The Messianic ‘New Covenant’= The New Heart In Humanity
‘Salvation’ is to be differentiated from ‘Redemption.’ The Jewish Messiah is not a Saviour, not a Chief Saviour, not a Necessary Saviour; and certainly not any kind of [childish] Rescuer. Rather, he is the Redeemer of all humanity. As a Redeemer, he has unique qualities needed to bear the impossible task to which he is called.
The question that arises is= how do human beings ‘freely, personally, lovingly’ participate in the redemption wrought by the Redeemer?
According to the prophetic witness of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, the First Covenant between God and the Jews would end with the Exile of the entire Jewish people to Babylon [600 BC]. The immediate implication was stark and terrible. The original covenantal relationship between God and the Jews had not worked out. Thus the Jews would cease to exist as a people of God, a people called by God to live and act for him in the world.
This catastrophe was going to befall the Jews because they had not kept, but had repeatedly betrayed, their original covenantal relationship with God. Yahweh had shown patience and forbearance over centuries, urging his people to return to their primal ‘hesed’ with him. Finally, Yahweh concluded this return was not possible. “They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways” [Psalms, 95, 8-11]. Isaiah is instructed by Yahweh to tell the Jews what is so very amiss in their condition. The heart of the people is “callous”; their eyes are “ever seeing but not perceiving”, their ears are “ever hearing but never understanding”; such eyes are “closed” and such ears are “dull” [Isaiah 6, 8-10]. In the Acts [28, 25-27] there is a summary of Yahweh’s assessment of the Pre Exilic nations of Israel and Judea= “For this people’s heart has become calloused, they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts.. and I would [be able to] heal them.”
This assessment by Yahweh of what has gone wrong with the Jews is more subtle than it first seems.
On the one hand, it refers without doubt to the failure by the Jews to create a communal togetherness rooted in justice for all people, as required by Yahweh from the beginning. The Old Covenant had increasingly failed during the time between Moses leading the Jewish people out of Exile in Egypt [1200/1000 BC] and their going into Exile to Babylon [600—500 BC], and it is noteworthy that the decisive degeneration occurred when a people who had been desert nomads settled down, and became crop growers, and then traders, growing rich, and developing all the evils familiar today from a social, political, and economic, set up run by Mammon. A proto capitalism where the few rich profited at the expense of the many poor, and where power was concentrated in the hands of those with money, was blasted by the early prophets again and again. Through Amos [800 BC], God repudiates beautiful liturgical ceremonies, whose incense stinks in his nostrils and whose songs offend his ears, because what he wants the Jewish people to do is to establish justice. He wants justice to flow like a mighty stream, like a raging river, irresistible and undivertable.. Instead, the wealthy and powerful lord it over, and cheat, the poor and powerless. The official law sanctions oppression of the losers by the winners.
On the other hand, Yahweh’s assessment points out that the Jews are strict in their observance, outwardly, but this does not profit them, because inwardly they are shut down, and so not inwardly following what they ostensibly outwardly observe. They observe it ‘ever’ but it does not go into them, it does not reach the heart, and thus it cannot work any change on them. They go through religious motions, but do not know what they do.. It leaves them untouched, at the core and in the basis. Thus, their eyes are blind and ears are deaf, despite the fact the eyes are ‘ever’ seeing, and the ears are ‘ever’ hearing, in regard to religious things. The eyes never stop reading holy text, the ears never stop listening to holy text, but it avails them nothing, because more inwardly, and more deeply down, the heart is ‘callous’, so they cannot ‘understand with the heart.’ Despite always seeing, they do not perceive what is being shown to them; despite always listening, they do not get what is being said to them; they do not understand with the heart because the heart is not given, not open, not available. They have ‘hardened their hearts’ [Hebrews, 3, 7-9].
This paradox is significant, and still operative today. You can have a heart hardened against God, yet feverishly spend all your time fixed on Scripture, or other guidances and helps of God, seeing such things without perceiving them and listening to such things without comprehending them. Indeed, there is actually an inverse relationship between the heart being hardened against the inner truth of religious things, and the outer fixation on them. This is particularly obvious with fundamentalists. The Biblical words are seized upon, and thrown at other people in a manner both stupid and bullying, because their inner truth is not alive in the heart. A certain rigid outer fidelity to God betokens an inner rejection of all that God is, means, gives, and does. The fanatic loyalists of God are often those whose hearts are far from God. Clinging to the things of God, be it Scripture, Liturgy, or anything else, is the sign that the heart cannot open up to God, but is radically and fundamentally closed against God. The person’s callous, and hard, heart reduces the things of God in religion to a formula, a guarantee, a certainty, because the heart is full of fear, and hate, and cannot accept God’s ‘ways’ which grant freedom to the world, and offer love as the only power capable of ending the karmic law operative in the world wherein good or ill actions have inescapable good or ill consequences.
Still, though this problem revealed in Isaiah is extreme in fundamentalists, in an important sense it addresses everybody. Without the heart, we can spend every minute and every day ‘ever’ seeing, and ‘ever’ listening, to religious things, but we will not understand them from the heart, and therefore they will not heal us. Indeed, whether they are strictly observed, or laxly observed, makes no difference. Neither conservatives nor liberals, neither patriarchy nor matriarchy, reaches and changes the heart. The old callous heart, the heart hardened against God and therefore also hardened against the neighbour, remains unmoved. You see all the time without perceiving, you listen all the time without hearing, because your heart is not in it.
The two-fold disaster facing the Jews—losing the Old Covenant with Yahweh and thereby losing their whole raison d’etre as a people – was almost unthinkable, a shock wave of immeasurable proportions.
Suddenly, it was all over.
Because he could offer his people no cheap solace, no phony fantasy escape, Jeremiah became an outcast, repudiated by king, other prophets, priests, and the common folk. Jeremiah was thrown into despair for his people by this coming cataclysm. Yet he accepted the existential ‘realism’ of the karmic law of good or ill actions having good or ill consequences, and did not believe any supernatural rescue would nullify, ‘as you sow, so shall you reap.’
At precisely this lowest ebb, and seemingly out of left field, God reveals to Jeremiah that there will be a New Covenant, and this will be a fresh beginning, a second chance not reduced in power compared with what did not work out, but increased in power. The First Way relied upon trying to remedy the old heart of humanity; the Second Way would function differently because it would rely on God giving a new heart to humanity. Where human faithfulness had decreased, God’s faithfulness would increase.
The old conflicted heart, the inherent half-heartedness of humanity, had always pointed to the need for whole heartedness; flashes of that greater heart had always managed to get free from the chains of the lesser heart, but these had always tragically fallen back. Humanity was capable of love, and not capable of love, at once. In the future, humanity would at last be set free in the heart, with a whole heart able to love unconditionally.
The answer is not to go on trying to perfect the old heart of humanity, for ‘you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.’ Rather, the way forward is to bring forth a new heart out of the old heart, a new heart with a new power to do what love always summoned us to do, and we wanted to do, but could not.
This is a rebirth for humanity, since the heart is the core and depth, the entire driving engine, of our being and doing in this world. The second chance is likened to a second birth because whereas before our heart came from flesh and blood and the Spirit was ‘added’ to it, so in this coming state of existence our heart will rise up more directly from the hand of the Spirit, and the Spirit will not visit but reside permanently in the heart. Through the heart, the entirety of our humanity, physical, psychic, mental, spiritual, will become alive in the Spirit.
This was foreshadowed in the past, pretastes of it occurred in former times [Psalms, 37,31; 9,10; 76,1; Jeremiah, 7,23; 1 Samuel, 2,12; 3,7; Psalms, 32, 1-2].
However, its complete realisation and its universal spread is new. In the future dispensation, the Spirit and the heart are partners, in a profound way. God’s Heart and Passion of Spirit will come to dwell in the human heart and passion of spirit.
All this constitutes “good news.”
Four questions loom large. They are differentiations of what is really a seamless poem.
 What is the new heart? What is it like? What are the promises God makes to humanity concerning it? Are these promises made only to Jews, or to all people? Do such remarkable pledges of God apply only to humans who are believers, or to everyone, believer or non
believer no different?
 How will the new heart be given to humanity? Will it be like taking a magic pill, with an instant effect on us? One day we have the old heart, and something divine happens to us and, suddenly, we have the new heart the next day? Or will it come to us more slowly, to give us time to make it our own, time for it to root in us and grow authentically, from deep to surface, from inside to outside?
 As the old divided heart bequeathed humanity an intense struggle between greater and lesser hearts, will struggle still figure prominently in the process of acquiring the new heart? If the new heart comes to us quickly, will we go, in one leap, from a struggling to a confident heart? One leap from a heart at war to a peaceable heart? One leap from a fragmented to a whole heart? Will the new heart be some artifice of a divine deus ex machina? If, on the contrary, struggle still is necessary in the way in which the new heart must be born from the old heart, rather than simply replacing it, or just being imposed on top of it, then what is the nature of that struggle? Must it not be, in some important respect, different from the old struggle of the greater heart against the lesser heart, so powerful in David, and the other existential heroes of faith? Or, will it be both similar to the old struggle, and yet different as well?
 The New Covenant is Jewish. It is offered to the Jews who will be starting again on its basis after the Babylon Captivity ends [500 BC], thanks to the Persian king Cyrus who overthrows the Babylonian Empire, and frees the Jews to return home. The Old Covenant ends, and the new Covenant begins, somewhere between going into and coming out of the Babylonian Exile. Consequently, the specific question for those who still call themselves religious Jews is this= are they trying to reconstruct the Old Covenant, 2,500 years after the prophets said God had ended it? Or, have they entered the Second Covenant? Are there, in effect, currently two kinds of Judaism, one identified more with trying to shore up and make good the Old Covenant, and the other trying to discover what is really involved in starting afresh through the New Covenant?
It is the Jews seeking the New Covenant who became followers of Yeshua, because for them, he was the Messiah. The point is, the New Covenant needs the Messiah to come, because it operates through his coming. The new heart of humanity will be Messianic in shape, and dynamis.
There are complications..
Such a momentous shift in the whole foundation of humanity, a radical change in the whole meaning and dynamic of being human, and of living and acting from our humanity, cannot be mechanical, or captured in a precise formula. It cannot be rationally reduced to an equation that neatly adds up. It is existential, and thus cannot avoid being messy, ambiguous, ambivalent, long drawn out in time, a leap of faith and a wrestling of heart.
It is a Mystery. It is a Paradox.
Poetic evocations of it are more ‘accurate’ than theological analyses. We can, as human and as persons, offer testimony of our experience of it, but we cannot turn this into a map and a plan.
It will be full of quirks, surprises, both ordinary and extraordinary things, both primordial things that once were and future things that are not yet; it will mix ‘a few laughs’ [because humour is part of the Daemonic] with many tears, much sweat, and costly blood.
God’s old promises do not cease, but are incorporated into the new promises. The old struggle in the divided heart, for an unimpeded heart, will in a sense continue, yet woven into this will be a new struggle to give birth to the new heart from the very ‘soil’ of the old heart, in its agonies and ecstasies, in its grief and glory, in its terror and beauty.
For God, the old heart has terrible pathos, it moves his heart, and he will not just throw it away, to arbitrarily create something ‘better.’ The new brings the old along with it, and resolves the old by the very process, however pained and protracted, in which the new is born from the old. The old becomes, not the crashing and end of our humanity, but the ground of gestation, the pregnant earth, that – once its mysterious time of ‘birth pangs’ is over — will deliver the new humanity.
Hence there is both continuity and discontinuity between the old struggle and the new struggle.. It is not carrying on with the past, business as usual, yet it is not an abrupt break from the past. It brings something from the future to now, and this alters the past’s ability to dominate now.
Now is the moment for the change..
There is an issue of the way in which this life shattering and world shaking gift is to be given by God to humanity. There is the linked issue of the way in which humanity is to receive such a gift. The poem is in two sections.
God: The gift is given.
Humanity: The gift is received, wrestled with, suffered for, opposed, accepted, misunderstood and understood, and only ‘finally’ embraced.
God: the seed is sown, the spark is ignited.
Humanity: the gestation is long, the pregnancy is difficult, at times it seems still born, at other times it is awaited with joy.
God: the deed of giving the gift.
Humanity: the process by which the gift is assimilated, allowed to instigate new things, kindle new flame and bring to fruition new fruit.
God: the gift is given freely, from love, and has creative energies that will work underground long before they surface and come to the fore.
Humanity: the gift is responded to freely, from love, and is made ‘one’s own’ creatively.
The previous way would be for the old heart to continue, and gradually run out of steam, finally all washed up, its venture wrecked. Tragedy would have the final word..
The subsequent way is for that very problem in the old heart to become the good earth, the fertile soil, for the birth of the new heart. The new way is, then, that the old goes through peculiarly searing trials, tests and travails giving birth to the new. The old blocks the new, in one sense, if continued with. In another sense, the old is the necessary matrix for the new.
There remains a conflict, then, over whether the old will do as it always did, or will be taken into a spiritual mystery where its underlying tragedy, its inherent inadequacy and inevitable ruin, become paradoxically the very humus, the dynamic fertilizer, for an almost unbelievable growth of the new out of the old. St Paul had a very hard struggle with this strange new mystery, sometimes understanding it, sometimes misunderstanding it and needing to be corrected in his own ingrained dualistic tendencies. How can a new strength come out of the old weakness? In the old heart, strength and weakness are separated, and totally inimical. For people who dualistically and moralistically distinguish spirit and flesh, spiritual knowledge and bodily desires, the paradox of what it really means to be ‘born again’ is entirely misunderstood. St Paul took the correction, and thereafter gloried more in his infirmities than his exalted mystical experiences of heavenly heights, but those who believe the old heart is super-naturally and instantly whisked out from below, so the new heart can be instantly and super-naturally whisked in from above to replace it, have not accepted the lesson St Paul had to learn from the Messiah= “My strength is revealed in weakness.”
This is a matter of giving the old heart in its totality to the spiritual mystery that needs it, and paradoxically needs its lesser even more than its greater, to accomplish the new birth. The new strength is revealed ‘in’ — right in the midst of — the old weakness..
The old has one meaning when it is all there is, and goes on its way toward ultimate break down. The old has a very different meaning when it accepts the ‘promise’ of the new, and becomes caught up in the new journey and battle, the new leap of faith, that arises when the old is proceeding into the new.. We rightly ask, is this possible? Can there be any new, or is the old all there is? Can the new be born from the old? Will the process of passing through the old into the new work, or will it too break down? Am I a fool to trust it? By sticking with the old, at least I am ‘safe rather than sorry.’ If I go out on a limb for the new, will I be let down? What can I rely on? Can I really rely on promises of God written in some text? Is that enough to take a chance on any second chance for humanity? Or must these promises be delivered in a different way, to have any persuasive effect on me?
These are the anguished existential questions unavoidable on the road out of the old into the new.
There is a gap of time, separating when the divine gift is offered to humanity, and when it is accomplished by bearing fruit and kindling flame in humanity. It is not accomplished, but only begins, in any single human life. It will only be accomplished at the end of all time when it has had the time to work through all human lives.
What alters, dramatically, right now is the destination where one, and all, are going.
It is the mysterious divine gift arriving right ‘now’ that creates a new ‘future.’ From now, when we embrace the gift by going with the process in us which its seed and spark sets in motion, everything moves in a new direction.
Something in Judaism cannot make the leap into the new heart, and thus must be jettisoned. Something else in Judaism is involved in that leap, and thus must be retained. The continuity of the Second Way with the First Way is summed up in David. The discontinuity between the First Way and the Second Way is summed up in Moses.
The bridge from First Way into Second Way is not the Law; it is the struggling of those who may have been less strict in obedience to the Law, but used the heart more, tried to love from the heart, and made continuous errors and were subject to unending falls, as a result. ‘To those who love, much is forgiven.’ These heroes of existential faith, passionately loving more and passionately sinning more than the Law abiding, are the precursors and prefigurements of the Messiah.
It is of vast importance, then, that in Isaiah [55, 3] God speaks of the New Covenant thus= “I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.” The Second Way was never promised to Moses, because it is only to David that God’s ‘faithful love’ can be promised. It would be lost on Moses, for he would think staying within the Law was enough to change the heart. Only David, forced to go farther inside and deeper down into the heart’s mystery by the sinning that stalked his attempts at loving, could appreciate that he needed God’s faithful love, if his heart was ever to change at the core and in the basis.
The New Covenant cannot build on the people secure in the belief that the Mosaic Law suffices as medicine for the heart. The New Covenant builds on the heart that was in David, and all the other wave tossed and fire scorched strugglers, the men and women of passion, giving birth to that which resolves their struggling, crowning it, blessing it, not in spite of but because of all its vicissitudes, mistakes, and turbulences, which it ‘passes through’, always getting up again after falling down.
Keeping the Mosaic Law cannot give birth to the new heart. Being a lover like David, even if this risks more failure for the sake of trying more love, is exactly the ‘mixed’ wheat and tares from which the new heart is coming.
The new heart is born out of the old heart, and this is long drawn out, and a struggle more unbearable and more unendurable than before, yet it honours the struggle that went before, raising it to a new level of intensity and deepening it because of what is at stake in it= the human tragedy and the possibility of its redemption.
There was always something in the human heart God rated highly, God loved deeply, precisely in its struggle, precisely in its hard tussles and deep troubles. This passion, so inhibited in the Law abiding, and so vivid in the existential heroes of faith, is the ‘sufferings and raptures of the Spirit’ that we must go through if our names are to be written in the Book of Life.
There was always something in the human heart God respected, mourned over, fought for. Even when he was fighting against us, God was fighting for us.
There was always something in the human heart, so pitiful and full of pathos, that moved God’s heart so much, he would never give up on it, whatever abject condition it fell into.
In the poor heart, so torn and wracked, so captured by evil yet moved by the Fire of God to love madly, and excessively, beyond all considerations of our limited dust, God first found the worthy servant, the beloved partner, the heart made for the divine heart, the heart that cannot be separated from God by devil, world, nature, or anything above or below, in the past or in the future.
In our sad and pathetic heart, our brave and vulnerable heart, our innocent heart too small for what God puts upon it, God still finds material on which his passion can burn. In our hurt yet willing heart, always willing to have a go for God and for the world, God finds the heart he tested, he proved, he searched out and found deep enough for his own heart.
God makes up the lack, by breathing his Fire into our poor clay.
God will never over rule our freedom. He does not have to. He has our heart.
The devil will never understand the human heart. Its humanness is the flaw in love the Evil One cannot tolerate.
For God, it is the flaw in love that makes everything possible. It is the flawed human heart that has God’s faith.
In the turbulent heart of David, passionately sinful and passionately loving, God found something redeemable and redemptive.
David is the ancestor of the Messiah.
Jeremiah [31, 31-32]= “The time is coming, proclaims Yahweh, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them.” [Hosea had likened Yahweh to a loving husband and the Jews to an unfaithful wife.] “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, Yahweh announces.”
St Paul quotes in full from Jeremiah [31, 31-34], adding two sentences of his own [Hebrews, 8, 7-13] as commentary= “For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people.. By calling this covenant ‘new’, he has made the first one obsolete..”
This seems to assert not only that the Jews did not ‘live up’ to the original hesed between God and them, but also that this covenantal relationship was inherently inadequate.
The Old Covenant could throw humanity into heart struggle, which was its real purpose, but of itself, within its own frame of reference, it could not resolve that struggle in a way satisfying to God and fulfilling to humanity.
The Jews were always evolving in their religious consciousness, constantly upended by Yahweh so they could never settle with him and get safe and secure, but were always led by him into new human and divine territory. The ‘promised land’ was always ahead of them, never behind them. They had to throw off primitive misunderstandings, and outgrow their earlier attempts at [premature] closure, and this was facilitated by being drawn into a wilderness of the Spirit where they are forced to keep struggling, keep journeying and keep battling, toward the real land of the promise= the changed heart of humanity, and the world reclaimed for God by the human heart ruling it as the true king.
The human heart was always the focus in the religion of the Jews, the means and the end.
The New Covenant is the climax of all that change, that shedding of outer skins to become more naked and transparent before God, and hence go deeper into the potentials and problems of the human condition in living in this world.
Paradoxically, losing the Old Covenant ‘in order’ to awake to the need for a New Covenant long before it is acquired is another crucial step on the wilderness road.
There is another lesson in this story of the ending of the first attempt to draw near to God, and God meeting its failure with the offer of a new approach to the whole problematic situation. We too, like the Jews, will crash and burn. We all betray the first hesed, whatever it was in our case. We are all a whoring human wife who lets down the loving divine husband.
Perhaps the most unexpected paradox is, if you do not crash and burn in your first, and sincere, approach to God, the second chance will never mean anything to you, and you will not enter it.
We must be the Jews only coming out of a first exile to find there is a second, and worse, exile awaiting us further down what we thought was ‘the living road.’
This is how it bites. We are well and truly lost, God guides us out, we groove with God for a while, and then it fades, and we come to a second loss of God, far more horrendous than the ignorance of God we were stuck in before. The honeymoon is long gone, the marriage has run out of steam. This is when the New Way becomes necessary, because the Old Way has been failed by us, and also failed us. It got us out of our first exile, but it is powerless to stop us heading, head-long, for a second exile far more of a debacle than anything previously. The disaster is new, and the remedy will have to be new to take it on.
You are between Egypt and Babylon. If you are happy there, the second beginning will not reach you.
Despite the glory of breaking free from Egypt, your spiritual adventures and strengthening in long desert wanderings, and the paradisiacal moments in a garden of plentiful fruits and spiritual abundance, it has over a longer time span all run out, and now it is suddenly over, and you are an unwilling passenger in the cattle trucks of humanity going to Babylon.
In this state of affairs, where the first relationship to God has crumbled, and it is a tragedy beyond blaming God or you or anyone else, you will cry out ‘deep to deep’, and only at this juncture will the Second Covenant become relevant. Its crazy promises will be the only thing to penetrate an impenetrable doom.
Jeremiah takes up a very non-Scriptural, almost anti-Biblical, stance concerning the Old Covenant. Its problem, he insists, was because this covenant was written in mere words on flimsy paper. Such verbal marks can be interfered with by later scribes, and revamped to suit all too human concerns, thus falsifying the original written testimony. [This actually happened with the Jewish Bible. Did Jeremiah foresee it?]
In stark contrast with any written Scripture establishing the Old Covenant, the New Covenant will be established by the Spirit of God writing it internally ‘on the heart.’ There will be no more need for any Bible, for the Spirit of God will lead the heart into ‘all truth’, and the heart will encounter this directly in its experience of the Spirit, without the need for external guidance from any Sacred Text.
The Hebrew phrase Jeremiah uses is ‘Brit Khadashah’, for New Covenant, and in at least one place, he deploys a slightly different phrase, ‘Bris Chadosha’ for New Testament. It is from this passage in Jeremiah that the followers of Yeshua the Mashiach took their collective name. New Way, New Testimony, New Life in God to Redeem history.. Yeshua only once uses this phrase, and doubtless he is quoting from Jeremiah, on the night of the Last Supper, when he speaks of his coming sacrifice on the Cross as “the new covenant in my blood” [Luke, 22, 20; Mathew, 26, 28; Mark, 14, 24]. The wine and bread of Eros are to be mysteriously and sacredly connected to the extinguishing of breath, and shedding of blood, the ultimate descending of fire, on the Cross.
The New Way written in the heart= not a yoke of external discipline nor an instruction of external teaching, a heart singular and divinely impassioned, as opposed to the old divided heart without any permanent divine presence.
In the Old Covenant, the Spirit is ‘upon’ people, in the New Covenant, the Spirit will be ‘in’ people [Ezekiel, 36, 26-27].
In the Old Covenant, the Spirit overshadowed the heart ‘sometimes’, coming and going like a wind that blows where it wants to, without anyone being able to predict what it will do. In the New Covenant, the Spirit will be given ‘permanently’ [Isaiah, 59, 21]. Temporary Visitation by the Spirit will give way to Permanent Indwelling of the Spirit.
In the Old Covenant, the Spirit was given to lovers of God, ‘spiritual people.’ In the New Covenant, the Spirit will be given to ‘all people’ [Joel, 2, 28-29].
In the Old Covenant, the Spirit was given within certain restraints. In the New Covenant, the Spirit will be poured out in ‘abundance’ [Isaiah, 44, 3-5]. Abundance implies richness, a full communication of gifts, including the most secret aspect of the Spirit as the divinizer of humanity. In the Old Covenant, the Spirit often inspires and empowers people to do the tasks God calls them to accomplish; the Spirit of God facilitates our service, works, deeds, for God. Whilst continuing in the New Covenant as Helper, Encourager, Comforter, Counsellor, the Spirit begins to bring the divine into people in a manner that renders their humanity more aflame with the Godlike.
In the Old Covenant, people could lose God’s favour, such that the Spirit was withdrawn from them for a time. In the New Covenant, people are secure in God, because of the indwelling of the Spirit, and they will therefore experience themselves as on solid ground in the kingdom of God, which will be ‘an everlasting kingdom’ [Daniel, 7, 27].
Since the Holy Spirit is of God, and is God, fully Divine, and not just some chief emanation of God, so in the New Covenant there arises a much more close, divinely fashioned relationship with God, thanks to the Spirit. God is available to people, not hidden but disclosed, immediately accessible, and can be consulted at any time. Dostoyevsky foresaw a coming spiritual age when ‘external religion’ would be rendered less and less necessary, because people would get food, instruction, wisdom, direct from the Spirit.
The New Covenent is more grounded in the heart, and more ‘spiritual’ because the Spirit of God will live in the human heart, and render it a vehicle and vessel of the Spirit in the world.
Jeremiah’s inspired description of the New Covenant, and the new heart it will forge in humanity, is simply breath taking.
 God’s Ways will be directly inscribed into your heart= “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts” [Jeremiah, 31, 33].
 God will be in you= “I will be their God, and they will be my people… I will put my Spirit in you” [Jeremiah, 31, 33, Ezekiel, 36, 27].
 You will have personal knowledge of God= “No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know Yahweh’, because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest” [Jeremiah, 31, 34].
 There will be universal forgiveness of humanity’s sins= “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” [Jeremiah, 31, 34].
These four assertions by God in relation to the New Covenant, the giving to humanity of a new heart, are beyond extraordinary. They defy belief! They are ‘more than we could have hoped for.’ In the hell of dereliction, in the hell of exile from God, exile from our neighbour, exile from our own heart, a revolution in the foundation of the human dilemma suddenly looms up, and reaches us in the very place of ‘the worst case scenario.’
–The Spirit will guide the heart into ‘truth in the inward parts.’ The term ‘Law’ in this setting works like the term ‘Tao’ in The Tao Te Ching= it refers to what is, reality without illusion, truth without falsification, fidelity without disloyalty. When ‘what is’ becomes all there is, then there can be no more falling away, no more division, in heart. That choice, generated by taking unreality seriously alongside reality, is no more.
–As spirituality spreads, so religion will disappear. The Temple as external organisation will pass away, because God will be in each, and shared among all. Other prophecy described this as the end of everything when ‘God will be all in all.’ Yeshua is referring to it when asked by the woman at the well whether the Jews should worship in the Temple in Samaria or at the Temple in Jerusalem, some Jews arguing for the kosherness of the one, other Jews arguing for the validity of the other. He replies that a time is coming when this kind of question will be irrelevant, since people then will worship ‘in Spirit and in truth.’
–There will be no more Bibles, no more Sacred Codes, no more preaching. Each person will know, thus all people will know. Disputes over opinions, doctrines, teachings, will become pointless. Different experiences of the God common to all, and creating their common bond, will not be threatening, but enrichening; instead of creating discord, they will create a complex accord. Unity in diversity will be the communal reality.
–All conditionality in God’s faithfulness to us disappears; God’s love becomes unconditional.
If situated in their real Daemonic context, these four promises reveal the end-point of all the tears, sweat, and blood, all the hellish deeps, of the Daemonic Road. It was all for this. It was worth it, for this.
The version of the New Covevant in Ezekiel [36, 26-27], coming during the Exile in Babylon, echoes that in Jeremiah, for God says to humanity= “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my promptings..”
 We will receive a new heart and a new spirit, a new passion of heart.
 The heart of stone, the ‘callousness’ of heart, will pass away, and a human heart, a ‘passible’ heart of vulnerability and affectedness, will arise. This heart will be unified, no longer fundamentally conflicted, torn between the two hearts, greater and lesser. Its heart and spirit will go with God instinctively, naturally, immediately, un self-consciously.
 God will put his Spirit in our heart, and so God’s heart will dwell in our human heart, and God’s Fire will be ignited in our human fire. Our passion will burn with a new ardour, a new fervour, a new zeal, of love, never before possible.
This New Way is not the time-limited First Covenant, which like all earthly things wears out and passes away. The New Covenant is eternal. It will govern time, and never run out, to the end of time. This is the Covenant of Redemption.
In Isaiah [61, 8] God says to humanity=
“In my faithfulness I will.. make an everlasting covenant with them.”
This echoes exactly Jeremiah [32, 40]= “I will make an everlasting covenant with them.”
In Joel [2, 28-29] God says to humanity=
“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days and they will prophesy.”
Clearly, then, the onset of the Second Covenant is not the same as, nor to be confused with, its completion, its final victory.
Much time, much struggle, comes between the former and latter, even in one life, but more especially, for humanity as a whole.
Nowhere in the Jewish Bible does it say that the new heart, and the Spirit of God living in it, will be given only to Jews, or only to believers, or only to the religious, or only to those worthy of it, or only to those who explicitly accept the Messiah through whom it comes; this final and most loving gift of God to humanity is for believers and non-believers no different.
It operates as does the God who sends the rain on both good and evil, it functions as does the God who shines on just and unjust alike.
The gift is for one and for all. It includes everyone, it excludes no one.
Both in the Post Exilic Isaiah, and in the Post Exilic psalms of David, the Messiah becomes the special and necessary instrument through which God will give a new heart to humanity.
The new heart does not come to humanity only ‘from’ the Spirit, but also ‘through’ the strange and heart-rending figure of the Messiah. A visible Exemplar, and an invisible Dynamizer, a Heroic Figure and the Divine Power that enables him to go where he must go and to do what he must do= these two work conjointly to bestow and perfect the Messianic Gift in humanity.
It would be imbalanced to stress the Messianic Hero and neglect the Messianic Spirit. It would be equally imbalanced to stress the Messianic Spirit and neglect the Messianic Hero. There is a visible face and deed, there is an invisible power and spiritual impetus, in the Messianic Agency of God.
The Messiah has the intimate relationship with the Spirit we did not have in the old heart but will have in the new heart.
The new heart of humanity will be Messiah-like, and will be filled and enflamed by the Messianic Spirit.
As the Spirit was the divine power necessary to sustain and energize the Messiah, so the newness of this Spirit for humanity is the newness of the power to make us like the Messiah.
What he is, we will become. Where he goes and what he does, we are invited to follow, our footsteps guided by his and moved by the empowering Spirit moving him.
This is why there is a paradox of continuity and discontinuity between the old heart and the new heart. The pre Messianic heart is connected to, yet differs from, the post Messianic heart, as ‘anticipation’ to ‘fulfillment.’
From our creation, the human heart was made in the image, and called to become the likeness, of the Messiah.
In Jewish prophecy, extraordinary claims are made for the Messiah both because he has a new power of Spirit in him, working through his action, and because his heart is more all-encompassing, and more profound, as no heart manifest in humanity, or even revealed of God, ever was before.
The new heart is greater and deeper than the old heart, but that does not mean the old heart entirely lacked greatness and depth. Even Moses suddenly performs one genuinely Messianic Deed of radical self-sacrifice for the sake of redeeming all his people, so unlike his judgemental and impatient anger, his moralistic condemnation, of their back sliding. But the human tragedy put a limit on how much the old heart could hold and do.
The new heart is therefore not some artificially enhanced perfection, some deus ex machina wholeness immune to the human condition wherein we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ The new heart is not some ‘higher spiritual purity’ above and untouched by our ‘lower earthy nature’; rather, it is the fulfillment of what the old heart was always dynamically aiming for but could not reach.
The Messiah redeems what God always deemed fitting for us. His coming is not alien to us, but addresses where we are and what it takes to come through.
Hence, the Messiah answers the age old human question, and age old human dilemma= what is the heart? What is it for? Why do we both want to use it and resist doing so? Why this contradiction?
Consequently, the old heart, in its very humanity of heroism and tragedy, is crucial to the Messiah’s Deed ‘for’ us, and the Spiritual Process it kicks off ‘in’ us.
The Messiah brings the divine more fully into the human, humanizing the divine. By virtue of this, the Messiah enables the human to be brought more fully into the divine, divinizing the human. The divine-humanity is the end result, and it only comes through the heart. ‘Not I, but Christ in me’, St Paul said of this.
Yet, by the same token, it cannot be forgotten, nor down played, that there is a serious ‘problem’ in the old heart, of immemorial age and lodged deeper down. If this were not so, no Messiah would be needed.
The Messiah does not just surgically remove the old heart, and insert the new heart in its place; how bloodless that neat operation would be! It would be quick, easy, and would cost nothing, because the spiritual doctor would not need to get down in the mire with those being helped, nor need to be affected by their painful condition. Some people think it is this straightforward. One day you meet the Messiah, you confess your sins that only he can take away by suffering for them as your proxy, and then wham bang, the next day you have his new Spirit and new heart in fullness. You are fixed. You are home and dry. This transfer is a matter of Spirit blotting out flesh, higher imposing itself on lower, for the lower’s ‘own good.’ It happens immediately, and without strain. A magic wand is waved, and hey presto, all is fine.. This is the Lie about the Messianic Agency told by Satan.
This over simplified scenario is in any case about ‘salvation’, and does not understand that the Messianic Mystery is not about salvation, but is for the sake of the universal redemption.
St Peter’s anguished ups and downs illustrates the human role in actively receiving, personally responding to, the Messianic Mystery; it is initially shown to us by the Messiah enacting it, and then is passed on to us by the Messianic Spirit planting it all the way down in us, and nurturing its slow ‘fermentation’, crystallisation, growth, so that its spark is being ignited, its fruit is ripening, only as we wrestle with it and come to terms with all it implies.
Thus, consider what Peter had to go through. He was the first to recognise Yeshua as the Messiah. The Spirit facilitated Peter to encounter this, though he is far from fully embracing it, nor fully living it out, nor fully letting it work through his deeps and change the ground he stands on. Despite this huge moment made possible for him by the Spirit, Peter still subsequently betrays Yeshua three times.
The moment when you acknowledge Yeshua as the Messiah awaited from olden times, the turning point when you recognise Yeshua as your redeemer, is not the end of your conversion to him, it is just the beginning. The more dramatic and sudden change involved in aiming in a new direction must not be confused with the more day to day, and lengthy, change involved in moving toward that new destination.
Both what the Messiah does to persuade us, to bring us on board, and what we do to get on board, stay with it, see it through all the way, has been compressed and misdescribed by the ‘instant salvation’ scenario. The answer to, ‘are you saved?’ is, ‘no, I am being redeemed.’ The answer to, ‘are you born again?’ is, ‘I am not yet born again, I am in the travails of it, I am playing my part in it– and that is my love for the Messiah, my assent to his gift. But as Peter went through hells with this lengthy journey and battle, so do I. In any case, my redemption means far less to me than the redemption of humanity. I cannot be redeemed until everyone and everything is redeemed..’
From our side of the divine-human relationship, the task is= to go on being redeemed in your person, and to go on redeeming other persons. How can you recognise those authentically being redeemed? By the fact that they are genuinely redeeming of their fellows, loving them, as the Messiah did, paying for them, as the Messiah did.
But this is ahead of the story.. The instant salvation scenario moves too fast through the narrow straits because it has no faith in what is really happening there.. The Messiah is easy to admire at a distance, but hard to trust, to rely on for life and death, because the straits he plunges into are where we are blocked and lost, in despair of the human venture, and convinced it is already over. The instant salvation phantasy is seemingly attractive because it ascends; its tawdry escape takes us higher up than the narrow straits deeper down. The Messiah descends.
The Messiah goes down to the sticking point, the terrible place that is the deal-breaker with God, and he does there what we cannot, but he does it for us, so we can do it.
This is why he wins us. This is why we love him. We know how much he loves us from how much he will do for us, to what lengths, at cost to himself, he will go for us.
We know what love really is, because we know the bitter taste of having failed it.
You have been told the doctrines too often, and the language in which they are couched is corrupted.
The Messiah can reach you where no one and nothing else can go, but the words used to describe this, in their Satanic flavouring, and salvational misunderstanding, do not touch you. Shouldn’t we try to express the key points more in a poetry that might open ‘closed’ eyes, vivify ‘dull’ ears, and will be ‘understood’ in the heart?
There are four things in play here, if you need to differentiate the seamless poem..
The dynamic, on the Messiah’s side, is two-fold= [i] there is a Showing by the Hero; and [ii] there is a Planting in us by the Spirit of what he shows.
The dynamic, on the human side, is two-fold= [iii] there is a Winning of us over to the Hero’s deed, such that we follow it in our action; and [iv] by virtue of assenting to and following the deed, a Process of death and rebirth, our being born again, is kick started and gets going at our core and in our basis.
But the order in which these factors unfold is that they trigger each other in a kind of dance. We need more poetry to amplify the dynamic inter-weaving of the four factors.
 FIRST FACTOR in the Poem of Redemption– The Messiah’s Action
The Messiah is an Example of the new heart he wants to pass on to us. He lives it out, he enacts it in the world. In him, it is on show, all the time. We are witnesses of how it works, how it proceeds.
 SECOND FACTOR in the Poem of Redemption– Won Over To The Messiah’s Action
We turn over a new leaf in the heart. We cannot change the old heart dominating in us, but by following the new heart exemplified in the Hero, we signal a willingness to change, an assent to the process of change wherever it will take us outwardly and whatever it will take us through inwardly.
‘Repenting’ means not just turning away from sin, but more importantly, turning toward the Messianic Mystery as the new goal for the heart to aim at.
We are won over to following the Messiah only by love. His love for us evokes our love for him. Anything you love ends up going inside you. This Leading Exemplification of real heart goes right into us, and goes deep.
We only learn from those we love. We love those who can love. Who should we trust and rely on? Someone whose heart is true, strong, loyal, just, merciful; someone who can love. The Messiah is love. The Messiah enacts love. This surprises, shocks, throws us. We warm to it, yet we must test it. How constant will it be? Will it remain with me not just at my best, but also in my worst? Will it abide with me, even when I have abandoned myself? When I am in hell, will it come there, to drag me out, kicking and screaming?
 THIRD FACTOR in the Poem of Redemption– Planting the Seed and Spark In Us
The Messiah is like the sower, and the fate of the new heart he gives us is the seed that is sown in ground either receptive to, or hardened against, it. In the parable, Yeshua points to three different ways in which the seed fails to take= [a] It falls by the wayside, has no root, and withers in the sun. This means the Messiah’s gift does not get into the soil of our earthiness, it does not affect the place where we weep and hope; we see it indifferently, or hear about it dryly. It does not affect the heart because we keep our heart back. [b] The birds get it, and snatch it away. This refers to evil spirits, and their machinations, in trying to debunk the Messiah, or in various ways, intimidate and break any inclination in us to follow the Messiah. [c] Thistles choke it. This refers to worldly cares, busy busy obsessions that distract us from what really matters. [d] The ‘good soil’ is not a matter of being Law abiding, like Moses tried and failed, rather it means we witness the Messiah’s deeds and story from the heart, and realise that this Heroism is addressed to our broken heart, is precisely geared to the human tragedy, and therefore we offer the old heart, greater and lesser, to the Messiah’s new heart. At first, he will be an ideal to us, far off. Gradually, as his seed and spark work in us through the Spirit’s planting and harvesting activity ‘below the neck’, so we will draw closer to the new heart. It will cease being ideal, and will become real.
 FOURTH FACTOR in the Poem of Redemption– Dying and Being Reborn Through the Spirit
By turning over a new leaf in the heart, aiming differently, we co-operate with a process driven by the Spirit in which two things happen at once, one more visible, the other more invisible. On the one hand, we do what we can, come as far as we can, to follow the lead of the Hero, and thereby learn more about his new heart by the living and enacting of it personally; on the other hand, surprising factors of the new heart will come to birth in us from within and deeper down, such that we begin to be like our master. We become — little by little, and sometimes with dramatic sudden shifts — the Messianic Hero on Fire with the Messianic Spirit. As he was the Hero for us, so we become the Hero for others, empowered and acting by the Chivalrous Spirit at work in his works, his doing, his deed.
A strange paradox takes over at just this point, in this process.
The more we accept our own tragedy and realise we need the Messianic Hero to win the victory that can change it, so the more we accept the tragedy in other people and are moved to do whatever we can, small or large, so that the victory passed on to us is passed on to them in their need.
The dance of these 4 steps is the real process of being ‘born again.’ This is how we move from the First Covenant into the Second Covenant.
The account of the Messianic Mystery is incomplete unless we honour the meaning and dynamic of the ‘victory’ the Messiah ‘wins’, and wins ‘universally’ for all of humanity. For it is really this mysterious victory in the narrow straights where we never go, except when we unavoidably fall into in our deepest hells, that wins us over to the Messiah, and sets in motion our change of heart.
The Messiah is challenged to win the new heart for humanity in the very cauldron faced by the old heart. Only by this victorious deed can he win us to his example, persuade us to his cause. Why?
By suffering our defeat to reach us in it, yet overcoming it from within its core and at its basis, he makes defeat the catalyst for, the door to, victory.
He ‘passes through’ the hell we cannot get free of, but are imprisoned in, and drags us along with him.
That the Messiah does this not for his glorification, but for ours, is what tells. He is humbled in, and emptied of, divinity, in order to give something of divinity ultimately transfiguring to us, in the very abyss of hell where we need it most. He decreases, that we can increase.
This is why criminals, mad persons, the broken, will enter the new kingdom of the Messiah before the Law abiding. The sinners know they need drastic change of heart, because they cannot contain, inhibit, skate over, the problem, as if the Law provided sufficient discipline to keep it under wraps. The sinners have failed in all self-control, and they have become the problem. They know they are beggars before God. They know they need a new heart, a new beginning.
Those who cannot strive, or whose strivings have come to naught= these realise they need a new kind of help, and will accept it when it comes.
The victory the Messiah wins for our sake in hellish deeps ‘wins’ us to his New Action and New Spirit, his New Way. Why?
Because it does not take the problem away from us, but gives us the new example and new power of a way through it that we can work with and prove ourselves, given the help it offers us. To be helped back to our feet, and left to walk, is help that shows faith in us, blesses us, accepts us at our lowest ebb and believes in our coming through to the other side.
This help neither abandons us nor patronizes us. It goes with us, it suffers and pays for what is too much for us, yet it grafts us to that suffering and paying so that, once grafted on, we can suffer and pay what before was beyond us.
The key point in all this is love.
Love has to ‘win’ the heart. The human heart cannot be compelled to love. Winning our reduced capacity to love to a fuller capacity to love has to be done through a Deed, and in a Spirit, of Love. The fuller love cannot force the reduced love. That would be unloving. Love cannot depart from loving in how it tackles the absence of love.
This is why telling people they must accept the Messiah, or they will end up in hell, is another plank in the Satanic Lie. No one responds to that, except those who are fearful. ‘Perfect love casts out fear’, St John realised from his own experience of the Messiah.
God leaves us free, and therefore nominally every human being is at liberty to say a final No, rather than any final Yes, to the Messianic Mystery. But this overlooks how loving the Messianic Agency is, and ignores the deeper conversation of ‘deep cries to deep’ between the human heart and God. ‘With God all things are possible.’ To try to turn the yes and no in the human heart towards the Messianic Turning Point into a rational and moral formula, you’re ‘in’ if you say yes, you’re ‘out’ if you say no, misunderstands the whole winning of humanity by the Messiah, in and through the heart. Are you saved or damned by virtue of your yes or no to the Messiah? The question operates on a false premise, and is irrelevant. Salvation is exclusionary, redemption is all inclusive. The Messiah is the Redeemer.
We cannot be persuaded by threats that tell us to get on board, or else. That conditionality is false to the new heart which excludes no one, and includes everyone, and will ‘in the end’ find the way to bring all into love, however much they once stood outside it.
Yet ‘all inclusive’ cannot itself ignore human freedom, by becoming an automatic formula. You do not force the heart into the shape you want it to assume, nor do you tolerate the heart as a lax indifference to its fate. Winning the heart is a third way beyond cramping it out of fear of what it might get up to, or not caring whatever it gets up to. Patriarchy is not love, Matriarchy is not love. Winning the heart is neither conservatism nor liberalism.
Winning the heart is the action of love. Only this action can reach, persuade, and change the heart.
If the Messiah wins us by love, we cannot win others by violent compulsion or by bland non interference that is dis-engaged.
If our heart is not changed by the Messianic Mystery, we are better advised not to try to influence anyone else by mere words talking about it. If we do not know it by the way it won us over in heart, and changed the heart, then we literally have not a clue what we are saying to people about Yeshua as the Messiah. Spinning words round what we have not gone through merely adds our own confusion to the confusion of other people.
For the many people only luke warm in living and acting from the heart, deceived by normality and trapped in convention, asleep and sleep walking, it is probably death that mercifully bestows the second chance.
At our death, all pretenses are swept away, and our heart nakedly will confront the Messiah’s heart. In this direct communication, will the Messiah’s golden heart still fail to get through to the person’s shrunken heart? Or will they see, hear, and understand, for the first time?
The new heart is given to an old situation where the old heart came unstuck. The new heart proves itself in the old situation, by what it can give, lose, sacrifice, and yet come through. This is what persuades us it can work in us. The Redeemer must go through a horrendous test, a terrible trial, to win redemption for all of humanity.
This, however, is just where he goes and just what he does. He goes to the place of dereliction where the old heart cannot be fixed, and it is just here that the new heart is fought for, and won.
We go where the Messiah went and do what the Messiah did, joined to him, wound to wound. As he suffered for us, so we suffer for others. This is being redeemed and redeeming.
The Messianic Mystery ends all previous conditionality by which God responds to us. It is unconditional love.
For only unconditional love is ‘faithful’ to the end, accepting everything, bearing everything, paying for everything, by suffering for its sake.
It is suffering for what is loved that ends conditionality.
Such is the Messiah’s Reversal. Such is Yeshua’s Sacrifice on the Cross.
This is why it is revealed to John in the Apocalypse – which ends the Old and New Scriptures, and draws heavily on Ezekiel and Daniel’s apocalyptic visions of the ‘last times’ — that Yeshua the Messiah has ‘opened a door into heaven that cannot be closed.’
What the Redeemer accomplishes will be ‘passed on’, since it is for all of humanity [Revelation, 5, 1-10]. It renders humanity one tribe, one body, one complex unity-in-diversity, in a New Age and New Kingdom of Universal Love, with no insiders or outsiders, no Greek or Jew, no Male or Female. The ‘politics of identity’ — my group against your group — fades away; no privileged versus dispossessed, no valid versus invalid. Diversity — at all levels from the personal, through the social, to the cultural — will be free to proliferate as never before, yet will not be a grounds for conflict, rivalry, dehumanizing the other..
Universal Forgiveness will be the driving force of this new reality of radical comradeship among all peoples. God will not remember our sins. We will not remember each other’s sins.
If I am hurt by someone’s failure to love, I can bear the suffering redemptively, forgiving them, and refusing to make their inability to love a reason for ejecting them from the circle of love. By how we bear suffering for others, so we keep a door into the circle permanently, and unconditionally, open to them.
This is why the Redeemer is ‘the first fruit of many.’ He opens a door previously shut, and as a result, many will pass through. In the end, all will pass through because it remains open.
He opens the door, but he calls and blesses other persons to carry on this redemptive work with him, so that at the finishing of it, the work will have been not the Messiah’s alone, but the Messiah in alliance with the rest of humanity. He is the king, but we are made kingly by taking on his Way, Truth, and Life. He and you, he and me, he and us, we all do it together. Humans are redeemed, but they redeem fellow humans. The love is passed around. Everybody can have an entry into it.
The Messiah is the centre, but what he passes on has a ripple effect, first passing to a few who want it, then passing from them to a few more who can receive it, and thereafter to more and more people.
‘Passing it on’ happens in the mysterious and potent sphere ‘between’ people, or what Martin Buber termed the ‘inter-human.’ It happens through the dynamics of inter-personal relationship. If a person has Authenticated something given to them, and it glows out of their person, their being, their action, giving them Authoritativeness, that will provoke interest in others who encounter them. If we see someone has genuinely been helped to move in a direction we respect, then we are curious to investigate whether it could help us shift.
If, however, a person has an inauthentic relation to what supposedly helped them, this too will radiate from them. When it is fear, hate, arrogance, tyranny, that is emanating from their person, this gives the game away. We can see for ourselves that what they claim was a help simply dehumanised them, making them less, not more, human.. Nor does it make any difference if someone is an official of some religion, or has a ‘high role’ in its hierarchy of power, for if nothing real has changed them, then assuming a kosher identity externally will not hide the internal lack. The role becomes geared not to serving people, but to granting status, prestige, privilege, the floating of an enviable identity, so that ordinary people will look up to and defer to it.. Nor are people persuaded by argument, especially when it is driven and usually slanted by an egoic agenda of ‘I am right and you are wrong’, which results in a refusal to listen to the other who is different from the self. Arguing degenerates into gutter dogs barking at each other, to claim pissing rights over turf. This is monologue pretending to be dialogue. Nor does the holding of good ‘principles’ really change the person espousing them, nor anyone else, since aspiration toward the ideal often masks an unwillingness to fully confront what is real, and enter the wrestlings involved in change at this level. Idealists tend to float ten feet above the ground, rendering ‘love, truth, beauty, goodness’ an unobtainable star in the sky, allowing cynics to seize the ground and run it for their unprincipled ends. The ‘moral high ground’ is ineffective, precisely because it is too high up..
Finally, claims of authority on any basis, Scripture, Church, Tradition, cut no ice. No healing medicine touches anyone except through the Mystery of the Spirit, by whom, and in whom, it comes to life. If it is alive in anyone, they never resort to its authority to oppress or impress other people. Authority means nothing. Authenticating something in the living of it, and attaining Authoritativeness only from walking that difficult road, matters supremely.
If someone has moved from unloving, or half loving, to be wholly loving, or moving towards it, then ‘what they are on’ can raise a real question in those on the receiving end of it. This is mission= loving as we were loved, and especially, loving the loveless– suffering, carrying, paying for, the loveless. How we react to ‘the least of these’ is the key criterion of whether the Messianic Mystery has spoken to us, gone into us, is coming to birth in us. Preaching at people is not mission. Thrusting Bible, Liturgical Cup, Traditional Lore, at people is not mission. Religious Imperialism is not mission; trying to tyrannize people in other religious pathways to give up their tradition and join yours, because theirs is wrong and yours is right, is doing the devil’s work.
You — if changed for real — are the mission, in your person, being, action. By your way of life, by your relating to people and the world, you can convey the Heroism, and Power of Spirit, that made a difference to you.
To die for people, as an ultimate sacrifice of love, means accepting their rejection of the sacrifice in its truest and deepest meaning. There would be no real Cross, no real sacrifice, if this dying proclaimed to those for whom it was made, ‘if you do not accept this sacrifice for you, then you are damned.’ Such a threat is Satanic; it was never said by the Jewish Messiah during the entire ordeal described in the Four Slave Songs of Isaiah, nor was it said by Yeshua dying on the Cross. The reality is, Yeshua said to God about his killers, who are all of us, ‘forgive them, they know not what they do.’
The test of the authenticity of our sacrifice for love, be it little or ultimate, is that those to whom it is given, those for whom it is done, do not have to accept it, understand it for what it is. They can, on the contrary, belittle it, reject it, misunderstand it entirely. Love has to make a sacrifice because those on the receiving end of it cannot love, and in their state of ignorance and tragedy concerning love, it is inevitable that they will mock and disparage, sneer at, the heroism of love’s deed, as well as denying it is of any relevance to them.
Look at St Paul in this regard. As a zealot and Pharisee, a Mosaic not Davidic Jew, he engaged in exactly this sneering, and denial, even holding the coats for those fundamentalist Satanic religious people who stoned the first martyr for the Messiah. St Paul was an accessory to murder, in the name of religious correctness, veracity, kosherness, authority– and all the rest of the Satanic trash that disfigures religion. People insist on ‘validity versus non-validity’, turning religion merely into a club with those inside and those outside. Sometimes the club keeps to itself, but all too often it goes on a crusade, killing everyone who disagrees with it. You would think members of the club have got ‘god’ in their back pocket. They are ‘justified’, and so can do anything they want to non members of the club, including murder, theft, disrespect, hypocrisy. If you are justified by ‘god’, you can get up to anything you like, and still feel arrogantly superior to those you are wronging.. Look at what the whites did to the Indians in America, in the name of Christ. Look at the real nastiness that fundamentalists in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, or any other religion, spew out onto all those who dare to disagree with them. They are devils who think any amount of evil doing to other people is fine and dandy, because it is done under the cover that God made them angels. Well, God did not do that.. They are presuming with God, presuming to know things about this life and the world that no one knows.. What we don’t know far exceeds anything ‘revealed’ to us.
By its fruit you will know the tree, Yeshua asserted. This is the only ‘bona fides’ that counts. By the rotten fruits of any supposedly religious club, we know the tree is rotten, whatever spurious religious validations, and excuses, are made for it..
Paul had a change of heart when he met Yeshua on the road to Damascus; he left the Mosaic Law and entered the Davidic ‘troubled heart’, and from the latter he could be shown by the Spirit that the Messiah had come in Yeshua. Before this life changing ‘heart attack’, Paul would have failed to understand, even remotely, what the human heart is, what the Messiah who assumes its problem is, much less realising that Yeshua was this long awaited and hoped for Redeemer. If someone as religiously hard hearted as Paul once was can change, then cannot every religious fanatic change? Paul certainly did [though those who abuse his letters want to read back into his words the same narrowness he shed].
But many people cannot change.. That is all right. The door remains open, and does not close, depending on whether people come through it or not. Faith trusts we will all get through it together ‘in the end.’ In the meantime, the lovers ‘bear’ the non-loving..
You make your Deed, in the power of Spirit, and let it fall as it may. This is Warrior Way. You do not give way to the lesser heart; but you do not insist that the greater heart be praised and recognised by people, nor even ‘approved as valid’ by God. The blessing of God is in the action because it is ‘called’, and the blessing is in the Spirit who empowers, inspires, lives in, such action.
The Messiah as Action calls to us, and when we reply with our action, so the Spirit steps in to complete what we are lacking.
We are not alone in this passing on. Others help us, as we help them. This too is a declaration that the Messianic Gift is not for the individual, nor for a small group of individuals; it is for everyone. If it could only include a few, and lost the rest, it would have failed to take hold. Its failure would be a final tragedy, more terrible than the tragedy it seeks to undo and overturn.
This does not mean that redemption neglects the unique person, skimming over their particularity in order to gather in the collective. Rather, it means that personal redemption is not the ultimate aim; the ultimate aim is the redemption of all persons, past, present, future, and therefore the personal redemption matters less in terms of how far it gets and matters more in terms of dynamising the universal redemption. Did I block it? Did I move it along? A sign of being redeemed is to stop thinking of yourself, your future, and begin caring about the future of all humanity. If you ended up fine, and the rest of humanity were lost, would you be fine with that? If so, you may be saying ‘Lord, Lord’ to the Messiah, but what he is saying to you is, ‘I do not know you.’
My redemption is bound up with the redemption of others; we help and hinder one another in a patch-work quilt being woven, over time, which God alone can see.. If I did one small redemptive deed with my life that frees another person to a do a bigger deed, or several such deeds, in their life, and this person in turn freed several others in their lives to do more crucial redemptive actions, then redemption would be ‘on track.’
Many people cooperate with it in no religion, not knowing they do. Many people cooperate with it in other religions, not knowing it is there; Dogen is more redemptive than Buddha. Some people who explicitly say they cooperate with it in reality are betraying it, as Yahweh told the Pre Exilic Jews in regard to the Old Covenant. Some people explicitly following it are ‘in process’ with it, an unfinished ‘work in progress’, trying to be true to it, having accepted its invitation, but still turning over the new leaf and still being reborn.. These true followers of the Messianic Mystery know full well they are still learning, still growing, still discovering the meaning and power of the reality, life-long.. You will know them by their humility. Nor do they hector other people with doctrines, trying to convert them. Argumentative debates, threats, nonsensically inflated claims of instant, magical, supernatural, bloodless, transformation, convince no one with a heart that is sincere. Such things are like the snake oil sold by the hucksters; the buyers should know better if they had a lick of sense, but already being deceived, they seek more deception. They are like the people who believe the obviously fake promises in letters telling them they will be granted huge amounts of money if they send back the coupon, and of course be sure to spend your money on the company’s product to guarantee you will get the ‘free’ prize!
The callous, and hard hearted, need religious pap, because they cannot trust the heart to understand what is harder, truer, deeper..
God never ‘punishes’ love for being doctrinally wrong, and ‘rewards’ any kind of religious correctness that risks little or no love.. I may have the ‘wrong’ religion, or ‘no religion’, yet if I love, God is faithful and is with me in my genuine endeavour. If you follow a religion but, by virtue of that, close down on love, it is better you had never known of that religion.. For some people, religion is the road to hell paved with good intentions. For such Satanic religion, the over-turning of its certainty, guarantee, over simplification, childish demand for rescue, coldness, bullying, is the only redemption available to it.
What would redemption be to Oliver Cromwell? Or to Augustine of Hippo? Or Anselm? Or Calvin? For the callous hearted who are religious, only the breaking of the heart will make a change.
This is why St Paul enumerates all manner of advanced spiritual states and charismatic talents, and says, ‘if I have all of them and have no love, I am nothing.’ That rejects both Satanic judgementalism that shrivels us, and Luciferian flattery that inflates us.
It is clear that Yeshua went on loving those who crucified and mocked him without retaliation; indeed, he did not resist humanity’s freedom to entirely reject his deed of love and punish him for it.
It follows that people are free to approach the Messianic Mystery, or be repulsed by it, or simply ignore it..
The few who do go with the New Way do so for all the rest who do not go with it, and that is why the witness of these few is crucial. If they cannot be redeemed, and thus cannot redeem, their testimony to the Event that supposedly changes everything and everyone is null and void. A specially heavy responsibility rests on the shoulders of those who follow the New Way. If it does not live in them, and does not pour out of them to all and sundry, both generously [Eros], and sacrificially [Daemonic], then their ‘witnessing’ to the Event that they claim is profound enough and dynamic enough to ‘change the world’ will have been in vain. If we are only loving conditionally, like the rest of humanity, demanding an equivalent return on our generosity, and demanding thanks or assent in our sacrifice, then we betray the Unconditional Love revealed in the Messiah.
Humans always distort even inspired things, and that is why everything is two sided, with a fuller or truncated version of itself. Over time what started well often deteriorates, and must be renewed. Human failure among the followers of the Messianic Mystery is to be expected, and works as valid testimony as well, since brokenness brings us closer to the Messiah and the Messianic Spirit than worldly success, or even spiritual attainment. We can befriend people in hell, from our hell. Much that will be redemptive, over time, can come from those who cannot do much of anything for other people or the world, but can ‘confess’ the hell that unites all of us. This can serve to kill off all religious clubs. We come together humbly, because we are all in deep need. This is why in the early gatherings of the followers of Yeshua, there was communal and public confession of failings.
We should never attend these gatherings in our ‘Sunday best’ clothes. If we cannot literally come naked, then we should come in the rags that confess to each other we are all bums, all derelicts, all the mad, all the criminal, all the outcast, all the broken. This is witness to each other, and those in the world, that the human tragedy needs redeeming, and nothing else can go far enough to work.. There is no ‘fix’ for us, worldly or spiritual.
Gathering round the Messiah is not only a group of ‘repenting sinners’, but more important, a group of ‘tragic failures.’ We have all sinned, but more vital, we have all failed to rise to the calling of love we were created, and indeed ‘designed’, to carry forward and realise in the bitter arena of the world. Some people disguise this better than others. Some people handle this better than others, making less fuss and inflicting it less on others, though to do this, they swallow it and inflict it on themself. A few people, markedly standing out from the many, drag themselves more upright, and act heroically, becoming that very rare breed among us, the lovers, the people of heart, yet even the most heroic fall before the end. It is not just that they have feet of clay, and are tarnished ‘like everybody else’; nor is it even that those who love more have bigger flaws. All that may be the case. None the less, the flaw in love farther within and deeper down finally creates the ‘tragic hero’ whose fall evokes pathos and pity in all who behold it.
There is a flaw in love which, in our brokenness, we witness to, honestly, openly, inclusively.
Yet, there is a problem in witness to the Messiah if this becomes truly betrayed, distorted in its very structure, from the ground up. The issue is this= if we never love redemptively, we cannot witness to a love that redeems us. Yes, in our abjectness of doing nothing, in our suffering, we can authentically witness– but how many followers of Yeshua are doing even that much? Like everyone else, they prefer to ‘put their best foot forward.’
However, if we manifest Satan in the name of Christ; or if we manifest human follies, vanities, power lusts, avarice, and all the other sins, in the name of Christ; if we resort to action, but in this positive action never manifest the Messianic, then that becomes serious. For that undermines any and all basis for witnessing to the Messianic Mystery. Certainly, we can all point to heroes of faith we love and admire because they genuinely ‘stepped up.’ Thank God for them, even if few in number. They witness that it is possible to follow the Messianic Mystery authentically, and be changed by it.
We cannot pretend to people we are not sinners, exactly like them; we cannot pretend to people we are not tragic, exactly like them. These ‘faults’ must be on show, so that anything redeeming our worst case scenario, anything true enough, deep enough, spiritually powerful enough, to engage our nadir, is also seen. But, what if all that people see in the followers of the Messiah is the same old same old? What then?
The issue is not what this dire witness says about fallible human beings. The issue is what this witness says about the Messianic Mystery supposedly able to change fallible human beings.
Hence how followers of the Messianic Mystery relate to each other is a serious problem, for if their community is as divided and status driven as every other human grouping, then ‘nothing has happened’ to change them. They testify there is no Messiah, and Messianic Spirit, in their midst.
Sure, as crazed and murderous soldiers like those in so many other armies, the Crusaders can go to the Holy Land, raping and pillaging and slaughtering, not just Muslims in Jerusalem, but also Greek Christians in Constantinople. Why not? Neither the ‘heathen’ Muslims, nor the ‘alien’ Eastern Christians, belong to the Western Christian religious club. So, the Crusaders just do what people who think they are ‘blessed to do evil’ always do, no different from anyone else. But they do all this ‘normal evil’ in the name of Christ. Now this is different. It is not just a question that the Crusading soldiers are sinners like everyone, or tragic fallen heroes like everyone, because they claim to have been affected by the Messiah and the Messianic Spirit.. Their action bears eloquent testimony that they have not even been touched, much less affected, by the Messiah. What do these ‘knights of God’ really serve? They serve Satan and their own callous heart. To ‘claim’ they serve the Messianic in the action they perform is a vast betrayal, a real distortion, of all it means.
If you want to go on doing the old action, as always, do not make the new claim. Only make the new claim if your action can prove it.
Yes, religions have always had their fair share of people betraying the whole spirit. But what happens when this betrayal happens repeatedly, in the leaders as well as in those on the ground? Worse, what happens when this betrayal gets built in as a ‘design fault’ in the very manner by which the supposed witness is conducted?
How much conditional love, and human inability to love, masquerading as love can the religion of Love afford, before all witness to it disappears?
This is the point we have reached at the present moment. Every tradition of witness to the Messianic Event has, over time, claimed to be acting from the Messianic capacity to change the human condition, but none of these traditions have manifested that change to the world, and thus all of the traditions have not much dented what is ‘worldly’ about the world. The Satanic, the humanly sinful, the impotent and indifferent, has too often been the only witness manifested to anyone who cares to look at it, and now a days people have, understandably, stopped even bothering to look. A Native elder once said to me, “I never saw any heart in Christianity.” Is this because this Oglala wise person was blind, or because in fact the Christianity witnessed to him by the Americans acting in Christ’s name was indeed always heartless? How many American Christians died to defend the Native Indians being raped and pillaged? How many Natives died because of Christians raping and pillaging? Do the maths.
Better to say to people, ‘I am an ordinary schmuck, and what I do to you I do out of my schmuckness’, rather than saying, ‘I follow Christ, and he sanctions me to steal your land, and murder your men and women, your old people and children, because you do not follow his Way.’
The Messianic Way needs witnesses to its strange power to change the old heart into a new heart, a new heart even different to the greater of the old heart, much less different to the lesser of the old heart. If all the witnesses are liars, if they manifest nothing but the old heart, mostly at its worst rather than its best, then what they are really declaring through their witness is that the Messiah has not yet come! If the Messianic Event had really occurred, people would be different.. Some people, at least, would be different.
Can you blame the Jews who believe the Messiah is yet to come? Their expectations of the immediate and far reaching improvement the Messiah would bring are doubtless exaggerated, and confuse the conversion point that begins redemption with the end point that completes redemption. There is a gap between start and finish, even in one life, and one life is not enough time to reach the climax of redemption’s road, except as foreshadowing. All of time is needed for it to work.. As creation was a risk taken by God, so this reclaiming of the human tragedy is also a risk. It is all there is, the last throw of the dice. There is no other way out, above, or around, the human tragedy. This is the way through, and there is no other way on offer..
Given this, then the question becomes, has anything started to change fundamentally for all humanity since Yeshua came as the Messiah? If it is too harsh to say nothing has changed, perhaps it is fair to ask how much has changed? Some advance on the redemption road has happened. It is patchy, and episodic, and there is plenty of reason to fear the Messianic Watershed in History has not happened, or if it did happen, it already has stalled..
If we grow faint hearted, and luke warm, it will fail. The traditions of Christianity would seem to fear people of grief and fire, the kings, the warriors, the prophets, the existential sages, the holy fools, the sacred clowns, the broken down, because they are disturbers of the peace, the restless who cannot be pacified by the worldly or sacred feast because they know the hour is late and the task calling them to arms is not settled. The renewal of Christianity will be down to such Daemonic people. The ante will go up, just to stay in the game, and the people of heart passion who are lovers of the Messiah, and filled with the Messianic Spirit, will have to step up. The Heroic always act for everyone, and encourage everyone to the same.
It is necessary to show to people the extreme Holiness of the Fire of Love, putting no conditions on the give-away, even if this cannot happen very frequently; yet, it is equally important, more frequently, to manifest the truthful and acute wrestlings to reach the New Heroism of Messianic Love. Thus, the person converted to the Messianic does not really know the extent and meaning of what they have embraced. It has not had time yet to work on them, nor they to work with it. The real ‘converting’ of what we were into what we will become is long drawn out in time and intense in struggle, with reverses, defeats, retreats, as well as break-throughs, epiphanies, new acceptance and deeper understanding, more complete committment. Like the Jews we go into periods of back sliding, and falling down, yet as with the Jews we also get up, even on shaky feet, and return to the fray. We come again.. We keep at it, and this makes us humble, rather than proud about what we can achieve on our own — or proud about what God will magically bestow upon us; not finding the road easy, but failing on it and keeping going, will make us modest rather than arrogant, over bearing, and vain. We will be grateful for friends and allies, whose help and fellowship we need to keep trucking; we will accept comrades wherever we find them, not necessarily among our families and fraternities, our political, economic, and religious ‘affiliation’ groups, but among those who are different, alien, other..
The Messiah eventually makes allies out of all humans, and therefore the Messianic Spirit is not confined by our human boundaries, which protect our individual, social, cultural, identity. The Spirit brings together and mixes together very different peoples and very different traditions in the common cause of redeeming the world. What does it matter if different people and different traditions call this differently, or do this differently? Or have no concept of doing it, yet are doing it all the same? The Spirit moves all these different threads of life to move in a more mysterious, less defined, way, so as to weave together the patch-work quilt of universal redemption.
Many different flames of love, many different creative engines of love, unite round the Heroic Messianic Lover, implicitly or explicitly, and the Messianic Spirit weaves many things together providentially. Because redemption includes everyone and everything, everyone and everything has a stake in its outcome and contributes to that.
Time is essential, and cannot be rushed to some premature apocalyptic ending, because humanity is invited to do the active work of redemption, and not just occupy the receptive role of the redeemed. The unredeemed push those being redeemed into deep waters, and harsh fires, confronting them starkly with whether they love Christ enough to ‘spend’ their love for those stuck in the hells of lovelessness, as he did.
The real nature of the Messianic Road is depicted by Yeshua in the 8 Beatitudes. These sayings are entirely Daemonic. The meaning in each is immense. They are the only sign posts we have, in a real sense.
Blessed are the poor in spirit.. Blessed are those who mourn.. Blessed are those who are meek.. Blessed are those that hunger and thirst after righteousness.. Blessed are the merciful.. Blessed are the pure in heart.. Blessed are the peacemakers.. Blessed are they who are persecuted and slandered for the sake of the Messiah..
These are redemptive, each one and all taken together. Spending a life time working on just one of these mysteries of the New Way would be enough.
Through these 8 spiritual realities, the promises of the Second Covenant, already seeded and sparked, will start bearing fruit and igniting fire.
The mysteries of the future, the end, will begin to emerge in the present. It may only be in flashes, yet that builds momentum. Pressure builds from the four corners, until there is a critical mass; then, suddenly, the tipping point is reached. As my friend John Gibbens puts it, for everyone there is a ‘turning in the road.’
The fruit of the new way= a new heart in which God dwells, in every person.
The flame of the new way= a new passion through which God acts, towards and for the world.
To know God directly, without any external intermediary; and to act for God from the heart, without any external prompting.
Is this happening now?
Will it happen more in the future?
There are plenty of reasons to be uncheerful. Things are desperate.
Evil is on the increase.. Yet, precisely because of that, a more creative and profound love steps up to counter it. What we cannot dredge up is Daemonically forced out of us, by the reality we cannot escape. Evil destroys us, for real; precisely because of that, evil profits us, because there can be no more empty posturing, no more identity building and identity polishing. The unknown heart in us, the unfathomable passion, has to step up.
And it will.
It already is stepping up, and it will do more in the future, as the options run out, and the alternatives get more severe.
Time is against us. Time is running out. For that very reason, time is on our side, because both our brokenness and heroism are all that is left in the situation as it gets harsher, and more dangerous.
As all the doors closed in the room of no exit for Yeshua, so as this happens to us we will discover something strange. The human heart, and the Messianic Mystery that redeems it, are at their most dangerous, unpredictable, and potent, when time has run out and it is all over bar the shouting.
For the Messiah and for us, it only really begins at the last gasp.
Everything is truly lost.
Everything is truly in hand.
No doctrine, nothing religious. Only the risk. My heart, your heart, our heart, risking his heart.
The dragon awakening is the heart of God.
Yeshua said he had to go for the Spirit to come. This did not mean there was no Spirit in the world before him; Shamanic peoples, and the Jewish people, knew the Ruach from experience. What it means is that the Exemplar is too powerful whilst present to us; the Exemplar must withdraw in order that his seed and spark can be developed in us, in our own way, according to our own response to it, by the working of the Spirit. We lose the Messiah, as actual figure, and are left with the Spirit recreating all he means in each and among all. This is not an imitation of Christ, it is a genuine becoming Christlike in as many different ways as there are different persons with different callings and different gifts.
The Spirit is the wild card in the deck.
Redemption is the Way of Spirit. It is a hard road; and a road not marked out but inherently mysterious.
The Wilderness Road is where we have only the Spirit to guide us. The Spirit takes us into danger because at our most exposed we become more open, and permeable, to the impetus of Spirit.
On the Wilderness Road we will lose our way.. Foe will become friend, and friend will become foe. This is a Road of Reversal. Things are often the converse of what they seem= up is down, down is up; in is out, out is in. Bad is good because it pushes you beyond the envelope, and good is bad because it keeps you secure within the frame. Reversal is the ultimate of ‘holy insecurity.’ When we know nothing, we are advancing; when we think we know something, we are stuck.
The holy people are not plaster cast saints. They just kept going.. Neither worldliness, the devil, their own weakness, could stop them from just dragging themselves along, to stay in the hunt. In spite of the limitations of their life, they saw it through to the end. They did not bail out prematurely, turning back.
A Greek Orthodox priest once pointed out that the place we are headed is truly new, and thus even past illuminations, visions, revelations, cannot prepare us for what we will become, and what the world will mean to us, as we go toward the Messianic Mystery. Previous signs and wonders may have hinted, but they are not sufficient to ready us, to prepare us, for what is changing. We need to go with that change into the Unknown.
The constant is only the Messianic Deed far out in front of us, at the unseeable and inconceivable end of the line, and the Messianic Spirit leading us as we walk toward it, changing us as we go, step by step.
The Redemption Road, for the whole of our life, is in this ‘in between’ where it is, as a friend once said, ‘half won, half lost, half only just beginning.’ This is full of existential tension. One day it seems to be going well, the next day it gets stuck in hell; on a third day there could be a turnaround, or hell could seem unending. You do not know. You have no guarantee, apart from the Messiah going through the narrow straits ahead of you. But, even if he has, and if you love him and will follow his steps, will this render certain you will pass through those same straits when they put the bite on you? You are free to love– but that means you are free to walk away all along this road. You could give up on it even at the eleventh hour, even if you had come far. Such freedom is terrifying. It makes us dizzy, as Kierkegaard said. We could grow faint in heart, and keel over..
The Biblical injunction to ‘fear not’, urges us to risk it all for the Messianic rebirth promised to each and to all, not just those living now but those who will live in the future, and even those stretching back into the past. This rebirth is not accomplished yet, not in any individual life, not in the lives of the many generations of humans. Thus we must not fear but keep faith with the rebirth, despite the hiatus between its start and end. We have the taste of the new heart, but it is not in us fully yet, nor in many others. We must trust it will be, to go so far out on an edge, with the Messianic Calling.
Those whose fear demands the religious path be thought of as neat and tidy, clearly demarcated, protected in certainty, guaranteed like signing on the dotted line of a legal document, are not walking this road.
Faith, in this gap between beginning and end, is trust ‘we can all get there, finally.’ It is trust in the Redeemer, trust in the Redemptive Spirit, yet more than that, it also has to trust the long drawn out redemptive process at work in humanity; it has to trust that it can work in each, and work in all, over the long run. As the redemptive process grows stronger in the person, so their faith in its working in other people grows stronger. None the less, this is a lot to trust. To have faith in the Messianic Mystery means putting our trust in a divinely promised and humanly hoped for Possible Outcome for everything and everyone; yet since there can be no certainty and no guarantee that this ending will triumph, faith means staking our life on it now, right in the middle of the journey and battle, which could go either way. By putting faith in it, we add our strength to its cause, we put our back to the wheel and push. Still, faith is a step into a numinous dark, faith trusts and risks the Unknown.
It takes a peculiar faith to keep faith with this long and arduous journey and battle of humanity. Faith is what we live for, and what we will die for. Will we live and die for this?
Moreover, according to St Paul, and many others can report the same, our struggle to keep faith with the redemptive process offered by the Redeemer’s Deed and Power of Spirit to us and others, is actually a fight with hidden and powerful spiritual evil. It is a race run uphill against terrific spiritual opposition. In this battle and journey of our own redemption which becomes our willingness and passion to battle and journey for the redemption of others, we will clash with a purer evil, both worldly and spiritual. This is why Paul speaks of the good fight he has fought [1 Timothy, 6, 12; 2 Timothy, 4, 7], the race he has finished, the faith he has kept. In Ephesians [6, 11-12], Paul urges us to warriorhood= “Put on the full armour of God.. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, the authorities, the powers of this wicked world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
The old warrior way is probably closest to the new way of faith in redemption being able to come through, ‘whatever it takes’ and ‘against all the odds.’ We are fighting for an unseen truth of love, against a hidden enemy. To have trust in something half here, half still far off, half concrete and half mysterious, is no ‘walk in the park.’
The devil bet against God and humanity in the story of Job, and did not prevail. We should not, out of fear and laziness, overestimate the devil’s potency to stop redemption in its tracks.
In the New Kingdom of the New Age, the 8th Day of creation that never ends, there will be a ‘new heaven and new earth’, for all the former things will have passed away, and this means there is no longer eternal hell and eternal heaven eternally divided. Their division actually began to end on the Cross of Christ, through the Reversal foretold in the 4 Slave Songs of Isaiah, and when Redemption is done, so that division is done.
In the Old Covenant, only God can forgive. In the New Covenant, the Messiah forgives all of humanity through his suffering of their hell. This is a new heaven, and it ends hell by undercutting its basis in the heart. Love proves deeper than hell. When joined to this New Action and this New Power of Spirit, humans can love and forgive humans. That is what is eternal.
Love is beyond heaven and hell. Everything we do for love, in the New Covenant, is beyond heaven and hell. Not letting anyone go down, but going down with them to bring them back, is love.
Those in the Old Covenant, but calling themselves followers of the Messiah, get none of this, because they neither see, nor hear, nor understand, from the heart. The Spirit has not come to their heart.
There is nothing more misleading than the old callous, stone, heart wrapping itself up in meaningless words of the Bible it cannot understand because its heart remains unchanged, untouched, by the New Way. Its heart is firmly entrenched in the Old Way, at its most fearful and constricted.
Fundamentalism is the religion of the devils in hell who want humanity to join them eternally. They believe in ‘heaven versus hell’, because nothing of the true human heart, in its redeemability, reaches them in their heartless place of judgement, duality, damnation. They distort the divine Fire, because they resist its love, and so for them, the Fire becomes hellish.
If we resist the Fire of Love, it is ‘hell’ to us.
We can fall into various profoundly deep existential hells, but we remain reachable by redemption because we have a human heart.
It is fruitless to try to ‘identify’ the followers of the Messiah.
You tell me who are those who walk this redemptive second way. Are they Jews? Some.. Are they Christians? A few.. Are they anybody who has gone deeper in the heart, even if they have no words or pictures to convey the unexpected and even impossible second chance they found glowing there under the ashes? Certainly.. There are people of various religions, and of no religion, on the Redemption Road. All of these are a minority, the leaven in the bread, the salt in the food.
As a whole, humanity has not yet really tried out the New Covenant of Redemption.
Yet that should not stop any one of us on this Wilderness Road now.
In the future, as Dostoyevsky foresaw, and the Russian Orthodox priest, Alexander Men predicted, the Second Way of Redemption, hardly yet begun, will begin in earnest, and advance rapidly.
That the dynamic, the movement, the change, is in this direction, whatever the contrary forces, is what matters.
It is where we are headed.
Redemption is love upping its ante, in God, and through his Messiah, in humanity.
The Second Covenant asks of us– will you stay in the game, and play it out to the absolute end, when the ante goes up?
There are plenty of reasons to despair, for most of the evidence suggests that among human beings love doesn’t work..
Reasons to be cheerful boil down essentially to two=
 The Messiah puts the Spirit in us, by his deed. The Spirit brings the Messiah alive in us, by our deed.
 What the Messiah initiates for us, the Spirit brings to completion in us.
The Spirit is ‘groaning’ within our depths, not just passively waiting but actively pushing for the old heart of humanity to give birth to the new human heart.
The way forward is simple, like the advert for hard candy= ‘suck it and see.’
Use the heart, and see where that takes you.
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship Yahweh the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him will worship in spirit and truth.” [John, 4, 23-24]
“May God give you the power through his Spirit.. so that Christ may live in your hearts.. and then, planted and rooted in love, you will.. be able to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth, until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God. Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.” [Paul, Ephesians, 3, 17-20]
“Spirit of God
The breath of creation is yours
Spirit of God
The groans of the world are yours
Spirit of God
The wonder of communion is yours
Spirit of God
The fire of love is yours
And we are filled
And we are filled”