Job 23-24 / Zechariah 1 / 2 John - 3 John
'Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? But now be strong, O Zerubbabel,' declares the LORD. 'Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,' declares the LORD, 'and work. For I am with you,' declares the LORD Almighty. 'This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my spirit remains among you. Do not fear.'
'The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the LORD Almighty. 'And in this place I will grant peace,' declares the LORD Almighty."
God has been building a house, a place where He can dwell amongst His people who all love and cherish Him in faithfulness and truth. Before the Son came He gave orders for the building of the Tabernacle; there was the temple, another more refined earthly copy pointing forward to another, better temple.
Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."
The temple the Lord refers to as being his body says something about him and about where God wanted to live—not in lifeless buildings but in the bodies of His true sons. That is where He couldn't live before the Son came and broke down the wall between God and His sons, which was there because of their condition. Although they were chosen by God to be in His secret family, nevertheless they couldn't be remembered by Him to be raised up out of the dirt where they were laying until the Son came and broke down that wall. At that time, what was only a hope of intention in the Father's mind became a reality
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.
As far as the world of humans could comprehend, that incredible moment came and went like a whisper. It remained pretty much unaffected by any of the events, all of which had their effects in another dimension that the humans were ignorant about. The copies of the house that God wanted to build, which were seen in His desire for the Tabernacle and were refined in the Temple pointed to a better thing, but not a thing that is part of this world. The building of the actual house happened when the cornerstone became available. Up to that time there were only inferior copies about God's intention, so that His actual purpose, along with the way He wanted to remain, was kept secret and hidden from the humans at large.
Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good as you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him.
With this we can know what Peter was saying, guided by the spiritual force of the power of the life of the Father and Son in him when he said the same thing about himself and the sons contemporaneous with him. First there is the Cornerstone, then the rest of the house can be built. Paul also reminded the Corinthian sons that they were, under the new covenant, the truer house that God was building, what the tabernacle and all of the temples made of stone pointed at as copies:
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
The real temple was the house of sons within which God will dwell in peace, without the chaos of the animal there once they are redeemed from the world where the animal reigns, which is His ultimate purpose for those He is pulling out of the world. Until that time we exist here in these bodies waiting to be redeemed. We are the living stones being carved and shaped by the masons, who are the teachers making us ready to become part of God's house. We are actively engaged in a period of learning another way to be and live, of responding to the teacher's active voice which is alive within us. Our teaching isn't dead, stagnant words written in a book, but we know by our interactions with this supernatural force of subtle power that he is alive, teaching us personally about how to conform to this other way that is foreign to us.
The animal nature is the serpent, the sons' adversary which always opposes God and His purpose—that His own sons, whom He specifically chooses out of the world of the animals, become the opposite of what they once were. That is, mere animals with the nature that drives them along as such and defines them as such. Even in this life of existing in these humans bodies, they become a copy of the better thing, what the Father desires for His own sons, what He is going to make, and has been in this process of making all along.
You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house, and the Lord is the stone on which all the other stones are built upon.
It is the curse of the nature that is built in to the humans since they were kicked out of His world, what naturally drives the humans and makes them unclean. The purpose of the Father is to have His family and live with them in peace, forever. That is what Jesus gave to Him when he kept himself from being polluted/driven/led/ruled by that nature. It is not the extreme, evil thing of the devil or what the bad people have; it is very commonplace, what the "good people" have—those who obey the rules and don't cause a fuss, go to church and take care of their families like good little animals. It's what the humans never shake off, nor even know it's there, because it's the purpose of God for it to be in place so they can't just reach out their hand and grab the life He is reserving for His true sons.
We can't even yet begin to be able to appreciate the value of that freedom of living without all the animal's baggage because it's too much an integral part of us. As we start to understand the chaos of the flesh, the animal consciousness with its tedious, constant pull away from God and toward itself, the idea of living in peace without it will be more and more appealing instead of repelling—as we grow in to the new consciousness of the son, to which we've been called. Becoming aware of that never ending need for self-fulfillment and self-preservation, no ability to do anything unless it serves to promote its own agenda and betterment, is part of our training. The constant fear of losing its consciousness and becoming nothing becomes what we fight against as we try to lose it and its domination over us, what keeps us from knowing the Father. The animal has no ability to love God, because it can't come near Him. There is no ability to care for the widow, the orphan, or the alien because all it is truly concerned about is itself and its offspring (itself too).
Why did God want the Israelites to look out for the aliens who were in the land? Because the natural tendency of the animal is to *not* do that, but instead only be able to look out for itself, and He knew what was in the humans, that the aliens would become oppressed and outcasts. The animals form groups (herds) of members who all look, act and sound like each other. When there is one who doesn't, the natural instinct of the herd is to push it out. It's part of the built in survival instinct which gets transferred off of the individual and onto the group, and can be expected considering the nature of man as the animal which always feels threatened, always needs to survive.
God paid special attention to the aliens because it's such a tendency of the animal to act this way, and God wants His sons (the true Israelites, that which the human Jews only were a copy of) to be the opposite of how the rest of the animals are. He also wanted them to recognize who His people always are, as the idea pointed backwards and forward as copies of the real thing. They are the opposite of what the animals are, because the two groups oppose each other. The true sons of God are pulled from the group of human animals, just as the Israelites were pulled out of Egypt, in a miraculous way. But they have to walk through a place they would never choose to walk through to get to the place where their Father wants them to be.
Their plight and struggle will be the same for the sons, whose desire to be pleasing to the Father is represented by Moses and Joshua, while the nature they struggle against is represented by the complaining crowds who kept wanting to go back to Egypt, who didn't trust God even though He did many miraculous things to pull them out, and showed that He had the power and willingness to protect them from their enemies. But they had to trust Him, and believe in the face of what seemed to be by everything that wasn't miraculous—the natural situation in and around them.
The secret, hidden reality of the Father is the only thing that matters—everything that happens in the natural is just a copy of the real thing. Seeds, plants, trees, weeds, families, fathers, mothers sons, brothers, the nation of Israel, the tabernacle, the temple, the land, the kingdom—and many other earthly things and concepts. They're all just copies of the real world, the real life, the real purpose of the invisible God who created all of it for that purpose, so that the sons who are still existing in the natural world can have some idea about their Father's reality.
The writer of Hebrews was given special insight, which perhaps the other writers didn't have, didn't need because their purpose was different than his—to show that the things done by God were a copy of the better things, that which the humans cannot comprehend because they're not a part of what the humans can understand. Spiritual comprehension exists in a different dimension altogether than the creation the humans are a part of, what they can understand.
The world that God exists in is so much higher, greater and more complex than what the humans can begin to comprehend, they can't even cross over into it in their thinking to be able to, which is part of the curse, to be able to comprehend God so they don't automatically see, hear, then turn and be healed. That is so God Himself can choose those He wants to become His sons, by giving them a secret ability to be able to, even in a small way. The writer of Hebrews shows that he had that secret thing as he exposes how the preserved words they possessed at the time were for the sons' benefit, to be able to begin to understand what all those things were for (copies of the better thing).
Backwards it pointed to Abraham, who heard the voice of God and went to the land where He told him to go, and lived as an alien there. And that was Abraham's real value according to God—not that he was made into the father of the natural Jews (the copy), but that he was the father of those who were right in God's estimation and valuable to Him because they heard His voice and obeyed Him in the face of trouble, hardship, or opposition. Those are His children, represented by Abraham as the copy and father of the righteous, who hear His voice and obey despite whatever circumstances, situations, or consequences that obedience brought. They were the ones who had faith in God's voice in them, the activity of God in the few amongst the many it didn't happen to, and they responded to the voice only they heard.
The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.
Forwards it points to the Lord, who though he was the only righteous, was treated as an alien and a criminal, killed outside the city gates (where the humans live). It points to all who are born of God through his name, baptized by him into the family of God by the spirit of truth. That includes the few who lived with him, and the many who were born of God because of their message before the abomination came. They were put out of the synagogues, out of the familial structures, and out of the culture.
Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
Of course it wasn't just their message, but the calling of the Lord, his choosing them to be able to hear the message, just like with us. It was the life that lived in them because they received it with joy, and believed in the name of the One who now lived in them—the comforter, the spirit of truth. It points to us, who have been called to also hear the voice of God as did Abraham, Jesus, and the handful of those to whom all these letters are written.
If this is true then we can look at the preserved words from before the Son came, and be able to begin to understand what must happen to us if we are to become pleasing to our Father who has evidently begun pulling us out of the place we were before. That much is clear, that a process has definitely been initiated in us that wasn't begun before in us, and apparently isn't happening in the other humans, even and especially the ones who claim to know the way to God.
The argument the Hebrews author makes in chapters 3 & 4 is that the people of God were promised a rest, but failed to enter into the rest that was promised (because they were only the copy of the true people of God—His family of sons) because of unbelief, because they didn't trust God to do what He promised. Although they may have liked the idea of being free from the slavery, after just a little while they showed that they loved the things of Egypt and weren't happy with what God wanted to give them, what was unknown to them because all they knew was slavery. They didn't want to walk through the desert and rely on what God miraculously provided for them. They weren't willing to go where they didn't want to go, but loved where they came from more, and couldn't be pleasing to Him who wanted to make them free and give them more than they could even understand (because they hadn't yet seen the land or tasted its produce).
Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.' "
The writer of Hebrews was a son of God who lived in the first century, and he understands something very profound, and displays that he knows it throughout the argument. The Israelites never entered the promised rest even though they went into the land, because that rest isn't a natural thing, just as the manna that came down from heaven was only a copy of the true bread.
I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
The manna was what God gave them to sustain them on the way to the place He wanted them to be. It gave them the ability to exist while they were on the way, so they could be happy and obedient, and daily they had to rely on the miraculous giving of the bread, from the hand of their Father, like little children rely on their parents for what they need, not having been exposed to taking care of themselves.
Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.
So what must happen? We have to go where we don't want to go because of the cursed nature that is in us to hate anything except that which we can use to satisfy our selves, our needs and cravings for whatever we learned to love when we became a full blown animal. If the secret voice of the Teacher is calling us to the place where the Father wants us to be, we will be all excited at first because of the miraculous things that are happening, and that excitement will take us to a certain point. But then we have to go where we don't want to go, to not listen to the constant squealing of that animal in us who will be fighting us as we walk along, going to that place.
Becoming sons of God is not something we do to get something for ourselves, to get us a better standing in the afterlife, because the place where the sons are is not infected by that nature which leads us here, which is always clamoring to get more for itself, and that is the point. We must be heading toward the place the Father wants us to be, even while we're still existing here in these animal bodies. That is becoming pleasing to the Father, but it is not something we will want to do, once the excitement of the miracles wears off and we have to walk away from Egypt, the land we are coming from. What we learned to love we have to throw off, because those things only slow us down, and we have to believe we will get what the Father wants us to have so that we can make the journey to the place where He wants us to be, which is the transformation from the animal to the son.
We can't take stuff from the old life with us, but have to leave them and walk, which is extremely difficult to do when we're faced with it. In the beginning we're allowed to keep indulging in the things that used to give us comfort, but as we walk, we hear the Teacher tell us to give them up when the time is right for doing that. What we're given is something that is not very appealing to our animal selves (manna), but it keeps us going.
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not
the realities themselves.
Let us feel honored that they do not want us in their group. Let's remember it has always been this way for God's people; it has been that way even for us in the world. There have always been little groups who pushed out the stranger, those who didn't fit in, who didn't make everyone else feel comfortable—either us or some one else who wasn't satisfied with what they were offered. It's the way of the animal, the herd mentality, and no different for us in our situation.
If we looked like them and were the way they wanted us to be, everything would be fine. We will never be able to fit in because we are different than they are, and the Lord makes sure that we are sanctified from them, the world—pushed out of the midst of the common animals for his sake, just as our brothers in the first century were. They formed a group, say they know the way to the Father, and think they can control who walks on that path. They'll always have their own self-rightness at hand, that which excuses their actions because they're based on "scripture," which is the animal mentality to control and feel justified. They just forget the part about truly following, love and judgment.
It's not like they're actually able to kill us without serious repercussion, although they do kill us in the only way they know how without suffering repercussions themselves which is the human way—push out whoever doesn't fit in, whoever doesn't uphold their control. I suppose that if we lived in a more barbaric society we may already have been killed off in the name of their gods. To the animal that is a terrible thought, but to the son, welcomed, because that's the way of the true Jesus, who is alive in us. The made up jesuses can be whatever the humans want them to be, for their gain and comfort. Let us just know for certain that it happens to all of those who are called to receive the life of the true Jesus in them, who is alive, not dead. It happened to him first.
You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires (the indulgences of the animal nature), which war against your soul (the desire to live the new life according to God and not the old way, according to the animal).
Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.