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BD 2221 25.01.1942
Peter's successors ....
Read the Bible and you will see that the spirit of truth has been pushed aside in a most obvious way. God's Word has been withheld from you so that those of you who are looking for truth shall not recognise it. The records are carefully maintained but to what extent these records comply with Christ's teaching is not scrutinised. And how often has the divine Word been changed, how often has God's Word been wrongly interpreted and how rarely was the wrong interpretation objected to. This deception of humanity cannot be emphasized often enough; after all, it has been the cause of all divisions and religious conflicts. When Jesus lived on earth He spoke about the kingdom of God, about a kingdom which is not of this world .... He did not speak about a worldly power, nor did He speak about an ecclesiastical power, about an organisation, He did not speak about men who were meant to rule His Own on behalf of God either .... He merely said to His disciples 'Go and teach all nations ....' He gave them the task to instruct people in His teaching of love and He promised His assistance if they remained in His spirit .... For as soon as they taught love they had to live within love themselves, thus the Lord Himself, Who is love, was with them. But where love rules all dominating control is unnecessary .... where love rules one person serves the other and where love rules commandments are superfluous unless the commandment of love given by God Himself is preached to people. Anything that teaches love complies with divine will, but the addition of further commandments is not in accordance with God's will because the basis of any command is a dominant force ....But people should live together like brothers, they should merely submit to God's will if they want to acquire the kingdom of God. By no means should they rebel against the worldly power which God has indeed appointed for the sake of keeping order where it is violated, however, His kingdom is not of this world ....He alone is Lord and Master in His kingdom, and He certainly needs no one on earth to represent Him and exercise their power over other people. But which Word of the Lord during His life on earth specifies such power?
He has lived a life of love, He gave love and taught love .... True love, however, excludes the need to rule .... The stronger should not rule the weaker even where the fulfilment of divine commandments had been taught. Because an enforced action is not to be very highly valued, regardless of how noble and good it is. Not until a person uses his free will are these actions done before God. And thus God only demands the human being's free will. But at no time are people on earth entitled to add their own commandments to the divine commandments. And even less may people be obliged to obey these commandments by threat of temporal or eternal punishment. For then a commandment would be observed to avoid punishment, which otherwise would have been ignored. Thus the fulfilment of such commandments cannot possibly have great value before God and for eternity. When Christ's disciples complied with His instructions and spread the Gospel throughout the world God's activity was clearly visible because in the name of Jesus they healed the sick, they expelled evil spirits and performed miracles in order to reaffirm what they were teaching. God's spirit was with and within them; everything they achieved was the divine working of the spirit. They proclaimed the teaching of Christ, the divine teaching of love, and simultaneously exemplified love to their fellow human beings. Thus, they eliminated the desire to rule, for they were like brothers among themselves and served each other with love. This was the office Jesus Christ gave to his disciples for their future work .... He did not appoint one of the apostles as a person in charge, as a leader to whom all should succumb. However, what developed at a later time completely differed from what the Lord Himself stood for. An ecclesiastical-secular power came into being that also structured every commandment of love, which no longer corresponded to what Jesus Christ Himself had taught the people. Although servitude in love was demanded, it was no longer practiced by them. And this was of most decisive significance because what Jesus had condemned during His life on earth surfaced again .... people were commanded to do what they should have done voluntarily. And reputable men of distinction called themselves successors of the apostles who had met the duties of their office in greatest poverty .... and a structural establishment displaying enormous splendour called itself the only beatifying church, which Jesus Christ had supposedly installed with the words 'You are Peter, the rock ....'
(27.1.1942) These words were interpreted thus by people who desired power; but these words do not by any means allow for the interpretation that Peter is the founder of an ecclesiastical power and that the heads of this church are the successors of the apostles .... those very apostles who, without status and distinction, only proclaimed the Gospel, the divine teaching of love, to the world. Peter was the most devout of them and Jesus emphasized his strong belief with the words 'You are Peter, the rock, on this rock I will build My church.' He calls the community of believers His church, because those who want to acquire God's kingdom have to join together with innermost faith and thus constitute His church. Such is His will, and He expressed this will with those words. However, it is not His will that eminent and exalted dignitaries should believe themselves to be the head of such a community and thus also exercise their power .... that untold customs and ceremonies let the truly essential part become unimportant; i.e. that due to the countless formalities, which are given too much merit, the divine teaching of love remains unnoticed, and that therefore the apostles' real task of spreading the Gospel throughout the world is no longer recognised. There can indeed also be men after God's heart amongst those rulers, and God will truly not deny His spirit and His mercy to them, but then their wisdom is not the result of their position or the exalted office they fill but due to their right way before God .... These then are Peter's true successors because they are strong in faith, and from the strength of faith they draw wisdom, for then they are like a rock from whence the living water comes forth .... Then they are true representatives of the church of Christ, which is the community of believers ....
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