit murder.”
Murder: The term means to uselessly kill for no reason?selfishly or outside the proper context; this verb is never used of legal killing. It applies to killing animals for mere sport, and in a wider sense, rabbinically, it means, “Do not destroy anything that is still useful” and do not even shame a man who does not deserve it. This would apply to killing animals merely for sport. Killing men in war is permitted, yet there is still a tainting of one’s life and a dulling of one’s spirit in this. The half-sheqel Temple tax was provided to atone for this type of wrongdoing that is sometimes necessary because of others? sin. The root meaning of the term for murder is “to bore through”, i.e., in a broader sense it applies to any willing, purposeful exercise of free will that is unlawful. (Hirsch)
14. “You will not commit adultery.”
This term also carries the connotation of idolatry, which is spiritual adultery The two are almost interchangeable in Scripture, partly because pagan worship so often included sexual relations with priests and temple prostitutes. Israel had been “married” to the gods of Egypt; their “husband”, Egypt, had to “die” so they would be available to YHWH as His bride. The Torah allowed for divorce because of the hardness of men’s hearts. The letter leaves room for men’s weakness; the spirit–the picture it intends to get across–does not. Y’shua says that if you can stand the full weight of it, by all means opt for that interpretation. Adultery, figuratively, also means to “adulterate” the Word of YHWH, or teach it falsely. Loosening the meaning of His commands (Mat. 5) leads others into idolatry.
15. “You will not steal.”
This applies to anything that is not rightfully one’s own, but especially carries the connotation of kidnapping fellow human beings. We can also steal immaterial things like people’s reputation or drive.
16. “You will not bear false testimony against your fellow [as an] injurious witness.
Fellow: literally, one from the same flock, with the same shepherd: friend, companion, or “brother”. It does not specifically apply to all one’s fellow humans, except in a general sense. The weight of the concept is best expressed by Galatians 6:10: “As we have opportunity, let us do what is beneficial to everyone, [but] especially those who are of the household of faith” (if there is a conflict between the two). The command here is not about lying in general, but about saying (or even letting another tell us) something untrue about a comrade–or telling the truth in a way designed to injure his reputation. Even in the Renewed Covenant we are only told not to lie to “one another” because we belong to the truth and it is now our nature. This does not preclude misleading an enemy during his acts of hostility against you, though in a sense this taints us. The verb here technically means a provoked response to an event or a question; the falseness can refer either to the person as a witness (with malicious motive) or to the actual testimony he gives. (Hirsch) Injurious: or false, deceitful. The word “witness” is related to the word for “continuity”, indicating that retaining the matter in our minds endows the witnessed event or outburst with a permanence it might not have otherwise had. (Hirsch) “Bear” actually means to “uphold” gossip by listening to it, heeding it, or allowing it to be spoken to us; a true neighbor will at least give the benefit of the doubt to one who is being accused by an outsider to the community.
17. “You will not [even] desire your fellow’s house; you will not desire your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything which belongs to your fellow.”
This is a further refining of?or a fence built around?the command not to steal. It places it one step further from us, not even allowing us to think about stealing! Coveting also led Izabel (Jezebel) to bear false witness in the process of her stealing. Desire: or “delight in”, but it differs from mere inner longing (a different verb in Hebrew) by indicating a lust which proceeds into opportunistic action. (Hirsch) “House” includes the sense of “household”, “inheritance”, or “descendants”, and would extend to envying another?s position of authority or those under his authority. It does not mean one may not desire a similar possession if it is granted to be within his power to obtain, but this emphasizes that we are each given a different calling, and what one needs is not necessarily what another should have. All are to work together as a body, but with different functions. This is an issue of faith, to trust YHWH’s judgment, that He has indeed distributed each commodity to those who are best suited to handle it for the benefit of the whole community. Hirsch says this sets on the “Ten Words” the seal of being no mere mortal laws: men can forbid crimes; only YHWH can legislate against the thoughts and intents of the heart. Y’shua only intensified our understanding of the tenth commandment in the “Sermon on the Mount” by pointing out how keeping every external command does not guarantee that our hearts are right. Rabbi Avraham Joshua Heschel says that a sin of the mind is greater than one carried out physically, because at present our mind is the only way of perceiving and communing with YHWH, who is not physical.
18. And all the people observed the sounds and the burning torches and the voice of the shofar and the smoking mountain. When the people looked, they shook [from fear] and stood at a distance.
Observed: or perceived. They finally understood what the shofar-sound had spoken, because Moshe had now interpreted and explained it to them. It literally says they saw the sound (voice). The Midrash says they saw every letter of the Torah coming forth. Josephus writes of thunderbolts as well as thunder, and a terrifying type of lightning. This manifestation was merely a prologue to the other commands He would give; these Ten in a sense summarize all of His commands, and they are the only ones written by His own hand, but He did later command Y’hoshua to have the Israelites literally write them all in stone at the border of the Land so that anyone entering knew he was under obligation to follow these regulations while there. So we may not say that we need only obey these ten but not the fine points elucidated later; on the other hand, the fine points actually given are in a sense only examples of many more righteous acts that a heart knowledge of and a love for the spirit of the Torah will precipitate. The torches, in conjunction with the smoking mountain, immediately remind us of the covenant YHWH cut with Avraham (Gen. 15:17), where a torch and a smoking oven also figure prominently, along with a reference to the very period of enslavement that had just ended for them and the judgment that had just come on the nation that had enslaved them. Perhaps this is why they shook: they realized they were seeing what they had always heard that Avraham saw, and that right before their eyes the covenant made with him was indeed being renewed with the whole community of his descendents (which itself is the very next theme in Genesis after this event). YHWH has also, through His commands, recounted the history of the types of sins that have been special problems for Israel.
19. Then they said to Moshe, “You [be the one to] speak to us, and we will listen, but don’t let us converse [directly] with Elohim, or we’ll die!”
The rules (for “Moshe” is also an idiom for the Torah as a whole) are relatively easy to obey, but we let YHWH tell us what is behind the letter, we know it will kill us–but the part of us it kills deserves to die anyway. Circumcision of the heart is never easy, but always necessary if we are to bear pure fruit. Becoming an unselfish community terrifies us.
20. So Moshe told the people, “Don’t be afraid, because it is as a means of proving you that Elohim has come upon [you], and so that awe of Him may be on your faces, so that you will not go wrong.
“Proving”: from a word meaning “to elevate”, but related to the tempering of a precious metal that comes only through heat and pressure. Y’shua quoted Psalm 82: “You [judges of the earth] are gods, yet you will die like men” because you do not do justice. (Yaaqov/James reiterated that pure, undefiled religion is caring for widows and orphans in their need.) There is a “spark” of divinity in each of those who is made in Elohim’s image, yet it requires the smelting-furnace of the Torah (including Y’shua, the Word made flesh) to purge it of what will condemn us to perish like animals if we do not allow it to do its work. Go wrong: incur guilt by missing the right way.
21. So the people stood at a distance, but Moshe approached close to the thick, dripping cloudiness where Elohim was [there].
Close to: Aramaic, “the side of”.
22. Then YHWH told Moshe, “You shall say this to the descendants of Israel: ?You have observed that I have spoken with you from the heavens.
23. “?You shall not fashion deities made out of silver alongside Me, or gods of gold for yourselves.

The golden images of cheruvim that He expressly commanded were meant to engender human traits, not depict divine ones (Hirsch); the bronze serpent that He commissioned was a picture of Messiah, not of his Father YHWH. Messiah Himself is the only “image” of YHWH allowed to be seen by men, although we will one day become part of that image if we continue to follow Him–the door and the way back to YHWH. Alongside Me: close to Me, i.e., competing with Me in your minds and hearts. Silver and gold are not to be considered mighty, because that raises them to His level. He did not allow silver or gold (as money) to be brought into His Temple itself; it had to be exchanged outside for sacrificial offerings if necessary. He does not want us to ?marry Him for His money?; He would rather we keep the place of ascension to Him simple:
24. “?[Instead, what] you shall [do is] make a slaughter-altar for Me out of earth, and you shall sacrifice your ascending offerings and your peace offerings on it–your flocks and your herds. In every place in which I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you.
He does not want us to bring heavenly things down to earth, but rather, elevate earthly things to Him. (Hirsch) On it: actually, the slaughtering itself was not done on it, but nearby; only the burning of the animal was carried out atop the altar.
25. “?And if you fashion an altar made of stone for Me, you shall not build them of cut stones, because if you wield your cutting-tool on it, you profane it.
“Build them”: the plural is in the original. “Build” can connote “have or obtain children”. This gives us a clue as to what the altar stones are really a picture of. Profane: to pollute, violate, defile, desecrate, prostitute, or treat as common (and thus no longer useful to YHWH). Each “living stone” is shaped to fill a particular place in the living Temple, the body of the Second Adam. The judge is not meant to be chipped into a man of mercy; they will all balance each other out, but each has an intense message to emphasize and this will be lost if we are homogenized. We are not to shape these stones according to our desire, but to hold them together by the “joints and ligaments” of the sharing of our strengths and gifts among the whole community. The water of the Torah makes the sand of the descendants of Avraham (spiritual and phytsical) into the mortar of a love that will firmly establish us as one building, though without it we would roll off each other. The theme of uncut stones also links us to the stone cut out without hands (Daniel 2:34)–the new Kingdom of Y’shua, a man who never allowed his flesh to be defiled, which pulverizes the counterfeit image of man’s glorious kingdoms. The Temple is made of cut stones, but not cut on-site (because the living stones are chosen on earth and finally fit together in the heavenlies), but the altar, in every instance, is built prior to the Temple (because we cannot build it without the righteousness of Messiah shed abroad by his sacrifice). It is built not of all the common people, but leaders with vision, who have not been chopped by society to fits its categories. Or, if they have, they have had to be taken out of that “building” and placed back in the rushing river-water of the Word to be reshaped.
26. “?And you shall not ascend to my altar by way of steps, since your nakedness may not be uncovered on it.'”
The altar had a ramp built up to it instead. There is a proper time for honesty about who we are and what we lack, but it is not before the whole congregation when it is focused on something that applies to the whole community and not the individual as such. But “nakedness” in Scripture also points to the lack of white raiment, a picture of righteousness, with which we now have to be covered (atoned for) because we are already defiled. Our flesh may not be exposed directly to His holiness. But YHWH’s business is salvaging and repairing the ruined things of the world and making them holy again, and that is what the priesthood was about.DEAR JESUS, I AM A SINNER BECAUSE I HAVE BROKEN YOUR LAWS,THE 10 COMMANDMENTS..I BELIEVE YOUR LAW IS MY WARNING OF IMPENDING JUDGEMENT IN HELL! I CANNOT KEEP YOUR LAW IN AND OF MYSELF,I GIVE UP TRYING TO BE WHAT I CANNOT AND I CONFESS THAT I BELIEVE JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD AND DIED FOR MY SINS ON THE CROSS TAKING THE LAWS PUNISHMENT TO FORGIVE ALL OF MY SINS. JESUS, I REPENT,I TURN AROUND NOW, NEVER TO LOOK BACK,I ASK YOU TO HAVE MERCY ON ME, A SINNER, AND COME INTO MY SPIRIT WITH YOUR SPIRIT AND YOUR POWER. HELP ME TO WALK IN YOU SO I CAN FOLLOW AND OBEY YOUR COMMANDMENTS, AND TO LIVE FOR YOU. JESUS, I GIVE YOU COMPLETE CONTROL OF ALL MY LIFE AND I THANK YOU FOR HEARING MY PRAYER. THANK YOU FOR COMING INTO MY LIFE. I ASK IT IN THE NAME OF MY LORD AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST. AMEN. As God is my eternal Witness, Savior, and judge, I do here by affirm that I am a child of God that has been purchased with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rms. 6:3-11): I confess Him as my Lord and Savior and by my own volition, I specifically renounce Satan as my lord and god. As one completely acknowledging and accepting the finished work of Christ on the cross for my redemption and my only hope of eternal life, I now renounce all ancestral and genetic ties, back as many generations on my dad’s and mom’s sides that God needs to go. Because I have, through the lord Jesus Christ’s own shed blood, been redeemed and delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Col. 1:13), I now cancel out and nullify all demonic power or effect that has been passed down to me from my ancestors, including the ancestral demon that carries my formal name and his network. Also, I cancel out any other ancestral demon and their networks. Because the lord Jesus Christ became a curse for me by dying the death on the tree (Gal. 3:13), I use my authority that is found in Him to cancel every spell or curse that may have been placed on me with or without my knowledge. As God’s child, covered by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and trusting totally in the atoning power of that blood (Eph.1:7), I cancel, renounce, sever, and nullify every agreement or pact I have made with Satan or anyone else, including blood pacts.

I renounce and sever any and every way that the Devil has gotten ground in my life and all ground that I have ever given to Satan that gave him power or claim over me. I cancel, renounce, sever, and nullify any powers, gifts, or workings in me which are not of my Heavenly Father or pleasing to Him.

I confess that I belong totally to the Lord Jesus Christ. As one who has been crucified (Gal.2:20) and raised with Christ and now sits with Him in the heavenly places (Eph. 2:5), I sign myself eternally and completely over to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is my desire to pray daily that my lord Jesus will have total control of my life. All of these things I do in the precious name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and by His absolute authority over all things, rulers, authorities, principalities, and powers (Eph. 1:18-23), and with a childlike faith, I thank you that it’s done. Amen.

Full Name_____________________________

Witness_______________________________ If you are serious about repentance pray this prayer today…It will work with your FAITH to break the powers of darkness!!

Sharing Your Faith with Latter-day Saints by Sandra Tanner

One of the most important factors in sharing your faith with a Mormon (officially known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is your sincere friendship. Usually former LDS tell me that they had a close friend that talked to them about the Lord. This friend acted as a bridge between Mormon assumptions and explaining what the Bible actually says.

Usually Mormons will already view themselves as Christians and will accept you as one as well. However, they would see you as only having one fourth of the gospel while they have the whole package. Your faith in Christ, according to them, assures you of a place in heaven. However, in order to go to the highest part of heaven, the Celestial Kingdom (godhood, exaltation), you would need to have a Mormon baptism and a Mormon temple marriage. (See Mormons Hope to Become Gods of Their Own Worlds.) They believe that if you don’t join the LDS Church during this life you will be given a chance to accept it during the millennium.

Remember that they view you as the one with the defective belief system. You have only the Bible (which accounts for your “limited” understanding) while they have additional light from their other scriptures, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. Beyond this, they also have the teachings of their prophets.

Keep in mind that we are part of a process. Paul wrote: “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” (1 Cor. 3:6) It may take several encounters with various Christians before the Mormon will seriously start re-evaluating his/her beliefs. Pray that God will continue to bring Christians into the Mormon’s life.
Terminology Differences

It is important to learn how Christian terms have been redefined by Mormonism. (See Terminology Differences.) If you went as a missionary to China you would learn their language and something about their customs. We should do the same with those embracing the LDS system. Don’t assume the Mormon uses Christian terms the same as you do. Their definitions of God, salvation, eternal life, heaven, etc. are very different.

When opportunities arise for you to talk with Mormons about their beliefs, remember to show them the same respect and courtesy you would expect from them. Be sure to display confidence (not arrogance) in what you discuss. Mormons tend to interpret any timidity as evidence that you do not speak with the authority of God.

Since Mormons tend to feel any challenge to their church is a form of persecution we must be careful how we approach them so that it will not reinforce this perception.

Joseph Smith claimed in his first vision which is printed at the back of their Pearl of Great Price, that God informed him all other churches were “wrong” and that “all their creeds were an abomination in his sight.” Since Smith was the one who first attacked all other churches, we are simply responding to his charges. Merely comparing belief systems is not “persecution.”
Importance of the Book of Mormon?

Mormons will often ask people if they have read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it. They assume that if someone believed it he would accept the rest of Mormonism. Here are a few questions to ask:

* Since the Introduction to the Book of Mormon states that it contains “the fulness of the everlasting gospel” can you give me verses that teach the doctrines of pre-earth existence, plural gods with wives, temple marriage, chance to repent after you die, temple rituals for the dead, three levels of heaven, etc.?
* Where do I find your concept of eternal marriage in the Book of Mormon? (It isn’t in there—it’s in the D&C, sec. 132.)
* If you truly believe the Book of Mormon, doctrinally, how do you accept the Doctrine and Covenants or Pearl of Great Price since these books teach different concepts? (See Contradictions in LDS Scriptures.)
* Why do Mormons approach people with the Book of Mormon if it doesn’t contain their most important doctrines? Why don’t they give out copies of their other scriptures instead of the Book of Mormon?

This gives us a chance to talk about the value of the Book of Mormon, as opposed to the Bible. Ask them:

* What specific doctrine of Mormonism is in the Book of Mormon that isn’t in the Bible?

Which Bible?

The Book of Mormon declares that the Bible has been deliberately altered (see 1 Nephi 13:26-28). Mormons will often point to all the different translations of the Bible as proof that it has been changed. You can ask them something like:

* Does translation always lessen scripture’s value or change its teaching?
* What about the Book of Mormon? How many translations have been made of it? Is it less reliable in French or German?
* Does the church put a disclaimer on the Book of Mormon in other languages as they do with the Bible? If not, why not?
* If professional LDS translators can reliably take the English Book of Mormon into French, why can’t professional translators take the Greek New Testament into English?
* If the Bible is in such bad shape, which verses are wrong, so I won’t use them?

Mormons will often claim the Bible is incomplete, that various books have been left out of our current Bible.

* Why doesn’t your prophet restore the lost books or correct the translation?
* If your prophet has not felt the need to restore these missing books of the Bible how important can they be?
* Which books were left out? Which ones should be added?
* Joseph Smith did a revised version of the Bible, why doesn’t the LDS Church print it? They print extracts from it at the back of their Bible—why not use the whole thing? Smith did not add any lost books to his revision. In fact, he left out the book Song of Solomon.

Remind them that even though we don’t have all of the words of Jesus, John assured us that we have all that we need to know about gaining eternal life (see John 20:30-31). Also, Jesus promised “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)

If Mormonism is a restoration of original Christianity they would need to demonstrate that LDS doctrines were originally in the Bible but later deleted. However, there is no manuscript evidence of revisions of the New Testament that eliminated cardinal doctrines. Also, the scripture quotes in the writings of the early church fathers show that there were no doctrinal changes. A good book on the reliability of the Bible is The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, by F.F. Bruce.
Total Apostasy?

Mormonism asserts that in Smith’s first vision he was told that there had been a total apostasy of the Christian church and that he was to be God’s instrument in restoring it to the earth. While the Bible speaks of people falling away from the truth, it never indicates that there would be a total apostasy. Mormons often misuse 1 Timothy 4:1 which says that “in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” Notice that the verse merely indicates “some” would depart from the faith, not that there would be a total apostasy. You might ask your friend something like this:

* How could there have been a total apostasy of the church since Jesus promised that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”? (Matt. 16:18) Jesus also promised, “lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matt. 28:20)

Another problem with the LDS claim of a total apostasy is their own teaching that John, one of Christ’s twelve apostles, did not die (see D&C 7:1-3) but was to remain on the earth to “prophesy before nations.” Besides John, three of the twelve disciples in the Book of Mormon were granted their desire to remain on earth, to “bring the souls of men unto me,” until Christ’s return (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 28:6-9).

* With four apostles remaining on the earth, how could there have been a total apostasy?

Mormonism also teaches that the true church will have the same structure as Christ instituted. Thus they argue that the true church will have twelve apostles at its head. However, the Mormons do not conform to their own standard as they have three apostles in their First Presidency as well as their twelve, thus making fifteen apostles at the head of their church. Also, Deacons were to be mature men, not twelve-year-old boys (see 1 Tim. 3:8-12).
True Church?

Mormons will often say that the Christian world is too divided to have the truth. Yet there have been over 100 different churches claiming Joseph Smith as their founder. (See the book Divergent Paths of the Restoration.) Many of them have totally different beliefs from the others. Obviously, LDS scriptures did not solve the problem of division.

However, the Christian looks to such verses as Matt. 18:20 where Christ promised that where two or three are gathered in His name, He is in the midst of them. The Mormon does not understand the Christian concept of all believers constituting the church. In Eph. 2:20-22 Paul points out that Christians “are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Thus the question is not whether you are member of the right denomination but are you trusting Christ’s atonement to make you right with God?
A Prophet?

Another area for discussion is the need for a prophet. You might ask the Mormon:

* I’ve been told that LDS people believe God is continually giving new revelation to their prophet. How do you guard against false teachings?
* If your prophet gave a revelation that differed from church teachings in the past, how do you determine which to follow?

Christians hold their ministers accountable to the Bible. (See Galatians 1:7-12 and 1 John 4:1) The early Christians compared Paul’s teachings with the Old Testament in Acts 17:11-12. What is the standard for Mormons?

They may counter with something like: “God has promised he will never let the prophet lead us astray.” Then why is there provision made in the Doctrine and Covenants Sec. 107:81-83 to replace a fallen prophet? Jesus warned about false prophets in Matt. 24:11 and 24.

Mormons point to Amos 3:7 to prove that God will always have a prophet leading the church. However, this is taking the verse out of context. God promised that he would not send judgment without giving a warning first through a prophet.

* If only the president of the LDS Church can receive revelation for the church, why are the books of the New Testament written by different people? Even Mormons agree Paul was never the head of the church. Shouldn’t the apostles of Mormonism be as authoritative as Paul?
* How many false prophecies could a prophet give and still be a true prophet? In Deut. 18:20-22 God declares that all his prophecies must come true. (See our sheet How Do We Test a Prophet? and A Sample of Joseph Smith’s False Prophecies.)
* If Mormons don’t accept all the doctrines of their prophets and apostles, how does one know which teachings to accept and which ones to reject? They usually counter that you know through prayer. But don’t their apostles pray before preaching? How can a lay member expect to get greater discernment than those ordained by God? Can the Mormon cite an example of a doctrine that their prophet or apostles taught which they can openly reject?

If you bring up a doctrinal issue like Brigham Young’s Adam-God doctrine they will often counter that that was Young’s personal idea and not official doctrine even though he taught it from the pulpit. Then what constitutes “official doctrine”? The Mormon will usually counter that doctrine must be voted on by the church and canonized. Doesn’t this establish that one of their prophets could give a false revelation? Then couldn’t he lead the people astray?

Another question is why does the Doctrine and Covenants only have four sections by prophets other than Joseph Smith? Why has no revelation been added since 1978? Is God no longer giving revelation to their president as he did in the beginning?

If a Mormon says that their prophets still get revelations, ask where they are printed. Why don’t they canonize them? Are they approaching a closed canon concept?
Need More Than Atonement?

Mormons will often say, “Why can’t you accept us as Christians? We believe in Jesus as our savior.” However, there are problems with both their definition of “saved” and their concept of Jesus.

Mormonism limits the result of the Fall, saying that it brought mortality but not a sinful nature as man is supposed to be a god in embryo. They limit the atonement, saying it brought resurrection (or immortality) to all, but to go on to “eternal life” or “exaltation” one must be a faithful Mormon thus adding works to grace. They believe they commit sin but don’t understand man’s basic sin-nature.

They make a distinction between being “saved” (resurrected to some level of heaven) and having “eternal life” (exaltation, godhood). A good example of the Mormon concept of the atonement is found in a parable by Apostle Boyd Packer in Gospel Principles, pp. 75-77, 1997 ed. According to his parable, Christ’s atonement was like someone refinancing your huge debt. Your friend pays off the loan for you but you then must make payments to him. From this parable we see that Mormons do not see the atonement as a total payment for their sins, they must continue to make payments. Jesus has only refinanced the loan. Thus the atonement was necessary but did not fulfill all that was required for eternal life. Apostle Packer’s story is helpful in contrasting the Mormon concept of the atonement with that of the Bible.

When discussing grace with them you could also ask about 2 Nephi 25:23, “by grace we are saved, after all we can do.”

* If grace only applies after all you can do, how do you know when you have done enough? Have you truly done ALL you could do? If not, then it would seem that grace would not apply. That is why a Christian rejoices in grace (unmerited favor) as presented in the Bible.

We need to explain that good works are a result of grace, not a way to achieve it (Gal. 5:22-23 and Eph. 2). One doesn’t earn or pay for a gift. You will need to explain that grace is not a license to sin, that those who truly love God will want to please Him.

* Since Mormonism teaches that almost everyone will be saved (resurrected) to some level in heaven, how do they reconcile that with Matt. 7:13-14? Jesus taught that only a few would gain heaven. They seem to have reversed the broad way and the narrow way.

Temples and High Priests?

There are over a hundred LDS temples around the world in which they perform their baptisms for the dead, endowments and eternal marriage ceremonies for both the living and dead. A question to ask your Mormon friend is:

* If a temple marriage is necessary for eternal life, why isn’t it ever mentioned in the Bible (or the Book of Mormon)? Jesus taught that there would be no marriages in heaven (see Luke 20:34-35).
* Can you show me a verse in the Bible (or Book of Mormon) where baptisms or marriages were ever performed in the temple?
* Where in the Bible is the teaching that there are to be thousands of High Priests in the Christian church? Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament priesthood and is now the only High Priest in the Christian church. (See Heb. 4:14; 7:26; 9:11 and our sheet Bible Verses Relating to LDS Teachings on Temple Work.)

Eternal Life

Mormonism teaches that in order to gain eternal life (as opposed to merely entering heaven) one must be “worthy.” It is achieved after a life of full activity in Mormonism, full tithing, temple marriage, etc. So a question to ask your friend is:

* What is required to achieve eternal life in Mormonism?
* Have you met all of those requirements?
* If you died today do you know that you will have eternal life?

Point out that the Christian has the assurance of eternal life through faith in Christ, not church activity (see 1 John 5:13).
Nature of God

Mormonism teaches a totally different concept of God. However, rather than trying to explain the trinity to them, I focus on the basic nature of God the Father. Joseph Smith taught that God was once a mortal on some other world, which was ruled by yet another deity. (See Smith’s sermon on the nature of God in History of the Church, vol. 6, pp. 302-317 [King Follet Sermon], or Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 312, 342-354*, 370-373) Each god rose from mortality to immortality and earned the position of a god. He does not surpass the previous god, but is forever under his direction. It is sort of like an eternal pyramid system, or escalator, with each god answering to the one above him. If the Mormon denies this teaching ask him if he has read Smith’s sermons on God. If Smith’s doctrine of God is wrong he falls under the condemnation of Deuteronomy 13, a false prophet leading the people after a false god. (See our sheet LDS View of God Contradicts the Bible.) How do they reconcile Smith’s doctrine of multiple gods with Isaiah 43:10-11 and Isaiah 44:8?

*These pages are a reprint of the King Follet Sermon, which can found in History of the Church, vol. 6, pp. 302-317.
A Testimony?

The Mormon will often say that he knows the LDS Church is true from prayer and inner conviction. We need to point out that people all over the world have come up with different beliefs about God. Obviously sincerity and prayer are not enough to guard against false claims. That is why God has given us the Bible, so that we will have a standard measurement for truth claims. You might ask them:

* If you were lost in the woods would you trust your feelings or use a compass? Christians use the Bible to determine truth, not feelings.

We don’t need to pray to know if we should rob a bank, or commit adultery, since God has already spoken on the issue. Thus we see that if someone claims a revelation contrary to what God has already spoken, we can know that it is a false teaching. Thus if Joseph Smith taught anything different from the Bible, like plural gods, he should be rejected. (Gal. 1:8-9 and Deut. 13)

While Christians value prayer and seek direction from God, this is not the Biblical method of testing a prophet. Every leader and doctrine must be examined in light of the Bible.

Remember that your life is already a witness to your LDS friends, one way or another. If they say you would make a good Mormon, take comfort. Your lifestyle is seen to be consistent with your claim to be a Christian, they just want to give you the rest of the gospel.

Challenge them to study the Bible (Acts 17:11-12). If Mormonism is a restoration of Christ’s church, it will agree with what God has already revealed. Challenge them to think for themselves. Truth will stand up to investigation.

A Mormon quickly senses if you are talking from genuine concern and conviction, or if you just want an argument. Check your motives and attitude (see 2 Tim. 2:23-26 and Titus 3:2-9). As ambassadors for Christ we are to share His love and redemption.

“Always be full of joy in the Lord; … Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do.” (Philippians 4:4-5, Living Bible)

For more suggestions on sharing with Mormons see:

* Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Mormons , by Ron Rhodes and Marian Bodine
* Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons , by Mark Cares
* Questions to Ask Your Mormon Friend , by Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson
* Answering Mormons’ Questions , by Bill McKeever
* Bible and Mormon Doctrine, by Sandra Tanner
* How to Witness to a Mormon Tract, by Jerry and Dianna Benson
* The Mormon Scrapbook by Daniel G. Thompson

LDS Leaders Define Their Concept of JESUS CHRIST!

Often Mormons will say that they believe in the same Jesus as standard Christianity. However, their leaders’ definition is very different. The current president of the Mormon Church, Gordon B. Hinckley, made a very telling comment about Jesus Christ in a talk in Geneva, Switzerland, June 6, 1998. The Deseret News reported:

In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints “do not believe in the traditional Christ. No, I don’t. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times.

He together with His Father, appeared to the boy Joseph smith in the year 1820, and when Joseph left the grove that day, he knew more of the nature of God than all the learned ministers of the gospel of the ages.” (Deseret News, Church News section, Salt Lake City, Utah, week ending June 20, 1998, p. 7)

Mormonism teaches that somewhere in eternity past God and his wife first existed as mortals on a different earth, overseen by their Heavenly Father and Mother.

This mortal couple died, received resurrected bodies, and eventually achieved godhood. They then procreated the millions of spirit children that would be sent to this earth as mortals. Thus God is part of an eternal chain of gods procreating spirit children for different worlds. Joseph Smith preached:

God himself, was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!…it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how He came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. (History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 305)

The Mormon Church teaches that men, gods, angels and devils are all the same species. Thus both Jesus and Lucifer are literally our elder brothers. As men are viewed as being the same species as God and Jesus they have the same potential to achieve godhood. Brigham Young preached:

We have a Father; He is in heaven; …He says that we are His children. … we actually believe that God the Father is our heavenly Father, that we are His children; and we believe that Jesus Christ is our elder brother—that he is actually the Son of our Father and that he is the Savior of the world, and was appointed to this before the foundations of this earth were laid. (Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, pp. 235-256, February 20, 1870)

On another occasion Brigham Young declared:

He [Jehovah] was the Son of our Heavenly Father, as we are the sons of our earthly fathers. God is the Father of our spirits, which are clothed upon by fleshly bodies, begotten for us by our earthly fathers. Jesus is our elder brother spirit clothed upon with an earthly body begotten by the Father of our spirits. (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 2, September 28, 1862)

Past LDS Pres. Joseph F. Smith wrote:

Among the spirit children of Elohim the firstborn was and is Jehovah or Jesus Christ to whom all others are juniors …. There is no impropriety, therefore, in speaking of Jesus Christ as the elder brother of the rest of humankind…. Let it not be forgotten, however, that He is essentially greater than any and all others by reason (1) of His seniority as the oldest or firstborn; (2) of His unique status in the flesh as the offspring of a mortal mother and of an immortal, or resurrected and glorified, Father; (3) of His selection and foreordination as the one and only Redeemer and Savior of the race; and (4) of His transcendent sinlessness. (Improvement Era, vol. 19, pp. 941-942, June 30, 1916)

On February 8, 1857 Brigham Young explained how God came to be God and fathered Jesus:

Now to the facts in the case; all the difference between Jesus Christ and any other man that ever lived on the earth, from the days of Adam until now, is simply this, the Father, after He had once been in the flesh, and lived as we live, obtained His exaltation, attained to thrones, gained the ascendancy over principalities and powers, and had the knowledge and power to create—to bring forth and organize the elements upon natural principles. This He did after His ascension, or His glory, or His eternity, and was actually classed with the Gods, with the beings who create, with those who have kept the celestial law while in the flesh, and again obtained their bodies. Then He was prepared to commence the work of creation, as the Scriptures teach. It is all here in the Bible; I am not telling you a word but what is contained in that book.

Things were first created spiritually; the Father actually begat the spirits, and they were brought forth and lived with Him. Then He commenced the work of creating earthly tabernacles, precisely as He had been created in this flesh himself, by partaking of the course material that was organized and composed this earth, until His system was charged with it, consequently the tabernacles of His children were organized from the coarse materials of this earth.

When the time came that His first-born, the Saviour, should come into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit [Mary] with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it. The Saviour was begotten by the Father of His spirit, by the same Being who is the Father of our spirits, and that is all the organic difference between Jesus Christ and you and me. And a difference there is between our Father and us consists in that He has gained His exaltation, and has obtained eternal lives. The principle of eternal lives is an eternal existence, eternal duration, eternal exaltation. Endless are His kingdoms, endless His thrones and His dominions, and endless are His posterity; they never will cease to multiply from this time henceforth and forever. (Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, pp. 217-218)

Apostle George Q. Cannon preached that Christ, Satan and all the mortals born on this earth are actually brothers and sisters from a pre-earth life:

We are here to be tested and tried. There is a war between Satan and God. We are brethren and sisters of Satan as well as of Jesus. It may be startling doctrine to many to say this; but Satan is our brother. Jesus is our brother. We are the children of God. God begot us in the spirit in the eternal worlds. This fight that I speak of arose, as we are told, over the question as to how man should work out his earthly probation in a tabernacle of flesh and bones and obtain redemption. Satan differed from God, and he rebelled. We are told in the scriptures that he drew after him one third of the family of God. They thought his plan better than that of the Savior Jesus Christ. From that time until the present he has been struggling to destroy the plans of Jehovah, and to seduce the children of men—his brothers and sisters—from their allegiance to God. (Apostle George Q. Cannon, March 11th, 1894, Collected Discourses, compiled by Brian Stuy, vol. 4, p. 23,)


Speaking in 1949, LDS leader Milton R. Hunter, of the First Council of the Seventy, stated:

You and I were sons and daughters of our Eternal Parents in the spirit world. In fact, all the people in this world were of that family, and Jesus Christ was the Firstborn.

During his pre-mortal life Jesus Christ rose to the status of Godhood. At that time he was foreordained to be the Savior of this world. Father Abraham was privileged to see in vision the grand council in heaven that was held prior to the peopling of this earth, and he saw, as the Lord showed him, “many of the noble and great ones.” (LDS Conference Report, October 1949, p. 69)

Apostle James E. Talmage taught:

Through the sure word of revealed truth we learn of the actual relationship between God and man, and that this is the literal relationship of parent to child. The spirits of men are the offspring of Deity, born in the antemortal world and endowed with the Divine birthright of eternal development and progression, in which course of advancement the life on earth is but a stage. … To become perfect as God is perfect is to attain the state, power, dignity, and authority of godship. Plainly there is a way provided by which the child of God may follow the footsteps of the Father, and in time—sometime in the distant eternities—be as that Divine Father is. Even as Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh, endured the experiences of mortality, passed the portals of death and became a resurrected Being, so the Father before Him had trodden the same path of progression from manhood to Godhood, and today sits enthroned in the heavens by right of achievement. He is the Eternal Father and with Him, crowned with glory and majesty, is the eternal Mother. They twain are the parents of the spirit-children for whose schooling in the lessons of mortality this earth was framed. … Eternal exaltation is the assured attainment of those who obey in its fulness the whole law of the Gospel of Christ; theirs it is to become like unto their Celestial Parents.

“Then shall they be Gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be Gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:20). (The Essential James E. Talmage, edited by James P. Harris, pp. 132-133)


While Mormon leaders assert that they believe in the virgin birth they have changed the definition. The LDS Church teaches that God the Father has a physical, tangible, resurrected body and that God literally sired Jesus in the same physical sense that any other man begets a child. Consequently “the virgin birth” is redefined to mean Mary had intercourse with a god, not a mortal, in order to literally conceive the baby Jesus. In a 1916 doctrinal statement by the LDS First Presidency we read:

1. “Father” as Literal Parent … God the Eternal Father, whom we designate by the exalted name-title “Elohim,” is the literal Parent of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and of the spirits of the human race. Elohim is the Father in every sense in which Jesus Christ is so designated, and distinctively He is the Father of spirits. … Jesus Christ is the Son of Elohim both as spiritual and bodily offspring; that is to say, Elohim is literally the Father of the spirit of Jesus Christ and also of the body in which Jesus Christ performed His mission in the flesh, and which body died on the cross and was afterward taken up by the process of resurrection, and is now the immortalized tabernacle of the eternal spirit of our Lord and Savior. (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol. 4, pp. 1670-1671)

In a Christmas message to the general membership, the LDS First Presidency wrote:


The Latter-day Saints unite with the people of every creed and tongue and race in the general commemoration of the day observed throughout Christendom as the anniversary of the God-Man’s earthly birth. … We bow to Him as the veritable Son of the living God in the fullest sense of the hallowed term. As Mary was His saintly mother, so the Mighty God was His everlasting and literal Father. He was “the only begotten” of Deity, in the flesh, to die that man may live. This we once more affirm and declare as a glorious truth and a fundamental of “Mormon” faith. (Messages of the First Presidency, Vol. 4, pp. 318-319)

Apostle Bruce R. McConkie explained:

God the Father is a perfected, glorified, holy Man, an immortal Personage. And Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy Being; he was born in the same personal, real, and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events, for he is the Son of God, and that designation means what it says. (Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce McConkie, p. 742)

Apostle McConkie explained that there was nothing figurative about Mary’s conception:

And so it is with the Eternal Father and the mortal birth of the Eternal Son. The Father is a Father is a Father; he is not a spirit essence or nothingness to which the name Father is figuratively applied. And the Son is a Son is a Son; he is not some transient emanation from a divine essence, but a literal, living offspring of an actual Father. … There is nothing figurative or hidden or beyond comprehension in our Lord’s coming into mortality. He is the Son of God in the same sense and way that we are the sons of mortal fathers. (The Promised Messiah, pp. 468-469)

In the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, under the heading JESUS CHRIST we read:

He was able to accomplish his unique ministry—a ministry of reconciliation and salvation—because of who and what he was. President Ezra Taft Benson stated, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in the most literal sense. The body in which He performed His mission in the flesh was fathered by that same Holy Being we worship as God, our Eternal Father. Jesus was not the son of Joseph, nor was He begotten by the Holy Ghost. He is the Son of the Eternal Father!” … From Mary, a mortal woman, Jesus inherited mortality, including the capacity to die. From his exalted Father he inherited immortality, the capacity to live forever. (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol. 2, pp.724-725)

On another page of the same volume we read: The fact of Jesus’ being the literal Son of God in the flesh is crucial to the ATONEMENT,…

For Latter-day Saints, the paternity of Jesus is not obscure. He was the literal, biological son of an immortal, tangible Father and Mary, a mortal woman (see Virgin Birth). Jesus is the only person born who deserves the title “the Only Begotten Son of God” … He was not the son of the Holy Ghost; it was only through the Holy Ghost that the power of the Highest overshadowed Mary (Luke 1:35; 1 Ne. 11:19). (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol. 2, p. 729)

Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:

Throughout the scriptures he is spoken of as the Son of God. The story of his birth is plain and free from mystery, insofar as the fact is made that he is in very deed the Son of God. We are emphatically informed that he was begotten by the Father. He recognized God as his Father. He referred to himself as being the Son of God. This is not a mystery. … It is true of Jesus Christ, as it is of any other son, he was begotten in the image of his Father and in his case his Father is the Eternal God, and the scriptures inform us that Jesus was the express image of his Father. (The Restoration of All Things, p. 61)

Apostle McConkie declared that Jesus was begotten in the normal way:

And so, in the final analysis it is the faithful saints, those who have testimonies of the truth and divinity of this great latter-day work, who declare our Lord’s generation to the world. Their testimony is that Mary’s son is God’s Son; that he was conceived and begotten in the normal way; that he took upon himself mortality by the natural birth processes; that he inherited the power of mortality from his mother and the power of immortality from his Father—in consequence of all of which he was able to work out the infinite and eternal atonement. (The Promised Messiah, Bruce McConkie, pp. 472-473)

Apostle James E. Talmage wrote:

That Child to be born of Mary was begotten of Elohim, the Eternal Father, not in violation of natural law but in accordance with a higher manifestation thereof; and, the offspring from that association of supreme sanctity, celestial Sireship, and pure though mortal maternity, was of right to be called the “Son of the Highest.” In His nature would be combined the powers of Godhood with the capacity and possibilities of mortality; and this through the ordinary operation of the fundamental law of heredity, declared of God, demonstrated by science, and admitted by philosophy, that living beings shall propagate—after their kind. The Child Jesus was to inherit the physical, mental, and Spiritual traits, tendencies, and powers that characterized His parents—one immortal and glorified—God, the other human—woman. (Jesus the Christ, James E. Talmage, p. 81)

Jesus According to the Bible

The Bible declares that Jesus is fully God, not a subordinate deity. He eternally exists as God and is our creator.

John 1:1-4, 14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. … And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

John 8:58
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

1 Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.

Colossians 1:16-17
For by him [Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

For more on the Biblical view of God and Jesus read the books The Forgotten Trinity, by James White, The Counterfeit Gospel of Mormonism and The New Mormon Challenge.