Many Americans, Christians in particular, struggle with the where to draw the line between parable and literal meaning. I use the term “Two Realms” to point out a teaching that is greatly needed in postmodern Western Christian thinking, because mainstream Christian religion confuses parable and literal teaching. Thus, most mainstream Christians tend to take parables literally, and dismiss as parable what Scripture meant literally. They pull Christ down to an earthly regime, and push biblical law off into “a spiritual thing.”
This is a major struggle for people trying to recover a genuine biblical view of this world. If you show up at our parish, you may stumble over that issue. You may find yourself frequently missing the point on things because of that long history of improperly mixing the Two Realms. We owe that to the Judaizers. They succeeded in subverting the mystical approach in the organized church hierarchy by the end of the First Century.
Jesus spoke of mystical truths, but then taught people how to use that mystical approach to understand the Law of Moses. The Torah is a mystical document; all the specific concrete requirements represent a much higher mystical truth. The Jews had forgotten that. By mixing Hellenized logic into their ancient Hebrew Law, they became legalistic and pushed mysticism off to the side. Mysticism was there, but not taken seriously as the primary proper approach to understanding the Scripture. So Jesus had a running battle with Jewish leadership about how to read Moses. He taught Moses, as Moses was intended, against their “traditions of the elders” (eventually formalized in the Talmud). Jesus was restoring the ancient Hebrew faith.
You can read the rest of this message here at Kiln of the Soul blog, our parish pulpit.