Monday, October 13, 2008
The Milk and the Meat by KRS-ONE
The Milk and the Meat
An essay on Christ by KRS-ONE
Usually when we hear the term Christ we immediately think of Jesus. In most westernized countries Jesus and Christ are one in the same. In fact, Jesus is believed by many to be the only Christ there is (or was). And of course, this essay in no way debates,demeans, or attempts to challenge the faith of the reader. The intent of these writings is to factually inspire the reader to reach for the Christ within one’s self. Is this not the whole point of the Jesus story? Yes, the praise and worship of Jesus is essential to the“believer’s” faith. And again, this essay has less to do with Jesus as it has more to do with YOU!
At some point we all must bear our own cross and adopt the actual character of the Christ for ourselves. However, if we adopt a “nobody’s perfect” attitude when it is written Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect(Mathew 5:48), we shall in no way grow into spiritual maturity. How quickly do we forget that Christ is who Jesus became and it is Christ that we all must become. Long before the birth of Jesus, the people of the ancient world were already familiar with the term and concept of Christ. For hundreds of years even before the birth of Moses the concept of Christ was ascribed to those who personified God (or the gods) on earth.Christ was a title given to God’s appointed and/or chosen messiahs. Similar to an Islamic Mahdi meaning; right guided one, the Christ in the ancient world was a leader, a liberator, an anticipated savior; someone who relieved human suffering with the events and/or sacrifices of one’s own life. Self-sacrifice is the Christ. This basic idea of the Christ is not exclusively Christian, nor is Christ the family name or last name of Jesus. Christ is who Jesus became.
The Bible documents how Jesus was called Christ.From the very beginning of the Jesus story we read in Matthew 1:16; And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of who was born Jesus, who is called Christ. Elsewhere in Matthew 16:15 Jesus asks Peter; But whom say ye I am? And Peter answers in Matthew16:16; Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God. In John 4:25 the woman at the well said to Jesus;…I know that messiah cometh which is called Christ. The concept of the Christ was already a well known concept in the ancient world. The Jews were simply waiting on “their” messiah to come with the supernatural ability to free them from roman rule.Many cultures at different times in world history have recorded the words and deeds of their Christ or messiah. And many of the Christ stories of other more ancient civilizations bare a striking resemblance to the Christ story found in the Bible’s New Testament. As far back as 1200 B.C., the savior Virishna was born of a virgin and his birth was threatened by the ruler, Cansa. He was presented at birth with frankincense and myrrh; he performed miracles, healed the sick and taught basic morality. But finally, he was put to death upon a cross between two thieves. He also rose from the dead. The same and/or similar stories are told of Budha Sakia of India, Odin of the Scandinavians, Zoroster and Mithra of Persia, Hesus or Eros of the Druids, and Adonis—son of the virgin Io of Greece. All of these Christs were worshipped as God and all were revered as saviors.Krishna, the Hindu God of India, appearing over 3,000 years before the birth of Jesus was also born of a virgin; father was a carpenter, was called Savior and was crucified between two thieves.An even more ancient resemblance comes from the Egyptian Christ, Horus. Horus was revered all across Egypt as the light of the world. Horus was the way, the truth and the life five thousand years before the birth of Jesus. Horus was even baptized by Anup the Baptizer just as Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Horus (like Jesus) was also called the good Shepard. And Horus (like Jesus) was also called Christ. In fact, Horus was called the KRST or the Ka of Ra meaning: the consciousness of God. The Greeks called such a personality the Christos which is a translation of the Semitic m`sheeha or messiah;the appointed or anointed one—the Christ. The all-seeing single eye of Horus appears today on top of the pyramid on the back left hand side of the American one dollar bill.The eye shining above the pyramid is the all-seeing eye of Horus and a symbol of the Christ—the finishing of an unfinished work.For centuries (before and after Jesus) the Christ consciousness was always thought of as the consciousness of a person who has subdued the cravings of the body, was completely detached from the pleasures of the world and absolutely committed to the manifestation of God’s Will on earth. Christ is that state of being where the servant of God becomes the friend of God, ultimately becoming the son of God; one with God—the Christ.Over many centuries those who have been intuitively called out of the world to pursue the Christ have been advised to symbolically die to their old character and old understanding in the flesh to be reborn into a new character and new understanding inspirit. Dying to your will meant dying to your carnal passions, and when you died to your carnal passions you were free. The ancient world knew that no human being was truly free until they had mastered themselves! That as long as you are led by the cravings of your own body and the desires of your own mind you shall in no way be truly free. The same is still true today.For centuries this is what Christ has really been all about.
Christ was about the perfection of one’s Self which started with a decrease in one’s carnal nature and an increase in one’s divine nature. It was about submitting one’s worldly will to the Will of God. It was about being God’s Will on earth. The Christ was about adopting the personality of God over the passions of the flesh. Ritualistically and symbolically the decision to be the Christ begins with the symbolic death (or sacrifice) of one’s flesh and one’s dependency upon the world. This ritual and symbolism predates the Jesus story of the Bible and to this day remains the initiation into many spiritual fraternities, societies, churches, temples, etc.However, today more Christians are satisfied with praising and worshipping Jesus’ holy name than picking up their own cross and following in Jesus’ footsteps. And again, this is not a harsh or unjust criticism of anyone’s faith or specific belief in Jesus. However, at some point those who talk Jesus are going to have to walk Jesus! And Jesus walked on water. Going to a church or a temple to worship and praise God shows your faith and love for God. It shows that you value the things of the spirit. But at some point you are going to have to become the spirit that you worship and praise if are to truly relieve your own suffering as well as the suffering of others. At some point, God must become real in your life. This essay does not deny that Jesus was Christ. This essay simply asks; when are we going to become Christ ourselves? When are we going to die to our old beliefs,old traditions and old habits to be resurrected as the savior of just our own homes? How long shall the cravings of the flesh rule over us?Such a ritual as dying to one’s carnal nature to be resurrected in one’s divine nature is depicted in Luke 23:26 where it reads: And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. This bit of scripture draws interest in a variety of ways. First, the Spirit is the animating essence of a living thing, whereas a ghost is the animating essence of a dead thing. To commend something is to present it as worthy, as approved. When Jesus says,Father into thy hands I commend my spirit, Jesus is presenting his spirit as acceptable before God. However, it is interesting how after Jesus …commends his spirit it is written that he …gave up the ghost, the animating essence of his flesh; the dead thing. Such a commencement of one’s spirit and the death of one’s flesh is not the end of one’s spiritual life, it is actually the beginning.Almost every spiritual teacher says it in their own way according to their own cultural experience, but the general theme has always been the same. Those who have been intuitively called out of the world to serve the Will of God have been for many years advised to symbolically die to their old character and old understanding to be reborn into a new character and a new understanding in Christ.
John 3:3 reads; verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.Traditionally, the spiritual journey toward Christhood began with one’s baptism. Usually a ceremony was performed and the “believer” was anointed with water symbolizing anew birth, a new beginning, cleanliness, purity, resurrection. Here, the seeker symbolizes a baby just born into a new world. From the time you make the decision to pursue the Christ, you are like a newborn baby in spiritual understanding—you are reborn. And just as babies drink milk until they are strong enough for solid food, so also the “believer” is given the word of God (the Bible), until he/she can handle the deeper mysteries of God that stretch beyond the Bible and all written materials on God and spiritual living. The Bible (or the Word) is indeed spiritual milk.While you are a babe in your spiritual understanding, the Bible serves as your milk while the Church serves as your nursery. The strong meat of advanced spiritual living is reserved for those who have outgrown the milk and the nursery. Nevertheless, the milk and the nursery play important roles in the development of the Christ. Unfortunately,many well-intentioned people tend to linger too long in the nursery, comfortable with the milk. The milk is not the life of Christ; the milk prepares you for a life in Christ. It sustains “believers” until they can eat the stronger meat of self-sacrifice. But for centuries“believers” have become comfortable the milk of God, stagnating their progress in eating the bread of God, never tasting the strong meat of God’s Will. As Hebrews 5:12—13reads; For when for the time ye ought be teachers ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk and not of strong meat. For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness for he is a babe.The Bible, or word of God, symbolizes the milk. As 1 Peter 2:2 states; As newborn babes,desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby. We can see Paul’s frustration with the “new-born” Christians of his time and their use of the milk in1Corinthians chapter 3, verses 1, 2 and 3 where he writes: And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there are among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? And notice the relation between..babes in Christ and fed you with milk. Paul also reveals the fact that even though you may know the word of God, such a knowing is still immature or carnal in spirit.However, after spending some time with the milk of God (the Word), the seeker does mature and begins to grasp the bread of God (righteousness through example). Having grown strong with the milk, the seeker is now prepared to eat of solid bread.
As John6:33 states; For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven and giveth life unto the world. Those in search of Christ already know that the Bible speaks in parable.This simple fact was learned during the milk-drinking stage (or degree) of one’s spiritual development where Jesus says; unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand (Luke 8:10). So when the Bible speaks of…God’s kingdom, we do not look up into the sky. We refer to Luke 17:21 where it states; Neither shall they say, lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Those in search of Christ, or a perfect union with God, are beyond the milk. They are beyond the worship of Jesus as the Lord of their lives. They are seeking the personality of Christ which can be found in the story of Jesus.The bread of God is he who comes down from his/her own place of security (heaven) to assist others get to their places of security. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger and he that believeth on me shall never thirst (John 6:35). For those seeking the Christ consciousness this statement is not interpreted as what Jesus is saying to us; such a statement is interpreted as what we should be saying to ourselves and others. He that cometh to me shall never hunger…is a declaration or affirmation as to the character of the Christ within all of us. We should believe this of ourselves and express this toward others. Imagine if we said this to ourselves every day before we walked out the door…he that cometh to me shall never hunger… this is the character of the Christ. Such is the bread of God. Those that routinely give up their security and happiness for the security and happiness of others are called the bread of God.At this stage (or degree) we have matured now from milk to bread. As the living bread of God we attain the proper spiritual character for digestion of the strong meat. Here, we are still young in spiritual understanding but we are not babes. It is at this stage that we really begin to train for Christhood. Through the experiences of our own lives we are formed,sculptured and chiseled into the Christ. As mentioned earlier, such spiritual maturity includes the giving up of one’s own individual worldly will and desires so that one may unite with the Will of God in spirit and in truth. Such a unity has been expressed generally in three stages (or degrees); they are the milk, the bread and the meat. Or the way, the truth and the life.The milk, or the way, signifies preparation. The bread, or truth, signifies realization. And the meat, or the life, signifies the work (or conformation). The work is to carry out or perform the Will of God which is written in your heart! It is your purpose. By this act,people are taught the way, the truth and the life of God through the conscious examples of a Christ-lived life.An example of the Christ-lived life is described in John 6:38 where it reads; For I came down from heaven not to do mine own will but the will of Him that sent me. This is a clear statement as to the self-sacrifice of the Christ-character. Such a character (or personality)is the Will of God. John 6:39-40 reads; And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me,that of all which he hath given, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of Him that sent me, that everyone would seeth the son and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up on the last day.Further down we read in John 6:44-45; No man can come to me, except the father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.First of all, we should notice the repeated phrases…I will raise him up at the last day.When a “believer” commits to the path of Christ, that “believer” is said to have died.Such a death is symbolic. However, it does mark the beginning of one’s new life in the pursuit of Christ. In such a pursuit, the “believer” is said to be born-again. With this in mind, the last day of the “believer” is interpreted as his/her first day in the pursuit of Christ.
At the last day, or the day you decide to become born-again, Jesus says;…I will raise him up. This is a declaration of God’s commitment to teach, protect and mature the“believer” toward the Christ consciousness. In other words, the character of Jesus (the bread of God) is what raises the “believer” up toward the Christ. Up is used here symbolically because the Christ consciousness is commonly thought of as a higher consciousness. Such a consciousness represents the mind of the upper man/woman or the superman/woman. It is the character of Jesus; which is the giving up of one’s individual will in submission to God’s Will that raises us up to Christhood.But hidden in parable is an even deeper meaning to the Christ-lived life. First, at the last day…all which He (God) hath given me, I should lose nothing. Here, it is realized that all students, assistants and family members are given to you by God. All possessions and titles as well are given by God. And the declaration (even promise) given to those committed to the path of Christ is that all that God gives to you shall not be taken away,lost, or destroyed—this includes people. However, the statement…I should lose nothing…clearly shows that as the bread of God you do not lose or give up, or let go of your material possessions or close friends. In fact, you shall…raise it (them) up again at the last day.This is important to know because during the milk-drinking stage of spiritual learning,the “believer” is told to…sell whatever thou hast and give to the poor…take up the cross and follow me (Mark 10:21). However in John 6:37 we read; All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. Here, the“believer” realizes that God is the provider. We can even see a call to patience and a subtle submission of one’s desires and wants. We read; All that the Father hath given me,shall come to me…It’s clear that, all that the Father giveth me…indicates that God has already decided what we are going to get; and …shall come to me, clearly indicates that we haven’t gotten it yet. That it shall come. Such a statement is a call to patience and faith. That whatever is yours; is yours by divine right. Therefore, there is no need to be anxious or worried. All that the Father hath given me, shall come to me.In addition,…everyone that seeth the son and believeth on him, may have everlasting lifeis also what we should be saying and perceiving of ourselves. If you interpret the use ofthe word, son to mean you, then everyone that sees you and believes in your righteousness should receive spiritual motivation and rejuvenation or everlasting life from your personality and character. The “believer” is instructed here to lead and inspire people by example. Finally, no man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…is not only a declaration of protection against the spiritually immature, no man can come…except the Father…draw him, but the following passage; …it is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God…indicates that the people of God, the true “believers”, those who already intuitively feel the presence of God in their lives will be automatically attracted to you. In fact, they are given to you by God. This realization creates your ministry.
So, as you eat of the bread of God, you learn to give up a littlemore of your will for God’s Will. You let go of worldly worries and the pursuit ofmaterial goods and you inspire the everlasting life in others with your Christ-likecharacter.With this stage of spiritual development, the “believer” is prepared for the meat. AsHebrews 5:14 states; But strong meat belongth to them that are of full age, even thosewho by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews6:1-3 speaks even deeper to such spiritual maturity, it reads; Therefore, leaving theprinciples of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection, not laying again thefoundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God. Of the doctrine ofbaptisms and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead and of eternaljudgment. And this we will do if God permits.Here, the Bible clearly points to a level of spiritual living that is beyond the rituals of theChurch and the Bible itself. The Bible seems to regard our modern day church rituals andtraditional church teachings as milk. As a spiritual instruction story, the Bible seems to bepushing its readers beyond its pages; urging the Christian to eat of God’s bread and eventually of God’s meat.
What is God’s meat? Jesus answers this question in John 4:34where it reads; My meat is to do the Will of Him that sent me and to finish His work. Thisspeaks directly to your purpose. Your purpose is your work. God has already given youyour work but are you actually afraid to do your work? The bread of God clearlyunderstands that the actualization of one’s God given purpose is for the benefit of all.God is depending upon the actualization of the purpose given to you. However, afterthinking about what it might take to actualize God’s Will in our lives, most of us becomeafraid of the trails and tribulations that must be faced, and we simply go get jobs contentwith Sunday service at the local praise and worship church.To walk in the security of God you must be willing to give up the security of the world.This is another form of self-sacrifice. However as the bread of God, one’s love for God isexpressed through the free giving and serving of one’s purpose toward others. Here, you act on God’s behalf in people’s lives; not on your own behalf. You express your loveopenly to all. Whether difficult or pleasant you are unaffected because you are not actingon your behalf; you are acting on behalf of God. You are acting on behalf of Love. Not that you have no life of your own, but that your life is dedicated to performing the acts of God in the lives of those that surround you.
Jesus says in John 15:13; Greater love hathno man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Again, we can see in thisstatement the self-sacrificing nature of the Christ.As mentioned earlier, such a life is not lived in the world dependent upon worldly ways,truths and lives. Such a life is free and fearless. But do you have the courage to live theway in which God intends for you to live? Are you strong enough to carry the burden ofGod’s blessing on your life? Are you even worthy of such a blessing? Or are you at adead-end job while your purpose deteriorates in your own mind? Ask yourself seriously,if you work everyday and still feel unfulfilled like you are not getting anywhere, what areyou actually laboring for? Jesus says in John 6:27; Labor not for the meat whichperisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life. Such a life requires anunwavering commitment to the actualization of the purpose that God has placed in yourheart.Doing the work that God has placed in your heart for the benefit of all is the Christ.Rising to one’s own higher Self against all obstacles, temptations and traps is the Christ.Sacrificing yourself for the benefit of someone else is the Christ. Perfection of yourself isthe Christ. However again, most people appear to be more concerned with worshippingand praising Jesus as the Christ, as opposed to imitating Jesus’ character in an attempt tobe the Christ. Eventually, we all must bear our own crosses.
This is where some people cringe. Be the Christ? How? But this is the very point of thewhole Jesus story. Here, we can see that reading, worshipping and praising are greatmotivators, and all are necessary steps in one’s spiritual development. But the intentionof the Jesus story clearly encourages the reader to imitate Jesus and do the work! Such isthe attainment of the Christ consciousness—a perfectly selfless and loving being. In thisstate of being the Will of God is your total existence. You are God’s Will on earth.Advancing from believing in Jesus as the sacrificial lamb of God sent to take away thesins of the world; the true “believer” becomes the Christ that takes away the sins of theworld through one’s own individual conduct and character.The truth of the matter is that most people are simply too afraid to be God. Yes, be God!Not to posture as if they are God! Or that they are the creator and sustainer of theuniverse; but very simply, many people are afraid to be the light of their own world. Andbeing the light of your world, selfless and loving is the Christ. Ye are the light of theworld. A city that is set on a hill, cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put itunder a bushel, but on a candlestick; and giveth light unto all that are in the house. Letyour light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify yourFather which is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16). However, many well-intentioned, kindhearted,religious people are simply too afraid to answer someone else’s prayer on behalfof God. Many well-intentioned people are simply too afraid to love, too afraid to forgive,to trust, to respect.Jesus says in John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Jesuscontinues in John 15:15; Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth notwhat his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of myfather, I have made known unto you.
When Jesus says, Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you, he also tells us what his “command” is in John 15:12. Itreads; This is my commandment that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Thiscommand is repeated in John 15:17 where Jesus says, These things I command you, thatye love one another.However, such a simple command turns out to be the most difficult act to carry out.People are simply too afraid to love. Yet, it is this act that makes you a disciple of Jesusand the Christ. Not whether you are “saved”. Not whether you go to “this” church or“that” temple. Not whether you’ve studied the Bible in its entirety, nor even whether youhave secret knowledge. None of these things make you a friend and a disciple of Jesusthe Christ! Jesus says in John 13:34-35; A new covenant I give unto you, that ye love oneanother as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know thatye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.This command literally encourages the “believer” to be Christ-like by doing whataverage people cannot seem to do; that is, …love one another. As easy and as simple asthis statement may sound, it takes a tremendous effort to actually live within a personalitythat loves, cares for, shows concern for and is affectionate toward those we come incontact with. But this is the character of the Christ.
It is important to note that Jesus gave this command (love one another) to his disciples—to his friends. Even though Jesus’main message was love, he explicitly commanded those who were his friends to love oneanother. This is the character of not only the Christ, but this is the strategy that holds thechurch together. True “believers” in Jesus truly love one another. Here, we learn that it isone’s conduct of love that identifies one as a disciple of Jesus the Christ. The life of Jesusas the Christ is about having the strength to be God. This ultimately was Jesus’ crime—blasphemy!John 10:33 reads, The Jews answered him saying for a good work we stone thee not, butfor blasphemy and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus responds bysaying in John 10:34, Is it not written in your law, I said ye are gods? Jesus furtherexplains in John 10:37-38, If I do not the work of my Father, believe me not. But if I do,though, ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know and believe that theFather is in me and I in Him. Once again Jesus displays the selfless Christ characterwhen he says…The Father (God) is in me, and I in Him. This revelation in one’s own lifeis the Christ.Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Mathew 5:48).Such a statement commands “believers” to reach beyond the milk and the nursery to be asGod would be. To act as God would act. Forgive as God would forgive. Love as God would love.
Praise and worship has its place, but “believers” are commanded to be…doers of the word. This means on the job, you are the Christ. This means with yourfamily, you are the Christ. This means, equally with your friends, and with your enemies,you are the Christ. Your character is selfless. Your greatest satisfaction is in easing thesuffering of others. With love and with patience you teach those around you by example.Your very lifestyle inspires others to reach for their own innate potentials and abilities.You truly care. You truly love. Thou art then truly the Christ! THERE IT IS!
Lawrence Krishna Parker (born August 20, 1965), better known by his stage name KRS-One, is an American rapper. Over his career, he has been known by several pseudonyms including "Kris Parker", "The Blastmaster", "The Teacha", and "The Philosopher". KRS-One is a significant figure in the hip hop community and is often credited by critics and other hip hop artists as epitomizing the "essence" of an MC and for being one of the greatest MC's to hold the mic. At the 2008 BET Awards, KRS-One was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, for all his work and effort towards the Stop the Violence Movement as well as the overall pioneering of hip-hop music and culture.