We have almost reached the end of the Master Key and already I am drawn back to the beginning. I have printed the early weeks and am again spending time on each section before moving on to the next. I don’t feel the need to give each section a week this time because the language is no longer difficult and my understanding is greater.
What I have learned more than anything else is how much I don’t know. It has come to my attention how much I have quoted from great authors past and present and most of all from the Bible which I hold as the benchmark above all other books. I had thought I understood what I have quoted… (we all nod knowingly to each other as if we are alone are in possession of some secret information to which ‘the outsiders’ have no access.) but now even though I understand it in new, deeper ways: still I realise that there is much more that I have not yet understood. I could give half a dozen examples but I shall write about just one taken from Zechariah 4 later in this article.
This example has been so helpful to me I have made it the conclusion of my last two sermons which can be heard by visiting the website at www.hgfchurch.org or on the podcasts from Hindley Green Family Church where I am the minister.
In starting the Master Key again. I have printed the original on one side of a page and on the opposite side I and am writing my own translation in the more modern language I would use hoping to get the meaning across to a 14 year old.
I have taken the liberty of comparing it with my benchmark (the Bible) and am glad of the times when it has given me new light. There have been other times when I find it contradicts or doesn’t go as far as it should and in these times I allow Mr Haanel his opinion but find it disproved either in the course of time or that it was just wrong in the light of the Bible. I know that may be off putting to some but we either have a benchmark or we don’t, until something else disproves and displaces it I will stand on it even if I die doing so. Many will tell you it is not true but none can offer a fragment of real proof.
Haanel allows no room for the fall of man. He seems not to acknowledge sin and therefore negates the need for a saviour. But Christ said he came to seek and to save that which was lost. If He is not who He claimed to be then what right would He have to expect us to believe even a word of His teaching. Yet if every man would only live by His teaching in the Sermon on the Mount there would be only peace and prosperity in this world.
Haanel quotes the Bible and particularly the Words of Christ as often as it suits him and so if I were able to converse with him I should say, “if any of it is the truth then it is all the truth but if it contains even a single lie then we Christians are deceived above all men.”
You might think then that would apply to any book…if anything Haanel or any other serious author or philosopher says is true then everything they say is true and if one thing is wrong then the whole work is of no value…This cannot be so…I believe every sincere human effort is of value and I allow for areas of honest ignorance in an equally honest attempt to find truth. After all it is only the truth that will set us free. (You will notice repeated use of the ideas of honesty and sincerity, this is not accidental, I would like the reader to know that there are those who speak and those who write lies with a definite intention to deceive.) I make no claim to be perfect, I have been wrong many times but not intentionally and I am always hoping to gain new understanding.
William Ellery Channing (no relation) said back in 1829, “I call that mind free which jealously guards its intellectual rights and powers, which calls no man master, which does not content itself with a passive or hereditary faith, which opens itself to light whencesoever it may come, which receives new truth as an angel from Heaven.”
So let’s return to the promised example where Haanel has helped me to get more light on Zechariah chapter 4: verse 6 which says…
Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
As I said, I have come to understand that verse differently recently… perhaps I didn’t really understand it at all before.
Its one of those verses we quote ourselves and often hear others quote, and it sounds good but we are never quite sure what it really means. This is what came to me as I was meditating on it having earlier been thinking through some points in the Master Key.
Haanel says we are not a body with a spirit but a spirit with a body and we are almost in agreement on that one although I see it slightly differently.
First we must think of ourselves not as a body with a spirit…but as a Spirit with a soul and we LIVE in a body for the duration of our time on earth.
The body is wonderfully made, it is powerful in it’s own right and it has demands of it’s own, in the right place they are good and keep us alive…take one example…hunger…it can be very good…because it encourages us to eat which in the right amounts and the right quality of food keeps us alive and well.
But when it gets out of control, it can be very bad…if it becomes gluttony or some other eating disorder it will make us unwell, bring about diseases and even cause us to die before we should.
There are other lusts of the flesh too as we all probably are aware…so we understand as wonderful a creation as it is… the body has power…physical power. We must not let the flesh… or the body rule us. Ruling is the spirits job.
Then we HAVE a soul…it’s primarily our conscious mind…our emotions…our will, our memories and it too has power and it would seek to rule over the spirit.
Every living person has a spirit…when we die the spirit leaves…or to put it the right way round…when the spirit leaves there is no longer life in the body.
Haanel and I agree so far but here is where we appear to differ, and please understand, differing is not a problem and certainly no reason to fall out.
The human spirit is separated from God because of sin. The Bible calls that spiritual death…
Ephesians 2:1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.
But when he was crucified Jesus paid the price of every persons sin and so all sin is paid for…all debt is cancelled provided…and this is a huge point…provided they acknowledge their need of a Saviour…repent of their sins and receive God’s forgiveness. They must believe in their heart, (for heart read spirit) and confess that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Colossians 2:13 says You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.
So Jesus paid the price for all our sins…so that means that everybody can be reconciled to God and enjoy what Haanel refers to as the “Universal Mind.” For me there can be no mind without personality and so I cannot think of God, Father, Son or Holy Spirit as anything but 3 persons, one God.
So we were dead…and then when we believe on Christ we are made alive.
Some say we are ‘born again’, and actually it was Jesus that coined the phrase but it is over used today; it really only can have one meaning.
So the dead spirit is now a live spirit because it is reconciled to God’s Holy Spirit…it lives in the same body which it now recognises as temple of the Holy Spirit. And the soul is now being brought into subjection to the spirit. This does not happen instantly…it is a lifetime process and we do have to make conscious effort to co-operate with God and let Him transform us into a new creature by changing the way we think. (Romans 12:2 NLT)
OK so lets go back to Zechariah 4 Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.
Not by physical might…the body…its strength… it’s skills can all be used to get it’s own way….many men together can use their combined might…the might of an army can take a city captive or even a country…but God says not by military might…
Nor by Power…the soul has its power…will power…even a strong mind can overcome many week minds…coercion…manipulation…intimidation…God says not this kind of power….
Not by might…nor by power…but by MY Spirit…So the universal acts through the individual, regenerated, born again spirit, which is now alive to God, in touch with God’s Holy Spirit…who is the All Knowing, All Powerful, Everywhere Present God.
If you ask anything according to His will…her hears you…and if you ask i His name, nothing shall be impossible to you.
It is not me that does the works but my Father that dwells in me. and to quote Jesus again, “The works that I do you shall do also and greater works than these because I go to my Father.”