B. DYBWAD BROCHMANN
THE ART OF READING THE BIBLE
The Temptation On The High Mountain
We read the following in Matthew 4: 8 – 11: “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him”. (Copied from the Bible.com Website).
The scoffer asks: “Is there any mountain that is so high that you can see all the grandeurs of the world?” “If so, then the world must be flat. Christ didn’t even know that it was round”, etc. Yes, people can think in such a simple way. I have no idea who has taught them to think like this. If the temptation with the building of economic symbols is one of the basic traps for the public in our history, and if the centripetal drive needs to have a leader on the temple mount is another great risk for people, then the temptation that the conventional press exercises over us is not any less. If we look at people and the history of mankind and its society, both as psychologists and specialized in-depth psychologists, we will notice after a while a remarkable thing. All three of these temptations contain or include all of the most important risks involved in being a human being. All of the other “temptations” are as nothing when compared with these that Christ experiences and tells us about. And why is that? These three temptations are collective temptations, i.e. that they are concerned with the individual in relation to his surroundings. The stress, impression, and pressure from the surroundings are usually what make the difference for most ordinary people. Truly, we all are more or less alike. We become more and more ordinary under the pressure from collectivism. Many believe that they are uncommon and original, but experience usually shows that the uncommon consists of them being uncommonly common. “I have seen all of them naked – the greatest and the least”, says a German prophet, “but God how much they look alike”.
It’s not enough just to say that the collective temptations are the largest, most dangerous, and strongest for the individual. They also have much more effect on fate and have consequences for both the guilty and the not guilty, more than the small private temptations.
The drunk and the harlot, the man about town, the libertine, usurer, the thief, the murderer, the swindler, etc. usually affect themselves worst, or a very limited number of people in their lives. If the actions of a cheat or a swindler ruin 100,000, then the dance around the golden calf means ruin and misfortune for everyone who lives under that temptation. There are seldom more than a limited number of people who are affected by the actions of a thief or a murderer. If a thief moves one million crowns from a safe to his own account, this means little or nothing for society. A swindler can easily be a useful teacher for the fool. But temptation on the temple mount always leads to mass murder of people. Ten or twenty million dead, and double so many injured and ruined family lives and some happy lives are common now. A “gruesome murder” is nothing in comparison. Spiritual drunkenness puts all the “civilized worlds” in ruins, because the masses trust the man or woman on the temple mount. If you can first see the fantastic and bottomless helplessness in our mental instincts, then we can also soon understand the total psychological relationship that Christ was pointing to in the three temptations. These really contain all of the real dangers and risks in one single continuous entity.
In order to divert peoples’ attention from the fact that there is no limit as to how serious this is and how much this can affect the future of human society, the Devil decides to trick us by continually presenting all of our private desires and temptations. A good example of this was the so-called “Oxford-movement”, which came at the last minute, but still in good time, so that the masses wouldn’t discover the connection with the last big World War.
(The Oxford Movement was a loose affiliation of High Church Anglicans, most of them members of the University of Oxford, who sought to demonstrate that the Church of England, was a direct descendent of the Christian Church established by the Apostles…. In 1938 the Oxford Group was becoming Moral Re-Armament (MRA). The origin of the term lies in the political climate of the 1930's, in which the re-militarization of post-WWI Germany was a contentious issue. (Copied from Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia).
Many people in Norway had begun to see and acknowledge the collective mass sin with the golden calf, “the state’s” hedonism, the god-forsaken conventions and the lack of public morality, when Hambro brought the Oxford movement from the other side of the North Sea, and saved the situation. I hope that he didn’t know what he was doing. This was a very smart political maneuver to preserve and camouflage the collective sin of the people by establishing mass meetings to get people passionately involved with their own private and sensational “delicacies”.
When the Oxford movement came to Norway, the real enemy of the people, done in the spirit of the times, was people slandering each other. This was quite prevalent, and they even thought this was what God wanted. Listening, seeing and hearing about the Devil on the temple mount disappeared for a long time. I’m not sure if the Free Masons were also involved, but it is possible. We can only hope that the Oxford movement was imported in good faith, as all of the other “English pounds”. If it’s unlucky for our country that our natural resources were mortgaged to English banks, it is much more serious and dangerous that the soul of the Norwegian people and the Norwegian spiritual life were infected from there. It is difficult to imagine that the race theories in Berlin and the “state” theories in Moscow can be a crueler fate than the poisonous spiritual breathes from the dying English Empire. No one in the world has “earned” more and collected more gold, due to the teachings of egotism and slandering (the) human nature, than England. It has become the center for falsifying The Bible. God please deliver and save our country from further participation in the seduction from England.
The temptation on the high mountain describes for us the secret and often quiet and gentle voice that says to us: “Yes, the world is not as good as it could be, but if you want to get ahead, you have to submit to the conventional habits and conditions of life. Then things will go well for you, and people will have good thoughts about you. You can almost have what you want, young Adam and Eve, only if you are obedient and do as the rest of us do: save your money and put it in the bank, vote the same way your parents do for the correct leader, learn from your employer how you can earn money, and join an organization, and don’t go against the majority. Maybe you can even be a “committee member” and have a position of trust? Be as polite as possible and agree with those in power. Adapt to the new conditions and preferably don’t be in opposition. Get some nice clothes and a permanent job, so you can get the girl or boy you like best. Don’t let people find fault with you and get good grades and scores on exams. If you see your superiors or the authorities do something unjust, remember that all authority is from God. Go to Sunday school and trust those who have studied The Scriptures, and come often to prayer in the Church and at the chapel. If you do that, it looks good, and people will have confidence in you. If you hear Satan laugh, don’t say anything about it – it seems offensive. Don’t irritate people, and honor your father and your mother, your uncle and your aunt so things will go well for you, and you can live a good long time.
Or, we know the less gentle and more impudent voice that says: “You can howl with the wolves you are with. If you don’t want to get eaten up by others, then you eat them yourself. You can’t grab the world by the scruff of the neck – or maybe you suffer from megalomania? Certainly you are an idealist and a good daydreamer, but the hard reality of life demands something else from you than just your idealism and beautiful dreams. The world is filled with egoism and egoists, and if you want to succeed you will have to do just like the rest of us, my boy. Poor you! You are probably too good for this world, but the best thing you can do is to learn to fight back. It doesn’t help to be good. Being violent is much better. You have to acquire power. Do you believe that those who have plenty will share with those who are needy? Oh no! You can just throw away your ideals and howl with the wolves.
The third temptation of Jesus we all know very well. It is the conventional pressure, impression and stress that not only once, but your whole life through, bind us to sell our soul to obtain certain immediate benefits. We all comply with customs, practices, fashions, and learned and unlearned habits. We are satisfied with injustice, keep quiet about unjust things, and get along in the world by tricking ourselves. It is only hypocrites and dreamers, such as the Oxford people, who don’t see this. “Think about the benefits”, says the tempter. “Maybe you only live once”. “Nobody can expect me to be dumber than other people”.
This temptation was probably easier for Christ, than the other two were, since He wasn’t for sale.
Now we give the word to the poet Jonas Boye:
It was like a dream, if you may,
oh, such a special thought,
it now seems so long ago –
One who would not run away,
whose soul shone night and day,
one whose word was always true,
He talked to me and you;
He knew what we could do.
Pain was felt, seen were deeds,
plainly known were the needs,
His words they did not heed,
the storm raged over all,
none was beyond the pall.
Jesus Christ, this Nazarene,
at the last of His life,
clergy taunting, and such strife,
everywhere chaos was rife,
but His word we heard clear –
Fear not - I am near!
If we could finally understand that all of the small private temptations and sins are less important than the collective ones. If we could just learn to see that selling our soul and our spirit is one thousand times worse and more dangerous than selling our body and dealing with erotica.
I’m not saying that we should let go, give in to all of our weaknesses, and act as if sin isn’t sin. What I am interested in is that people can admit that a woman who sells love with or without a lifelong contract, is just a little joke that isn’t dangerous compared with clergy who sell both itself, Christ, and Christianity to “the powers of the state”, “the powers of money”, and “the power of weapons”. Think also about Norway’s business community and “the middle class” that sold both the 17th of May (Norwegian Independence Day) and freedom, the national industries and Norwegian natural riches for foreign coin. Ponder also all of my good fellow citizens in the parliament who sold their souls and inner convictions “for the good of the party”. How beneficial is it for a person to win the whole world with all its glories, if he damages his soul? What does our Norwegian fatherland gain if we allow ourselves to be fascinated by London, Paris, Berlin, and Moscow, when the people lose their soul, and we are divided and become as strangers with each other and promote each others’ enemies?
Moses teaches in Exodus 34: 12 – 17:
12”Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:
13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:
14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:
15 Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice;
16 And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.
17 Thou shalt make thee no molten gods”. (Copied from the Bible.com Website).
Moses no longer wanted to be involved with politics and social affairs. Moses is old-fashioned and should be removed. It’s all just religion, myths and fairy tales, everyone whom “the state hedonists” have bought, rented, and paid for. Just in case our Bible readers shall misunderstand and believe that Christ means that we shall “grab the world by the scruff of the neck” and break all connections with the known and conventional world, we will continue along the way He has been pointing us. Christ says that we live in a fellowship of destiny and it is not a given that anyone can tear himself loose from “the social destiny”. And this is maybe less possible in our time, than it was in the time of Christ in the land of the Jews. But we only have to admit this, and not be false and convince ourselves that our religion and morality are private matters or that our behavior during our life is only a question about volition, which is how those embracing voluntarism of today want to imagine things.
(Voluntarism is the theory that God, or the ultimate nature of reality, is to be conceived as some form of will. This theory is contrasted to intellectualism, which gives primacy to God’s reason. Copied from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
We need to understand that we are heathens and we shouldn’t go around and call ourselves Christians, because that we cannot be. We cannot serve two lords. It is only the Oxford people and other church Pharisees who imagine that they and others can live as Christians in hedonism.
We can hear more about this in Luke 14: 25 – 27:
25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple”. (Copied from the Bible.com Website).
No one can serve two lords. There is no conciliatory bridge building between the society of Christ and the conventional heathens. No one can believe in the power of money and worship Mammon, and at the same time believe that the power of God is in all of us. If you believe in the power of God, the power of the Almighty in you and your neighbor, than you are finished with “the power of money”, “the power of the state”, “the power of the organization”, “the power of weapons”, and all of the most unbelievable and believable ideas in history regarding where power is or can be.
When you finally have your eyes opened for idolatry, superstition, witchcraft, mysticism, and uncontrolled fantasies about pastors and the public, you will hate with all of your heart all the ties, duties, and considerations that bind you and stop you from realizing the law and will of Christ. There is no other way. You must understand this.
Don’t walk around among your companions, like the Oxford Christians”, and speak about “absolute truth”, as long as you buy cheap and sell at a good price, and lie to yourself and others from cradle to grave.
One of my friends, an earlier member of the Oxford movement, wrote the following to a friend:
“The collective English Devil is represented by gentlemen with the most sympathetic and charming personal qualities. In the evening he is often dressed in formal attire and is very honorable, humane and peaceful. Often they are correct members of the Oxford Group and born again Christians, for all I know. I’m sure that he, as a private individual, will reach salvation on the other side, but here on earth he contributes greatly to the continuation of the public hell, without being evil in the least as a private person. He only wants to do well and is involved in making a better world, mind you under British supremacy. With his distinguished and aristocratic character, he puts the stamp of the honorable private man on all of his collective misdeeds. Even though he is well meaning and religious, he must maintain the Empire, the English economic hegemony over the world, as well as his business interests - using every available means. Then he isn’t a private man any longer, here his concerns don’t come first, and that is why Christianity is not at the forefront either. What applies here is English power, pure “matters of fact”, and other considerations are not important. When the time is right, appearing to hesitate and to be doing this against his will, he will strike without any consideration and start the most drastic actions, not being sadistic, but joyful, with white leather gloves on, with calm conviction, unlimited energy, sly calculations and tough endurance. He is by that time on the other side of all Christianity; he is under the iron hard law of Mammon, his highest position of power. “The Empire is built on this law, and woe betide him who can think to be dangerous for this empire; his life will be broken and will be taken in time, before he gets too powerful. Then the Englishman uses his private Christian mask to cover over his public deception.
How does it help to change him? He is already changed. As a personality he is very appealing – strong character, controlled, loving, educated – but the more public positions he is in, the better anchored the collective hell becomes. Collectively he is under the law of the false god of Mammon; his Church and Christianity don’t affect him beyond his private life.
The law of Mammon is broken in Christ’s Kingdom, and there is no other empire besides His. The others will sooner or later fall down.
If you and I, and you could also include Bishop Berggrav, became a part of the government, we would automatically become the Devil’s assistants. The whole political game is nothing less than the Devil’s domain. The good we want to do, we can’t do, and the evil that we don’t want to do, we have to do. We have to howl with the wolves we have joined; we may just choose between various alternatives, but they all come from the Devil.
The political life only worships the god Mammon, therefore power is correct, and violence is a principle, whether it happens in the form of war, or a majority decision. The police are always standing behind every majority decision. All of political life is the arena for the struggle in distributing mammon to a Mammon-stricken world. Your Christian principles are reduced to beautiful words, in public life; practically speaking, there is nothing left of them; you don’t get a chance to use them. However, your personal honor and your personal Christianity are a guarantee for the people that all of the collective devilishness you have to be involved with will be taken for good Christianity. This is the tragedy of the collective life; private Christianity is powerless against the collective hedonism”.
The above quoted lines from a private letter express in so many words the truth that Pharisaism of today will not admit. Christianity is the positive solution to the collective problem – i.e. Christ has for all people and all times explained the living, holy principles of society and shown us our correct relationship to our neighbor. We are not Christians unless the relationship with our fellow human beings is put in order in the right way. The relationship to your neighbor is the same as your relationship to the spirit of God that lives in your fellow human being, just as much as within you. Christianity can never be restricted to a separate agreement between the individual and God, because God will always ask after your brother. We are all cells in the living, independently-active tree that is our society. A good tree cannot bear evil fruit, and an evil tree (of society) cannot create Christen individuals.
Since this is Christ’s view of “the problem”, it would behoove us to admit, as soon as possible, that we are living and practicing hedonism.
The Savior mentions in Luke 14 that we are not grown up enough to hear everything now. We can’t with the best of good will draw the consequences of what He is demanding of us. This is just something to accept and we shouldn’t act like hypocrites, but learn to allow for your own small powers. Don’t be scatterbrained and dreaming. Don’t overextend yourself on the task, so that those who laugh and ridicule can easily take advantage of you.
Luke 14: 28 – 33:
28 “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple”. (Copied from the Bible.com Website).
The Savior does not expect us, who are not ready and are immature, to think that we are His disciples, because we pray pious prayers and go around saying: “We’re Christians”. We shouldn’t celebrate over more than 1000 years of Christianity either, as the hypocrites do, because then we are confusing the terms and mixing things up. We need to just openly admit that we are heathens, barbarians, and slaves to Mammon, and that we cultivate idolatry very much. In addition we don’t seem to care about the Ten Commandments and certainly haven’t begun to love our neighbors as ourselves. We look down on our neighbor just as much or more than we look down on ourselves, and certainly haven’t acquired the faith Jesus Christ has in God and people. We have another mentality and certainly don’t pray seriously for peace on earth as long as we find it expedient and good for us to cheat and swindle each other in every day dealings. We hope we will be able to get to God’s Kingdom, but the thought that the Kingdom of God should be established here on earth is about as foreign, ridiculous, and unthinkable as possible.
Christ certainly doesn’t demand that you should be a megalomaniac, and think that you can rid the world for Pharisaism’s daydreams, as long as all the churches, schools, faculties, newspapers, and radio stations cultivate symbolism and find satisfaction there. You have to take time and calculate and estimate correctly. Try to quietly find the greatest amount of clarity in yourself and teach your life’s companions to read the word of God; and warn them as well as you can against the wrong ideas of Pharisaism and the university, and the dangerous spiritual leaven of the Church. Shoe your horse well, so you are able to ride securely, if you need to go out with your horse. Remember that this is a now or never for you, yourself, and for all of your society, and maybe for the whole world. Don’t do stupid things, so you over exert yourself, so that the thing you’re struggling for doesn’t end up being ridiculed for your sake. If you see that your opponent has all the “soldiers” in the world, ready to strike you down in the press, radio, and international law, so keep quiet instead, and let the dead bury the dead.
This is Jesus’ speech. This is the correct way to read The Bible.
There are those who dream that they themselves are Disciples of Christ, who live in a Christian society, and that everything is ready now, and they are angry with everything that has to do with teachings about Darwinism. All of these people are still spiritual children, who play with their religious symbols and are irritated over us, because we’re coming to disturb their game. The nicest of them might smile at us and say with a falsetto voice: “It is written that unless we become as children again…..”.
When we examine our own mental life, we discover that we do see ourselves as children again. The first effect of Freud’s mental research for me was that I had a strong desire to play with children. So, I sat down on the floor and played with children, and I went completely into their fantasy and helped to keep the symbols alive for the small children.
If you can’t become a child again, and begin to think with the thoughts, pictures from life, and conceptions of children, then you can’t discover or be allowed to see the Kingdom of God, the Almighty Spirit’s Kingdom.
But when we will no longer help the pastors keep the peoples’ communities confined to the playhouse, it is because the communities will soon be confirmed, and become grown up enough to “walk alone” in the name of Jesus.
The pastors of the Norwegian Lutheran Church teach the people the nastiest game that exits on the face of the earth, i.e. the game of playing with money that ”grows and multiplies”, and “gives life” and “has power”. The pastors “christen” the heathens’ spiritual game with princes, kings, and dictators. This is why we proclaim the truth in the name of Jesus, and therefore we teach the people to read and understand their Bible. “Now there will be a judgment concerning the idolatry of the clergy; now shall the prince of the world (Mammon) be thrown out”- as well as other similar ideas.
When children grow up, they shouldn’t play with dolls, but instead deliver living, healthy children in the middle of creation, in the middle of eternal life. I have not come to get rid of the child’s dream of becoming a mother, says the bridegroom. I have not come to make fun of and laugh at your dolls, in the way that science does, and the way that natural science does, but I have come so that you can be a mother and that your dream life in the playhouse shall become a living, beautiful reality. “You may not believe that I have come to get rid of the law and prophets, but to fulfill them”.
I have not come to create chaos, as you do in the history of society, or to organize a kind of Barrabas mentality, and put thieves and murders to govern in Berlin, London, Oslo, and Moscow. I have come to save the world from this thoughtless lack of self-government and self-control, so the world can be mature enough to take the Spirit of God into service and serve God. This is the reason and goal of life, oh ye of little faith.
Does it begin to dawn on you what kind of teaching book The Bible is? Do you now begin to understand the artistic content and the strict warnings regarding eating from the Tree of Knowledge, the Pharisees, and the clergy’s leaven in The Bible? Do you begin to see the objective truth of The Bible about the absolute exact reality, when it constantly includes such things as the knowledge both for good and evil? Do you begin to see a glimpse of the great, rich possibilities of the life of the conscience on one side, and the large, dangerous snares and “temptations” on the other side? Can you glimpse the mistakes the pastor makes when he talks about our temptations and at the same time he, who gives spiritual guidance to you and society, has fallen into all of the temptations of knowledge when he bought knowledge on the faculty with his father’s and his aunt’s money?
Do you begin to glimpse the high goals, reasons, and plans of life? At the same time can you begin to see yourself, your own times and your society in the middle of the great creation?
But maybe you wonder if all of these views are dangerous? Wouldn’t this also be a snare for many? How can you be so sure that it is correct to look at it in this way? My answer to you is that nothing of what I have said has come from me. I have learned it from the light of The Bible over nature and over myself. If you are still in doubt about my “artistic” way to understand and read The Bible, let us confer with the Savior’s own words and actions.
If Christ has also used the artistic language, and gotten rid of the academic form and type of expression, wouldn’t you say that it speaks clearly in favor of an artistic interpretation of The Bible? In the next chapter we shall see how Christ doesn’t only use imagery, but that He says why He does that, and why He believes it to be expedient and necessary.