BY THE HONORABLE MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN | LAST UPDATED: APR 11, 2005 – 8:04:00 PM
[Editor’s note: The following article is based on an excerpt from a message delivered by Minister Farrakhan on Easter Sunday, March 27, 2005, at Life Center Church to celebrate the 37th Pastoral Anniversary of Pastor T.L. Barrett in Chicago, Illinois.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
This day is called Easter where Christians throughout the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his victory over death. The life of Jesus Christ is the most important life in scripture, because his life, death and resurrection gives humanity hope that we, too, can gain victory over death. But what kind of death can we gain victory over?
In the Book of Genesis, God gave instructions to Adam: “Eat of all of the trees in this garden, except this one.” Adam was blessed. He not only was created by God, he talked directly to God. But there is something in human nature that, whenever someone tells you what you should not do, you always think to yourself, ‘why?’ God said to Adam, “The moment you eat of this one, you will surely die.”
Then, the snake tells Eve that God really meant that, if you eat from that one tree, your eyes are going to come open and you will be as He is. He was tempting Eve to tempt Adam to disobey God’s instructions.
What is God’s religion? Obey Him. The label we place on it does not matter. You can call it Christianity. But at the root, it is not about rituals or how well we sing or preach. It is about how well we obey the command of Him who is guiding our lives. You can call it Islam and go to Mecca to make hajj, but if you do not obey God, your religion means nothing. You can call it Judaism, but if you do not follow the commandments of God, your religion means nothing. You can say, “I am a Christian,” but if you will not obey God, you certainly are lying, because Christ never disobeyed God. Christ said, “Whatever Your Will is; whatever the Father gives me, that I speak and whatever the Father bid me do, that I do.” So do not fool yourselves and wrap yourself up in a label or the name of the prophets Jesus, Moses, Abraham or Muhammad. If you refuse to obey God, you are a hypocrite and God does not like hypocrites in His Kingdom.
After Adam ate from the forbidden tree, he was still living. Did God lie? Did God make a mistake? No. The question we have to ask is, “How did Adam die?” The answer to that question will help us understand how Christ came alive.
How did Adam die? His eyes were opened. When he was taught of God, viewing God’s mighty, marvelous creation, his eyes were looking up and around, because God birthed him into a universal book for him to study and master. But when he disobeyed, his eyes were opened to the lower nature of himself. His eyes became opened to hunger, appetites and drives that, if not put in check, turn humans into animals.
God said He created the human being in His own image and likeness. David the Psalmist said, “Ye are all gods, children of the Most High God.” But in today’s slang today, you refer to one another, “This is my dog.” The word “god” spelled backwards is “dog.” So, a man or woman turned backward becomes an animal. Every one of us contains the essence of God, but that essence must be fed in order for us to grow up into a reflection of God, to become His image and likeness.
But when we disobey God, a veil begins to cloud our high level of consciousness. Our eyes become dim, our hearing becomes dull. Our mind begins to shut down in the high way of God. We begin to lose proper vision.
There is a consequence for sin and the Bible teaches that the wages of sin is death. So, when Adam rebelled against God, he died in the mind and spirit of God. He was created by God to rule, yet he is still subjected to the forces of his own being—instead of being the master of the forces of his being. He then becomes the father of a dysfunctional family, with envy and enmity between his two sons; and that pattern continues all the way from the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation.
We are not who God created us to be. We are what sin shaped us. The Bible says, “You are born in sin and shaped in iniquity.” The Bible says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death.” The Bible says there are two Adams. The first Adam was made from the dust of the earth, but the second Adam, which is Christ Jesus, was made of a quickening spirit. What quickened the spirit?
The Holy Qur’an says Jesus was the Messiah and was perfect in his obedience to the law of God. The Bible says when the Pharisees were criticizing Jesus, he said, “I did not come to change to law. I came to fulfill what was written in the law.” Jesus loved the law, but he was so far above the law. The law that God gave to all of the prophets, from Moses to Muhammad, regulates our behavior, but what will regulate the power of our ability to think?
Moses said, “If you commit adultery, you have broken the law.” But Jesus said, “If you lust after a woman in your heart, you have already committed the act.” So, Jesus was trying to get human beings to strengthen their power of correcting how they think. He said, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
When Jesus came into the world, he was not loved in a world like this. And if you really love and follow him, you will not be loved in a world like this. You will be hated for his name sake. But if you can get along with a world like this, then maybe you are like this world. In a funeral parlor, nothing that is dead excites the other dead. There is no problem between one dead body laying next to another dead body. Both bodies stink because both bodies are decomposing. But a living person would find it difficult laying next to a dead body. Once the body begins to decompose, there is a stench that arises from that body that the living cannot abide. The living and the dead cannot cohabit.
Christ was in the world, but he was not of it; he represented another kind of world. There is a gospel hymn: “I’m bound, I’m bound for higher ground. I’m seeking the golden crown. Can’t remain on this earthly plane, I’m bound for higher ground. Don’t turn me down.” What kind of ground are you on that you are bound for higher ground? You are living a low life in a culture of death. You are living in rebellion to what you know is pleasing to God, although you are the people of God.
Jesus came into a world like this, preaching obedience to God and not necessarily to Caesar. He said, “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” You do not belong to the rulers of this world. You do not belong to the mayor. You do not belong to President Bush. He may own some of you, because you gave him power over you, but he did not have it until you gave it to him. How dare you give the power of who you are to somebody that is not your God, not His Christ, not your Saviour?
So, Jesus was the advocate for the suffering, sick, diseased and sinful. He knew what death was, because he was of a quickened spirit. He was not living a life like Adam, in rebellion; he was living a life in complete submission. So, he was alive amidst a people who were dead in sin. He said, “I am the resurrection and the light. He who believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”
When you have Communion in the church, it is called the Eucharist. They give you some bread and maybe a little grape juice or some wine. When Jesus knew he was leaving, he sat his disciples down for a Last Supper. He broke a loaf of bread and shared it with them, because none of them was going to have the whole loaf. He gave each one of his disciples a piece of the loaf so, if they wanted the whole loaf, they would have to come together in the upper room with love and unity. Then, he would be in the midst of them.
After supper, he gave them to drink of wine and he said, “Drink this as oft as you can in remembrance of me. This is my blood that I shed for the New Testament, for the remission of sins. So you drink this in remembrance of me.”
He knew that he was about to be betrayed. Judas is sitting close. The Bible says that John had his head on his chest and then looks at Judas and tells him, “Go and do it quickly.” Jesus said, “Hath not I chosen you 12 and one of you is a devil?” We do not have to worry about an enemy on the outside; our problems are not from the outside. Our problems are from the inside. In fact, we may not have to leave our house. For Jesus said, “Two will be laying in the bed, and I’m going to take one and leave.”
So, when drugs come into your house, drugs represent Satan’s way of giving you a pleasure that you could have received naturally. In your body, God has already arranged for the vicissitudes of life and made it possible for you to make it through things that would break you down. God knew that you were going to face struggle, loss, fear and death. How could He not know it when He is the Giver of life and the ultimate Causer of death? How could He not know that death was going to separate us from one another? Inside our brains, He gave us hormones that secrete certain chemicals that take us through grief, trauma and shock. It is like a sedative; it calms us down. We do not need the liquor store. We do not need the dope merchant. We need to reach in and reach out.
We are living in a world that is falling, so there is unusual stress on every human being. This stress depletes those things that God has put within us to keep us strong through trials. So, when you find yourself getting weak, instead of reaching for that which will give you the ability to go through trials, you reach for the liquor bottle. You look for the dope merchant. You look for sex. You look for things that give pleasure. But after you are finished finding that pleasure, you are in a worse condition than before. You are dead.
Many of us, as Christians, wear the cross. It is a symbol of what? The cross is made by one vertical bar crossing another bar that is horizontal. The nature of the animal is that he walks horizontal. The nature of the human, however, as soon as we stop crawling, we find something to pull up on to walk upright. When a child finds strength in something, the child holds on and pulls up. The child’s mother does not teach this; the intelligence of God within the child is telling the child how to do this.
Christ is what we hold on to and pull up by. He is the resurrection. But if you are still dead, living the old life, you should go to him quick, hold on tight and pull up. “I am the resurrection and the light, if you believe in me,” Christ said, “though you are dead, yet shall you live.”
Easter time is similar to the garment that the earth puts on when spring comes. When it snows during winter, it covers everything with a white blanket and looks immovable. But the warming rays of the sun melt cold ice into life-giving water. Then, the earth that died in winter comes alive in spring and it looks like the earth has a new garment. You may have bought a new garment to wear today for Easter, but the scripture says, “Take off the old man and put on the new man.” That is truly Easter.
The old man is after Adam. The old man and the old woman are the rebellious man and the rebellious woman. If you take off the old man and put on the new, then you are garmented for the resurrection. You do not want to be the same old person that the slavemaster made.
The Bible says, “Let this mind be in you, the same that was in Christ Jesus.” This house is a part of the Church of God in Christ. But the house of God is not determined by walls or pews. The real church is not made of stone. The real house of God is people united in the bond of love. The New Testament says, “We can tell that we have passed from death into life because we love the brotherhood.” The death that is upon us is the death of self-hatred that makes us look at each other through a jaundiced eye. That is death.
If we let the same mind of Christ Jesus be in us, then Christ becomes our connection again to the Father that we lost by our rebellion in following Adam and the sins of the world. The Bible says, “As by one man, sin entered into the world and death came by sin, and all men have sinned, all men have tasted death.” We are dead already.
When Jesus walked among us, he did a work that caused him to know that death. Though he did not want that cup, he knew that death would not rob him of the promise of his Father. When he stood at the cross on that faithful day, and they were spitting on him, laughing at him and making mockery of him, darkness came over the land. Then, he said, “It is finished.” Jesus was saying, in other words, “I had to run a race. I had to fight the good fight. I had to taste of death, in order to conquer it, to show you—grave, where is your victory?, and death, where is your sting?”
On the third day, they say, he rose again and ascended to the right hand of the Father. This scripture of ascension means that he executes the power of the mind of his Father. The scripture says, “God put all things under him except He, Himself.”
There is a church hymn that says, “Dial him up, call him up. Tell him what you want.” We should want Christ’s mind in us. Christ was anointed with power to crush Satan’s world and all his works. So, if his mind is in us, then we can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us.
So, let us not talk about problems, let us talk about solutions, because we can do all things through our powerful connection to Christ. It must be real. If you connect to him, then you will be able to say, “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.”
I stand before you as a servant of God, but I am not loved by everyone. For over 20 years, I have been maligned in the media as a hater, an anti-Semite, anti-White, anti-Christian, anti-this and anti-that. But you do not see any furrow on my brow. They may control your paycheck, but they do not control mine. In order to cut off my blessings, they would have to have a ladder that reaches heaven, and I do not think that their ladder can go that high. Greater is He that is in me than what is in this world, because this world cannot crush me.
The world cannot crush Pastor T.L. Barrett. The world cannot crush you.
Let Christ in. He knocks, but who will let him in? Let him into your life. Let him into your being. Let him live in you, because when he lives in you, God then is with you and there is nothing that you wish to achieve that you will not be able to achieve. Let us get up out of the cemetery. Let us get up out of the grave and say, “Oh, grave, where is your victory?, and death, where is your sting?”
Let us rise like the Master. Let his spirit and the mind of God be in us. Let us become a new man and woman, and take off the old man and woman and cast it in the garbage pail where it belongs.