God shows us His representative
Jesus also indicates here that the Supreme Being directs us according to our desires. If we desire to know Him, then the Supreme Being directs us to someone He has empowered to represent Him. This is the meaning of: "No one can come to me unless the Father Who sent me draws him" and "Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from Him comes to me."
Jesus is explaining how people are given the vision to see Jesus' relationship with the Supreme Being: God gives that vision from within, should there be a sincere desire to come to know the Supreme Being.
Via God's direct and indirect arrangements, we are each directed towards our particular goals. If we have certain physical desires, then God's physical mechanisms automatically direct us to those means. Or if we want to pretend we are religious to impress others, then God or His mechanisms will direct us to charlatan religious teachers and their institutions to achieve those goals.
But if we are serious about knowing Him, the Supreme Being will direct us to His bona fide representative.
"'They will all be taught by God.'"
"For your Maker is your husband—
the LORD Almighty is His Name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
He is called the God of all the earth.
The LORD will call you back
as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—
a wife who married young,
only to be rejected," says your God.
"For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
In a surge of anger
I hid My Face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
I will have compassion on you,"
says the LORD your Redeemer.
"To me this is like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
never to rebuke you again.
Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor My covenant of peace be removed,"
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
"O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
I will build you with stones of turquoise,
your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of sparkling jewels,
and all your walls of precious stones.
All your sons will be taught by the LORD,So here God (referred to here as "Maker," "Holy One of Israel," "LORD" and "LORD Almighty") is communicating through Isaiah that He wants us back. He wants us to return to our relationship with Him. We belong to Him. We are His loving companions and He is our husband. He is our Redeemer. He is our ultimate Master and He loves us deeply.
and great will be your children's peace."
But because He also gives us the free will to love Him or not, each of us has the choice to love Him or not. We have strayed from Him, but He wants us to choose to return to our relationship with Him.
A personal God
We might carefully consider God's statement above: "For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you."
What kind of God is speaking these words here? Is this coming from a vague force or cloud in the heavens? Are we talking about a burning bush or a thunderous voice?
No. The Supreme Being is a Person. He has a Personality and a Face.The Supreme Being also has feelings and emotions. He cares deeply about us. He is Someone we can love and care for. He is someone we can love and serve.
But we have rejected Him.
We have decided that we want to be master and not servant, so the Supreme Being tossed us out of His kingdom and "hid His Face from us" as we took on physical bodies within this virtual, temporary residence - the physical universe. This is because He loves us but does not want to force Himself upon us. We chose to leave Him. He simply accommodated that desire.
Now should we desire to return to Him, as Jesus stated above, He will direct us to His empowered representative. God's representative is like the ambassador in the foreign country. A traveler who gets put in jail in a foreign country will have no other hope but the ambassador of his home country to pull him out and negotiate his return to his homeland.
The Supreme Being is doing the same thing when he embarks His representative. We are in a foreign country, in that this physical world is not our home. We are trapped here, without a refuge other than God and His representative. Should we sincerely desire to return home, God directs us to His representative, who guides us back home.
It is a very practical thing.
No fantastic or imaginative scenarios are needed.
“I will raise him up on the last day,” means that Jesus, because he is an empowered representative of the Supreme Being, has the authority to deliver a person (by following his teachings) from the physical world back to the spiritual world at the time of death. But as Jesus states clearly elsewhere, these teachings are coming from the Supreme Being:
“My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me." (John 7:16)As indicated, above, the “last day” is the time of death of our current physical body. Each of us has a last day of the physical body. It is not some mysterious day in the future when there will be an apocalypse (an interpretation originally conjured up by ecclesiastical teachers of the church - dictated by the Roman government - to scare followers into paying their tithings). It is the day that each of us dies. On that day, everything in our physical world is torn away from us: Our family, our name, our reputation, our money, our home and all our material possessions are ripped away from us in one fell swoop. This is the day that each person dreads.
This is also the day we are judged for our activities in this lifetime: It is Judgement Day. If we have taken refuge in the teachings of the representative of God, we are guided back to God's spiritual world. If not, we are sent back to the physical world for continued training (and hellish conditions precisely reflective of our past behavior).
"I am the bread of life"
The reason why Jesus says, "I am the bread of life" is because He is representing God, and delivering God's message - which gives life: "But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die." We are obviously not talking about eating Jesus. That is ridiculous. Jesus is using bread as a metaphor.
So what would Jesus be bringing to the people that would give them the ability to not die?
Jesus also spoke about the bread being his flesh at the last supper. Was he speaking of his literal flesh? Many ecclesiastical teachers of sectarian institutions say that Jesus was speaking of his sacrifice on the cross, thinking that by devouring his dead physical body we are saved (as is done ceremoniously during ecclesiastical rituals with wine and crackers). This is not only a crock, it also doesn't make sense. It is also ghoulish - akin to cannibalism. Jesus was not referring to literally eating his physical body.
Jesus many times spoke of the physical body as differentiated from our actual identity as spiritual:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear...." (Matt 6:25)He taught that we should seek the higher realm:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matt. 5:6)Why would Jesus suddenly want people to start eating his physical flesh to become saved?
So what do the metaphors of "bread" and "flesh" mean, then?
Jesus was speaking of the knowledge he was giving to others: His teachings. This is Jesus' very substance - what his focus was as he walked the earth. Jesus spent so much time teaching people. He stood before masses and he spoke to small groups. He spoke privately and he spoke publicly. The four books of the New Testament are full of only some of his teachings (scholars say there were at least 50 books of Jesus' teachings being distributed before the Roman government highjacked the scriptures and formed the New Testament while banning the rest).
Why would Jesus have spent so much time teaching, if all we had to do is ritually eat his body like cannibals and be saved?
Meaning of 'bread'
The use of the word“bread” as analogous to hearing knowledge from the loving servant and representative of God is appropriate because this knowledge is like food in that it satisfies the spiritual living being - assuming the person takes that knowledge to heart and begins to act upon it. This culminates with taking up the loving service to the Supreme Being. Jesus stated this elsewhere:
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work." (John 4:34)Acting on the instructions from God's representative is also the meaning of "he who believes has everlasting life." "Believes" is not a good translation* of the Greek word πιστεύω (pisteuō). The word also means to trust - see below for a more appropriate translation*
In other words, simply accepting God's or Jesus' existence does not save us. Anyone can accept God's existence - even the most selfish, evil person can believe in God's existence.
Rather, Jesus is speaking of trust. This means to rely upon God. It means to trust that Jesus' instructions come from the Supreme Being, and the Supreme Being cares for us.
It means trusting that the Supreme Being wants the best for us, and everything that happens is ultimately for our welfare. The Supreme Being wants us to be happy. If we follow the instructions from God's representative, we will become happy, and fulfilled.
Jesus represented the Supreme Being as he delivered to others the knowledge about how they could come to know and love God. Once we come to know and love the Supreme Being, we can return to Him at the time of death ("raise him up on the last day.").
This is also precisely what the Supreme Being spoke of through Isaiah as well. God wants us to return to Him, and He sends His loving servants as His representatives to give us the knowledge and instructions to be able to return home to Him. And what is the central instruction given by Jesus, Moses and all the other bona fide representatives of God?
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)
*Here is the translation of this statement according to the Gospels of Jesus:
“Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can follow me unless the Creator who sent me guides them, and I will raise them up at the end of their lifetime. It is written by the Prophets: ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Anyone who has heard and learned from the Creator also follows me. No one knows the Creator except one who associates with God; only he knows the Creator. Very truly I say to you, one who trusts in me achieves eternal life. I am the food of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, but they died. This is the food that descends from the spiritual realm, that which one may eat and not die. I am the living food that descends from the spiritual realm. If anyone consumes this food they will live forever. And the food I give for the sake of life in the world is my very substance.” (John 6:43-51)