Friday, December 25, 2015

"shall keep it unto life eternal" - Mystery of the Old Testament in the Bible


Mystery of the Old Testament in the Bible

Why is the Old Testament attached to the New Testament as part of the Christian Bible?

The reason must be that when the Bible was compiled and established at the end of the fourth century by sorting out various documents related to work of early Christians and so on, Judaist Christians still accounted for a considerable percentage.

Christianity must not have been separately taught but along with Judaism in synagogues mostly in cities where many diaspora Jewry lived.  In the Roman Empire, Christianity must have spread though synagogues in Rome and other cities to other Roman citizens who associated with those Judaists.

If at the end of the 4th century, a majority of Christians in the Roman Empire had been others than Judaists, the Old Testament books should not have been adopted for the Christian Bible, or at least not all of the books of the Old Testament books should have been adopted.

So, till the 5th century, in the Roman Empire, there must have been a considerable number of Judaists who were also Christians.  They must have joined both the Christian churches and the Judaists synagogues.  And, they must have claimed to adopt the Old Testament for the compilation of the Christian Bible.

However, at the same time, the Great Barbarian Invasion started, having been triggered by the Huns moving from the central Asia to east Europe.  As if having been pushed by the Huns, various tribes of northern and eastern Europeans and other races invaded the territory of the Roman Empire, putting the end to the rule of Rome in the late 5th century.

I suppose in the period between the end of the 4th century and the end of the 5th century when the Western Roman Empire collapsed, the separation between Judaists and Judaist Christians occurred.  After this period, no more Judaists came to become Judaist Christians.  And, Christians stopped inviting Judaists to Christian churches.

But as the Christian Bible was compiled and established at the end of the 4th century, the existence of Judaist Christians was reflected in the adoption of the Old Testament for part of the Bible.

But why and how did the Great Barbarian Invasion contribute to the complete separation between Christians and Judaists?

Probably, Christians in the Roman Empire tried to save some legacy of the Empire, thus concentrating their activities around Rome, which must have led to the establishment of the Vatican.  On the other hand, Judaists did not fight against northern and eastern invaders but rather welcomed them as they could be free from the rule by Romans who had once occupied and destroyed Jerusalem.

Therefore, even today it must be easier for Judaists to convert to Christianity as the Bible includes the Old Testament that is a collection of Judaism books.

Anyway, the Old Testament in the Bible reminds us that Christianity started among Judaists and was propagated by Judaists.

Map of Europe, with colored lines denoting migration routes

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Mat 12:25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:

Mar 12:25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.

Luk 12:25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?

Joh 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus" - A Japanese Buddhist Monk of the Samurai Era


A Japanese Buddhist Monk of the Samurai Era

There was a humble Buddhist monk hundreds years ago or in the samurai era of Japan.

Ryokan did not live in and preside over a temple, which means that he was not in an official position as an elite member of the society, since samurai authorities at the time controlled people by forcing them to belong to Buddhist temples in villages and towns.  In those days, Buddhist temples functioned as a kind of administrative office.

He lived in a small and humble hut built in a temple or a shrine in a local area facing the Sea of Japan.  He just taught and spiritually guided villagers, using simple words and expressions, without acting like an ordinary Buddhist priest.  But mostly he loved to play with children.

However when he was young, Ryokan learnt hard Buddhism and performed Buddhist practices so sincerely, though he was born in a house of a rich farmer.  He underwent Zen Buddhism training in a long-established temple in west Japan for 12 years to be certified as official Buddhist monk.  Then, his teacher in the temple died, telling him to do what he wished after his death.  So, Ryokan started to travel various areas in Japan to finally settle in the humble hut in the temple near his home village.

What made Ryokan famous was his excellent skill of art of calligraphy and Japanese poem.  While Ryokan was alive, some notable people in the era sometimes asked him to write words for them.  Even some notable scholars living in Edo (presently Tokyo), the capital of the samurai government, visited Ryokan's humble hut.

Today Ryokan was recognized as one of the best calligraphers in the Japanese history, though he has been sometimes depicted in books or animation movies for children of today as a gentle old monk who loved poor children of poor villages in the samurai era.

One of well-known Japanese poems he wrote is:
Cherry blossoms are falling down
     to the ground as their life is expired.
But some cherry blossoms are still open
     in the tree as if they were exultant
Yet remaining ones will be falling ones soon
     since they are the same cherry blossoms.

By Ryokan ("Above the sky, a big wind")

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Joh 12:22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.
Joh 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.