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GEMs of spiritual sense to welcome the angels & joys awaiting you this Christmas season!
insights from Cobbey Crisler, Ken Cooper & others from the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Christian Science”
for December 27, 2020

GEM#1: Believe & obey your angels to nurture the growth of the Christ idea! Like Joseph, accept & nurture God doing what seems impossible. Cobbey Crisler on Matt. 1:18-23 (cit. B1)
[Cobbey:] In Matthew 1, verse 18 … we find "the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise." The word "birth" in Greek is our word "genesis." Writing to a Jewish readership, there would seem to be very little question that Matthew was relating a new genesis here. The word would remind his readers of the opening book of the Bible. "The birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph." Our modem term "engagement" would probably best suit that. It was a period in which the couple would promise to one another. It was regarded with as much sanctity as the marriage-period itself. So that any violation of it morally was treated with the same severity as if it had been adultery during marriage.

“When the news reaches Joseph that Mary is ''with child," how do you think the average husband would greet that news? They aren't even married yet. The news comes to Joseph that his wife­to-be in this very sanctified period of promise is pregnant. Under the Jewish law, what would be the most severe measure that Joseph could take against Mary? Stoning. Publicly. He could have chosen and elected to have exposed Mary publicly and had her executed. But Joseph is as important an aspect of this great account of the introduction of Jesus humanly on earth as Mary. We get an insight into his thinking. Remember that Joseph is just you or I in the sense of going through the same reaction that one would have with this sort of news. This shows some of the quality and character of Joseph.

“(Verse 19), It says that "Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example." We see right away that he doesn't want to take the extreme measure, He wanted "to put her away privily," and go through divorce proceedings, but quietly.

“(Matthew 1, Verse 20). "While he thought on these things." That isn't exactly Joseph being a philosopher. The Greek word suggests agony. "While he agonized about these things.'' It gives us a view of what was really going on in his thinking. At that point, "an angel of the Lord appears unto him." "Angel," actually comes from a Greek word, angelos. It means "messenger" and is virtually inseparable from the message that the messenger delivers. It is this inseparable message and messenger that comes to Joseph in what appears to him as “a dream," addressing him as the "son of David" and saying, "Forget what you're thinking," which was a normal conclusion any husband would come to, "Because Mary is with child but what is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." How many husbands would exactly buy that? It really flies in the face of the entire biological history of man.

“Therefore, this event itself has become one of the most difficult to believe for anyone reading it. The virginity of Mary at the time of the birth of Jesus has been ridiculed by some, accepted religiously by others without question, and many of the rest of the readers somewhere in between. But let's go on with what this message is as recorded by Matthew.

“(Verse 21). “She will bring forth a son," his identity already established to the point that a name is given to him by the angel. That name really is a very common Hebrew name. It's the same name as Joshua received in the Old Testament. Joshua was not his original name. It was first Oshea, "help" or "salvation," (p. 64, J. R. Dummelow, "The One Volume Bible Commentary"). Joshua was a given name. It means something very close to our term "savior." The explanation of the angel is that this name really will define his mission "to save his people from their sins."

“Now we come face to face with one of the characteristics of Matthew. When we look at the gospel from an overall point of view, you see it over and over again. It may reveal to us what inspired Matthew to put pen to papyrus and record the gospel or good news. This is in Verse 22.

“(Verse 22). He explains that "all this was done." What is he talking about when he says "all this"? The virgin birth of Jesus. He is about to give us what he considers absolute proof that the virgin-birth occurred. It occurred as a result of prophecy. Does that tell us at what elevation Matthew holds in prophecy? If he's using this as proof of one of the most unbelievable, incredible, events recorded in the annals of man's history, then how does he view prophecy? Does he view prophecy as a man-product or as revelation from God?

“If he's writing this book for the Jews, it shows he is bringing in his big guns right from the beginning to show his Jewish readers that this is it! We can be fairly assured that he felt that what he is about to say would not be disputed, or at least be a matter of severe controversy in his audience. His famous statement which he says so often "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet."

“Verse 23 is taken from the Book of Isaiah (7:14). We are really in the middle of a controversy. Even at the time Matthew was writing, he obviously felt this was a major point. Look at it from a common-sense point of view. If that particular prophecy was extremely controversial when Matthew wrote this book, do you think he would have included it as his first means of proof of his whole statement in the gospel? Suppose you or I were average Jews of that period, and we'd picked up the gospel of Matthew or heard it read, and he came to this point. If we'd thought it a matter of controversy, do you think we'd even continue the book? We'd probably laugh and close it up right there.

“So, I think we have a very strong indication here that Matthew, at least, felt what he was reading from the Old Testament was proof-positive for his readers. However, in the late first century and early second century, this came a matter of such tremendous controversy that it has lasted all the way up until our day. Even many ministers of other denominations today discounting completely that verse in Isaiah as having any Messianic implications. We find right in the first century Jewish writers responding to the tremendous impact of what Christian thinkers and writers were saying. They go back to Isaiah and say, "Wait a minute, Isaiah really didn't use a Hebrew word that means "virgin" in every case. It can mean "virgin," but he elected a word with more of a general meaning. Therefore, it could just mean "a young girl."

“Of course, there isn’t much news in the fact that a young girl shall conceive and bear a child. Where is the news value in that? … When he begins by saying that the Lord Himself will give you a sign, there is no sign about a “young girl conceiving.” But there certainly is a sign or a wonder about a virgin conceiving because that is certainly unheard of… “Matthew… is definitely convinced that early Old Testament prophesy is a prediction of a virgin conceiving.”
“The Book of Matthew: Auditing the Tax Collector,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#2: Strive to be as uncomplaining, persistent and humble as Mary in your season of hardship. Cobbey Crisler on Luke 2: 1-7, 9-11 (cit. B2)
We're also told (Luke 2:1-5) that taxing was going on at this time and that the taxing was going to occur in the town of the birthplace of the tribal families, and in Bethlehem where David was born. Those who had links to David genealogically [as did both Mary and Joseph] had to return to be counted. It was a census. That's how they get to Bethlehem. Again, we're talking about a hundred-mile trip. With no room in the inn (Verse 7), Mary is left with a manger. One of the earliest records we have about Jesus’ birth is found in an early second century document written by Justin Martyr (A.D. 100-163), an early Christian writer. He affirms that Jesus was born in a cave. This is also supported by other Christian writers a little later, Origen (A.D. 185-254), and Jerome (A.D. 340-420). They all were in a position to have had access to that information having visited the area, in some cases, lived there for several years.

“The manger was simply a stone, or perhaps a clay trough from which the animals would take their water or food.”
“Luke the Researcher,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#3: Enjoy gift-giving that’s spiritually intentional! Rejoice with exceeding great joy to give up old practices in the presence of the Christ solution!
Cobbey Crisler on Matthew 2:1-11 (cit. B3) on Herod and the Wisemen
[Chapter 2 [of Matthew] is entirely original with Matthew. No other gospel has what we read in this chapter. Without Matthew’s record we would be ignorant of the following facts.

(Verse 1). “Jesus was born in Bethlehem.” Does that ring any bells? Let’s assume that we are a first century Jewish audience. We’ve been handed a copy of Matthew’s gospel. It says “Jesus was born in Bethlehem.” What does that mean to us? What does that immediately conjure up in terms of our history? David’s birthplace was in Bethlehem. Again, what does that say to those who are expecting a Messiah? …

(Verse 2). Therefore, when we see that "wise men" suddenly show up, have an audience with Herod and say to him, "Where is he that is born King of the Jews?" How would a man like Herod receive any news about another king of the Jews? After all, that's what he was. "Where is he that is born King of the Jews? We have seen his star in the east." Practically every king of that period employed soothsayers. Chaldeans from the area of Babylon, whose very profession was to predict, were astrologers, stargazers and prognosticators. They would attempt to give their particular employer, king or governor, some insight into the future so he could plan. I'm sure if this kind of profession were recognized today widely, the stock exchange would employ a few of them.

Herod must have been impressed by the three. I'm sorry, I said three, but if you will notice no number is given. So, you see I was influenced by the Christmas carol which has no Scriptural authority here. Nor does it say they were kings, just wise men from the east, following what they felt was a guiding, directing star.”]

(Verse 3). When it says "he was troubled,'' Herod was basically troubled much of the time…

(Verse 4). So, "he calls the chief priests and scribes.” Herod is not a Jew. He's really a foreign ruler. One of his parents was Idumean, or from Edom. The other of his parents may have been Arab. Herod really never was received by the Jews very fondly. He had support of the Roman emperors, however. He was a close friend of Caesar Augustus, and Augustus gave him his position. He had been a close friend of Mark Antony before that. You can see how clever a politician he was. Herod apparently was able to shift his allegiance from Mark Antony over to Augustus just in time so Augustus could back him.

He calls the chief priests and scribes and he says, "Now tell me what tradition do we have anywhere that a Messiah is to be born? Is there anything that I can tell about a geographical location, or what?"

Verse 5 is the answer that the Bible scholars of the nation give. "They say to him, in Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet." Now, here's the quote. You know how Matthew does this. This is his characteristic. It's happening because prophecy said it would happen.

“That seems to be the key reason why Matthew wrote his gospel. To show his generation, and, of course, future generations like us, that every event in the New Testament is a fulfillment of what was written in the Old Testament, therefore, dovetailing both Testaments into what would eventually become the Bible. But now Matthew is virtually saying this happened because it's a fulfillment of prophecy.

We are able to date the general time when Jesus was born, the general chronology, because it gives Herod the king as being the reigning monarch. There are a lot of Herods. It is like the name Caesar. It's a dynastic name. This is Herod the Great. Again we have a the problem with chronology. Herod the Great died in 4 B.C. What you obviously see is a rather insoluble point. How could Jesus have been born in the days of Herod the Great, if Herod died four years before the generally accepted birth date of Jesus? Very frankly, it couldn't have happened. Not that Jesus wasn't born in the days of Herod the Great. That is undoubtedly accurate. But whoever figured out our calendar figured it out inaccurately: It has been determined that it is possible that Jesus was born as early as 7 B.C. but certainly no later than 4 B.C. if he were born during the time of Herod the Great.

Herod was a weird king. He had that combination of plus and minus that exists in human nature wherever you run into it. Herod certainly brought the nation of Jews to a peak of prosperity and beauty. He had cities in Palestine that rivaled any in the Roman world.

The capitol of Syria/Palestine was in Caesarea on the Mediterranean. He built that city right from the ground up. It was described by Josephus (historian, 37/38-100 AD). Coming from the sea it was just a magnificent white marble city that caught the sun and sparkled for many miles into the Mediterranean. My wife, Janet, and I have dug at that spot. There's not much on the surface but I know some of you have seen the theater on television because Leonard Bernstein has conducted many orchestras in the theater which has been excavated at Caesarea.

“As a matter of fact, one of the stones that was found in the theater had inscribed on it the name Pilate and the name Tiberius Caesar. It is the only epigraphical evidence of Pilate that has been uncover in the Holy land, other than coins. It was found right in that theater. Herod built the magnificent Temple in Jerusalem, far exceeding Solomon's in its magnificence: It was all white stone and then gilded, covered with gold. So that Josephus said, when the sun came up in the morning and hit that Temple, if one didn't shield his eyes, he would be temporarily blinded because it flashed. From a distance, the Temple of the Jews looked like a snow covered mountain but with sun glinting off the gold. This is what Herod did on the plus side.

On the negative side, as you will learn, he went around killing and slaughtering. He murdered members of his family and was very suspicious that someone was plotting his assassination or attempting to replace him. This we know of Herod's character from other records of the period.

“Can the Old Testament stand alone then, as far as Matthew's point of view is concerned? It can't.

It is prophecy. But prophecy needs to have the Old Testament comprehended; it needs to be fulfilled. Can the New Testament stand alone? No, not without the fulfillment. Prophecy is the key to the fulfillment. They are inseparable.

This quotation comes from Micah 5, Verse 2. It is the only verse regarded by the first century Jews, at least, as giving any geographical location for a coming Messiah, Bethlehem named specifically.

There is one thing we should just think about as far as the virgin birth is concerned, despite all the intellectual turmoil around all the arguments relating to it. If Jesus, as an individual, has had such a tremendous impact on humanity—uplifting the standards of humanity, healing all the wounds and illnesses that humanity had been unable to solve up to his time—then from the standpoint of what we might call spiritual criticism (since the fountain rises no higher than its source), could Jesus have had any source other than the most pure origin available on earth? Could Jesus have emerged on the human scene in disobedience to the Ten Commandments? Could there have been, in other words, immorality, as some critics have urged, connected with the conception of Jesus on earth?

In one way, Jesus' birth is the most spiritually conspicuous in all history. Isn't that star in the heavens which the wise men thought they were following astrologically really symbolic of prophecy? Isn't it essentially prophecy that led the wise men? Herod wanted to know why they were even there. And he went to the chief priests and scribes and the chief priests and scribes went where for their answer? To prophecy. So, once again, we see the high regard for prophecy which Matthew had, and all the New Testament writers have.

So Herod hears that prophecy indicates Bethlehem is the spot. The wise men needed help. They followed the star as far as they could and then wanted to know where this Messiah-king was to be born. Herod consults prophecy and finds out that it is Bethlehem. It is really prophecy that directs the wise men to Bethlehem.

(Verse 8). Herod, who wants to know exactly where this child is located, says the wise men are "to bring news back to him where this child is located." Do the wise men obey Herod? No, fortunately.

(Verse 11). They go to Bethlehem and "find the young child with Mary his mother, falling down, and worshiping him, presenting gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh." If there is deeper meaning to those gifts of the wise men to an infant, what perhaps, could it symbolize? Or we would be reading something into it that we shouldn't?

In Isaiah 60, I think you will find how the tradition began that (these wise men were kings.

(Verse 1). I'm sure you're familiar with its opening verse, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." What parallel might exist already? Light and the star, perhaps.

(Verse 3). Then we find that "the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising," See how kings entered into the tradition here. It so happens that an early Christian writer saw this and suggested that the coming of the wise men was prophesied here in Isaiah.

In Verse 6 it says, "The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD." So, we do have early Christian commentators seeing a connection between these passages and the coming of the wise men.

Justin Martyr (A.D. 100-163) is the first commentator we know of to introduce this concept.

Here's what one of our greatest American Bible scholars of recent years has written. Here's what he suggests. He goes beyond what the text would tell us but it's an interesting thing to consider. We're talking about Professor William Foxwell Albright. Professor Albright has made the comment, first, "that myrrh is used at the anointing of a king." The wise men bring myrrh. Does this have any implication of the Messiah? Remember they said (Matthew 2:2), "Where is he that is born King of the Jews?"

Also, Albright says that "magical charms were written with myrrh ink," and adds "the items brought by the wise men were regarded as the tools of a trade. Offerings of the magi would not be gifts of homage," he suggests, "but a declaration of dissociation from former practices."

Suggesting what? That these wise men made their living off of magical charms. See, "magi" and "magic." Although at that time those weren't related, but magi were wise men and some of the results they were able to come up with later got the term "magic."

Were these wise men bringing what represented the tools of their trade and dissociating themselves from them at the inauguration of a new era represented by the infant child who was to bring the Christ-solution to mankind?

Remember the magi were very concerned about astrology, predicting the future. If they were convinced that here was a child that came as a direct result of the fulfillment of prophecy, then those who were truly wise men would exercise the option to go for this new method and give up the old.

That, again as I indicate, is just an idea presented by Professor Albright. He is a man I have found to be of deep insight and probably the most respected scholar of recent years. He passed away a few years ago and anything you can get authored by Professor Albright is worth studying. For one thing, he had a very deep humility in the presence of the Scripture."
Book of Matthew, Auditing the Master: A Tax Collector's Report, by B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#4: Strive to increase in YOUR love for God and love for man!
Cobbey Crisler on Luke 2:52, cit. B4
…Verse 52 tells us Jesus “increased in wisdom and in stature and in favour” (or grace) “with God and man.”

Kay Kyser once pointed out in a talk that when it states that Jesus increased in favor with God and man, that it implies that Jesus grew in keep both of the Commandments that he later summarized for us, love for God and love for man.”
“Luke the Researcher,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#5: Act like you know that prophesy is fulfilled NOW and that incurability is healed by changing your concept and believing!
Cobbey Crisler on Mark 1:14-15 (cit. B5) Four foundational points for Jesus:

Mark 1, Verse 14. We have "John put in prison." He has already disappeared from the scene.

And, ‘‘Jesus comes into Galilee, and his work begins."
Verse 15. There are four foundational aspects to the gospel we need to study. Normally, an architect might refer to just one cornerstone in a building. But let's remember that all four of the corners have cornerstones. To that degree, let's ask ourselves if this is not a clue to understanding Mark. We have a foursquare gospel, and at each corner we have a particular point. If this is true, you should be able to compile the information that follows in the gospel under one of the following four headings.
(1) The announcement that, "the time is fulfilled." What does this mean? Prophecy. The time for the fulfillment of prophesy has arrived. So, everything is just brimming in the gospel of Mark with this great news. All of the expectation is over for the Messianic prophecy: We have a fulfillment now. ‘What could be more exciting than to be living in an era of fulfilled prophecy? Nothing, apparently, because this is what impels the gospel writers to pick up their pens….
Study Mark as if it were a textbook, filled with data that Jesus needed us to know in order to follow him. It is a handbook, so to speak, a textbook where we can find data that can be applied. Those four foundational points, under "the time is fulfilled," you will see over and over again, explicit or implicit, in the text.

(2) The second one, “the kingdom of God is at no distance.” It is right here. Even that idea is radical to Christendom today often because the kingdom of God, or often heaven, is considered to be so far away from any of us now. It is out of reach, and we’re not really behaving ourselves sufficiently to get there. It takes Palomar’s 200 inch reflecting telescope to even get a glimpse of it. But we find the founder of Christianity saying, ''Not so." His theology is based on the fact that "the kingdom of God is at hand."

Do we act like it is? We moan and we groan most of the time. We wouldn't if our state of mind was the “kingdom-of-God-is-at-hand" and the “prophecies-are-fulfilled." But those are only two of the cornerstones.

(3) The third one is “Repent!" That means to change your concept. Now, we’re going very deeply to the roots of what is required of us to get anywhere spiritually. The problem is mental or he never would have stated it in this way.

It would be cruelly misleading if he laid down as one of the four important aspects of his theology the fact that we had to change our concepts of things. The implication is that every human ill, physical, moral, mental, all can be changed mentally. Otherwise, repenting wouldn’t make any. Changing one's concept wouldn't make any difference.

This might be where maybe we temporarily get off the train leading to Jesus' theology. We may say to ourselves, if our bodies are riddled with cancer, of what avail would it be to change our concept? How would that affect the body? The implication is that this is the panacea. Repent ye. Change your concept about things.

Do you realize what kind of a religion that suggests? It's very revolutionary in this respect: nothing is incurable from the point of view of Jesus' theology. If you can change your concept, then everything is curable. That's some good news of victory that has yet to hit the human race with any impact like Mark, the hammer.

(4) The fourth and final cornerstone is to "believe the gospel," That "believe" is not just to hold an opinion that waves in the breeze. This is a conviction and a trust in the pronouncements of the gospel of the kingdom of God, and that "kingdom of God is at hand."

With that structure of the gospel in mind, we can do this kind of work together. As a matter of fact, the reward comes from doing this work individually and meeting each other that way. It affects the world's climate by doing this kind of deep research. In your own individual study, try those four columns.

The time is fulfilled,

The kingdom of God is at hand,

Repent ye,

Believe the gospel,

and see how you can outline the whole gospel in that way.

We may just discover that Peter becomes one of the most polished orators of all time. Yet he is regarded as a rather simplistic fisherman who probably stumbled in Greek and was more at home in his Aramaic.”
Let's look at the gospel from above. Let's see the divine structure here that is motivating what we are being told. Aside from simply gathering the first disciples and paying tribute to John the Baptist's fulfillment of his mission, a greater sense of baptism, the fact that Jesus is defining things in Mark for us. He's defining things like church, and baptism, and man, and repentance, and relationship. All of these things are major definitions. But we have to move from the day-to-day approach into the narrative and see this happening in an over-all tenor behind the text.

Verse 21, “Straightway on the sabbath day."

The Sabbath day is an important thing, because what we’re supposed to do on the Sabbath day had already been defined by a commandment (Exodus 20:8). We’re to keep it holy. Is he going to be consistent or inconsistent -with this commandment? We test his every move. “He enters into the synagogue," where worship is going on, "and he teaches.”

Mark 1, Verse 22. What he is teaching is so radical that his hearers acted as if they'll never heard this before. How wonderful! That means it's inspired. They didn't recognize in his method anything they were used to in the scribal method the Bible experts, the teachers of that period. In Jesus' remarks they heard more authority coming across than they had ever heard from the local ecclesiastics.

"Now we're going to really see part of Jesus' definition of church. He begins with this preaching that we have heard him do. But his preaching is never separate from his practice of what he's preaching.

(Verse 23-31 Jesus introduces healing as an appropriate if not mandatory church activity there in that synagogue when he heals a man with an unclean spirit.] “Is the church of that period prepared for healing? Is it ready to be regarded as a place to remedy health and other problems?
Verse 27. “Authority” is the point that's raised. It's almost as if religion, as defined by human kind, has come across to us with splendor, with robes, with grandeur, spectacle, but without authority. "The authority Jesus proves is illustrated by the results." This is what spreads Christianity. Not knocking on doors, not even one-to-one that we so reverence, but healing. There's a one-to-one. That news, the good news, the gospel of healing, spreads by itself. Who can hold it in? It's bigger than all of us. It's God's word applied, and capable of being applied.

Verse 28. So, we find that "his fame spread abroad all-around Galilee.”

Mark 1.32-41 Then "at even,” Verse 32. What that tells you is that it's now after sunset and other people can come and be healed. It was a Sabbath day we find out from another gospel. They all come and the Sabbath is over and he heals a great multitude. In fact, in Verse 34, "He [even] healed many who were sick of divers diseases." That's not the bends. That's simply "diverse diseases and casts out many devils;"
“What Mark Recorded,”
by B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#6a: Love into view your defense attorney and do even “greater works!”
Cobbey Crisler on John 14:12-17 (cit. B8)
In John 14:12 Jesus makes a prophesy. He makes a prophesy in impersonal terms…
“There are greater works, the ultimatum of the application of what Jesus had introduced to earth. So, when he’s talking about greater works being done, through what agency will these greater works come? We find the Comforter is introduced.
John 14:16, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter.”

We should know enough about prophesy and have enough respect to realize that most of the prophets in the Bible, including Jesus, had a tremendous regard for prophesy. They knew that it had come from God, not from man. Similarly, we should know how to recognize the Comforter when the Comforter arrives… The word “comforter” is parakletos, sometimes called paraclete… translated “comforter” given by our King James Version. You will find, however, that The New English Bible does not use “comforter.” It uses “advocate.” You’ll also find that I John uses parakletos and the King James translator of that uses “advocate.”

We should know that the word “advocate” is a technical word legally. It specifically means “defense attorney.” That has a lot of implications to it. By contrast the name “Satan” in Hebrew is a technical term for “prosecuting attorney.” There you have the battle joined in thought.

The Comforter is to come and defend man. We can see all the ways that Jesus had introduced various defenses for man…
John 14:16, “that he may abide with you for ever.” Is there a provision for a third revelation? The Comforter is apparently the final one.

John 14:17, “the Spirit of Truth.” Notice how that counters Jesus’ definition of the “devil.” What did he say about the truth? It was the recipe for freedom (John 3:8). So, it’s got something to do with that. But there is also a communications problem. The world “cannot receive.” It’s not going to be a popular arrival. “It doesn’t see him or know him.”

But, we will know, “because it’s within.”

John 14:26 picks up the description. “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost.” There’s another part of the list, identified with the Holy Ghost in Luke 3:22, the dove descending is the symbol of it. The words “dove” and “ghost” are feminine in the Greek, and the comfort aspect also introduces the feminine concept.

The role of the Comforter “will be sent by God in my name.” If one were to regard that literally, the Comforter’s name should at least have some recognizable aspect either relating to Jesus or to Christ. Another aspect of the Comforter is “he will teach you all things.”

The role of teaching what? Is anything left out? “All things.” And at the same time, “it will bring everything back to human memory that Jesus said.”

“Book of John: A Walk with the Beloved Disciple”, by B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#6b: Do “greater works” or collective demonstrations by healing strife with divine Love. “Plenty of room for ‘greater works’… collective demonstration…in governments… nations… that could benefit from …the touch of the Comforter… ministries of divine Love”?
Christine Irby Williams on “greater works…” (cit. B8, John 14:12-16) (from a 12-29-13 Met)
“Jesus said… Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father…” (cit. B8, John 14:12)
Christine Irby Williams nicely tackled the tough question of what works could possibly be greater than what Jesus did in a wonderful precamp inspirational talk to CedarS staff one May as well as in part of an inspirational address for the Christian Science Nurses conference at CedarS one September. [CedarS was delighted to again host over 120 CS Nurses from all over the world during the first week of September 2019.] In 2013 Chris essentially said, in part: “Have you ever wondered what in the world Jesus meant by greater works? It does sound a little daunting. We read almost every week in the Bible Lesson something such as Jesus “went about…healing ALL manner of sickness and ALL manner of disease among the people.” He fed 5,000 men plus women and children with what had appeared to everyone else as a few loaves and fishes. He walked on water and suspended time and space. He raised to life a child who appeared to have just passed away, a young man who was on his way to be buried, and Lazarus, who had been in the grave four days already. And then, of course, he raised himself after the crucifixion, and he ascended. So, what could possibly be greater than any, much less all, of that? I’ve often wondered, and I’m still pondering his promise…

“There has been one particular area in which it’s likely that we’ve all been aware that there is plenty of room for “greater works,” and that is working together, or what might be called collective demonstration: in families, church work, any kind of organizational work—in a church context or otherwise, in neighborhoods, in governments of all sizes, in nations, among the people, and in the world at large. Would you agree with me that these are areas that could benefit from the light of Truth, the touch of the Comforter—the healing and saving ministries of divine Love? Might we be so bold as to think about tackling the environment? World peace? World hunger? If not, why not? If so, let’s get on with it! Let us “then up and be doing,” as our hymn [#18] says!”
Christine shared more inspiration on this and other topics at the 2012 Fern Lodge Annual Meeting. First posted in Warren’s Met on “Christian Science” for 12-29-13

GEM#7: Fulfill YOUR divine destiny & appointments made long ago “for such a time as this…” (Esther 4:14) Cobbey Crisler on Revelation 1:1 (cit. B12)
[Cobbey:] “In the first verse of the first chapter of Revelation let us consider again the phrase “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” This is as close to the original title of the book that we will ever be. It is not John’s revelation, despite the heading that appears in the King James’ translation. In fact, the earliest form of any title of the Apocalypse, apart from its opening sentence, is dated in the second century, and reads “The Revelation to Saint John the Divine,” not “of”. It is originally not even Jesus’ revelation because the next few words tell us that God gave it to him. The message comes through Jesus who “sent and signified [it] by his angel unto his servant John.”

“No other book of the Bible carries with it such dramatic credentials: God to Jesus, to John, to God’s receptive servants in general. The authenticity of this imposing claim, of course, has been widely challenged by scholars and lay readers alike. Should it not be true, however, it would impeach the credibility of the entire work. If it is true, it would rank at the top of the list of Scriptural books for Christian believers. It makes the meeting between Jesus and John-on-Patmos neither fortuitous nor imaginary, but a divine appointment arranged long in advance…

“The human mind finds it difficult to conceive of divine appointment except in terms of earthly politics. Jesus had to respond to Peter [in Verse 22], “If I will that he tarry till I come, what [is that] to thee?” With these words, “tarry till I come,” Jesus fixed a prophetic appointment with his beloved disciple. The Bible doesn’t close before we are told of John and Jesus meeting on Patmos [in Revelation1:1].”
“Apocalyptic Pictures: Prophesy and Parody,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#8: Take the prophesied gift of this, little book with universal applications and use it!
Cobbey Crisler on Revelation 10:1-11 (cit. B13)

[Cobbey:]The Tenth Chapter of Revelation … verse 1, records another mighty angel coming down from heaven. Heaven, the divine and infinite, databank, from which this angel now bares God’s revealed Word. Is this another opportunity for space for repentance, now in the form of a little book, opened?

“…The angel in Revelation, Chapter 10, is clothed with a cloud. In John’s vision, the message is initially obscure. A later textual implication hints that John could not take the full light of this message at first. He needed to adapt to it gradually.

“The message is mighty. The angel standing behind every word of this little book links every concept in it to God. The angel’s face were as if it were the sun. This combination of sun and cloud may explain the rainbow upon his head. A rainbow results when light penetrates a cloud or mist. Are the conditions finally here for the mist of Genesis 2 to be lifted? Will the rays shining through the lens of this angel’s book ultimately penetrate and evaporate the obscuring cloud? Even though the full white light of this vision does not yet appear to John, he does see through the cloud which, like a prism, shows the iridescence of God’s promise.

“This rainbow symbolism serves to remind scriptural students of its earliest recorded use in the Bible — the bow seen in the cloud after Noah emerged from the Ark… The bow we are told represents the promise that no flood would gather such proportions again to destroy all flesh. Reappearance of this timely rainbow in Revelation then, is like an implicit forewarning of a second major flood. This one, two chapters later, at Revelation 12.

The deluge is from the dragon’s mouth, and it’s directed against the woman, mother of the man child, to sweep her away. … No serious student of prophesy then is surprised when Revelation 12:16 reports “And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.” (Rev 12:16)

T”hus, the rainbow promise was fulfilled… Note there that the angel sets his feet as pillars of fire, upon the sea and on the earth. These happen to be the primary and the secondary sources for all earthly life. Is the fire meant to consume these fundamentally held opinions about the evolutionary origin of man?

“John the Baptist tells us through Matthew’s text (3:12) that Jesus’ mission would inaugurate on earth a baptism with the Holy Ghost and with fire. In the threshing imagery used, the Holy Ghost separates out the wheat; the unquenchable fire burns up the chaff. Since the Holy Ghost is so vividly identified with these effects, is it also to be identified with the focal Apocalyptic picture in Chapter 10:2 – namely the little book? …

“Jesus had told his disciples that the father would give another comforter, and he referred to this comforter as the Holy Ghost. Whatever the thought content of this little book, it has a major and exalted destiny just to measure up to the prominence of its Apocalyptic picture. What does this book have to say that will dissolve with fire the old and make way for the radically new? We know this is God’s purpose in Book of Revelation, for in next-to-last Chapter, Rev 21, verse 5, “He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.”

Rev 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

“Such a summary achievement allows for no exception, even traditional concepts concerning sea and earth must be consumed. Although long presumed to hold the secrets of the origin of life, they are doomed to diminish as a basis, as the little book takes effect.

“The Holy Ghost and fire represent God’s ultimate yes and no on every topic. The wheat remains; that is God’s “yes.” The chaff must be burned up either through the plates of self-destruction, of through the refining baptism of God’s Word; that is God’s “no.”

“John makes the right decision and sees ultimately a new earth and no more sea. What scriptural lessons in these Apocalyptic pictures? We learn that we don’t have elect the plagues. The trumpets alarm should warn us away from a making that desperate choice.

“There is a scriptural way out – a new Exodus – the one Jesus discussed on the mount of transfiguration with pioneers who had ascended before him. The prerequisite for this new Exodus; however, is a new Genesis, for Jesus assures us, “No man hath ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven.” (John 3:13) …
“Is this little book held by the angel to convey to mankind details of our heavenly Genesis. Are these details so radical that Jesus could even share them with his disciples?

“At the Last Supper he had told them “I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear the now.” (John 16:12)

“Then he added, “this would be the mission of the Comforter.”

“When he, the Spirit of Truth is come, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13) He shall “teach you all things.” (John 14:26)

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Does this little book’s divine data hold the key to this new Genesis and this new Exodus for the human race? Before the earlier Exodus, God had said “I send an Angel before the to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.” (Ex 23:20) (Line 14:32)

This Angel is also associated with Ex 14:19 with the pillar of cloud and fire which led and defended Israel through the wilderness to the Promised Land…
“The angel of Revelation 10 is clothed in these symbols of cloud and fire. Has God sent his angel of a new Exodus before us to keep us in the way, to emancipate the race from what Shakespeare called “every ill the flesh is heir to”?

“Seven thunders try to drown out the words of the little book, just as seven seals tried to suppress the contents of the first book. This book, you may recall, is in Greek, “Biblia.” In Chapter 10, the Greek word is “Biblaridion.” xxx(15:37) This diminutive form appearing uniquely in the tenth Chapter of Revelation connotes a book smaller than the one proclaimed by the first mighty angel.

“Is the emergence of the little book in prophesy one of the things Jesus told his disciples they could not bear now? But John tarried until Jesus came and then reported the revelation of Jesus Christ, including all he had to say about the coming of this little book.

“This is a watershed chapter in the Book of Revelation, for with the coming of the Biblaridion, there is simultaneously restored a strong sense of God’s control of events on earth as in heaven. …

“Did John take the little book? No. There is always that innate human preference for a handout, and John responds with “Give me the little book.” That requires less motion on our part and more on the angel’s…

“But, to take the word is only the first of the angel’s mandates; the second is to eat it up…
“The initial taste, according to Rev 10, verse 10, is as “sweet as honey.” The little book’s reasonings are sweet, apparently, and appeal to our native yearnings…

“The book obviously makes sound spiritual sense. The receptive taker finds no difficulty ingesting its message as if it were something he has always believed, but never dared to utter.

“The rub comes in Rev 10, verse 10, the bitter after affects when we try to live God’s word. A Biblical listener and church member cannot just hear it, he must do it. He must take it from his credenda and put it on his agenda. (Webster Def “Credenda: doctrines to be believed : articles of faith.)

“James writes: “…Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only.”

James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

“John is told a second time to take the little book out of the angel’s hand. Does that phrase “out of the angel’s hand” recall its use in Chapter 8? All effectual prayer is launched out of the angel’s hand. The parallel helps us to know the contents of the little book. Its chapters are the equivalent of prayers. Why not?

“Any concept in the grasp of a mighty angel would be linked to God and His infallible results. This little book has a universal application. Not just John must take it. And in Rev 10, verse 11, John must prophesy again, not just to a peculiar people, but to “many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.” (Revelation 10:11, cit. B13)
“Apocalyptic Pictures: Prophesy and Parody,”
by B. Cobbey Crisler**

** Bible Talks by Cobbey Crisler (without abbreviations as above):

Both audio recordings and transcripts of Cobbey Crisler’s popular Bible talks are now available from the Crisler Library at Oxford. You can contact the library at or contact Janet Crisler directly at

GEM#9: Hear on YouTube Ken Cooper’s moving poetry as customized for this week’s Bible Lesson. This week’s audio links to YouTube are called:
The Birth of Jesus
Let Love Lead The Way
Joy to the World

[Ken wrote:] When two people look at each other in love, no words are spoken, but the love is tangible. When a pet looks at its owner, and the owner looks back, the love-feeling is again “too wonderful for words”.

“When God sees His / Her image and likeness, “Love is reflected in love”. No words are spoken, for true communication is spiritual, perfect, wonderful. “I AM THAT I AM” is all-inclusive, its richness and beauty is of the Mind. It is a statement that has existed and will exist for ever. “IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD”, – the Spiritual Divine Mind and its infinite manifestation, the perfection of God’s being ever the perfection of man’s being.

“Christian Science is the understanding of God made manifest, as the Christ was made manifest through Jesus. As the Christ is universal so is Christian Science, we are never without them, for they are of God, Truth, Spirit, Love.

“At this Christmas time, may I share a reference page of my poems about Christmas, –, together with some on YouTube, wishing everyone the joy of Christmas every day, full of loving without words, just knowing….”

These are the YouTube versions of this week’s custom offerings:
The Birth of Jesus
Let Love Lead The Way
Joy to the World


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