2 Chronicles 18-19 / Daniel 1 / John 19
When Jehoshaphat king of Judah returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem, Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani, went out to meet him and said to the king, "Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because of this, the wrath of the LORD is upon you. There is, however, some good in you, for you have rid the land of the Asherah poles and have set your heart on seeking God."
In my copy of the preserved words, there is a text note that says that the Hebrew word for "love" in the above verse could also be read "make alliances with." Do not love what the world loves (themselves and their way, their culture that they're familiar with) nor make alliances with it (those who hate the Father and the Son—everyone who isn't a chosen son of God). That is to say being at peace with the humans, encouraging their culture to influence us by submitting ourselves to it. That was all we could do before the Son came and revealed to us the identity of our true Father. Now that we know who our real Father is, we should be starting to become aware that the humans are not our true family, not our brothers because they cannot point us to the Father nor encourage us to even look for Him. They only want to do what every animal wants to do all the time—enhance their little temporary existence—and being around them only reinforces that desire in us too.
That is just a very logical explanation of the way things work, which is reinforced all over the preserved words. It is in the coming out from the unchosen, the separating from the foreign, the knowledge of the holy versus the profane, the not being hooked together (yoked) with those who don't know, the church, the bride, the family that is called to become and remain purely devoted to the Father, the Son and the whole family of God, who ho are all secret just like we have been called in secret while our true identities remain hidden from those who think they see but can't. That is our proof, that we can see and we know we can see, and they can't. We know we are being called to a place that they aren't being called to, not that we should feel superior but that we should feel holy and special, and that feeling should produce a desire to become separated from the profane, which is a drive that lives in our heart that replaces the animal drive of instinct to find the agreement of safety and security for our selves. If it's the humans and their culture that we love by our actions (not separating ourselves from their influence) and we continue to go back to what we loved before—whatever makes us feel safe and secure—then the process of transformation may become retarded, and we might become retarded sons of God looking more like the common animals than a son of the living Father.
What is the world? The humans and the systems they create for the other humans, the mere animals who remain an integral part of the natural, whom we cannot perceive to have been chosen by God to become sons, simply because they can't see as we see, nor hear as we hear. The sons can't consider the humans their brothers or friends, because even though its fruit seems enjoyable (participating in what they make and sustain), it is for one purpose—to keep men from finding God. The condition which keeps them all going in the opposite way that the sons of God need to go was set up by God for that purpose; it is the flaming sword that guards the tree of life. God puts the animal skins on the people, which is a metaphor that declares that what lives in their heart is the animal nature. It drives, leads and guides them, and it is the thing they all serve very efficiently.
The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 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." So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 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.
To God, the humans look like animals with the skins of the animals on them, and the nature of the animal, the serpent, is their god. That is the curse put on the humans because they trusted the animal and not God. Instead of seeing it as an eternal punishment that doesn't seem fair to those who came after the first humans who trusted the animal more than God, so became the animal, we can look at it like just a way that the Father can gather up the family He wants, via the means that makes a lot of sense. He wants His sons to have already proved that they love Him and want to be with Him, so the choice of their loyalty doesn't have to be tested always and forever. Now is the time they are tested so that when they actually are with the Father, that force which tests them (the adversary, deceiver, serpent nature) doesn't need to be there anymore. They will have already struggled through the pain, grief, heartache and fear; proving to the Father and the Son and all of their brothers who did the same thing, that they don't want anything else but to be found in that family. They want to be found with their true brothers, who wanted just like them to show the Father they are loyal and true, good sons who can be counted on when they are tested. To be in the Father's house is their primary goal, and everything that does not lend toward attaining that can just drop off.
If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.
What does the world of humans driven to love, its declaration being in what they search for? Since they are animals driven to survive more surely, longer and better, they tend to try to get things which enhance that desire/craving/instinct. One thing that does that for them (which is the reason they love it) is money and wealth, because money allows us to build things up around us so that we can take care of ourselves and be insulated from suffering. We can find the agreement we are looking for within our own journey of survival that we are more adequately surviving by getting more of the ability to insulate ourselves from what threatens us. That's fine for the humans; the problem with that for the sons is that if we are providing for our selves by our own hand (the animals have no other choice except to do that), then we will never need our Father to give us what we need. That reliance on the Father we claim to adhere to will only ever be theoretical whims about how we trust in God to give us what we need when in reality it's our own hand that feeds us, which is the definition of the wild animal who can't come near God because he's afraid so he hides like his father Adam.
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Consider the first century believers in Jerusalem and how they sold their property and gave to whoever had need. They did that because what was in them was real, and it drove them to want to love and take care of their brothers, as a clear statement directly from the Father about what a real Jew was supposed to look like.
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
The Israelites were supposed to be brothers who looked out for each other, who banded together to help each other and take care of the others' needs. Instead they became animals who acted like animals wanting to survive, with those who had getting more for themselves at the expense of those who had not, even though they were Jews, the very brothers of those who had the opportunity to get more and like animals driven by their instinctual fear, did just that.
The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables:
"Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand."
The Son is talking about another type of hidden currency, of which he possessed a vast amount. The knowledge that one gets from the Father when it is revealed to him—that he is favored by God particularly, not generally; and that the Father Himself has chosen him to be in His secret family—is something that drives a son to want more of it, at the expense of everything else.
Do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
The knowledge of the Father is an alluring type of currency that makes the son want to please the Father, because he understands that it's the only way to get more. It comes directly from the Father's hand and the son has to wait and trust the Father who has already proven His particular choice in the son; now the son must learn the new way of trusting the Father, getting more of that valuable currency, unrecognized by the animals because it doesn't enhance their need to survive. This currency doesn't run concurrent to that which the humans love and run after; the two exist as opposites.
No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
It wasn't that the true Israelites, the sons of God under the new covenant, those who were as God had intended them to be (true brothers who took care of each other) had some political ideal about communism or idea in them that it would be a good idea to just sell what they had and be poor all of a sudden. They didn't mind losing their "things," because they were being taught by the newly formed spirit of God, the new Father/Son being, the new living word, according to the new covenant, about the value of their material things, which before was high for them, but now was high only in their ability to love their brother in a real way, by giving them over for their physical comfort. The value of the miraculous new thing they had in them was infinitely more than their "things."
If we are honest we will realize how valuable our things are to us, which should lead to realizing how powerful that animal nature is to drive us to love them. It holds and keeps us in its grasp to keep serving it so that in our natural selves we are completely unable to be pleasing to the Father. An honest heart will lead to what the Father wants from His sons, what the humans can never give Him, because like the first humans all they can do is just hide from God, and pretend that they're not hiding.
It's not something to deny or be ashamed of, although that's all the animal can ever do because they're under the condition of what happened to the first humans, as soon as they ate that fruit. We are all victims of the animal's teaching, and we are all students and servants of it, according to the power of God to make it so. Things are valuable to the animal, because things are all the animal has to live for. Things help it survive physically, mentally and emotionally. They allow it to be fulfilled in their destiny of being another part of the natural creation. God's sons have to actually, not theoretically, become something different than they were before, and than all the human animals, especially the christians who think they know the way to God because some other humans told them.
We know that the things man considers valuable are detestable to God, and we can assume that they stand in the way of knowing His love because of this. Jesus was clear about the value of things and money, not only by his words but by something much more important—the way he actually lived his life; the decisions and choices he made. Consider that for a moment. He knew who he was, and that power had been given to him to summon angels to protect him, in fact he knew that the angels would not let him die if he threw himself off the temple. Yet he thought about doing it, the temptation coming from the animal in him to instantaneously be the great king of Israel, the son of David and Messiah—to satisfy and fulfill his animal desire, what pulled on him from within his own thoughts. This was a very real choice in him that he had to make, to deny the animal in him and instead choose the way of poor, uncelebrated, shameful failure in the natural reality so that he could be the opposite in the spiritual reality. He was only able to choose this way because the life of the Father lived in him, and he knew the love that came from the Father, and it drove him, compelled him to not make an alliance with the animal in him that was pulling on him so fiercely.
Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Money and things may be a negligible thing, compared to the personal relationships that we have been bound by, what gives us our identity with a human family that we have learned to become "familiar" with, safe and secure—that which probably serves the craving to survive the strongest. Why can our natural ties with our natural family inhibit us? Because it battles against the true family to which we have been called, that to which we must learn to become devoted because it is the family of our true Father we're talking about. The same sort of phrasing exists here paired with the idea of losing the life, as in the above quote about losing the life when the Son is speaking to the disciples and their need to be great, wealthy, etc., because both things are truly strong animal characteristics which must be denied since they battle directly against the son's newly disclosed position.
"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields--and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first."
Now that is hope for the sons, because it isn't all about denying our selves what we want just for the heck of it, or because it's going to make us "stronger," like some swami mind over matter deal, some sense of inner strength—the building up of our self (yet another thing we are driven to get for ourselves as per the animal drive). The hope is that the love of God, the power of God, the life of God in us will drive us, not just as some notion in our head, but an actual power that we can feel and understand within us, and which comforts us. Something not generated by our own need to feel something (crazy), but something we experience as part of us, in us, yet also we are able to behold it and know it does not come from us. We know it comes from God because it tells us the truth about God. But it's different than all the lies that exist in the world about God, and it's never validated by the humans, just as Jesus' spiritual identity was only validated by a handful of men, and that very weakly and imperfectly.
The words that are preserved for us give us an opportunity to be able to find an affinity in them with the other sons who were also chosen and affected in the same way that we are beginning to become. That brotherhood and fellowship comes from the urge and desire that's inside the sons to know and have the truth about who they are and who their true Father is; and not accept the lies about God that are in the world. We can realize a brotherhood with them because of the knowledge that can't be expressed in words. That brotherhood we believe to be the true family of God as the spiritual reality of what God has purposed from the beginning, even before the curse came. It is more of a thing that is felt and experienced on a certain level deep within us, truer than anything else we've known, what before we never even knew existed.
We know that God has done this thing in us, that we didn't make it up, nor are we crazy. The qualifiers are there because it seems to be only happening to us. We are moving past feeling the need to prove it all the time, which is good because this didn't originate with us, and we cannot prove it anyway—it just is. Our strong desire to prove it comes from the evil that's still in us, the egotistical component of the natural instincts, which we still need to become separated from—that is still in progress as the process of the transformation is taking place. It is the seed which was planted in us, invisible to the world yet comprehendible to us as the true power and truth of God in us. Yet any seed, which turns into a plant, which turns into a tree and which becomes strong so that even the strong winds can't blow it over, takes a long time, and the process of that growth is very slow—as slow and incremental as a tree grows.
...humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Not the written word, but the living word, which is reinforced by and reinforces the preserved words. He speaks to those who are chosen to hear it in the secret places of their heart, to which only the Lord/Father has access. The written word consisted only of the OT scriptures at this time, which for the believers in the first century, were all just copies of the better reality. The word is only alive in, and speaking to, the sons for the Father's benefit, as it spoke to James and the Jerusalem believers. It is the thing that undoes the consequences that were put onto Adam. It is the power that enables us to "put on" not the animal nature represented by the skins, but the new nature of a son of God—to actually become a people who know Him and love Him, who wear robes of righteousness, of the one true Son and not the animal.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
The word of God is the intention of God to live in Jesus' body and make him the Son who could save the other sons whom God loved. That intention was with God from the beginning, to have a family of sons, who have been saved by the one Son by that intention that was with God from the beginning; even with the first humans, to have a home with a family in it, surrounding Him.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it."
God didn't want a family of cursed humans, as our condition has remained since that time. Out from this great family of cursed humans, God decided to draw His true sons. There is a record of at least some of the sons being chosen and identified as such, throughout the OT times e.g., Noah, Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, etc. However, there was no way for those men to be made clean enough to come into the presence of God, because they were under the curse of being bound up with the unclean animal, by their nature.
That is the importance of God's only true Son, Jesus, who was kept clean by the power of being born from above, of the spirit, of God, even when conceived—the only human to be under that condition. He was so valuable to God, because he was the only human who ever looked like His Father. Only he could save his brothers before, concurrent with, and after the time of his earthly existence, before he went to the Father. That's the reason that only 12 were chosen, and only 11 were able to actually continue to believe that he was the Son of God when everything in the natural said he wasn't. That small, exact number represents the number of sons he actually came to save—not the whole world and everyone in it, but just the family of sons, chosen by God, to become His true family. Not random, but an exact number known only to him. In the same way the identities of His sons are also known only to Him.
Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!"
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"