2 Chronicles 14-15 / Ezekiel 47 / John 15-16
Some of his disciples said to one another, "What does he mean by saying, `In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,' and `Because I am going to the Father'?"
The only reason they would be seeing him "in a little while," was because the Son was going to the Father. When the Son and the Father were united, then the Son would be coming back to these men, then they would "see him," even though the world (not the bad people, but everyone but them and the others who would be chosen to be able to "see him") would not see him because he would be with the unseen Father. This may not seem to be so important, but it's actually one of the more fundamental things to understand about the Father and the Son, because it declares the dichotomy of and the chasm between the seen versus the unseen according to the humans and back again according to the Father.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
The difference between being cut off versus pruned is the same difference between being able to see versus not seeing.
You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
They were already clean because the Son disclosed the Father's intention to them that they were chosen to become sons in the Father's family. They way they would be able to become cleaner was by being pruned so that what made them unclean in the first place—likened to the barren condition of the worthless branches that bore no fruit—would be "cut out" of them. That is the suffering of having the animal nature cut out of them, which all of the sons must endure or they remain unclean. It is great suffering to have to turn away from what we love most—that is, the life we have cultivated for our selves and all the ways we learned to take care of our selves and love our selves thoroughly, tenderly and with much care and concern. We are the best at taking care of us, which is the animal nature at its most pure definition and purpose.
If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
The humans and the other animals are oblivious to the Father and all that He is doing—they don't "see" Him, nor do they perceive what He is doing around them. At the same time the Father doesn't either "see" them. He sees His own sons and the rest He is and remains separated from, because there's no point in Him "seeing" every creature that roams the earth, since they have nothing to offer Him. They are like barren branches that have no fruit on them and they wouldn't produce any fruit even if they are trimmed and pruned. They just grow wild, wherever they choose to grow and they grow to and for their selves, as they see fit (wherever they wander).
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
The subtle twist between a mere human and a son of God is the potential for love, being shifted away from the self (definition of animal) and instead directed at something that is inherently good and valuable (because it is the Father's object of love).
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Our focus must begin to become shifted away from our own selves by abandoning the drive to find that agreement we are always trying to get for us to make us feel worth something, acceptable as we are by whatever we are able to attach to our existence to enhance it. Instead, this great capacity for love (of the self) can be shifted toward someone and something that is actually worth something because unlike these fragile bodies, it is a body that is not going to deteriorate or die. It is the body of the family of God's true sons, the true church, the true bride of the Son of God. It is the Father's one purpose and reason for creating everything we can see. It is a thing that is worth loving because that love will not be wasted on something that will die and go away. It is our home and destiny, our eternal place with the Father and the Son who saved us, and all of our brothers who were drawn to the Father as we are being drawn to Him too. That is our true family and they are our true brothers, and the fact that we are aware that they are being drawn to the same family is enough to warrant our care and consideration of that position before the Father. In other words, there is a logic to it that makes sense, but not until that shift begins because until that time there is a lock that cannot be broken out of which keeps everything turned inward, bouncing off the inside of the bubble of our own self back to us.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
If they wondered how to love each other, he is telling them in the next sentence—the way he did it. Washing each other's feet like a servant instead of acting like the master who deserves to be served, which is the animal mode of needing that agreement of feeling high and worthy—like a king and not a slave. Very simply it's doing the opposite of what's naturally in you according to the instincts you took into your self, making you focused on surviving longer and better. The action of washing the feet is a declaration of something.
You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
That action of dying for the other is the ultimate service and declaration he was making, not generically so that it loses all its power and meaning, but specifically for these men whom he particularly loved and considered friends, neighbors, brothers as the Father intended for the Israelites but they didn't get that because they were too driven by the animal to focus on their selves instead of get the secret message that God wanted them to understand.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.
The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was flowing from the south side.
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
The whole section is Ezekiel's vision of the temple. Being a vision, it is a spiritual thing, not natural, which is the point of its proportions being out of line with what could be built by the humans—meaning it's not necessarily about an actual temple that should have been, or will be built. Jesus says that he is the true temple to the Jews (below), and that the other sons would be the fulfillment of Ezekiel's vision (above). The details about what will be are not ours to argue about or even worry about. Just as the point of the Israelites not being anything valuable in and of themselves, but what they represented, so too with what the sons of God in the OT heard from the Father about the tabernacle and the various temples being a representation of something we probably don't even have the capacity to begin to understand.
Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?" Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
The spiritual reality is too complicated to be understood by the humans, because spiritual concepts aren't available to be able to comprehend via the human consciousness. All that can be done is to point at them and represent them via copies and pictures. Also, God doesn't want everyone to understand what the spiritual reality is about (only His true, spiritual sons who are being made spiritual beings are privy—everyone else just thinks they know, which is how the knowledge is kept from them), which is the truth that comes out of the mouth of Isaiah:
Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
"Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"
For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
"He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them."
Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him.
The nation of Israel as was intended by God (not what it became via the humans' intentions to own it for themselves) points to the true family of God's sons, claimed by their Father who separates them from what is unclean so that they can come near—unseparated from—Him. The tabernacle and temple are copies of God's house where He desires to live, in the peace and safety of being surrounded by His nation of sons who have chosen Him and minister to Him (true Levites), who serve Him and take care of Him in a different way than the angels can because they are His own offspring.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
The reality of what happened after Jesus went to the Father, then came back to live in/with the men he loved and promised to come back to, in the first century, is a hinge upon which the very purpose of God turns. It was like another step of the work He had already started as He was choosing certain men to reveal Himself to, who were being drawn to Him but who were also separated from Him.
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
There was also a wall of hostility between God and the sons He had revealed Himself to before the Son came to set them free from having to remain behind that wall (in the ground), so they could go to the Father and be near Him for His sake (because He loved them and they loved Him but couldn't come near Him because of their condition).
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Those believers in whom God lived at the time of this writing was a partial kind of fulfillment of the true temple, where God desired to live (in the hearts of His sons). The severity of the desecration of that by the unclean animals who took what had been promised and fouled it by placing the animal nature back into the temple and driving God out. Still the fact that happened indicates that it too was another copy/preview of the better thing, when the spiritual reality will not be mixed with the natural, when there will be no thorns in Paul's side, no animal constantly pulling at us to do its will. God is big on previews.
I wish I didn't have to constantly qualify that the spirit, which was the spiritual body of Jesus and God, that could live in the bodies of His sons, is not the "holy spirit" that the christians claim lives in them, but I feel compelled to qualify it. It can't be the same one, if only because of the reason that their "holy spirit" is some other god, different than Jesus and the Father altogether, yet just as powerful because it's a god, and presumably just as important. They say it's another person, another god, so it cannot be Jesus or the Father at all, even though it's pretty clear that Jesus promises that he and the Father will be who will be coming back to live in the disciples' bodies.
As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in--a river that no one could cross.
He asked me, "Son of man, do you see this?"
Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, "This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Sea. When it empties into the Sea, the water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live.
That is, live, not living according to how the humans comprehend living. That is the life that the son gains by hating, losing, abandoning this earthly, natural existence; and adopting the life that the humans can't see, including his own self (life) with his natural faculties, hopes, dreams, tendencies, aspirations, etc. There is a different kind of vision that the spirit of the living God brings when He comes to a son. It runs along the same principle as the natural, the copy, but it is altogether different, so much so that it can't be explained by natural words (like these, which are so unable to convey what's real and true). All we could ever do is get close to explaining how and what it is with the same type of metaphorical strategy, and the spirit himself has to bring fellowship with any kind of actual validity; because again, that happens on another level that is inaccessible to the ordinary humans. In other words, and a very important concept to understand, plain old words written down on a paper or a web site cannot convince, nor are they meant to. Only the secret God reveals the secret of His revelation to whomever He chooses, not us or any other person. Although later on down the road, when we become more able to be concerned about the Father's affairs instead of merely our own all the time, we may have some say in this, but that's speculation based on the Son's words.
I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
All we should worry about is becoming good sons for the Father by listening to the same teacher who taught Peter. That is the only way we will be able to move closer to becoming a being which does have the capacity to love the Father and tend to His concerns. Until then our job is to bring our selves around with an iron fist by being disciplined to not just be carried away every time we think or see some thing that stimulates an appetite that wells up via the instincts that should be lying dormant in us. It is a very difficult road to walk, because it's so easy to gratify ourselves.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
Only the true teacher can make the spiritual reality even begin to make sense. Without Him living in our heart, we'll just be as the humans are—totally confused and wrong about everything, especially God's will and purpose, even as contained within the preserved words. That's for a good purpose, because God only wants His true sons to know the truth about the spiritual reality, while the vast majority of the rest of the humans He desires not to know, so they won't turn and be healed, as per the words of Jesus himself.
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
The sons will be united with the Father and the Son, and become the temple. They are already united, which in itself—as it, the spirit, was living in the hearts of the chosen, yet still earthly, sons on the earth—was a guarantee about the intention of God and what He was going to do perfectly one day. So for now, while the sons are still existing as natural creatures, the importance is on being made pure in our heart, which is the deep place (holy of holies) where only God can see, because He lives there if the son is chosen to be made clean and pure. If that's the place where only God can see then that's where we live, and it's who we are according to Him, since the humans aren't privy to it. Only the true high priest goes in and out—nobody else can.
Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds--like the fish of the Great Sea. But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
The sons will have a great struggle with being pure and honest, not hiding about the specific things they want to keep from God, even as the light starts to shine in their heart, that place which is being made pure. The importance of the temple/tabernacle and how the water coming from the temple in the Ezekiel reading is about the spiritual temple—the body of the son, whose heart is the ark of the true covenant—is amazing and the most relevant thing for his natural existence. There'll be a lot of freaking out, but everything's for the purpose of showing and teaching him what's important versus what's unimportant, what's the right (God's way) and how to choose that, over what's the wrong (human way) and how to reject it. Also, how not to try to mix the two, because contrary to what the christians and other religious leaders will say, they can't be mixed.
Jesus reaffirms that the true temple is the life/body/heart of the sons, both when he says that streams of living water will flow from them (as per Ezekiel) and that his body was the true temple according to God, not man. It's a hidden reality that has everything to do with the Daniel prophesy, when that truth would be validated in the world for a time, and then it would go into darkness—the state the world is in to this day.
The sons' body being the true temple is an important affirmation about the purity/honesty of the sons' hearts, once they've been chosen to become sons. It's tough because it's so natural to hide from God, just what the first humans did after they were "dead" (if you do that you will surely die). It's also practical because the trials are for seeing what we're hiding from, and it's very traumatic to let go and believe. We feel like we can't do it because those things are so deep and hidden way down in us, we think we can't let them go, that it's too hard, but then we want to, or believe we can. It's very complex and difficult, and a huge work to believe enough to let go of what we think on such deep levels within us we need so much, what we truly love. It is easy to seek the Lord according to man, which is why it's so bogus because it isn't real. It isn't easy, which we can know because of the Son's own difficulty in being faithful to the Father's commands.
Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God. He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles.
Asa commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to obey his laws and commands.
He removed the high places and incense altars in every town in Judah, and the kingdom was at peace under him.
They entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul. All who would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman.
All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the LORD gave them rest on every side.
The land is still ours, because we have sought the LORD our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side.
It must be hard work to seek God eagerly and wholeheartedly, otherwise it would have been done more often by the Israelites, who are a copy of the true sons. It's super hard to go against what I want in my heart, to betray that craving, or supposed need. It must take real courage to stand up to what I think I want/need and deny even that desire to survive in those intangible ways. For instance, not necessarily from natural death but things which aren't as significant as actual, physical death, but mean having to live with the consequences of a decision, having to live with the agony of regret that will come from the animal while we're considering denying it, when I keep telling me that I shouldn't do, or have done whatever it is/was, that it was mine for the taking and keeping and I needed, deserved it, should have done it.
The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. But in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them.
I wouldn't say it's necessarily easy to do these writings every day, a work I'm trying to remain faithful to, but it seems easier than having to deny myself what I want in other areas, to be honest in my heart and have to choose to deny that thing, process or state of existence, of me having to let go of what I love and want to hang on to in my heart. In some ways these words are merely theoretical exhorting about what should and shouldn't be done, as per the preserved words and the word who has been teaching. The truth is here, enclosed within, which nobody seems to be willing/able to accept at this time but us two, which has in itself always been a source of pain and confusion (that we are the only ones who seem to know, the only place we seem to be able to find the truth as it's being revealed to us). However, writing down what's true is not as hard as doing what I'm advocating in these pages. In a way it's been kind of a luxury just being able to write it down.
As for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.
The sons of God ultimately (as seen in the firstborn, ultimate Son) have no other desire except for more of that which they've already tasted, which increases as they get more of it, than to know the Father's love and desire to be pleasing to Him. The highest and most perfect example of that is Jesus, who is the head of all the other sons.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
How could they remain in him when he was going to die in a few days? What did that mean to remain in him? "If my words remain in you" means a lot, although it would have been very easy to just go back to the way things were before Jesus ever came to them, after he died and it looked like their cause had just fizzled out. The words that could remain in them were the promises he made to them, that even though he was going to die he had to because of the scripture and the desire of God, that even though it looked like a bad thing, it was actually a good thing, and they had to believe or not believe that. He promised to come back for them, although they had no idea how, nor could they know, nor was it God's purpose that they know. The important thing is that the Lord kept his promise to them, even if they weren't able to be totally faithful to him.
The preserved words are for the sons, because their situation will be very similar to that of the disciples. Peter was so set on being faithful to Jesus, but he couldn't be that courageous when it counted. Also, he went back to the fishing, the work of man, which was a sort of declaration that he thought things were over. Even then, when he didn't believe that Jesus was actually coming back for them, or that he would be able to keep his promises to them, Jesus came back to prove he was true, and everything he said was true. Then they had to believe it again, when he went to the Father, so that he actually could come back and live in their bodies and become the fulfillment of the promised new covenant. And he came back again, this time with the Father, the condition that allowed Jesus to concurrently live in those same men's hearts, as the Father had lived in his heart.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.
God gives man the desires of his heart. If we seek God, that means we are only looking for Him. Everything else can fall away because we know that is the only thing which can actually satisfy us and make us whole, give us true peace with our Father. If we turn to Him He will turn to us. If we think we are fine, and don't need to turn to Him with all our heart, then He will abandon us—and why shouldn't He?
If we love the things of the world, and allow them to take up our time and energy (even if we think we have good excuses—like "I'm doing it for my 'family' "), then how can we think that He will honor us? We cannot rely on the religious lies that since God is good He will just forgive us because we can't help it. Nor can we rely on the humanistic notion about the value of people over God, even those in our own "family."
He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
Yes, God is good, but He is also just. He cannot give what is not due, nor will He not do what He says He will do. We have the records to show us what it is to seek Him (e.g. the lives of Jesus and his apostles, including—perhaps especially—Paul). We have parables which tell us the truth about the seriousness of seeking Him. We also have been warned how deceitful the heart is, in writing—the words preserved for us, written by men who sought Him and were found.
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.' "
Just because He's been quiet for a long time, naturally speaking, does not mean that He doesn't see and hear. We have to be on guard for the lies of the flesh, the deceitfulness of the heart, the way of the animal which is naturally pulled toward reveling in the ways of the world. It is not idle, but is constantly in motion, pulling at us, making us believe it and serve it. We have to constantly turn to God, to constantly repent from our love of the world and its idols.
If we don't think this is true, it is because we are in a prison and don't even know it. If we were born in a prison, and everyone in the prison said that there was no outside world, and all the signs of the outside were taken away, then we might believe that life consisted only of what was inside the prison. But if someone from the outside came in and said it was actually a prison, and freedom existed outside the boundaries of those prison walls, you might believe him—or you might just think he's some kook, ranting and raving about a non-existent reality.
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind."
At this point Festus interrupted Paul's defense. "You are out of your mind, Paul!" he shouted. "Your great learning is driving you insane."
If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.