CHANGE YOUR MIND
By Rev. C. .Acosta September 27, 2015
John, the baptizing Prophet (PBUH*) of Palestine was an Ascendant, reportedly living in isolation out by the Jordan River in Judea. It is written that he ate locusts and wild honey. He wore camel hair clothing that was little more than a covering for protection from the elements,
Having a large following of adherents to his lifelong wisdom teachings; we can understand that he had ascended to a high level of knowledge while isolating his life in the wilderness; thereby divesting himself of the last vestiges of society, custom and any other kinds of conscious resistance within himself or flowing from others (the less evolved). This man obtained many answers learning in the Temples of knowledge in his youth and in adulthood while isolating himself. (3.)
Most traditional purveyors of the message of John usually smile, shrug and keep on reading after describing Johns living and dietary habits. Most Preachers want to quickly reach the part where the Prophet shouts: “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” (1) However, let’s back up a minute and look at some things. The background description that is recorded of this ancient Ascendant specifically notes John’s lifestyle as being alone or isolated off from the surrounding community of his geographic location. The Judean ruler, Herod the Tetrarch, local religious officials, spies, snitches and even the many adherents of his message; all had to travel a little uncomfortably, just to “get” to John.
However, John didn’t just pop up on the scene yelling and screaming, “Repent!” as Scripture has ofttimes been misinterpreted or neglected to be correctly taught. No, John had been teaching, preaching and strongly leading the way for thousands throughout the region who sought him for his teachings based upon the desire of the ages: To know the Truth.
In fact, we read that Jesus called John the “Greatest or Chief” of all Prophets “born of a woman” that had come before, there was none greater than John
Accounts of John that are most familiar in Judeo-Christian teachings focuses upon the initiation of baptism for the symbolic remission of sins; his recognition of Jesus as “The Lamb of God;” and lastly Herod the Tetrarchs’ horrific beheading of John while imprisoned
The message began as any other principle must; with discipline. As Christians, without personal discipline in our tri-level being; one can turn to either becoming a self-deceiving, pious fraud or a pretentious zealot. Most of us exist somewhere between the boundaries of either extremes as we bounce around in our inconsistencies.
The message of the Prophet John has been desecrated down through the ages to mean groveling before a Church full of congregants and asking forgiveness of member-perceived sins. For example: A woman becomes pregnant out of wedlock; answer? Grovel in front of the feigned shock of the membership. A man cheats on his wife with another woman; answer? Come to Church and grovel. Don’t forget to show up regularly and volunteer often for any and all service-related functions. Most of all, don’t forget to bring cash!
These displays may make for a good Sunday morning show and the Church coffers increase substantially; depending on the depravity of the transgression. However, this is totally not what the Prophet John (the Baptizer) was requesting out there in the wilderness. He was telling us to “Change our mind,” to go beyond (meta-, a prefix in Hellenistic Greek of the Jewish writings of the first century) our thinking (noia), a derivative of the Greek, nous meaning, mind); thus “Repent” is written in original Greek manuscripts as Metanoia: To change ones mind.
The best working, usable translation is “conversion” of ones thinking; to go beyond as well as within; seeking God as we seek to transform the way we’ve lived, believed, and thought. To set ourselves to become a higher thinking person; aligned with God in our thoughts and our conduct.
In religious society, the sorrow-filled, looking back, groveling, self-shaming regret for past deeds [since the past can never be changed] has no place in Johns’ proclamation. Biblical scholars from the time of Tertullian (2.), a second century scholar of the Scriptures, up until the scholars of the 21st century all agree; that the mistranslation of the word “repent” has been Christianity’s greatest tragedy. Therefore, to paraphrase the Prophet John; his message would sound more like this:
“Repent!” [Seek to convert, transform and upgrade your thinking!]
“For the Kingdom of Heaven…” [God’s reign and God’s way of doing things…]
“Is at hand…” [close by –prophesying/referencing the advent of Christ’s earthly ministry].
“Be ye baptized…” [Act! Symbolic water submergence of body, mind and soul in preparation; the cleansing of oneself in order to start fresh and to drown the past].
If you or a loved one has been suffering, tormented by sins of the past and cannot seem to get beyond those misdeeds; earnestly, faithfully seek Creator God’s forgiveness, and His way of seeing the world. Seek Him and His way to cleanse your thoughts and conduct. HE loves us with an unending love. In a word… Repent!
References and Acknowledgements
* PBUH: Peace Be Upon Him
(3.) Painting – John the Baptist – Google Images – Public Domain