Mark 9:38-50 – Salted with fire

John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.

“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.

“For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

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This is the Gospel selection from the Episcopal Lectionary for the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B 2018. In the numbering system that lists each Sunday in an ordinal fashion, this Sunday is referred to as Proper 21. It will next be read aloud in an Episcopal church by a priest on Sunday September 30, 2018. It is important because Jesus made it clear that being a part-time Christian would not qualify one eternal life in Heaven.

In this reading, Mark is first shown to identify a disciple of Jesus by name – “John.” This is the same John who had been chosen to go up the high mountain with Peter (whose story was recorded by Mark) and Jesus. John was accompanied by his brother James, both the sons of Zebedee. This means John was one of the first disciples Jesus chose, along with Simon-Peter. It is not John the writer of the Gospel by that name. That John was called “little child” (“paidion”) by Mark, in verses 36-37 of this chapter, meaning children were not mentioned by name.

Realizing that, we then read that the disciple John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” Before the response by Jesus should be understood, one needs to recall the Gospel lesson of the eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost and how Jesus had used his son, John, to tell his disciples, “Whoever welcomes one [like my son John] in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” (Mark 9:37) Now, in the very next verse (Mark 9:38), John’s memory has been joggled so that he remembered how on the trip down to Capernaum (while the disciples were arguing who was greatest among themselves) they saw someone claiming to be in the name of Jesus, casting out demons. And, oh by the way, John said, “We tried to stop him, because he was not following us.”

Now the heading for verses 38-41 of Mark’s chapter nine says “Intolerance Rebuked.” (Bible Hub Interlinear) Other websites that translate the Holy Bible and add such headings say, “Whoever is not against us is with us.” That is restating Jesus’ response to John (briefly), but it gives the impression that Jesus saw his disciples attempting to stop someone from casting out demons, while shouting out, “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, I command you to leave this person!” The rebuke is, therefore, because someone is not a follower of Jesus does not mean he (or she) should be stopped.

The word “intolerance” can be defined as meaning, “An unwillingness or refusal to tolerate or respect contrary opinions or beliefs, persons of different races or backgrounds, etc.” [Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary] The fact that John admitted that he and the gang tried to stop someone from using the name of Jesus (not tried to stop someone from casting out demons) says they would not tolerate that association of healing with a man that person did not follow, as a student of Judaism [remember, John referred to Jesus as “Teacher”]. As such, the acts of the disciples were as intolerant as would be one branch of Christianity [a religion in the name of Jesus Christ] competing against another branch, simply because one sees the other as not following the teachings of Jesus Christ. While that is somewhat true, the focus on intolerance is misleading and misses the point of Jesus’ response.

Jesus said to John, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me.” That was first a command: “Do not stop him.” Then, it is an explanation in two parts.

The first says, “There is no one who can do a work of power that is contrarily in my name.” The use of the Greek word “epi,” which means “against, on the basis of, or to,” implying “upon,” such that Jesus said, “No one can cast out demons [a work of power] simply by calling out my name.” This then is a statement that says, “Only those who are me, reborn in my name, can do deeds of power that are born from above.”

 

Finally, reading that Jesus said, “Afterward to speak evil of me” is misleading. As a separate segment of words that literally state, “And will be able quickly to speak evil of me,” this is not a focus on the one in the name of Jesus who was casting out demons [doing works of power].  Instead, it refers to those who will witness such deeds and will call out the person in claiming to be in the name of Jesus as evil, not good.

By John and the other disciples trying to stop that person from doing good, they exemplified that point made by Jesus. That was then a statement about why Jesus would be “delivered into the hands of men who will kill him.” (Mark 9:31)

Those wanting to kill Jesus come disguised as religious men.

This is the point of Jesus then having said, “Whoever is not against us is for us.” That was not a watered-down version of the ancient proverb that says, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” such that Jesus was not telling his disciples, “It does not matter how wrong someone is, if they are going against those who are most wrong, as are we, then they are right.”

That means Jesus was not preaching tolerance to wrong, as “Two wrongs make a right,” if one wrong is better than the other. Jesus was saying that the enemy of his cause, which his disciples were learning, were those who persecuted the righteous. Thus, the assumption to be made from Jesus saying, “Whoever is not against us is for us” is that the one casting out demons in the name of Jesus was righteous, being for the same cause.

Keep in mind that Jesus was alive and well at that time.  No religion existed then that had believers calling themselves “Christians.”  The only ones who knew the name of Jesus, the Jesus of Nazareth, were those who came in direct contact with him.  It was not like today, when it is common to turn on the television and hear some televangelist shout out, “In the name of Jesus Christ be healed!”  One has to be able to see that there is a difference between using someone’s name and representing oneself as being the one named.

This perspective is clouded and difficult to comprehend when one does not grasp the influence Jesus had on those whose lives he affected, through healing.

I have written before and it bears repeating here now, someone who was born blind but was given sight by the presence of Jesus did not simply experience a miracle in the physical sense. The same goes for the lame made able to walk, the deaf made able to hear, the lepers cured, the dead raised, and even the ones who were fed bread and fish on the plain of Bethsaida.  All who experienced a miracle of Jesus were changed Spiritually.

While the pages of the New Testament do not tell the stories of the ones healed by Jesus, beyond their healing, one has to be able to intuit their futures.  They went forth into the world as the first Apostles, those unrecognized as such. They are then expressions of the epitome of what an Apostle is: One whose self-name is unimportant, because one has been reborn as Jesus Christ, sent forth to do the work of the Lord without recognition.  None of the Apostles ever sought recognition for themselves, desiring to take credit for miracles done in the name of Jesus Christ.

Realizing there were many Apostles in the name of Jesus prior to the disciples being filled with the Holy Spirit on a Sunday that was the Fiftieth Day Festival, that awareness brings more meaning to the words Jesus then spoke: “Whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.” This translation is poor and should be inspected closer.

Symbolizing emotional and spiritual fulfillment.

The Greek written by Mark literally states, “Whoever for however might give to drink you a cup of water  ,  in name because Christ you are  ,  truly I say to you  ,  that none ever shall he lose the reward of him  .” I welcome all readers to look at this verse (Mark 9:41) and inspect this closer. I have only changed the double negative (“ou ”) from “no not” to a viable translation that says, “none ever.”

To repeat the use of water in all verses in the Holy Bible, the symbolism has to be realized as a word conveying the fluidity of emotions. Because water is needed for life to be maintained, we have likewise emotional needs that make life bearable.  As such, by Jesus saying “give you a cup of water,” this is metaphor for meeting an emotional need in one.

This is seen in the song of David, when he sang, “My cup runneth over.” (Psalm 23:5, KJV) It is the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, when Jesus asked her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10) That focus on the element of water points to the spiritual uplift that comes from God and is always available to be poured out freely.  Therefore, what Jesus was then saying to John of Zebedee first was: “Many can meet the spiritual needs of others,” which was the obvious act the disciple witnessed, where some stranger was offering a cup of living water in the name of Jesus.  His trying to cast out demons in others was a God-sent gift, just like Jesus was offering.

This is why the second segment of words clarifies that the man they saw casting out demons was not lying, as some Jesus impersonator, but he was “in the name of Christ.” The Greek written here is “en onomati hoti Christou este.” Stating “in name because Christ is.” This is not a claim that he was saying he was “Jesus of Nazareth.”  Jesus said the man was “in Christ … because Christ is.”  That is sort of like saying the name of God is “I am that I am” (YHWH).

Tell them I AM that I AM sent you.

The word “este” is a word of “being,” such that one takes on the name of Christ when one is filled emotionally by the Holy Spirit. One’s personal self state of being has moved aside, allowing the Holy Spirit to be the replacement self – the Christ.  This new state of being is then when one’s soul has become married with God, as One.

That is not a lie or a stretching of the truth, as Jesus confirmed: “Truly I say [this] to you.” That is the truth, as is the next statement from the final segment of words: “none ever shall he lose the reward of him.” This has two meanings.

The first is that the one who is in the name of Christ has been given the works of power from above, by Jesus [the Messiah], so he or she can have the reward of the Holy Spirit. Then, secondly, it says the one given that reward will not lose it.  So, having been given the name of Christ, such that one can act truly in the name of Jesus, means always having the same works of powers.

More than a cup of physical water given, the cup holds living waters that never leave one spiritually thirsty. Therefore, this series of segments is reflective of Jesus telling his disciples that they will be acting exactly as the one they saw, whom they tried to stop [but could not], while saying all who he had touched in his ministry were ahead of them, evangelizing as the Christ born in them [including the Gentiles healed].

Because Jesus had just told John and the rest of his disciples not to ever stand in the way of God working through one of His devotees, given the powers of the Christ, such a hindrance would be contrary to the ministry of Jesus. That awareness breathes new meaning into his warning, “Whoever is not against us is for us.”

The plural pronoun “us” is used to denote all who are married to God and committed to do His Will. One is then either part of the God team or one is against God, as influenced by Satan. As ‘black and white, right and wrong’ as that statement now becomes, it naturally follows that Jesus would then say, “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea.”

Going against God is then a death sentence for the soul [the flesh that imprisons one].  Still, it is not a sentence by the judgment of God.  Instead, it is suicide, as a self-inflicted punishment.  Jesus was then using the metaphor of placing a heavy stone around one’s neck and then leaping into deep waters, where one would then die by drowning, as a better way to die than trying to save one’s life, while persecuting the righteous.  The metaphor of water (especially deep waters) as the means of self-sacrifice says it would be better to give up one’s ego and release one’s soul to the vastness of God’s living waters, than to try to keep living for self.  This example is then confirming Jesus having said, “Those who try to save their life will lose it.” (Mark 8:35)

This death of the soul is then stated by Jesus in the physical elements that represent the body parts of sensation, where the sacrifice of hands, feet, and eyes are symbolic of human aspirations. These aspirations are from adult minds that seek self-aggrandizement. It means the self “stumbles” as far as affecting the lives of “little ones” [where Jesus used the word “mikrōn” as a parallel to his prior use of his son, John, as a “little child” – “paidion”], who are those who have been accepted into the family of Jesus, as Sons of the Father [human gender insignificant]. It means acts against the children of God are against those who are reborn as Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.” Here, Jesus three times used a form of the Greek word “skandalizó”: “skandalisē” once; and “skandalizē” twice.

This word is synonymous with the English word “scandalize,” meaning, “to cause to stumble, cause to sin, cause to become indignant, shock, offend.” It literally means “to set a snare (a stumbling-block),” while implying “to hinder right conduct or thought.” [HELPS Word-studies] It means if any part of one’s body is used “to make a child of God fall into a trap,” one’s soul will be condemned forever.

Can anyone recall how often the word “scandalous” has been applied to the revelations associated with the Roman Catholic Church, involving money matters, murders, and the abuse of altar boys?

Vatican Bank’s Roberto Calvi, with ties to the Mafia, found hanging from bridge.  Just one of many scandals the Church has become known for.

The symbolism of one’s “hand” is based on the figurative meaning of “cheir”: “the instrument a person uses to accomplish their purpose (intention, plan).” [HELPS Word-studies] To cause one of the Apostles of God, in the name of Christ, to fall into a trap as part of a plot to destroy is then a prophecy of the leaders of Jerusalem plotting to destroy Jesus. Still, it foretells of the persecution that would befall many of the Saints of Christianity. To cut off such a “hand” means to sever one’s association with such figures. If those “hands” are passing thirty pieces of silver into the “hands” of a “little one,” causing him to sin, they are then responsible for the failure of that soul to return to God.

The symbolism of one’s “foot” is based on the path one travels. To cause one of the children serving God, in the name of Christ, to be misled, sending towards a trap into which they will be snared was the reason Jesus had been leading his disciples away from the normal routes taken by the Pharisees and Temple scribes. They expected all Jews to prostrate themselves at their feet. They taught Jews to follow in their footsteps, not how to walk in the ways of the Lord. It is better to hobble along a path that has evil-doers cause one to trip and fall, to be lifted up by the angels sent by God, than to take the easy road to ruin.

The symbolism of one’s “eye” is based on the figurative meaning of “ophthalmos,” where this is the “mind’s eye.” When one is led by the Mind of Christ, one will always be shown the light of truth. When one is led by the Big Brain, one envisions a course that is self-serving. The singular number, as “eye,” which had Jesus then say “it is better for you with one eye to enter the kingdom of God,” that is a willingness to be blinded to the distractions of a material world, becoming fully dependent on the All-seeing Eye of God to know the way to Heaven.

Those who see with two eyes are trapped in the physical plane and cannot see the value of Spiritual things. Nicodemus was a Pharisee ruler who had eyes but could not see in the ways of religion. They see well enough to bow down before science and its demand for obedience to the observable, condemning their souls to hell for failing to see through the wall of physical senses to the divine.

With these symbolic meanings explored, and each leading to hell, where the “fire is not quenched, “Mark wrote of Jesus stating, “For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” Here, words focused on “salt” are found repeated, meaning “salt” needs to be understood.

The Greek word “hals” translates as “salt,” which was a valuable commodity in ancient times, usually having to be mined. It is abundant in sea water, which is undrinkable. Salt was one form of preserving fish (along with smoking), meaning it pulls moisture from the fish, keeping the flesh from rotting. As a preservative, it would also add necessary salt to a human diet, while being a flavorful addition to an ordinarily bland food.

A friendly fire of life.

By realizing this, to hear Jesus say, “Everyone will be salted with fire,” this is a statement about the preservation of human souls. A soul is rolled in the salt of a human body that is seventy percent saltwater, much in the form of salty blood. The fire is smoking process or the sun drying that surrounds the salt wrap, which makes the soul a productive commodity.

When Jesus then said, “Salt is good,” it is the preservation of a soul that keeps it useful on the earthly plane. The loss of flavor is then the effect that sin has on that protective wrap. When one has sinned to the point of having lost all flavor, it has become useless. The question, “How can you season [salt that no longer is salty]?” can only be answered by realizing that salt without saltiness [the state of being salt] is nothing. The soul without a protective wrap is then like a fish out of water in the hot sun, without salt to keep it from rotting. A soul covered in sin cannot be restored to life, once the flesh surrounding it has burned away.

This is then why Jesus said to his disciples, “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” This returns to the family theme of all who will serve God in the name of Christ, because they have seen Jesus as the Son of the Father. Jesus is the salt that protects the soul. Jesus promised John of Zebedee and his brother James, “I will make you fishers of men.” They would all seek out the souls of men who needed to be rolled in the Holy Spirit (cast out demons) and then salted by God and Christ.

They should see themselves as salted by Jesus of Nazareth; but, like the one who they tried to stop casting out demons in the name of Jesus, they would be salted in the name of Christ soon enough. Once they reached that point in their lives, peace would come to all but Judas. The resurrected Jesus would appear to the eleven in the upstairs room, telling them, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21)

As a Gospel selection for the nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s personal ministry for the LORD should be underway – one has removed all the limitations of hands, feet, and eyes and is fully trusting in God – the message here is to stop being part of the problem and begin being part of the solution. A minister in the name of Jesus Christ knows who is for God and who is against God.

This reading from Mark is a continuation of the past Sunday’s lesson, but few will be able to see that unless they are told to look closer. No one understands that the “little child” was Jesus’ son, and no one sees how that father-son relationship is vital for disciples of Jesus to see themselves in a Father-Son replication, as family. Being able to see that value of a family of God makes this lesson a continuation of the family theme. However, failing to see that makes this reading seem as if John of Zebedee just laughed Jesus off, saying, “Ha ha ha Jesus. But, changing the topic let me tell you how we tried to stop someone who was promoting himself as you.”

This lesson is more about the family theme, demanding that one understand the Father-Son lesson of last Sunday, which leads directly into this. Instead, there will be sermons galore about how Jesus taught us not to be intolerant to all the other people of the world, most of who are trying to kill Jesus and the truth of Christianity.  Most handouts at church doors will say, “Whoever is not against us is for us.”

By seeing with two eyes that read Scripture in socio-political ways, people promote themselves just like did the Pharisees, Temple scribes, and High priests. They find reason to justify sin, by misusing Scripture.  In doing so, they are trying to mishandle, trip, and get congregations to see things their way, so they benefit and others beat their chests as they pray to God to forgive their sins, which they know not how to stop.

Not again! Lord, please help us!

It used to be that preachers used the message of fear to get people to toe the line of righteousness. The told of fire and brimstone coming to those who did not follow Jesus religiously. That is a message that comes through loud and clear today, especially when Jesus said, “It is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.” People today do not want to think of a theme of punishment, because they like to see Jesus in the light of all lovey-dovey forgiveness. It is that mean ole God that likes to burn souls in fire.

As I had stated before about every reference to water in the Holy Bible is metaphor for emotional needs, let me now add the metaphor that comes from fire. Fire is the different from emotions, as it symbolizes actions that come from within. Whereas the water of emotions can come as rushes, like waterfalls, river rapids, or tumultuous seas, they can also be still pools, quiet creeks, and the depth of oceans. Fire, on the other hand is a smoldering urge, an inspiring bonfire, or a raging forest fire. Whereas water can be solid, liquid or gas, as an indication of temperature – from frozen, to thawed, to evaporating – fire is transformative, such that the destruction of one state of matter is necessary for a return to elemental properties.

This analysis means “the unquenchable fire” (or “the fire not quenched”) means a state of existence has been reached where it is impossible for the emotions of love to become a cool touch on the tip of one’s tongue. The fire will rage on forever, always having fuel to feed it, rather than something damp to put it out. Since matter is the fuel that burns hottest, a soul will be condemned to always return into a body of flesh that will reignite into a burning spirit of selfishness, time after time after time (reincarnation). The only respite will be when the earth is cool enough to let a body of flesh grow before the flames burst forth again. Should mankind cause the planet to be too hot for any comforts, it will become the hell Jesus referred to (reincarnation no longer possible in a zombie world on fire).

Still, when Jesus said “Everyone will be salted with fire,” it is not from a vacuum that souls are drawn to the Holy Bible and the promise of Jesus Christ. I have used the analogy, “Wouldn’t it be nice to pray to God before bedtime, asking “God, please let me wake up and be a lawyer making lots of money.” If God were to answer such a prayer, it would be to send one the insight to study long and hard, so one could gain entrance into a prestigious law school. Then, after years of hard work, one could graduate from law school and begin at the bottom at some law firm. Then after years of doing all the hard labors of law, maybe one will come to understand that making a lot of money means selling one’s soul. Being a lawyer is only one way to sellout.

The moral of that story is everyone has to face the fire of testing. God will see how willing one is to do all the work He expects from a fiancée (human gender is insignificant). God will see how much flavor is in one’s salt. God will determine if one is worth His salt.

Text Copyright by Robert Tippett

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James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a – Submit yourselves to God

Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.

Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

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This is the Epistle selection from the Episcopal Lectionary for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B 2018. In the numbering system that lists each Sunday in an ordinal fashion, this Sunday is referred to as Proper 20. It will next be read aloud in an Episcopal church by a reader on Sunday September 23, 2018. It is important because James wrote of wisdom being divinely born, but also manifesting in “unspiritual” and “devilish” ways. In the change of chapters, James then wrote that the solution of selfish disputes calls for the sacrifice of the self-ego, to be replaced by the submission to God (i.e.: marriage to God).

In verse thirteen, where the translation above states, “Show by your good life that your works are done,” the literal translation shows a separate segment that states: “let him show out of the good conduct the works of him.” This means the acts of one “demonstrate” (from “deiknumi”) one’s “honorable behavior” or “noble manner of life (from “kalēs anastrophēs”). It implies people will display bad character.  The difference is the source of goodness.

When the literal translation from the Greek shows “him” repeated, this is a word for presented in the third person masculine, as a singular personal pronoun.  The dual references to the third person, as “him,” can be mistaken as the same person who acts “good” as being generated by “himself.”  This misses the duality of two that are combined as one.  As such, the implication is exposing two elements of the same one: the one exhibiting such “good life” (“him”) and Him as God within, the inspiration of those righteous acts.

When God is read into that segment, then “gentleness born of wisdom” is from a divine source. This is then contrary to the next verse, where “jealousy” (“bitter envy”) with a “bitter” spirit is the outward acts of inner distress. To have “selfish ambitions” (from “eritheian”) is James way of saying the absence of God within is due to the self-ego pushing Him away, preferring to worship one’s Big Brain. That dependency on intelligence then hardens the heart – the love center. Without the heart leading the mind, one becomes prone to “boast and lie against the truth” (“be boastful and false to the truth”).

The Big Brain is thus the god of self and generates a weaker form of “wisdom,” which “does not come down from above,” as it is not from God. This is the feminine goddess “Wisdom,” which Solomon referenced, such that the femininity is a reflection of the “earthly” (from “epigeios”).

Wisdom is ruled by elohim.

Aliens are assumed to have godlike powers of intelligence, by fools who think the Mind of God can fit into a bony box filled with gray matter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because it is of the earth (like science, dependent on observable data) it is “unspiritual” (from “psychikē”).  That root word implies “animal, natural, and sensuous,” as anything “of the earth,” not of the spiritual heaven.  This then leads to a conclusion that earthly wisdom is “devilish.”  However, the word translated as that is “daimoniōdēs,” which implies an “evil spirit.” That translation requires deeper insight.

The Greek word “daimónion” comes from Ancient Greek, meaning most basically “spirit.” This “spirit” can then be said to be divine, as miraculous and extraordinary manifestations on earth. This is rooted in the Greek word “daímōn,” which can mean anything from “a god or goddess, a guardian spirit, or a departed soul.” Their importance is only found in the worldly plane.

The etymology has it rooted in “daíomai,” which means “divide.” As such, Satan is a god that has divided from God (Yahweh) and has been cast into the earth (a goddess’ realm – the feminine), where Satan became an influence for evil, attempting to steal souls that have divided from God (life breath spirit – soul). In a sense, the division is symbolic of divorce, such that Lucifer cheated on his Husband, was caught and banished.  Thus, in humans, an “earthly spirit” is one led by the soul, which is more inclined to be misled by Satan’s evil influences (i.e.: loving sin), acting “devilish.”

From this insight, the translation of “devilish” means being under the influence that keeps one divided from God.  It is designed to lead one away from the reunification of a soul with God.  It is the influences of the world that trick one into turning away from a commitment to one, desiring to try as many delights as possible.

James then repeated the traits of an evil spirit as possessing “envy and selfish ambition,” such that following the thoughts of a brain will one’s life be scattered and ever-changing, lacking order. The Greek word written by James is “akatastasia,” where “disorder” means: “disturbance, upheaval, revolution, almost anarchy, first in the political, and thence in the moral sphere.” It implies a difficulty standing up for what is right, because everything has become unsettled, confused, and in tumult. All this comes from depending on a Big Brain to lead one properly, when the result is always to be deeper into the complexities of a sinful existence.

What have I done this time?!?!

The only escape from this madness is then God, by coming to rely on His “wisdom from above” (where “the from above” comes from “anōthen,” meaning “anew”). This implies being reborn, where the old self dies and God’s divine ego replaces the old. This new wisdom then comes from the Holy Spirit as Jesus Christ being resurrected in a human form.  With this new presence comes the Christ Mind, which leads the human brain to understand all acts that are motivated by the heart first.

To say this new self “is first pure” means one has to first and foremost be cleansed of all past sins that the soul has accumulated, through lives on the earthly realm. This cleansing becomes a baptism by the Holy Spirit, when means the soul has been immersed into a state of spiritual purity. This union with God’s Holy Spirit is then the marriage of one’s soul with God. It is a cleansing brought on by love, meaning the deep desires of one’s heart; the brain have submitted to the Will of God and having no say in this subjection and submersion.

To then have James write, “then peaceable,” this is like when John the Baptist lifted Jesus from the waters of the Jordan and (as Luke wrote) “the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”’ (Luke 3:22)

The dove is symbolic of peace, and this is stated in the Greek word “eirēnikē.” That word says “peaceable,” but implies: “God’s gift of wholeness which results from knowing (discerning) the Lord’s will and obeying it.” [HELPS Word-studies]  This says “peace” is the state of one’s being, after marriage to God.

The descriptive terms then written by James, translated as “gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy,” are the new way one is led to act, after being renewed by God. This is the resurrection of Jesus Christ within one’s being.  One being reborn as Jesus Christ then duplicates the lifestyle of Jesus of Nazareth, effortlessly, willingly, and delightfully.  It is not self-willed, but a natural way of being.

These ways, if deemed good by a Big Brain, would be impossible to maintain through self-will. God has to be in love with one’s soul, make it pure for His presence, and then the union of God and soul in a human form will reproduce the Son of God. Only Jesus Christ being reborn into one’s flesh can one achieve a righteous life, as stated by James; as James then stated this as, “A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.”

The end of chapter three then means a freedom to start new thoughts of divine wisdom, prompting James to question those who are not in a divine state of peace in his fourth chapter. He asked, “Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you?”

It should be realized that “you” is less a focus on the collective or a group of people (Jews, to whom James ministered), and more designed to be personal, to all who would read this letter.

The Greek word “hymin” is a form of “su,” which is the second person singular personal pronoun, “you.” The use of “hymōn” twice then repeats this as “of you,” with the word “epithymeite” then pointing out the second person singular form of “to desire, covet, lust, and to set the heart upon.” It is “you” who leads oneself to sin, not anyone else.

The personal pronoun in the singular number says James is now speaking directly to “you” (the reader), asking, What are the causes of your inner disputes?” and “Why are you always at war with the call to find inner peace?”

All of the sins of the world are committed because of these inner conflicts and disputes. The most egregious sins are committed because one does not want to give up self-control and the love of intellect and the sweet nothing it seems to bring. Such selfishness, demonstrated in self-destructive acts, is why James then pointed out the obvious: “You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.”

This cycle of always doing the wrong things and being self-defeating can be summed up by the idiom: “Fool me one, shame of you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Of course, for every number greater than two times fooled, the same shame still falls on “me,” the one fooled. But, then, some struggle remembering this phrase.

After skipping over several verses in this epistle reading, the answer to being fooled is then stated by James as, “Submit yourselves therefore to God.” In that, the plural number of “yourselves” is explained as applicable to all individuals whose self-ego has wrought the weight of pain and suffering on the soul. The answer to all who feel the guilt of worldly sins is to “subject themselves to God.”

The same Greek word written (“Hypotagēte”) means to make a major life change (due to the word being capitalized), from selfishness to submissiveness. Such a change means the death of the ego and the marriage of one’s soul to God.  This demands one take a completely submissive stance, as His wife (where human gender is meaningless).

To “resist the devil” is then a reference back to chapter three, when James wrote that earthly wisdom made one “devilish.” This is then an instruction that subjection to the Lord will mean to take a stance against the influence of worldly sins. In this, one should realize that James is not the source of this instruction, as he has surrendered his self-ego to be married to God.  James, like all other Apostles, is speaking as the voice of God, Jesus Christ. As such, becoming submissive to God’s influence will make it assured that Satan will be resisted.

This means that James writing, “He will flee from you,” means “He” is the influence of the “evil demon” Satan. It is then just as Jesus commanded Satan, who tempted him, saying “Away from me, Satan!” From that command we then read, “Then the devil left [Jesus], and angels came and attended him.” (Matthew 4:10-11)

When Jesus Christ has been resurrected in one whose soul is married to God, then the urges to do wicked deeds will vanish.

It is then vital to understand the meaning of James writing, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” The repetition of the Greek word “eggizó” (as “engisate” and “engiei”) doubles the meaning of “extreme closeness, immediate imminence” [HELPS Word-studies], as “to join.” This is a way of stating to become one with God. It means marriage to God is recommended; but because God is the Most Holy Spirit, God does not join directly with human flesh.  So, God will not say “I do” on a physical altar.

God breathes the life of a soul into flesh, which is a soul spirit. That breath is the dividing of God into Him and you.  The marriage that draws near to God, and vice versa, is God’s Holy Spirit becoming one with one’s soul. It is the rejoining of a soul to its source.

This is the first step to a soul rejoining God in Heaven, after the death of physical flesh. Marriage to God means eternal life in Heaven, without the filthiness and guilt of a material body imprisoning a soul divided from God, which is repetition through reincarnation.

As the Epistle selection for the eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s personal ministry for the LORD should be underway – one has found wisdom from above through one’s soul being reunited with God – the message here is to stop being fooled by earthly wisdom. Confusion, doubt, guilt and all the self-defeating sins of lust, greed, adultery and murder are erased when the heart is set on fire for Yahweh.

This Epistle reading selection is presented along with other readings that are calling one’s soul to the spiritual altar.  As I looked for pictures that would be symbolic of the title “Submit yourselves to God,” I came upon diagram produced by church organizations that used a series of umbrellas to show this message.  The largest umbrella was either depicted to be “God” or “Jesus Christ.”  Under it were two smaller umbrellas, depicting a “Husband” and a “Wife.”

The message of marriage that is assumed from reading the books of the Holy Bible is human, not Spiritual.  The leaders of churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples around the world, common in all religions, see females as commanded to be subservient to their male husbands.  While this human arrangement is resisted in modern Western societies, it is a reflection of the animal kingdom, which is “devilish.”  Not all animals on earth (humans included) adhere to the principles of marriage being a family, where husband, wife, and children all live happily together.

Just as all animals are naturally led to procreate and raise their young in variations of the family theme, humans also have variations that can be deemed “natural,” even though they differ from the norm.  This is not the point of marriage that comes from the words of Scripture.  God does not demand any life form on earth to submit to His Will.  God allows His breath to be divisions of Himself onto a plane where life forms were free to live according to self.

When animals express self, it is a natural program of survival.  Animals do not possess Big Brains that plot evil deeds.  Still, being predator and being prey is the natural order of that game of life.  Humans, however, do not have the same excuse as lower animals, because God gave them a large piece of flesh that reasons, while finding pleasures sought unnaturally.

To see a human rite of reason become the lone expression of most holy matrimony, where Man gets to pretend itself as god, while the feminine half of the species has to play the role of submissive animal, this is wrong.  It completely misses the point of one’s soul being rejoined with God, on a voluntary basis.  Males and females are expected to choose a marriage to God, in order to be freed from the prison in which their souls have been cast – the human form.  Humans are in the likeness of God because they have all been divided from God.  God is the pure Spirit.  Humans are the impure form.

For church organization to preach a need for good marriage values as the salvation of mankind, where a husband and wife together under God will live happily ever after is missing the most important point.  The institution of human marriage is in shambles because it has been corrupted by Satan.  The youth of today are turning away from traditional marriages and turning to alternative ways of co-existence and co-habitation, with children seen as an unwanted burden upon the world.

The human institution of marriage (as an official Sacrament of a Church is a relatively modern concept) is good, when it is a mutually willing commitment. It is good when it mirrors the oneness of two individual committed to God.  This sacred act is not always upheld, which makes it human, divided from God.  The answer is not to preach the wrongness of marriage born on the physical plane, where God gave souls a vacation from submission to only doing right.  Instead, it is important to preach the reminder: This is only a vacation.  Remember you are expected to go back to Heaven.  Renew your vows to God soon.

What Americans would think of taking a honeymoon in France and not make sure the Passport was in order?

Who says everyone can use a camera?

The eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost is when some wisdom came down from above and some wise men chose “marriage to God” lessons for priests in the name of Jesus Christ to explain to those still under training as disciples.  The heart needs to be softened and the brain needs to be lowered.  God is always offering His hand in marriage; but He will only join with those who prove a desire for Him.  A minister for the LORD will have accepted that proposal, so Jesus Christ can preach, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

That means marriage to God.  Rather than a lustful heart and a ritzy honeymoon, marriage means the love of a child for the Father, in the purest way.

Text Copyright by Robert Tippett

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Jeremiah 11:18-20 – Like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter

It was the Lord who made it known to me, and I knew;
then you showed me their evil deeds.
But I was like a gentle lamb
led to the slaughter.
And I did not know it was against me
that they devised schemes, saying,
“Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
so that his name will no longer be remembered!”
But you, O Lord of hosts, who judge righteously,
who try the heart and the mind,
let me see your retribution upon them,
for to you I have committed my cause.

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This is an optional Old Testament selection from the Episcopal Lectionary for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B 2018. In the numbering system that lists each Sunday in an ordinal fashion, this Sunday is referred to as Proper 20. If chosen, it will next be read aloud in an Episcopal church by a reader on Sunday September 23, 2018. It is important because Jeremiah spoke from the depths of prophecy, seeing through the eyes of Jesus Christ, as one totally in a committed relationship with God.

Verse eighteen is better translated by stating, “And the LORD gave me knowledge [of it], and I knew [it]; then thou showest me their doings.” The inclusion of “of it” and “it” are additions through assumption, based on the prior verses that are unknown here. The “it” is made part of the translation as “evil deeds.” “It” is “evil.”

Evil was described by Jeremiah as “found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” (Jeremiah 11:9) “They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear My words … [having] broken My covenant.” (Jeremiah 11:10) They will have brought the evil of the world upon themselves, building altars to Baal. The “evil deeds” are then the sacrifice of the innocents to the gods of evil.

Moloch was a child sacrifice god, as Baal Hamon in Carthage.

When this is understood, we then read Jeremiah say, “But I was like a gentle lamb
led to the slaughter.” This is a statement of willing sacrifice for a higher purpose. Jeremiah was channeling Jesus Christ, who would be the sacrificial lamb later in history, who had to die in order to release his soul so “it” could fill countless others. Still, Jeremiah was like all who would become Saints, as there can be no fear of evil deed doers; persecution is to be expected.

The literal Hebrew states, “I was like a lamb docile brought to the slaughter.” The word “I” is the word of the ego, stating “Myself.” This is then Jeremiah saying he was a lamb of God, who was brought to the point of self-slaughter willingly. It is the inner peace that one feels while in prayer with the Lord and the glory of God’s presence around one at other times that is most gentle. It is the comfort that keeps one from fearing anything, other than losing that closeness that God brings. This is then Jeremiah telling how the sacrifice of self-ego is an act of love for God.

Jeremiah then continued to tell of his prophetic sacrifice at the hands of priests serving Baal, saying, “And I did not know it was against me that they devised schemes, saying, “Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will no longer be remembered!”

This is illuminating the deception used by those who practice evil deeds. For Jeremiah to say “I did not know,” this is not a statement of his being unaware of plots against him. Instead, it says he did not live deceptively, by plotting against others.

When Jeremiah quoted the killers of righteousness as saying, “Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,” the Hebrew word translated as “tree” (“ets”) can also mean “wood, timbers, and logs,” with the implication of a “carpenters” handiwork, including a “gallows.”

Required for assembly: Two trees, large manual drill, wooden mallet and wood chisel.

Thus, the statement can also be seen as the use of a cross to destroy the fruit, rather than support the fruit of a grapevine.

Long before the Romans would dominate the lands of Israel and Judah, the planned destruction of the “tree with its fruit” was then to turn the pure grapes of Yahweh, through the Israelites delivered into “the land of the living,” by letting them turn to wild grapes, to be eaten by scavenger birds. The corruption of the religion that was based on Mosaic Law was to be degraded until no one remembered the name Moses. Jeremiah was a prophet of Judah who saw the evil deeds of its kings and the evil deeds of impure priests, leading to the fall of Judah and Jerusalem, with the Temple destroyed. This is the lament of this song; and it is the constant danger that surrounds all who serve the Lord.

When verse twenty says, “O Lord of hosts,” the Hebrew says “Yahweh tsaba.” This states who the true LORD is – Yahweh – and the “hosts” are the angels of Heaven, not a worldly army of believers. Thus, the judgment of Yahweh is said to be based on how the people of earth live their lives. The righteous are awarded Heaven, to dwell among the hosts; but the wicked will find nothing waits for their souls beyond the world they love so dearly.

The translation that says, “who try the heart and the mind,” can be better grasped as those who “test” the LORD and are “tested” for righteousness. When Jeremiah was inspired to write, “the heart and the mind,” this is the sequence that will determine the results of the tests. The righteous have found the Lord through their hearts, so their minds are led by the Will of God. Those whose lives are led by the brain they will harden their hearts to the Lord, instead loving the illusions of the earthly realm. Thus, as goes the heart, so goes the soul.

When Jeremiah sings, “let me see your retribution upon them,” the word translated as “your retribution” (“niq·mā·ṯə·ḵā”) is better understood as “your vengeance.” This seems to be Jeremiah taking delight in the punishment that God will set onto others, but that misses the duality of “’er·’eh (“let me see”).

Jeremiah is actually praying to the Lord to “see” the path of righteousness, because without the insight of Yahweh guiding one, one will become lost. Those who refuse to seek God’s guidance are then the ones who will use “great violence or force” (definition of “vengeance”) towards those who are devoted to God. All the vengeance of God’s judgment is then of their own making, not that of a vengeful God.

When Jeremiah then ends this stanza by singing, “for to you I have committed my cause,” he was stating his love of God. A servant of God can only act out of love for the Lord. That love is a commitment to serve Him completely.

The Hebrew word translated as “I have committed” is “gil·lî·ṯî,” equally says, “I have revealed,” “I have set forth,” and “I have opened.” This is the intimacy of a heart for a lover, where all defenses are removed and the oneness of union is the natural result. It is then the marriage of one to God, as a wife surrendering the self-ego so his or her (human gender is meaningless) cause is that of the Lord.

As an optional Old Testament reading selection for the eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s personal ministry for the LORD should be underway – one has seen through the schemes of the world and found them lacking – the message here is to allow one’s soul to enter into marriage to God. It is the commitment to His cause that should be sought.

 

As an alternative to Proverbs 31, where Solomon listed the characteristics of a good wife and the truest intent means a “good wife” is a soul married to God, cleansed of sin by His Holy Spirit (a true sacrament of Baptism), one should not be shocked that Jeremiah was singing praises to the same commitment. Since these readings are brought up every three years in the Episcopal Lectionary cycle, Christians have long had access to these words, with Jews even longer. The problem is then how no one seems to know, or most people have huge misconceptions about, what “commitment” means.

Can all Christians since the Roman Emperor Constantine, leader of a failing empire, claimed he saw a vision in battle (a cross formation of clouds in the sky) and suddenly began to believe in a Jew named Jesus, beginning a devised plan to subject other believers of Jesus Christ in a new Kingdom of Rome, not see themselves as part of this plan? Does the verse that says, “And I did not know it was against me that they devised schemes” not explain the ignorance of lambs led to the slaughter?

Has not the system of Christianity that was devised by the Roman Catholics, to strip all believers of any concept of marriage to God, through His Holy Spirit, thus begetting a myriad of baby Jesus Christs (i.e.: Saints) in the world – to Save it – not been a fulfillment of Jeremiah’s words: “Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will no longer be remembered!”? Did they not sacrifice Saint Peter, who was in the name of Jesus Christ, so no more would Saints and Apostles proliferate?

Lots of Saints called “pope” between 32 AD and 537 AD, but then a sputtering began, turning the papal seat over to corporate heads.

American Christians have been born into splinter groups of that false premise, making all conclusions based on that also false. We do not know anything about being married to GOD, because His name has been sacrificed when the corpse of Jesus of Nazareth was never allowed to rise from death and be reborn in true Christians. Women like the idea of marrying Jesus, while menfolk (gruff, gruff) have to keep a hard heart so they can bring home the bacon each month.  Jeremiah’s songs of lamentation were echoing the loss of a true religion by both men and women born into the religion created by God’s hand; given over into the hands of men who loved an icon name Baal, more than the true God. It is a story that keeps on keeping on because believers love to be subservient to a human leader, simply because they can physically sense that presence.

The message is there to be known – marry God.  Love God with ALL your heart. It is just clouded, such that to see through the mist one needs to be led inwardly, by the All-Seeing Eye of God (not a Masonic promotion).

So many have turned away from God because of the schemes of deception, revealed as false.  They ones wanting to believe in the unseen have mentally discerned Church deceptions as equating Christianity to the flaws of men. Ears have turned deaf to the truth, simply because so many lies have been told and foolishly believed.

In the Gospel message for the same Sunday this optional Old Testament reading might be chosen, Jesus foretold of his being killed by men. That prophecy fits this song of Jeremiah. It was the plot of pretending holy men then, and it has been the same since Moses took a bunch of slaves from Egypt into the wilderness. From pretending an idol of a golden calf could rescue the people, to pretending to breathe new life into a land lost, by rebuilding a Temple destroyed, believers have married to concepts and icons, but rarely God.  Only when Jesus died and his soul was freed by God to be reborn in Apostles has that marriage been known.  Men (and women now) do not like believers who have their own relationship with God and Christ.

It is the message of the Gospel that the greatest will be the least. That is a prophecy that says one cannot depend on another human being who says he or she is the greatest disciple of Jesus, because braggarts only have one soul’s interests at heart – their own; not anyone else’s.

Sunday after Sunday the message says, “God is the way to redemption and an eternity in Heaven.” For that way to be one’s own, one has to be more than human. For that to happen, one must surrender the human soul to God, which means become one with God. That is the truth of marriage. Once one has become one with God, then one stops knowing anything that would get in the way of complete servitude to God. In return, God allows one to know everything necessary, to be given to those seeking a good husband, possessing good wife potential.

Maybe one day all human souls will have the epiphany and their eyes will see that some spell has been cast over them, keeping them from accepting God’s proposal of marriage. As they wake up to divine understanding, maybe they will walk away from the human schemes and look at the true offer from God.

Maybe one day the world will be filled with only Saints. Maybe that day all souls will be in Heaven, not on earth.

Text copyright by Robert Tippett

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Mark 9:30-37 – Welcoming a child in the name of Jesus

Jesus and his disciples passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

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This is the Gospel selection from the Episcopal Lectionary for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B 2018. In the numbering system that lists each Sunday in an ordinal fashion, this Sunday is referred to as Proper 20. It will next be read aloud in an Episcopal church by a priest on Sunday September 23, 2018. It is important because Jesus told his disciples of his suffering to come for the second time. Jesus then taught his disciples that they had to give up seeking adult quests and welcome the birth of him in them.

In the sequencing of events, Jesus had first told his disciples about the suffering that would come at the hands of the rulers of Jerusalem (Mark 8). Now, he is remembered saying he would be “betrayed into human hands.”

The Greek text shows “paradidotai eis cheiras anthrōpōn,” which can translated clearly as “delivered into the hands of men.” The word “paradidotai” can mean “betrayed,” but that hint was not taken to mean “There is a traitor among us.” The same word, without a specific context, could mean “handed over, delivered, turned over, or abandoned.”

The difference between Jesus having named specifically “elders, chief priests, and scribes” earlier, but now saying “men” is a statement that people holding titles are still just human beings like everyone else.  It implies the Romans will do the actual deed.  The fact that Jesus said, “They will kill him,” rather than having generally stated before “to be killed,” meant the disciples were confused by the differences in the two stories. That confusion made them again miss the part of “on the third day he will rise, after being killed.”

When we read, “They did not understand [the things spoken] and were afraid to ask him,” the part they thought they understood – Jesus being killed – had drawn the ire of Jesus, after Peter took him aside and tried to sternly tell Jesus he should not talk such nonsense. Here, he repeated that he would be killed, but no one was brave enough to say to Jesus, “Excuse me master, but could you explain more about how you know this and why we cannot stop it from happening?”

No one wanted to be told they were Satan. Therefore, they were blank slates that had been conditioned to watch, listen, learn, and obey, as long as their egos never questioned divine wisdom.

We next hear read aloud by a priest, “Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?”’ This question by Jesus could have been asked while the group was “on the way,” so Jesus saved it for a more preferable time to bring up the matter. He asked while they were in the house of Jesus in Capernaum, where the familiar surrounding meant there were no chores to do and there was a period of rest after a long and eventful travel.

To then learn, “They were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest,” this means the disciples did not answer the question.  There is no indication that the disciples spoke and answered Jesus.  That absence says they refused to answer the question because they were still afraid of being called Satan by Jesus.

If Peter could be told to get behind Jesus as an evil demon, simple because he cared enough about Jesus to tell him, “You will not talk of death!” then they all could be seen as more evil than that for arguing about “who was the greatest” among them. As for that superlative written, the Greek word “meizōn” can also mean “most important.”

To then read, “[Jesus] sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all,” this implies that Jesus knew what they were arguing about. The question was rhetorical.

Even if they argued away from Jesus, when Jesus was by loudly running water, getting a drink; or when Jesus was sitting amid his family and engaged in conversation with them, Jesus knew what was going on. Jesus knew what his disciples were arguing about because God made him aware. If Jesus could know his future and teach his disciples to be prepared for his death, then he could know what is running through his disciples’ minds and hearts.

It should also be realized that while Jesus was on the high mountain with Peter, James and John of Zebedee, a father with a child who had a demon spirit possessing him, making the boy mute and threatening to kill him by convulsions, had come into the base camp.  He asked the disciples to cure his son. Mark said “they did not have the power,” which presumes they tried to cast out the demon, but failed. The father and son stayed in the camp, drawing a crowd from the nearby village (including the ‘mayor’, called “a scribe”); so many were waiting for Jesus when he returned.

Jesus healed the boy, which left the boy apparently dead when the spirit departed his body. Several people attested that the boy was dead; but Jesus took the boy’s hand and raised him up, where the Greek word denoting that is “ēgeiren,” meaning “made awake.”  That should be seen as metaphor for raised from death.

The disciples asked Jesus why none of them could cast out the unclean spirit. He told them that the demon spirit in the boy was one that required “prayer,” which meant only God could both cast out an evil spirit AND bring the dead boy back to life. In other words, Jesus explained to his disciples (privately) that they still were not full-fledged Apostles, married to Yahweh.  They were still in training.

That event gives more reason for the disciples to be arguing about who was the “greatest” or “most important,” such that they were comparing their works of ministry to each other’s. Undoubtedly, they had each remembered the greatest healings achieved, how many spirits each had cast out, and how many people listened to them preach the meaning of the Torah and were touched spiritually. All had been given the ability to cast out unclean spirits, but the one in the mute boy was more than a mild case of illness by spirit. God undoubtedly assisted the disciples (or His angels) in their commission by Jesus, but the disciples were still unaware.  So, with Peter’s pretense as ‘lead disciple’ now uncertain, they all argued about who could then be considered the best disciple Jesus had.

Jesus knew that divinely, leading him to instruct nicely, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” The point was to never let a big head make one think their brain had anything to do with their spiritual acts. The disciples had been taught to release their egos by being obedient to Jesus; but Jesus knew they were getting Big Brain syndrome and that evil spirit needed to be cast out quickly. Jesus did that gently. There was no need to call anyone Satan.

When Jesus used those words about “first” and “last,” or “prótos” and “eschatos,” which also can translate as “most important” and “the end things,” it is important to understand just who and what that meant. For all the arguing about which disciple was “most important” in the eyes of Jesus and Yahweh, one has to wonder what self-proclaimed accolades Judas Iscariot presented. Was his claim for being the “greatest” based on how much money he raised?

After all, wasn’t Jesus referencing Judas when he told the group he would be “betrayed,” “handed over” by someone unstated by name, “to be killed”? That would certainly qualify Judas for being “last” among the Gospel writers.  There were many asides that pointed out beforehand – “Judas was the one who would betray Jesus.”

The point Jesus was making was less specific to one disciple and more applicable to the “men” whose hands Jesus would be turned over to. Judas was not quite in their category of “most important,” although he was [according to the Gospel of Judas] one who took great pride in mental exercises; supposedly Judas was a philosopher that loved debating logic with Jesus. Still, Judas would see thirty pieces of silver as big potatoes, while the Sanhedrin “men” dealt in finances that only the “most important” could fathom.

Those “men” were the ones who would reach their “ends” and be like the rich man who died and went to a hot place; still he expected poor Lazarus to come put a drop of cool water on his tongue. (Luke 16:19-31) Unfortunately, those are the ones who think they are the greatest until their demise, when they realize it would have been better to be the servant of all, rather than the opposite.

From that soft rebuke of rather simple disciples who argued about greatness, when they were already servants – ranking slaves as to how much they submit to the will of the great is pointless – Jesus then “took a little child and put it among them.”

The word translated as “a little child” is “paidion,” which can mean anything from an infant to a seven year old. The word implies, “a little child under training,” but some scholars believe it can mean, “a son or daughter up to 20 years old (the age of “complete adulthood” in Scripture).” [Helps Word-studies] The translation of “it” is from “auto,” such that the neuter gender third-person identification means the child had not yet matured, although “it” was either “boy” (“he”) or “girl” (“she”).

This is worth further analysis.

It was standard protocol in ancient times to ignore women and children in writings. Women were usually referenced generally, as being the wife or daughter of some specific man. Children were referred to generically also, with no names mentioned; unless it was in reference to a man in his childhood (Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon and Jesus, etc.)

In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus told the disciples to feed the five thousand men who came to hear Jesus preach. None of those writers made mention as to who was carrying the loaves and fish. John, however, said that Andrew spoke, saying “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish.” In Mark’s Gospel (remembering Mark wrote the story of Simon-Peter), as Jesus was arrested and being carried away, he (and only he) wrote, “A young man was following [the arrested Jesus], wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body.” (Mark 14:51)  Neither reference identified specifically who those youths were, because of the age and, therefore, lack of importance.

The word written that translates as “young man” is “neaniskos,” meaning a male youth (i.e.: boy), simply because he is unnamed. Still, in the literal Greek of that verse, Mark wrote “neaniskos tis,” which says, “a certain young man,” meaning that boy was known and identifiable, just not old enough to put his name in print.  Because the boy was “certain,” he was known.  After all, what strange child would just happen to be with Jesus and his disciples at Gethsemane, around two in the morning, in his night robe?

Hint: None.

This is where one needs to realize that Jesus was in his home in Capernaum. He was in the house where his family lived with him. It would be completely normal to have children about in a Jewish household. Thus, the child who Jesus took up in his arms – the child under training – was the same child who carried the basket with loaves of bread and two smoked fish. It was the same young man who ran after Jesus when he was arrested, in his night robe, which boys put on before going to bed. He just happened to be under training during the Seder ritual and followed Jesus and the other adults as the disciples stumbled along drunk and fell asleep while Jesus prayed.

The young man – the youth – was John the Gospel writer, who recalled so much about that night.  John was able to recall the teachings of Jesus because he was a boy and not allowed to get drunk with the adults. The adult disciples were busy getting plastered on wine (part of the Seder ritual) and could barely remember waking up to Jesus being arrested. Here, in Mark’s account of the disciples being in Jesus’ house, with John there, we see John is being used as an example about the least who serve all.  John was the example of one who had no bragging rights about greatness; and they should be like him.

Still, one has to grasp the fact that a child in the house of Jesus would be a relative. John referred to himself as “the one Jesus loved,” which is a statement of relationship. John did not write of the excursion to Tyre and Sidon, nor did he write about the trip to Caesarea Philippi, when the Transfiguration took place. During both trips, Jesus was trying not to bring notice to himself by the Pharisees, or the Temple scribes and high priests. Simply from the potential danger involved, a child relative would have been left behind in Capernaum, with his mother and other relatives. Then, after Jesus had returned from a business trip, the child John was delighted at Jesus’ return. He was called by Jesus to sit with him and his disciples. John jumped into Jesus’ arms at the invitation.

This means that when Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me,” he just said, “Whoever welcomes John bar Jesus, my son, the boy with my name.” That statement is then stating a love relationship on a familial level.

Surely, John was the son of Jesus and thus bore the name of Jesus, as his father. Whoever welcomes that same relationship as that son, welcomes Jesus as their father. A disciple, therefore, is seen as least, in a Jewish society, the same as is a boy who gets no name recognition in writing, even though many people know the boy’s name; certainly they knew the name of that boy’s father. Therefore, if one welcomes being on the level of a child – a youth – an obedient child under training – a young man not yet grown into one of those “men who will kill” Jesus – then you welcome being the son of Jesus, which makes you also the grandsons of God, his Father.

The relationship would make the disciples God’s grandsons.  It means the least have become the greatest, by their service to the Father, as His sons, born anew as Jesus Christ – the Son of God. It is most important to see the love factor, which is centered on family.

Jesus did not just reach out in his own home and grab the first random “it” child that ran by and use “it” as an example that was welcoming ALL children as a lesson (by example) that Jesus taught.  What Jesus did was show his young son as how a disciple must see self-ego.  As adults they must stay in touch with their inner child and love Jesus the same as his son, as a sign of respect for the name of Jesus.

Jesus chose his son as an example for ALL disciples – then and now – to model.  They ALL have to welcome one another as members of the family that is born of Jesus. Just as John was a youth under training, so too were the disciples.  Being obedient to the commands of Jesus means being obedient to the commands of God; just as Jesus was. It is a Master / servant, symbiotic relationship, built on the foundation of love.  No disciple of Jesus should ever strive to be greater than the Master.  The Master will always support His children that are in the name of Jesus … family.

As the Gospel selection for the eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s personal ministry for the LORD should be underway – one should have ceased trying to make one’s ego larger – the message here is to enlist into the family of God. The higher one strives to become on earth, the further one falls from a place being secured in Heaven.

In this reading from Mark, the changes in the way Jesus told them a second time of his coming death and resurrection offers a blanket observation of those who would “turn him over,” “betray him,” or “deliver him into the hands of men.” This is pointing to the Gentiles, who were then the Romans, but today this is anyone who wishes to kill Jesus as the leader of a religion. While Judas was a disciple that would make those words come true then, today the pews are filled with unsuspecting Judases who talk a good Christian game, but run when anyone questions their knowledge of the Holy Bible. Those betrayers are the same as was Peter, who three times denied knowing anything about Jesus. He betrayed Jesus by throwing him under the bus, because Peter thought he was too adult to be lessened from his delusions of grandeur.

When Mark then wrote, “They did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him,” I imagine there are a GREAT MANY CHRISTIANS that do not understand who John the Gospel writer was. Some confuse him with John the son of Zebedee because he is the only John named as a disciple of Jesus. Matthew and Mark were disciples and they wrote nearly identical Gospels. Luke wrote the remembrances of Mary the mother of Jesus, who shared some events with the disciples, while also having an exclusive familial view of Jesus and his ministry. John was with Jesus before he had any disciples.  He was there when Nicodemus came to visit at night.  However, John is an enigma that so many have been too afraid to ask, “Was John the child of Jesus?”

On my God! If that is so, then there goes the celibacy theme so many Christian monks have sworn vows to defend.

If John is Jesus’ son, then Jesus had a wife!?!? Oh my God! He was like every other Jewish adult male who followed God’s command to go and be fruitful.

Most of Jesus’ life was not written of.  What is unknown is probably a lot like every other Jewish male that is born of a woman.  Therefore, expectations of normal Jewish males would have been the expectations of Jesus … more so when we know his Father would have it no other way.

I once had a parishioner come to my house in a Nicodemian way and confide in me, “Robert, there is no way I could ever tell anyone what you say. It is all so crazy.  No one would believe me.” He could not find anything I said was supported by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (I do not know who this was) … and my church friend thought Bonhoeffer rode the edge of religious reasoning.  No one should ever go beyond his views, he seemed to think.

That man was even a lawyer, like Nicodemus. His good name and reputation depended on his ability to make money off Christians, who all had been taught to believe what someone else said to believe. It was okay to go to the library and find other sources that proved a scholar supported things commonly held dear (even, maybe, slightly different from the norm); but anyone unverifiable must be killed for speaking heresy!!!

That was what happened to Jesus, when he said a few things no one else had ever heard said before. He was turned over into the hands of men who had no relationship with God.

That is still a danger surrounding Jesus today. Too many arguing about who has the greatest Christian mind, based on book sales and television revenues raised (always needing a new private jet to zoom around the world in).

It is important that no one goes around saying, “Robert Tippett said ….” What I see and what I believe is not to be followed, because I see it or I believe it. I tell what I see and believe because I feel a strong need to share that with others. If others cannot see the same things and feel the same way as I do, then I accept that.

The purpose of the Pentecost season is ministry for those who have become servants for God. God speaks and servants do as told, happily … like little children. This is done out of a love relationship.

It is a marriage to God that gives birth to baby Jesus, within an old soul that has been cleansed by the Holy Spirit.  The sinner (the least of humanity) has sought a higher reward than anything found on earth.  The love of God is the repayment plan.  Servitude is the earthly parole from the worldly prison.

The child one welcomes in that marriage to God is Jesus Christ. Jesus tells a minister what to look for and what to find; and that ignites the heart in belief that is personal and solid. It is the meaning of faith, which is beyond standard belief. True Faith is the “Get out of human sinner’s jail” card.   A minister offers that to the world, in service to the Master.

It is just like the commissions of the seventy-two and the twelve. Go out and preach to all who will listen. If anyone tells you, “There is no way I can sacrifice my good reputation by repeating what you say,” then Jesus orders those ministers to kick the dust off their sandals and say as you walk away, “The kingdom of God has come near.”

Jesus Christ is the king of the earthly division of that kingdom; but nary a particle of dust can escape the kingdoms of earth.

Text copyright by Robert Tippett

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Proverbs 31:10-31 – The good wife

A capable wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant,
she brings her food from far away.
She rises while it is still night
and provides food for her household
and tasks for her servant-girls.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength,
and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor,
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
for all her household are clothed in crimson.
She makes herself coverings;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the city gates,
taking his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she supplies the merchant with sashes.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household,
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her happy;
her husband too, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her a share in the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the city gates.

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This is an optional Old Testament selection from the Episcopal Lectionary for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B 2018. In the numbering system that lists each Sunday in an ordinal fashion, this Sunday is referred to as Proper 20. If chosen, it will next be read aloud in an Episcopal church by a reader on Sunday September 23, 2018. It is important because it uses the feminine pronoun “she” and “her” as metaphor for devout human beings (of both genders) being in a committed relationship with God.

There are twenty-two verses in this selection from Proverbs. There are twenty-two letters in the Hebrew alphabet; each verse is marked by a separate letter, from aleph to tav. As such, this Proverb that has some versions of the Holy Bible identify it as “The Virtues of Noble Woman” or “The Wife of Noble Character” can be seen (somewhat) as the ‘A to Z’ of those virtuous character traits. Still, the letters bear the symbolism of their numerical numbering, from 1 to 22; and in Hebrew each number has its own symbolic meaning, which cannot be overlooked.

I welcome the reader to search the Internet for this symbolic meaning for oneself. Here is a link to one site that offers such opinion on this (Spiritual Meanings of the Hebrew Alphabet Letters). I will not be going into this aspect of this Proverb of Solomon; but it has to be recognized as present and that presence has intended meaning.

As to the summation that Solomon wrote about the qualities possessed by the perfect wife, it is easy to be misled, knowing the attraction that Solomon had to women. Having become known as having had seven hundred wives and princesses, plus three hundred concubines, one could then assume that this Proverb is based on Solomon having gotten to know many wives, concluding these are the best traits. Still, after getting to know one thousand ladies up close and personal, Solomon coming up with only twenty virtues of wives would seem to be based on the most repetitious traits he liked. However, that opinion of the noble character of a wife, or even of the concept of “woman” in general, is not the point of this writing.

One has to see that wise ole Solomon wrote this Proverb, even though he might have been smiling about all the women he knew while writing it, as a vehicle of Yahweh.  The true source of this wisdom was from God, flowing through Solomon’s hands as he wrote. These words of Proverbs 31 have a divine origin, with a spiritual meaning intended to be found.  There is nothing to be found in the Holy Bible that is mundane human opinion.

In the modern times, when human gender became a matter to protest publicly, there will certainly be women sitting in the pews who scoff at such male chauvinistic views as had Solomon. I doubt female priests will write lengthy sermons about this reading selection, unless driven by personal agendas that would misuse it to promote same-sex marriage between two women.  Such views as promoted wives being subservient to their husbands, as is still prevalent in Muslim culture, is now seen in the West as having set womanhood back thousands of years.  Still, that is the human opinion of divine writings misunderstood. The true meaning has to do with this writing being about the perfect servant to the Lord, where all the feminine pronoun usage points to Man (which includes woman).

I have written about this repeatedly, where those who want to achieve Heaven must submit to God and become His wife. This has absolutely nothing to do with human gender. No human being is going to know God through his or her sexual organs. God did not care what type of women floated Solomon’s boat; but He made it be known what a true servant of the Lord will do.

This translation is not completely accurate, throughout this long song; so I will not be spending thousands of words correcting those mistakes.  To give one example, the translation of “jewels” comes from “mip·pə·nî·nîm,” which could be shown to state “rubies, corals, or pearls.” To read “jewels” then leaves it up to the women who look for their value in huge diamonds placed into fine gold engagement rings. From that speculation, a verse focused on “capability” (from “ḥa·yil,” also read as “virtue”) is reduced to a value that crawls along the material plane, missing the spirituality of this wisdom.

From one example, I am not about to correct all the errors of a translation that begins with a premise (a preconception) that Solomon was giving guys advice on how to find the right girl, and in the process putting the seed of thought into the minds of girls that a good wife dotes on her husband … for trinkets.  Everything that leans in that direction is wrong.

I wonder which ones have the Holy Spirit talents in them? No shaking before opening!

This song must be read as God speaking to YOU, whoever YOU are – male, female, or child [neuter gender]. YOU have to know what God requires in His wives, regardless of what sex organs God gave you, and regardless of what other human beings make your sex organ tingle with delight. As such, YOU are “She” and “her.” YOU have to see that.

We call God the Father, despite how many women’s rights freaks try to twist that masculine principle into a misconception that promotes people should think, “God can also be a Mother.” That is false.

“God” means Masculine. “Goddess” means feminine. God is not a goddess, just as man is not a woman. There can still be equality in inequality.  Equality is complimentary.  As such, the Earth is the goddess who received God as her husband and gave birth to bags of dirt that were filled with souls. God, therefore, is the Father of life on Earth, with all life (as we know it) having Earth as its Mother.

So it is written:

I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals.  Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless.  All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.  Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?’” (Ecclesiastes 3:18-21)

Nope. Just a bag of dust struck by lightning.

When one realizes how Jesus said, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate,” (Matthew 19:6) this means the feminine of the Earth Mother is the flesh of a human body that has become one with God the Father via a soul of life being present in that flesh. It is the human equivalent of DNA, where a child is the combination of two parents that cannot be separated. Simply because of this reasoning, ALL human being bodies of flesh are feminine. Since that means we human beings are all ‘girls’ here, we are all potential “wives” to God.

That is all I have to say. I recommend each reader to go to the Bible Hub Interlinear website (here) and slowly read what was written, and investigate the full breadth of meaning each word contains. See if YOU can see yourself as meeting all these noble characteristics.

Take note that the second verse (the Beith letter verse) speaks of a husband’s heart having full trust in his wife. This is the love one has to have, in order to have a proposal of marriage made and be accepted. Love is the attraction that is essential. Therefore, the beith symbolism is: “The beginning of duality, with the One Creator bringing forth a created world.”

Two have cleaved together to make one, through love.

This is the result.

If one does not have a true love of God in one’s heart, one is not good wife material for Him. If YOU can feel this love, then take the time to see how the wisdom of Solomon used the next twenty verses to spell out what “She” (YOU) does for God.

With love, the work that comes from being in love with God becomes a joy.  It is the works of an Apostle.

Text copyright by Robert Tippett

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Mark 8:27-38 – Being taught to make a choice

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

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This is the Gospel selection from the Episcopal Lectionary for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B 2018. In the numbering system that lists each Sunday in an ordinal fashion, this Sunday is referred to as Proper 19. It will next be read aloud in an Episcopal church by a priest on Sunday September 16, 2018. It is important because Jesus taught his followers not to be swayed by outside influences, but to stand firm with the confidence that God will bring what is needed at the time of need.

The setting for this reading, as subsequent to the time Jesus and his disciples spent in Tyre and Sidon (last Sunday’s Mark 7 reading) is after they had traveled to Jerusalem for the Shavuot Festival and then returned north to Galilee. Having again encountered the Pharisees and refusing their demand for a sign that would prove Jesus’ divine authority, he returned to Bethsaida. From there, Jesus took his followers north, to Caesarea Philippi, in Gaulanitis (the Golan Heights). That is about twenty-five miles north of the Sea of Galilee, at the foot of Mount Hermon. That was the high mountain of the Transfiguration (Mark 9).

When we read, “Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi,” it should be recognized that the plural word “villages” (from “kōmas”) implies the group traveled over a number of days. If they traveled along the Jordan River, a village was near Lake Semechonitis (Hulah Lake), with a few in the bend in the river, to the west of Caesarea Philippi (Daphne being the closest). It might be that Jesus obtained supplies, including ropes, tents and warm clothing (rentals possibly), in preparation for his ascent on Mount Hermon, which maintains snow on its peaks most of the year. Since Jesus would only take Peter, James and John of Zebedee with him on the ascent, the remainder of his followers would have set up a ‘base camp’ near Caesarea Philippi.

When we read, “On the way [Jesus] asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” this would imply he was referring to the people in the villages of Galilee, Phoenicia and Gaulanitis.  They had a fresh opinion of Jesus, since this was not a region that Jesus had traveled into before in his ministry. Certainly, Jesus would have sought out scattered Israelites and Jews to speak with while in the Jordan River villages; but his miracles were low-key, if at all. This would mean his question was not to ask if he was doing all he could to keep the crowds coming, but to see what the people were saying when only seeing Jesus as an obvious leader of a religious ‘entourage’.

The question asked by Jesus actually uses the Greek word “legousin,” which literally says “do pronounce,” but implies “What conclusions do the people draw about me?” The answers given by the disciples of Jesus should be accepted as truthful, based on what specific guesses they had heard the people venture.  Based on the responses that are written, the ideas of the descendants of Israel that came to mind were to associate Jesus with other great names in the history of Judaic holy men.

For someone to say “John the Baptist,” this would either be mistaking Jesus as the zealot who called for the sins of Jews to be bathed away in the waters of the Jordan River, or the assumption that the spirit of John had possessed Jesus.  Possibly, the association of the recently dead John to Jesus, when they both lived as contemporaries, was that Jesus had risen to lead John’s disciples after his execution, as a disciple of John assuming the lead. That would be representative of others seeing Jesus as the rebellious ‘wildcat’ that rejected the establishment of Jerusalem.

To then say “others” thought Jesus was Elijah, the most important prophet of Israelite fame, who ascension to heaven without dying, leading to the belief that Elijah would return “before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD” (Malachi 4:5), as a harbinger of the coming Messiah, meant that some believed Jesus was a divine human prophet. Still, there were those who mentioned other great prophets of Israel and Judah, which means they thought Jesus was in touch with God, as another example of prophets past.

All of that opinion was the product of a brain trying to make sense of someone who had come into their world making an impact like none prior.  Their opinions had been based solely on seeing Jesus, without knowing him.  Their opinions were like those of an audience who sees a star’s performance, but never goes backstage; they never do the work of a ‘roadie’ or see the star as human like they are.  Therefore, the people are more apt to place people they barely know on pedestals, unlike those who have a closer relationship: family and friends.

This is the reason we read that Jesus asked, “But who do you say that I am?”  The disciples (and other followers) were those who saw Jesus eat, get angry at fig trees, and hold hands with Mary Magdalene.  Jesus wanted them to state their opinion of him, while it should be realized how Jesus knew the hearts and minds of his disciples and family.  Jesus knew in his soul that none of them (including Simon-Peter) felt they were smarter than those whose conclusions had been overheard or voiced to them directly.

Jesus was asking his followers, “When you hear these wild guesses, do you counter them with an opinion of your own?”

This is where one needs to cue the soundbite of crickets chirping.

When reading the translation above that says, “Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah,’” this is misleading.  It gives the impression that Peter immediately stood up and answered Jesus.  That is wrong, as one should pause when reading, between question and answer.  The brain wheels were whirring, but no one was speaking; until Peter spoke up.

The verse (9b) literally states, “Answering  ,  the one Peter concluded to him  ,  You are the Christ  .” The separation of the Greek word “Apokritheis” as a one-word statement (of importance due to capitalization) says, “Taking up the conversation.”  This means Jesus did not ask anyone specifically, when he said “You” (capitalized “Hymeis“), understood to capture the plural number.  It was a question for all to answer, as “Who do each of You say I am?”

As such, no one wanted to be the first to answer. This was because all were filled with doubts as to how to answer the question. The question asked by Jesus was followed by a pause of silence, when no one was bold enough to speak. Also, the Greek word “legei” is stating that Peter brought the pregnant pause to “closure” by speaking.

The reason it is so vital to see the presence of an extended pause being the immediate response, prior to Peter speaking, is that is points out the disciples had surrendered their egos in order to follow Jesus. They were too timid to speak for self, including Simon-Peter. That pause meant they were prepared to receive the Holy Spirit, when the time was right.

It means that Peter did not speak from his brain when he said, “You are the Messiah.” He spoke because the Holy Spirit of God flowed through him, “commanding” (a viable translation of legei) those words be spoken, as the disciples needed to hear it said aloud.  Still, none of them was thinking that.  Peter did not speak from his brain, but from his heart.  They all felt the same way

When we read, “[Jesus] sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him,” this was because such a suggestion is not to be told to anyone.  Jesus did not want a promotional department going into towns before his appearances, using the powers of suggestion that the people needed to see “The Greatest Prophet on Earth!”  Jesus warned his family and friends that it is up to each individual to come to that conclusion spiritually.

In other words, Jesus gave a rebuke of his disciples (as a lesson preparing them to become Apostles) to never tell anyone, “believe my words – Jesus is the Christ,” because people believing what others tell them to believe are defeating the purpose of God sending His Savior. That was sternly stated by Jesus to his students.

Think about that for a moment … silently.

In case anyone is struggling with the concept of Peter speaking via the Holy Spirit, from God flowing through his heart to his mind, the next segment of verses points out just how Peter’s human brain worked. That which follows points out how Simon-Peter was the self-proclaimed lead disciple. After all, Simon, son of Jonah, had been one of John the Baptist’s disciples that switched over to following Jesus.  So (like Farmers insurance) he knew a thing or two. That reasoning power is where age and wisdom can fail those who put their trust in a Big Brain, rather than the One God.

We read, “Then [Jesus] began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly.”

The Greek word “didaskein” is translated as “to teach,” but the root “didaskó” has more merit as “direct,” as Jesus “imparting knowledge.”  That means his lesson was less about “teaching” and more about preparing them for the future.  To know what is coming, before one sees the future be up close and personal as the present, prepares one to be forewarned, thus forearmed.

In that regard, the mention of “the Son of Man,” which (as “Huion tou anthrōpou”) actually states “the Son [the one] of man,” is preparing ALL DISCIPLES OF JESUS to become the Son (Jesus Christ) reincarnated as a human being. Jesus “said all this quite openly,” where “openly” (“parrésia”) means with great “confidence.”  That certainty was because Jesus knew he had to die first, before the Christ Spirit could return (released through death – as everlasting life) in Apostles.

It must have been difficult for those brains to stay focused after Jesus said he had to be killed.  They obviously missed hearing, “after three days rise again.”  They had no idea that “rise again” would mean forty days of serious spiritual teaching – their final exam prep – sitting with the risen Lord before he Ascended into heaven the day before Pentecost … returning to rise again in them the next day.  Thus, Jesus taught (subliminally) how the future would bring about an unlimited number of reborn Jesuses into the world, including eleven of the twelve disciples being guided to that end that day.

It was a lesson to be grasped in hindsight.

When we then read, “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him,” this response is in contrast to Peter speaking out for the twelve, which he had done not long before. Instead of openly showing himself as the leader of the followers of Jesus, he “took Jesus aside.” That act should be read as if he thought of himself as an elder, if not an equal to Jesus.  Remember, Peter knew some things … he thought.

A private conversation symbolizes the whispers of influence that are designed to gain control of one’s thinking and gently motivate one to do differently that one had initially planned. To “rebuke” Jesus meant Peter was warning Jesus.  Simon-Peter was a student speaking to his master in the same manner of sternness that Jesus had used to warn the disciple not to tell anyone to believe Jesus was the Messiah.

What had gotten into Peter?!?!

We are told, when Jesus said to Simon-Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” Peter was then being influenced by the opposite Spirit of God. He had not long before been motivated by God to speak up for the hearts of all the disciples. Now, however, he was being led to speak like the serpent in Eden or Satan when he appeared to Jesus in the wilderness.

Peter was suddenly overtaken by the Big Brain, when he thought he could rebuke the Son of God.  [Remember, he had just announced Jesus as the Messiah.]

Whereas Simon-Peter was a blank slate that spoke for the disciples as channeling God’s Holy Spirit, he then had become a blank slate that was being possessed by the mind of Judas Iscariot, whose thoughts against what Jesus was saying were being manifest through the self-proclaimed leader of the disciples.  God (and thus Jesus) knew the heart and mind of Judas.  However, God would not expose Judas in that setting, because Judas was only a disciple for one purpose; being an example for a teacher to make a point with, about being led by Satan, while instructing students in a camp near Caesarea Philippi was not the right time.

Poor Simon-Peter.

When Jesus then said to Simon-Peter, “You are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things,” that was a continuation of the teaching that Jesus was giving to his followers. Where God had previously used Simon-Peter to demonstrate complete faith, through the sacrifice of self-ego, God then used Peter as an example of one who was not so self-sacrificing, instead holding dear to a plan to use Jesus for selfish rewards. Simon-Peter was not actually led by Satan, but by God, to show the disciples that Satan indeed sat in their midst. While that day it was Judas Iscariot, at all times Satan could be called out in anyone who “set their minds on human things” (i.e.: those who love the Big Brain).

When we then read, “He called the crowd with his disciples,” the “crowd” (from “ochlon”) is reference to “the people” that regularly followed Jesus (primarily family), but were not officially students of his teachings. In an encampment set up in Gaulanitis, there were no “common people” from the nearby villages that were there. By Jesus then saying, “If any want to become my followers,” that was addressing the general premise that all who were there considered themselves “Jesus followers.” Still, the translation is misleading, as the literal states, “If anyone desires after me to come,” which is less about walking “behind” Jesus, because “desires” is used more as a statement of “faith to come after Jesus.”  Jesus based that word’s use on heart-centered devotion, which was the prerequisite teaching demanded to surpass the troubling times ahead.

Jesus then taught all who had followed him to the camp in Caesarea Philippi, “let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” That was basically the same ‘three step’ approach that Jesus told the young rich ruler (the Pharisee that probably was Nicodemus): Obey the Law; sell your possessions and give the profits to the poor; and follow me. The difference was the Pharisee had not been following the Law, whereas the followers of Jesus were; Jesus was the embodiment of God’s Law. Therefore, the three steps were: 1.) Deny your self-ego – let it die – so you don’t have any problem with trading it in for eternal life; 2.) Raise up the stake that keeps your soul from dragging in the gutter [translated as “take up your cross”] by giving the talents of the Holy Spirit to those who do not have it [the “profits” to be given to “the poor”]; and 3.) Follow Jesus by being reborn as Jesus Christ.

When Jesus said, “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it,” this, again, is reference to sacrifice of self-ego. If one refuses to sacrifice all that self-importance has brought one in the material world (as the young rich ruler walked away from Jesus, ashamed that he could not assure himself of heaven), all one can ever gain is the illusion of the temporary. However, if one sacrifices the self and becomes completely subservient to God’s Will, then the soul will be saved.

It is important to note that the translation states, “for the sake of the gospel,” which should not be read as modern Christians hear the word and assume a capital “G” is applied. Jesus spoke the word that in Greek is “euangeliou,” which means “good news.” It should be noted that the Gospels were written books of the Apostles, not the disciples. All of the New Testament is writings by those filled with the Holy Spirit, who sacrificed their self-egos to be reborn as Jesus Christ. They all proclaim that, such that THAT IS THE GOSPEL. This has to be understood as the meaning of Jesus’ word usage. The “good news” is every soul can find eternal life, from allowing Jesus to be reborn into oneself.

For Jesus to then ask, “For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?” those questions place focus on lifting up one’s being, by the sacrifice of ego. The young rich ruler had profited from leading other Jews to enslavement to the law (lawyers always profit from the miseries of others), without offering a peep of advice on how to avoid lawyers AND misery [i.e.: giving others good news for free]. Simply because there are laws, lawyers are given the world by those who want to follow the Law, but find that an impossible task. When they have been given the whole world of material possessions, what can they give in return for one saved soul – one’s own?

Hint: Money can’t buy that.

This reading then ends with Jesus saying, “Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” The embarrassment comes from being “ashamed” of taking on the name Jesus Christ, giving up one’s given name. This is how one is afraid of being seen in public speaking the meaning of Scripture, when no one else says those things.

The reason is the one speaking is the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ within a human body that looks nothing like Jesus. The fear comes from watching the persecution of Jesus Christ, just like Saul held the coats of those stoning Jesus Christ to death, because Jesus then looked like Saint Stephen. Stephen was not ashamed to proclaim the “gospel,” just as Jesus of Nazareth had done.  All Apostles speak up as Jesus Christ, because the world will always be full of sinful people worshiping all the gods that pander to selfish gains.  If fear keeps one from becoming Jesus Christ, one bows to Satan, not God. Only those bowing to God, having been reborn as Jesus Christ, are going to see the glory of the Father with the holy angels.

As the Gospel selection for the seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s personal ministry for the LORD should be underway – one has sacrificed one’s self-ego and become a lifted up stake upon which the true vine bearing fruit in the name of Jesus Christ is raised – the message here is to realize one must walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.  That means announcing to the seekers of the world, “The Kingdom of God has come near.”  That announcement is done through righteous deeds, more than talking of one’s holiness.

When I mentioned earlier about the use of “the gospel” in this reading, it needs to be addressed how the use of “stauron” translates as “cross.” This too should not be read (or heard) as if with capitalized importance (as “THE Cross of Jesus”), because a cross is simply a + or a T or an X configuration, as two lines intersecting (usually forming right angles). In vineyards a “stauron” is simply an “upright stake” that the grapevines are strung upon, which keeps them off the ground. That is how this should be read.

When Mark wrote (Mark the writer for Simon-Peter’s Gospel), “undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again,” there was no mention of crucifixion or being killed on a cross. In fact, Roman execution by crucifixion was not a typical form of execution for ‘white collar criminals’, such as Jesus would deserve. Hanging a criminal on a cross was more typically ordered for rebels and those caught committing crimes against Romans. Despite Jesus saying he would “undergo great suffering” and “be killed,” it would not have been thought to be by the hands of the Romans, but by the Sanhedrin, by stoning to death. Thus, for Jesus to be heard demanding his followers “lift up their cross” that was not a statement that the disciples should be prepared to carry large wooden timbers, as a T-shaped crucifix, from a Roman prison in Jerusalem to the place of the skull.

For Christians to not be given these clarification and to let them hear “take up you cross and bear it,” few will be scared into action, simply because there are no longer executions by hanging criminals on crosses. Criminals have little to worry about in Western nations, because the people are too afraid to allow their governments to execute one.  Therefore, such a catchphrase has little meaning.

While bearing a cross does speak of the responsibility of living an upright life, keeping the fruit of the true vine from the ground, as long as Jesus is seen as a spirit sitting on a throne at the right hand of God, who will come again sometime later … well then. There is still time to carry on business as usual, right?

The mark of Cain could be his refusal to listen to God telling him, “If you keep wallowing on the ground, then the influence of evil will take hold of you.”  The mark is then the human addiction to the dirt bags that are temporary bodies given live by a reincarnated soul.  The mark is the love of self-birth, not the sacrifice of self to be reborn as Jesus Christ, standing tall, having been cleansed of sins by the Holy Spirit.  Is not the mark of Cain the possession of a Big Brain that listens to the influences of evil, denying God?

These three remembrances of Simon-Peter, recorded by Mark, are read together for a purpose. The purpose is they all link together to paint a picture of two alternatives: follow the influence of God or follow the influence of Satan.

God spoke through Peter, who like all the disciples of Jesus had been taught by Jesus by observation, watching him destroy the reasoning of the ruling elite of Jerusalem. What they thought was the meaning of Mosaic Law was proved time and again to be different than their brains had been led to believe. They had become obedient to the Word of God that came to them through Jesus and their egos had taken a backseat to Jesus, as students who thirsted for his knowledge. That is the model of ALL Apostles-to-be.

When Simon-Peter acted in a selfish way, rebuking Jesus for telling them he would be suffering and killed, Jesus called him Satan. That was the influence that would dare to speak out against the teacher. As wise and experienced as Peter thought he was, he knew nothing when he depended on a human brain, turning away from the Word of God. Because Peter was shown as a reflection of the intellectual disciple – Judas Iscariot – Peter represented how easy it is for those with good intentions to be led astray. The same can be said of Christians today. To covet one’s brain is to deny God and serve another master.

When Jesus called all his followers to listen carefully, he told them that they have to choose one master over the other. There can be no compromise. Jesus did not just call his disciples to hear that warning, as if only ministers, pastors, priests and preachers (and all their superiors) have to make such a choice.  It goes for everyone that calls him or herself Christian.  The warning was, is and will always be: Following Jesus does not mean putting a sticker on your car or a crucifix on your wall.

There is nothing about a crucifix that is part of this decision, although one’s self-ego needs to be sacrificed. You cannot hang a soul on a tree.  One cannot become Jesus reborn when one still wants to keep the family name. All the comforts and privilege of a name, race, creed, and national origin has to be sacrificed.  One’s opinion amounts to little more than wild guesses.

In this regard, one should look at how Saul changed his name to Paul. He was not embarrassed to be in the name of Jesus Christ; but he could no longer be the person he was when he had no heart – only brain. He took on a name that was better fitting the Jesus Christ he had become.

The same decision must be made by all Christians, realizing this is an individual responsibility, not a collective. No one can save a soul by words, signs, sprinkles, or smoke waved around.  A life in the name of Jesus Christ means great suffering, and rejection by the establishment, who will seek to silence all who threaten their positions of wealth and power.  One must be taught the expectations and consequences, in preparation for making life altering decisions.

Only the one possessing the soul can do that.  No one can make the decision for anyone other than him or herself.  To do that, then one must choose to marry God and give birth to His Son in one’s body.

Then it is time to start walking in the sandals of Jesus Christ.

Text copyright by Robert Tippett

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James 3:1-12 – Unbridled teachers of truth

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.

How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue– a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

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This is the Epistle selection from the Episcopal Lectionary for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B 2018. In the numbering system that lists each Sunday in an ordinal fashion, this Sunday is referred to as Proper 19. It will next be read aloud in an Episcopal church by a reader on Sunday September 16, 2018. It is important because James told how Christianity spread rapidly through Apostles being sent out as teachers, with God-given tongues of fire.

Twice in the verses of this selected reading, James wrote “adelphoi,” which means “brothers.” There are 145 occurrences of this usage in all the New Testament. While it is easy to stick one’s Big Brained head in the sand and deny “brothers” actually means “brothers,” and that must be understood, the modern tendency is to screw the Holy Spirit inspired writers of those books and act as god almighty (lower case purposefully written, to denote the smallness of this) and bless all womankind by changing the text to say, “brothers and sisters.”  That is missing the purpose of “brothers” being written.

The purpose is for an Apostle to address ALL OTHER APOSTLES as the sons of God (therefore, “brothers” in the name of Jesus Christ). This, undoubtedly included women, and the female Apostles back in the days of James knew that. Therefore, changing holy text for political correctness today speaks loudly as saying, “There are no longer any Apostles, so it is best not to piss off the women here, since that is where all the church’s donations come from.”

Re-painting the Last Supper to meet new standards of acceptance.

That is not a good place to be!

Please write that down somewhere and memorize it. “Brothers” is like me saying “married to God” and Christians are “the wives of God.” That has absolutely nothing to do with human sexuality, so one’s genitalia are inconsequential. A wife to God becomes completely subservient to the husband’s commands. James meant no harm to the female of Judaism and they who were truly Christian (reborn as Jesus Christ – a male Spirit) took no offense.  I imagine some version of political correctness existed in 30 A.D., but James was not writing to meet their needs.

This is the message James began this reading with: “Not many of you should become teachers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” It implies that Apostles would rather not be a male and refer to other males as the wives of God, just like they would shy away from calling women Christians “brothers.” It becomes like the chorus of a Dave Matthews song: So much to say.

Actually, the literal translation of verse one says, “Not often teachers become  ,  brothers ourselves  ,  knowing what greater judgment we will receive  .” This is not a statement by James that Apostles “should not become teachers,” based on the “condemnations that will come,” as lawsuits and sentences, but quite the opposite. Apostles must teach, so there is no choice in the matter. Few, however, would be recognized as official “rabbis” by the Jewish communities. Instead of expectations of wearing special robes and being invited to speak in beautiful synagogues, Apostles would be called to teach wherever God would open their mouths, because a seeker of truth was near.

When James then clarified this by stating, “For all of us make many mistakes,” it means that that it is impossible for God to err, and His Son will never speak anything but the truth. What James was pointing out was the imperfection that is the human form of an Apostle, which makes all of them come from a background of mistakes (i.e.: sinners). God does not marry wives and expect them to become Him reborn. God does not fill the mouths of His wives that bear His Son in another human body at all times. Apostles will return to being normal human beings when they are not teaching for the Father, which lets them all know just how blessed they are to be married to God. His “greater judgment” will keep the mistakes minimal and the ones that sneak in from time to time will be forgiven through penitence.

Still, God and Christ are perfect.  They come to help those who make mistakes.

James then used the analogy of a bridle in a horse’s mouth, which says that God does not control the human brains and force humans to do anything against their will.

So, if everyone agrees, this will be the bridle that will guide you.

As such, true Christians are not made to preach God’s Word as beasts of burden. True Christians are not tamed by God, having been caught unwillingly, corralled in schools of teaching, and then saddled with the burden of riding children around in circles all day long, before being given a bale of hay to munch on.

Apostles want God to lead their lives.  They find great joy arises within them when they experience God flowing through their being, speaking the words of Jesus Christ through their lips.  Apostles have never been trained in the meanings of Scripture they speak, yet they take delight in completely understanding everything coming out of their mouths.

Likewise, James used the analogy of a ship, which are mechanical devices built by man to serve commercial needs. The larger a ship is the more commerce it allows.  All ships have relatively small rudders, which are controlled by just one man. Apostles are not built and used as vehicles of transport that are to be piloted by God. As to size, human beings can deliver the messages of God in small packages, so the size of the Christian (or the human gender) is unimportant. The pilot of a Christian is greater than the size of the Christian, as God is immeasurable. The rudder being steered is Jesus Christ.  Combined, they act to guide where the ship goes.  Still, the ship itself is made for a worldly existence and steered by the wrong pilot can sink on unseen rocks.

Oooops.

When James wrote, “the tongue is a fire,” which has to be recognized as the story in Acts of the first Apostles having the Holy Spirit descend upon them. They began to speak automatically, in foreign languages they had never been taught. The words that came out of their mouths were then spread to listening pilgrims in Jerusalem.  Just as suddenly, three thousand believers became Apostles set afire with the Holy Spirit. They were like a forest “set ablaze by a small fire” of twelve.

The “fire” is the truth of the Word, from which comes the light and warmth that Scripture contains. The Holy Bible, as was the Torah then, is a forest of words that the Holy Spirit can set ablaze in the teacher each Apostles holds within – Jesus Christ.  Anyone can navigate the words on a page, but it takes an higher power to ignite one to speak in tongues of fire.

The translation that reads, “The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity” is wrong and confusing. Verse six literally begins by stating: “And the tongue afire  ,  the world that is unrighteous  .” That says the Holy Spirit speaks the truth to the unrighteous so they can hear the truth be told. The verse then continues to state: “The tongue is set among the members of us  ,  people defiling all the body  ,  and setting on fire the course this of lineage  ,  and set on fire by what is hell  .

Whoever can give a blessing to mass murder must daily live in a fiery hell of existence.

This series of segments says (paraphrasing): Apostles are given tongues of fire to go forth into a world that is filled with iniquities, one not knowing the truth of the Word. Apostles of God who go forth and speak the truth are set among other Apostles who support those ministries. Together, they open the eyes of those who are defiling their bodies and thus their souls, offering them the cleansing of the Holy Spirit’s baptism by spiritual fire. Apostles speak the truth so the course of their souls can be changed from sinner to Saint, becoming part of the “brothers” of Jesus Christ. The alternative is to remain in the fiery hell their souls are already amidst.

When James wrote, “no one can tame the tongue– a restless evil, full of deadly poison,” the implication is that the “tongue” is the body part that inner spirits love to gain control over. This is confirming what Jesus told the Pharisees, who complained about his disciples not following the laws of handwashing. When Jesus said, “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them” (Matthew 15:11) the “tongue” is the member that speaks for what controls one’s soul.  Inner demons use the tongue to be defiled by deadly poison.

James is then saying that God comes from the “tongues” set afire in His Apostles, acting as a counter to the “restless evil” that controls the unrighteous. The “deadly poison” they spew is the death sentence they have set upon their own souls.  That poison is from self-ego, doing self-harm, more than the damage they could possibly do to anyone else already mortally dead. The “tongues” of Apostles is then the remedy that offers them the cure for their poison.

This opposition of tongues speaking for inner controlling forces is then stated by James as: “With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.”

This makes better sense when one realizes the pause (a comma) after “and we curse those [men],” where the translation omits the word “men” or “others” (from “anthrōpous“).   As such, the focus is on the “men” cursed, as  “those” who are unrighteous, led by “a restless evil.” Following that pause, “those” cursed are the ones “who are made in the likeness of God,” as false shepherds. Their “resemblances” (from “homoiōsin“) of holiness are the robes they wear that advertise them as holy teachers; but their tongues say otherwise. Therefore, it is from those mouths that comes forth both blessings and curses.

James then addressed his fellow “brothers,” saying this split personality ought not to be. It confuses those who are seeking the truth, when the message they teach is: “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Such contradiction was then stated as comparisons of impossibility, when James wrote, “Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? Can a fig tree, yield olives, or a grapevine figs?”  The obvious answer says, “No more can salt water yield fresh.”

It must be grasped that James was not saying Apostles speak in such contradictory terms; as the message is how to tell those who speak the truth of God and those who speak as if in possession of intellectual prowess.  The focus was placed on those who are bad teachers.

As the Epistle selection for the seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for the LORD should be underway – one’s tongue is on fire with the truth of God – the message here is how to measure the impact of teachers (rabbis, pastors, priests, ministers, and preachers). True teachers have tongues of fire that ignite the passion of the Holy Spirit in those who hear them speak. True teachers spread a forest fire of faith that can only be stopped by a lack of seekers of truth. Others are those who speak out of both sides of their mouths, blessing those who sin and condemning those who do not like those blessings.

The spread of Christianity has turned from a forest fire of faith to sporadic burning embers here and there.

Gone are the days when twelve men could stand before a flood of religious pilgrims and speak the truth in such a way that many lives were instantly changed. The seekers of truth have changed into cults of personality worship. We give our blessings to politicians that then go condemn whole swaths of citizenry, those innocent beings that do not swear allegiance to the same philosophies.  The tendency now is to want the laws changed and to demand freedom be given … to allow the masses to determine what should be held near and dear. Today there is a restless evil that prevails.

Rather than be bridled by the Laws of Moses, our government has set many free to roam as wild horses, while jamming the bridle of government laws into the mouths of those broken and tamed.  Many are made the beasts of burden to laws that call the minority’s rights superior to the majority’s reasoning, based on religion having been the way of the land.

Rather than be a ship built for a specific purpose and given pre-planned routes of transportation, we have surgically removed the rudder of Christianity from Western nations.  Now, what was expected has become chaos.  The laws of nations cause many to circle aimlessly and carelessly steer on to collision courses, with no pilots capable of steering the ship to safety.

We now bless iniquity and curse goodness.  What was known is questionable.  What was up is now down.  What was elemental has become complicated.

This Epistle focuses on teaching, accompanying two Old Testament readings that tell of the goddess of wisdom and marriage to the Lord God as the influences that teach the teachers. Apostles choose the later, while all others choose the former. This leads into a Gospel lesson from Mark, where Jesus taught of the responsibility of following in his footsteps. James, the brother of Jesus, who was reborn as Jesus Christ, becoming a brother to all Apostles, knew firsthand the difference between acting holy and being righteous. His words still speak loudly today.

We all are born human, thus we all make mistakes. No one is going to bridle us with laws that will transform the flawed into perfection. Still, we know that God is perfection. It is then up to each individual to give of themselves to God, requesting that He become one with him or her, so that God’s perfection can be a fire renewed on the earthly plane.

The perfection that comes from a tongue of fire is Jesus Christ. God will not force His Son upon anyone. To be an Apostle of Christ, one must desire God first and foremost in one’s life.

Text copyright by Robert Tippett

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