The work of reinterpreting the Bible, arriving at truer understandings that lessen the likelihood of error and conflict in our world, continues. Nancy Detweiler looks at what Jesus really meant by the statement “I am the way, the truth, and the life” – if indeed those were his accurate words.
Jesus Did Not Mean He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life
Nancy B. Detweiler, M.Ed., M.Div., Pathway to Ascension, Sept. 19, 2012
We must keep in mind that all sacred texts available to Earth humans were written by people residing on the 3rd dimensional plane of duality. In addition, what we know as the Bible today has been translated numerous times from Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin into our national languages, such as English, French, etc.
As all translators know, words in one language often do not have an equivalent word in another language. For that reason, much of the original meaning can be lost in translation. In addition, the meanings of words change as time passes. The belief system of the translators also influences the choice of words they use in their translation.
As a result, the Bible contains numerous contradictions. Still many Christians are taught that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and is literally true. Christians are often taught to “stay in the Word,” meaning not to explore outside sources for answers to their questions about God and life. “Don’t ask questions or you will lose your faith” is a frequent admonition given by religious leaders. The reproof itself is an acknowledgement of uncertainty within a very shaky faith. We do not know what we do not know and for many, this is a frightening fact.
This strong tendency to stay in the box created by religious leaders, creeds, and denominations has resulted in Christians closing their minds to anything new relating to their own spiritual nature. Christians have feared to explore, to intuit Truth for themselves, and to go against the status que. In order to remain one of the many, we stifle our true feelings, our questions about life, our innate urge to explore and find Truth for ourselves. We even read Jesus’ encouragement to “seek and ye shall find” and “the truth will set you free” as if he meant seek only in the Bible and the truth you find there will set you free. Christians forget that the New Testament did not exist during Jesus’ lifetime. Any suggestions in the New Testament that we “stay in the Word” or “not change the Word” relate to the Old Testament because that was the only scripture known to the New Testament writers.
Near the end of the 19th century and into the 20th, teachers of advanced spiritual maturity began to incarnate to guide Earth humans in exploring metaphysical or hidden wisdom teachings regarding the Truth about God, our world, and ourselves. Sadly, the churches rejected these teachings as pagan, heretical, and New Age. What the church really meant is that the hidden wisdom did not conform with orthodox creeds/beliefs. It feared its adherents would ask questions and lose interest in orthodoxy. Teachers like Ernest Holmes (Science of Mind), Helen Blavatsky (Theosophy), and Charles Fillmore (Unity) were and are called leaders of cults—words used in a derogatory manner representing the condemnation of many religious authorities even though the teachings of these men and women have added greatly to Earth humans’ understanding of themselves and the laws by which the universe operates.
A.D.K. Luk was among the first to publish the teachings of Earth’s Ascended Masters, such as Ascended Master Kuthumi (formerly incarnated as Pythagoras, then later as St Francis of Assisi), who worked through Helen Blavatsky to form the Theosophical Society. Ascended Master El Morya (formerly incarnated as Abraham) worked through Mark & Elizabeth Claire Prophet to create Summit University Press for the purpose of teaching and publishing the Ascended Masters’ teachings. Ascended Master St. Germain (formerly incarnated as the Prophet Samuel and later as Joseph, father of Jesus) worked through America’s Founding Fathers to create a nation based on brotherhood and freedom for all. I could go on and on with examples of how Earth’s Ascended Masters have assisted their unascended brothers and sisters on this planet as we travel the spiritual path to our own ascension.[iii]
Yet the churches have not possessed or encouraged the development of “eyes to see and ears to hear these hidden wisdom teachings. This brings us back to the importance of understanding the meaning of the I AM sayings.
Reading the Gospel of John in accordance with Christian teachings, most do not question what they read. The I AM sayings are found in this gospel, along with repeated statements by Jesus that should alert the reader to delve deeper. Jesus never proclaimed himself as “The Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
He did repeatedly shift the attention from himself to the Father within. “The Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.” John 5:19 “I can do nothing on my own.” John 5:30 “My teaching is not mine but his who sent me.” John 7:16 “The one who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” John 8:26 “I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me.” John 8:28b
Not only did Jesus deflect attention from himself to the Father, he taught us: “I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.” John 8:38 “I do not seek my own glory…. If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me.” John 8:50 “The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” John 14:10
Jesus again speaks to us “the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these.” John 14:12 Jesus expected us to follow his example, NOT worship him. Christianity teaches that “Jesus did it all.” As a result, we make no effort to do the works that Jesus did and, in fact, exceed his works. Christians are taught, instead, to love Jesus as Lord & Savior. Self-realization is considered “New Age.” Holistic growth—body, emotions, mind, and spirit—is not a part of Christian teachings. Self-help books are often off-limits. Yet, in John 15, Jesus states, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower… I am the vine, you are the branches.” John 15:1,5 Anyone who has seen a grapevine knows that the main vein is composed of the same substances as the branches—Jesus and all of humanity possess the same potential. We are to learn to do all the works Jesus did and more. With the Father as vinegrower, Jesus as the vein, and humanity as the branches, we are All One.
“Then Jesus cried aloud: ‘Whoever believes in me believes not in me, but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.” John 12:44
Jesus, the man, fully recognized that God dwelled within him, just as God dwells within each of us. Jesus allowed God to speak through him—what we call channeling in today’s world.
One of the Ascended Masters’ teachings concerns the I AM PRESENCE within each of us. When Christian religious leaders heard of the 20th century I AM PRESENCE movement, they pronounced it “New Age” and not in accordance with Christian teachings. Because religious leaders have ignored the hidden wisdom teachings, they are unaware of the ever-expanding cycles of time. New Age simply means the beginning of a new 2000 years cycle, just as the 21st century indicates the beginning of a new 100 years cycle and the New Year signifies the beginning of a new one year cycle. Whether or not we set out to do so, we end up learning something new during each year and during each century; we are and will be learning much that is new in this New Age of Aquarius.
One of the major lessons will concern who we truly are, as indicated in Elizabeth Claire Prophet’s Divine Self Chart.[iv]
The top figure radiating light outward to the world is the I AM PRESENCE indwelling each of us.
Jesus taught the Kingdom of God is within you. Christianity has taught God as separate from us; we have personified God into our image and set him on a throne in heaven. This personified God is a vengeful, angry God that demanded a blood sacrifice in order to appease his threats to punish us in an eternal hell of fire. Sadly, in our personification, we have created an image of God that is far less than any of us can imagine being. Which of us would require the blood sacrifice of one of our children so we, as parents, could bring ourselves to forgive another of our children?
Exodus 3 instructs us as to what Jesus meant when he said, “I AM the way, the truth, and the Life.”
“Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law … he came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush…. When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ … I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob…. So come, I will send you to Pharoah to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt….’ But Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, The God of your ancestors has sent me to you, and they ask me, What is his name? what shall I say to them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’”
The Hebrew word horeb means desert or solitude. Metaphysically, Horeb symbolizes a high place in conscious union with the divine. In order to contact the Divine, we must enter the solitude of our heart and inner mind where dwells the I AM PRESENCE.[v]
When Jesus spoke the I AM sayings, he was using the name of God, I AM. I AM is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, not Jesus. Moses was sent by I AM to the Israelites in Egypt; Jesus was sent by I AM to the Israelites in Palestine.[vi]
In order for us to learn to do all the works that Jesus did, we must go to our inner Mount Horeb and become One with our I AM PRESENCE. We are not separate from God; God indwells each of us. I AM is the bread of life, the light of the world, the gate, and the resurrection and the life.
We are the Temple of I AM! Through Jesus and through us, I AM is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
[i] What are the I AM sayings: “I AM the bread of life.” John 6:35 “I AM the light of the world. John 8:12 “I AM the gate.” John 10:7 “I AM the resurrection and the life.” John 11:25 “I AM the way, and the truth, and the life.” John14:6
[ii] Throughout this article I will use the term GOD to refer to the SOURCE OF ALL THAT IS.
[iii] You may read about the Ascended Masters at: http://www.pathwaytoascension.com/teachings/index.html
[iv] You may listen to Elizabeth Claire Prophet explain the Divine Self Chart here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfjqgiS5wQU&feature=channel_page
[v] Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, page 284.
[vi] Metaphysically, the Israelites represent those who seek God, not simply one ethnic group. According to Charles Fillmore, in his Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, the Israelites represent those who endeavor to follow the inner leading of the divine law. (Page 305)