Joshua 3-4 / Isaiah 9 / 1Thessalonians 5
Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, "What do these stones mean?"
Tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.
God wanted the people to have certain memorials, especially when He did a significant thing like this for them, because it's easy to forget Him since He's not of this world, therefore easily forgettable. The humans are used to only being able to comprehend and assimilate into their memory whatever's like them—natural things they can see with their eyes and hear with their ears and hold onto with their hands and control, like little wooden idols they can carve and then hold onto so their gods don't ever have to go away from them. Today and for the past many hundreds of years the idols are made of institutions, ideas and rituals carried on in the fashion of the Israelites while they were still under the old covenant, before the new came and made the old of no use because it cannot, since the new was instituted, lead anyone to God like it used to.
God wants His own sons to remember Him. His purpose with the natural creation is that out of it He might draw His family of sons just as He has drawn each one of them who are in the world by revealing the reality of His presence, genius and intention to them that they are His own sons. Because the sons were first raised by the world of humans, they have that nature in them that hates and denies God because He's not able to be controlled or seen as a tangible part of the observable creation. He controls the situation with them. He reveals Himself when He wants to, showing the son that he can't control Him or His purpose like he learned that he must control everything else. He shows the son that this new relationship (going into the land) will not be like the old relationships or circumstances when he was a slave to the world (in Egypt). The son must conform to the new way, of the Father, because the old way of the humans is dead and will only lead the son to death, not to Him.
Another big point that the OT makes (along with God's people remembering Him) is in His people being separated from what will make them contaminated, because it is inevitable that they will lead the sons away from their Father just as it did Israel so often (the warning). The humans cannot help the sons because all they will ever want to do is find an agreement with them and if they cannot then they kick them to the curb and go looking for something else. Separating themselves from the humans is the only way the sons can avoid being infected by their infectious nature to pull the sons back into the world, which is the reason the God made such a big point about it to the Israelites, who are the copy for the sons—the better, secret, hidden and mysterious Israel of God.
Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.
The culture of the humans does not ever reform itself toward getting or having a heart that wants to know, serve or love the Father because it cannot see Him. The humans despise God who doesn't make Himself available to them or become able to be used by them for their own purposes and good. Therefore they have no use for Him, because the things they hold up as valuable to them are whatever can be used to help them survive better, longer, and or more comfortably. The living God is of no value or use to them simply because He can be of no use to them. They cannot manipulate Him or make Him into anything, because He doesn't avail Himself to that—He hides from them so they can't find Him, because He doesn't want to be found by them. If they ever did find Him, they would treat Him as they do everything else in their life—merely something else they can use for their own gain. That's why they make up their own gods to be what they want and need them to be.
Each will feed on the flesh of his own offspring: Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, and Ephraim on Manasseh; together they will turn against Judah.
In His anger, because they turned away from Him toward their own selves and offspring and forgot about God and the true family of their brother Israelites, He gave them over to feeding on their own selves and offspring, to devour each other and become no more the independent people of God who could count on Him to protect them and their brothers. Because those gods were appealing to them since they could be manipulated, they would be given over to, and devoured and routed by the same foreigners whose gods they loved and served more than they loved and served their own God—the only One who actually existed. The people of God, just like Adam, loved and trusted the others and their claim that their gods were real because they could hold them, and could therefore save them. The people of God were enticed because the foreign gods are enticing to the animal living in them that wants to touch, feel, hold onto and control. Because those gods are not real, but have been merely created by the humans, they are alluring because they don't require anything, while the true God requires everything.
I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.
Feeding on the flesh of another human was anathema to the Jews, who were told by the Son that they would be required to do the most repelling and hideous things according to the animal that lives in them, the same which lived in their fathers concurrent with Isaiah. He told them this because they were looking for more food to eat and he wanted to weed them out and push them and their half-hearted, lukewarm affection for him—only because they wanted more food—away from him. The Father requires that His own sons and their intentions be honest all the way down to the deepest parts of their most secret selves.
I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.
At one point he had compassion for them, and now he was pushing them away from him because of their self-motivated affection for and acceptance of him, only because they saw that he could do something for them (give them food), so he became valuable to them and their evil drive to merely survive, not caring about the God they were supposed to be serving with their whole heart. So he told them the most hideous thing that their culture prejudiced minds could hear—drinking not just blood, but the blood of a human, and eating his body like an animal's.
At this the Jews began to grumble about him.
"How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
This is the perfect little encapsulation of the humans and their real motivation toward God. Good intentions never actually create the identity of a man, except that he had intentions to do or be something, but couldn't because it was too hard. The humans may have the intentions inside them to do or be this or that, but actually following God the way He has demanded is too hard for those who cannot see clearly enough to choose the hard way. So they just do their little rituals on the outside, pretending to have and be something that God considers good (only because that's how they view themselves and they transfer that affection onto their conception of what God's perception must be). All the while they live another life in the secret places of their heart where the other humans cannot see, thinking that because they can fool the other humans they're also fooling God.
He said to me, "Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, `The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.' " Again, he said, "You will see them doing things that are even more detestable."
This isn't intended as much as a condemnation for those who cannot see as it is a warning for those who can see clearly to not live another life inside their heart aside from that which they're living otherwise, to not become or remain double minded but to become pure before the Father so that they can come nearer to Him who has called them to such a condition. Rehashing, dredging up, analyzing and reworking old ideas from our younger days is fine for the younger days when we were just beginning to open our eyes. Using that process to keep the real process of transformation, which is the intention for whatever knowledge we have been given, at arm's length so that we don't have to get dirty and messed up by it, cannot continue.
Being alone and away from the humans who are a bad influence on the sons is not a wretched place to be, because it is only by that separation from that which is familiar and gives them what their animal loves, that they can learn the new way as their true Father intends them to learn it—without the influence that distorts and distracts them. The body of God never tires of doing the work of God. The work of God is to believe, so moving away from that which deceives and distracts is doing the work that God requires. Even if it's being alone and away from that which before gave us our safety and security it's worth it because God rewards those who have the balls to do the harder thing. Moving away from whatever we loved, what gave us our hope and purpose, what kept us warm and safe, whatever it is—booze, people, drugs, lust, success, money, respect, honor, identity, false safety, lies, etc—is the better way, that which the sons must embrace. It is what the animal in us hates more than anything, and will fight more than anything to keep it as something unnecessary and impossible because it hates and denies the truth that the living God brings—that we cannot just go on lying about what it is we need to do. The sons learn to hate the animal in themselves and that which is in the humans to make them as they are and as the world's systems exist which have been created and are maintained by the same humans who control it for their own gain.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.
God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Here is the statement from one who is part of the better Israel, under the better covenant, who understood what the preserved words were for and what they pointed to. He was under the mode and condition of what God had intended His people to be for each other—brothers separated from the other humans and concerned about their collective relationship with their God, not continually dragged away and enticed by the gods of the foreigners. Once Paul became taken by God and could see Him clearly his life became not exclusively his anymore as it had been before, and he willingly (with some help) allowed his life to become the property of the Son for the Father's purpose. In becoming not for his own purpose as it was before but for the purpose of serving the true family, the body of God which never tires of doing the work of God, he found his purpose that had been planted in his heart so that when that seed sprouted he recognized it as something valuable to him. The sons of the living God are the true and better Israel going into the land.
So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea ) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.
The waters piled up in another town a long way up river. There was probably a big spot where the river banks were high and there was room for all of the water that would not be flowing as per usual. Also, being that it was a great distance away, there would have been a huge capacity of room for the water to rise, and to anyone but the Israelites it would have just appeared to be rising a bit, perhaps even just a few inches, therefore unnoticeable to anyone as very out of the ordinary. The town's name is not an accident, for Adam is the beginning of all things natural. To the natural man, the acts of God are always unnoticeable. To the people of Adam, the water piled up there and they didn't even know what was actually happening downstream—the miraculous work of God to strengthen the hearts of His people and let them know that He would give them victory over the inhabitants of the land that He promised to Abraham (just the copy for the sons, that we will be freed from this animal nature).
And the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.
That day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they revered him all the days of his life, just as they had revered Moses.
The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.
Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.
Just like God was not interested in the towns of the nations that inhabited the earth—the town called Adam is the perfect name to represent this idea—He is not interested in the humans except those He has chosen to become His own sons, those who have a heart pointed not toward the world, represented by the inhabitants of the land, but toward Him. He is also good to those who are good to His own sons, as is the inclination of a good Father concerning how His own sons are treated. If with contempt, then with contempt; if with goodness, then with goodness.
"Our lives for your lives!" the men assured her. "If you don't tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the LORD gives us the land."
He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.
The enemy of God's sons isn't in the physical world. It is the animal nature that keeps the humans in bondage to it, so tightly and perfectly that they can't even notice it. The reason why the sons have to recognize and come away from it is because it was designed by God to keep the humans away from Him, unclean and unable to come into His presence. It is the angel with the flaming sword, guarding the tree of life so the unclean humans cannot just reach out their hand and grab life.
1.) The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them (symbolizing that the humans now looked like the animals because their nature was bonded together—the animal nature was "put on" the humans in the form of animal skins).
2.) And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." (Before the humans knew only good, they were ignorant of evil like little children, and it was not part of their nature. Now they knew both since they were still in the garden, and could choose evil and life at the same time unless God prevented that from happening.)
3.) So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. (This is another way God "fixed" the situation [along with their new nature]. Now they wouldn't just "know good" anymore because they got kicked out of what was good, away from God's world so they wouldn't pollute it with their evil. Just being in God's presence was good, so He put them out. Now they knew death, which God promised to them if they betrayed Him [you will surely die]. Now the earthly creation was based on death—everything dies. And the nature of the humans would be the same as the animals, which are unclean and cannot come in to His presence.)
4.) After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (Now all they knew was evil, and everything in this passage works together for God's good. Now they couldn't get life unless God chose them to know it, to have it. There is no more "reaching out" to grab it.)
There are some ironic things about this. First, all the mythological religions of today—all the little whores who all call themselves the Lord's bride but who are just prostitutes—claim to be able to reach out their hand and grab life just because they want to. They are also the ones who through some sort of rights of entitlement presume to be sons of God even though He didn't choose them. They chose themselves, and they also install themselves as leaders within their little institutions with little care or concern about the liability of presuming to be a shepherd of God's people while they remain self-preserving animals, seeking animal things for their own benefit, disguised as good (the way they hide).
Secondly, their devil is a being who only knows evil, who was able to reach out its hand and grab life, and is living forever according to them. Everything which only knows evil just dies and is replaced by something else according to the design of God for the earthly creation. The only ones who live forever are those who are like God (who only know good). Because the animal nature is effectively being purged out of His sons, and will finally be completely destroyed in them when they're redeemed from the earth, they too will live forever. It's only because of the work of the Son who killed that power of death by his entire life of choosing the Father and His purpose instead of the animal (his own purpose). Finally on the cross, it was finished; otherwise that power of death would have kept them in the ground, one with the soil and everything else created to remain bound to all the rest that is temporary and renewing, but never eternal. The natural creation exists as a limitless number of overlapping yet temporary existences, which creates the illusion of a never ending reality.
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
The animals who are held in slavery to their nature call it "Human nature," or "Just the way things are," and they don't see the connection between what happened to Adam and the way this "Human nature" seems to work with all its fears and needs to accumulate and gratify these seemingly unstoppable natural drives—just like animals are driven to do what they do. Fly south, go into heat, build a nest, find some food, squirt skunk juice at a predator, bark viciously—all these things just happen within the animal according to what's programmed into it to respond without thinking or judgment, merely to be able to survive. They are not things that the animals think over and then decide to do, just as the drives within the humans exist on a different level than their thought processes. In both they live as forceful drives within them to do whatever it is, which most of the time they just go ahead and do.
The same is true for all the various drives within the humans, dictated by that nature. The drives to satisfy their many desires, to find a mate, to build up things around themselves to feel safer, to play the sexual acceptance games, to find an identity in the world (enviable career, good father, good, honest, respectable man), to satisfy the need for honor and respect, to produce offspring that look like them, to control their environment, to form institutions, etc. Everything that the humans are prone to do—all the many things they think are so fine and acceptable—is because of those seemingly innocuous animal drives that control them, which they all just excuse as benign, and can never see them for what they are or what they're for. All animals have them and are ruled by them to make them what they are—a product of the creation that is based on cycles of death, to keep them away from God.
When Jesus came he spoke—to those whom God had chosen—directly against the animal nature, manifested in the things that drive the humans.
• You don't need to worry about what food you're going to eat or what clothes you're going to wear. Ironically he uses the animals and the natural creation to substantiate that God is powerful enough to feed and clothe His own sons.
• Don't love money because it's worthless to God's sons (though highly valuable to the animals because it very saliently allows that fear of not possessing enough to continue to survive to be alleviated).
• Don't repay evil for evil, because that's how the animals operate to protect themselves physically and emotionally, via direct retaliation. Let your Father protect you instead. If He wants to intervene, He will; if He wants to allow it, He will—for your good. You actually believing that He sees your every move, and prove that by your faith, is what He loves more than anything in His sons.
• Don't store up treasures on earth like the humans do (to make them feel safer, a little more insulated from their imminent death, less vulnerable).
• Don't seek glory and honor from men, which is just the way they make themselves feel better about their earthly identity, secure in that, and which ties them more tightly to the earth.
• Don't consider your earthly family your real family, that's what all animals are driven to do. You are spiritual beings with a spiritual Father and spiritual brothers, chosen by God not the will of any man.
• Understand what genuine treasure is—not what the humans run after to satisfy their animal needs and lusts, but the hidden and secret treasure of only knowing your Father's love—the last thing the humans run after (even those who claim to).
• Don't judge your brother because that's just another way the animals try to control their environment, try to assuage their ego identity fears (by convincing themselves they are right and the other wrong, and substantiating it with their judgment). Instead of trying to control by their own power, they should believe that the Father sees and is able to execute whatever judgment He desires. Perhaps the situation is as it is because He wants it that way.
• Love your enemies because that's the last thing the animal nature would do, so it cuts right in to its control over you.
There are so many more things that could be listed. The main message that Jesus is saying is just this: "Don't be an animal. Don't copy the other animals. Instead copy your Father, who will teach you how to be a good son instead of a common animal by His hidden voice that will be living in you to purge the animal instinct from you and make you a son instead. He will be your counselor and teacher and will continue to reinforce inside you everything I've said outside you." The most simple message among everything that Jesus said to the disciples can be distilled down to this good news: "You can (and must) become a son, and you can and must unbecome an animal."
For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior's boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
God designed and implemented the animal nature for His and our sake. That curse on the humans has total domination over them, it holds the power of death because it is death, promised and delivered to the humans as per the consequence of their trusting the snake rather than the Father. In the most poetic form of justice (what God loves, along with irony), they were bound to the snake via the nature they were made to share, and there is no escaping unless the Father desires to pull any of them out from its control (in order to make them into His own sons). The yoke that so firmly burdens the humans to keep them away from Him will be destroyed in the sons, by the work of His Lamb, the One Isaiah spoke of.
Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray.
Do not put your trust in man; there is nothing good in the humans and they will always lead you astray. No matter how appealing or benign they appear to be, they can only ever be as the serpent was to the humans because of what's in them. The sons of God know what's in them, because it's also in themselves, and a huge part of their teaching is being able to recognize it in themselves so that they can learn what is wrong in order to be able to turn away from it and deny it as the Son denied it in the temptation record, which is a metaphor for his whole life of denying his own right to live out his "life" as all the other animals do, of turning away from the animal for the Father's sake.
Before Jesus, the way to God could be found in the natural, through the old covenant—although even it merely pointed the new covenant. The animals could only always act like mere animals, and not His holy people—showing the power it had to hold the humans in their animal state. Those who became powerful in the earthly sense didn't look out for the poor, or the widows, orphans or aliens in the land. Instead they neglected them because those oppressed people couldn't enlarge their coffers. They were of no use to them unless they had something to give to them in exchange for a bribe or whatever.
So the LORD will cut off from Israel both head and tail, both palm branch and reed in a single day;
The institution of the new covenant meant that some could come out from the curse put on Adam, or the control of the animal nature. But the new covenant was totally hidden and secret, just as Jesus was unrecognizable to the humans. It wasn't instituted as part of the dying creation, but it would be purely spiritual, unseen to the humans and only visible to the sons. As per the terms of the new covenant—as predicted by the above verse—the animals didn't matter any more, not even the orphans and widows, because all the humans are mere animals—they all naturally hate and deny the living God—and only His sons are important enough to Him to reveal Himself to them. Contrary to popular religious opinion, God doesn't love everyone, but only those He wants to be close to Him. They are able to be known by Him only because of the work that the Son did on the cross, becoming the animal (serpent on the pole) so that he could kill its power over the small group of sons that God desires to be His.
This opening passage about the water piling up is how the miracles of God are in our lives, and represent what we have seen from God over the past few years—seen and clear only to us, not the rest of the humans. When He works in the life of a man it is for that man, or the specific group of men whose eyes He desires to open. It is not for everyone else, which is what natural man expects. Every day He speaks to us, and the direction of the voice is getting clearer as He gives us sight where we never could see before—in the secret places of our heart to which the world isn't privy. Unlike what the natural mind would think or desire, it is quiet and subtle and just for us to see and know and realize.
Our craving for others to know has just come from that animal need to be recognized, to be validated by the humans, in the natural which is easiest to grasp when we're young. The spiritual reality is so far removed from us when we start on the journey that we can't see how valuable it is to be validated only by the Lord in the spiritual world. Like a pig that loves the mud, and the dog that loves its own vomit, we naturally want the natural validation when we are more natural than spiritual, more pig or dog than son. Thankfully we grow up out of that condition when we eat the food of heeding the voice of the living word in us, who teaches us to reject the wrong and choose the right.
The Father chooses only a sliver to speak to and reveal Himself to because they are the ones He wants to live with forever, those He desires to choose Him reciprocally. The word as we know it is not just words printed in a book; but spiritual, active and alive, counseling us about things that no man knows—the deep things of God that are hidden and are never revealed to the humans. Sharper than a double-edged sword, they cut all the way into the secret places of our heart, where the animal is dug in, and change us from there so we actually become pure and blameless. Like the Jews in Paul's day they might write you off as a dreamer and a loser. But remember, that is how they treated Jesus and Paul both. They were driven not by what they could see with their natural eyes, but what was unseen in that sense. Even though God was invisible, they knew that He was alive in them, because they were given eyes to see and ears to hear.
We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
You cannot study your way to God because the truth of God is hidden and has to be revealed via the living word that makes its home inside whomever is chosen to receive it. This is that small part of God that He has hidden inside each of the ones He has chosen to call His own son. It is the deposit and guarantee of our sonship, the proof of our salvation. It tells us in a real way that we will stand in the assembly of the firstborn on the day of fire, when the dross of man's work is burned up and the only men who will stand are the ones with that part of God living in them. When God comes to a man, his life will change drastically, yet secretly. He will be taught the new way of seeing and acting and believing, according to the terms of the new covenant. The old covenant (based on animal offerings) has been nullified and the new (based on the son's offering up of his earthly life to God in exchange for his sonship and new heart) must replace it.
It is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
This is a son of God who knew he had been chosen to be a son of God, talking to other sons, those whom he knew had been chosen to be God's sons.
Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose (that the sons be clothed with their heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life) and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.