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Posts Tagged ‘kingdom of heaven’

Books are made up of words and each word has its own history, but that does not come to surface while we read, for the idea of reading presupposes a space in which an authors intention could be set up. James Joyce’s Ulysses is his account of one day in the life of Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus. Joyce wanted to give a sense of realism by incorporating real people and places into them… At the same time that Ulysses presents itself as a realistic novel, it also works on a mythic level, by way of a series of parallels with Homer’s Odyssey. Stephen, Bloom, and Molly correspond respectively to Telemachus, Ulysses, and Penelope, and each of the eighteen episodes of the novel corresponds to an adventure from the Odyssey.’(sparknotes-Ulysses/context) The date June 16, 1904 in which the events take place is also very crucial to the author, but it s irrelevant to the reader. Nevertheless it throws light into the author’s emotional energy that suffuses the proceedings of various personages in the book.

There are three elements that we need in order to get the most out of any book:

Realism of the work: In Ulysses Joyce created situations and personages that derive their naturalness within the basic premise of  reliving a personal event: his first date with Nora Barnacle.

Literary Space which is created by words and it has its own coloring, structure according to the literary devices employed the author.

Mirroring process: This is a subjective element whereby sensibilities of the reader can relate to the events emotionally as well as rationally.

Having used Ulysses as an example let me show the same elements in the Scriptures.

Realism of Ulysses as mentioned above is based on Joyce’s first date with his future wife. It is true. Similarly Truth gives verisimilitude to the scriptures, be it the Bible or Koran or any other. Truth of the godhead gives them their validity. Prophet’s visionary experience gives Koran its impact as the Bible.

In the matter of literary space the Bible creates multiple worlds that run into one another. Kingdom of God and divine Will permeates from the first book to the last Apocalyptic book. Secondly kingdom of Heaven is exemplified by Jesus during his earthly ministry. Thirdly is a earthly kingdom when the Prince of Peace of Messiah sets up his earthly kingdom as fulfillment of prophetic writings. The Book of Daniel for example.

The mirroring process is one area where many tend to go wrong. The reader must exercise his understanding and judgment to get the most out of the Scriptures. The time frame of the reader in the last century is different from the present. Timelessness of Truth is to be mirrored in the reader’s ‘time-space frame’. The Scriptures  are meant to guide us into all righteousness and godliness.  If we cannot live according to the moral guideposts shown in by the author what avails the reader? Truth as impacted into the literary space is the work of Holy Spirit that overrules as well as instructs the reader. It also serves a caution. The Ethiopian eunuch asked Philip: ‘How can I except some man should guide me?(Ac.8:31) There are passages that may defy simple explanations since the author’s language and experience cannot be mirrored directly but from roundabout way. Thus the prophesies of Isaiah cannot be made sense unless one know of the subject he is predicting. No wonder when some fellows stone or hack others for blasphemy they are interpreting the scriptures wrongly.

benny

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Outside perception which is natural and cast in the human image is an all inclusive world that I as a Christian would call as kingdom of heaven. Different sets of rules work in each world that is permitted but not accepted for ever. In the age of grace we need to realize serving God is the door to Kingdom of God and serving Mammon is a trip along the broadway to destruction.

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Miracles must be explained as blessings flowing from the greater to the lesser.

In the midst of winter my wife and I packed peanuts along the branches in our front garden for birds to peck at. (It is like food reserves stashed in the Arctic regions for Arctic explorers to help themselves in need.) I wanted to observe myself how many kinds of birds would pass their way through. Sure enough the birds came down flapping their wings to gorge on the precious food. It struck me that they must be thinking it a miracle to find peanuts spouting from birch saplings! I know where these peanuts come from and how much the local garden center charges for each. For the birds not having this knowledge the sight must seem incredible.

In the gospel of St. Matthew we read of a miracle of Jesus. In his earthly ministry he found himself in a desert place. It was late for the crowd who had come to hear Jesus speak find a place to find food. The disciples found the crowd was great that they had no means to provide food for all. Unconcerned their fumbling Jesus said, ’Give ye them food to eat.’ They exercised their reason, ’Shall we go and buy two hundred penny worth of bread?‘ They knew the cost of food but not what Jesus could do. It was for Jesus nothing extraordinary. Five loaves and two fishes he multiplied so each could be fed and there was still left over. Jesus had the means to feed them and also knew when. A miracle was possible because the kingdom of heaven and kingdom of men overlapped when Jesus walked the earth.

Before the Passion Jesus told Peter:’ whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound…’(Mt.16:19) Since Jesus has opened up a way miracles do occur where a need exists and one takes responsible as a servant of the kingdom of heaven. In the Old Testament miracles that Elisha and Elijah performed were as prophets from the Kingdom of God.

To sum: miracles as we perceive them on earth is but a trifle for those who inhabit the kingdom above. Raising Lazarus from death was a miracle but I do not assume that did give him immortality. Lazarus of Bethany would have died like every other. It was an exercise in faith and Jesus worked a miracle for the benefit of others demonstrating his own approaching death and the resurrective power that would lift him to his Father. Jesus truly loved the dead man and it connected his own death and the life after death through Lazarus  for all mankind. A miracle that increases the faith of a believer is a means to turn him towards the world beyond. When Jesus was accused of working miracles by the power of Beelzebub he said,”If I cast out.. by the spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” (Mt. 12:28) Any other way or for any other purpose if a miracle is performed I would consider it as suspect.

benny

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