God is so rich in mercy that the water of a thousand seas, if so many were to be found, could not quench a spark of the flames of hell, yet a single tear of one who mourns at having offended God quenches the whole of hell, by the great mercy wherewith God succours him. God, therefore, to confound Satan and to display his own bounty, wills to call merit in the presence of his mercy every good work of his faithful servant, and wills him so to speak of his neighbour. But of himself a man must beware of saying: "I have merit"; for he would be condemned.'
Then said James: 'O master, how is the examination of a thought like unto [that of] a coin?'
Jesus answered: 'The good silver in the thought is piety, because every impious thought cometh of the devil. The right image is the example of the holy ones and prophets, which we ought to follow; and the weight of the thought is the love of God by which all ought to be done. Whereupon the enemy will bring there impious thoughts against your neighbour, [thoughts] conformed to the world, to corrupt the flesh; [thoughts] of earthly love to corrupt the love of God.'
Bartholomew answered: 'O master, what ought we to do to think little, in order that we may not fall into temptation?'
Jesus answered: 'Two things are necessary for you. The first is to exercise yourselves much, and the second is to talk little; for idleness is a sink wherein is gathered every unclean thought, and too much talking is a sponge which picketh up iniquities. It is, therefore, necessary not only your working should hold the body occupied, but also that the soul be occupied with prayer. For it needeth never to cease from prayer.
'I tell you for an example: There was a man who paid ill, wherefore none that knew him would go to till his fields. Whereupon he, like a wicked man, said: "I will go to the market-place to find idle ones who are doing nothing, and will therefore come to till my vines." This man went forth from his house, and found many strangers who were standing in idleness, and had no money. To them he spoke, and led them to his vineyard. But verily none that knew him and had work for his hands went thither.
'He is Satan, that one who payeth ill; for he giveth labour, and man receiveth for it the eternal fires in his service. Wherefore he hath gone forth from paradise, and goeth in search of labourers. Assuredly he setteth to his labours those who stand in idleness whosoever they be, but much more those who know him not. It is not in any wise enough for any one to know evil in order to escape it, but it behoveth to work at good in order to overcome it.'
Then said he who writes: "Daniel the prophet, describing the history of the kings of Israel and their tyrants, writes thus: "The king of Israel joined himself with the king of Judah to fight against the sons of Belial (that is, reprobates) who were the Ammonites. Now Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, and Ahab, king of Israel, being seated both on a throne in Samaria, there stood before them four hundred false prophets, who said to the king of Israel: "Go up against the Ammonites, for God will give them into your hands, and you shall scatter Ammon."
Then said Jehoshaphat: "Is there here any prophet of the God of our fathers?" Ahab answered: "There is one only, and he is evil, for he always predicts evil concerning me; and him I hold in prison." And this he said, to wit, "there is only one," because as many as were found had been slain by decree of Ahab;, so that the prophets, even as you have said, O Master, were fled to the mountain tops where men dwelt not. Then said Jehoshaphat: "Send for him here, and let us see what he says." Ahab therefore commanded that Micaiah be sent for hither, who came with fetters on his feet, and his face bewildered like a man that lives between life and death. Ahab asked him, saying: "Speak, Micaiah;, in the name of God. Shall we go up against the Ammonites? Will God give their cities into our hands?"
Micaiah answered: "Go up, go up, for prosperously shall you go up, and still more prosperously come down!" Then the false prophets praised Micaiah as a true prophet of God, and broke off the fetters from his feet. Jehoshaphat, who feared our God, and had never bowed his knees before the idols, asked Micaiah, saying: "For the love of the God of our fathers, speak the truth, as you have seen the issue of this war." Micaiah ;answered: "O Jehoshaphat, I fear your face where. fore I tell you that I have seen the people of Israel as sheep without a shepherd." Then Ahab, smiling, said to Jehoshaphat;: "I told you that this fellow predicts only evil, but you did not believe it.. Then said they both: "Now how know you this, O Micaiah?"
"Micaiah answered: "Methought there assembled a council of the angels in the presence of God, and I heard God say thus: "Who will deceive Ahab that he may go up against Ammon and be slain?" Whereupon one said one thing and another said another. Then came an angel and said: "Lord, I will fight against Ahab, and will go to his false prophets and will put the lie into their mouth, and so shall he go up and be slain." And hearing this, God said: "Now go and do so, for you shall prevail". Then were the false prophets enraged, and their chief smote Micaiah's cheek, saying: "O reprobate of God, when did the angel of truth depart from us and come to you? Tell us, when came to us the angel that brought the lie?"
'Micaiah answered: "You shall know when you shall flee from house to house for fear of being slain, having deceived your king." Then Ahab was wroth, and said: "Seize Micaiah, and the fetters which he had upon his feet place on his neck, and keep him on barley bread and water until my return, for now I know not what death I would inflict on him"., They went up, then, and according to the word of Micaiah the matter befell. For the king of the Ammonites ;said to his servants: "See that you fight not against the king of Judah, nor against the princes of Israel, but slay the king of Israel, Ahab, my enemy."' Then Jesus said: "Stop there, Barnabas; for it is enough for our purpose."
Why would God, in conveying his message to the world, speak in whispers and riddles? It seems nonsensical, but the belief that he refused to convey a clear message has led to the slaughter of many thousands of Christians by Christians. In fact, Christians are believed to have massacred more followers of Jesus than any other group or nation.
Those who believed in the Trinity butchered Christians who didn’t. Groups who believed Jesus was two entities—God and man—killed those who thought Jesus was merely flesh and blood. Some felt certain God inspired Old Testament Scriptures, others were convinced they were the product of a different, evil God. Some believed the Crucifixion brought salvation to humankind, others insisted it didn’t, and still others believed Jesus wasn’t crucified.
Indeed, for hundreds of years after the death of Jesus, groups adopted radically conflicting writings about the details of his life and the meaning of his ministry, and murdered those who disagreed. For many centuries, Christianity was first a battle of books and then a battle of blood. The reason, in large part, was that there were no universally accepted manuscripts that set out what it meant to be a Christian, so most sects had their own gospels.
There was the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, the Gospel of Simon Peter, the Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Barnabas.
The Bible: So Misunderstood It's a Sin
By Kurt Eichenwald / December 23, 2014