Bertram D. Brochmann in English
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B. DYBWAD BROCHMANN
THE ART OF READING THE BIBLE
Edited by Dag Ove Johansen
What the Bible really tells us
The Bible gives an account of human nature in an inspiring and imaginative way - it discusses the risks and dangers, as well as the possibilities and opportunities available to us. There is no other work of poetry or drama that describes the primitiveness of mankind in such an elaborate and comprehensive way, as well as dealing with our conscious and unconscious way of living. Therefore, The Bible will experience a renaissance in the future when modern research in the mind and large-scale psychology teach us to be very certain about what The Bible really tells us. The world has discussed this for several hundred years, but still man hasn't come to a final positive result, as each side doggedly maintains its position.
Up to now The Bible has managed to keep the world involved in one continuous guessing game. Just when someone thought they had found the right interpretation, then new information came into the picture, and the guessing game began again.
It is just too limiting to consider The Bible as only having to do with "religion". The word itself doesn't even exist in The Bible, and neither is there a notion of something similar to what we today mean with the word "religion".
The Bible discusses economy and judicial matters, ethics and ethical conflicts, along with innumerable stories and poetic allegories, much symbolism and art. It contains teachings from prophets and wise men, and tries to raise barbarians to human beings and human beings to gods. The Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) contains all kinds of information about how people should behave. The "law giver" even includes such information about how a person should take a spade along when he goes outside of the camp area to relieve himself, so he can then bury the waste when he is finished. (Deuteronomy 23: 12 -13).
It would be fairly difficult to explain that all of these regulations about life here on earth could be reduced to "religion", and could be rewritten to only pertaining to "religion", if we didn't understand that The Bible contains social teachings, economy and morals for society, etc. which are fairly incompatible with the current political and pagan sociology, morals, economy, statutes, etc. Since The Bible expects a conflict between God's Order and human authorized order, and when The Gospel tells about the false shepherds that are hired and paid by paganism, then it's easy to understand the "politics" and tactics" that are behind the misinterpretation of The Bible. The Bible has been rewritten to look like a heavenly religion that has nothing to do with life here on earth.
There are other topics discussed by The Bible. It talks symbolically about "the first human beings" and about the chance and risk that was a part of awakening to consciousness and gaining knowledge. Knowledge can be used in two ways - for good or for evil.
The Bible tells much about the conflict that only human beings can experience - the conflict between society's tree of knowledge and the tree of a holy life. The one tree bears evil fruits and dies. The other living and luminous tree of life bears good fruits, renews itself, and has eternal life.
The Bible very clearly explains how human nature on one side strives, yearns, and grows up, like all living things do. On the other side, it is in a deep sleep, and therefore shows a slowness and stubbornness, something that we have seen through out history. The Bible reprimands "apathy" and hard hearts.
But it's also true, that The Bible, in addition to discussing human nature, creation, growth, and building of communities, also deals with our relationship to God and our weakness for gods, Molochs, demons, uncontrolled fantasy, temptations, and the dangers enticing our body and spirit. Also, the Bible tells about the reality of God, about His Laws and inherent orderliness, and how God Himself arranges that His Laws be obeyed.
And, finally, The Bible tells about how the human spiritual and intellectual life loses direction - why and how it happens, how it manifests itself, what consequences there were and still are. And furthermore, The Bible tells us about the world's mental Savior who came to save us from our wayward mentality, as well as finally about how the future can develop, and about the final goals of the life of the individual and of society.
The biblical description is of a perfect place where all obscurities and problems are removed. We are assured that humanity, according to the Old and New Testament, really are the inheritors of this wonderful kingdom where The Son of Man is no longer a servant, but now sits on His proper throne, radiant and glorious, as a Child of God, The Son or Offspring.
In one way, The Bible contains everything concerning our past, present, and future - it is a synthesis of everything. In spite of that, people still like being "analysts", i.e. they divide existence into many strictly divided "areas of life". By doing that, we lose the opportunity of viewing the completeness and interconnectedness of Life, offered in The Bible. Therefore, what the Lutheran ministers are teaching people to believe is an enjoyable image and a cheap delusion - that The Bible "only" is religion, and that the Savior of the World "only" is the founder of one religion, in competition with several dozen others.
In this book we want to give the reader a sterling picture of the world's mental Savior,
in the best way we can, and therefore we will mostly use The New Testament. It's much easier to read and understand the Four Gospels, instead of trying to interpret and describe all the rest of The Bible.
Therefore, The Bible has to do with mankind and about our relationship to God and to Our Savior. Probably no one doubts that. But since mankind always has misinterpreted and misunderstood itself, many have unfortunately not understood that they have any need for a "Savior" in their lives either. Since mankind has the understanding that God has constantly changed, mankind can think that they no longer have any need for God in their lives today. Superficially, it can appear that God in our day and age is different from the God of, for ex., 100 years ago. When religious history and theological works from earlier times are read, it is quite unbelievable what people have convinced themselves and others to believe. It's as if they are saying that there are many of us who believe that we will develop much more, and that "God" will also be changing. BjÝrn Steiner BjÝrnson said the following: "Where good people walk, those are the Paths of God". At least people believe that if there is a God, then He must be how "the good people" (pious and orthodox) understand Him. Christianity has been represented as religion, but some look at religion as a nuisance on The Road of Life, others think that it should have nothing to do with politics, yet other opinions are that it is "childish nonsense" that the world needs to outgrow. What all these opinions have in common is that they understand the word "religion" to mean the Christianity of Europe and America, i.e. what "the good people" believe!
Since mankind has never understood itself before, and only now has slowly begun to come close to the entrance to the depth of its spiritual life, we need to agree in the beginning that it isn't completely sure that what we have called Christianity up to now, is the real Christianity. Perhaps, the best understanding is it is only something in the direction of Christianity. Maybe the truth is that the Name of Christ has been ridiculed, disdained and rejected in the world because mankind has misinterpreted Christ, and been mistaken regarding Him, God and ourselves?
What does The Bible say about this question?
Here are some examples:
Isaiah, long before the time of Christ, says the following in Ch. 52:5: "'What shall I do?' asked Jehovah, 'my people are taken away from me for naught. They that rule over them are howling', said Jehovah, 'and my name is continually blasphemed all day long'.
6: 'Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak; behold it is I'.
7: 'How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!'"
(Since verse 7 is probably a bad translation, we'll try to state it in other words: How blessed are the feet and way of life of him who is entrusted to bring the glad tidings, to preach peace when others create war, to witness about positive things when others only speak about negative things, to appeal for the salvation for mankind when everyone else has lost faith and hope, and to teach the people that God alone is the Lord, when the whole world cries after dictatorship and organization).
In verse 5 we saw clearly that the people's understanding of who God really is was not clear and was misunderstood, therefore His Name was blasphemed.
Paul says very clearly in a letter to the congregation in Romans 2: 24: "For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you, even as it is written".
So we see that the phenomenon is not unknown in The Bible. Pure Christianity has not been practiced since the time the Savior passed away and left His teachings to his disciples. The Savior has prepared us for that.
When Olav, the Holy "brought" Christianity to Norway, he resolutely chopped off the head of any farmer who wouldn't be baptized. And when the first Christian pilgrims from the north of Europe traveled down through Europe, they ravaged and plundered all along the way, even in the "Holy Land".
Gustav Adolf was a brilliant personality for his time, a pious and for his time right-thinking man, but our current churches would probably not accept his theology.
Abraham who wanted to slay his own son was, until a few years ago, looked upon as an example of a man of God, and Salomon, with his 5000 wives, was also a radiant example.
After people started criticizing these actions, and our ethical understandings developed and became part of our way of life, there were many Norwegian theologians who didn't want to be bothered with The Old Testament because it had become too "difficult" to explain to the orthodox believers.
This is one of the results of claiming that everything was completely created several thousand years ago and trying to fool yourself about the truth concerning the perpetual creation.
It is true in the Jewish children's instruction that it says that God rested on the seventh day, but Jesus assures us many thousands of years later in John 5:17: "But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh even until now, and I work". Therefore we have to change our position that creation is finished and that we are born again for eternity. We must understand that we will be continually born again - in spirit and truth.
When people are allowed to continue with the unlucky delusion that Olav, The Holy imported 100 % complete Christianity 900 years ago, and in addition let people accept the current Christianity espoused by the Church with its mammon cult, public paganism, and war between the classes, it's no wonder that "Christianity" is considered a nuisance on The Road of Life. A German Gestapo man told me directly: "Honestly, we don't want to hear the name of Christ anymore". And then I replied: "I can certainly understand why you would say that if you are referring to the "Christianity" that was preached in the many German churches I have visited over the years". The German sermons were filled with fire and brimstone.
My view is that the Church Christians have had a choice for a long time: Either to see the name of Jesus Christ blasphemed, trampled on, and rejected around the world, or to admit their tremendous mistake regarding how they understand both God, The Father, the almighty Creator of heaven and earth, and the Savior, Jesus Christ, and not in the least regarding the understanding of ourselves as human beings and our human society.
Therefore, we need to read The Bible again, in a new way.
My understanding is that Henrik Ibsen, Arne Garborg, and other Norwegian "prophets" had a similar interpretation, and this has been my understanding since the beginning of World War II. During 1914 Ė 1915 I began to understand that there was a great distance between what really was in The Bible and the involuntary misunderstandings and deviations from the truth taught by the Christian Church. (In my magazine "Community Life" 1930 Ė 40, I have continually tried to prove the faithlessness and sinful ways of the Christian Church).
Because of that itís been fairly easy for me to understand that God is, and always has been, the one and the same. We humans have grown and developed along the way as new ideas create new ways and possibilities for our growth. Weíre standing in the middle of creation and, right now, just before a powerful rebirth in spirit and truth. If we could only understand that it is just before the return of Christ, which would make it easier to put things in perspective when we read The Bible and try to understand whatís happening around us.
People who have a rigid belief that life is complete and that creation ended a long time ago have difficulty understanding life in a dynamic way, and thatís why there are many now who are certain that no development has taken place. They say that everything just continues in circles, and thatís the same way flies understand things when they continue to helplessly fly around the light without understanding what theyíre doing. Itís also difficult for these people to believe in "the light" and the power the light has as an eternal source for growth and change. They think that they have understood things correctly, and interpret truth as something static - that is final and complete. Why? Well, of course, because they donít understand that there is movement in the eternal life. The eternal life that weíre talking about here is eternal movement, even after we have reached the perfection that The Creator is talking about.
Psychologically it is easy to understand that people who havenít yet discovered "the light" as a creative and re-creative factor in our existence can easily misunderstand dictatorial teachings and speak seriously about "the power of the state", "the power of weapons", "the power of money" and "the times" and "business cycles" as living sovereign dynasties, (The academic world uses the expression "independent variable" to describe what we call here for "sovereign dynasties".) that rule in the world according to their own thoughts and whims. When you first have discovered, once and for all, that all of the progress in the history of man is dependent upon an expanded orientation to life
("new light", new forms of life, and new ways of living), then you recognize a primary light as the only objective correct source of power, and then you soon see that the history of mankind is only composed of what mankind has convinced itself it is. God and Satan are the omnipotent factors that decide our destiny and they are in us Ė not demons outside of us. Although an individual can certainly feel and experience this as omnipotent demons, good or bad "supernatural" powers, outside of himself or above himself. Granted that the spirit of the time or of the masses is stronger than an individualís spirit, and really does make itself felt "over us" and "outside of us", but the truth is still what The Savior has assured us, that the kingdom is in us, and that, because of that, we must go into a private area to pray, and preferably not pray out loud in congregations.
When The Savior says to Pilate: "You have no power that is not given to you from on high", what he means is that no statesman or government official has more power or another power than the spirit of the time or the common way of thinking will give to him.
"Money" has exactly as much power as the people unknowingly playing with it give to it.
The doll only has as much life as the child playing with it imagines. One fine day the doll is "dead", and thatís exactly the way it happens and has happened with all of the Molochs (see earlier explanation) in the history of mankind. They live and prevail, having ominous and mysterious powers as long as we believe in them. Then "they die". "The times and the business cycles" are certainly capricious, just as unpredictable and capricious as we humans are, until we regain self-control and remove all of the demagogues from public office.
"Statesmen" have become exceedingly stronger in our time, as compared to only 100 years ago. Why? For the simple reason that we all hate and fear each other, and everyone clamors together and screams after a "strong state" and a "big, strong" man who will tell everybody what to do. In my childhood, both "sprites" and "trolls" were living and had power. Then a new light came over the so-called "supernatural" and it was understood for what it was, and it was no longer correct to talk to children in the same ways about the "trolls". But maybe this way of understanding life is returning? "Glorifying Caesar" was abolished a long time ago and was replaced by "The Parliament", because people were doubtful and skeptical about "the state" and "central authorities", and were more inclined to give more freedom to the private individual.
It is true that God gave the Norwegian people May 17, 1814 (Independence Day).
"All Norwegians thank God Almighty."
Initially we said we received our freedom "from above". Later we said that coercion came "from above", because our condition had changed and became something else - the opposite of what we wanted.
It is situations like that The Bible talks about. When we read The Bible to find out the truth about God and ourselves, we have to understand that God is a mental power within us.
David sings the following:
"They shall perish, but thou shalt endure;
Yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment;
As a vesture shalt Thou change them, and they shall be changed;
But Thou art the same,
And thy years shall have no end."
Psalms 102: 26-28.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yea and forever."
But when it looks like both God and The Savior have changed, itís because we, ourselves, are changing according to how we are affected by the light of truth or delusion.
In this connection, think about when we believed that the world stood still on a foundation.
"Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Declare, if thou hast understanding.
Who determined the measures thereof, if thou knowest?
Or who stretched the line upon it?
Whereupon were the foundations thereof fastened?
Or who laid the cornerstone thereof?"
Job 38: 4 Ė 6.
We remember the awful uproar in the circles of the learned and the infallible when we understood that the sun stood still, and that it was our earth that moved around in space with enormous speeds and a variety of movements. Then we believed that the earth stood still, just as we believe about ourselves that we stand still and were somehow, by magic, "perfectly created" all at once. Mankind doesnít seem to possess the "kinetic sense", or the sense of what lives and moves. As they say: "Thereís nothing dangerous about growth." But we must learn to use that sense if we are to understand The Bible and the Word of God, because itís all either a game of chance and creative dynamics, or a mighty self-active mental and creative power.
When The Savior says: "Wander in truth" that means the opposite of the teachings and practice of the Christian Church who "stand still in the truth". Then one day the saddened parishioners find out that the truth was alive, but it disappeared for the priests/ministers who just stood and ground their "mills" and played their old worn out records on their Sunday record player. (Compare with Revelations 18:22 " Öand the voice of a mill shall be heard no more at all in theeÖ")
Itís probably due to our own slowness, self-satisfaction or laziness that we donít understand our own creation as growth and development. We are "indolent: people of comfort". Therefore we get organized into associations so that we can be "indolent" together. We donít like movement and unrest. Thatís why the whole population in the eastern hemisphere worships the static religions, and therefore they dream about "Saint Nirvana", complete quiet, the blessed indifference, and the leveling of all movements and reactions. Thatís why the temperance people canít stand beer and wine because those things create unrest, and many ideas and impulses, and often also irritating initiatives.
Doesnít the message of Christ contain more than just wanting to see things in a new light? We need a new light to see things better in our lives, so we can develop further.
Notice what Salomon says when he asks for more wisdom in 1 Kings 3: 5-12, and what Peter then admits: "Lord to whom shall we turn, if not to You, who knows the inherent orderliness of eternal life and can, therefore, show us the way with Your words of wisdom?" It appears to me that the Christian Church and their sects interpret "words about eternal life" to mean that Christ gave a lecture to his disciples about life after death.
As I said earlier, Christ did not direct us to stand quietly in the truth, but to wander and move in the truth so that we could grow and "become whole" as was intended.
Every time I find a new light over my life, I immediately understand it as new words about the eternal life that I am now living, and this is most important for me to understand - as much as possible. Other kinds of "news" are less important for us, if we wish to move in truth.
I donít criticize the State Church of Norway for being steadfast in their faith or on guard for heresy, but I do take them to task for thinking over and over: "now weíve really found the correct answer", and they seem to forget all the missteps along the way in the history of the Church. The Church denies that we are standing in the middle of creation and that we need new light for our salvation, rebirth and renewal.
Some typical reactions are the following:
"Weíre already Christians and donít need to accept any new thinking about the way to salvation."
"We donít want to be different and donít believe that religion should have anything to do with community life."
"My name is lay minister Jensen. I know everything."
"Our kingdom is not of this world."
"We are the only ones who really understand."
What I am trying to come to terms with is the way that the parishioners behave. It is this spirit of the Pharisees that created traitors who pray to God for victory over their enemies, instead of the way Salomon prayed, which was to have more light. This is the spirit that believes in the "power of money" and the "power of weapons", that supports the "power of organizations and the state", and with a vote of 149 for and 1 against will throw out research, new light, new orientations, and new recognition as the only positive way to salvation. It is this sterile and senile way of approaching life that made it impossible in 1940 for Norway to successfully manage the situation when everybody was running around without any plan, without any clear understanding about the meaning of life, without any shepherd, any savior, and no true and living spirit of God as the center of their lives. Let everyone keep his own convictions - wasnít that what was so important?
Note: The Bible references are taken from The Holy Bible, American Standard Version