March 17th.

Leviticus 25 / Psalms 135-136 / Luke 8

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And your male slave and your slave girl whom you may have from the nations that are around you...you may work, but your brothers the Israelites—no man shall hold crushing sway over his brother. For they are My slaves, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt. They shall not be sold in a slave's sale. You shall not hold crushing sway over him, and you shall fear your God.

And should the hand of a sojourning settler with you attain means when your brother comes to ruin under you and is sold to a sojourning settler under you, or to an offshoot of a sojourner's clan, after being sold, he shall have a redemption; one of his brother may redeem him.

The idea of the OT ideas that God introduced to the Israelites being a bunch of copies for another purpose is illustrated in the Leviticus reading. The short interpretation of the above message is that when we grow in the new life that was planted in us, we as sons become more like our Father, and so are able to become to our brothers as He has been to us. We become a guardian to those who are less fortunate because they are merely young, more stricken still with the animal disease that holds them tightly to the earth and every other temporary thing. That isn't to say that they will stay that way, because the idea is that we grow up to become blessed in the sense that we become free from it, much like the some Israelites were blessed and some came to ruin.

Although no matter what their circumstance, the command was that they weren't ever to be regarded by each other as slaves, even though they may have been in that position, as they could regard the people from the nations around them. God made sure of that by providing the year of jubilee and reinstatement. God's family—His particular sons whom He has pulled out of the world, shown the truth to and redeemed into His family—are everything to Him. They are for His purpose, enjoyment, and delight. This is the pure and final definition of the kingdom of God, which is better labeled His family, which is what the metaphor of the kingdom of Israel under David pointed at. They are His slaves (in a good way—sons who willingly do the will of the Father because they love Him). As we become mature we take on His nature instead of the animal, and become more like He is, and less like the animal we were before. In that sense we're able to love our brothers and treat them as He treats us, because we are more able to understand His interest in us, as we know more clearly that He has already personally guaranteed our redemption to us by the life He put in us.

Jesus understood that everything in the OT was a copy in the natural of the reality in the spiritual, which couldn't be known except by allegory because it was too far above what the humans can comprehend with their natural minds. The life of God which lived in him told him about all of those things, and actually wove them into his consciousness, so much so that when he looked at the natural things and interacted with natural humans, he often responded in the reality of what he knew in this regard, how the OT pointed to what was actually real.

For instance Jesus and the "70 times 7" symbol, as he responded to Peter's inquiry about forgiving a brother. He gets this from Leviticus concerning the land/jubilee/sabbath rest, when the land and people were set free, which is the copy of forgiving your brother. It's against the animal nature to forgive, because it needs to hold onto its own justice for its self, in its ongoing drive toward self-preservation . The idea of forgiveness encapsulates "taking a rest" from the work of the self, i.e., what it is to forgive with no limit. To remove the limit and vision of only the self, which needs to survive. It symbolizes the true sabbath and Year of Jubilee—freedom to love without the boundaries and the instinct of the animal to murder and hate, rather than forgive and love. To let another be first instead of your own self, which is the definition of the animal and its drive to self-preserve.

When one becomes a son, then he starts being shown how much the Father has forgiven him, because all of a sudden he can see that isolated animal he was and still is because of the continued presence of the old nature. That becomes a thing of frustration because he is not made totally free from its hold over him, and it keeps him in that rut of ignorance to keep him away from his true Father, who proves His Fatherhood by the guarantee He has put in the son that He intends to redeem him from death—something the animals don't know. Yet at the same time this isolating animal nature still exists in the son, which is intended to bring a certain level of grief and mourning in him because he can't get what he wants. The animal tells him to want other things that he continues to chase after, which lead him farther away from the Father. After so many of these episodes he starts to learn what things produce what results, and he learns to start shying away from the harmful ones as he gets tired of being led down that path which leads to repentance from the things that cause a little death to his relationship with the Father. Because it separates him from his Father, it is a source of grief and heartache.

So a son who does understand the great mercy of his Father toward him can't go and hold some comparatively petty thing against his brother. In the first place it shows that he doesn't believe what his Father is promising to do for him, and in the second, if he did actually believe it, that would be some serious hypocrisy. The things Jesus was saying in Matt. 6 about them wondering what they will eat, he picks up from Leviticus:  "What will we eat?" Jesus knew that God says He will provide for His true sons, reflecting for the sons the reality of eternal jubilee. Another instance of Jesus' consciousness and understanding of what was real in the spiritual reality, pertaining to the year of Jubilee, is found in Isaiah 35—the message he sends to John in prison:

No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it;
they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there,

And the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

This is the message of being redeemed and the joy of returning and getting back our inheritance, of going home. This is the heart of Leviticus 25—the joy of Jubilee, of freedom. We also know that the writer of Hebrews understood the copy idea from much of what he said—that everything pointed to Jesus setting all of God's sons free from the curse and reality of death.

Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant (our nature as an animal, the sinful nature).

The sons have been bought back, redeemed from the curse and reality of death. God observed the requirements of His own law when He paid the price of the life of what He loved most—His only Son who looked just like Him, whom He loved—so we could return, be given back to our Father. That He may have the family He wants and will ultimately have is God's will in its most macro form, and every particular part of it (the micro, per each son) relates to it.

It's an important chapter about freedom for the sons, and how God sets us free, following that example of love—that He was willing to not retain His rights as God, but set the good example and give up what He loved most for our sakes. The suffering of His perfect Son also caused Him great suffering and pain. "In His love and mercy he redeemed them; He lifted them up and carried them." (Is. 63) It's a beautiful picture of God and the reality of Jesus doing the same for us.

Another correlation is in Leviticus and the Year of Jubilee when everything goes free, untended and unpruned by man—God giving the increase. This reality is connected to the root of the Hebrew word for "untrimmed vine," which is Nazir meaning "to set apart," from which the term "Nazirite" comes. (Robert Alter, The Five Books of Moses, 2004, p. 653) John the baptist was a Nazirite, like a wild vine, un pruned and grown by God instead of man—not partaking of the produce, the nature, the wine of the humans. In that sense he was a lot different than the ordinary humans; clean and able to be the one Isaiah speaks about, the one completely for God's purpose, who pointed the hearts of the people toward Jesus and got some of them ready to hear his message:

A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God's salvation.'

Another instance where this vine idea lived in Jesus' consciousness is reinforced in John 15, when Jesus describes himself as the vine, and his Father as the vine dresser (the gardener). Jesus personified the year of jubilee, the freedom of the land set apart. He and John were the wild vines set apart for God's purpose—to be controlled and pruned by God and to yield His wine, His nature and spirit, because of their love for and obedience to the Father. They were the land not tilled and worked by Adam, the portions set aside, the inheritance of God and the means of redemption for those He loves (His family). It will be our rest and freedom from the curse of Adam in Genesis 3:17, that the ground would enslave him and he would never be free from his appetite and the nature to kill to feed himself, and not be able to forgive and set his brother free, in love.

All for the sons of God, those who would be His family and fulfill His will—those who eventually become like He is, who look like their Father instead of the animal. Nevertheless it's worth remembering that it remains a slow process, as the life grows within us—mostly hardly even noticeable, like a tree growing instead of fireworks going off. That's something the animal that is still living in us can't handle very easily because it wants everything right now, it wants to know and be totally secure in what it can hold on to because it's always afraid it's going to die. It doesn't want to trust God, or have faith that the teacher is going to stay with us, and it can't believe that the seal he put in our hearts is going to last, or that it being a deposit in us is his guarantee of the things to come for us. The animal needs tangible proof, something it can control because it can hold it in its hands and say to itself, "I own this thing, it's mine—I decide what it will be, and what it will be like in me."

It's not something we can ever have and still remain sons, because we cannot own or control God. That is against the idea of having to trust and believe what we cannot see because the nature that wants to continue to rule us doesn't want to do that. We can't build up sons around us who will validate what we're saying because that's just the same human manipulation, disguised as good because we're "doing it in his name." Then we wouldn't need to continue to believe that what He said is true, or be totally dependent on Him for the continuation of the understanding of the life that was planted in us. We wouldn't be sons then, because the choice wouldn't actually be real. He desires to have a family of sons who look like Jesus the firstborn Son, who love Him and recognize, in their heart, they are not independent animals who can take care of themselves and who don't need their Father. And the fact is clear that some of the time Jesus wasn't sure, precisely because he wasn't able to control what was happening, so he truly did have to choose to trust and believe the Father, and the choice he made would be real. If he were a god then all this which is so vital is moot and worthless because the reality that he is god and I am not overrides everything practical that has anything to do with God's reality.

We wouldn't need to have faith that what he is promising to us is real, even though we never completely receive it in this life, which is what Hebrews 11 is about. That' a real bugger for the animal in us, because it can only believe in what it can see with its eyes and therefore understand with its mind—what it can control by its own power. It's completely in union with the human way of being in control to appease the fear, and at the same time hide the fact that you need that control (fear and hiding are the fundamental animal modes as per Gen. 3). But it's against the way of God, which is why it's termed His adversary, the deceiver. It's why Paul said that the sons' struggle was not against flesh and blood, but against...the spiritual forces of evil (that which is in the humans to keep them from finding God, and because of that also tends to keep God's sons from knowing Him) in the heavenly realms. Not a fallen angel but a powerful force of God's own creation and desire to be there for the humans, but not the sons (why they must come away from it).

 

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