We have been working out Trinity as a concept in the Testimony. Long ago we saw through the problems with 'Father' Now we are seeing problems with 'Spirit.' All that is left is Joshua himself. So how do we see him? How do we explain our relation with him? Some issues are best explained by bubbles. Read on for more.
In the previous post I gave a bunch of citations that deal with research into the material realm. Cutting edge work suggests the actual material world that we live in stretches up into Plato's 'Spiritual' world. If we include, say, the UVA research on reincarnation, we could also suggest that our human souls are also within the material creation. We are not really spiritual beings, but we do have unseen components within the natural world. Those components, including memory, outlive our physical bodies.
So the old Platonic line between matter and spirit cuts across a more complex physical world. Simple creation covers much of this old understanding of the 'spiritual' world.
Plato also describes an interface between god and the spiritual world. In other words 2 different distinct barriers between us and Joshua. Did Plato get that right? If Plato messed up understanding of the physical by imagining the existence of a spiritual realm, then Joshua god must interface to us directly, with nothing in between. Let me give some evidence that this is so.
The incarnation, where Joshua god shows up in the flesh, is a direct contradiction to the idea of a spiritual realm. If you had been alive at the time when he walked around on earth, you could have shaken hands with him, or listened to him speak, or had a meal with him.
God is presenting himself to us as a man. If you missed him because of geography or because of time, it does not matter. He presents himself as approachable, just like any other person. This has always been in the text.
The Immanuel stories read every year around Christmas speak of him as 'god with us.' As we work the testimony we are finding the same idea was hidden by editors in many other places.
So we are not supposed to think of him as distant and unapproachable. In fact he interfaces with us back in the normal material realm, not even the unseen material realm that scientists are recently discovering.
So if we are trying to close out the spiritual realm as a barrier between us and him, then it is done. Always has been. Plato was wrong. Some people did shake his hand, heard him speak or ate with him. We ourselves may not have done so, but others did. That is how we are to conceive of him.
That said, Joshua has power over the material realm. He is a miracle worker. He transcends time. He is a great king and by that deserves certain reverence and respect. I could go on with this, but the basic form of a human is how he presents himself to us, with certain attributes that make him very unique.
The biggest and most important unique feature is that he alone commands power over death. His basic offer of salvation is his willingness to break us out of the reincarnation loop that we live through here in the material realm. Without his living water, we go around and around, life after life. This is taught in the story of the woman at the well. It has also been extensively documented by UVA research into past lives. It is better known in various eastern religions.
So the problem left to answer is how to understand some of the stuff seen in church circles. There are times when Joshua is present and willing to heal. Or present, and willing to speak. But, there are times when he is not. Nothing anyone says or does makes 1 bit of difference. Joshua seems quite distant and far away.
These differences in situations are normally explained along 2 general lines of thought. The false idea of the holy spirit either moving or not is 1 of those lines of thought. The second false idea is the ideal of clean and unclean. Unclean things are thought to drive him away, and thus need pagan sacrificial atonement. All of this is baloney. But it is how the bible explains how to view the world.
So how should we describe this now? What are some examples in the text that would provide an alternative to these views? Why is Joshua present at times and not at others?
We have spent quite a bit of time on the road this past year. We have stayed in quite a few motels. We generally do daily lot sets, either in the car while driving or in a motel at the beginning or end of the day.
It is very clear that Joshua prefers talking in the car. We also got a new car recently, and he much prefers that to the old one.
He finally started showing us why there are such differences in various places. The first term he started using with us was the idea of a trial. People, nearly all us, put him on trial.
We each have some perceived wrong that we accuse him of. Where was god when I was abducted by a UFO? Or why was I born this way? Or why was I hurt in such a way? Lists like this are very long, and nearly everyone has some issue like this.
We also put him on trial when we break the obvious things he has said to us about living our lives. The commandments are the best expressions of those. We also put him on trial when we shrink back from responsibility. The list of these is long, and not easy to exhaust in a short paragraph.
As an example, Joshua's NT travels mark how he was handling trials. When he is on trial he will only address whatever the accusation might be. You see this when he addresses Pharisees, for example.
But you also see him avoiding these situations. 40 days in the wilderness, say, or traveling across the Jordan, or into the wilderness, or across the sea of Galilee. Getting away with his disciples gets Joshua away from trials. He likes hanging out with those men in part because they are usually not putting him on trial.
When Joshua is being put on trial he will answer the key false accusation, and then he will leave. At his trial before Caiaphas and Pilate, Joshua is a man of very few words, and then dealing with the errors of his accusers. This is how he always deals with trials.
This is why so few people today experience his presence. He is on trial. He will defend himself, yes, but then he leaves. This means nearly everywhere on earth where people live are empty of Joshua's presence. This is why Plato would say god is far away, it is what we experience, but not because of some fundamental design.
Traditionally we would have said 'sin' is the reason for this. But, sin is the reason behind the idea of sacrifice, itself not inspired. Putting him on trial is a more inspired alternative and is more robust.
When we are on the road, and near someone who is putting him on trial, all Joshua will do is speak to us about the nearby trial. He is not at all afraid to divulge someone else's deep secrets, as we see very regularly.
There is no way for anyone to keep secrets from Joshua, he is all knowing, after all. He is, at times, to the right people, something of a 'chatty Kathy' and will at times talk a river about the secrets of others.
Having been on the receiving end of those conversations, Joshua is usually talking about how someone's potential walk with Joshua is broken. How that person puts Joshua on trial.
We don't yet have a good inspired word, so we are using a slang term, 'bubble' to express this same idea in reverse.
When someone is NOT putting Joshua on trial, then Joshua starts hanging out with that person. Joshua forms something like a bubble around people he likes. The more he likes them, the bigger the bubble, and the more he will talk about.
This can also be a small group of people, a family or group of friends, especially if they all are intent on following Joshua. So bubbles can get shared.
The apostles are the best textual example of a shared bubble. When Joshua is with someone, or one of these special small groups, and there are no trials going on, even near by, then he forms a bubble around his people.
For 2 examples from the text, consider the departure of Lot from Abram. Once Lot is gone, then Joshua shows up and explains his promises to Abram. If the struggle over land is even inspired, that struggle is not the real reason for the timing of this encounter.
Abram had to insist that Lot leave. Abram knew Lot broke the bubble. Once Lot was gone, Abram enters a bigger bubble with Joshua. Only then does Joshua give a massive prophetic word.
For another example, when Judas leaves to betray Joshua, the remaining apostles are now in a bubble with Joshua. The types of things Joshua can teach changes at that point.
So when we are driving alone in a car down some rural western interstate, Joshua can easily show up and talk. We are in a bubble with him, even when moving at 80 MPH.
But if we are in a motel and drug deals or other crimes are going on around us in the building or on the property, then Joshua is on trial and he either leaves or starts talking about the trial. No bubble.
Out of courtesy to us Joshua will say something like Nebuchadezzar's drunken party is going on in the building. (Drugs and alcohol.) Or, say, Jacob's wives trading bed partners to explain prostitution is going on in the building.
When we are told this, we know a bubble will not form. Joshua will not keep talking to us if this is going on. We must leave the building and go somewhere else. Sometimes as simple as sitting in a car in an empty parking lot.
There are also times when he only wants to talk about certain things in certain places. This is especially true if he wants to talk abut the past or the future of that place.
Long time readers of this blog know we have spent considerable time at Disneyland in California, over 100 days, by the way. For a season this is where Joshua chose to teach us a considerable number of things. We recently drove past that park, closed over Covid, and we were told we had no further reason to visit the place again.
Though there were lots of people in that park, it can range over 50,000 people on very busy days, that did not seem to bother Joshua it was good enough for the time. These days that mass of guests would likely cause us trouble.
We have also found that Joshua wants to talk about areas of the USA, and the only way he is going to do that is by driving through. So we have had to crisscross the continent to understand what he has to say. Short answer on this point is the international borders of the USA some day will be redrawn.
We have also seen we need to be at certain places in order for Joshua to be willing to talk about certain subjects. We parked outside the nursing home in Kirkland, WA, where Covid started in the USA. By that visit we could understand this was done by men, but not by the Chinese. And, that season of attack against those people is now over.
In a sort of counter example, there are some times when we must be in places where there are only a few people and some trees. Not interesting for the past, nor for the present, but an important future story that we must be there to hear.
Another way to put Joshua on trial is to use non-inspired scripture.
This is serious. If you use a Bible, or belong to a community who does, then you are putting Joshua on trial. He will address the fault, then leave.
Many of the most prophetic people in history had eccentric theologies, Branham, for example was eccentric in interpretation of the text.
This explains, for example, a preacher who suddenly has a crying baby in the audience. Provided his sermon was fine to that point, he just switched to something uninspired, and Joshua let him know.
Ryan and I once visited a church where the preaching was so bad we had to get up and leave. Little did we know the main sanctuary doors were 100 years old, and had apparently never been oiled. Squeak went the doors as we opened them to leave. Then squeek went the doors as they closed behind us. A few weeks later a freak flood wiped out the foundation of the building itself. That group had so put Joshua on trail he showed it with an injury to the building. The entire place lost his favor. It was a few hundred gallons of water from a complete loss of the building.
We are seeing something in reverse with the groups of people regularly using the Testimony. As the Testimony gets successively closer to being done the bubbbles forming around its use get larger and cleaner.
Years ago we traveled the East Coast after a visit to Disney in Florida. 2 of the cities we visited were Washington DC, and New York City. In neither place did he want conversation with us. So many people putting him on trial that no bubble could form around us at all because so many people in those cities put him on trial. The problem is continuous and city wide.
Think about your situation. There is no structural separation between you and Joshua. He is an arms length from you at all times. There is no spiritual domain as you might think. So why is Joshua distant?
Is it your fault? Probably. Or the fault of the people around you? Maybe. Maybe some combination? Yes.
Sorting through and solving this problem is called a 'walk with Joshua.' As you follow him, and learn from him, your bubble will grow. What he can talk to you about will change along the way.