RENDING THE VEIL
“The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it’s going. That’s how it is with everyone who has been born from the Spirit,” (Jn. 3.8).
The sisters of Lazarus, Mary and Martha, send a messenger to find Jesus and inform him that Lazarus is sick. In John 11.3, the messenger presents the problem. Jesus says with some surety, (4) “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” For many readers this situation and response may seem a convenient biblical insertion to secure Jesus’ identity as Messiah. On the surface this intellectual view would hold some traction. From the mystical view this occurrence offers insight into a developed adeptship and knowledge not previously revealed.
Luke 11.50, spoken within the ‘woes’ (39-54), “That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation.” “Shed” implies ‘martyred’, not just dying. Particularly John the Baptist (executed) provided the greater Truth, among many other prophets, some of whom may not be mentioned in the Bible. This scripture refers to a generation held to accounting (“may be required”), particularly of those in authority. This accounting infers the denial of truth, and will include at this time in Judaic history the revision if not the destruction of the Second Temple.*
*Ezra, 2nd Temple based on sacrifice, emphasis on law, see Jesus the Nazarene.
John 17.24 (CJSB), “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am; that they may see my glory, that you have given me because you have loved me before the creation [foundation] of the world. (25) Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you, and these people have known that you sent me.* (26) I made your name known to them, and I will continue to make it known; so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I myself shall be united with them.”
*Mt. 13.11, “mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.”
*As to the quotation above (CJSB): “those (set apart) you have given me to be with me where I am.” This phrase speaks to sanctity (you have given me), and trust; these souls have been ‘given over’ to Jesus by the Father (God gives, but gives within purpose); secondly, and to unity (be with me where I am), largely defines itself, a group unified within purpose. See, foolish builder, Mt. 7.26, referring to foundation; or, when sowing good seed, clearing the field, plowing (preparing) the field and then sowing. “Where I am,” implies not just self as person, but condition, heavenly state.
*“I will continue to make it known;” a short but declarative statement concerning the will wedded to purpose; implies service.
*“loved me before the creation [foundation] of the world,” cements the condition of man, that he is likewise loved, through the person of Christ (orthodox) but as a created soul (omnibus), the further awakening to the spirit, the kingdom within which gives light to the soul. As to Kingdom, every disciple had lessor and greater knowledge in varying areas, each had different manifestation within service as Jesus led them, some understood parable less or more as each parable was explained; there is room for everyone. Love embraces all.
*“but I have known you;” Christ fully awakened. “Have known that you sent me,” speaks to the disciples themselves.
*“I made your name known to them;” Jesus often referred to the Father, implying to Pharisees, scribes, and Sadducees that they are overseen, that God perceives them, knows them.
*“I will continue to make it known,” asserts continuation, building foundation, conviction in some cases, and points to honor toward God.
*Jesus finishes with love, “so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I myself shall be united with them.” This statement is signatory, pronouncing love as the final culmination of all spoken beforehand. Implies the final growth of the fruit to be harvested, the great awakening, or the greatest of awakenings, love preeminent within the affairs of men.
“The world has not known you,” speaks to what has not yet been revealed in context of truth. Opposed is Judaic observance by sacrifice (outward manifestation), with inference to wickedness (denial), not the inspection of the inner man nor awareness of the kingdom within. “…that they may see my glory, that you have given me because you loved me,” this statement gives over self to God, as in “you have given me,” and associates love as bequeathed, a part of, or in part but whole, ‘part and parcel’. “…before the creation of the world,” a plan in place, implying forethought (all knowing). This mystic voice would respond to the deeper Hasidic tradition, which pronounces the messianic figure that would bring the message of righteousness (love and harmony) to all people. This scripture sets Jesus in place and circumstance, and describes Jesus’ spiritual relationship with the Father and with the people, grounded in love.
The story of Lazarus is put into spiritual perspective by the blunt but mystic statement Jesus makes in John 11.4. Jesus infers the sickness is not what it appears to be. As is written in v. 4, Jesus seems to comprehend a different principle at work: “that the Son of God might be glorified.” He says that the sickness is for the glory of God, seemingly an incongruous statement at best, then adds the reference to himself. He is presented with an earthly problem. Jesus sees in the physical but perceives in the spiritual.
BEYOND the VEIL
How do you see?
Jesus lives in the physical world but perceives from the spiritual world. This perception becomes a component of soul growth attributed to the Way of the Hasidic. Likewise, it is helpful to look at the world from the inside out—get oriented to the kingdom within—instead of viewing from the outside-in as Mary and Martha do. Witnessing the spirit move, or seeing with new clarity, allows for assuming the substance of wisdom bit by bit, and should be one expected result when sowing good seed. The confines of physical perception is lifted to reveal a more knowing spiritual perception. In the broader sense, this defines soul development. This orientation to soul development assists on a spiritual level of decision-making instead of reacting in fear or disappointment, to cull the wheat from the chaff, and in that sense is perceptive, analytical. The calm and wise reserve we often see in Jesus demonstrates this wisdom.
Looking from the deeper places within often relies upon how God is building your soul identity. We see this development in the disciples, as they are built to their mission. The spirit of God works from within to develop soul identity according to the nature of that soul and according to the soul’s mission. This soul development is the essence of pathway teaching and walking in the Way. For example, when you notice many of Jesus’ responses, he perceives something no one else does. The answer Jesus receives arrives from beyond the veil—not the veil of physical life and physical death, which concerns the death of Lazarus, but beyond the veil between the spirit and the conscious mind—from that is where Jesus sources and perceives.
‘Do you render taxes’ does not become a question about taxes or even money. You render unto each thing that which is proper and unto another something else—“render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s (Mt. 22.21).” The attempt to align Rome against him for encouraging non-payment of taxes, or the people against him because Jesus espoused that they should pay, fails.
All riddles, mysteries, perplexities, and bewilderments become resolved within the enlightened understanding, as Jesus repeatedly demonstrates. Regardless, the enlightened understanding arrives from beyond the veil, from the spirit (kingdom within) into the conscious mind. Within his ministry, Jesus often operates beyond the veil. Once this approach to the Way is understood, the pathway changes. People realize that the veil is actually within themselves, the kingdom within.
Jesus speaks of life and death and heaven and earth as a matter of everyday understanding; who reports that he can give others the keys to the kingdom (Mt. 16.19)? How can this man teach directly concerning heaven? How can he see that Lazarus’ death is somehow not final? Why is Lazarus’ death meant to glorify the Son of God?
Jesus’ identity is the subject of many sermons every week. The Lazarus episode deals with soul identity at its core. Powerful authority issues come to bear. Jesus has taken authority over sickness, the condition of lameness, and the blind. Now his power will extend beyond the spiritual veil unto life and death itself. This demonstration, born out love, will become the quintessential establishment and proof of Messiah!
In the Lazarus story, the outlying problem is described by how the working mind of Martha and Mary understand the issue. However, the resolution does not look anything like what Martha and Mary would comprehend. Nor does the real solution appear to be attached to the problem at all. Lazarus is unalterably dead, Jesus has come too late, and that is the end of it. However, the underlying working principle seems something altogether other. In this case, the working principle resides in the identity of Jesus himself, which we will take up later.
Soul identity does not only concern Jesus’ identity, the subject reflects upon each soul just as certainly. In the teaching of the Way, every soul is encouraged to allow the spirit to reveal his soul’s nature and placement. This revealment is done slowly and in a measured way.* Soul nature, in turn, provides glimpses into soul identity. When Jesus tells the listeners to remove the board from their own eyes, he tells each person that they may not know themselves as well as they think (Mt. 7.3). And truthfully, who does? We all tend to assume the better portion for ourselves. Not that a person should diminish themselves, but it is the kingdom within that reveals the truth.
*Sow good seed, establish prayer, and the Word leads.
When facing problems, we see them as out-pictured, outside of ourselves. However, everywhere we take ourselves we establish ourselves as the logos. Our conscious mind stands at the border where we see on the outside but also perceive what can be revealed from the inside.
Written as a pseudepigraphic text, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene relates the above principle very well: Chapter 5.10, “I said to Him, Lord, how does he who sees the vision see it, through the soul or the spirit? (11) The Savior answered and said, He does not see through the soul nor the spirit, but the mind that is between the two that is what sees the vision and it is […remaining text lost]. The awakening process and the understanding that comes with it must come into the conscious mind. It is important to note that in Mary’s text, Jesus is referred to as the Savior, as do many similar texts.
We perceive our problems as ‘over there’ or at the ends of our hands. Our responsibility to rectify these problems lie within. We are the problem. Seldom do we see the inner working that brought us to this place. Questioning our motives, we may take note of our shortcomings, but we rarely see these attributes as a current part of our identity. Even if we see the attribute, we do not see ourselves in it. We may ‘deal’ with things but keep ourselves in cognitive dissonance—we seldom truly see the board in our own eye, we seldom see our requirement to responsibility. Allowing the spirit to witness into the conscious mind opens the door to the mysterious veil that we see Jesus so easily move between.
In part, for Jesus, his identity resides in how he conducts himself, or perhaps better stated, how he walks. Jesus’ solutions lie beyond the veil, and we observe him walking there often. Likewise, our real solutions will carry much of the flavor of this walk beyond the veil. Real answers to life’s problems lie in the realm many choose not to visit. They never tread beyond the veil. Their soul nature as a child of God remains undeveloped.*
*“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God,” (Mt. 5.9). “…the good seed are the children of the kingdom,” (Mt. 13.38).
“Ye shall know them by their fruits,” Matt. 6.16; John 8.32, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” Matt. 13.11, “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the heavens.” These scriptures deal with what you should know and what God wants to show you. When addressed within a solid practice, spiritual revelation leads to a burgeoning understanding of soul nature and soul identity.
John 11.4, “sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby,” is often analyzed relative to Christ’s identity or the divine nature of Jesus. The Essene believed the Messiah would be a heaven-sent being.* The Messiah was sent by God. He oversees the sons of God (disciples and others), the children of God (true believers), and those who may lack a greater insight but have committed. All converts were welcome, for God and His son accept all people.
See, Jn. 12.45,49, 20.21; Lk. 10.16, 4.18; Mk. 9.37.
The Messiah would give the final interpretation of the law. Belief-faith is the foundation, the premise of the new way of thinking (see John the Baptist); the logos became love-forgiveness, for this pairing affects all other attributes and experiences. Finally, knowledge comes with study, and with experience, wisdom follows.
The assumption of knowledge and wisdom are last in this triad for a reason. Wisdom in the moment of circumstances is probably the hardest of all godly attributes to master. Thus, upon hearing from the sisters, most people would take such news as a call to action. They would react. However, Jesus tarries. He stays two more days, John the Baptist had conducted baptism at this location. (Jn. 10. 41-42) “Then many came to him and said, ‘John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this man were true’. And many believed in him there.” The further consecration of the ministry must come first, for many were converting.
Jesus was busy, and many lives were spiritually at stake. He finishes his work on the tributary of the Jordan, and then he says in John 11.7, “Let us go to Judea again.” The inference is to go into Bethany. The disciples object, reminding Jesus that Judea is where the priests tried to have him stoned, and they are astonished and ask, “You are going there again?” The disciples force the first roadblock to appear—doubt and perhaps fear.
Not to be too harsh on the disciples, but they seem able to extend only their working minds. They react to the obvious. They follow after Jesus, that is true, but the pathway eludes them. The disciples seldom rend the veil to discover that which underneath moves all things. Scripture reflects that this is often the case with the disciples—they see the world with their eyes, but their minds rarely capture the vision. The angst of the disciples is addressed in 11.9. Jesus responds to the disciples with spiritual insight, for he speaks about walking in the light so that the feet may not stumble, and he finishes by saying, “But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him (10).”
Jesus has received his guidance, and by the light within him, he walks through the night of this world—he has captured the vision (Jn. 16.33).* The light is within him and thus guides his footsteps. The working mind would have rushed immediately to the side of Lazarus, and Jesus would have healed him just so. Yet, that is not what the spirit witnessed. Amid such a crisis, Jesus remains calm but quietly assertive and then leads them toward Bethany.
*Jn. 16.33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Comment: overcome the prince of this world; overcome the children of this world and the circumstances they create, suggesting spiritual wisdom.
In this next part, we will see how Jesus continues to work from beyond the veil, while those around him continue with only the mortal working mind. The second stumbling block comes first from Martha, Jn. 11.21, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” and in v. 32 Mary voices the same sorrow-filled complaint. Mary and Martha’s recrimination almost certainly cast blame. If Jesus had come right away, then Lazarus would have been healed, is this not so?
Then Martha testifies to her continued faith in not just what Jesus can do, but also alludes to Jesus in his person, (11.22) “But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Mary and Martha, amid a great trial, begin with the working mind, unbelieving, uncomprehending as to why Jesus did not hurry to Lazarus’ side. To Martha’s favor, and when she recovers herself, she begins to respond to the greater understanding, the higher reality of life. Through her statements and conviction, she parts the veil between the physical and the spiritual. In this case, the bridge is built by faith. Through faith, her understanding and sanctified nature are revealed. She also affirms it by speech and makes her statement openly known. Faith and her words are connected.
“Where have you laid him,” Jesus says. Throughout these incidents, Jesus remains sure that he does not lose himself amid circumstances. He allows for the “glory of God,” and “that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” He makes room for the spirit to act! The teaching message is that each person may also be glorified through difficult circumstances. The basic principle, which is to look beyond circumstances and to see with spiritual eyes, reflects the awakened spirit and the teaching of the Way. From beginning to end, Jesus reflects this godly reality and remains steady, sure, and settled in the spirit.
Martha next says to him,“Yes, Lord, I believe you are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God, who is come into the world (11.27).” According to some scholars, this part of scripture seems contrived, as though someone has put these words in Martha’s mouth. However, Lazarus, Martha, and Mary had spent much time with Jesus, knew Jesus quite well, and were dearly loved by Jesus.
This portion of the Gospel of John conveys Jesus’ identity as the Deliverer, as Jesus speaks previously to the resurrection and the life in Jn. 10.28-30; 11.25-27. Most scholars agree these passages are considered very religious. It is suspect for its obvious religious portrayal. However, it is meaningful for the actual teaching of the Way. It is the person, Jesus himself, to which he refers. “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, thou he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.” The assumption of faith is the underpinning from which Martha speaks and affirms. By her steadfastness and faith, she begins to see, thus perceive and rend the veil.
Belief, then faith must come forward and is foundational to the Way. Nothing much can be accomplished without faith in the work a person is trying to accomplish. Belief-Faith is intrinsic to the pathway, for early on a person does not see, one does not know. With faith, Martha looks beyond the veil, and with that measure of faith, Jesus then rends the veil.* Even though Jesus may have raised Lazarus in any case, for he dearly loved him and also saw the sister’s grief, it is at this point that Martha’s faith propels the narrative of “thy faith has made thee whole,” (Mk. 5.34). The faith narrative is observed in almost all aspects of Jesus’s ministry.
* Mt. 9.2, “Jesus seeing their faith.”
For those who walk in the Way, the faith lesson becomes most important and often overlooked by those trying to assume knowledge: belief-faith forms the beginning, the first rung in the greater enlightenment into God, and the primary reason the conversion into Christ will always remain faith-based. Since a person knows very little and yet seeks to change his life, faith must come first, welled up from the spirit to make the complete connection. The disciples and Martha and Mary began with faith in only what the eyes can see, but when these scriptures conclude, they end by understanding in a very different manner.
Jesus’ ‘knowing position’ with the Father is made clear, but essentially his ‘knowing position’ begins with his ‘faith position’. Many who are non-religious do not understand the valuable asset of faith. Faith is demonstrated by continuing the daily walk, regardless of outcomes. Persistence demonstrates faith. Faith adds substance to the soul.
Those who seek knowledge must surely follow faithfulness, both in the study and receiving witnessing from within. Knowledge then becomes the companion of steadying influence—Knowledge becomes one work of faith. If one inspects Jesus’ ministry, one will find that the root of continued faith re-forms throughout the pathway Jesus walks. Jesus assumes knowledge with the fullness of faith. It is always appropriate that belief-faith precedes knowledge-wisdom teaching. For those of the intellectual bent, the assumption of knowledge not wedded to faith or recognizing the spirit within, are left only with their suppositions, assuredly a series of judgments as we see with the Pharisees and scribes.
Now comes the third stumbling block. First, the disciples did not want him to return to Bethany; second, the recriminations leveled at Jesus that he did not come soon enough. Now, those who doubt, the Jews, will be next (Jn. 11.36-37): And some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?” The phrase “the Jews” refers to those who stand with the Pharisaic believers.* Those Jews interested in the doings of Jesus would show up almost everywhere he went.
*Often thought to be Herodians.
That Jesus reaches beyond the veil to reclaim Lazarus has to become Jesus’ greatest miracle. This miracle left no doubts about Jesus’ identity as Messiah and his relationship with the Father. His earlier words contain an impact that would be impossible for the layman of that day to grasp, at least until Lazarus was raised, “…but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it,” this indeed affirms him.
Bringing Lazarus back from the dead becomes a pivotal point in the life and ministry of Jesus. Not long after a plot is hatched to kill Lazarus, primarily to injure the ministry of Jesus, and thus in the eyes of the people to diminish him. In Jn. 12.10, the description reads that the chief priests took counsel to put Lazarus to death, (11) “on account of him (Lazarus) many Jews went away and believed in Jesus.” The fact that they killed Lazarus begins what becomes an unalterable split within the Jewish community. The tensions mount when word of Jesus’ miracle begins to spread. There are more and more believers. That they would also murder to stop Jesus should not surprise us and tells us much about the priestly hierarchy, the people, and these times.
The Gospel of John is presented (c. AD 92). At that time, the followers of Jesus were becoming known as ‘Christians’, especially in Rome. Earlier scripture would describe them as ‘practitioners in the Way’, or Sect of the Way (Ac. 28.22, “…this sect that we know that everyone has spoken against”), or even more likely would be called “Nazarenes,” (from, “sect of the Nazarenes,” Acts 24.5). John’s final composition seems likely written or later affected by a disciple of Paul. Determining how much of the Book of John came from John’s earlier writing or speaking poses some problems; many scholars believe Pauline writers and believers heavily redacted John’s gospel, at least in places.
The Pauline-oriented text of John intends to create a more formal or codified religion, that much seems clear. John writes from the viewpoint of someone no longer a Jew. Already there is a ‘them’ and an ‘us’, as the times might dictate, especially as the Christian movement gains momentum throughout Turkey, Italy, and Greece. The Gospel of John gathers more around Jesus in his person, Jesus in his identity, and not just his teachings.
Academic considerations aside, it is attendant upon all who follow Jesus to understand that he preached a full or complete unity for humankind, referred to in John 10.16, “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring.” This is a reference to Jesus’s ministry spreading throughout the world. This infers that Jesus knew very well who he was. In John 12.32, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself,” confirms this spiritual identity.
Although the above scriptures deal with the Jewish Messiah, and then later Messiah for the world (Lk. 24.47, “…preached in His name to all nations”), the person of Jesus is always revealed within his teachings, nor can the teaching be segregated from his identity.* If Jesus is at one with the Father, then Jesus is at one within himself. John 17.21, “…that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in me, and I in You; that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”
*The Messiah could never self-proclaim, or he would be stoned to death. By the accolade of those witnessing his works, especially healing and prophecy, Messiah would be identified. Jesus alludes to his position often, Lk. 11.31-32, “a greater than Solomon is here…greater than Jonah is here.”
The above statement reflects lofty heights of consciousness, that which lies beyond the veil of our physical sight, perceived with spiritual eyes and understood with a spiritual mind. Much of the Gospel of John deals with Jesus speaking about what lies beyond the veil. For us, as we read and then travel with Jesus in the Way, enlightened Jesus becomes revealed.
Chapter 12.1, Jesus returns to Bethany six days before Passover and eats with Mary and Martha, and Lazarus takes a seat at the table as well. Scriptures in chapter twelve verses 12-15, deal with the ‘Triumphal Entry’, and in v. 42 “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.” It is clear that many rulers, various officials, and some priests such as Nicodemus, believe Jesus is the Messiah of the Jews. Nicodemus, in fact, will arrive at the illegally held nighttime trial of the Jerusalem Sanhedrin and speak up for Jesus.
It is later Jesus will state in Lk. 24.47, “that repentance of sins should be preached in His (Jesus) name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem.” John the Baptist preached repentance of sin for forgiveness; Jesus preached forgiveness of sin under the identity and authority of his name.
In John 12, verses 44 through 50, Jesus reveals much of his identity, beginning with, “he who sees me sees He who sent me,” a teaching of unification and oneness, or the full enlightenment into God. Later he speaks of himself as the way, that not only is the truth in him but that he is the truth in his person, and thus the life (Jn. 14.6). The progression of the teaching, whether one accepts it on a religious basis or not, soars into the nature of soul identity with a demonstrated pathway to travel. This is a most important consideration for those who walk in the Way.
The ‘ego’ of the Pharisees, those who “make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at the feasts, the best seats in the synagogues” (Mt. 23.5-6)—how deadly this false-self becomes. If the enemy executes John the Baptist and murders Lazarus, which I believe they did, surely Jesus will be next.
Later will come the march to Golgotha. In between, many revealed dramas enter the light. Not only will the religious hierarchy face stress and ordeal, but so will the disciples. Many disciples will give testimony of devotion, and many others will wonder what has occurred. The hierarchy will believe they have given good riddance to yet another messianic figure, albeit the most dangerous.