Mysteries

There is so much internet trash — an immense landfill of refuse — it is very difficult to sort through it all to find that lost bejeweled diadem of truth lost at some reckless point in time… There has been so much garbage dumped on the world since the beginning of time …

Recently, it has come to mind that the Egyptians may have had some influence on Judaism. I’ve been watching documentaries about Egypt and so see some similarities, like life after death being a real event. Soon thereafter, I came across an essay claiming that the ancient Egyptian religion was so profound to the point where it inspired the entire essence of Judaic faith and beliefs during the Hebrews’ lengthy sojourn there in the land of Goshen. The author concludes that Christianity was a made up religion sourced from the ancient Egyptian religion.

“Egyptian religion was polytheistic. The gods who inhabited the bounded and ultimately perishable cosmos varied in nature and capacity. The word netjer (“god”) described a much wider range of beings than the deities of monotheistic religions, including what might be termed demons.” — Britannica.com

Like most other religions created in the minds of Man, the nature and number of gods evolve as situations develop. The gods were first created and continually made to fit, to explain, events and discoveries observed by Man. On the other hand, a person’s understanding of the God of the Bible must be sourced upon these passages: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas…” (Hebrews 13:8–9a) Also,“I know that everything God does will last forever. Nothing can be added to it. And nothing can be taken from it. God does that so people will have respect for him.” (Ecclesiates 3:14) And: “I am the Lord. I do not change…” (Malachi 3:6a) That is to say that God is consistent. An individual’s understanding of Him may evolve, but He remains the same. Perhaps in Christianity and Judaism there is a similarity found in the Laws of Physics, where Arithmetic moves to Algebra, moves to Calculous and so on. Our understanding of Mathematics evolves, but the Laws of Physics remain constant throughout the Universe. One plus one always equals two.

As for the Egyptians, their idea of the afterlife was quite complex, full of complex and nonsensical, magical incantations. How to get to the afterlife was also very complex. So then, here’s several differences: A person does not have to be part of the Pharaoh’s Royal Family to gain eternal life. Remember, in that religion, it was only Pharaoh himself and his entourage that got the golden ticket!

If one can accept that Jesus is the Judaic Messiah and certainly the Redeemer in Christianity, that is all that is required. A gift. Unearned. Too simple for you? God has made it simple so even a child can understand and respond.

Now, Pharaoh could take it all with him — all the material wealth he could squeeze into his tomb with some slaves added as a bonus (severance pay, perhaps?) Not so. You can’t take it with you.

Judaism and Christianity are monotheistic, believing that there is only one God, whose ultimate desire is for us to be adopted into the family, where He becomes the Father of us all. Unlike Egyptian resurrection, I repeat, you can’t “take it with you.” But He has prepared a place for us: “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2) Another difference: While ancient Egypt had a pantheon of gods, in Judaism and Christianity, idolatry is anathema. The Bible says this: Hebrews 20:3–5 — “You must not have any other god but me. “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.” (NLT) He is jealous for our well-being.

With my limited study in comparative religions, any minor comparative studies of world religions — deism, polytheism, animism, pantheism, whatever — one finds an attempt to understand the transcendent and invisible forces of nature intuitively, through Man’s imagination. In Judaism and Christianity all that is transcendent — morally, spiritually, righteously — all the invisible forces of the universe are found in the God of the Bible — all are experiential, pragmatic, and sustained in real life applications. Furthermore, God does not leave a person outside the door to keep them guessing. “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” (Revelation 3:20, NLT) and “If any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He will give it to you. God gives freely to everyone and doesn’t find fault.” (James 1:5)

I continue to contend that all the world’s religions have been the inventions of various groups of Humanity throughout all generations . Conversely, according to the Bible, God started everything with a bang and will end everything by “rolling up the scroll” with a bang. Inbetween, He will grant those who call on Him all necessary knowledge and wisdom, line upon line, as individuals are able to mentally learn. He will satisfy with everything a person needs and will ultimately reward with eternal life. Where this all starts is with believing He is both real and rewards those who seek Him purposefully.

I maintain that the “inconsistencies” people claim are in the Bible are like the precepts of idolatry that arise solely as a result of Man’s imagination — which certainly end with a completely incongruous doctrine made in desperation for explanation. It is what is read into the Bible by people — the preconceived ideas are where difficulties arise. “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” (James 1:5, NLT) In what is called a Cross Reference Bible, there are passages cited for the continuity of our understanding, though we cannot now fully understand: “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:9–12)

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their way and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. — Isaiah 55:6–9

God of Biblical fame is the God who is there. You don’t have to figure things out for yourself, or make up new gods or precepts to fit every new situation. You don’t have to listen to anyone who shows charm and confident speech just because of their personal appeal, you don’t have to succumb to scapegoating evil voices. Mystical, mysterious gods never let you know, but remain mystical and mysterious because they are not real. Most religions demand a continual quest, a “tilting at windmills” as in Don Quijote. Infinite questions with no light at the end of the tunnel. However, the Biblical perspective is a personal relationship with God who is there for us.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” — Jeremiah 29:11–13, NLT) In Hebrews 13:5 God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”

Experience God. Experience Jesus. Turn to Him. Seek a personal relationship in the here and now, and learn to walk through life with the Author of life. Remember the maxim, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again? Then,remember to be wholeheartedly honest. No play acting will suffice. Do you believe God exists? Then that is where to start.

The idolatry, the polytheistic religions, the imaginary religions are so different from reality, and so, I leave you with this from the first letter of John, “We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:1–3, NLT)

Finally. I know my essays are long and boring to many. However, I make no apologies. There are centuries of trash that has built up into a humongous landfill polluting all the surrounding Earth. So, I challenge people to think and think hard. My challenge to everyone is based on King Solomon’s challenge: “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?” There is truly a beyond. You don’t need to rely on imagination. Figure it out personally with Jesus. Patty and I are.

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D L Henderson

Born 1950; HS 1968; Born again 1972; Cornell ILR; Steward, Local President/Business Agent; Husband, father, grandfather; winner/loser/everything in between