Job 1-2 / Jonah 2-3 / Hebrews 8-9
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Testing seems like a bad thing because we're used to avoiding any and all suffering of any sort because pain, hardship and suffering resemble a shade of death to us, and it's our nature to avoid death (survive) above everything else. Testing seems bad to us concerning our love for and dependence on the natural things, what we learned to count on to give us our hope, to satisfy our needs and cravings, to take care of us; because it usually involves a separation from those things we learned to love and count on in our wild animal plight of surviving. Because they're the only thing that has ever been there for us, to provide us with that level of love, we naturally want to hang on to them and not let go because we're dependent on them to make us feel safe, taken care of, loved.
Love is being able to count on something/someone to take care of us, give us what we lack, calm our fears, provide us with a feeling of safety and security, make us feel warm and protected. We know we can count on ourselves and the network we've developed to do that for us, however imperfectly. The testing given to us by the Father separates us from those many and diverse ways we love and take care of ourselves, and we would not voluntarily separate ourselves from them because we are weak and cannot see how they hamper us from becoming as the Father would want us to be. That is, not dependent on the power of our own feeble hand to take care of us, but able to actually believe, even in our heart (where what we are is true, where we are defined according to the Father), that we can and do depend on Him to give us what we need. This process of becoming purified covers many areas that we aren't even cognizant of, but the Father knows what they are because He is the designer of the way everything is. It is His purposeful intention that the humans naturally be cursed with the nature of the wild animal, which makes them inherently and across the board the opposite of how He wants, expects and commands that His own sons are to be—not like wild animals who are afraid and hide but like the firstborn Son who was stripped bare of all the garbage in his heart so that he could stand naked before the Father and honest in all of the regions of his heart. All of the nuances of his thoughts and intentions, dreams and hopes, motivations and tendencies were brought into captivity and made subject to the commands of the Father so that he could be honest before Him, and as unlike a wild animal as one of the humans could ever be. That's why he was considered blameless and perfect because he was clean, a spotless and unblemished sacrifice which could make all of the sons of God clean.
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
You don't hear many sermons on who these particular people were who were raised up out of hell (the grave) just when the curtain of the temple was torn, just after the Son gave up his spirit, when "It was finished." The true sons of Abraham weren't those who had the outward sign of Abraham, but those who were true and honest in the deepest parts of their heart, which is where they lived for or against God. Circumcision of the body was only ever meant to be a living metaphor of the better thing, which is that which is not purely physical and observable, of the external where the animals live and move and have their definition.
The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.
Only the Father and His messengers who have eyes to see what the humans have trouble seeing, can see into those places where the humans define themselves before Him as what they love, and who they are—what is happening.
As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."
In that sense there is an actual disconnection between what is done on the outside (circumcision, ritual, deeds and mouth talk—that which is seen, heard and potentially able to be controlled by men) and that life which is lived in the secret places, which is seen and beheld by the secret God and those who report to Him and do His work. Logically, the external life can't help but mirror the secret places of the man's heart. However it is rather easy to hide one's secret places from other humans. The point of God wanting to be and remain secret is to find out who is true in those places, and the judgment of that life comes later.
"The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh—Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the desert in distant places. For all these nations are uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart."
A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.
The humans at large did not see the wisdom of Jesus because it was the Father's purpose to keep it from them. To be true to the One who sees the secret places of our lives and not to worry about the humans who are cursed with the nature of fear and hiding, of cunning and survival, of pretending to be one way on the outside when they are quite another way beneath all the layers and layers of lies and deception they hide behind—no matter how acceptable those lies seem. In a certain very real sense, the life of the son is lived out in the secret places of his heart, and the outside doesn't matter very much because the secret places of his heart is where he lives before the Father who chooses on purpose to be secret. He chose to keep the Son secret from the humans at large, and only reveal his identity to a tiny group, instead of revealing his identity to the humans at large, which is one of the great underlying messages of the plan and purpose of the Father as it actually is, not what the humans might want or presume it to be (that God wants to disclose His identity and plan to any and every last one of them because they're all so darn good).
There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands,
no one who seeks God.
The human animal is all about hiding in those many things which make it feel safe, because they're what we've found to satisfy that wild animal need to feel secure. It was the first thing the humans did after they died, and since then it has been developed to a highly refined state. It's part of the nature we have to do it, and we do it without even thinking, without being aware that we are doing it. We learn to love our life and the things we have to make us feel that certain level of protected ness, so we do everything we can to protect that ability to keep it, so it will continue to provide us with what we need (feeling safe, insulated). Hiding is a good way to do that. Being naked is not about having no clothes; they are just a metaphor for that other covering, what keeps us hidden, what Job knew were his real clothes.
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. Like Adam, they have broken the covenant—they were unfaithful to me there.
God had a covenant with the first human which the human broke, so he died to the potential he had to be and remain a son of God. It's no accident that the first issue that is mentioned is about those same humans being ashamed of being naked having no clothes to protect them, and afraid of God because there was nothing to hide them from God. All of a sudden they weren't like children who haven't any conception of what naked even is before their parents, but were like strangers before God, and He to them, so they were ashamed. Before there was no need to hide, after there was no place to hide.
It's also no accident that when they were removed from God's presence, he put animal skins on them to cover and hide their nakedness and vulnerability. Now they were alone and exposed, and had to hide, and that's what animals naturally do. It's also what the human animals always, constantly do because the curse is that they would be bound up with the animal, made one with it while at the same time separated from the Father. The humans are naturally good at hiding, and do it as a matter of their course of living, what they are expected as humans to do, and what their systems are all designed to allow them to do the best they can.
I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
At the very first moment of their existence, each one of them is the way God wanted them to be—naked without the need to hide or be ashamed, and totally dependent on another—but each one also quickly moves away from that state and becomes the cursed animal, hiding behind whatever it can throw up to pretend it's not naked and ashamed.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Everything we learned to do, aspired to attain to, secured for ourselves, bought, worked for, developed and built up around ourselves is just a more refined way to hide than the original hiders. It's what's expected of us, so it's what we do. If we're not doing it with money, honor, respect, success, things, family, friends, or habits; then we're doing it with something else that we employ to allow us to continue to hide.
I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.
What did Jesus do that he was able to set free many sons who were being held captive to this state of fear and hiding, pretending, building up stuff around them so they could hide? The details of what they did are not as important as the impetus for doing it, and the impetus for doing it isn't as important as the aim of the Father. For instance, the record of the believers selling their possessions and giving the proceeds to their brothers happened because their hearts were changed by the condition that was acting upon them to do what animals normally never do (possessions are the easiest things to hide in/behind). But that condition was present to allow them to act this way because they all of a sudden trusted their unseen Father and He gave them the ability to act this way. What they were doing is what God wants from His true family. He didn't allow them to do what they did for the purpose of having accomplished some great purpose for themselves, that which God could be individually proud of them for. He caused them to act that way because that is the model of how He wants to see His sons act toward Him and each other. Not hide by hanging on to what wasn't even real anyway, but just let it go because they were actually able to trust the Father to give them what they needed to survive. The rich young ruler, Judas and Ananias are the recorded pictures of those who couldn't trust, and wanted to continue to hang on to what they thought was so valuable, and keep hiding.
For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people (so He made a new covenant between Himself and His people).
By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.
The spirit was the sign that the new covenant was given, and was real for those who were inhabited by it. What did the spirit do? It allowed them to come out from their hiding places before God and become honest before him, which was being able to come out from under the curse of the animal nature, which brought fear and the need to constantly hide in whatever was available.
For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.
The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.
I think the indefinite article should be used here, "a new order" is more likely, since it was new, but the old covenant was also new at a certain point in the past when God promised Abraham and Moses delivered it to the object of that promise. The events about Noah are also about a new order. God even wanted to create another new order by wiping out the existing order and starting over from scratch, with Moses in place of Abraham.
The order that was in place when this letter was written may have been assumed by those under it to be the final order and culmination of things with regard to God and His purpose with the present creation. However, that order seems to have gone away when the order that was put in place by God was taken over by the animals a few hundred years after it was established. Not because God was weak to prevent it from happening. Indeed, He planned that to happen, and foretold its occurrence by the prophet Daniel, just to let everyone know that it is another part of His purpose.
We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.
What is that purpose for those events we're privy to? What everything else is which has been recorded and preserved for the sons' sake—what the writer of this letter is hitting upon—everything's just a copy of the better thing, the reality in the world where God lives, the only reality that will last because it's permanent and true, because it's where God is. This natural reality, what the humans all love so much and hang on to because they assume it's the only reality, is just an illusion of sorts, in the sense that it's merely a temporary facade that keeps renewing itself all the time in order to keep moving along. With one tiny shift in the earth's orbit, everything and everyone who is a participant in it would just disappear. Just one tiny shift and the whole thing would be toast. The same is true about our precious little lives that we hang on to so tightly—one tiny shift in our heartbeat or brainwaves and it would just end.
Jesus knew that this "life" (what we call existing, or death waiting to happen) wasn't worth what the humans think. The condition which made him perfect and gave him a consciousness that was real—an understanding of reality from the Father's vantage point—was the opposite of what the humans naturally assume because it's all they have. It's true that Jesus had what the humans don't have—not something which set him apart and made him great amongst the humans, but what allowed him to be as the Father wanted him to be toward Him, what every one of the animals are for that brief second of time before they die to God (and live to themselves). That is, honest, dependent, not hiding from Him, not dead like every other human becomes shortly after they're born. He was perfect because he was the way God wanted Adam to be—truly a vulnerable son who wasn't ashamed, and didn't feel like he needed/was compelled to hide. He was one whom God could truly be a Father to, an object of His love who didn't always, just as a matter of course, run away and hide from Him.
You have heard that it was said, `Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Be careful not to do your `acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
It's true we aren't perfect, but we should be aware that we must be being made perfect if we are going to be sons of the Father. The sons of God don't hide from Him, so we should be aware that if the message about the kingdom is growing in us, as the Lord promised to those who are blessed with eyes that see, and ears that hear; then it is for that ultimate purpose alone, and all other purposes are invalid. In the beginning, and for a long time, we will assume that it's something for us, to make us better, to make us something, because that's how the animal works. It will just be another thing we are able to hide in, more refined than all the others. Are we waiting until after the resurrection to be made perfect, to live for God as followers and disciples of the Christ? After the resurrection will come the judgment, and then it will be too late to prove our love for God, as the Lord did. The race will be over and we will no longer be able to compete, to choose by our faithfulness to Him above everything we love in this life.
For the whole world, the message about the kingdom is not available. It is stopped up, turned off, unavailable not because of their particular inabilities to understand, or because they aren't good enough, but because of the decision of God to do that. It's hard for the animal to believe that God only gives the ability to see and hear individually and particularly, mainly because of our democratic notions of God—that He has to be "fair," that He loves everyone the same and just wants as many sons as possible. People have a tendency to think that it's up to the person to decide to choose God first—that God is just sitting around waiting for as many people as possible to "choose" Him, and those are the ones who will be His sons. They read that particular people are called, chosen, or invited; and acknowledge it, but don't believe it.
For many are invited, but few are chosen.
We know that not the person, but God, chooses—and the person can either respond or not. The criteria by which He chooses is uncertain, but we have to know that it is righteous and just because it's the way He wants to do it. We know we have been chosen because of the life that lives in us; we didn't know before, but we do know now, although it's confusing because of what we know, where we came from, and what our reality was before, what is actually an illusion but seems so real and even permanent even though we know it isn't.
It isn't a conceptual life, waiting for the resurrection to be made perfect, all the religious humans can do. It is a supernatural life, making us perfect incrementally, as any natural thing (the copy) grows into maturity; and spiritual maturity is perfection because it's being able to see what God sees instead of the illusion that all the humans see. It crosses the boundaries of the natural, the limits of the intellect of man, and grows as a plant grows, almost unnoticeable, by some invisible, unexplainable process of life contained within it.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
We know we have been chosen because our lives are filled with continual supernatural gifts that we can know and understand by a different faculty than our animal intellect, which is our normal way of examining and evaluating. In fact, when we try to examine this life that lives in us with those faculties, things become muddled because it is not something which can be evaluated by the animal's faculties. We cannot prove it to anyone because we don't have to, nor can we. It's not part of the natural reality so it cannot find agreement here because it isn't like the natural things, it doesn't follow those laws.
The end of it all is to be transformed into exactly the opposite of what we are in the natural. Before the transformation, we are temporary little creatures who are only able to love and take care of ourselves, and hide in whatever is available to us. After we are able to know our true Father because we're like Him. And we can only begin to love Him when we know Him and the reality He is making inside us—that we are chosen to be made sons who are loved and protected by our Father, something we can never know as animals.
The spirit can recognize itself in another being of flesh. In that way it establishes the fact on that supernatural level in us who our brother is, and therefore who we are to behold as our brother, because we will by it know whom God has chosen to be His son. In the same way, Jesus recognized that 12 men had been chosen by God for him to recognize as true sons of God.
While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you."
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."
We will begin to recognize, as we are becoming mature, that there are no brothers worthy to be loved, to be given our time and energy and acceptance, except those who carry the seed of the Father's secret DNA inside them, recognizable only to us, because by it we know what God's choice is, to choose that particular one to be a son. They are marked by that spirit by which we are able to recognize them as God's property, not by natural faculties but by the ability to discern it spiritually. We will actually want to love them, to take care of them, because as we mature we will see their great value, because they belong to God and we will desire to take care of God's possessions. It's the same in the natural, and why this creation exists, to show us via the copy what the better things are like.
You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.
The response will require something of great value to us—our very life, and we will have to betray our selves, our family, our respect, our "loves," our integrity and dignity; everything that makes us respectable men with respectable lives. On one level the choice will be easy, because God will make the choice He has made compelling, in that we will be certain it is real, and from God—that will be clear to us. On another level, since we are animals with that nature, it will be the most difficult thing to choose against that life, because it's all we know and have—it's where we learned to hide and feel safe.
There will be suffering in the natural over choosing God; but why shouldn't it be that way? The hypocritical liar in us likes to accept the sacrifice that Jesus made, yet it also likes to consider itself exempt from having to follow him in the way that he went—suffering, shameful, disgraceful, appearing to have let many people down, starting with his own natural family, then the ones whom he convinced to follow him, hung up like a common, lowly criminal.
Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, `The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God."
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!"
The new covenant begins for us as soon as we have received the spiritual baptism and know that the presence of the life of the Christ is in us. When this happens it is evident—there is no guessing about it, although because of the animal's complete domination over us, it will be confusing. So how do we live? First we have to realize what the ultimate aim is, the purpose and goal in God deciding to and then giving birth to a son—then work back from there. The goal of everything that has happened in the world, is that God would have a family of sons who loved Him, and whom He could give love. All the other crap we busy ourselves with just gets in the way of living for that reality; they're all just little places to hide in, things we think are important but will soon disappear, part of the illusion that this creation means anything.
This natural life is kind of a weeding out process whereby we are tested, not to weed us out but to weed the garbage out from the good. It's where we can learn who we are and who we aren't. When we are first born, we don't know who we are, just that we're different. As we become more mature, we learn who we are, what world we belong to, who our brothers are, and most importantly who our Father is.
Do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.