Deuteronomy 13-14 / Ecclesiastes 6 / Acts 3-4
The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?
For who knows what is good for a man in life, during the few and meaningless days he passes through like a shadow? Who can tell him what will happen under the sun after he is gone?
Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet.
The emphasis on communal sharing is one of the first things noticeable in the Jerusalem community of believers. In a type of jubilant spiritual celebration, the spirit was present in a large group of believers all at once, as recorded around and after the pentecost event. Messiah had suffered and done the work for the Father which could save the sons and now had come home to Him, which warrants this kind of outbreak of the life of the good among the evil, uncovering the mysterious secret even if it was only for a while. One of the outcomes of the spirit living in this group—a celebration of the Son going to the Father—is the overwhelming spirit of community, and how their things didn't matter as much as the people who were being added to it. For the short time it was happening, and in the small group it happened to, the animal consciousness got turned on its head and they acted "irrationally" (giving away all the things they needed to survive). Especially important is how the text shows that they acted opposite to how the humans normally act concerning their material possessions, because material possessions are such a huge part of the animal consciousness. They are tangible components of the wall that the animal instinctively builds to hide itself from God, and it does it automatically in every one of the animals, which keeps them further separated from Him.
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.
The second half of the above verse is an interesting reaction to the first, being filled with the spirit, which gave them a bold confidence. It also gave them the ability to see clearly, according to the Father, who had given them this spirit of bold confidence to speak even if it was dangerous to do so. What they saw was that their material possessions weren't actually worth anything when they were hoarding them for themselves, which is a very natural animal thing to do, something so acceptable and part of the animal consciousness that it is accepted and encouraged among them. How much money one has and what one owns becomes a big part of the animal identity that is celebrated and honored, which isn't even thought about much because it's thought to be such a right of every one of them to amass whatever they can, pretty much however they can.
Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.
There is something very profound here about what the purpose of the spirit actually is, seeing how it makes these first century sons behave contrarily to the way the humans naturally are, even the way they acted before, not caring about what they normally hold on to so tightly and would normally never let go of. The overall feeling one gets is that they truly trusted in some very profound, very different way than what's normally observed in the way humans act, almost like they didn't care to be so responsible to themselves and their needs, but were willing to just give it all to those they trusted, because they knew they had something much better than just "things."
The only thing worth anything to God was the community of believers that was assembling together to honor the Son who was with Him at that point in time. Even though the scripture they read had said that the Messiah would suffer they didn't understand because it was a hidden component, even though it was plainly spelled out. That's how God likes to operate e.g., the complexity and genius of even the simplest part of the natural creation boasts of a creator, yet He hides from those trying to find Him on the basis of their assumed genius about themselves—one of thousands of little ironies about the humans that twist upon each other with regard to God and how He has chosen to operate amongst (mostly apart from) them. The secret Messiah whom God made to look unappealing and unlikely according to the humans and their ability to observe and judge what they think they see was hidden by God on purpose to look like one thing when he really was another. And that is one of the major characteristics of his actual identity that was buried by the whore when the Son of God officially became the jesus god.
With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.
This group of individuals were being spiritually overwhelmed by God's will that there be a celebration amongst those who believed that Jesus actually was the Messiah of Israel, because the Father was the One who was waiting for the Messiah to come with more anticipation than anyone else. If the jesus god already existed, here would be yet another truth about the thing that happened between God and the humans that would just be lost in the layers of confusion that pile up upon that one assumption that he already existed. Now that the Son was finally with Him, safe and secure at His side One with Him after all the time He had to wait for Him to be "born," there was a very good reason for the celebration of the outpouring of the spirit on those who accepted and believed that not only was Jesus that Messiah, but that he was alive and living amongst them in their bodies, as predicted by the prophets.
Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
After the ascension of Jesus and the metamorphosis of his body into pure spirit (same as the Father), he became a part of that eternal spirit that was able to inhabit the believers, the same way that he had been inhabited by it. The characteristic of the group in their attitude toward their material possessions denotes this spiritual inhabitation, which is seen in these highly non-theoretical actions of not doing what the animals normally do—hoard and keep what they have for themselves. What the spirit was doing in them in this display of generosity is its purpose in this very real sense—to turn them from selfish animals who can only be concerned about their own little bubble of existence (sinful, unclean animals ruled by the force of power of the nature of the wild animal instinct); into son of God who live to take care of His interests, which are the sons He has chosen to be in His family—the only reason this creation exists, so that out of it He could draw the members of that family, which is His will and purpose.
Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven (the One who is unseen because He's hidden from the humans) is my brother and sister and mother.
The humans, because of the curse put onto them as per Genesis 3, are in a state of slavery to this spirit and nature of being gagged and bound to themselves and their concerns, so that they can never actually love according to God and therefore be able to please Him who requires that His own sons act like Jesus acted, who is the model for them. The importance of pointing out right here that the jesus god made up by the humans isn't and cannot ever be any kind of model, first because that god never existed and if he did he would be so far removed from the human experience that it couldn't ever be a model for humans, since it's a god. The sons of God throw away their so-called precious lives in order that their life could become a sacrifice for the good of the bigger family, as the real Son did. Any god which did that wouldn't have had much of a problem doing it (because it was a god), therefore in that scenario it's no big deal what the jesus god did, and the idea of it being a model has no importance because it's moot or bearing as a model because it's so much unlike the sons. Perhaps the most significant and profound description about who the real Jesus actually was is the good Son who laid down his life for the family, to do the Father's will—to save it, for His sake, by choosing Him instead of the alternative, which was to exercise his right to be the human that he was according to his position as Messiah and Son of David, running after the things the humans love and run after, attaining to exponentially higher levels than Solomon the false son ever dreamed of.
The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone? For who knows what is good for a man in life, during the few and meaningless days he passes through like a shadow? Who can tell him what will happen under the sun after he is gone?
The actual Son of David observed, weighed and chose what was truly valuable, then acted accordingly. He considered the things that the humans normally love and run after as though they were like garbage to him, and didn't seek them or grab after them, because they were nothing and he actually had the eyes to see this secret, hidden mystery—that they mean nothing compared to the riches that God has for those who please Him and do what He wants, instead of what the animal wants, what naturally lives in the human to rule him. Although, he had to learn to become like this, another thing lost on the assumption that he must have already knew it because he was a god.
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
The good news for those who were being inhabited by this spiritual outpouring in the first century was that they could become free from that wild animal consciousness of selfishness and self-preservation and self-concern, what the humans were cursed with, so that they could actually love each other, as God required. Even more, when they were being made clean from the animal nature that polluted them, they were being brought near to the Father, who before was a far away, fearful God. They were actually able to feel the spirit of sonship, which told them in the deep place within them that they had been chosen to become sons of God, according to His purpose and the plan that they also were being given eyes to see the hidden, secret mystery and plan of God with His Anointed One, and all of a sudden everything they had heard since they were young about the OT, the law and the prophets all made sense to them because their eyes were opened by the inhabitation of their bodies by the spirit of truth, which was teaching them all the truth.
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
In our experience we don't see that type of outward spiritual explosion as recorded in these first chapters of Acts, with the external healing and seemingly constant miracles happening everywhere the apostles went. We wanted and sort of expected that to happen in the beginning because it was so intense and it is naturally in us as frightened animals to desire that kind of outward validation so that's what we craved and desired to be fulfilled in and around us. That didn't happen according to our hopes and expectations, which tells a different story about the secret God than we expected. What we actually have seen within us is a slow and steady movement toward a spiritual enlightenment of what the first believers seemed to have experience in a big, initial, semi-public explosion. What we notice within us is a slow transformation that mimics life itself, much like Jesus explained that the kingdom of God is like a seed that gets planted, which turns into a plant, then a tree, and then finally (yet slowly) takes over the whole garden which was only weeds before. The garden of weeds is the life and nature we had before that seed was planted in us, when the calling came to us about 5 years ago.
When we told the Christadelphians that we thought the spirit was in us, we were immediately challenged with, "If that was true, then you should be able to perform a miracle;" the assumption being that if it was genuine then it would have to be exactly the same manifestation as before. Really, though, they were just being haughty and arrogant about what they assume about themselves. In fact a miracle was and is being done, hidden yet right before their eyes; and it has been continuing to grow unbeknownst to them. All they want is to be left alone with what they have, which is their little bubbles of existence with their animal selves and their animal offspring intact, assuming that because they know a few more correct facts than the christians, they're doing God a great favor by keeping their own families safe, which is their biggest ongoing concern because that's what animals do by the instinct that rules them to do it, not because they're good, responsible people who chose to do it. They might be smug about being responsible humans who always act "good," thinking that by that they remain pleasing to their version of Jesus (the one who is pleased with them because they know more correct facts about him). However, in the most delightfully ironic way they're going directly against what the real Jesus said about human families, which is that they mean nothing to him or the Father.
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.'
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.
"Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
According to the real Jesus, finding one's life, or actual identity according to God's perspective, doesn't happen within the natural family of human animals and their offspring. This goes against everything that's naturally in the humans and what they call responsible, respectable, and sacred—what the real Jesus was actually like. If the humans are compelled to love nothing else, they are driven to love their own offspring because of the instincts that are naturally planted in them, what naturally lives in them to drive them to be what they are and do what they do. That is what the preserved words call the devil, satan, the adversary, the prince of this world, the deceiver. It is the nature that was put onto and into the humans when they were bound to the snake whom they loved and trusted instead of God in the garden.
He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. For Moses said, `The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.'
What did everyone assume God was going to restore? The disciples, even just before he was going to the Father, were still wondering whether or not Jesus was going to restore the kingdom of Israel as per how it was under King David.
So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
He did answer them, but not how they wanted to be answered.
He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
They didn't get what he was saying all along, that the kingdom of God is not a natural thing that can be observed. It's not something about which one can say there it is, that's it or this is it. It is a hidden, mysterious thing, so secret that it cannot even be detected because it's not composed of natural matter like everything else in this visible creation. It was the life of the Father as He existed in pure, undetectable, spirit form inside Jesus, and he said that it would exist the same way inside the disciples too. It didn't live in them yet, when he said it, or they wouldn't have still thought that the kingdom was some human thing which could be seen, understood and recognized.
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.
The assumption on the part of the modern humans who claim to know the way to the Father is always that it must happen again the same way that it happened before, as recorded in Acts. They want it this way because that's how the animal works. Instead of a painful life of suffering, rejection and invalidation about what's happening inside them, the animal will always choose the entertaining circus scenario because that represents an iron clad sort of validation. As a result you see so much obvious counterfeit manifestations of what the humans are calling the "holy spirit," as they keep attempting to manufacture what they think happened as recorded in the preserved words. How do we know they're not real? Because they outwardly declare that they worship the made up jesus, and we see that the real Jesus would not give his spirit as a testimony toward validating lies made up by the humans.
I don't question whether the participants of these groups "feel" something special, but it isn't what they think it is. Because they want to believe the lie, God gives them over to it. These special "feelings" within themselves are no doubt caused by some incomprehensible force, easily able to alter things so that someone is able to "feel" and therefore validate something by the feeling. In this way, the Father is keeping the inheritance of His own sons unpolluted by all of these counterfeits who think they can just reach out and grab onto God, buy Him and own Him so they can control Him—then decide how He'll best do things for them as animals who desperately need their various fears appeased by "believing" something because someone else does. Real belief and faith is when nobody else believes it, but you know it's happening and it's real. It is not to surround yourself with other animals who reinforce the same lie and therefore validate it for you. The true validation for all of God's own sons comes only from Him, not from the humans who don't and can't know any better. It is the un hearable voice of the Teacher who gives the genuine validation—the same way he secretly teaches—to the sons. That is what they must rely on, and the way the Father makes that happen is by making them look unappealing and bad, something repelling and irritating to the humans and their comfort level. It's perfect the way He acts to identify them and put His own mark on them and then separate them from the contaminators by the events that happen in and around them, for their own good although it doesn't feel good. That is the suffering that comes for them, almost as a sort of formula that they can expect will be there.
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said:
"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion."
We don't need to prove anything, instead we need to have faith that this thing is real, has actually happened, and we hope for the rest that the sons always hope for. We can test what is true because of the validity we receive from the authentic Jesus who doesn't need to do outward miracles to prove anything to any of the humans. He has already proven it to us, and though we have desired that what we know be proven externally, that was just our nature needing to be validated by the tangible, the humans giving us something to placate that ego driven need to be right and correct, versus having to believe even though we can't prove anything outwardly.
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.
Even in the actual record of the events recorded in Acts, we have to assume that it didn't go in an outward sense according to how we always want to interpret it—that it was some kind of non-stop circus environment that everyone could observe. The same holds true for the miracles that Jesus performed, which were more for the disciples' benefit than just anyone and everyone. Many saw yet didn't believe, which says something about God targeting certain individuals and the subtlety of the miracles themselves, that they were done and at the same time appeared naturally explainable to a degree.
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.
However, we know that what has happened in an around us for the past 5 years has been totally miraculous and supernatural, one thing happening after another. But it isn't happening in the world around us, or in anyone we have talked to or observed. The things that are happening in us are hidden and secret, unnoticeable to anyone else but us. I would imagine that is a lot like how it happened in the first century too, with some notable differences especially in the beginning. But the miracles remain, and bind us to those brothers of ours.
Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one.
We have noticed that about the miracles that have been done for us, that they aren't verifiable in the natural, but we know what happened within our selves. The reason is obscure on the one hand, yet obvious on the other—considering that God wants us to have faith in what has happened in us. Though they are plain to us, they're unable to be validated by anyone but ourselves, and not ever outwardly.
But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.
God doesn't want to be held on to or controlled, and he won't be by this very fact that He remains obscure for that good reason, so we cannot hold on to Him and prove anything the way we do everything in the natural, so we have to believe and trust Him who is unseen, even though it doesn't seem true because it isn't something we can own and control, like an idol or a made up god who acts like we want it to act—always for our own good (surprise!). That is what God likes in His sons, that we believe in the things that are being done inside us even though they can't be proven, even though they don't seem true. It's not being crazy, however that is the reaction we will get because no one else will be experiencing it except whoever else is infected by the life of the Father. In that sense we will just be labelled shameful, heretical nuts (demon-possessed), as was the real Jesus.
That's sort of a frightening prospect, mainly because of our own regard for, and the fear of becoming those who are outcasts, who become sneered at and looked down on. The animal in us developed as a human first, and with that development came the intellectual preservation, being above the "crazies." Now we must become that which we always considered disdainful, so it hurts because that' the last thing we want to be. But we have to remember that the real Jesus was not a noble figure whom everyone loved and adored. That is the lie of what he became, made up by men so they could own and control him for their own gain and purpose.
The real Jesus was disdainful, shameful, dishonorable and pitiful to the humans. As we move away from the community of humans, this should also be how we are regarded by them, and it makes sense that we should because we're not above the master, who was loathed by the humans. It's not that we purposefully become loonies, but mainly they will hate us because we aren't for their purpose any more, and they will despise us for that because that agreement from the other humans is what they spend their lives trying to get, and rejecting that ritual gives them plenty of reason in their minds to do whatever they want to do. That's what they did with Jesus because they couldn't conform him to their desire and purpose of what they wanted him to be, even though there was everything obviously genuine about him.
It goes with what the real brothers experienced, and it creates an opposition from the ones which before we did all we can to get acceptance from, because of our brotherhood with them as animals. It creates the separation from the world that is necessary for the development of the new way within us. Exposure to it will keep us dwarfed and stunted, while a separation from it, though severely painful, will give the Teacher the ability to train us up in the way of the good son, how the Father wants us to be, replacing the old with the new. It's painful because all of our mental and emotional crutches we learned from how to cope with what the world presented us, so we learned to appreciate and crave what we grew up with, whatever it was for our own specific circumstances.
The only ones who will be able to validate the miracles of the spirit within us will be the others given for a witness to its authenticity. They are the ones who will be able to point us back to the Father even when it is so obscure and confounding, and only because they are validating the same life by our testimony. However, the need to make these into what our animal nature needs them to be for us must be avoided. The process of learning the new way is not to employ those old ways; although a temptation they cannot be used to find our way to God and at the same time maintain the strategies of the animal.
The way to our Father is through the deserted places where we don't want to go but must. There's no satisfaction or honor in the natural world for the one who has been chosen by God to receive His good gifts. That is what we learned to crave, run after and love, and what we learned would give us fulfillment in the temporary, natural existence of these dying bodies. There is just the opposite—disappointment, shame, degradation, suffering and pain. Natural glory and honor, being esteemed and respected by the humans is the way of the animal. Our honor, and glory, and power are hidden with the Father and Son, who are the hidden and secret mystery we've been seeking all our lives but couldn't ever find in the world.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see. Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders.
But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer.