December 7th.

Job 9 / Micah 5 / James 1

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You, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.

Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth
and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.

He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.

And he will be their peace.

He brought the peace that allowed them to be freed from the grave so that all those whom God loved, who were waiting in the ground could be remembered by Him and made whole by the life giving spirit that was implemented by the Sons's work of believing the Father and not believing the animal. Therefore he was not led by it, therefore he remained the only clean animal, one which could be a proper sacrifice (according to the Father's own requirements to free all of the sons of God who were in the ground, prisoners of hell (sheol) because they were separated from the Father, since they were all unclean.

Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush
observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD.

Sure God could have just zapped them all and made them clean but that wouldn't have been genuine. He set the requirement for their freedom so high that only one who was significantly different than all of them (clean without the stain of the animal in him) could achieve that freedom for them. He was special and his existence was delineated even from just before the Israelites entered the land.

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.

The prophets whom God raised up between this time and when he was born to God kept talking about him and his coming. He would be the one who would redeem Israel and the "land" would live in the promised era of peace marked out for her.

Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you."

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.

The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.

And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it.

No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

The clean are all those whom God makes clean by the power of the regeneration that transforms them from unclean animals to sons who have been made clean by the intention of the Father that they become sons in His house. However, He didn't want to just zap them all and make them clean and automatically regenerated. He wanted their salvation to be dependent on the great prophet who would be their great brother. He would be the one who would save the sons of God, who were his brothers and were made to have to count on him to set them free. That is the model which is set up by the work of the Son of God who set his brothers free, for the others who came after him. That is what God loves, when those who call on His name become those who give up their lives to save their brothers, to recognize their brothers and look after them who are in distress—the opposite of what the animal nature drives the humans to do and be.

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Brothers helping brothers is the model that the Father loves enough for His sons to make it a requirement for them. That necessarily undermines the animal nature's role in the son—to look out for its own self—so that the son is effectively condemning its right to rule him. The model for that requirement comes from the record of the temptation of the Son, who denied the animal the right to rule him, which is how he remained clean because of his choice to go the way of the Father instead of the animal, thereby undoing the curse of Adam's broken covenant with the Father.

And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

James knew that the 'people of God' weren't all the natural human descendants of Abraham but those whom God loved because they believed Him. And his contemporaries also believed God, and were given the gift of the life of the Father and the Son, the eternal spirit living in them, which was the covenant formerly promised by the prophets. That was the guarantee that God's life was in them and by that they could be remembered by Him, and would therefore be raised to life like their older brothers who came out of the grave when the work of the firstborn Son was finished.

To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations.

He could recognize the true family of God, of which the 12 tribes of Israel was a copy, by the fact of that supernatural gift of knowing who they were because of "the word which had been planted" in him and also in them. By that he could recognize them as his true brothers, those whom he knew were truly the 12 tribes, an even more refined copy of the family of God than were the Israelites.

Humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

Who are the original 12 tribes and where did they go? Was not their existence merely another copy, as per Hebrews 9, which represented the fact that God wanted a specific group of people whom He called His own—distinguished from all the other peoples on the earth—to be His family? Is not the point of the history of the Jews from Abraham to Jesus to show that that is God's eternal purpose—to have a family of sons who would love Him and whom He could also love and enjoy as His own? We know that the family of natural Jews was one series of disappointments after another regarding God's purpose and desire to have a family of sons who love and are devoted to Him.

Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth
and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.

However there were some who heard God and understood His requirements and believed Him in the same manner that Abraham believed God. These were the ones whom God chose to be in His family, but couldn't be, because they were unclean animals. So they waited in the ground for the redeemer to come. Out of this larger group of Israelites came a tiny sliver of people who were loved by God and who believed Him. More importantly, out of it came the one who would save them who did believe God.

He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness
will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace.

There were a handful of people in each of the generations who did believe, love and honor God, who understood His requirements and wanted to be His people. They wanted to know and live in His love enough to obey His word in their heart and wait for His salvation. That tiny sliver of humanity is the group Jesus came to save on God's behalf, because they felt about the Father the same way he felt about Him. After that model, the sons are willing to do whatever to find Him because that seed has been planted in us that draws us to the truth of the Father. They were the true sons of Abraham who lived by faith in the God they couldn't see. The true sons were not by flesh and blood, but by faith according to the spirit's revelation of Him to them.

The remnant of Jacob will be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the LORD,
like showers on the grass, which do not wait for man or linger for mankind.

The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, which mauls and mangles as it goes, and no one can rescue.

Those are the ones we can and will call our brothers, because they gave their lives to doing what He wanted them to do, to being how He wanted them to be, instead of how the animal nature wanted them to be. The animal nature in them wanted to worship, honor and love everything they could see with their eyes, what the nations of peoples around them loved and ran after. The God of Israel, their true husband, was invisible and inaccessible in the natural. But the sliver of humans who were sons lived for God instead of the animal.

I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

James understood that the word, the life of Jesus and the Father, was put into them and lived in them. Not only did it distinguish who were his brothers, but it also was the thing which guaranteed their salvation ("that word which can save you"). It is the same seal and deposit that Paul spoke of in Corinthians which he called a "guarantee of things to come," a guarantee that we are in the true family of God and loved by Him. Contrary to anything they thought they could do on the outside to be right before God (live according to the law of Moses, thinking that that brought life); James knew that they would only be saved because of the presence of that light within them, the gift which came from the Father, the very life of Jesus in spirit form.

Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

The living being that Jesus finally did become—the mediator and mechanism of the new covenant—James knew about only after Jesus was raised. Although even in his existence directly after the resurrection, he wasn't able to save them yet, because he hadn't been made one with the Father, so he couldn't live in their bodies as the Father had lived in his—the seed of the the life that saved him. He couldn't become the mechanism of the new covenant (the newly reborn spirit of God which contained the life of the Son). That is why he tells Mary that she couldn't hang onto him, just after he had been raised—because he hadn't yet gone to the Father. That is significant, because by going to the Father he would have an ability that he did not possess at that point. It is significant because it is the new covenant, which was not natural, but spiritual.

Mary was one of the disciples who loved Jesus, and had recently seen him die. She didn't know, or believe he would be raised; so of course there was much sadness that he went away from them. When she saw that he actually was alive she had so much joy that he had come back, and she didn't want to let him go away again. So all she could do was hang on to him so he wouldn't go. Her hanging onto Jesus says something very profound about what he meant to her and the others, and what he will begin to mean to us, as we begin to know him. He was their teacher, Rabbi, protector—the only One who could show them the way to God, and she knew that.

Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' "

He wasn't able at that point to be the good husband and comforter that he became after he did go to the Father. What he tells Mary is not to worry, because soon he was going to come back to where she was, on the earth, and then he would be able to live with her forever. Only then would he be able to dwell in her as a spirit being, the same way that God had lived in Jesus when he was alive in his human body.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things (what the humans spend their lives worrying about because of fear and their incessant need to hide), but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better (to sit and listen to the teacher's words and not worry about anything else because nothing else matters), and it will not be taken away from her."

It's a beautiful thing, because Mary was afraid that Jesus would go away forever and she didn't want him to leave, because she loved him and didn't want to lose him. But she couldn't hang onto him this way, but had to believe, just as her OT brothers had believed God. Jesus promised to come back and he did—he didn't leave any of them as orphans. Then he was able to actually live in her body, even closer than they were before, when she sat at his feet and listened to him speak. And not just her, but all of the ones who loved him would also be able to live with him, and he and the Father in them.

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.

You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.

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.

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.

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 perfection and completion of their joy would come when Jesus and the Father came back to them to dwell within them, as he promised. After that happened, they would be able to know the Father's love, which is what he is saying to them in these passages of John. He would come back to live in their body, and when he did they would be born of God, born of him, born of the spirit into the new life. The new creation is just that scenario, that a man would be inhabited by the life of God in spirit form, which would transform him from dead animal (what the disciples were before Jesus went to the Father) to living son (what they became after he came back to live in them). It was the beginning of the promise God had been making all throughout the OT, the time that was coming, spoken about by the prophets.

Actually, that is what had to happen to them. If he did not come back to live in them, they could not have been changed from unclean animals to sons of God who could come close to the Father and be enjoyed by Him. They would produce no fruit, and would be useless to God, as any common animal is. There would be no seal on them. The name of God would not be written on their foreheads (signifying they were His offspring and not merely common animals). The life of the Son and Father in spirit form—because the Son went to the Father—accomplished this.

 

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