Joshua 17 / Isaiah 23 / Hebrews 3-5
The people of Joseph replied, "The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have iron chariots, both those in Beth Shan and its settlements and those in the Valley of Jezreel."
The nature that inhabits us will seem too powerful when the emotional agreement is taken away and we don't have that crutch to lean on. Our journey will seem too bleak and pointless because even though we have chosen for the right and have denied the wrong, the bleakness will be overwhelming. There's no encouragement to be had in those times, only a suffering through it without the emotional crutch, while still choosing the right by steering away from the first and ongoing thing we're going to want to do to try and curb the suffering within us that we can't really explain or pinpoint as per its origin—indulge in whatever we can think of. This sort of obscure suffering that seems to have no good explanation—we didn't choose the wrong and are now dealing with the consequences—is what describes the Son of God's experience of being crushed by God
It was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
Some of his most agonizing moments were not in the physical torture he endured at the hands of the humans, but the emotional torture he suffered by the crushing hand of the Father. He told him who he was and made him joyful to be able to serve His purpose. But then He took away that agreement he had of knowing and feeling in touch with it by the human means of the emotional agreement that makes us feel like we're okay, that things are all fine and good with ourselves and what or who we want to feel that agreement. When every part of the control that we need to feel we have is taken away, we drift alone with nothing and it seems like everything's worthless and pointless. But that is the son's training to learn to not count on what's false, on the old way of finding that agreement by the power of our own hand to get it by whatever means we employed. The fact that we knew how to get it meant that we could trust ourselves to always be able to do it if we needed it. When that's being taken away it feels wrong and bad, but it's the process of learning to trust that which is impossible because we have no control of the process.
During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
That craving for the emotional agreement we seek to get for ourselves in whatever way we used to will make us want to do anything to get it, and its availability is everywhere if we really want it. Any of our various indulgences in whatever used to give that to us without our even being aware that there was a process we were participating in. The thing that stops us is our knowledge of the shame we will endure when we do choose the wrong when we know full well what it is and what it does, not just for us but the whole family. The encouragement of one to another is what we give, which even though it seems unhelpful in the moment—it doesn't satisfy on the level where we're seeking it—is the only thing worth doing because it's the only option. We're so out of touch with the Father that we can't see it clearly, but that's what He wants to see most from His own children; it's why He gave the Son 12 men to be his witness to what otherwise might have been impossible all on his own with no comfort or witness that he really was the One the Father told him he was.
But Joshua said to the house of Joseph—to Ephraim and Manasseh—"You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have iron chariots and though they are strong, you can drive them out."
Of course all this understanding about the process in the Son who is to be an example to us who are chosen to walk the same path is lost if we conceive of him as a pre-existing god. The entire point and purpose of his life would be muddled in that chasm of separation which effectively means that he never really suffered because a god cannot empty himself of his deity and suffer like the sons must suffer. All the OT words given to the sons in that era about the suffering Son are made void, as are the encouragements of the ones who knew those words and wrote to the NT era sons about the Son being their example:
He had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
It's not our purpose to make anyone know what we know or else they would. That desire exists in us because we're animals and it's an easy way for the animal to get a fulfilling agreement for itself by finding that salient consensus in another human. It's like an obscure yet powerful kind of currency for the animal to find and feel that emotional agreement that someone else confirms for us what we want them to confirm. For a good long while we didn't know any better and were overwhelmed by that need to find an agreement with the craving inside us to get that validation amongst the humans, because of the instinct living in us to have it or else we just don't feel right. It's important that we recognize those needs, realizing why they're there and moving on toward conforming our heart to receive more of the good things that can only come from above, from the Father.
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.
It's our responsibility to choose to move along the path that is leading to Him, putting the elementary things behind us, which if not will keep us slipping back down the hill we're trying to climb. This may seem easy to say and maybe even to hear with the joy of intention, but it is not a process that exists because we feel emotionally one way or another. The human emotions are based on the fragile agreements we are able to find and retain for ourselves. It's hard to not live there because they're so accessible and we're so needy. However, they're not what we can count on even though we feel at home there.
Solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
We do not wish to sway anyone with our words or convince them who God is. That must be done by God if He wants to. We don't know the full extent of what is happening or what will happen, which is deliberate, otherwise we would undoubtedly try to control the good that is happening for our own evil purposes. What we do know is that it is happening, and the life is growing, as predicted by the Teacher for the chosen sons, although not the way we would have predicted or designed it. The Teacher is the Father and Son, the spirit who inhabited the bodies of the first century sons as the record indicates. That spirit is not a concept, it is the life of the Son and Father as they are interacting with (in) the humans—living inside their physical (seen) bodies as pure spirit (completely unseen). It is the way that the Father lives in His children to teach them about Himself and pull them out of the world, changing their very nature from animal (human in its natural state) to son (human in its regenerated state).
The purpose of the spirit is to reveal the truth of the life of the Father to a natural animal, so that one can become transformed into a son who can know his true Father, and his own true identity as a son of God. Without the regeneration of the spirit the mind of man is just another one of the dead humans, whom they will love and accept as their own. It is not for the animal's sake, to enhance his life by giving him thrills or self-importance—that's what love, drugs and money are for. It's not to enhance his egotistical cravings by making him smarter about God, a more respectable and honorable "man of god," or a good father to his animal babies. It is for the purpose of making him not a man at all, but a despised outcast who is abhorred and scorned by the humans, not accepted by them as anything they consider valuable.
Those who think they're doing God some favor by populating the earth with more physical children aren't doing God any favors as they presume to be. They're just pumping out more animals who have a piece of their own DNA in them, reinforcing the copy idea of God living in His children via his pure spirit life (why it's unseen by the earthly animals). It's a very natural yet selfish thing that the animals are compelled to do, but it has no direct impact on God's plan and purpose except that the sons He chooses actually exist as humans who can hear His voice and become transformed. The only thing that matters is the Father's purpose to have *His* family of sons. To that extent the highest purpose in this life for the sons isn't anything human, but to take care of the family of God, not their own natural animal family because the two don't necessarily coincide (as the humans tend to selfishly, hopefully assume).
Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.
Hebrews as the writer intended it to be when he wrote it is the argument that what was written in the natural and preserved up to that point—the OT scriptures—was for the secret and hidden sons' benefit, to teach them about the unhearable and show them the unseen. God's intentions in having the words written down and preserved as they have been are for the sons; whether everything actually happened or not isn't important. What is important is that they were written down as men were directed by the spirit to write them down, and then they were preserved, even until now. However they don't say and they aren't for what 99.99% of the world thinks they're for. They are for the purpose that the writer is developing in this letter—for the sons, to teach and explain the spiritual reality to them through the natural copies of that spiritual reality.
Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess, was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God's house. Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.
The writer introduces it just a little here—Moses as a copy of Jesus. What did Moses do? He heeded the voice of God so that God could accomplish His will on the earth. He did this all except for one time when he did what his animal anger drove him to do, what he wanted to do, something to make himself feel better by flaring up in his anger against the flock, conveying a self-promoting idea that the miracle was because of something he did by his own power, not hallowing God in front of the people—not being a good shepherd but a self-serving one, not interested in always holding up God's honor for the people to teach them the right from the wrong. The example of his indulgence in those self-serving preservative actions caused God to be mad because he did evil, he engaged and taught the people to be animals instead of sons, evil instead of good by his example.
"Feed my sheep (Jesus to Peter in John 21)" is, "Tell the young lambs about me, be a real leader and take care of my Father's family, His treasure, the apple of His eye. Feed them the food of my spiritual body so that they can grow into me. Hold me up as the only important thing in this life so they can learn that the natural existence amounts to nothing because it is all about reveling in the way of the animal and prolonging the inevitable destruction of the temporary body. Don't go fishing, back to your old life, just as Moses didn't go back to Egypt to live as Pharaoh's son, a son of the world. The lambs need to know what is real (the hidden, spiritual world) and how to hear my voice (the unheard, living word). Then they need to know how to heed it so that the life and way of God will grow in them and overtake the animal nature. Otherwise they will fall away as a lamb without a shepherd is eaten by wolves. Be for the lambs, your true brothers, what I was and will continue to be for you. You have to teach them how to hear my voice and heed it."
Jesus was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God's house.
Jesus was faithful to God, as the Good Shepherd who tended and cared for God's flock instead of being continually consumed by his own interests which is all the animals can do. It is what Peter's fishing represented, which was countered by Jesus teaching him that the old way wasn't good anymore. The time he spent living with him wasn't just for nothing, because that time was filled with teaching about the Father and Peter's new identity as a son of the Father. Now was the time that Peter had to become a leader and a good shepherd of God's flock of young sheep, as Jesus was for him before. He had to move on, away from the old, dead way of life, existing as a mere animal waiting to die. His life wasn't about fishing any more (preserving himself), but like Moses imperfectly as a servant, then Jesus perfectly as the Son, Peter's life was about taking care of God's flock and leading them to Him, not about him going back to what all the animals are continually engaged in all the time—cycles of self-preservation all leading to the same thing, which is nothing.
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.
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.
Ch. 3 is building up to 4, and the hidden purpose isn't about history but instruction for the sons. Ch 3 is about believing and continuing to believe, unlike the copy of the unbelieving animal part of us, the Israelites who didn't believe God and so did not enter His rest, which is the land, the copy of the relationship between God and His sons marked by love, peace, resting, safety and security from what threatens that—the canaanite that was left to live in the land became what got in the way of God being able to enjoy His sons because they were swept away by other gods because of the influence of the inhabitants.
On that day HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the LORD's house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the LORD Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them.
And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD Almighty.
The canaanites in the land are the copies of all the animal's influences—the distractions and services to our own self cause us not to hear the living word which is trying to teach us about our Father, because allowing all those things about the life we used to live distracts us from listening to the voice and heeding it. The more extreme version is the copy back in Deut, of the wayward son who doesn't listen to the voice of his father and so should be stoned by them first then all the others too. In the same way the son has to control himself first, and that should also be reinforced by his brothers, acting as shepherds for one another.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.
Encouraging each other daily is a formulaic thing the writer knew for his own self, and he extended it out to the brothers as Jesus had extended it to the disciples as recorded by John. It is important because it cuts directly against what we naturally want to do because of the animal nature in us (only able to truly love our own selves), and it helps break it down by our faithfulness and obedience to what we hear—to turn away from the animal nature and the direction it's always trying to to lead us, back toward taking care of ourselves, and to turn toward the Father instead. That is the highest thing a son can achieve in this earthly existence, what pleases the Father the most because it's opposite to how the animals are—to be a good shepherd of God's flock as per Moses, David, all of God's holy prophets who heard His voice and heeded it including John the Baptist, and especially Jesus.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
I know my sheep and my sheep know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.
I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen (the sons of God before and after him who will hear the voice and heed it, as the disciples in the first century did). I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd (one family of sons of God with the great shepherd taking care of them, purging the unclean animal nature out of them and leading them back to the garden where the Father can enjoy them, which is the rest that the writer speaks about in the next chapter).
If we hold firmly to the confidence we had at first, guarding the good deposit that has been entrusted to us, we will continue to hear the voice of the good shepherd, and continue to become transformed. That is a formula we can count on. If we neglect him, then he will neglect us. If we are merely faithless he will give us faith so we can hear his voice and respond. Doing what we want to do, fulfilling our own animal instincts, is being led by the animal nature. It is what the animals do, the thing that makes us evil according to the Father, what Jesus was tempted to do instead of being totally faithful to God as Moses was (however imperfectly that was). That is having an unbelieving heart and a stiff neck, because just like a stiff-necked animal we won't be docile to go where the owner wants, only stiff-neckedly going our own way all the time. The outward rituals, or what we say with our mouth won't save us, because it's what's in our heart that defines who we are and aren't to the Father.
God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ (whether their heart resembles his or not).
This isn't important in the context of the religious communities who teach one set of rules as applying to everyone, another of many reasons why there's no power there except to serve as a social institution. What the new covenant brings is a secret covenant between God and each of His sons, instituted and maintained by the great Shepherd and good Son Jesus who had his own personal, secret covenant with God. That's why it works, because it's not some generic blanket set of rules for everyone. The Teacher specifically addresses what is in the son's heart to separate him from the animal that worked in him to create the lies that drive and lead him, which he must abandon so that he can be led by the good Shepherd instead of the ruler of the world of humans.
The copy idea starts to gain momentum in chapters 3 and 4, but he doesn't come out and say "copy" until ch 9. It's about the Israelites and their unbelieving hearts, and how that angered God. It's about the rest they never entered into because of it. But it's about something much more fluid and above what earthly beings can perceive, which is why it exists for us to be able to read and understand how God is, and what He wants from His sons via the enlightenment of the living word that speaks to us to illuminate us in a supernatural way. It's also about the canaanite living in the land, to completely destroy them so they won't lead us astray to worship the foreign gods (our own selves) of the nations (the humans) around us. The sons' reality is not what they can look around and see, touch, taste, hold onto, measure, observe and count on because they can control it. Their reality is what they cannot hold onto, therefore cannot control, because what makes them want to do that comes from below and they won't be able to help it until they're made responsible.
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.
What is the voice? Just a couple verses later the writer explains that the voice is the living word of God who speaks to us secretly in a place so deep we could never control it, contain it or hold on to it. Not the printed word (which we can claim, buy, own and control) but the spiritually alive word, the voice of the Father and Son (the Teacher) that we are to hear and heed, unlike the wayward son of Deut.
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.
Before God had various prophets who spoke what He revealed to them (Heb 1). Now He has one prophet who was made perfect and now God doesn't need any more human prophets because the One great prophet who was to come came, and he was made perfect (One with the Father) so that he continues to speak to the sons as the Father spoke to him. It is the life and voice of God's Christ who lives in us to speak to us and teach us about our real Father, and to deliver us to that rest that was promised—but the copy (Israelites) never entered it. It is a rest promised and made for God's sons to enter, so that God can enjoy them as per His original desire with the very first son, the reason this creation exists.
The spirit is unlike anything earthly, unlike anything the animals experience. Man cannot comprehend what God is like because the words in the book do not mean anything unless they are illuminated by the thing that makes a chosen son come to life, the life that lived in Jesus. When we say "the spirit," we ultimately mean the way that God interacts with His sons, because God is the spirit and the sons are natural. We also mean everything that flows from Him, which is everything good versus what flows from the animal, meaning everything evil, against God (that which tried to lead Jesus astray in Matt 4). There is only life or death that exists; the spirit brings life to the son's mortal body, fully accomplished in the son's redemption from the ground (so he doesn't remain one with it). Without it there is only death, rotting in the ground and becoming a component of the compost, like all earthly things just keep going in circles, from out of the ground they come and back into the ground they go.
By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
The mind of man is trapped in the prison of the snake's lies and in the cycles of death that they keep spinning around in, but they cannot just get out of that condition because they want to go to heaven or get some other thing from God. He purposely set it up that way as the flaming sword so that the animals couldn't get to Him. You cannot think or study your way to God because you have to have the key to get into the house where God is hidden. Without the key you will be standing on the porch, convinced that you're inside. It's only when you're inside that you are able to see the porch and realize that there even is an inside. That will only be seen by the sons who know they are chosen.
Elijah was the true prophet of the Lord, but he didn't look very good to the senses—he wouldn't have been chosen by Jezebel and Ahab to be one of their false prophets. First, he didn't look right, and second, he condemned them and their hearts that were far from God. But he was the authentic product, and was hidden by God from man, just as John the Baptist was hidden in the desert until the time of his appearing to Israel.
And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.
The sons of God enter into a secret, hidden covenant with their Father, where they remain hidden from the common animals around them, not validated by them. This fact can be no clearer than in the life of Jesus, who is the ultimate irony of God—how God kept him hidden. God made him look like all kinds of wrong things. We know that he wasn't any of those things, but only looked like he was. He looked like he was the illegitimate child of the teenage girl Mary, but in fact he was God's son, with God's DNA—the Messiah of Israel that everyone put their hope in. But because he looked a certain way, people assumed he was that.
"Abraham is our father," they answered.
"If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does."
"We are not illegitimate children," they protested. "The only Father we have is God himself."
Here they are accusing Jesus of being a bastard child of the teenage peasant girl and elevating themselves to the position of being a son to Abraham, assuming falsely that the sons of Abraham were his natural children. We know that the true sons of Abraham were those who heard God's voice and obeyed it, even though it looked in the natural to be the worst thing to do.
"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked.
"Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee."
What appears to be with God is not, and what doesn't appear to be with God is. He likes to confound men and make Himself and His sons appear wrong and bad. That is how He keeps them hidden from the world of men while being right in the midst of them. That is why when they reject His sons they are rejecting Him, and when they accept His sons they are accepting Him.