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The Biblical account of the miracle of the "Loaves and Fishes" has always been understood as a miracle. Today, in certain circles, it is trendy to "de-mythologize" the account by stripping away its miraculous character. Why do people treat the Bible this way?
The dominant religion in the Amerikan Empire is that of "Secular Humanism." It is a religion which denies the miraculous intervention of God in history ("Secular"), and affirms the religious worship of Man as his own God ("Humanism") -- or as the ancient Greco-Roman Humanists phrased it, "Man is the measure of all things."
Of course, the "man" who is god in the "Humanist" religion -- the "man" which is the measure of all things -- is never the poor man, the handicapped man, the powerless man, or the wo-man. "Man" is seen to be truly incarnate in the State, which, as Hegel noted, is "God walking on earth." The summum bonum of True Man is defined by the archists of the Bush/Clinton régime, and exemplified in the multi-millionaires who hold positions of power in the polis (the State).
The prophets of this new religion are accredited by the State. They prophesy from seminaries, universities, The Los Angeles Times, and the CBS Evening News. Their students launder billions of dollars per year through the MTV consumer-drug trade.
The religion of Secular Humanism is at war with the religion of the Bible. The prophets of Empire stand in stark contrast to the prophets of the Bible, who were peasants, encouraged Godly service, fought against Empire, were oppressed, and died at the hands of the powerful myth-makers of the day (Hebrews 11:36-38).
The State and its prophets are most particularly at war with Jesus, who stood in solidarity with the Prophets of God (Matthew 5:17-20) and was the culmination of all the Prophets did and taught. Then as now, the military-industrial-religious complex would like to silence the message of Jesus and the Prophets. But since an influential minority of people seem to be committed to listening to Jesus and even to die to proclaim His message, the "powers that be" have adopted a most devious and deceitful strategy to overcome the message of Jesus. The prophets of the State claim to be friends of Jesus, and may even teach in His Name, all the while re-defining what He actually did and said. The State says,
Jesus was The Great Teacher, perhaps the greatest teacher of all time, and he counseled his followers to . . . [if I may summarize] believe everything the State [or "the Revolution"] says, don't ask questions, and stand quietly in line.
These false prophets mislead us from the "Left" as well as the "Right." By claiming to be on the same side of the ethical fence as Jesus, they disarm the powers of discernment and critical judgment which His followers are told to cultivate. Then, after gaining our trust, they teach us lies and we believe them and pass them on and elect liars to destroy for us to protect our fantasies and lives of deception.
We are engaged in a war of ideas, a war in which the Battle of the Loaves and Fishes is a strategic turning point. The Gospel tells us:
The Powers would like us to believe otherwise. They have a new "gospel":
If we consider ourselves at all tied to the Scriptures as a Source of resistance against the lies and injustice of Empire, we have to beware of the re-writing of Scripture at all points, from all corners, by the prophets of Empire.
Remember that Jesus was tortured and executed as a threat to the social order of His day. He claimed that the entire network of political and religious institutions were in defiant rebellion against the True God. To validate His claims, He healed the sick, cast out demons, and raised the dead.
And . . . He multiplied Loaves and Fishes.
But the Gospel account of this creative work is re-told by prophets of the Polis in an effort to bring it in line with the prevailing mythology of the evolutionary faith which undergirds the modern military-industrial Empire. Just as Jesus is denied His role as Creator of the universe ex nihilo ("out of nothing"), so He is denied His role as miraculous life-sustaining King. There are seminary-trained, university-accredited, State-approved theologians who tell us lies. They tell us that nothing miraculous, supernatural, or anti-entropic happened in these accounts.
That is a lie we believe at our own peril.
There is no escaping the miraculous character of Jesus' acts; acts which violate the "natural laws" of the scientists, and threaten their claims to be the all-knowing guardians of our planet. Three obvious and inescapable things are described in the Gospel accounts. They force us to take sides.
1. The crowd lacked food.
Jesus knew the crowd had no food. Look at Matthew's testimony (15:32): The crowd had been following Him around for three days (Mark 8:1-3) "and have nothing to eat." Jesus "had compassion" on them because they were about to faint. Jesus told His disciples these things -- and they are recorded in the Gospels for us -- to make the coming display of Jesus' supernatural lordship obvious and inescapable. Jesus is setting us up to see that there is no earthly or natural way to feed this crowd.
Jesus exposes one last option: "the Free Market" (John 6:5). But Jesus knew that His disciples didn't have enough money to secure food for the crowd on the open market. He only asked this question to test us, "for He Himself knew what He would do" (John 6:6).
By this time, the disciples knew the crowd had no food. They recognized that Jesus had been teaching the crowd the whole day long and that now, with sunset approaching, there was no longer time to go to the markets and buy food (Mark 6:34-35). In fact, the very idea of sending them to the market was based on the fact that the crowd no longer had anything to eat (Mark 6:36; Matthew 14:15; Luke 9:12-13). Reality starkly confronted them all: even if they pooled their resources, the multitude would starve unless God sent manna from heaven (John 6:7-9,31).
2. The crowd was fed.
With all options exhausted, one boy in the crowd steps forward; he alone has some food: a few loaves of bread and a couple of fishes. At this point, Jesus sits the crowd down, and orders the disciples to start feeding the crowd with the boy's provisions. They start passing out his food. They keep passing out the food. More and more food. A hundred people. Two hundred people. Five Hundred. One thousand people. They keep on distributing. On and on. And not just a little tiny piece of fish with a big piece of bread on the other side to make the plate look full when there really wasn't enough to go around. Each of the multitude took "all the fish they could eat" (John 6:11). And when the last person is fed, over four thousand people have eaten.
And not just a dainty little finger sandwich and a gracefully exaggerated "Oh, no more for me, thanks; I'm stuffed!"
They really were filled (Matthew 14:20; 15:37; Mark 6:42; 8:8; Luke 9:17; John 6:12).
The food to feed five thousand people is created out of nothing ("ex nihilo") by the Lord and Creator of the Universe.
At this point in the Sunday School class, the kids are going "Oooooohhh!" and "Aaaaaaaahhh!" because they can see that "a miracle!" has taken place.
3. A KP crew was needed.
But some people really need the point driven home. So Jesus tells His disciples to gather up the leftovers.
Yeah, you know: you take three fishes when you could really only eat two. You grab twelve slices of bread when you really only wanted 6 or 8. "Leftovers." You leave them on your plate when you're full. And so the disciples gathered the scraps. And they gathered. More and more. "Did anyone bring some more trash bags?!" They kept on gathering until there were twelve Hefty bags full of leftovers. Now even the adults are going "Ooooooohhh!" and "Aaaaaaaahhhh!"
Except the prophets of Empire:
- The idea of a supernatural miracle,
- the Homily of the State-prophet begins,
- is just a myth believed by primitive, pre-industrial people.
- (The Bible is gracefully -- without even looking -- closed shut.)
- The real 'miracle' here
- (he steps away from the podium)
- is that the crowd was moved to generosity by Jesus' teaching
- (hand near heart)
- and shared what they had with each other.
- (And now shouldn't the United Nations force us to share with each other?)
Could the Gospel writers have made it any clearer that the crowd didn't have any food?!?
We are reminded of Jesus' words:
Besides, if we continue reading the account, it becomes clear that this crowd was never moved to anything by Jesus' teaching except unbelief.
In fact, this crowd was probably no different from the Professors and politicians of our day, who will call Jesus the "Great Teacher," but ultimately see Jesus as just another victim of an impersonally evolving universe, not the Infinite-Personal God and Creator of all (John 6:42). The statist mind chooses not to believe that just as Jesus' very Word created all things, so He created Loaves and Fishes to feed five thousand willingly brainwashed people (John 6:63-64; 19:15).
The prophets of Empire attempt to turn Jesus from the supernatural, miracle-working Lord and Creator of the universe into an Eastern Guru, or an undisciplined hippie, another product of a dysfunctional home. I don't understand why even some Catholic Workers toss away miracles so clear even a Sunday School student can see them, and exchange these supernatural miracles for the pompous pronouncements of the materialistic prophets of Empire.
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1.Christianity once dominated the affairs of men and nations. It has now been replaced by Secular Humanism. In the secular 20th century, over 200 million people have been deliberately murdered in order to advance the "worship" of Man. The "Death of God" has meant the Death of Man. || [Return to text]
2. Matthew 13:16-17; Luke 10:23-24; John 8:56; 1 Peter 1:10-12. || [Return to text]
3. Matthew 14:5; 21:26,46; Mark 12:12; Luke 20:19; 22:2. || [Return to text]
4. 1 John 4:1; Deuteronomy 13:1-5; Jeremiah 29:8-9; Matthew 7:15; Romans 16:18; 2 Peter 2:1-3; Jeremiah 5:31. || [Return to text]
5. Isaiah 9:14-16; 59:3-4; Jeremiah 9:3-5; 14:14; 23:9-32; Ezekiel 13:8-23; 22:28-29. || [Return to text]
6. Hosea 10:13; 11:12 - 12:1; 2 Timothy 4:3-4. || [Return to text]
7. Micah 6:11-12. || [Return to text]
8. Nahum 3:1-4. || [Return to text]
9. Who existed before the creation of the world (John 1:1-3; 8:57-58; 17:5; Philippians 2:5-7; Colossians 1:17). || [Return to text]
10. Luke 2:49-50; 4:16-22; John 17:4. || [Return to text]
11. Nothing could be more miraculous than His being the Creator of the entire universe. John tells us in his Gospel that "All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:3). Seeing the wonderful creation in all its beauty, and the Good News it teaches us about the Creator, we should be moved to awe and worship of this Creator (Psalm 19). But as Humanists, we have decided "to be as gods" (Genesis 3:5), and by taking credit for God's gifts, we have destroyed them. Having created all things, Jesus became like us, taking on human flesh in order to re-create us, to break our now-hardened defects of character. "He was in the world, and the world was made by Him" (John 1:10).
Nothing strikes at the religion of Secular Humanism more dramatically than the doctrine of Creation. Although New Scientific Humanist Man claims total control over the universe, it in fact belongs to the Creator alone. Sometimes Pharaoh's scientists almost convince us that they are gods (Exodus 7:11), but in the end they must confess that only Jesus has total control over the Creation (Exodus 8:18-19; Luke 11:20). The account of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand is just one more example of that control. || [Return to text]
12. James 4:4; 1 John 4:4; 5:3-5; Romans 12:21; 1 Corinthians 6:7. || [Return to text]
13. 2 Peter 1:16. Read more here. || [Return to text]
14. Is it "narrow," "bigoted," and "exclusivistic" to speak of "the True God"? Consider some of the great religious observances of Secular Humanism, the religious worship of Man (that is, the worship of the State), such as those seen in Nazi Germany, where hundreds of thousands of middle-class worshippers extended their arms toward Der Führer, who stood beneath the skyscraper-sized swastika tapestries adorning a great outdoor chapel, in what William James would surely describe as one variety of an ecstatic "religious experience." Do all religions really lead to God? || [Return to text]
15. Please refer to your Bible when the references are given. || [Return to text]
16. Colossians 1:17; John 5:17-18; Hebrews 1:3. || [Return to text]
17. This was no 30-minute Sunday School lesson with a cookies-'n'-milk break half way through. Jesus, a preacher in the tradition of Isaiah, taught His followers for hours at a time, and by this time, they had gone the whole day listening to Jesus teach (Mark 6:34-35). Granted, because of our training in the State's schools and electronic media, we lack the discipline of those who lived centuries ago, and cannot endure any sermon or sit-com for more than 23 uninterrupted minutes. But even back then, those who weren't serious about getting to the Kingdom dropped out of the race (Luke 9:57-62). || [Return to text]
18. Hint: He is going to completely reverse the normal course of entropy, "violate" the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, and create Loaves and Fishes ex nihilo, just as He created the entire universe. || [Return to text]
19. Been there? Done that? || [Return to text]
20. And after a whole day of wandering through the wilderness with the Preacher, they were probably ready to pig out. || [Return to text]
21. We in the 20th century need the point driven home.
For twenty centuries now, simple, God-fearing, hard-working believers have taught their children -- as they were taught -- about the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. Everybody understood the Gospel texts to be teaching another of Jesus' supernatural miracles.
But now in the 20th century we feel we know so much more than those agrarian peasants of Jesus' day (so easily fooled) or the country bumpkins of the Bible-belt ("Get a life!"). This is interesting, when you think about it. Peasants who live close to the land seem to be so gullible, so easily believing that a "scientific" "law of nature" could be "broken" by Jesus.
We who are products of an urban, "scientific" military-industrialist culture are appalled to think of a God Who would "violate"one of the "laws of nature" we learned about in our public school science classes. For people like us, loaves and fishes are the products of modern science -- "better living through chemistry" -- which we buy in the big warehouse-stores of the State-regulated "free market." Loaves and fishes, along with the "laws of nature," are given to us by the State and its certified "experts."
For farmers and fishermen, however, the "First law of Thermodynamics" is another fifty-cent word of the Ivory Tower. Loaves and fishes, they have learned first-hand, are the loving gifts of a Personal God who does miraculous things with His creation, with or without State or Ecclesiastical approval.
Who should we believe? Is the 20th century the product of evolution or devolution? || [Return to text]
22. Been there? Done that? || [Return to text]
23. Mark 10:42-45; Luke 24:25-26. || [Return to text]
24. Usually said in deference to hard-working Christians, who produce food for the Professors and clean the houses of the Politicians. A little rhetorical oil to keep them from squeaking. || [Return to text]
25. Colossians 1:16; James 1:18; Revelation 4:11. || [Return to text]
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