Spreading of Christianity
As we discussed already, to the regret of Jesus, He did not manage to find people who could quickly become similar to Him. The apostles probably were the best people in Judaea, but their psychogenetic age was not high enough to allow them to comprehend entirely and immediately the Divine knowledge.
One of the examples is a rebuke that Levi gave to Peter in the time after Jesus left the earthly life: “Peter, you are always hot-tempered!” (The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, 18:5).
It is also known that Peter was prejudged against Mary Magdalene because she — a woman — was one of the favorite disciples of Jesus and was especially liked by Him (The Gospel of Thomas, 114).
That is, Peter in the course of apprenticeship with Jesus had not learned to control his emotions, to live in cordial love, had not abandoned arrogance…
After the crucifixion of Jesus, His disciples shook up by His death and the miracles that followed tried to continue His work as much as they could. They all preached, and many of them started to work with their own disciples. For this purpose, most of them stayed among Jews. But the Apostle Thomas went through Syria to the East, and where he could — from India to China — established Christian communities. Syrian and Indian Malabar Churches established by him still exist now (see more details in ).
The former persecutor and murderer of Christians, Paul, also joined them after being converted into the new faith personally by non-incarnate Jesus (Acts 9).
Some of Jesus’ disciples wrote their scriptures, which have survived to the present day. They were Matthew, John, Thomas, Peter, James, Philip, Judas (not Iscariot), Mary Magdalene, Nicodemus, also Paul and indirect disciples of Jesus evangelists Mark and Luke.
According to the Gospels, John and Mary Magdalene were the favorite disciples of Jesus. The Gospel written by John is one of the best in quality and volume. He is also the author of three Epistles to disciples. The first Epistle contains many valuable precepts and pieces of advice.
But John also wrote two texts, which are very different from the scriptures mentioned above. The first of them is called The Apocryphon of John, the second one is The Revelation of John the Divine (Apocalypse), which is included in the end of the New Testament.
The Apocryphon was written by John soon after the crucifixion of Jesus, i.e. before he wrote his Epistles. One can see from it that though John was carefully writing down all precepts of the Teacher, though he encompassed the most important aspect of Jesus’ Teachings — the cordial love, he did not manage to comprehend with his mind during the time of communication with the incarnate Messiah the essence of His appearance on the Earth, and the essence of the Father Who sent Jesus. He asks God questions like these: “Why was the Savoir appointed? And why was He sent into the world by His Father? And who is His Father Who sent Him?…” (The Apocryphon of John, 1:20).
And he receives answers about the nature of the Father, the Holy Spirit, Christ, about the creation of the world…
But then he is put to the test on intellectuality, which is typical of prophetic contacts: after about one third of the text, the narration changes its character, there are phases without any meaning or value… The intention of God in such a case is to see whether the listener understands this joke-test. John did not understand, did not stand the test on intellectuality: he took everything seriously, shared it with the fellow Apostles, and scrupulously wrote down everything.
A similar case happened when John wrote his Apocalypse that resembles a nightmare (at best). Its theme is not the Path to Perfection through faith, love, work on transfiguration of oneself, but menaces, prophecies of disasters and catastrophes. The text is void not only of Divine Love but also of any positive value for readers. It only distracts readers by provoking them to fruitless reflections about the future, while God teaches us to live and work here and now.
The Apocalypse of John included in the New Testament became a test on intellectuality and spirituality, a test-temptation for millions of people studying Christianity. And many got tempted, because the Apocalypse, included at the end of the New Testament, as if “crosses out” and rejects the Teachings of Jesus about aspiration to God-the-Father and self-development through love. Thus, some people choose in the New Testament holy preachings of love, purity, and aspiration to God-the-Father, while others “resonate” with the disgusting scenes of horror, pests, blood, and rot. They pick with the mind at this dirt instead of attuning to that which is good and beautiful, instead of learning to love people, the Creation, and the Creator.
A similar thing happened to Nicodemus: he wrote a good Gospel about the last days of the earthly life of Jesus, but finished the narration with a description of his dream about Jesus’ leading sinners out of hell.
Another part of the New Testament, which is of dubious value and needs special discussion, is the Epistles of the Apostle Paul.
They are full of contradictions: from very valuable Revelations, preaching of tender love — to angry cursing of an intolerant “moralist”.
What is the reason for this? To understand it, one has to know the history of the formation of Paul as a Christian.
At first he was an energetic and aggressive slaughterer, torturer, and killer of Christians.
But once walking a road, he heard a voice of an invisible Interlocutor: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” (Acts 9:4). Though Paul was a slaughterer and a sadist, he also believed in God. And he understood promptly what the matter was.
And the matter was that the Lord decided not only to stop this bloody tyrant, but also to use his remarkable fanatic energy for the good of Divine Providence.
And having obeyed God, Paul turns from a violent persecutor of Christians into a restless propagandist of the Teachings of Jesus.
Paul wrote about this the following: “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, Who strengthened me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry — the one who before was a blasphemer and a persecutor and insolent. But I obtained mercy, because being ignorant, I did it in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Faithful is the word and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. But for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, as a pattern to those being about to believe on Him to Life Everlasting.” (1 Tim 1:12-16).
But all this happened after the crucifixion of Jesus. Paul never met incarnate Jesus and only some time later had personal contacts with His disciples. But after accepting Christianity, Paul yielded himself entirely to God’s guidance and with all his remarkable energy began to work on transfiguration of himself using, among other things, meditative methods granted to Him by God.
In addition to this, God assigned Paul with a special mission — to bring the new faith to the pagans of the Roman Empire outside Judaea.
Paul preached ardently, created new Christian communities, argued with religious leaders of pagans. Many times he was beaten to death, but each time God returned him into the body, and Paul again strove to fight.
Paul wrote many Epistles addressed to various Christian communities. In these Epistles, there are themes so contradictory that some historians even proposed a hypothesis that “moral teachings” were added to the Epistles by another person: so different in style and intellectual level their various parts are. But the explanation of these contradictions logically follows from the contradictions of Paul himself.
He simply could not manage to change himself completely. To transfigure into a whole Divine person, he would need ten years of serene apprenticeship. But Paul had no such possibility, and he was struggling ardently with his former character — at the time between giving homilies, being beaten, wandering hungry and frozen, or being imprisoned…
So let us forgive him for alternating the highest Revelations from God with hatred against “homosexuals” and “adulterers”… It was also him who, for the first time in the history of Christianity, declared an anathema — a damnation on behalf of the Christian Church (1 Cor 16:22) — contrary to the Teachings of Jesus.
His Epistles did a lot of good to mankind, but they also became a powerful temptation for future generations of Christians — even more powerful than the Apocalypse of John. Because, being included in the New Testament, they “legitimated” not only tenderness, kindness, harmony, forgiveness, but the opposite qualities as well: hatred, angry intolerance to those who are not “like me”, damnations…
It is Paul and John who developed an absurd theory that one can “wash out” one’s own sins with another’s blood, with another’s suffering. (We discussed this in the beginning of the chapter Repentance). They stated in their Epistles that innocently killed Jesus was a Lamb of God allegedly sent by God-the-Father as a sacrifice… to Himself — as atonement for the sins of people… “Since the law was weak as it acted through the flesh, God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh as a sacrifice for sin…” (Rom 8:3), “… The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7), “… He is the propitiation (for God-the-Father) concerning our sins, and not concerning ours only, but also concerning the sins of all the world” (1 John 2:2), “… He was revealed that He might take away our sins…” (1 John 3:5)… As a result, it turns out that it is enough just to come to believe that Jesus was indeed a Christ — this is all we need to do: then our sins are remitted and paradise is guaranteed for us…
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Christianity was established in the Roman Empire the hard way. There were persecutions, massacres of Christians. They were crucified on crosses along roads. But then other Christians voluntarily yielded themselves to the persecutors to die on crosses for the faith in order to become like Christ at least in this…
How much it is different from the contemporary “believers” who call themselves Christians, but are not capable of making efforts on improving themselves, for example “cannot” give up smoking…
By the Will of God and thanks to personal feats of the Apostles and other Heroes, Christianity spread with time over a major part of Europe and then over both North and South America, and also Australia; there are many Christians in Asia and Africa as well. Today about one third of the Earth’s population professes Christianity.
… And now we have to come to an important understanding: the word Christianity has two fundamentally different meanings: Christianity as the Teachings of Jesus Christ and Christianity as what it was made to be by people in particular countries in particular historical epochs.
From the very beginning of Christianity and up to our days, there were true followers of Jesus among people considering themselves Christians, and there were people who just disguised themselves as Christians for the sake of satisfying their vile passions: the desire to rule over others, to rob, to torture, to kill… There were and are people who understood nothing of the Teachings of Jesus but consider themselves true believers; probably they are in the majority… Yet this book is not about the history of earthly Christianity, but about the Teachings of Jesus Christ.