Joshua 2 / Isaiah 8 / 1Thessalonians 3-4
For this is God's will, your sanctification (being set apart from the humans and what they do, how they live like animals who only know how to go around satisfying their instinctual cravings), for you to abstain from fornication, each of you to knowing how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor (not in passion of lust even as also the nations who know not God);
not to go beyond and to overreach in the matter his brother, because the avenger is the Lord concerning all these things, even as also we told you before and fully testified.
For God called us not to uncleanness, but in sanctification. So then he that sets aside sets not man aside, but God, who also gave us His holy spirit.
The drive to find a fulfillment in sex is the same today as in the first century. Today it's more refined and glamorous because the money grubbers learned that its pervasiveness in the humans is a great vehicle by which to sell things by taking advantage of its presence. In the old days it was more raw, but just as much a part of the instinct that one feels compelled to irrationally follow. Sexual immorality isn't the main issue the sons need to face and understand; only a subset of the larger one—being driven by the animal nature and fulfilling its passions, cravings, lusts and needs that well up within it. Therefore, no matter how distasteful it may seem to the animal who must retain a feeling of independence about itself, it is its instinct's servant and the instinct that rules it is the human's master. Appeasing the irrational fear it dredges up within its host is what it must respond to.
This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!
The main reason that the Son was valuable and pleasing to the Father is because he chose to be driven by the nature that seeks the face of God and the desire to do His will, and finding his fulfillment and satisfaction in Him. That drive is the mystery of the ages, the counterpart to the animal instinct, what must be specifically planted in one as a kind of seed which must sprout and grow in order for it to exist in one. The sons are consecrated to God as His children, set apart from the rest of the animals who are the children of mere men, common animals who are driven by the nature that instinctually hates God.
The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life.
Laying down his life was not merely being willing to die, which was just a culmination of the bigger thing, the reason the Father was pleased with him. Contrary to the remote and unavailable religious ideas about Jesus being sinless because he was a god, he was pleasing to the Father because he chose to deny the animal instincts and therefore allow himself to be defined as one of them like all the others. In that sense he was separated from them, god-like in only that sense that he responded to the Father who first loved him, and chose to be as the Father wanted him to be—unhuman by not being ruled by that which rules the humans the same as it rules all the animals.
The good news he brought was that by this obedience to the way of the Father instead of the alternative—what the humans are bound to, why Paul declares that all have sinned and fall short of God's expectations of those he was choosing to become sons—is what would save the family of God's true sons, him being the chief among them because he was the first and foremost in doing God's will and fulfilling His purpose to have that family. His action of learning to and then continually denying the animal that wanted to lead him, not just dying on the cross, instantly and retroactively saved all of God's chosen sons who existed before, as soon as "it was finished."
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
Upon his death he recreated the Genesis account in the way it was intended by the Father to go, not the way it went by the first humans following the animal instinct (the serpent who "talked" to them) to grab what seemed good but only to the eyes, although the Father had specifically commanded them to go another way and warned them about the consequences of obeying that instinct to grab for themselves and go against His wishes and purpose.
"I have food to eat that you know nothing about. My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work."
Everything that Jesus the Son of God (not the made up jesus god) did was the contrast to Adam who chose for himself which was effectively choosing against the Father's wishes. The good Son was the counterpart to Adam who displeased God by choosing to grab the food of the self, what he thought he could grab for the enhancement of his own self and purpose at the expense of the Father's. The good Son listened to the voice of the Father and quietly obeyed, trusting that the Father was in control no matter how it looked on the outside, and that He was able to and would give him what He wanted him to have. If it was to, right at the last minute, call down legions of angels to take him down off the cross (or stop him from even having to go up onto it) then that was good because it would have been the purpose of the Father to do it. If it was to lead him in the way the animal never wants to go, what kicks against every part of the survivalist component of the nature that rules it, then that was what he was willing to accept because he fully trusted the Father's power to accomplish what He wanted, and that He knew what was best for the Son—in the same way He knew what was best for the humans and warned them as such, but they did not trust the Father like the Son trusted the Father.
I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.
Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.
The good counterpart to being driven to indulge in the base instinct in all animals to mate and replicate is the instinct of love for the Father and His purpose, which is to have His own family. Therefore, the members of that family are to be the objects of that love, which supplants the instinct to find and mate. This isn't something that can be generated from within the animal since everything in it is geared toward seeing the other humans not as brothers to be loved but beings who are competing for the same resources, no matter how abstract that may seem because the humans don't like to consider themselves in such a base way even though they consistently act to the otherwise.
Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
"You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."
Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
Sexual immorality is one very powerful force by which all animals are prone to be driven. It created chasms and havoc between each other as brothers in the Lord. It made them look like every other animal driven by the natural desire to procreate, driven by something powerful in them. Some in the church at Thessalonica obviously were young and ignorant of their new status as children of God, and did not know about the implications of their actions. Nor did they realize that being led by that drive is just another way the animal nature finds a way to remain one with and yoked to the humans, keeping them defined as what they truly are following.
Paul was about 15 years with the spirit teaching him already about the new way when he wrote this letter. Even this shows us a different kind of Paul than the later ones, which indicates that he continued to grow in the new way even from 15 to 30 years under the new covenant that the Father and Son established in him. Thessalonians has a lot of end times imagery in it, a kind of hope of an actual physical coming and translation which seems somewhat immature compared to the later letters that deal with the terms of the new covenant, the relationship between the son and his Father, and more advanced concepts. In this letter he's talking about being caught up with the Lord as though he was coming back in his earthly lifetime. It's a sort of immature sort of hoping for something to happen that we go through when we're younger, to "Get on with it already," instead of being satisfied with living and knowing the Father more and more as He is revealed as the animal drops off and the son's heart takes its place.
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
That is the better thing, of which the Israelites going into the land was only a copy. The growth of the hope of entering into His rest replaces that other hope, that it would all just be over already, which indicates a dissatisfaction and impatience that's common in the younger sons. Since the hope is about rest and peace, there is something very important he is telling them about how to live. The peace that knowing the Father brings should be what we're searching for, not something that our animal nature craves but cannot have, because that's not what the Father is offering to His sons. The animal in us must be diminished so that it plays no part in the relationship between us and Him, so that we're not trying to pull all our little games we play because of our tendency toward ourselves, and hiding so that our heart isn't honest before Him, like a little snake hiding behind a rock that doesn't want to be found out.
We shouldn't consider Paul with the untouchable god-like celebrity filter that the religious society has put in us to view him. We read about Paul and think he is some superman far removed from us. He is our brother, an animal who was chosen by God to be a son instead, and to do a certain work for God on behalf of the sons. He did it the same way the firstborn Son did—the reinforcement of his being a model for us as he was for Paul—by hearing the voice and heeding it, choosing the Father and to be bound to His life and way instead of his own life and way (the right to live out his life like all the other animals have the right to do). These letters are a product of that obedience, preserved for His other sons to give them insight into the mind and heart of a true son of God, the same way and reason the Son's words and actions were preserved. Not for history or to make rules by which members of a human institution must live, but to reveal the heart of a genuine son of God who was truly being transformed away from the condition of being an animal like the rest of the humans around them. Paul is not much different than us, in that he was chosen to be set apart from the humans as a son of God instead of the metaphorical snake. He went through the same process we are going through—the extraction of the animal nature and its replacement with the heart and nature of God, a being who looks like its Father because it is being ruled by a nature that doesn't come up from the earth, but which comes "down from heaven."
I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
When Paul wrote his epistles he was relatively mature in the life of the spirit (he started at 15), but he didn't just become that overnight. He was given a measure of the spirit that accelerated his maturity, but he still had to learn just like we have to learn. It isn't about knowing what the words say, but being changed from one thing defined by a certain nature to another, defined by yet another nature altogether. It is a new way of living and thinking and seeing and hearing and understanding everything we think we know about the God and Jesus that we "studied" all our lives.
It doesn't happen on an intellectual level. We may have heard this and that talk about God, Jesus and the life that everyone around us was supposedly living, but none of it made any sense until we were born of God. The life we heard and read about didn't seem to be happening in or around us, although we heard many people claim it was, and they acted like it was. When we're given the counselor to teach us, then we start to know what was going on with God, Jesus, Paul, Moses, David, Abraham, Noah—and every other son that we read about and could only consider that same kind of untouchable hero before, but now see as brother because we all share the same nature.
What we know now is that they weren't heroes, but sons to whom God revealed Himself in the old and new writings. The things that happened to them were recorded and preserved for the sons, to reinforce and explain the life that's growing inside us. They were known by God, just as He knows us. The extraordinary things that were done in and around them were fantastic on one level and subtle at the same time—many things looked to the outside world like a thing that could have happened naturally. The recipients knew what happened though. Everything that was done by God in the lives of His sons was for a reason, and all of the sons are for each other, and for God. Nothing written was a big show for the whole world's benefit. Those things were, and are, done to build the faith of the sons God has chosen, whom He desires to pull out of the world, to validate His secret truth within them, to show us that it is all real, even though the world cannot see any of it because He is invisible to the world.
That's why we can't believe the liars who teach that we can get to God on the outside, by the things we do in our natural body, by doing this or that thing they've developed as part of their earthly institution with their earthly rules. The son will hear the voice of his Father, but not the world, and not the institution. No man can teach the son about the Father, nor can any man show him the way, just as no man on the earth can be a father to him.
You are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers.
One of the confusing things when we are first born of God is that we assume that the things that we assume happened to other sons will happen to us. In the spiritual reality that may be the case; however our animal nature carries lots of erroneous baggage with it. When we're young our spiritual eyes will not be opened yet—we will only have the natural eyes of Adam to interpret and this or that assumption to what's happening in us. The spiritual reality is only based on the natural reality—the reason that the natural record exists for us—to teach us in a very powerful way about the spiritual, but they're not directly correlated. The natural things are copies of the spiritual things so we can understand them a little, because the spiritual things and world are so abstract and unreachable with our natural faculties that that's the only way we can even get a grasp on the way things are in God's world. As we get a little older we begin to see how the record points to what God wants to do in us, the idea of it as the copy, as per Hebrews.
The spiritual is the perfect, just as God is perfect; the natural contains the flawed copies of the perfect, hidden world, explained by these copies which can only point to it because it's so far removed from anything we could naturally understand with our earthly minds. That's why to God it doesn't matter if someone's intelligent or stupid (like it matters so much to the humans), because the most brilliant human isn't anything to God—He doesn't measure value that way. Actually none of the valuation system between the humans and God equates, because the humans all have the animal nature which is the completely inferior opposite to God's nature, the nature that He puts into His sons on the earth.
Brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 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.
That's why Jesus was the opposite counterpart to Solomon. He wasn't married and he didn't have an earthly family, nor earthly riches, nor an identity, position or career that was tied to the earth as anything valuable according to the human animals—all of which pretty much defines what Solomon loved and devoted his life to pursuing for himself. That's what the good Son was tempted with (what Solomon had), but instead he turned away from and denied himself that right. None of the things that the humans run after were of any value to him because he had the nature of sonship living in him. Therefore he knew what was valuable to God—treasure even. To be driven by His nature instead of the animal nature, and therefore then to be able to know the Father and be known by Him, is the only thing that is valuable to the son of God.
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.
It's not exclusively a matter of not loving money, which is abstract because the humans love money, but more a matter of knowing that it's totally worthless—a hindrance actually, because it ties us to the earth, to the old nature of the animal who loves money because it makes him feel a certain type of safety when he has it. Same with sex, which is harmful to the son because by it he is allowing a woman to rule over him instead of his Father, plus he is being driven by the base nature of the animal. In the same way the son doesn't need to promote himself or have his ego gratified, or seek earthly honor and respect, because he knows that the Father honors him for turning away from (separating himself from) what the animals love and run after—what eventually defines them as what they actually are.
So in that sense it's not wrong that the men who claim to have a relationship with God, who claim to know the way to Him; that they seem to be more interested in making a certain amount of money, having a career, a family, or big expensive house (if they can get it); rather than finding the Father, doing God's will; hearing His voice, heeding it and being changed; finding His love and being found in Him. They just don't know any better, because they only have the nature of the animal and not the son, and they are driven by their animal needs and desires, which is plain to see by what they run after—careers, houses, wives, children, family, things, money, sexual lusts, respect, admiration, honor, etc.—everything but God. It's just a matter of having one nature versus the other, one source of being driven than another.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.
We can't teach them to have the son's nature, it has to be put in them—meaning they have to be chosen and drawn by God as one He wants for a son. Then they have a responsibility to choose Him, and keep choosing. Once we know they have been chosen we have a certain responsibility to them, the same as we do to God because they are His treasure. We start to see them not as just another animal, but as one of God's little lambs, ignorant about His way, and needing a shepherd to guide him away from the animal nature and toward the son's. The obligation to love them instead of reacting to the animal in them doesn't come to the young, because there's no way to manufacture or try to force love. It's either there (mature, aware) or not (young, driven by the animal nature which cannot love anything or anyone but itself). The animal nature, still fresh in young believers, creates huge chaos instead of peace.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Love is about making peace, of denying the animal instead of fulfilling its constant cravings and appetite. The sons need peace to prevail amongst one another, and that is only possible by them not gratifying those cravings, which will be very present amongst them. God is a God of peace, and wants a family of sons who look out for each other, not tear each other to pieces. The animal loves the chaos and discord of the flesh interacting with itself amongst God's sons. God loves the son who chooses to deny it instead of choosing to gratify himself by entering into it, because he's choosing his Father's way instead of the enemy's.
I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
Our spiritual development will in many ways parallel the development of a natural baby, infant, toddler, child, young man, then mature man. At the same time our natural life will go just the opposite, until we become a child who is totally dependent to its Father, and increasingly despised by the mature, dead animals. When we are born of God we become a spiritual baby, with all of our ideas, needs, fears, presumptions and drives of the old man intact. As we progress those drop off as the new life of God grows in us. It is as slow and steady a process as a natural child's development. A child needs to eat proper food to grow, and it is the same with us. We have a food that the humans know nothing about, and as we listen to the word living within us and obey Him, we grow in the spirit as spiritual children of a God who is pure spirit.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.
When we deny the animal the right to rule us, we are doing God's will, and rewarded with spiritual food—something that makes us able just a little more to understand the new covenant, the new way of God, the new life that has been put into us. It's more of a spiritual awakening that lasts for the rest of our entire earthly existence, a movement from one nature to the other, and the enlightenment to what the living word is saying in us is like food that makes us grow in this new way. Growth is seen as being able to know the Father's love, to feel it and realize it, and to know Him who is hidden from the animals. The degradation of the animal nature is indirectly proportional to the heart and nature of the son in us, and doing God's will is turning away from the animal instead of being led by it. That leads to getting more of the spirit to know Him better, to walk a little further down the straight path to where He is.
We can't know who all of God's sons are according to the record, because obviously some did not get written about. We do know what they all had in common, because it is what we have in common, and it is what we have in common with them. One day the assembly of the firstborn will be gathered and we will know all of our brothers who were chosen by our Father and who proved that they loved Him more than their very lives, by turning away from them and instead to Him. They were the ones on whom God put His mark, on the doorposts of their hearts, those who tied the scarlet cord in their window—so the angel of death would recognize them as sons and pass over them, so they wouldn't be annihilated. That seal is the blood of the Lamb of God, our guarantee of the things to come, making us unseen to the angel of death. Being born of God means that we have God living in us, growing us up and teaching us the new way of the spirit, the way of the son, of God; which replaces what we learned from our old father the devil.
The men said to Rahab, "This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house."