Judges 14-15 / Isaiah 38 / 2 Peter 1-2
His parents did not know that this was from the LORD, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.
And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
The wisdom of God is the foolishness of man. The religious people try to establish God's existence by proving that the accounts recorded in the Bible are factually true, while the non-religious people try to prove God's non-existence by establishing how similar humans are to all the other animals. What the religious people don't know is that for the sons of God the preserved words serve as parables about His eternal world which cannot be imagined by the natural mind, so they need to be taught with stories and metaphors about what it's like, not what it is. What it is can't be known by the natural mind because it's so far above and beyond it being able to comprehend what it is even like. The Darwinists don't know that the explanation for why the humans seem so similar to the animals is actually found in the words; but neither do the religious people who claim to live by it.
We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
The transfiguration wasn't a fact that could be proven, but there were 2 other witnesses for each of the 3 who could tell each other that it definitely happened. The way it is set up is for all these various groups of humans to think they know, and to be free to develop all their various systems of thought that make sense to them. It's how He keeps them away from Him. To those He has chosen He gives a special, secret key to be able to understand what they mean, and they are each other's only witnesses i.e., they won't be validated by the humans around them, which is an important thing to remember. The message is given in the natural world by spiritual beings and messengers who aren't limited by the natural limitations as natural beings are, so it's not a problem to easily orchestrate phenomenal things in the natural world.
The overall plan and purpose is that God can gather up a family of sons to be with Him, throughout all the generations of the humans, by revealing Himself and His reality to them and not to the others. Peter referred to this group as the called and elected. Every other "truth" that the humans claim to have has been made up out of the necessity in their minds to have, hold and control something bigger than themselves. Therefore they create their own version of whatever "truth" they want to hold on to, which serves them the best (like many gods who allow them to live their lives like animals and at the same time promise them the inheritance that is reserved for the sons of God who are willing to lay down their right to live like the animals around them).
Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.
There's no formula to memorize and employ by any power we think we might have to get by our own will and power. That is the old way we used to live by, when we bought what we wanted so we could own it and possess it, then control it for our own good and purpose. Some think they actually can, by their own power and will, "Make every effort to add to their faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love." There's no way to make these things happen by our own will; these things grow in the son from the inside outward, when he chooses the new nature over the old, according to the desires in his heart and the willingness to go against what the animal in him wants, so that the life which began as a mere seed grows up in him and pushes the old life away from him. Peter has to a large degree already had that process happen in his body.
You will do well to pay attention to it until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
The life doesn't just appear in the beginning full strength. As per the words of the Son, it is just as a seed that has been planted, and it takes a long, slow, steady time of nurturing, along with learning and suffering on our part to even start to accomplish what the Father intends for that particular son. This is all that matters, because the rest must fall off. The natural counts for nothing, and our natural efforts to please God remain weak and ineffective in and of themselves.
Peter's message about making their calling and election sure is a tiny bit confusing because he does seem to be encouraging others to do what is impossible within their own selves, the thing that has happened to him because of the will and intention, and by the power, of God. He could have just as accurately said, "Try to not be the animal you once were before the life of God came to inhabit your body." Those things have to be the nature of the one to be able to do it, so there's no effort at all to do it, because you are it. The seed was planted in him and the life of God grew in his body, and by it those things also grew in him as he grew up into the son's nature. He became those things as he became a son. The point to consider is that they're all opposite to what the animal nature dictates in the humans, so animals—those not chosen to be sons—will not be able to do them in any genuine capacity. It for them must be forced, which is the observable atmosphere in christian churches. The intention might be there, but the reality they fail to recognize is that their very nature is what's evil, merely their desires to live their life the way they have chosen to—which is the perfect right for every animal that is born to live out their natural existence as best they can.
However, a squirrel doesn't live its life gathering nuts and jumping through the trees and at the same time claim that it's a dog, just like the religious humans can't read the stories, assume they are about them, then pretend to be the subjects of the stories just because they want to—then adopt another way of acting as though they actually were just because they thought hard enough about it and adopted a new way of acting. They can, but it isn't genuine as it was for the sons living as disciples of Peter in the first century. That comes not from the particular human, but from the seed that is planted; otherwise it's a fraud, which is evident upon a cursory examination of the humans in any of the plethora of "churches" one might visit. Even the presumption to call themselves the church is gross, because it conveys the declaration that they fully assume the words for themselves, even though they aren't for them. Since they are the prostitute daughters of the great mother whore of babylon, though, it does make sense for them to assume the position of bride of the jesus god. Their only true and lasting faithfulness, though, is to themselves because the power and perfection of God ensures that not every squirrel or dog can just become a son by pretending to be one.
If their intention is true and they want to be sons then they should seek the truth, which cannot be found in the human institutions, which are frauds—mere humans lording their power of consensus over the others. The living God doesn't want cowards and conformists, but those who are willing to say what is obvious, "The truth is not here," even though everyone else will disagree, even if the rest of the dupes continue to listen to the phony leaders. The Teacher is not in the concentration of where the humans all gather together, because that's where the animal nature is the strongest, where it is most validated and reaffirmed in the group to maintain its power. The Teacher is in the wilderness, meaning away from the culture and society of the humans, where they live together and gather worshipping all of their various gods they have declared as such. The example of this is Abraham, who was told to go away from the civilization of the humans when the knowledge of one God wasn't known in the world of humans, by that same God, unknown to the humans in the world. The same phenomenon is beginning to happen today.
The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.
I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
Leaving the communities of humans to go inward, where there aren't any humans to validate what it is we're searching for, is a difficult thing to decide to do, but it's the only thing to do to find the living God because He doesn't exist within the concentrations of human civilizations, as they often suppose. What does exist there is contrary to His life, so He won't be there. He is found in the places where the humans least expect to find Him, where the humans claim that He doesn't/couldn't exist because that seems just too far removed from what they think, so to them it must not be true. However, the beautiful irony about the living God is that He is right and they are all wrong, because they are fully ruled and guided by what was created by Him for that very purpose, so that He could set His own sons up against the behemoth of the sheer numbers of the humans, like Gideon and his 300 soldiers whom God had chosen for him to fight the entire Midianite army.
If you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
Peter's addressing humans who thought that God could be got to via observing the old covenant, which was integrated into what they knew as their way of life, their animal identities that they spent their adult lives developing and protecting. The real truth of the new covenant though was just as difficult to imagine then as it is now, because it makes no sense to the animals with the natural faculties intact within them, who were used to living by a set of static rules and other things they could understand and hold, own and control. New covenant means new way, new being, new nature and new life that lives inside the animal to make this supernatural thing happen to it. It's the new, living, non-static way that God deals with His sons, as per Jeremiah:
The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them, " declares the LORD.
"This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."
How would it not be like the covenant God made with the Israelites when He took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt? The law, or the "Ten Words," wouldn't be written down anymore on stone or scrolls or printed on books made of paper. The new law and covenant would be living yet invisible, alive in the spiritual world from where it originates, and piercing the natural world and the membrane that covers the humans. The old way, of God being able to be recognized in the natural order, would die just as everything that is tied to the natural creation dies. The spiritual way always existed, and the natural things only ever pointed to what is real in the dimension and world where God exists.
The humans, though, couldn't ever handle that way, because they couldn't control it so they rejected God over and over and instead went over and worshipped the gods of the nations around them. Those gods could be seen, held, and bought so they could be controlled and made to serve whomever possessed them, which is the same thing the humans did with the christian gods when they created them in the years following when for a short time some of the humans were under Jeremiah's new covenant. Once the Son established the new order, which was the condition of those sons who were under it to revert back from animal to son, there was no more need for those old pointers toward the salvation God had kept promising through His OT era sons. The first century sons to whom Peter was addressing just needed to hear the spiritual voice that was speaking *inside* them and heed it, so they could be changed.
The reason it's important that the new law isn't a set of words written down somewhere is because then it is just static and has to be the same for each one. What the law was intended to be for the Israelites; that is, that through it they might recognize the nature of God, is accomplished in the new one. The new covenant is alive, and able to adapt itself to, be cut with, each son individually. That's the meaning of the phrase "They will all know Me." God makes His covenant personally with each one of His sons, via this new way of His law being able to live in the son's heart. Never a set of generic rules that he has to adhere to (how the humans still are trying to get to God via their static, dead, made up religions), but personal and individual because the end isn't that the son merely obey a set of rules, but that the son comes closer and closer to the Father so that he can personally know Him, and know, feel, be His love.
He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right.
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.
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.
God is righteous, and He doesn't just bend rules, even for His sons. An unclean animal is an unclean animal, which cannot come into the Father's presence. Everything has to be fulfilled because God is true and just, so bending the rules doesn't happen. The animal nature was put onto the humans for the specific reason that it would, according to its effectiveness, keep all of the humans away from God's presence—the sons included as long as it's in them, defining them as such. What does happen, and what has to happen, is that the unclean animal nature in the son—what makes him evil and therefore unable to come close to God—must be purged out from within him, and then that new law and covenant can take root and grow in his heart, as Jeremiah predicts. As it grows he moves closer to the Father and further from the animal which he once was. God's righteous justice is upheld and His will to redeem His son is fulfilled.
One irony about the old covenant intentionally being a certain, specific set of words is that the animal leaders (Rabbis, teachers of the law, leaders of God's people, etc.) changed it (made it dynamic, how it is now for the sons) over and over for their own good, to address and suit their particular needs and maintain their control of it for political, financial and personal preservation reasons.
The new covenant is not a set of any particular words written down and employed as a generic blanket, which is ironically again the snare of today's various religious groups thinking that they can make rules for their members to live by in order to be right with God. It's actually invisible so it can't be contained or controlled by any of the humans (especially the leaders), although they continually assume so and try to no avail. They say "If you believe this and do that, then we can assure you that you will find God." However, Jesus said "I am the only way to God," and Jesus is the new covenant, because he is the living word, the voice of the Father who speaks to the son (he and the Father are One).
As the writers of the NT said that they had a new gospel which was not new at all, so we too find ourselves with the same new good news, which isn't new at all. It is merely alive again in the earth to serve the purpose of God in the earth. To gather up perhaps the last group of sons before we are all redeemed together to live our chosen purpose—to be God's heritage, His family, His one true group of sons who can finally all be together and all be together with their Father who will give them real life, as He is alive.
If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
That is the point about Jesus proclaiming God as his personal Father, and he as being personally known by Him as His Son. We have no idea how shameful that was to those who heard it, and how different that seemed for those who believed he was genuine. It went against all the cultural understanding that the Jews had about God and who He was. The proclamation of Jesus would have stood in stark contrast, foolishness, against the backdrop of the educated leaders. Mature animals who thought that even uttering the name of God was forbidden. They were safe in their positions, and didn't want to risk anything personally for the sake of God's flock. No shame or vulnerability, but total control and power. Honor for themselves and shame for the flock G-d versus "Daddy." The national as opposed to the individual and personal. Outside as opposed to inside. Fear as opposed to love.
I believe we cannot, in this culture, understand how absolutely oppositional the two positions were and how naked and despised, how naive and stupid Jesus seemed in his words as opposed to the safe, clothed, smug, wise state of the rulers of Israel. The self-proclaimed kings of Israel who confronted (the son of) God and in all their wisdom dismissed him as ridiculous, shameful, uneducated and worthless. For us, as with Jesus, God is Father; He is a reality that is understood. God is our Father and Jesus is not ashamed to call us his brothers. We are His children who are just beginning to understand His language which isn't made up of words or even thoughts, but transcends everything the humans know.
(2004) Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the holy spirit.
The prophets pointed toward the hope which was fulfilled in Jesus, and the new believers were living that promise.The word of the prophets was misunderstood by everyone except a very few, like Simeon, who knew that salvation would be extended to the gentiles. The spirit illuminated the minds of the tiny pocket of men, like the recipients of Peter's letter, and told them what the prophets were all speaking to in the hundreds of years before. The spirit told the prophets what to write and the spirit interpreted those things to the first century believers.
The point is that the spirit was a key that opened a person up to the real truth beyond the words. Without it Jesus would have been what he was to the majority of people—a false messiah who got punished for speaking blasphemies against God. He claimed to have the closest relationship possible between father and son. In contrast to the pharisees, who couldn't even fully say God's name (YHWH), Jesus called God his Father, his Daddy, who was as close as that to him.
We now possess the whole Bible, which is what they had plus their experiences and the recording of the ramifications of the spirit. The self-serving false teachers, shortly after Peter's time, made the Bible into a book that was used to construct rules about how God is and how He expected their disciples to act. That is the way it is seen by virtually every group to this day to define a set of rules to live by or doctrines to believe. They see it as the fixed word that never changes.
We know that the word is not the fixed words, but the living word, the spirit that gives meaning to them when we read them. We know what the first century believers knew—that the law and the prophets and all the stories of the OT pointed forward to the Christ. The NT is a pointing back to the Christ. It is a compilation of the accounts of the Christ, plus a direct and indirect historical accounting of the lives of those who had that key to be able to understand the OT accounts.
The message of the prophets told them that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. It was an exciting and wonderful mystery that only they were privy to. In the beginning we had the same fascination with the mere fact that what was happening to us was true. The far away God had revealed Himself to us! We gloried in the miracles being done in our life which all pointed to how God was actually alive and that we did indeed possess what the first century believers had.
More importantly, after the sheer excitement waned, it told them what God was made into by the work of Jesus, which is what is becoming important to us as we grow up into Him. No more far away, fearful, punishing God, but our Father who loves us perfectly. The work of growing up follows so that we become mature, yet remain children.
In terms of the expression of the spirit, for those who are the children of God, the Bible is like a father speaking to a child. The wisdom of God is unfathomable to the human mind, so of course the Bible is God's most simple way of communicating—the words are as if a father is speaking to a child.
With the spirit the words which make up the stories are, over time, able to be understood, and as we grow into maturity they become clearer and clearer. The confusion fades. However without the spirit, the Light, the Bible is, to those in the world like a foreign language. Even to the religious, with all their so-called wisdom, it is ultimately gibberish. Everyone thinks, no matter what, that being a child of God is something that they can choose to fit them and their various selfish needs. But without the Key, the Light of Truth, the spirit of love to unlock it men are simply left to their own imaginations.
We are born to a Father, into a family, who all speak the same language. It is a language that is completely foreign to those outside the family and there is no reference or way to understand it with the mind of Adam. If you are born to Adam there is no way you will ever be able to hear the sweet voice of God or read and understand the letters He has written to you. God will always be a mystery and someone who will always be distant, outside, unable to be held or grasped as "Daddy."
Jesus came to the children of God. He came to take us to Him, to free us from this darkness, to let us experience the fact that we are not orphans. Jesus, the word of God in us, is leading us to our Father, growing us up into Him.
The Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat.