Jesus of Galilee
And Jesus went on with his disciples eastward to the village of Caesarea Philippi, and on the way it happened that as he was praying alone the disciples came to him, and he asked them, "Who do the people say that I am?"
And they answered, "John the Baptist; but others say Elijah; and others, that one of the old prophets has risen."
And he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" And Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father Who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and what- ever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." The name "Peter," or "Cephas," means "rock." Simon Barjona means "Simon, son of John, (or Jonah)."
Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. It was clear that he wanted his church founded only on the solid foundation of Truth as God revealed it to Man, and not on what the imperfect "flesh and blood" could provide.
From that time, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes. For he said to them, "The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day."
They were greatly distressed, and Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, "God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you." But Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men." This was a reversal of his previous statement to Peter. It was not the human being who was either a rock or a devil, but his stand and his sense of values concerning what was real.
Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever seeks to save his own life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will find it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
"For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed. For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.
"But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they have seen the kingdom of God already come with power."
Now about a week after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves to pray. And as he was praying, he was transfigured before them. The appearance of his countenance was altered, and his face shone like the sun; and his garments became dazzling white as light -- glistening intensely as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
And behold, there appeared to them in glory, Moses and Elijah and they were talking with Jesus; and they spoke of his departure that he was to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep but kept awake, and they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.
And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah" -- not knowing what he said.
He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud came and over- shadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud saying, "This is my beloved Son, My Chosen, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."
When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were filled with awe. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and have no fear." And when they lifted their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, "Tell no one the vision until the Son of Man is raised from the dead."
And the disciples asked him, "Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?" He replied, "Elijah does come, and he is to restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will suffer at their hands." Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist. And they kept silence and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.
Reread the preceding paragraph and note Jesus words: "Elijah has already come, and they did not know him." They did not marvel or ask how that could be. They "understood that he was speaking of John the Baptist." Reincarnation was to them a "fact of life," well-understood, and requiring no discussion or explanation.
The doctrine of reincarnation is typical of the great changes made in the Christian teachings since they were first given: Jesus accepted this as the established law of the spiritual world, and all of the other religions existing in his day likewise accepted the doctrine of reincarnation in some form. What became of it then, between the time of his teaching and the establishment of the present-day theology? And why was it relegated to the status of a "mystery," hidden from the ears of the people, that only the hierarchy might enjoy such knowledge of divine justice?
One writer who diligently traced through the doctrines of the various churches in an effort to learn in what period this elimination and change in doctrine occurred, has found that it was early in the third or fourth century after the birth of Jesus that church leaders began to eliminate this acceptance of reincarnation, along with several other doctrines they preferred not to pass along.
To warn against the results of an ungodly life was part of Jesus' work, as it is ours. But he taught the "do's" along with the "don'ts," and the results of action, which occur in a realistic way. A person believing that he is here on earth for one time only might seem justified in taking all he could get in goods and experiences, as a sort of last-chance try. But if he knew that he was coming back here to earth where he will be placed in the position of the other person, on the other side of the actions he is now performing, in one lifetime or another -- will he not seek a better way?
Jesus Christ attempted to point people toward a state of fulfillment. He taught that there is no death, that the kingdom of heaven is within, here and now, and that man creates his own world as he goes along. However, certain fallacious implications were added to the Christian teachings for hundreds of years after Jesus left this earth.
He and his disciples knew the doctrine of reincarnation as taught by both ancient and modern mystics to be a religious law and a logical law of nature, one that absolutely removes all fear of death. It does not claim death as cessation of life, nor as a sudden and arbitrary decision of a God Who is otherwise merciful, just, loving and beneficent. It does not declare eternal damnation, but a chance to pay the debt and be released from damnation.
For in the beginning, God decreed that progress should be established by our own course in life, and by our own need for certain experiences and opportunities to accomplish and learn. Transition from the earth thus is not pictured as annihilation or an eternal ending of our careers, but merely as a temporary change from one stage or state of activity to another -- just like going to sleep at night, tired of body and mind, then awakening after a few hours refreshed and better prepared to go on with our mission in life. Though literally, the period on earth is the sleep, from which we awake on the other planes.
There is no place of absolute oblivion or silent darkness into which man must enter and lose all identity, or all consciousness. After each transition there is a variable period -- sometimes less than one lifetime on earth, during which man has spiritual and soul consciousness to enjoy the illuminating experiences of Cosmic life, being in contact with certain of the great masters and with those he loves, as well as with every form of constructive work being carried out by the wonderful spiritual laws of the universe. This period is like a great school to prepare us for the coming work we are to do.
They are without understanding who disregard the fact that there are teachers who exist and come into this earth -- even into dense form occasionally -- who have lived before and have seen many of the things that happened during the time of our Master when he lived here. There are many who know there is life after transition -- they do not just believe it -- but the man of logic does neither. So he depends on logic to carry out his ideas.
You have to teach people, not what they should do now, but what they should be doing a year from now, when they're on the "other side of the fence."