“Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matthew 4:15)

Why did Jesus get baptized by John?

This is how Jesus responded when he approached John the Baptist for baptism. John had been preaching to thousands of people who came from towns and villages. They traveled miles into the wilderness to hear John's teachings.

John was an acclaimed messenger of God in line with the great Prophets. Thus Jesus' baptism by John also put Jesus within this same lineage of messengers of God.

John's Jordan River baptisms and sermons brought large crowds of people to hear from this extraordinary teacher of wisdom. Though the text records John’s humble statement praising Jesus, it is apparent that John the Baptist was a spiritual teacher renowned throughout Judea.

The texts describe John as a devoted and dedicated preacher. His teachings were critical of the Pharisees and Sadducees. He called them a “brood of vipers!” (Matthew 4:7) In other words, he was not a preacher of the established institutional religion of that time and era.

Yet at the same time, John the Baptist taught the same essential teachings of Moses, Abraham, David, Samuel, Eli, Isaiah and so on. In his sermon to the Pharisees and Sadducees, he comments about Abraham as their father - a term often used to describe one's teacher.

Where did John get his authority?

John the Baptist was also the student of another glorified messenger of God. Luke details John’s father, Zechariah, and how John’s birth came to be. Zechariah was a priest “who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah” (Luke 1:5).

Luke further describes Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth: 
“Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly” (Luke 1:6)
As Zechariah and Elizabeth were older and Elizabeth was thus far barren, the birth of John was preceded by the visitation of Angel Gabriel, who identified himself, declaring that,
“I stand in the presence of God,” (Luke 1:19).
In this visitation, Gabriel proclaimed that Zechariah and Elizabeth would have a child. Gabriel spoke of this child, John the Baptist:
“... for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:15-17).

Was John Jesus' teacher?

From this statement, we find that John the Baptist was more than the provider of Jesus’ baptism. He was God's messenger. He brought people back to God. This means he was qualified to teach the same message of love for God that Jesus taught:
“They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” Finally they said “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” (John 1:21-23)
Thus John humbly described himself. Though Gabriel may have proclaimed to John’s father the greatness of John the Baptist, John saw himself humbly, as a simple messenger of God. 

The phrase “make straight” - translated from the Greek term εὐθύνω (euthynō) meaning "to lead or guide straight" as a "helmsman" might - is about one's personal life. John certainly was not involved in governmental affairs or crowd control. “Make straight” is a personal process of preparing oneself.

“The way for the Lord” has been assumed to be some sort of description of Jesus' arrival. This is not consistent with the text. The Greek word ὁδός (hodos) means "a course of conduct" according to Thayer's lexicon. 

This means this verse is describing a person's choice to align one's life with "the Lord" - that is, with the Supreme Being.

In other words: John wanted to encourage people to have a change of heart and decide to return to their relationship with God.

These are the teachings common to all of the prophets. Every prophet, from Abraham to Ezekiel, requested from his students that they turn to the Supreme Being and learn to love and serve Him.

Now when Jesus approached John for baptism, John immediately recognized Jesus, and indicated Jesus' position:
“I need to be baptized by you and do you come to me? (Matt 3:14)
Jesus did not accept such a question born of humility. He understood John's authority and was determined to be baptized by John:
“Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness” was how Jesus responded.

What is the purpose of baptism?

We might stop to consider carefully the meaning and purpose of baptism. While some sectarian institutions might consider baptism to be the process of cleansing the sins away from a person, there is certainly another intention involved in the process.

Today sectarian baptism is conducted by a priest or minister, but during John and Jesus' time it was the process of a spiritual teacher accepting followers, who could then become spiritual teachers. It was not a ceremony to join a sect or cleanse sins. It was to symbolize someone becoming a follower of that spiritual teacher.

This process of accepting a teacher, who has accepted a teacher creates a lineage of teachers who are essentially passing on the same teachings.

Moses, Abraham, Isaiah and so many others who were shown to have authority in the Gospels all themselves were followers then teachers within the same succession or lineage of teachers.

John the Baptist was a teacher and follower of a teacher within the lineage of Abraham.

Jesus had no need to accept the position of John’s follower. But he did so to illustrate the process of accepting a teacher within the lineage of God's messengers.

Did Jesus follow John's example by taking on his own disciples?

Once Jesus received the baptism from John he began taking on his own disciples. If Jesus were to gather his own disciples and baptize them prior to his baptism by John, we would probably not see the importance of accepting a teacher.

However, Jesus did indeed accept not just any teacher—not just any Pharisee from the local synagogue. He did not just walk into any church and take the baptism as a mechanical process. He approached a specific person, a dedicated preacher and the student of an esteemed priest named Zechariah, “who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah” (Luke 1:5).

Thus we can understand that Jesus accepted a bonafide teacher before he became a teacher. This is the example that Jesus set for his own students, who eventually also became teachers.

This is why Peter, James, Thomas, John and other disciples began their own ministries after Jesus departed.

Is this about a family lineage?

From Jesus' life we can see that his disciples were not his family members. Yes, there were a few, such as James, that were part of his physical family. But the bulk of his followers were not part of his physical family.

This and other indications tell us that the lineage of ancient teachers is not about family heritage.

Much of the teachings of the Old Testament were presented and handed down through the generations of the teaching lineage of Abraham. Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, Josiah and other saints and teachers who were all students of Abraham’s teachings. Some were related as in the same family, and some were not.

This is also confirmed by the fact that Jesus chose someone who was not his father to take baptism.

It should be pointed out that Joseph did not take up the priesthood or become a teacher. Yet because both Zechariah and John were students before they were teachers, and Zechariah took his training in the lineage of Abijah, we see that the lineage from teacher to disciple was not necessarily a family thing.

As we look deeper into the Old Testament, we find that many of the descendants of Abraham were kings or leaders of their day, but a priestly lineage was present yet often separate from the family. Though we find Jacob, Lot and Isaac were students of Abraham during the time of Elijah, we find instructions were “in accordance with the word of the Lord spoken by Joshua son of Nun.” (1 Kings 17:1)

We also find many other cases where a descendant of Abraham’s family did not “walk in the ways of the Lord” as did others, while many, such as David and Solomon, certainly did walk with God. This confirms it is not simply a bloodline - but a spiritual family.

Were the teachings of Moses and Abraham lost during these times when the Abraham bloodline did not worship the Supreme Being? Certainly not. The teachings were carefully being passed down through the priestly lineage. And it was such a lineage that Jesus decided to take baptism from.

This bears a discussion regarding the current state of affairs among some sectarian institutions. Though we know that Jesus took on and baptized students, and he instructed them to go out and preach the gospel and take on their own students, the lineage coming from Jesus has been given up by ecclesiastical institutions that appoint and elect their teachers much as politicians are elected. Thus the lineage has been effectively abandoned by these organizations.

Was Jesus indoctrinated?

Jesus chose a teacher who was not part of any organization or “church.” John was considered an outcast, teaching the Truth in the desert, where people had to travel to hear him speak. 

John was also critical of the local organized institution and its teachers:
You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matt 4:7-8)
These words obviate that John was his own man - serving the Supreme Being - and not part of the establishment. The fact that he instructed them to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” is clear. He was obviously requesting that they give up their pride and become devoted to God.

“And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’” (Matt 4:9) John said. He made it obvious that producing fruit is connected to devotion to God and not related to belonging to any particular family, club or group.

Jesus chose a particular teacher of the Truth, not an organization to join. Jesus never went around saying he was part of a particular church or organization either, just as John did. Herein lies the “righteousness” of the situation. Jesus was teaching us by example not to join a club or organization, but to carefully choose a teacher who keeps the Truth close, and focuses on devotion to God.

Jesus' purpose was to serve the Supreme Being and please God with his activities. He didn't make up his own system or just appoint himself. He didn't set up an electoral college or a council of deacons to pick the teacher through politics. Before he began preaching and taking on students, he accepted a teacher, stating:
“Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17)

Is this the correct translation?

This statement by Jesus has been translated differently among the different Bible versions:
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." (New International Version 2011)
"Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (King James version)
“Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (New Living Translation)
“Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Christian Standard Bible)
"Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!" (Hebrew Names Version)
"Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn nigh." (Darby Translation)
'Reform ye, for come nigh hath the reign of the heavens.' (Young's Literal Translation)
"Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (American Standard Version)
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Revised Standard Version, English Standard Version, New American Standard Bible)
“Change your heart, for the sanctuary of God is readily available.” (Lost Gospels of Jesus)
These are all translated from the same Greek phrase, μετανοεῖτε ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.

Isn't this also what John the Baptist taught?

Regardless of the translation, this teaching was also taught by John the Baptist before Jesus taught it:
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." (Matthew 3:2)
These teachings were only taught by Jesus following his hearing of John the Baptist’s imprisonment:
When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. ... From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:12-17)
This means that this teaching was not solely Jesus' message. And just as Jesus was passing on the same teachings of his teacher John the Baptist, Jesus also instructed his own disciples to go out and teach this same message to others:
"As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.'" (Matthew 10:7)
What does this mean? It means that this very same teaching was taught by at least three generations of teachers: John, Jesus and Jesus' disciples, and presumably, those who followed them.

Was this teaching taught before John?

This teaching did not originate with John the Baptist. We find in David's Psalms and other texts of the Bible:
But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. (Psalm 73:28)

We praise you, God, we praise you, for Your Name is near (Psalm 75:1)

Yet You are near, LORD, and all your commands are true. (Psalm 119:151)

The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. (Psalm 145:18)

“In the morning the LORD will show who belongs to Him and who is holy, and He will have that person come near Him. (Numbers 16:5)

He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near Himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too. (Numbers 16:10)

What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? (Deut. 4:7)

Go near and listen to all that the LORD our God says. Then tell us whatever the LORD our God tells you. We will listen and obey.” (Deut. 5:27)

And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night (1 Kings 8:59)

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while He is near. (Isaiah 55:6)

They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. (Isaiah 58:2)

"Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’" (Luke 10:9)

What does 'repent' mean here?

The word "repent" is being translated from the Greek word μετανοέω (metanoeō). This means "to change" or "to change one's mind" according to Thayer's lexicon. 

It means to have a change of heart. It means to make a serious change in one's life.

In other words, "repent" in this context would be to divert from those activities focused upon our own selves - exercised by our seeking satisfaction within materialism. To "repent" from these activities would mean to refocus towards regaining our relationship with the Supreme Being.

What does 'kingdom of heaven' mean here?

The word "kingdom" here is being translated from the Greek word βασιλεία (basileia). The lexicon describes this word to mean, "royal power, kingship, dominion, rule: not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom."

From this, we know that Jesus and John were speaking of accepting the Supreme Being's dominion - His ultimate authority. So the kingdom of heaven relates to the consciousness of accepting the ultimate authority of the Supreme Being. This is describing the refuge, the shelter, or the sanctuary, of God.

The use of "kingdom" here comes from a time when there were many different kings - who were basically tribal rulers - in different regions. Using their armies, these kings protected the people of the kingdom. As such, the people revered the king and took shelter or refuge under the king's protection. Using their assembled armies and barriers, the king would protect the populace from invading armies. As such the "kingdom" was the name given to that place of refuge, shelter or sanctuary.

Having a change of heart and taking refuge or shelter or taking sanctuary of God requires humility. It means accepting that we don't know it all. It means accepting that we don't have the means to protect ourselves. It means accepting that the Supreme Being is my only real protector and salvation.

The Supreme Being is a person, and each of us has an innate relationship with God. We have forgotten this loving service relationship as we seek our own satisfaction away from God. In order to regain our lost relationship with God, our approach must come with humility, because we were the ones who decided to leave Him.

This runs contrary to the popular connotation of "repenting" as professed by many sectarian institutions and their teachers. Many see repentance as some sort of public proclamation: To proclaim “I repent,” in a public ceremony, or “I surrender to Jesus” is not the same as having a personal change of heart - as Jesus, John and Jesus' disciples were requesting.

A real change of heart does not come with public proclamation or grandstanding. It is rather the opposite: It is an extremely personal and private decision to redirect one's life towards coming to know and love the Supreme Being.

Is this about the end of the world?

Even with this clear meaning, many sectarian institutions and their teachers have interpreted this statement relates to a coming end of the world or some kind of apocalypse. This is despite any evidence, from either the words or the context of Jesus' statement.

Consider first the audience of these teachings. Who was Jesus preaching to? Certainly, he was preaching to those around him at the time. And yet some 2,000 years later, the end of the world still has not come.

Was Jesus misleading his followers - telling them that the end of the world was "near" or "at hand" and it wasn't? Certainly not.

This hasn't stopped the unsupported interpretation. Below is a list of some of the many teachers who have claimed to represent Jesus, teaching that Jesus was predicting the end of the world on a certain date. (The date they predicted the world would end follows their name):

Hilary of Poitiers: predicted the world would end in 365 AD
Saint Martin of Tours: predicted several dates between 375 to 400 AD
Sextus Julius Africanus: 500 AD
Gerard of Poehlde: 1147 AD
John of Toledo: 1179 AD
Joachim of Fiore: 1205 AD
Pope Innocent III: 1284 AD
Melchior Hoffman: 1533 AD
Benjamin Keach (Baptist): 1689 AD
William Whitson: 1736 AD
The Shakers (Ann Lee): 1792 AD
Charles Wesley (Methodist): 1794 AD
Margaret McDonald: 1830 AD
Joseph Smith (Mormon): 1832 and 1891 AD
William Miller (Millerites): 1843 and 1844 AD
Ellen White (Seven Day Adventists): 1850, 1856 and "early 1900s" AD
Mother Shipton: 1881 AD
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses): 1914, 1916, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, 1994, 'by 2000' and 2114.

Were Jesus and John deceiving their students?

Since John also taught this, and since the end of the world hasn't come, were they both misleading their followers? Were they both making idle threats about the end of the world coming?

What would be the purpose of threatening the end of the world to them - as "near" - since it would not happen during their lifetimes or even within the lifetimes of their children - or even in the next 2,000 years? Does more than 2,000 years later mean "near"?

Why, if John and Jesus were predicting an event that will take place more than 2,000 years later, would they use the word "near"?

The simple answer is that this statement has been mistranslated and misinterpreted.

What does 'near' or 'at hand' mean?

The word "near" (or in the case of other translations "at hand") is being translated from the Greek word ἐγγίζω (eggizō), which means, according to the lexicon:

1) to bring near, to join one thing to another
2) to draw or come near to, to approach

Thus it is clear that the interpretation of the word relating to time is incorrect. The word ἐγγίζω (eggizō) indicates "closeness" relative to distance - not time.

Therefore, Jesus is speaking of the kingdom of heaven - the sanctuary of God or the refuge of God - being close: Readily available.

The true meaning of “for the kingdom of heaven has come near” is that each of us can gain the refuge or sanctuary of God - the shelter of God - immediately by simply turning to the Supreme Being - by worshiping Him and relying upon Him - and dismissing ourselves ("repenting") from our search for happiness in a materialistic world of emptiness and physical gratification.

In other words, Jesus is speaking of surrendering to the Supreme Being - giving one's life to God - and thus taking shelter in the Supreme Being.

Is this about our consciousness?

Jesus is not speaking of a physical place being nearby. He is speaking of the fact that taking refuge in the Supreme Being can be accomplished immediately: Because He is near to us. He is available to each of us.

Certainly, if we accept that God created this world, we can also accept that He has the ability to be here. Nearby. Available. Jesus confirmed this in another statement:
"The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20-21 NKJV)
The Supreme Being designed the physical body in such a way so that our physical eyes cannot see Him. This is in order to give each of us the freedom to ignore God if we choose. It also gives us the freedom to love God - or not.

Therefore, we have to open our hearts in order to see Him from within. If God is with us - near - and we can refocus ourselves upon Him with humility and love, then we have the ability for our consciousness to enter the kingdom of God where ever we are. This translates to becoming focused on doing His will rather than our own will.

Jesus also indicates that this consciousness does have a place: Not a physical place, but a context - this is the spiritual realm - evidenced by Jesus' use of the word οὐρανός (ouranos) in this verse - mistranslated to "heaven."

Yes, since Jesus is indicating that this consciousness related to giving one's life to the Supreme Being is available - Jesus is not speaking of a location called "heaven." He is speaking of a heavenly consciousness, which creates "heaven" where ever we might be.

Such a consciousness creates sanctuary: The safety or refuge of our relationship with God. The Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) indicates the consciousness of the spiritual realm, which can be accessed from any location - because after all, everywhere is part of God's creation. Thus, the use of οὐρανός (ouranos) indicates that consciousness where the Supreme Being is loved and worshiped.

This great teaching is suggesting that we can reject our self-centered chase for happiness within materialism and give ourselves to the Supreme Being. We can decide to dedicate our lives to coming to know and love the Supreme Person and learning to do His will (what pleases Him). This will immediately transport us to the sanctuary (or kingdom) of God, even as our physical bodies might remain here in the physical world.

Yes, according to Jesus' teachings, God and His sanctuary are near. God is available to us, and we can take refuge in Him at any time. We each have that choice.

“Come, follow me and I will send you out to fish for people.” (Matthew 4:19)

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. (Matt. 4:18-20)

What is Jesus asking them to do?

Is Jesus talking about these soon-to-be followers catching men in the ocean as they would fish?

The analogy Jesus uses regarding "I will make you fishers of men" is describing his request that they pass on his teachings to others - teaching them the Truth about our relationship with the Supreme Being.

This is what Jesus was doing in his preaching mission. Passing on the teachings about God. This was the mission also of Jesus' teacher, John the Baptist, along with the prophets that came before John.

Jesus was not making his teachings up. He often quoted David, Moses, Ezekiel, Isaiah and others in his teachings. Even Jesus' most important teaching - to love God - was quoted from Moses.

Now Jesus wanted his students to pass on those teachings. He wanted them to also carry forth the same teachings that he was carrying forth to others.

Is Jesus the only teacher?

It is ironic that even with verses like this and many others, some sectarian institutions and their teachers profess that only Jesus can teach, and only Jesus can save us. Yes, they are teaching that Jesus is the only teacher.

Yet Jesus himself was requesting that others receive his teachings and then become teachers to others. This is what "fishers of men" means.

Yes, Jesus is requesting that Peter and Andrew also become teachers.

Not only did Peter and Andrew become teachers. They taught to many others who also became teachers, or "fishers of men."

Note here that Jesus' statement offers no organizational or institutional regimen. It was simply these men following and learning under Jesus, after which they would become teachers ("fishers of men.") There was no pomp and circumstance involved. No official bathing or dipping ceremony was required. It was quite simply Jesus taking on these students and teaching them the truth, after which they were to teach others.

This is the custom throughout the ancient times of the Old Testament, as well as among every bona fide religious teaching in human history. The path to God is through His messengers that have themselves established a personal loving relationship with God.

Jesus' statement again evidences the succession of the time-honored process of passing on spiritual teachings gained from the great teachers that preceded us. Jesus honored this tradition. This is why he took baptism from John.

This is not about receiving a divinity degree and a paid position within a church. It is not a political process. God empowers those who are able to pass on the teachings of those pure teachers such as Jesus, Moses, Abraham and David.

This is also not about creating an artificial mental relationship with God based on emotional sentiment. God is a Person and if we want to come to know Him we must follow the path to Him that He gives us: This is why God sent Jesus and His other messengers: To guide us back to Him.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:1-3)

What does 'blessed' mean?

The word “blessed” - translated from the Greek word μακάριος (makarios), which means to be "blessed" or "happy" - imparts Jesus' confirmation that this is a state that brings joy.

While some versions of the Bible translate "Blessed are the poor in spirit" to simply “Blessed are the poor,” the Greek word πνεῦμα (pneuma) - which means according to Thayer's lexicon, "the spirit, i.e. the vital principal by which the body is animated."

In other words, Jesus is not speaking of being financially poor. Being "poor in spirit" is distinctly different than being "poor" - or having a lack of material wealth.

What does 'poor in spirit' mean?

This phrase is describing a consciousness of humility.

To be "poor in spirit" means to have a general disregard for oneself. It means to have abandoned the consciousness that I am the most important person.

This means to abandon the consciousness of self-centeredness. That the world revolves around me and my family, my house, my region, my heritage and so on.

This contrasts with what we see today throughout the physical world: We see practically everyone is in a consciousness that the world revolves around me. We think we know so much. We think we are so great. We consider ourselves the superstar, the boss, or the best at something. We think that the world is our 'oyster' and everything is meant for our enjoyment.

Then when some of us become philosophical, we think we are able to speculate our way to knowing the Truth. We think we can figure it all out.

This essentially boils down to pride: We think we are self-sufficient.

What about self-esteem?

Many today teach the importance of self-esteem. They teach that we should love ourselves, and cherish ourselves and believe that we are the greatest. How does this help us?

Some promote pride as the solution to all sorts of psychological issues: They recommend "self-love" and feeling that we can do anything we want to do. They recommend we need a dose of "I am incredible" and we will be fine.

Such a doctrine sounds fluffy and nice. But the reality is that self-love only leads to self-centeredness. And this is contrary to Jesus' teachings.

The world is not our "oyster." The physical world is a place of learning. We are in a type of classroom, one that teaches us about love and consequences.

Here we have the freedom to express ourselves as we wish according to the culture and restrictions therein. But the world teaches us back with reactions, laws and consequences.

Some of the meanest consequences come as a result of harming others in some way. Often this is a result of our acting with pride and self-centeredness. 

When we are proud of ourselves, and we are focused on ourselves (self-centered) we become oblivious to how our actions may harm others. In our attempts to get what we want, we may remove an opportunity for someone else.

Developing humility as we live in this world will allow us to learn more and grow more.

Humility begins with understanding our limitations. Understanding, first that I don't know it all. Our mind is only a storage device for impulses coming from the senses and the nervous system. It is not all-knowing. Our mind is like a computer hard drive. It stores what is fed into it.

Thus the mind has no entrance into the spiritual realm because the spiritual realm is not perceived by the physical senses. Therefore the mind has no entrance into the spiritual realm.

Our physical lifetime is strung together with one lesson after another. We emerge from the womb in pain - crying and gasping. Throughout our childhood, we deal with life's frustrations, pains and struggles as we try to cope with other children, our parents, and the general demands of the world. We deal with the ‘growing pains’ of peer pressure, school, and the demands of our family, versus our inclinations for freedom and independence.

As our bodies rise to adulthood, we find ourselves having to cope with learning a way to survive on our own. We learn to maintain jobs, finances, spouses, family and everyday aches and pains. 

Life becomes serious in adulthood, and survival is tantamount. In the early adult years, we may work hard at jobs with little future, and take care of children who are themselves confused about the world. 

As our bodies grow older, they begin to become diseased. We are treated with aches and pains inherent in temporary bodies with limited lifespans. Bones, teeth and muscles all age and weaken. Our eyesight weakens. Our hearing begins to fade. Our memory begins to falter. All of these elements make for a downslide towards the death of this body.

At the time of death, whatever wealth or assets we have accumulated - including our name, reputation and status - all disappear. In one instant - after a lifetime of struggles to accumulate them - everything we thought was ours is snatched away at the time of death.

Where does our self-esteem get us in this context?

The various hopes and dreams we might have about becoming happy in the physical world through the acquisition of fame, wealth, family and so on are simply that: dreams. They are illusions. These things do not bring happiness. These things only bring more emptiness. They only bring more sorrow. Why?

Because we are not these physical bodies. These bodies are vehicles we drive temporarily. It is like a driver wanting to relieve his hunger by filling up the car with gas. Because the driver is not the car, filling the car with gas will not fulfill the driver.

In the same way, because we are spiritual in essence, physical things cannot fulfill us.

Rather, these physical bodies and this physical world facilitate learning.

Yes, this world and this temporary physical body were designed to teach us. But only if we are ready to learn.

How does humility help us enter the 'kingdom of heaven'?

Now consider what can be taught to a person who thinks they know it all, compared to someone who is humble. The know-it-all doesn't think they need to learn anything. They think they are just fine. So they learn little.

But the humble person is capable of greater learning because they are not so proud of what they might know already.

One might compare it to a cup. If the cup is full, nothing more can be poured in. But a cup that is empty can be filled easily.

In the same way, a humble state allows a person to learn about spiritual life.

Should we at some point realize the futility of thinking we are the center of the universe, we are ready to embrace our innate humble consciousness. This is not fake humility - acting humble. This is feeling humbled.

It is at this point that we become “poor in spirit.” We in effect, giving up on our consciousness that the universe revolves around me, and that I know it all.

At such a point, we are ready to begin our re-entry into the “kingdom of heaven.” 

The 'kingdom of heaven' Jesus is referring to is the place where love of God is the primary consciousness, leaving pride and self-centeredness with no place in our heart. It is a world where love replaces greed. It is the realm where our lust for 'mammon' (or materialism) is replaced by a thirst for pleasing God. 

That 'kingdom of heaven' is a world where we are truly happy because our care and concerns are about loving and serving our Best Friend and Soul Mate, the Supreme Being.

True humility is the realization that our self-centered nature has created our separation from God, and that we do not have the power to change this nature alone. We need His help.

Only in this condition can a person truly take refuge in the Supreme Being and allow Him to guide us. Once we understand that we have no strength of our own, and we need our relationship with Him in order to be happy, we become equipped to enter "the kingdom of heaven."

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

Is mourning the same as depression?

Some might consider mourning as depression. Is this the kind of mourning Jesus is talking about?

Depression is not what Jesus is referring to. Depression is typically based upon not getting what we want in the world - whether that be material things, accomplishments, or the attention of others.

"Those who mourn," refers to those who have lost someone. They were loving a spouse, family member or friend, and they lost them. This reveals an emptiness within the life of the person.

On the other hand, "blessed" is being translated from the Greek word μακάριος (makarios), which means "happy" according to the lexicon. 

How can a person be mourning and joyful at the same time?

What is the source of 'mourning'?

The source of depression is self-centeredness, exasperated by our temporary entrapment within the physical body.

The physical body is full of distress - suffering in many forms. But this physical body is not who we are. We are the spirit-person within. We are a spirit-person temporarily living within and falsely identifying with this temporary physical body.

As we put our faith upon our physical body, our physical family, and our physical relationships, we are met with distress. This is because each body and each material object, one by one, becomes destroyed or we otherwise become separated from them.

Mourning is different. As we lose our family members or the relationships of this world, we are left mourning for their loss. This is a natural feeling because we were designed for relationships.

Mourning comes from becoming attached to someone of this world. Another physical form. When we become attached to someone in the physical world, we are bound to be let down, because every physical body dies, and the soul or spirit-person leaves.

How can we be comforted?

The solution that Jesus provides is to realize this world is not our home. This is a temporary place, full of hostility and calamity.

This world is intended to teach us that we are empty without our innate relationship with the Supreme Being. We are nothing without God because we were created to be God's loving servant and friend.

And only when we begin to realize that this world is not our home and that we can be comforted if we seek refuge in our relationship with the Supreme Being will we be relieved of the distress of this physical world.

Should we become humbled with the realization that this world is not our home and we need to return to God, we will be comforted.

This is Jesus' message. Jesus was not preaching the importance of family life. He did not preach that we should take comfort in the family of this temporary physical body. While families can certainly help comfort us during times of physical and emotional distress, they are not the key to being comforted spiritually.

Being “comforted” as spoken of here comes only by way of a loving relationship with God. In reality, we do have a home, and we do have a loving family and a loving Father we can turn to and rely upon.

We will find comfort when we put ourselves at the feet of the Supreme Being. We can take refuge in the Supreme Being, and we will find our solution. This is Jesus' message. As we put our love and care upon God, we are comforted:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)

What does Jesus mean by 'inherit the earth'?

Did Jesus really promise his students that they, if they were meek, would "inherit the earth" as interpreted from this statement by Jesus?

Did Jesus really suggest that these folks will literally inherit the earth?

Actually, Jesus is quoting David's Psalms:
But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (Psalm 37:11)
This means that this concept of  "inheriting the earth" did not start with Jesus. It was something unrelated to Jesus. It was related to those who are not only humble, but devoted to God:
But those who wait on the LORD,
They shall inherit the earth. (Psalm 37:9)
The word "LORD" here is translated from the Hebrew word הֹוָה (Yĕhovah). This is the name of the Supreme Being, also called Jehovah. In other words, David is not referring to Jesus. He is referring to those who take refuge in God. 

What is the 'inherit the earth' doctrine?

Some sects teach that their members will be put on a list and after Jesus' return they will be spared while everyone else will be slaughtered. Then those on the list will "inherit the earth."

But what about those who have died before Jesus' "second coming?" How will they inherit the earth? Or how about those during David's time? Will their decomposed bodies - their bone fragments - come back to life to inherit the earth? Or perhaps the worms that ate their bodies will inherit the earth?

How could they inherit the earth if their bodies are completely decomposed and turned into soil and ash? And what if their bodies were burnt in a fire at the time of death? Will their ashes rise up to inherit the earth?

If that were true, why did Jesus also say:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21)
"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 18:3-4)
Why, in Jesus' teachings, would entering the kingdom be of any importance if his followers would "inherit the earth"?

The fact is, Jesus did not teach that his followers would inherit the earth. He promised them that if they followed his teachings, then they would become eligible to enter the "kingdom of heaven" and the "kingdom of God."

This ridiculous doctrine of inheriting the earth also denies the existence of a spiritual living being that lives on after the body dies, while even conventional medical science now accepts that a person can exist after death, evidenced by millions of clinical death cases.

Is 'inherit the earth' a mistranslation?

It is evident from the original Greek and its context that "inherit the earth" is a mistranslation* of what Jesus said. The phrase "inherit the earth" is taken from the Greek words κληρονομέω (klēronomeōto) and γῆ (gē). Yes, κληρονομέω (klēronomeōto) can certainly mean "to be an heir, to inherit" according to the lexicon. But it can also mean, "to receive" and "to receive a portion."

And γῆ (gē) can mean "arable land," but also "territory," "region," or "one's country."

In this context, an appropriate translation of γῆ (gē) in this context would be "oasis" or "paradise." Jesus is referring to a special place. Something that is a reward or benefit.

Why would "arable land" be translated to "oasis" or "paradise"? "Arable land" refers to land that is productive for growing food. It is special land - because much of the land that Jesus and those around him around Jerusalem were rocky, barren desert land. Arable land would be land that was not only adequate for growing crops but received adequate rain or other water supply.

In hot desert regions, that would be considered an oasis - which is often described as a paradise and metaphorically used to describe the spiritual realm.

Why? Because metaphorically, the spiritual realm is a paradise or an oasis apart from the distress of the physical world.

Therefore, a more appropriate translation of this statement (as found in the Lost Gospels of Jesus) would be:
“Blessed are the humble, for they shall inherit paradise.”

Where is paradise?

Jesus is speaking metaphorically here. Why? Because we cannot see the spiritual realm with our physical eyes. It lies in another dimension. So as Jesus speaks about it, he has to speak in metaphorical terms.

Jesus is speaking about being humble. The word πραΰς (praÿs), being translated to "meek" can also mean "mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit." In other words, "humble," or "gentle" as well as "meek."

Jesus was talking about humility, stating that being humble had its own rewards in the long run. This is because only out of humility comes the ability to hear the word of God.

Why? Because the kingdom of heaven is where the Supreme Being dwells. Remember the beginning of the "Lord's prayer:"
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name" (Matt. 6:9)
and remember this statement:
"See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven." (Matt. 18:10)
Jesus certainly was teaching his students that if they followed his teachings - requiring humility - they would return to their relationship with Supreme Being, who dwells in the spiritual realm - "heaven" or "paradise."

Jesus was discussing the spiritual realm, where God lives, and where those who love and serve the Supreme Being dwell. Jesus confirmed this when he said:
"Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother." (Mark 3:35)
Doing God's will means serving God. It means being a loving servant. A loving servant is naturally humble. 

Those who teach the "inherit the earth" doctrine are missing the entire point of Jesus' discussion. One must develop humility in order to come to know and love God, and one must maintain the humility to enter into the spiritual realm of love for God:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness ..." (Matthew 5:6)

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." (Matthew 5:6)

What does Jesus mean by 'righteousness'?

The word "righteousness" here is being translated from the Greek word δικαιοσύνη (dikaiosynē) which means, according to Thayer's lexicon, "in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God."

"The condition acceptable to God" means being pleasing to God. Why would being pleasing to God cause one to "be filled?"

The word "be filled" is being translated from the Greek word χορτάζω (chortazō) which means "to fill or satisfy" according to the lexicon. Each of us is looking for fulfillment and satisfaction. We seek fulfillment as we seek sexual pleasure, fame, wealth, family, relationships with others, the approval of others and so on.

In fact, each of us is seeking fulfillment. But we are seeking fulfillment in the wrong place.

What does he mean by 'hunger and thirst'?

Jesus is not referring to the physical body being hungry or thirsty. He is speaking of spiritual hunger and thirst. Hunger and thirst by the soul.

This might be compared to a driver who is hungry taking his car to the gas station and filling his car up with gas and thinking that when the car is full of gas he will no longer feel hungry.

Why isn't the driver full when the gas tank is full?

Because the driver is not the car.

In the same way, we are not these physical bodies. These physical bodies are like vehicles, and we are the driver of this vehicle, the physical body.

This is proven by hundreds of thousands of clinical death cases where a person rises above their body and looks at it from above. In clinical death, the person separates from the physical body because the person is not the physical body.

We are spiritual in nature, not physical. Our bodies are temporary - they will each die in a few decades. But we - the spirit-person within - will live on after the body dies.

Where does the spirit-person within come from? The spiritual dimension.

For this reason, the physical things of this world do not satisfy us. Just as Jesus is teaching, we need spiritual "food" to fulfill us.

What will 'fill' us?

It is a loving relationship with the Supreme Being.

No matter our predicament in life, each of us is seeking love. We seek love by trying to impress others. We seek love by dating. We seek love as we marry. We seek love by having a family. We seek love by wanting our kids or our spouse or our family to care about us. We seek love by seeking the approval of others.

But the "love" of this physical world is only temporary. It comes and goes. It is conditional: contingent upon what we can give the other person. When they no longer need us, their so-called love typically goes away. Or their body dies and they leave us.

But the love of the Supreme Being is unconditional. He loves us whether we love Him or not. He loves us and cares for us whether we care about Him or not.

A loving relationship between ourselves and the Supreme Being is the love we are always seeking. It is the perfect, unconditional love we are always pining for.

And pleasing the one we love is important to any loving relationship: This is the stuff of the loving relationship that exists between each of us and the Supreme Being.

Just consider what we do when we want to please the one we love. We bring them a flower. We praise them. Certainly, our beloved is pleased with such expression of our love.

When this expression of love is pointed towards the Supreme Being - it fulfills us. It fulfills the spirit-person within the body. This is spiritual life, and this is the only thing that can completely fulfill our need for love: expressing our love for the Supreme Being. 

This is why Jesus stated, "for they will be filled."

This is also confirmed by Jesus' most important instruction:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)

What is the 'mercy' Jesus is referring to?

Jesus is discussing both God's mercy upon us, and the mercy that we may choose to extend to others.

We are each a child of the Supreme Being. We are His individual creations. Though He has imbued us with individuality and freedom of choice, we are still of the same nature as He. Being of that same nature, we have the same propensity for love, mercy and compassion.

Though we do not maintain the perfection of these propensities as does the Supreme Being, we nevertheless have the ability to advance a portion of these propensities to those around us.

While requesting the Supreme Being's mercy and compassion, it is contradictory to not extend mercy and compassion to others. This was also expressed by Jesus in a statement referred to as the “golden rule:”
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12)
This concept prevails elsewhere among Jesus' teachings, with mercy coming in the form of forgiveness:
"For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 6:14-15)

Does God have mercy on us?

Everything we are and have are products of God's mercy.

For example, through His mercy, He bestowed upon us the freedom of choice. Each of us can make so many choices for ourselves, independent of Him. Even though God could dictate, He doesn't. He gives us a myriad of choices in terms of our activities, goals, and decisions. He has even given us the choice to ignore Him if we want.

Certainly, these choices are required for love. No one can be forced to love. As such, God gave us the choice to love Him or not. And yes, God wants our love. But we can give it or not. That is our choice, and that choice is the product of His mercy.

These choices are reflected throughout our lives. We can choose to act in a way that hurts others or act in a way that is kind and merciful to others. It is our choice.

Inherent in our choices is another type of mercy. The ability to change. Not only does God allow us to act in a self-centered fashion. He also allows us to become better. He allows us to change, and learn to care about others. He also extends His personal assistance towards helping us make those changes in the long run.

The Supreme Being's mercy is reflected not only in allowing us to change, but also in setting up the situations that allow us to change. This world delivers so many consequences for our actions - which in turn teach us and encourage us to change for the better.

So God not only provides the mercy to forgive. He also provides the mercy and the space to change.

Does self-centeredness oppose mercy?

Actions that hurt others simply reflect our choice not to recognize the Supreme Being. They reflect self-centeredness.

This is because self-centeredness is the polar opposite of mercy.

Thus when we choose to be merciful to others by caring about others, we are choosing to align ourselves with the merciful nature of the Supreme Being. This is part of the merciful nature we inherited from Him.

Such a merciful nature towards others attracts the Supreme Being. The Supreme Being is attracted by activities that are merciful to others because He Himself is merciful.

Therefore, when we care about others and are merciful to others, we naturally become closer to the Supreme Being.

But being merciful to others includes understanding who we are. In other words, we should understand who we are and who others are.

What if a starving man came to us and asked us for food. Would we give him a can of gasoline to fill his car with? How would that help the man's hunger?

In the same way, realizing that our identity is spiritual is an important aspect of mercy. Certainly helping others with their physical needs is being merciful. But seeing each other as spiritual means understanding that we need spiritual food.

Spiritual food means re-establishing our lost relationship with the Supreme Being. We can help each other achieve this by praising God and reminding each other that we can only be happy if we re-establish our loving relationship with Him. This is confirmed in Jesus' teachings:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

What does being 'pure in heart' mean?

The word "pure" here is being translated from the Greek word, καθαρός (katharos). This means, according to Thayer's lexicon, "purified" and "free from corrupt desire." This could mean "blameless" and "innocent" as well. 

But Jesus is not teaching to those who are perfect. Why would he need to teach to those who were perfect?

Rather, he is asking that we strive to become pure in heart.

Actually, the word "heart" is being used metaphorically. The Greek word καρδία (kardia) can literally mean the heart organ. But it can also mean "the center and seat of spiritual life" and "the soul" according to the lexicon.

This means that Jesus is not addressing our physical circumstances. He is not speaking of taking a bath and getting the heart of our body clean. He is speaking of becoming spiritually purified.

This purity of heart is pureness of consciousness - something that comes from the soul. Jesus taught his followers how to attain the character of pure in heart:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)

Can we see God?

Seeing God is one of the central challenges many of us have regarding God’s existence. For many, seeing God is a requisite for belief in His existence. For this reason, many scientists refuse to believe in God’s existence - due to what they consider a lack of physical evidence. For this reason, many people do not believe in God’s existence.

Some even challenge God: 'If You exist, show me.'

This is the opposite of faith. The word faith means to trust in someone. While we may configure faith to mean a belief in something we are not sure about or cannot see, the true definition of faith is to have trust and confidence in someone. 

If we do not know that God exists, we cannot have faith or trust in Him. We simply cannot trust someone we do not know even exists. Otherwise, we are talking about blind faith, which leads to fanaticism.

However, if we assume that God exists because deep within our hearts we know there is someone out there Who cares for us, Who created us, and Who is our ultimate Father, we have the tools for developing trust (faith) in God. 

But if we do not want to assume His existence, then we are lost and wandering. 

This assumption of God’s existence can require a lifetime of soul-searching. Or it may simply require a split second realization that the Supreme Being loves and cares for each of us.

If we choose to assume God does not exist, then we are left with a purposeless existence. We are left with the assumption many scientists have made, leaving life an empty, random, accidental existence that started with a big bang and an evolution of chance.

Yet this assumption - of the big bang and accidental evolution - requires blind faith, because we do not know that life was an accident. To assume it was an accident - even though there is tremendous order and synchrony within the universe that opposes the notion of chaos - would be an act of blind faith. Because there is absolutely no proof that creation was an accident. It is only a theory born from some man's mind.

Why doesn't God show Himself to us?

The fundamental issue here is if God exists, why doesn’t He prove it to us? Why doesn’t he show us all, without a doubt, that He exists?

The problem with this question is that it assumes that we are the center of the universe and God revolves around me. As if He has some responsibility to reveal Himself to me.

But the reality is that everything revolves around the Supreme Being - including ourselves. Each of us is a tiny, tiny speck compared to the Supreme Being. Why should He have to appear to us? Does He owe us anything? No.

The reason we don't see the Supreme Being is that He hides His existence from us. He doesn't want us to see Him. Why?

Because we wanted to get away from His existence. This is why we reside here, in these temporary material bodies, on this planet. As detailed very carefully in Genesis, we rejected the request from God not to eat the forbidden fruit. And what is the forbidden fruit symbolize? The desire to be like God. Consider what the serpent said to Eve about eating the forbidden fruit:
"For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:1-5)
Because each of us decided that we would turn our backs on God and we wanted to be like God, God gave us a separated place where we could pretend we are the center of the universe and everything revolves around us. This is our consciousness - we are each thinking of ourselves as the greatest - the best - the most important. This is God's position. And we are envious of that position.

The reason we cannot see God with these physical eyes is because our eyes were designed not to be able to see Him. This design allows us to pretend that God doesn’t exist. 

This design of the temporary material body allows us to play out our self-importance for a while, to see if we can be happy without Him. Certainly if the material eyes were designed to see Him, it would be hard to pretend He doesn’t exist.

In other words, if we could see Him with these eyes it would destroy our illusion.

This illusion that He doesn’t exist was created to give us our freedom of choice. Each of us has the freedom to love Him or not. Since we don't see Him with these physical eyes, we can ignore Him.

As soon as we abandoned our trust for God, things went downhill immediately. In the story of Adam and Eve, notice that as soon as the forbidden fruit was eaten, there was a realization of nakedness, and suddenly they had to wear clothing. This wearing of clothing symbolizes the assumption of a temporary material body - to hide the purity of the living being.

How can being 'pure in heart' help us see God?

The purity of the living being - the spirit-person within this body - lies within the humble trust and faith in God’s existence. Without that purity; without that trust in God, we are simply lost and blinded by our own desires and aspirations to become godlike.

It is for this reason that Jesus states that those who our “pure in heart” will see God. Those who have humbly forsaken the notion that they are godlike, and that they can enjoy life without God, gradually become purified in heart as they undergo the process of giving their heart to the Supreme Being.

With this purity comes an increasing vision of the Supreme Being. It is not that there is a certain moment when we pass some sort of test and we qualify to see Him. He becomes more and more visible to us as our hearts become increasingly pure

There is an expression that says “it takes one to know one.” This is applicable to spiritual life. One cannot gain entrance into the spiritual world without the guidance of someone who already knows and loves God. This is what Jesus offers his followers.

In order to see God, we have to enter into the consciousness of His kingdom. Everything is within the kingdom of God, because He made everything, but we can choose whether we want to be in that consciousness or not.

The inner chamber of the kingdom of God - where the Supreme Being exchanges loving relationships with those who love Him - is a dimension that can be accessed from where ever we might be located.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

Why does Jesus say there are multiple 'sons of God'?

This statement by Jesus completely negates the notion put forth by so many sectarian teachers that Jesus is the only son of God. Why, if Jesus is the only son of God, would he say there are multiple sons of God?

Quite obviously, the use of a plural form by Jesus clarifies that the assumption of God having only one son is preposterous. While practically any human can have five or more sons, God can only have one?

In this verse, some Biblical translations will say "children of God" (KJV, NIV, NLT, NET, WEB) - while others translate υἱοὶ θεοῦ to "sons of God" (NKJV, ESV, CSB, NASB, RSV, ASV, YLT, DBY, HNV).

Why would the other Biblical translations translate this to "children of God" while translating virtually the same Greek words (υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ) but singular to "son of God"?

This started as a Roman strategy to politically organize Christianity to better control the populace of the Roman Empire (and later, the Holy Roman Empire). The Roman Emperor Constantine and Roman Bishop Eusebius (soon to be Pope) organized the political assembly of the First Council of Nicaea. Here they developed the Nicene Creed in order to define Jesus in a way consistent with their political positions.

For this reason, the earliest Latin translations describe Jesus repeatedly as "Son of God," consistent with the Roman term given to Caesar and other Roman Emperors such as Nero. This terminology, however, was not consistent with the teachings of Jesus and the teachers in Jesus' lineage such as John the Baptist, Isaiah, David, Moses and Abraham.

This institutional strategy of manipulating the interpretation of Jesus continued with the Second Council of Ephesus. Here, a political debate that led to the creation of the Roman Catholic Church ensued. 

What does υἱὸς mean in this context?

Jesus' statement from the Greek text sheds light on the correct translation of the word translated to “son,” υἱός (huios). While this can indicate an offspring when the context is a physical family. But there are also several other meanings of the word in other contexts.

For example, we can see how υἱός can be narrowly translated to "son" when Jesus referred to Simon as the son of Jonah.

But in the context that Jesus refers to in Matthew 5:9, the word is more appropriately defined, from the Thayer's Greek lexicon, as "one who depends on another or is his follower." 

In the context of spiritual life, this would be describing someone who is a devoted follower. 

Furthermore, Thayer's lexicon clarifies that the phrase can refer to the "representative of God."

Devoted follower also makes more sense within the context of the attribute that Jesus is giving those who apply his teachings, thereby becoming "peacemakers." If we utilize the correct translation to “devoted follower,” we discover the statement’s true meaning: by becoming dedicated to Jesus and God, we become a devoted follower of God.

This interpretation is supported by other statements by Jesus:
"But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (Luke 20:35-36 NKJV)
The same Greek word υἱὸς is also used to refer to those who are followers of darkness - the "kingdom" of "darkness" in another statement by Jesus:
“But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:12 NKJV)
Then the same Greek word υἱὸς is applied to another statement of Jesus, attributed to those who were attendants of the bridegroom:
"Can the sons of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then will they fast." (Matthew 9:15 ASV)
In all of these statements, we find the Greek word υἱός being used by Jesus here and elsewhere in contexts no describing a physical offspring ("son"). They all refer to those who are devoted in some way, to either God and the resurrection, to the kingdom of darkness, or to the bridechamber (Matt. 9:15).

For this reason, other versions have translated υἱός alternatively. These alternate translations of υἱός in these verses include "attendants" or "servants" (of the bridegroom) or "children" (of the kingdom or of the resurrection or of God).

Why are alternatives to "son" okay in these cases, but not for alternatives for "son" in the case of "son of God"? Why can't Jesus also be considered as a "child of God" or "follower of God" or "servant of God"? Why is the translation of υἱός to "son" only apply for certain in Jesus' case, and not in these other cases?

Because many translations of the Bible have been used to manipulate followers of sectarian institutions. Translating υἱός to "son" without alternative even though "son" is not a logical translation of the relationship between Jesus and God follows the indoctrination by the church and it's Synod of Nicea to a particular narrative: That Jesus is somehow the only begotten son of the Supreme Being.

As if the Supreme Being did not also beget many others. As if the Supreme Being became impotent after begetting Jesus. As if the Supreme Being gave up His ability to procreate following His creation of Jesus.

Are there other Biblical references to 'sons of God'?

There are multiple references to "sons of God" among popular Bible translations:
When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. (Genesis 6:2)
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:4)
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. (Job 1:6)
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. (Job 2:1)
When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:7)
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matt. 6:9)
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12)
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19)

These all point to "sons of God" being used to describe devoted followers or servants of God.

Within the context of Jesus, and many of those who also preached on behalf of the Supreme Being, there is another potential translation for υἱός (huios). This would be applicable in the case of when the loving servant is teaching others on behalf of God: This would make that person a representative of God. One who is serving and following God will also represent God. This was Jesus' role - he is representing the Supreme Being.

These all point to "sons of God" being used to describe devoted followers or loving servants of God and in some contexts - for Jesus in particular, the representative of God.

What did Jesus mean by 'peacemakers'?

One might wonder what making peace has to do with becoming a devoted follower of God - “Blessed are the peacemakers..."

Does this mean the opposite of war? Someone who makes peace between warring tribes or nations?

And what about Jesus? Was he always making peace? When Jesus turned the tables at the marketplace at the Temple he certainly was not making peace.

And when Jesus criticized the Pharisees as hypocrites he was not making peace with them. 

The conventional meaning of "peace" would not be appropriate in this context.

On the other hand, making "peace" with God and following God’s instructions would be the ultimate in peace-making. This gives rise to the expression: Make your peace with God.

When we act in a self-centered fashion, we find ourselves in conflict with God, because God is full of love and kindness. This is the opposite of peace.

God is by nature, a loving, giving and compassionate God. If we are working against that nature, we are in conflict with God and ourselves.

But if we use our lives to grow closer to God, we are making peace with God. That would make us "peacemakers" in the context of Jesus' statement. This is because God wants us to come back to Him. He wants us to revive our loving relationship with Him. This is why Jesus taught:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness..." (Matthew 5:10)

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10)

What is the 'kingdom of heaven'?

The phrase "kingdom of heaven" is often misinterpreted as being a physical place. It is often pictured as a place up in the clouds where a bunch of old people in robes are sitting around playing harps and God - an old man with a long gray beard - is floating over them.

Actually, the "kingdom of heaven" that Jesus is referring to is not a location.

Here the phrase "kingdom of heaven" is being translated* from the Greek phrase, βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν. The word "kingdom" is translated from the word βασιλεία (basileia), which means, according to Thayer's lexicon, "royal power, kingship, dominion, rule" and "not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom."

This means that Jesus is speaking of a particular consciousness. It is the acceptance of God as having dominion or authority over all things. That God is the center. Thus the "kingdom of heaven" that Jesus is speaking of is a state of awareness or realization about the Supreme Being being the center, rather than us being the center of the universe.

Yes, the word "heaven" - translated from the Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) meaning "the region above the sidereal heavens, the seat of order of things eternal and consummately perfect where God dwells and other heavenly beings." Indeed, this does make the phrase "kingdom of heaven" sound like a physical place.

But this is not what Jesus is referring to. The word used between βασιλεία and οὐρανῶν is not the word "of" as translated. It is the word τῶν - which is best translated to "the."

This would mean that Jesus would be saying, literally, something like "acceptance of God's authority the heaven."

This means that the acceptance of God's authority and dominion is heaven. Realizing that the Supreme Being is the center of our lives is the spiritual realm.

Thus we can conclude that the original phrase translated to "kingdom of heaven" that Jesus is referring to is the consciousness where God is the center. The kingdom of heaven is the consciousness where we see God as our life and soul.

Is this about love?

Where there is love, there is service and sacrifice. Where there is love, a person will undergo various hardships in order to facilitate the will of their beloved.

In other words, no matter where they may be located physically, a person who has put God in the center of their lives, in both love and service, is already dwelling within the spiritual realm.

Whatever sacrifices are made in the physical world are not difficult for such a person. Because they are not considering their welfare that important. They are functioning to please the Supreme Being.

However, this does not mean the loving servant of God seeks suffering. While we might qualify a devoted lover of God as one who sacrifices the comforts of the physical world, the true devoted lover of God simply does not seek their happiness and fulfillment in the comforts of the physical world.

Thus, if physical comforts allow the lover of God to better serve the Supreme Being, then such a lover of God will seek those comforts in an attempt to accomplish God's will. This is because the devoted lover of God finds pleasure in doing the will of God.

A devoted lover of God is not looking to be persecuted. Jesus may have accepted arrest because he knew the High Priest wanted to arrest him and silence him at some point. He simply allowed it to happen at a point that pleased the Supreme Being.

What is the goal?

Love of God is the goal.

The true lover of the Supreme Being is not out there looking to be punished so that they can claim to be devoted. They have no intent to show others how devoted they are. The lover of God simply works to please the Supreme Being. They work to glorify the Supreme Being.

If, however, the lover of God is ridiculed, punished, or banned somehow for their work in pleasing God, they accept this as a matter of course.

If a person is persecuted for pursuing the will of God and keeps on trying to please God throughout, they are already in heaven - the spiritual realm.  God created everything, so every location is located within the kingdom of God.

Such a person who sees God as the center and works to please Him has already achieved the spiritual realm.

Such a person - as Jesus states - is truly "blessed" - translated from μακάριος (makarios) meaning "happy" according to the lexicon.

In other words, Jesus is stating that a person who sees God as the center and sees everything to be used to please the Supreme Being, such a person is happy. They are fulfilled.

We might compare it to a finger. If the finger tries to eat some soup by itself by submerging itself into some soup, it will remain under-nourished. It will not get any nutrition from the soup. But if the finger helps pick up a spoon so that it can deliver some soup to the mouth and eventually to the stomach, the finger will become nourished.

It is the same with us. We become happy when we work to please the Supreme Being.

In other words, we are not the enjoyers. The Supreme Being is the Enjoyer and we were created by Him to be His servants and playmates. Thus we are nourished spiritually - we become fulfilled or happy - only when we are endeavoring to please our Best Friend and Soul Mate, the Supreme Being.

This is confirmed by Jesus when he said:
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)

*Here is the translation of Jesus' statement from the Lost Gospels of Jesus:
"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of devotion, for theirs is the sanctuary of the spiritual realm." (Matt. 5:10)

“Blessed are you when people insult you...." (Matthew 5:11-12)

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because in the same way they persecuted the Prophets who were before you." (Matthew 5:11-12)

Who would 'insult' Jesus' followers?

In this statement, Jesus is discussing with his disciples and students the challenges of their commitment to following his teachings, and the sacrifices that may arise from that commitment.

Should we put God in the center of our lives, we find others will become envious. Why? Because they are alone and afraid. They do not have the comfort of knowing that they have a Best Friend and Companion in God.

A person who is sincerely seeking to achieve love for God and loving service to God will rejoice when they see another person trying to grow spiritually and helping others grow spiritually. But a person who is not sincere will attempt to reduce those who are.

Why are so many people like this in this world? Because most of us are primarily self-centered rather than God-centered. In this physical world, self-centeredness tends to prevail. And self-centeredness naturally leads to enviousness and self-righteousness.

All of these faults in others are to be forgiven, just as we want to be forgiven for our many faults. Most of us can relate to this. How many of us have not criticized another person? For those who criticize us, we should be merciful. We should be understanding. After all, Jesus came to help us grow out of our self-centeredness.

This is precisely why Jesus and many of the Prophets before Jesus have been persecuted for their acts of mercy in trying to save us from our self-centeredness.

Jesus is reminding his students that they are in good company as they receive the insults and persecution of others, "in the same way they persecuted the Prophets who were before you."

Why does Jesus say 'Prophets who were before you'?

Is Jesus comparing his students to the Prophets?

Certainly he is. Why else would he compare their situation to that of the Prophets?

While some teachers might dismiss the word prophet as a title primarily belonging to people like Moses and Abraham, in reality, Jesus is using the word “prophet” - from the Greek word προφήτης (prophētēs) meaning one who teaches "by the Spirit of God" - to describe one who teaches on behalf of God. He is referring to God's representative.

And Jesus was expecting his students to teach on behalf of God by passing on his teachings:
"Therefore go and make disciples..." (Matt. 28:19)
And he told 72 of his students to go out to every town and:
"Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’" (Luke 10:9)
Jesus also accepted that his own teacher, John the Baptist, was not just any prophet:
"But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet." (Luke 7:26)
While many believe being a “prophet” means to “prophesize” about some future event, we know that the kind of “prophet” Jesus references are those who have been empowered by the Supreme Being to speak on God's behalf - to introduce people to God. To teach people to love and serve God.

Is this about prophecy?

Some interpret being a prophet as having the ability to predict the future. But is predicting the future really an essential part of Jesus' teachings? Jesus himself taught:
“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?" Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" (Matthew 7:22-23)
Thus, Jesus taught that even though "many" will predict the future in Jesus' name, they won't necessarily be welcomed by Jesus. Jesus' criteria is quite simple:
“Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
Certainly, some great teachers can have the ability to predict certain future events. But often this is about understanding the realities of this world. 

But our individual future is quite easy to predict. Each of us is wearing a physical body and that body is destined to die. At that time each of us will leave our physical body.

Yes, this is the future that many a prophet has predicted, yet most of us have misunderstood. The fact that the end of the world is coming for each of us - each of our physical bodies will die within a short period. It may be in 40 years. It may be in 20 years. It may be in a year. Or it may be tomorrow. 

We don't know the exact date our body will die -and the world will end for us - but we surely know it will be relatively soon. The question is whether we have adequately prepared for that day, as the Prophets have taught us to do.

While we can certainly accept Moses, David, Abraham, Solomon and others as Prophets, we must also accept that there have been many others who have represented God and His Teachings through the ages who have not been mentioned in the Bible. The lineages of these Prophets all originate ultimately from God Himself, yet we can know and understand a true lineage of Prophets by seeing that each taught a consistent message of love for God.

The fact that many of the Prophets were persecuted for their dedication to their teachings is being confirmed by Jesus. Not only did Jesus and Peter and other students get persecuted for their dedication to the Supreme Being, but Jesus' own teacher John the Baptist was persecuted for his loving service and commitment to God.

And we know that Jesus also passed on the core teachings taught by Moses through John as Jesus quoted Moses' message word-for-word in his most important teaching:
"‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38 and Deut. 6:5)