"I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man [or man who is in heaven]. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:10-15)
What did Nicodemous ask?Here Jesus is responding to Nicodemus the rabbi's continued questions. After Jesus’ previous statement (see previous entry), Nicodemus asks:
“How can this be?” (John 3:9)This prompts Jesus to question how it is that Nicodemus is a Jewish teacher, and he cannot discern between matter and spirit — one of the basics of spiritual life (as Jesus had spoken of earlier). Did the Jewish teachings not teach about the spiritual world and the difference between the spiritual world and the physical world?
Then Jesus comments that even though authorized teachers and prophets in the line of David, including John the Baptist, taught about the dimension they know — heaven, or the spiritual world — people (such as Nicodemus) do not believe them.
Even as they try to teach about the spiritual world from the perspective of the physical material world, the people still do not believe their teachings. Jesus presents that one cannot know about heaven (the spiritual world) unless he has entered the spiritual world and can thus speak about it from experience. One cannot speak about the spiritual dimension with authority unless they have been there, in other words.
What does 'Son of Man' mean?The next sentence has often been misinterpreted. "Son of Man" is often confused to mean an exclusive position. This would mean that no one except for Jesus has ever been in heaven. If we believe this interpretation, this means that all of the other prophets and saints through the years never went to heaven: Only Jesus has been there. This is a nonsensical position, yet this is the interpretation that the sectarian preachers, ministers and priests would have us believe.*
Furthermore, the Greek word translated to “son” is υἱός (huios). This can indicate a relationship of offspring in the context of a physical family, but in this context, it is more appropriately defined in the Greek lexicon, as "one who depends on another or is his follower."
"Man" is being translated from the Greek word, ἀνθρώπου, which can mean "man" but can also mean "mankind," "people" or "humanity."
Thus, within the context of the self-reference of υἱὸς τοῦ [of] ἀνθρώπου, the more appropriate translation* would be "servant of humanity" or "servant of the people."
This is why God called Ezekiel "Son of Man" ["servant of humanity"] more than 60 times, and why he also called Daniel "Son of Man."
Accordingly, Jesus refers to himself as the "Son of Man" with a humble reference. We can also see this humble self-identification in David's referral to himself as a Son of Man:
"O Lord, what is man that you care for him, the Son of Man that you think of him?" (Psalm 144:3)The reason professional sectarian teachers want to describe Jesus as the only person who's been to heaven is that they - ironically as Jesus also describes here - are not speaking from a position of being from the spiritual world. Their interpretations are coming from those whose eyes and hearts only see the physical world.
The appropriate translation* of υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, rather than "Son of Man" would thus be "servant of humanity," or servant of the people.
Is Jesus the only spiritual teacher?Many sectarian institutions have put forth the premise that Jesus is the only bonafide spiritual teacher. Is it true?
This is precisely the intention of the Council of Nicaea in Constantinople of the fourth century, organized by King Constantine. And his purpose? To organize the Christian churches and their various teachers into one church so it could be controlled politically. Why? So that Constantine could maintain control over Europe. He understood that by controlling the teachings of the most popular religion, he could control the population.
So the council organized what is referred to as the Nicene Creed. This creed was a sectarian interpretation of the scriptures imposed upon the Christian world by a body of political appointees from various churches, gathered under the command of Emperor Constantine. This turned the teachings of Jesus into a political tool to exert power over people. It had nothing to do with the truth.
This goes against everything Jesus and all his disciples taught. If Jesus was the only teacher then why did Jesus send out his disciples to teach to others? They must also be teachers if they were teaching.
And those who teach on behalf of sectarian institutions today are also assuming the role of teacher. Even if they proclaim that Jesus is the only teacher, they are teaching that. Therefore it would be a hypocrisy to teach that Jesus is the only teacher.
Jesus also quoted the teachings of the Prophets before him. This confirms that Jesus accepted the Prophets teachings. Part of the purpose of the Bible is to chronicle the teachings of the Prophets. They taught that to realize God, one must humbly approach God in prayer, and hear from those teachers who are representing God. They taught that one's relationship with God is a personal one, not one of an organization of men. Love of God cannot be enforced by a political group.
The knowledge of God does not come from an electorate: It comes from one's personal communion with God, and God hands this knowledge down through His loving servants - those prophets and teachers such as Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jesus and so many others.
All of these teachers were individuals teaching a personal message. They were not political assemblies of men. God's representatives are individuals, not political groups with ulterior motives.
For this same reason, all political assemblies of men, be they made up of cardinals, bishops, deacons or whatever, do not represent God. They are councils of men and/or women who seek to sustain the organization they represent. Their conclusions, voted on just as a legal bill might be voted on, do not represent the will of God. Their conclusions represent the political will of that group.
What is the Council of Nicaea?Therefore, we cannot accept the conclusions of the Council of Nicaea. The First Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. created seven creeds. The next council, fifty years later, further embellished upon these with nine creeds. They defined who Jesus was, how Mary fit in, and the relationship between Jesus, God and the Holy Ghost.
These nine creeds have since become the pillars of the interpretation of the scriptures by sectarians around the world. And the teachings of practically every preacher, reverend, priest or pope of today's sectarian organizations all teach these misinterpretations of Jesus' teachings.
Anyway, the translation to “Son of Man” simply makes no sense. What the heck is a “Son of Man”? Isn't every male a son of a man? Furthermore, the sectarian explanation of this does not make practical sense either.
This translation as "servant of humanity" is consistent when applied to other mistranslations of "Son of Man" throughout the Bible, in addition to David's self-reference quoted above:
"...how much less man, who is but a maggot— a Son of Man, who is only a worm!" [Job, humbly referring to himself] (Job 25:5-6)
"He said to me, "Son of Man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you." " [Ezekiel referring to God calling upon him] (Ezekiel 2:1-3)
"He said: "Son of Man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against Me to this very day."(Ezekiel 2:2-4)
"He then said to me: "Son of Man, go now to the house of Israel and speak My words to them."(Ezekiel 3:3-5)(God refers to Ezekiel as the "Son of Man" over 60 times)
"As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. "Son of Man," he said to me, "understand that the vision concerns the time of the end." " (Daniel 8:16-18)Certainly, these indicate that υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου does not refer to the exclusive position of Jesus. "Servant of humanity" is the only logical translation of υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.
Thus, Jesus and other prophets such as David and Ezekiel could refer to themselves as “servants of humanity” because they were devoted to helping others return home to God. And this, of course, is why God referred to Ezekiel as a "servant of humanity."
So when Jesus makes these statements about the servant of humanity, he is speaking in a general way. Note how he refers to the servant of humanity in the third person. Why wouldn’t he just say “me” or “I” if it were all about him? No, he is speaking in general about how loving servants of humanity descend from the spiritual world to bring others back home to God. This is a selfless mission - one that requires the loving servants of God to make many sacrifices in their service.
So why was Jesus bringing up the concept of being "lifted up" within the context of the rabbi not understanding the spiritual world and the difference between the physical world?
The concept of “must be lifted up” describes the sacrificing of one's physical life in the service of God, the departure of the spiritual individual from the physical body, and the resulting ascension (or return) of God's loving servant to the spiritual world.
This is what Jesus did. He sacrificed his physical body as part of his loving service to God and humanity, illustrated his identity as spirit to his disciples, and then ascended into the spiritual world to return to God.
Why the sacrifice? Was it so that people could stare at the cross every Sunday and be relieved of their sins so they could return to their selfish lives on Monday free of the consequences of their actions? Certainly not.
When people do not believe someone, radical action must sometimes be taken to illustrate the seriousness of the issue. In Jesus' case, teaching the Truth required significant sacrifice to illustrate just how important our relationship with God truly is. This is, in fact, the reason for Jesus' sacrifice: To illustrate the importance of our relationship with God.
Isn't that what any sacrifice says?Consider an army soldier who gives his life to his country in a battle. What is this sacrifice saying? It is saying that the soldier considers his country more important than his own life.
In the same way, Jesus' sacrifice is saying that he considered God, and the teachings of God, more important than his own physical life.
Note also that Jesus was not the only representative of God that sacrificed his life in his service to God. Jesus' own teacher, John the Baptist, also sacrificed his life on behalf of his teachings and service to God. He was beheaded by Herod, after being jailed. In addition, many of Jesus' disciples were also tortured on behalf of their teachings and service to the Supreme Being.
This is the ultimate service to God, and to humankind.
It is not, as terrorists would imagine, murdering innocent people while committing suicide. Jesus did not commit suicide and neither did his teacher John the Baptist or many of Jesus' disciples. They were murdered by those who could not tolerate someone teaching love of God.
Some might ask: Why did God let Jesus be murdered then?
This scenario would essentially remove the freedom of those who murdered Jesus from rebelling against the Supreme Being. To do so would be to also remove their freedom to decide to love God.
In other words, the Supreme Being give each of us the freedom to love Him or not - which requires the freedom for us to also act against His will and thus act in a self-centered fashion.
This does not mean that God has lost control. It simply means that God allows us to exercise freedom within a virtual reality - this temporary physical plane of existence.
Should a person understand the meaning of Jesus' sacrifice, and see the purpose of life is to serve and please God, that person will have, as Jesus puts it here, "eternal life." What is “eternal life?” Eternal life is returning home to God in the spiritual world: A place without birth, disease, old age and death. Life in the physical world is temporary. Life in the spiritual world is eternal.
Eternal life is also where relationships are eternal. Our physical relationships with friends, family and spouse, are all temporary. They end when the body dies. The relationships of the spiritual world - ones centered around loving God and loving His children - are eternal. They do not end when the body dies.
And being "saved" is not a condition of being cleansed of sins: It is a change of heart. It is the change from a selfish consciousness to the consciousness of love for God and His children. This is the consciousness of those within the spiritual world.
*Here is the translation of these verses from the Lost Gospels of Jesus:
Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and do you not understand these things? Truly I say to you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you do not accept my testimony. If I speak of worldly matters and you do not trust me, how will you trust me when I speak of spiritual matters? No one ascends to the spiritual realm unless he descends from the spiritual realm as the Servant of Humanity. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Servant of Humanity be honored, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:10-15)**
**There is considerable evidence from earlier texts that Jesus' statement ended at John 3:15, and the verses later numbered as John 3:16-21 were added in as commentary by later translators. It is for this reason that a number of translations, including this one, end Jesus' quote at John 3:15.