January 8th.

Genesis 15-16 / Psalm 18 / Matthew 10

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And Sarai said to Abram, "Look, pray, the LORD has kept me from bearing children. Pray, come to bed with my slave girl. Perhaps I shall be built up through her."

And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.

 

And the woman saw that the tree was good for eating and that it was lust to the eyes and the tree was lovely to look at, and she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave it her man, and he ate.

And to the human He said, "Because you listened to the voice of your wife..."

 

Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).

Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' "

And he trusted the LORD, and He reckoned it to his merit.

There are many examples for the son about true good versus true evil. Good is what leads the son to the Father, that which helps him to do the will of God, the right thing according to Him, against anything else that the animals might call good but is actually evil because they are inherently evil, not good. Evil is anything that might or does lead the son away from the Father. Evil is what the animals call good, because that supports their survival instinct e.g., god blessed me with a new house, god gave me a better job, god blessed me with more money. Their consciousness doesn't allow them to actually see what is good and evil because it's always biased toward their own self-preservation. Accordingly, they oftentimes consider what is truly good to be evil because the animal naturally hates the living God. So actual evil and actual truth as the humans have the capacity to regard them is an ironic flip-floppy type of deal. As with much of the things about the true God versus the natural reality, whatever seems to be actually isn't, and whatever seems to be impossible, is.

Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

The true God's desire is to break down the most sacred cows that the humans hold dear, the biggest one being the natural family. Although it's an animalistic prejudice based on instinct and DNA, and is clearly oftentimes denigrated by the words of Jesus himself, nevertheless few are able to launch into his view about natural family because it's such a powerful thing to the animals. You can hear lots of sermons about lots of things that sound good to the animals giving the sermons about what they know is acceptable to those listening, but you won't hear many sermons against the concept of natural family, based on passages like these.

Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn

"a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man's enemies will be the members of his own household."

We have already seen that what seems good is actually bad, and vice-versa in our short experience in the new way, and how it is reinforced throughout the scriptures. It is the reality of the sons of God versus everything else, which is a theme that is running throughout the words. It is what we base our new reality on, all of that which we've just begun to have assimilated into our consciousness. It is God's way versus man's way.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts," declares the LORD.

The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil looked good to the eyes as though it could have been something good, but in fact it had the seed of death in it, according to the Father. Conversely, Jesus looked bad to the eyes of the animals, but he had the seed of life in him. To the leaders—ironically those who falsely assumed the role as shepherds of God's people—Jesus the only true Shepherd and the One they had waited centuries for, was merely a threat which needed to be disposed of, certainly not one to be believed in.

"You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."

"Who are you?" they asked.

"Just what I have been claiming all along," Jesus replied. "I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is reliable, and what I have heard from him I tell the world."

And to those who actually wanted to follow him, those who obviously could tell that he was authentic, his teachings seemed too hard and wrong to believe according to their animal senses, which caused many who heard him to fall away from following him.

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?"
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

Inside him was the seed of the only life that is truly life—the life of the Father. Jesus was, and is, the fruit of the tree of life, so that if one were offered this fruit and ate it, he could live. The key word here is offered, because that which is so incredibly valuable is not just randomly and generically offered to everyone who assumes they can get it by following a few simple external modes and then participating in certain weekly rituals. In fact, we know that the empty rituals exist precisely because the life hasn't been offered. So all they can do is, week after week and year after year, religiously participate in these rigid, lifeless ceremonies created by men.

That produces something which is "having a form of godliness but denying its power," much like any human institution which practices its ceremonies week in and week out. We know, though, that we would necessarily be right there with them, pursuing knowledge in place of obedience—to the rules of men instead of God—if not for what has been planted in us. As Paul states in Ephesians, that gift of being able to se is God's "incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms..." The power that raised the Son of God is the same power that transforms one from an animal to a son.

He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.

Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."

As criticism has already started to swell about the assertion that the Christadelphian rituals will not actually save any of the chosen of this age, that they will have to come out from there, we should provide some perspective about our message. First of all, what saves us is the presence of the life of the Father and Son living in our bodies, which is evidence to us that we are chosen. It is the power of that life of God which raised Jesus from the dead, and which is also moving us from the realm of the walking dead into the family of God, the assembly of the firstborn—those who have been chosen to have life that is truly life.

Secondly, the message of the spirit of God, which became the living word (Jesus, and therefore his message), was never meant to be accepted by everyone, but only those who were called to be able to hear it. This he emphatically states in the same passage of John as quoted above, where he is talking about the necessity of the eating of his body and the drinking of his blood.

Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say,

"This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him."

Thirdly, the community's rituals are built around the eating of the flesh and drinking of the blood of Jesus, copies of spiritual things not to be taken lightly. However they do represent something as symbols, but what exactly? Are they merely metaphors meant to represent only concepts and ideas? A symbol cannot merely represent another symbol, or it would just be a copy of a copy, and could hold no real relevance. And if the spiritual reality which Jesus and a few others knew is not available today then the symbols can only be copies of concepts which do not actually exist, and can ultimately mean nothing.

The symbols are meant to be copies which represent an actual reality as the writer of Hebrews briefly starts to write about, like the OT things given to the Jews were copies of the actual things. They are given for the purpose of being earthly copies of the actual spiritual reality, which cannot be comprehended by the earthly senses. In fact, much of what Jesus says is merely a message about the spiritual reality, which he phrases as parables because the message and truth about the spiritual reality is in fact not for everyone.

I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old...

This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
" 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.

For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'

The copies are meant for those who have been called to understand the spiritual reality. Jesus only shared the cup and bread with the few men that God had chosen for him, not randomly with everyone who had some passing whim that they wanted to follow him. It was a very serious thing to share that cup, because it is the cup of suffering, meant for those who participated in the symbols of drinking the same cup Jesus drank from, that they were willing to be as he was, to go the way he went, not as an animal but as a son.

"You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said to them. "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?"

It meant that they were willing to lose their lives to follow him, to move out of the realm of the animal, to not hang on to their lives in their hearts while pretending to follow him on the outside; in which case the drinking the cup as part of some ritual ceremony holds no relevance except the desire for salvation without paying the price.

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Even more definitely, the symbols and copies are intended to be comprehended by the more spiritually mature, as Paul was, which he states in Hebrews in the introduction to his teaching about the earthly things being copies of the heavenly, or spiritual, reality. In fact he is disappointed that more of the brothers are not as mature as he was, that they did not comprehend the deeper spiritual realities intended to be comprehended because of the meaning of the many symbols in the scriptures provided for them, by God, to understand their new reality.

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity...And God permitting, we will do so.

Then he goes on in the sixth chapter to talk about those symbols and copies of what they understood from the scriptures and what they mean in the spiritual reality. As Paul recognized and understood them, Jesus had before him, the copies, ideas and lessons which were used by the spirit to make them sons, to move them from the dead to the living. We too, having the same life in us, should recognize these many things as copies and lessons which can help us to understand the things of God, how He is and what He likes, and what He wants to give us.

In this respect, we can see the consequences of what happened with the human and Abram, who listened to their helpers (the evil) over what they should have known as the truth from their Father (the good). We can also observe the motives of Sarai and the woman, and the mistakes they made because of them. Intended to be a servant and helper of the son, to realize the Father's way and find his way there, they instead chose to do the thing that would give them more than what was provided for by God. So we can understand that the way of the animal is evil, and the way of God is good, and we are called to be helpers, servants of one another for the purpose of finding and actualizing the treasure, the only real love, that which only comes from the Father.

Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case--things that accompany salvation. God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

 

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