Numbers 3 / Psalms 148-150 / Luke 13-14
Take the Levites instead of every firstborn among the Israelites...and the Levites shall be Mine. I am the LORD.
When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place."
The way of the son versus the way of the human. The son believes that the Father will give him what He wants him to have, according to what the Father knows he really needs, not what the son thinks he needs. The human doesn't know because he can't, so he has to take what he can get by whatever edge he has available to him, trying to be first in whatever he can.
Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.
The simple yet profound law says that whatever seems to be really isn't and what can't be seen really is. This applies to God first, who is and was and will be, yet He is not seen or noticed and the truth of His existence isn't generally understood.
No one has ever seen God, but the One and Only Son of God*, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.
*The scribal reordering of the phrase"One and Only Son of God" to "God the One and Only" for theological reasons makes the idea of the sentence vague and confusing, like christianity itself which is built around many of these kinds of notions of the many gods. This is one of the verses that the followers of the jesus god point to in backing up their claim. However, it's erroneous. Which makes more sense, that God the one and only is at God's side, or that the one and only Son of God is at God the Father's side, with Him where He is? John himself says, just a few chapters later, that Jesus was God's one and only Son, which is a particular phraseology that John employs, and it makes sense as John knew Jesus to be—not some god but the only Son of God.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.
Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
Belief in the things of God isn't an animal deal because it can only believe in what its natural senses can validate as real. Thinking something is true or false is human, and that's what the humans have reduced "belief" to regarding the things of God, especially the reality of the identity, life and work of Jesus, who in their attempt to elevate him to godhood, they have reduced him to a mythical god like Apollo or Zeus. Therefore the christian line is reduced to the ago-old "Our gods are better than your gods" to those who don't agree with them. To those who do agree it becomes "If you believe the right story about the good gods versus the bad gods then you'll be 'saved.' "
The humans reduced the supernatural life and workings of the invisible God into a human deal a long time ago, a thing which can be controlled and monitored by the humans who have made themselves the ones who are in control, which is how they must have it, according to the instinct that drives them to get that kind of agreement for themselves. In the process, the miraculous life of God and the secret truth that only He can reveal has been made into something that is not miraculous at all, if it can be explained and monitored by static rules based on the preserved words that have been made into rules by which the maintainers of those rules emphatically say, "the gods work this way and that way, and never work that way or this way." And the rule which should be followed, spoken by Jesus himself, is conveniently ignored by them as they stand up in front of all their sheep as though they were little gods being worshipped by their human position which garners for them all kinds of the emotional currency that they crave, as animals driven by instinct to get that for themselves. In human terms they're very much first, which is their reward. It doesn't matter how much they hide behind the nobility of being the "shepherds of their gods' people," because they've taken away the position of the only real and living God and replaced Him with themselves.
I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Only a son can believe the truth about God, because only a son hears that truth, which comes by a particular and guided revelation from the Father to him. It's not just randomly put out there for anyone to pick up and claim for themselves, which is just human misguidedness based on the ignorance of not receiving that particular revelation. So they have to make stuff up, based on the writings of those who did hear the Father's voice, only that was almost 2000 years ago. When the son believes that the Son is alive and understands that he now possesses the life of the Father, he understands that if the Lord wants him to have something he doesn't have to try to grab it for himself by his own power, which is the way of the human animal. He can wait for it to come to him or not come, which is the way of belief.
But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, "Friend, move up to a better place." Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Choosing the last place instead of the first isn't an exercise in arbitrarily debasing our self; it's cutting into the animal's rule over us, and it says we believe the words of Jesus and the power he has for us to give us what he wants us to have if he wants us to have it. The position of being a leader of God's true people is not one that will ever garner for that one what is inside him as an animal craving, no matter how much it's wrapped in the guise of doing some good thing for God, which is just the hiding that accompanies the fear which led to the grabbing of the thing we thought we needed to survive. It is an instinctual animal quality to feed the ego by grabbing for oneself a position of honor and respect among the animals, which will feed that craving handily. What better way is there to get that than by standing up in front of a group of admiring sheep, giving you the validating respect that the animal craves so much. It's just another version of being worshipped as some kind of little demigod.
The funny thing is that nobody is willing to admit that that's why they do it, because it's the MO of the animal to hide from the fear that lives in its heart so there is no honesty before God who sees into the heart, which is another way that the humans are cursed. The son shouldn't aspire to human positions because that's a trap of the animal—it wants more than anything to be first (honored, respected, validated by the humans), which will make the son last to the Father, as measured against the life of the Son who is the first. There are many ways the animal nature deceives the sons and remains undetected, which is why it's given an identity by many of the writers of the preserved words, as though it were a living identity e.g., satan, the devil, the ruler of this world. That is how they wrote back then.
The way of the most responsible and honorable Son (according to the real God) was in his real life, not the one that was made up about him in the centuries leading up to the captivity of the condition that the first century sons were under. The way of the real Jesus was shame and dishonor, abandonment and suffering alone—being truly last. Then he was posthumously made by the humans into what he and the other holy men are today, for the benefit of their human system—not last, but first. They became honorable and respectable, and thought of as super heroes that went around doing miracles all the time, whom everyone respected (that's first, not last). In reality they were hated by the humans by and large, until the humans started embracing it as a viable human "religion," to compete with what was there already. When Constantine embraced the way it became a very popular and reasonable system for the humans to adhere to, replacing the outmoded system of Roman gods, which replaced the outmoded system of greek gods—and Daniel's abomination was well under way. The new covenant was never supposed to be something embraceable or acceptable as a human system to adhere to, as a way to achieve an eternal survival. It was a secret, hidden truth that only a few of the humans were able to embrace; never a human religion that not only competed with the other human religions in an attempt to say our gods are better than your gods, but annihilated them with the human power it had to do that, which flat out gave them the agreement they were looking for that their gods were better, stronger and more powerful.
I have food to eat that you know nothing about. My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.
Believing that what Jesus said is true and not modifying anything according to how it can best suit our needs is power for the son, because it goes directly against the animal nature that must be squeezed out of him, that which always wants to rule him to work everything for his own welfare. The purpose and goal of the life of Jesus living in the son is subtle, slow, and invisible. His own recognition of his advancement in the new way of God instead of man is found in that very advancement, so what's given to him is for the giving, and the learning is for the learning. It takes the growth of the life of the Son in him to recognize the growth of the life of the son in him. So his life becomes circular, and everything he knows keeps collapsing back in on itself in a good way. The life feeds on itself and advances because of its existence in him. That's important because that's the way it works, internally not externally. It isn't a human thing that can or will be validated by the humans he can surround himself with, as is the practice of the humans with everything they "believe"—from their made up religion to their political beliefs, which technically aren't beliefs, but ways of thinking. Belief as Jesus meant it is something altogether different.
The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you.
What the son understands comes directly from the Son, who is the spirit—not from his capacity to understand things from before when he was dead, or what he learned from the humans. The humans learn from each other—how to live, what to say, what to like, what to "believe," how to dress, what's good and bad, acceptable and not, etc. When you put the humans together they feed off each other, and that becomes a constant reinforcement of the learning of their system, which is the agreement of consensus they give each other as they reinforce the idea to each other that their gods are better than the other gods. The son has to be removed from that situation, or he will just have the way of the humans continually reinforced in him, and be dull to the way of the firstborn Son, which is secret. It's the way of John the Baptist, growing up in the desert, away from civilization, away from the humans' influence on him.
I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.
It isn't necessarily the humans themselves, but what they reinforce because when they get together to agree with each other they breed the animal influence like a virus. The son recognizes who his enemy is, as Paul did. Not a flesh and blood enemy, one that is visible and able to be comprehended by the natural faculties of the humans, but one which could only bee seen with new eyes, according to the new covenant promised by God through the mouth of Jeremiah and delivered by the greatest prophet, the Son who was last according to the humans. The son's enemy isn't other humans, but they do contain within them the seed that propagates their way instead of God's way, which is why he has to come out from them and be separated from them.
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.
That prophet, existing as pure spirit while living in Paul's body, taught him about his enemy according to the terms of the new covenant—of the unseen covenant that was written on this son's heart with invisible ink. Paul knew the content of the Psalms, that the new way was different than the old way. The poet spoke of the double-edged sword in terms of fighting the visible enemy, the nations of people whom God didn't choose to be His people, for His purpose. The act of preserving the nation and brotherhood of Israel—keeping it separated and clean for God's purpose, not influenced or contaminated by them—was the response of a good Jew who dedicated his life for that purpose, for God's purpose. The praise of God in his mouth and a double-edged sword in his hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the people who didn't love God, who *weren't* called according to His purpose.
The LORD takes delight in his people;
he crowns the humble with salvation.
The son sees things in the words that were preserved for him to read, and by them to understand the new way of seeing, which can't be seen by the humans, especially those who promote themselves to the position of the teacher of God's people. We know that Paul knew the way of the son, that he had eyes to see, because he wrote about it: "It (the living and active word—the voice of Jesus inside his body) judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (instead of the outside, the rituals performed or the deeds done that other men could see)." The way of the son is the new covenant—the invisible, silent, slow, unspoken, un human way instead of everything that the human naturally is. If we think about the parables and teaching of Jesus, we realize that everything goes against what the humans naturally think, the way they act, the way they respond, what they value and like, etc. It has to be a total change of identity, but from the inside out, so it's real through and through, not one ounce of it human.
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "And as for me, look, I have taken the Levites from the midst of the Israelites in place of every firstborn womb-breach of the Israelites, that the Levites be Mine. For Mine is every firstborn. On the day I struck down every firstborn in the land of Egypt I consecrated to Me every firstborn in Israel from man to beast—Mine they shall be. I am the LORD."
Much of what the son understands, according to the new covenant, aligns with what God did as recorded and preserved in the OT scriptures. For instance, the last two chapters of the Numbers reading is an earthly copy of God's desire and intention for how things will be in His world, for His family of sons. Some will undoubtedly be closer to Him (more like being first) than others, for His purposes and desires. Then there will be others, further away from Him (more like being last), but will nevertheless surround the closer ones, which surround Him. He is always at the center, with the Son, who has the highest place—meaning closest to God. From there moving outwards is the filled in circle—God and the Son in the center, and those whom He loves and is blessing more closer to the center, as closer to Him is always more blessed.
"This is the one about whom it is written: 'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."
An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest."
This sort of hierarchy of honor starts in the OT record of God's way for the Israelites camped around Him, is reinforced in the words and teachings of Jesus, and is also promised according to John's revelation. It all points to God's intention to have His world ordered accordingly—those He loves closer to Him, rewarded by their attention and obedience to the living word, the voice of Jesus, the greatest Son who teaches them how to come away from the humans, be separate, and please their Father. They are rewarded according to how much they look like Jesus, who was least in man's world, but is greatest in God's. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes.
Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.
Then there are those who have no precise number, camped around the throne, and their purpose is the same—to praise and honor the Lamb, the greatest in God's kingdom, and to marvel at his greatness and the perfection of God.
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
"Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."
All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
It's all in line with being given new eyes, new ears, and a new mind. That process cannot be enhanced by being around the humans because the humans learn how to be human from each other, and therefore keep driving each other further and further away from God. The son's exposure to the humans will only reinforce their values and their way of seeing in him, keeping him contaminated. God is a rewarder of those who hear the word and act according to it for them, particularly. However, the word always teaches us toward the same end—what will benefit God and advance His desire and purpose—how we can learn to love Him instead of our own self. The words of Jesus often reflect this fact of God's hierarchy, which is impossible for the human mind which is given over to democratic notions of equality for all—conditioned by the world to think that God loves everyone the same, so everyone's place in His world will be the same.
The delineation of this hierarchy of greatness according to God as the opposite of what it is according to the humans is constantly taught by the Lord. It is the very message of his life, which the humans miss because they abhor that agenda, because they're driven by another agenda, their own. So what is it like compared to the humans' system, based on and driven by the animal nature? It is as opposite as Jesus said it was, as opposed as last is from first, and least is from greatest, as hell is from heaven, as earthly is from spiritual. The ambition of the human always comes back to what will make him great on whatever level he can achieve his little state of greatness (which most of the time parades around as something noble and good, which is the hiding).
The ambition of the true son is what will make the Father's name hallowed and great, and contribute to advancing His desire and purpose—to have and be surrounded by a family of sons who all made that the ambition of their earthly existence. They will have shunned the way of the animal because they understood that's what the Father hates. As the chasm of that delineation grows in them (the truth as expounded by the living word), by the growth of their new eyes, they see more clearly what is for the human versus what is for the son. The giving up of the things that the humans love and run after is a response to the truth that's in them, a response of love toward their good Father and good Husband. What they respond to declares who their master is, and who they are actually faithful to, what the thoughts and attitudes of their heart are—who they are in their deepest and truest definition.
The motivation of the human (the animal) is survival, self-preservation and the collection of greatness inward—toward himself, building things, ideas, philosophies, hopes, dreams, etc. up around him so he feels safe and insulated from the reality of his death, a little more able to believe the lie that he's not just some anonymous John Doe who is actually going to die and become nothing. Nor is he going to some made up heaven where the "good people" go, ruled by an anonymous, made up god who has no actual (only theoretical and relative, and changes according to the man's needs) requirements for him being there. I suppose the good thing, on the other hand, is that they're not going to be forever tortured in some hell, also made up by men and just as ridiculous.
The son is motivated by the love that grows in him for his Father instead of himself. He realizes that those things are just what they are—nothing but what helps the human believe the lie, that they can actually be something for him, satisfy him, or give him what he needs. The son learns that the only thing he needs is the Father's love, and that it is the only treasure worth seeking. Conversely, it is the thing that's least important to the humans. However, the son knows that the love God has for him is the thing that's going to redeem him from the grave, which makes sense because it's the only reason God would ever have for doing that. To the son, everything about the way of God and how it's opposite to the way of the humans, makes more and more sense as he becomes less and less in the estimation of the humans. The way of God is definitely a zero-sum slide.
A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, `I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.' The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.
The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him.