Exodus 27 / Psalms 81-82 / Mark 12
Hear, O my people, and I will warn you—if you would but listen to me, O Israel!
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt.
If my people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways,
A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.
He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, `They will respect my son.' But the tenants said to one another, `This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.
Haven't you read this scripture: " `The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes' ?"
The Father's vineyard is His secret family of sons. The farmers are the leaders who were given charge over what is His, who never took proper care of the vineyard because they recognized it as what it was—God's prize possession in the earth. The first thing Noah did when starting over was to plant a vineyard, which is saying that the plan and purpose of God was still intact, even though a major change had just happened with the inhabitants of the earth. Jesus calling himself the true vine, out of which all the branches must come and remain in order to give God a return on His investment, as He should expect, comes from his understanding of what the Father told him about himself, as per Psalm 80. This parable ties the Mark reading in with the poem about the false shepherds and leaders, which is highly significant today.
God presides in the great assembly;
he gives judgment among the "gods":
The Son of God represented the Father as He wanted to be, not like so many humans who, being rulers in Israel, could have been like "gods," that is, sons of the Most High. Their position could have enabled them to be shepherds who could lead the needy and helpless to the place where they would recognize God, being His people. But the rulers in Israel were dying like mere men, not sons of God, because they acted like animals, because they allowed themselves to be led by that nature of self-indulgence, self-preservation and self-love instead of being led by God the Father, who leads His sons. He would have had them defending the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintaining the rights of the poor and oppressed, rescuing the weak and needy; and delivering them from the hand of the wicked because they were their brothers, not objects of oppression. They on the other hand were slaves to the force of power that keeps one serving itself, so that those things are not an obligation to it that it's happy to take on, but a burden that it doesn't want. They just get in it's way of its constant service to its own self's needs, cravings, appetite and security.
When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God."
This interchange is a key to understanding the way of God as the Son knew it. Telling the man that he was not far from the kingdom has great significance if we are to observe what the man said, which caused this reaction from the Son.
You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.
There is a secret contained within this, what the poets and prophets knew concerning what God wanted from a man. Not his outward service, but his inward life. Not that the man perform rituals for Him, but that he gives everything he has to God—not just with his mouth babble while holding back the best and deepest parts of himself from God, what he has hidden in his heart to be, do and love.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
God wants the whole man as the sacrifice, not just parts of the man that he's willing to give while he holds on to the rest. The human animal serves himself and the world—his career, his family, his house and cars, clothes, children, hobbies, rest, etc; whatever the entire world of humans loves and runs after which they learn to love, from each other. Then what's left over after he's tired and depleted, not the firstfruits but the last fruits, he gives to God. Whatever time he has in the evenings after he's spent all day working for the world's treasure, after resting from being exhausted by all of it and stuffing his face with dinner, then maybe he'll do some readings. And part of a Sunday he'll toss to the Lord as his crème de la crème sacrifice he thinks God loves so much. The man's heart, though, is far from God.
What a man truly loves is what he spends his time running after. It doesn't matter what he says with his mouth, because talk is cheap. If he has dug himself into a hole that makes him a slave to everything and everyone—wife, family, bank, mortgage, loans, employer, monthly bills, etc—except for God, is that His fault? Pretending to cover it over with some commitment to a system that other men created by which they conspire together to give each other the necessary consensus that provides the animal agreement they crave is just that—pretending, and trusting other humans, believing in the agreement they can give which props up the lie that what they're giving is what God requires, and what is pleasing to Him.
These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
The leaders of religious institutions appear to those who don't know any better as devoted to God, true followers of the Lord because they have to appear that way (genuine) since they actually expect to be compensated for their role and the ability to act it up. If they aren't able to extract monetary compensation, they take it in the currency that satisfies their lust for having their egos filled by standing up in front of the crowd acting humble, feeling worshipped. The animal lust for power on any level it can get it is strong and powerful, and disguising the need to indulge that animal craving as something good—doing the work of the gods—is built right in to the animal need to appease the fear inside it, and at the same time hide from doing it. Standing in front of the crowd, the "shepherds" collect their dues one way or another; acting like good little animals following their good little made up jesus who has no power except what it can get via the agreement the animals give to each other as they prop up the lie that their made up jesus god will save them from the made up devil and the made up hell.
When they can indulge in any lustful craving and at the same time pretend they aren't, they think they got it made. But God sees inside their heart. Their ignorance of the animal nature may be true, but it doesn't mean that what they do is pleasing to the real Jesus, who in fact warned his own disciples against standing up in front of other humans to receive anything from them, because that was all the reward they could expect from that type of unbelief (not believing that God saw them and could reward them, so getting what they need from men—a total animal maneuver). So when they hold some knowledge of the words over the heads of those they are collecting a toll from, and ignore the same words that tell them not to do it, what can it be but a manipulation of the words for their own sake, if they are indeed collecting dues from it.
When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
The problem that Jesus had with the leaders is that they lived for themselves (natural for animals to respond to fear) while pretending to be honoring God (natural for animals to respond to hide that response). They pretended to be rulers and shepherds, but they were wolves dressed like shepherds (leaders, those who were supposed to be sons of God), who just wanted to rape the sheep of whatever they could get from them.
Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.
Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
Why will he consider them evildoers? Not because they acted like the "bad people." Obviously they thought they were the good people, doing all sort of things in the name of their made up jesus. However, the real Jesus will never have known them because only the true sheep hear the voice of the good Shepherd. They hear his voice and listen to his word alive inside them, which speaks to them of their Father's will and purpose, what He wants from them (that they become transformed from the mere animal they've been all their life into sons of the Most High God—what the real Jesus truly was).
It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:
"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."
For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
This schedule of working hard for 6 days then resting on the 7th was blessed by God for the Israelites, who had to work the land, and then were commanded to rest on the last day to reflect on and worship God, and give their animals and slaves a rest. Otherwise their desire to get more for themselves, the natural dictates of the instincts with them, would work them to death. They were to sacrifice a full day's ability to work the land, which was a very valuable chunk of time for them to spend not working.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Their prophets pointed to another time coming, when the sacrifice a man would make to God would not just be things in his otherwise very busy life keeping himself alive. They pointed to the time when the commandments were not written down on tablets of stone, but on men's hearts, when a life of service to God would not be fulfilled by external rules being followed and external rituals being fulfilled, which was the law as merely a copy of the better thing. The law pointed to this time when a man didn't present offerings of things like unblemished animals, but the only thing that God would accept was the whole man, on the altar, cut open so that his whole life and whole heart were God's.
"The time is coming," declares the LORD,
"when I will make a new covenant
It will not be like the covenant
I made with their forefathers
"This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time," declares the LORD.
This would be a time when the man knew that his temporary existence on the earth wasn't life at all, that it wasn't sacred and didn't matter in light of what mattered to God, what could give God enjoyment from the man. If we look past our grubby little existences, which mean everything to the animals who are driven only to preserve them at all cost, we might see that in themselves they provide little usefulness for God. After all, what good is a man to God who spends his life working for the world's treasure to satisfy his own needs all his life? He tosses God the crumbs of his life, sure, but the best part of it goes to himself, his employer, his career, his house and family and the all the stuff he thinks he needs. These are all the things that consume the man, from the time he's able to work and have a family until he's old and used up, he has had the best years of his life sucked out of him by the world, by himself and his wife and children, and everything else he thinks he needs for this temporary existence, that which becomes sacred to him instead of what God might want from him.
What the gods get from the human animals who throw them their bones is the tired, exhausted, used up life. Not the firstfruits—the virile, fresh years of his life—but the part that's going bad. They offer up the blemished part of the man's flock, the diseased animal, the old, frail one that's about to die, the one that's sick and spotted and useless. The world on the other hand gets the man's best years, the fresh and lively part of the man's existence, from 15 to 65, when the man is awake and alive. And of those best years, the world gets all the best hours, the heart of the man's week and the hours when he's most alive and awake are given by the man, not to God but to the world, in exchange for the things he thinks he needs to "survive." Actually, though, they all get offered up to the same god, which is their own selves, livelihoods, identities, hopes, futures, etc.
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, 'Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, O God.' "
That life may have been okay for the Israelites. However, when the Son became the law he created a new way to serve God, and put to rest the old way. Since the life and work of the Lord, there is no more any way to serve God by the old way. The new way was established by Jesus, his very life being the model of the way a son can now come to God and present offerings that would be acceptable to Him. What the made up jesus god did was to revert everything back to the old way—what the Son of the only living God nullified—so that the humans can appease their animal fear and live for themselves while at the same time hide by thinking they are doing their gods so many favors, because they're ashamed of their fear but unable to do anything about it.
I was afraid; so I hid.
That's where the line needs to be drawn between the Real Jesus and what the great whore made up about the truth he established. That is the current landscape of christianity in its various forms, which are the prostitute daughters of that great whore of Babylon, who mysteriously took the truth that was known by the 1st century sons into captivity, which is the present darkness. Although the words are the same, the characters are wholly different, which means the purpose of the God who preserved them is different than what they assume (to serve them, the "good people"); as is the reason He has preserved them.
At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold...
By saying that the old way has been fulfilled by the Lord, therefore we also have to agree that the way to please God by means of the old way has also been nullified. The definition of the terms, then, in how to please God, is found in the words of the Lord and the message of his life—what he actually said, back up by what he actually did. The whore made all of that into a lie, for her own sake and well-being. That is the mode of the animal, the unclean thing that she defiled the true temple (the bodies of His sons) with, and in so doing fulfilled the words of Daniel about the abomination that would make the earth desolate—not a place where the sons lived but a haunt of jackals.
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
We can't expect him to deny himself—to pass up the chance for worldly glory by laying down his right as the Son of David to actually become the king of Israel and accept the earthly praise and honor that would have followed—and then conveniently say, as all the religious people say it's fine to say, "That was all good and fine for me, but you aren't expected to do it—you have a family to feed!" That is just saying one thing with the mouth and another with the heart out of your own animal convenience, which the religious leaders will tell you is okay, a sacrifice that God will accept from you. They don't want you to be true to the Living God, because if you knew the truth you would know that God's sons are secretly chosen by Him, and therefore do not stand up in front of a crowd of humans to get the rewards they crave, put there by the animal nature that rules them.
Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
Since Jesus' life and his fulfillment and nullification of the old way, God simply does not accept that anymore. Man thinks he can throw God his scraps, the part of his life that's going bad, the obligations and rituals on the days when he's trying to rest from the exhaustion of what the world is sucking from him. The days he's not fresh, and the hours he's not fresh and alive, he gives to God and thinks that God accepts that sacrifice. The christian gods do, but the real God does not, which is why all of man's religious institutions are dead, because there is no one good, no one who seeks the real God. He has turned His back on man and left him to his own devices, his grubby little temporary existence that he calls life. The sons know that their existence within the natural creation isn't life at all, because the life that is truly life has come in to them, and they begin to secretly know right from wrong.
Although the men sitting in the institutions every Sunday think they are pleasing to God, their lives actually are a copy of every other life in the world, and they teach their own offspring that that's the way to please their god, that he's happy with the garbage they are offering up to him every week. There is no power or life of God, just the mundane assumptions of the hypocrisy of man in full bloom. So what did Jesus say to those who desired to actually be pleasing to God?
No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
The sons of God don't need money, they need love. The humans run after money in order to provide for themselves and their families; they have to love and protect themselves. The sons know that there is only one family that matters—the family of God and His sons, which is God's purpose with this creation, His will. Jesus himself delineated this plainly:
Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you."
"Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."
The natural family is everything to the humans, who are evil (they don't know God's purpose, but only their own). Jesus, however, knew about the only family that matters to the Father—that which is populated by His secret sons, hidden from the world of the human animals. The Father wants His own sons to not be as mere animals, who follow the dictates of the nature that is in them, what drives them instinctually to run after what the humans consider valuable.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
"But I had to feed my family, and I did make sure the best I could that they knew the correct facts about you." Is that what we will eek out when he asks us why we lived our lives for ourselves, and gave the best of everything to the world while we threw him the scraps, and thought that by doing so we were being pleasing to him?
All of this can only come from a skewed understanding of what this natural existence actually means to us, that it is actually life. The humans have been lied to forever about that, by the pervasive lie in the world which says that everyone's going to live forever, everyone's going to heaven, everyone who followed the rules of the institution will be in the kingdom. God doesn't expect us to consider our existences here as nothing, He doesn't want us to lose our lives for His sake, so that He can provide us with another life—one that is truly, actually life, one that doesn't end when we're all used up. Even though it is what Jesus told his disciples who wanted to follow him what must become of their precious lives.
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family." Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
These are easily overlooked, rationalized away and forgotten because the lie is so pervasive (that God is happy with our leftovers and He doesn't expect us to actually follow the Lord's words), and those who assume the role of leaders of God's people will use the very words of the Lord to condemn others who are only breaking their made up rules (by what they observe with their eyes, and therefore think they know what's happening), while themselves have hypocritical hearts which are far from him because of the situation already discussed—they offer up the best part of their lives to the world and themselves, and try to push the crappy part on to God's altar, that which He who is true doesn't want. The humans have another code, which doesn't come from the Living God, but from the animal nature that rules them to take care of themselves while pretending to be serving Him. They follow that which makes their natural lives better for themselves, which always ends in pushing God out of them so they can feel good with the lie that they've constructed around themselves, that they are acting on God's behalf.
"Be careful," Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod."
And the biggest lie that they teach their younger ones is that He actually accepts their garbage. By this they say that God must be some kind of chump, and it's easy to pull a fast one on Him. It is just like one of the Israelites bringing for his offering an old, spotted sheep, blind on one eye with puss oozing out of it, limping because of an open sore on its thigh, infected with maggots, thinking God will be pleased with what he has brought for Him as an offering—while the man had plenty of perfect lambs at home. Yet that's what goes on, week after week, year after year.
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
The treasure of the son is what the Lord knew was the real treasure to seek after. Not food, clothing, houses, jobs, money, wives, children, friends, respect, honor admiration, security, or anything else that the humans think is valuable. Only one thing is valuable to the son, that is finding his Father's love, being actually acceptable and clean enough to receive it. And the only way to receive it is to be clean enough for Him to live in our body, to make His abode in us, with the Lord, so that we can actually become sons. And the only way for the Father and the Son to live in us is to actually be born of Him, from above, of the spirit in the real way, not in man's stupid natural assumption of what it must be. God's desire is to have a family of sons who know His love, and who love Him back, and look forward to nothing else than to be with Him, to live in His house forever with Him as His own possession, His own son. That is the son's treasure—everything else is garbage, dead.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
"Have you understood all these things?" Jesus asked. "Yes," they replied.
He said to them, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old."