Salvation through God becoming flesh and the death on the cross of the God-Man Jesus is the mystery most people find hardest to grasp. Jesus - and this is the very opposite of the opinions expressed by some authors 43 - did on several occasions, and even during the first of his three teaching years, predict his violent death and his resurrection on the third day when speaking to the disciples.
"From then onwards", New Revelation has it, "I began to talk seriously to My disciples, telling them that I would probably have to go to Jerusalem and there suffer a great deal under the elders, high priests and scribes, would be killed by them, yet on the third day rise again from death (Mt 16, 21). Thenceforth I would be forever victorious over all death and all enemies of life, something I did already speak of on Mark's Mount."
"Then Peter became alarmed and taking Me aside told me in a certain imperious, admonitory manner: 'Lord, that shall not happen to you, and you have a duty, towards us and all men, to take care of yourseIf!.." (Mt 16, 22)
"But I turned quickly and said, also in a very serious voice: 'Get away from Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you are not thinking in the way God thinks, but only in the way wholly common to the men of this world!"' (Mt 16, 23) (Gr V 170,5-6)
This passage in the gospel is a stumbling block to many critics. They cannot reconcile reports that on the one hand Jesus "intends to give Peter the keys of heaven and build his church upon him" and on the other almost immediately afterwards calls him Satan. The result is that they deprecate the whole of the gospel as unreliable early church tradition to which there is no rhyme nor reason.
The extremely condensed style of the gospel does not permit rapid, superfidal judgements. The full discussion in New Revelation throws a light also on this issue, showing logic to be present. New Revelation says the following:
"Now Peter was very much taken aback, fell down before Me, asked My forgiveness, and added, in tears: 'Lord, when we were taking our course on this very sea, where we have been for several days, you said to me, because of my faith: 'You, Simon Judah, are Peter, and on this rock will I build My Church, and all the gates of hell shall never overcome it! I will give you the key to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you lose on earth shall be lost also in heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven!' Those, O Lord, were the literal words from Your most holy lips, addressed to me, a poor sinner. Yet in spite of this I never elevated myself, but always considered myself the least among us - and because of a warning given that may only be human, but did arise from my great love for you, you have made me the prince of hell! Lord, do show kindness and mercy to the miserable fisherman Peter who was the first to cast his net into the sea, leaving wife and children to follow you!." (Gr V 170, 7-8)
"Then I turned again to Peter and said kindly: 'l did not in the least demean you by speaking to you sharply to show you your human nature! Everything in man that is of this world - his flesh, therefore, and its various needs in respects that are wholly of this earth - is condemned, and is therefore hell and Satan, who is the very essence of all condemnation, all death, all darkness and all falsehood; for all the seeming life in physical matter is but a semblance of life, and all its value is as good as nothing. A man who relapses into one of the material senses therefore is also Satan in so far as he stands for some weal or other in physical matter and its seeming life.
"Anyone wishing to rid himself of Satan while still in the flesh will have to take up the cross that I am already bearing in spirit, and follow Me! (Mt 16, 24) For I say to you: Anyone wishing to maintain his (earthly) life shall lose it (the spiritual life); yet anyone who loses his (earthly) life for My sake, shall find it (spiritual life). (Mt 16, 25)
"What good would it be for a person to gain the whole world with all its treasures, yet suffer harm as he does so in his soul?." (Gr V 171, 1-4)
"And you, Peter, will, I hope, now also be clear about what I did say to you before: 'Get away from Me, Satan!" (Gr V 170, 9)
After this, Peter thought much about the sacrificial death Jesus had foretold, but sought in vain to understand the meaning of the suffering that was to come. After some time, he again addressed Jesus, in the words: "Lord and Master, there are indeed many things to be discussed that have come from Your lips, but do not rightly and in their full light make sense to even the soundest of human understanding. And in the background there looms, like a grinning monster, the strict and indisputable necessity of the passion to come for the Son of Man, and I have the courage to state quite firmly that such a necessity can never truly make sense to even the soundest and best human understanding.
"Such an act may indeed be most necessary, to achieve a main purpose set for You from eternitiy; but all this serves little or not at all to satisfy and illumine the human mind, that will at all times put the question, saying: 'Why did the Almighty have to be brought to such a state by his creatures, to enable him to give them bliss and life eternal? Have not the purest teaching, and miraculous deeds only a God would be capable of, been enough? If these do not get men to reform, how can his passion and his death do so?' Being one of your most faithful adherents, I am saying quite freely: Your passion will become a stumbling block to many good people, and they will falter in their faith. Therefore I am asking you now already for a true light on this, so that we shall then be able at the right time to give the people who ask us the right explanation, to satisfy them." (Gr V 247, 1-3)
Peter received the following reply: "You are asking about something that is very good and right, yet, however much I very rightly explain it to you, you, being pure man, will never wholly and rightly grasp it; only after my resurrection, when you are born again in the spirit, will you also very clearly and lucidly understand the great Why.
"I, being the sole bearer of all that is and lives, now also have to redeem what from eternity, through the firmness of My will was under the spell of judgement and of death, and it will have to be through the very judgement and through the death of My flesh and blood that I enter into the old judgement and into the old death, so that by this I loosen and undo those bonds to My very own divine will, the world of matter and of things having grown mature in itself, so that thereupon all creature shall pass from eternal death to a free and independent life. And the Son of Man has come into this world to seek out that which in a way was lost from eternitiy, redeem it and thus make it ready for blessedness." (Mt 18, 11)
"What do you think? If someone had one hundred sheep and one of them got lost somewhere in the woods, would he not leave the ninety-nine where they are on the hillside and go and lookfor the lost one? (Mt 18, 12) And when it happens that he does find it, truly, I tell you, won't he be more delighted with the one found again than with the ninety-nine that he never did lose?" (Mt 18, 13) (Gr V 247, 4-7) "I Myself mainly came into this world in material form only to look for this lost sheep and guide it to the blessedness it is destined for.
"God's spirit and will is gentled in this My Body, that is, in matter, made pliable, as it were, and freeable. When this has come about, this My physical matter first needs to be broken in the greatest possible degradation and humiliation, and dissolved, and the Spirit of God, who dwells in me in all his fullness and is at one with my soul, has to arouse this broken matter, purified as though in the fire of the Spirit's love, and give it life, and it will then rise again, victorious over all judgement and all death.
"You will not yet be able to see really clearly how and why this has to be and also will be, and I have told you this beforehand; but this you can already conclude, that such an act, repulsive as it may seem to an eye that is wholly human, yet is necessary, to restore all creature within the rightful length of times to a free, independent and pure life in God.
"And since I have sufficiently revealed this for your understanding, you will in your hearts - if you now realize who indeed are the little ones - also come to see that it is the Father's Will that not even the very smallest and the very least of them shall ever be lost." (Mt 18, 14) (Gr V 247, 9-12)
"According to the old order, no one could enter into heaven who had once been held fast in matter." (Gr IV 109, 4) The new order is that "I Myself have become man, have Myself penetrated all matter, and in this way made all its spiritual content, however old and condemned, able to attain blessedness. And that is indeed the second creation, that I had intended from all eternitiy, without which no human being on this or any other earth could ever have attained perfect bliss."
"Salvation, however, lies firstly in My teaching and secondly in this My becoming man, thus breaking and overcoming the power of the old hell that is so prevalent." (Gr VI 239, 3-5)
Salvation has from its origin been linked with the Fall of Adam that is known as "spiritual death". (Gr IX 83, 5) "The whole of man lost strength and lost his power over all things in the natural world, and was then forced to gain the bread that would feed him in the sweat of his brow, by physical and even more so mental labor, aided by the pale glimmer of his intellectual brain."
"And see, by this time men have come away so far from God and therefore also from the true inner life that they almost do not believe in a God any more and therefore also do not believe in the soul living on once the body has fallen away." (Gr IX 83, 5-6) "And now that God Himself has come to mankind, in all the fullness of his eternal power and might, and with all his love and wisdom, they do not realize this and in their great blindness consider it impossible, though indeed all things are possible for God." (Gr IX 83, 7)
"The whole earth with the most wicked of human races is a perfect hell." "The world and hell are one, just as body and soul are one." (Gr VI 240, 5-6)
"Before I became man, no one could surely have attained to the level of sublimest perfection of life, and I have come to this earth to make you My true Children, through the rebirth of your spirit into your soul." (Gr VI 218, 1)
"Till now (i.e., the resurrection of Jesus, author) no soul leaving its body was taken away from the earth. In countless numbers, starting from Adam to this hour, they are all languishing in the darkness of the earth. But from now on they shall all be free. And when I shall ascend to the heights, I shall open the path from earth to heaven for all, and they shall all by this path enter into eternal life. See, that is the work the Messiah is to achieve." (Gr I 62, 9-10)
"For all time and eternities to come, I wanted to have real and genuine Children, wholly alike to Me, not just creating them, in the usual way, but truly raising them, in My paternal love, that they should then rule over the whole of infinity with Me. To achieve this, I, the infinite, eternal God, assumed the flesh for the main core of life in My divine reality, to present Myself to you, My Children, as a visible and tangible father, and Myself teach you, from My very own lips and heart, true divine love, wisdom and power, that you shall and will use these, like Me, to govern not only all the beings of the present phase in creation, but also those that went before and those that are still to come." (Gr IV 255, 3-4)
"As to My passion, I have suffered in My body like any other man, and in the same order as you may read in the gospels. Yet because I as a suffering human also encompassed another, divine I, the suffering was indeed doubled, being external, of the body, and also inner suffering, as a God.
"You know what the external suffering consisted of - but as to My suffering as a God, that is another question. To try and get an idea, consider what it actually means that the infinite God withdrew from his infinite and eternal freedom during this period of suffering and came to reside in the heart of his suffering 'Son'." (Hi I p. 327, 8-9)
... "On all bodies in the universe that in any way are inhabited by rational beings in human form, it was made known that the Lord had become wholly man, in the flesh . .." (Gr I 215, 4)
"Anything God does, applies not only to us here in this spot, nor merely to this country or the whole wide earth, but it applies one and the same for the whole of infinity and eternitiy. Therefore all this has to be well grasped, in its deepest depths." (Gr III 80, 10)
Above, the words of Peter were referred to, that Jesus' passion would become a stumbling block for many. Peter has been proved right.
It began with Arius in the 4th century, the bishop who denied Christ's divinity and could not envisage God letting such be done to him as a man. According to Arius, Jesus was merely a superman, and towards the end of the 4th century it seemed that about half the Christians might join the camp of this heretic. But it only seemed to be so, for an invisible hand gueded development in different channels. Today, only very few Christians know the name of this heretic.
Once liberal Protestant theologians began to make a critical study of the Bible, the divine nature of Jesus came to be denied more and more, right to this day. This is epitomized in the words of Rudolf Bultmann: "what primitive mythology, that a divine being become man redeems the sins of mankind with his blood." 44
The same tenor may be found in the writings of Heinz Zahrnt. Jesus, according to him, is "not something supernatural"; "God is simply acting and speaking in a human being". 45 And how does Zahrnt substantiate his thesis? Believe it or not, he rests his case on Pilate's "Behold the Man!"" He simply ignores the witness of John the Evangelist before the Synhedrin: "I am he", when it was a matter of life and death.
Anything that does not fit in with the concepts of a weighable, measurable world, is immediately rejected as being contradictory, illogical and imaginary 'common properly'.
When Jesus foretold his passion to the disciples in the presence of his mother, Mary grew fearful and deeply concerned. When she tried to argue with her son, he replied: "These are things only I understand, therefore let none of you speak about it any furtherr" (Gr X 5, 5)
These words, and also the following, which were dictated to Lorber, silence all criticism.
"Infinitely much still lies hidden within it (the death on the cross), and you will have much to study in it for ages and ages, and this shall be ever greater and more infinite." (Hi I p. 329, 15)
We have quoted Bultmann and Zahrnt as typical examples. The statement that Jesus is not the Son of God and the Redeemer, but one who spoke for God, i.e., a prophet, an ideal teacher, a moral man, and-as we are now able to read - an "interesting person", runs through modern theological literature like a continuouss thread. All who became authors and played their part in destroying Christianity tended to be highly successful, earning much applause. The damage done to the souls is beyond comprehension. At first the educated classes were caught up in the process of dissolution, and then, in the age of mass media, also the mass of the people. Most readers or listeners are unable to have their own informed opinion concerning the theories put before them. The distrust sown by the churches in their often reprehensible ways of dealing with the truth, contributes to the uncertainty now felt by people who do not know what to think.
The source and origin of this development is the negation of all that is metaphysical. "Gone is the old system of the two worlds", Zahrnt writes, ". . . gone is the splitting of one reality into this world and the next." 47 The denial of the divine nature of Jesus and of eternal life for the soul in another world means that the center of the Christian faith is destroyed. Parallel to this, positivism and materialism are widespread in the sciences. "This development", Dietrich von Hildebrand says quite rightly, "must be regarded as a truly spiritual and moral disease of our century." 48
Yet the transcendental world does exist, however much it may be denied today. Goethe's words still hold true: "The world of the spirits is not a closed one. Your mind is closed, your heart is dead." As Walter Nigg put it so aptly, "the most profound religious truths cannot be grasped by following a course of intellectual study." 49
When all sense of mystery has been lost, the intellect will always be tempted to deny and undo anything that does not fit in with human Iogic. Presumptuous, rationalism ignores the dictum: finitum non capax infiniti, i.e., the finite is not capable of encompassing the infinite. That is why it says in Ecclesiasticus 1, 6: "Who can fathom the root of wisdom? And her secrets, who has understood them?"