18I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, 19and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? 23For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 2:18-23 English Standard Version
In the past those who sought to build a legacy for themselves and for their gods built physical structures as their contribution of worship that would outlast them for what may have felt like the foreseeable future. Often times these people themselves were considered to be their god’s exclusive representative on earth. Such was the case with Roman Emperors and Egyptian Pharaohs. When this thinking passed into Christianity, the apostles were considered God’s representatives, Peter being chief among them. For centuries the heirs of the apostles ruled together in relative peace over the body of Christ as the Church Fathers but when Peter’s successor claimed dominance over them all, the church split into East and West. During this time the old ways of the god’s representatives building structures of worship to the gods for their legacy re-entered the body of Christ. It resulted in the building of Cathedrals and monuments to God who, frankly, didn’t ask for His legacy to be built with sticks and stones. Some recognised this as foolishness and so insisted rather that God’s legacy was the people within the church and therefore the organisation of those people called the Church. This enshrined theological treatises, and legal codes of conduct that eventually came to characterise whole governments as God’s lasting legacy on earth. Like it or not, this is where we currently find ourselves in the 21st century–still believing that God’s legacy and, therefore, our inheritance, is wrapped up in the nations; in a word–power.
Can this be true? Does the legacy of the King of Kings hinge on the conduct of the governments of earth acknowledging His existence and therefore His political power to be exercised through His children who have inherited the birth right of that power? This seems like a resurgence of the pagan kingdom’s theology which we find recorded in the scriptures. An apparent cycle of representatives narrowing their rule to exclusivity and building massive structures to draw more people into the worship of the god whom they represent which may or may not characterise the God of the Bible. Is there a better way? Is our inheritance so feeble that to give up political power would be the proverbial selling of our birth right for a bowl of lentils? I think not.
We who claim the Scriptures as our source one of confirmed revelation from God know that the Scriptures have plenty to say about our inheritance and that none of what it says characterises the capricious flow of earthly political power. The adjectives used to describe God’s legacy are as follows: imperishable, unspoiled, unfading, reserved. By contrast here is an example of how the Word describes the brevity of life and His control over it.
15As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.
Psalm 103:15-16 ESV
He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;
Daniel 2:21 ESV
Do we have understanding? There is no legacy for us here on earth. Nothing that continues much the same as it was. All is changing including the times and the seasons. One day is hotter or colder than the next. One year full of storms and destruction and another full of gentler weather. The sun rises every day yet at a different time and falls again at a different time every night. One eon is full of war, pestilence and grief and another of peace, health and prosperity. Legacy by contrast speaks of unchanging transcendence that is present from the moment it is created it to the moment all things collapse into nothingness. In that vein let us continue the Psalms passage.
17But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, 18to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. 19The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.
Psalm 103:17-19 ESV
To claim to have any kind of legacy here on earth is to deny what we have just learned. The only one with true legacy is God. These truths set us up to explore how the Scriptures describe God directing the kingdoms of the earth.
The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.
Proverbs 21:1 NIV
Judging from this verse and the one above from the book of Daniel, does it seem like God’s legacy is at stake when Christians are not in political power? Does the channel of water, even the people of God as His beloved children, have any say as to where we are channelled? Or does God pull the levers that redirect the flow of water in His fields that gives water to another part and redirects it away from another? He is the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. The Master whose house we are building and whose fields we are tending; the house being the people of God and the field being the World. Our inheritance as the people of God is the righteousness that comes from Christ which is itself imperishable, unspoiled, unfading, and reserved for us in Heaven. He has extended this towards all people and their children and their children’s children.
Salvation effectively tears down all earthly kingdoms, not to set up a singular earthly kingdom where God is the King and we are His earthly subjects but where the benefits of citizenship to God’s Spiritual Kingdom extend to all humanity over the whole face of the earth regardless of political makeup. He moves people across seemingly impossible boundaries because, in actuality, those boundaries are not recognised in God’s Kingdom. He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous because there has never been a government nor will their be who can prevent it and believe me, we would if we could! He extends freedom to the captive, sight to the blind, and peace to the possessed at great personal cost to those who by virtue of exploiting those people for money reject His legacy and Kingdom in favour of building their own. This is the lunacy of legacy; that we would dare to think that in 80 to 100 years, or dare I say the whole of the 2000 years since Christ walked this earth, that we could build something financial, political, social or institutional to pass on to our children that was worth all of the unrighteousness it took to build it and that that legacy is worth more than the inheritance of the righteousness that comes from Christ Jesus.
Remember what Jesus taught about serving two masters? I encourage us to think of legacy when we read it. We cannot build two legacies, one will always cancel out the other.
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Unsettled by the continuing lack of meaningful concern and action over disunity in the body of Christ I have set forward the same arguments you’ve been reading from this site since its inception into proper print format. The House that Stands: Seeking God’s Kingdom and Unity in the Body of Christis now available in print and as an e-book from Amazon.
Christians of all stripes have worked on meaningful solutions to all kinds of problems we have encountered in our time on this earth, but unity with God and with one another is not one of them. We pay tribute to the reality of the global church or even perhaps the church that transcends life and death but cannot grasp that most believers are nothing like us, and yet we are called to be as one with one another and God as God is one with Himself. The House that Stands attempts to guide the reader’s thoughts towards these foundational truths with medium to short chapters probing the depths of unity in the body of Christ as it relates to the Kingdom and House of God.
I’ve grown tired of lip-service calls for unity among the people of God without the hard theological and philosophical work of determining what the underpinnings of that unity are and if we can continue much in the same way and yet somehow do life together or if we need a fresh start. What I’ve written is a start towards those ends; contemplations that will be familiar if we’ve talked recently as they have been my focus for some time now. Some of it will be difficult to understand and other parts perhaps too simplistic, but none of it is meant to be read once and ticked off the list of reading material. These are my ever-present meditations, and I offer them for you to meditate on as well. The chapters are medium to short in length and while deceptively short, they should have you thinking along the lines of how exactly we are supposed to be as one with one another and God as God is one with Himself in our lifetimes.
NEARHISM (NEAR-ISM); –HEBREW: “HE MAKES HIMSELF KNOWN”: THE EPISTEMOLOGY WHICH CLAIMS THAT KNOWLEDGE IS, IN EVERY INSTANCE, A REVELATION TO AN INDIVIDUAL BY AN OUTSIDE ULTIMATE SOURCE.
Nerahism posits that revelation precedes experience and rational thought in the order of events that take place in knowing. Experience or rational thought without revelation puts the cart before the horse and are both instances following revelation and are not in themselves indicative of learning and knowing nor accurate measures for distinction between justified belief and opinion. The scientist who studies a subject is flooded first with what is unveiled before them; data they record which they then attempt to deduce an interpretation and which, only over a long and distinguished career of experience, can they be said to be the expert in their field. A good scientist is first, an expert of the senses.
The theologian and apologist as well must be experts of the senses–not that the things of God can be divined by human senses but that all of creation testifies that there is an eternally powerful divine one (Rom. 1), that all of mankind is made indefensible from the belief of this being’s existence (Rom.1 and 10) , and that those who are wise acknowledge with childlike certainty that He exists and as a result He rewards those who diligently seek Him, presumably with more revelation (Heb. 11). Having this statement before us, we can then rationalise that if these things are so, then at the very essence and core of belief is the revelation of God’s existence to us by the rest of creation. That He has made Himself known is the first and primary revelation for which we are indefensible for not believing. This is not to say that acknowledgement of God’s existence is salvific by nature, (Jas 2:9 is quite clear on this point) but that one cannot justify belief in Jesus as the Christ before they have acknowledged that God exists. The gospel without context is airy fairy nonsense. One cannot experience salvation apart from revelation, nor can a person by way of rational thought convince themselves of salvation without revelation.
Revelation from God concerning His existence met with childlike acceptance and the faithful stewardship of that seminal revelation results in the further entrusting of revelation to the individual by God until the gospel of reconciliation with the Father through the Son is entrusted to and accepted by that person.
The knowledge of God does not pass from revelation to experience or rational thought at this point as Paul rebukes the Galatians for this same diversion from the essence of the gospel.
11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.[c]12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:11-12 English Standard Version
The new trustee of the gospel must continue as they began in this back and forth of listening for God to reveal some new aspect of Himself to them through creation, believing it with childlike certainty and stewarding what they have been entrusted with until they are entrusted with the next revelation from God. This is not to say that the Scriptures are unnecessary in this back and forth. Reading and studying the scriptures realigns our own hearts and minds to be mindful of how God has revealed Himself to past generations in their time and situations and therefore how He may be revealing Himself in our time.
It is unreasonable to assume that the scriptures contain every instance of God revealing Himself to every individual to which He has ever made Himself known. The scriptures are, instead, a cross section and amalgamation of significant instances in which God repeatedly revealed Himself to each generation. These instances together provide us a standard for interpreting our experiences and our rationalisations. They provide a cross reference for discerning the origins of a revelation as being from God, a human, or something else entirely (1 Jn 4). They are, as Paul writes to Timothy
…breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[a] may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 English Standard Version
The very existence of the scriptures is evidence that God reveals Himself gradually by degrees to each individual not relying on either past experience or their own rationalisations to fill in the blanks but constantly discounting human experience and worldly wisdom as being altogether useless in the pursuit of God. While the scriptures are sufficient, they are not all that God speaks through. God is the master of redundancy. What we miss in the scriptures is revealed to us in creation and what we glean from the scriptures is revealed to us again in life. Otherwise, it could not be said that “faith without works in dead” (Jas 1). The stewardship of revelation results in becoming a co-revealer taking up our place along with the rest of creation to reveal the existence of the eternally powerful divine one. Having come full circle, God has made himself known first to us and then through us to reveal Himself to the world.
ARC Guide Level 3 Ideal for those well acquainted with our thought process at Ammi Ruhama Community.
How the immaterial kingdom which God has established in Christ is tied to the material household He has called us to live in and the necessity that we should not divide the two.
The Divided House
Modern day Christianity is punctuated by church splits. From The Great Schism that split the Roman Catholic Church from the Eastern Orthodox Church in 1054, to the Protestant Reformation in 1517, to the innumerable schisms, divides, and dissolutions that followed thereafter and to this day and highly likely tomorrow as well. The lack of meaningful unity in the body of Christ is the worst kept secret ever. As the children of God, we grow more estranged from one another as time pushes us further on and apart from these events. At times we have even taken up arms against one another such as in The Crusades, The American Revolution, the American Civil War, World War I and II, The Troubles in Ireland; we could continue and expand but the evidence is sufficient; we are a house divided, and unless we can unite, we will fall.
24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.
Mark 3:24-25 English Standard Version
Let me be clear, God is not divided against Himself. His Kingdom remains strong and immovable, but by dividing the house of God we have effectively ensured that the Household of God remains divided contrary to God’s desire that we should be as one with one another and God as God is one with Himself. Increased recognition of the unfailing unity of God’s Kingdom will result in the unity of the Household of God. In the same way, increased division in the body will result in the continued downward spiral of the body and House of God.
Ecumenism is the belief that meaningful unity in the household of God means being under the same umbrella organisation, the same preacher, the same theological statement, the same code of conduct, and the same marketing strategy for the gospel. Yeah, it leaves a bad taste in pretty much everyone’s mouth. Whenever anyone starts talking about unity among the people of God, there is a certain group of believers who let out an audible sanctimonious groan. Unless the kind of unity being written or talked about is the kind where we are one with ourselves in our own respective local churches, we get antsy that what is being preached is ecumenism. To put our minds at ease, material ecumenism is not biblical unity, nor what I am calling for in this examination of the Kingdom and Household of God. Understand however, that this means that if we think Biblical unity looks like pockets of isolated ecumenism in our respective local churches then we are still miles off from what the Bible teaches. If I claim any aspect of the flesh as the unifying factor for unity with my brothers and sisters in Christ, I have put something in God’s place. This includes proximity, mission statement, experience, and any other material thing. In plain words, Biblical unity may not be material ecumenism as we have just detailed, but neither is it the ecumenical-lite that we currently have where, “If you’re under my roof you’ll obey my rules”.
Meaningful Unity & The Mind/Body Problem
When we do not take meaningful steps towards Biblical unity among the people of God, we enshrine meaningful practices which maintain and protect the divided household of God as the ideal in its pragmatism, if woeful in its Biblical authenticity. By contrast, each step we take towards Biblical Unity is away from pet peeves and pet theologies; those grey areas we love to hate that keep us divided as the body of Christ and our own private interpretations. It has been said that, “doctrine divides,” but I tell you that true doctrine is revealed only by the Spirit of God through the Word of God and that Biblical unity is in love, faith and hope in the gospel of Christ. This should not surprise us as the kingdom that Jesus came to establish is not a fleshly kingdom, but a spiritual kingdom; therefore, Biblical unity is a spiritual reality with physical implications.
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
Jesus to Pilate, John 18:36 English Standard Version
The King of all creation crucified that day said that if the Kingdom of God was of this world, then we would fight to win the Kingdom, and fight to defend it through acts of the flesh. But you may say, there are physical commands for us to do in the scriptures. If the Kingdom of God is not of this world; if it is a spiritual reality, a spiritual union, a spiritual ecumenism, why meet physically at all? Why have physical commands at all? This, my friends, is the misunderstanding of the century. As born and raised materialists who flirt with idealism, we tend to believe that the material gives birth to the immaterial. That the body gives birth to the mind–that acts of the flesh make one spiritual–this is not Biblical thinking. The immaterial always precedes the material in the Word. God speaks and creation comes into being, He calls David a King when he is yet a Shepherd and it comes to pass. On the inverse side of immaterial becoming material, hatred and lust feature as repeated themes in the Word giving examples of the immaterial as a seed bearing the fruit of the material.
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
Proverbs 23:7 New King James Version
24 Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips
and harbors deceit in his heart;
25 when he speaks graciously, believe him not,
for there are seven abominations in his heart;
26 though his hatred be covered with deception,
his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
Proverbs 26:24-26 English Standard Version
You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.
Proverbs 26:24-26 English Standard Version
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother[a] will be liable to judgment; whoever insults[b] his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell[c] of fire.
Matthew 5:21-22 English Standard Version
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Matthew 5:27 English Standard Version
The implications of this are that there is no mind/body problem in the Word of God. We are seen not as two-in-one but as one. We are immortal, immaterial souls with mortal, material bodies for use as interfaces of communication with God and with one another. What we think in our minds becomes our reality, so much so that to entertain thoughts of hatred and lust is seen as the same as planting a seed in the ground with the inevitable outcome of producing after their respective kinds. Hatred is the heirloom seed of murder and lust the heirloom seed of adultery just as surely as sowing the Spirit produces love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness, and gentleness and self-control. Immaterial produces material. The fact that our feeble minds fail to grasp the whole sense of its mechanics doesn’t come into the consideration of whether it is true. God breathed into our nostrils producing a spirit and we became living beings.
then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Genesis 2:7 English Standard Version
As immortal, immaterial, beings we inhabit physical bodies, as previously mentioned, interfaces that support intersoul-communication with God and with one another. However, as I have written inIntersoul, the interface is broken. It is our life’s work to continue Christ’s ministry of reconciliation; to repair the interface and bring everything and everyone under the rule and reign of Jesus. This brings us back to the question at hand. If I am an immortal, immaterial soul, why are there demands on my physical body in the Word? Surely the body is superfluous or purely sinful and, if so, ‘to Hell with it!’ This is what some early thinkers thought and produced Docetism; a heresy that has successfully kept Western Christians afraid of idealism for centuries. (I will address this a little later but a defence against Docetism is outside of our scope). If our bodies are interfaces for intersoul-communication, then when we communicate with others we communicate in the body and we fulfil our purpose. The body is meant to communicate the best news ever to one another. Remember that the interface was not always broken. We, through Adam and Eve walked and talked with God with no secondary interface between us. We were naked before Him and without shame. Only after the fall did secondary interfaces become necessary for communion with Him. The best news today is that we can again appear before God without a secondary interface as God the Son has become our intermediary before God the Father and God the Spirit the interpreter of our innermost hearts. This is us individually. Gathered, we become a megaphone declaring the goodness and mercy we have received from God via the unity of one voice coming from one mind in one Spirit. Where one of us is a defiant candle–a pin prick of light in a world of darkness, collectively we are a city on a hill whose light pollution can be seen by the world for miles around.
Unified in Our Hope
It is necessary to understand and to contemplate, (while we make the connection between God’s Immaterial Kingdom and His Material House) why we meet in the physical world and not through some ethereal meditative, “soul casting state,” in which our souls could hypothetically commune with God and with one another, since we are citizens of a spiritual kingdom. Again, we are not preaching Docetism–the body is not inherently sinful–it is broken by us through sin. When Pilate asked Jesus if He was a King His answer is that if He was a King of a physical kingdom then his disciples would have fought to establish and maintain it, but that they didn’t because His Kingdom is a Spiritual Kingdom. So, if God is the King of a Spiritual Kingdom, what are the physical aspects of that Kingdom? If immaterial gives birth to material, then perhaps it is simply our understanding, that as immaterial beings in material bodies and simultaneously citizens of an immaterial kingdom, we accept the rule and reign of God in the immaterial, which gives birth to material fruits (fellowship, unity, love, commitment to one another, fields we did not sow, houses we did not build etc) and that we are then to use this to bless our neighbours. Do we do this as if we were preparing some earthly throne for Him to inhabit one day? No! His throne is in Heaven and will not be on earth until heaven meets earth. So we are, in effect, waiting for that event to take place. It is our hope for that future that keeps us going. This fact is, one of the most difficult to accept about Christianity. There is no world to save—that work was completed by Christ through the cross. There are no noble acts of gallantry to be performed by us in the name of God and Country–we will not outshine the work of Christ. The battle is won–Christ is the victor, and the retreating armies of Hell are fleeing the judgement to come. Will we set mortal flesh free? It will be enslaved again and usually by its own will. Should we save a mortal life and not share with the soul within them the good news of eternal life? Should we stand in the way of someone who has chosen another life and not place the choice of Christ before them? For some, this may seem like a meaningless life. What is life if there is no grand quest to fulfil? And to that I ask, will we fight evil in Eternity? Will we retain our resolve with a non-existent enemy at the gates when we are reposing in the glory of the Son? What is Sabbath living, but life lived as if our hope was manifest before our eyes. Life lived as if we would never hunger or thirst or be in dread again? It is in the quiet, contained life where we live at peace with all people and answer for the hope that we possess, that we acknowledge our confidence in the rule and reign of Christ our King. These may all seem like individual pursuits. But what is a Kingdom of one citizen? All who call on the name of the Lord are citizens of this Kingdom and, I am sorry to say this, but none of us are, ‘in the lord’s army,’ in this case. The war is already over, and the rebuilding has begun. We are the emissaries who go from town to town to spread the good news of Christ’s reign, rebuilding what was damaged in the war and using the vast treasury of our new King to do so. The fighting has ceased; what rebellion remains now, is fighting a lost cause that would see the old feuding kings re-established. We do not all believe that the war is over however, and some, instead of moving from town to town, have set up defences against the bordering towns thinking the enemy should be holed up within them. They use secret passwords and handshakes to show loyalty to a King who requires no such protection from His subjects. If time is the landscape of the Kingdom of God, then the Apostles started at the King and went out from Him to spread the good news of the mercy and love of the cross to all His subjects across time and space. Our distance from the King, then, is not a matter of material distance but immaterial. If it is immaterial, then we are in His courts even now while we expand the message of his rule and reign in our given time and space. The implications of this are incredible. Consider this passage from The Revelation. John writes,
9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
Revelation 7:9-12 English Standard Version
Consider this, that every tribe; tongue and nation will be present on that day. Every single one! This was and will be from the beginning of time until the events of the revelation of Christ at the end. This will include every grouping of people that has been formed or separated; those still to be formed or contemplating to be formed. Every iteration and collection of clicks, whistles and words, every form of government will be standing before the throne of God speaking with one voice the glory and praise of the Son. If you thought I was going down a rabbit trail let me assure you that this is biblical unity. This is identification with the Son. This can never be the result of having been the same in the flesh. Is there any continuity in the flesh that John gives us? Perhaps that we are all perceived as human in all our brokenness and that while we have all received mercy from God, we should be standing in His presence shouting aloud His praises, and not be looking around to see whom we think should not be there. I guarantee that there will be people standing before the throne of God who will be just as surprised to see us as we are to see them. One or both of us may have lost everything in the all-consuming fire of the day of the Lord but we ourselves have been saved. So, what prevents us from shouting His praises together before we get there? What organisational values enshrine our division? What precepts of purpose perpetuate such a travesty against the precepts of God? The immaterial has given birth to material life in Christ and we sit denying it based on our organisation in the flesh. As I have written previously–this is to our shame. We who have been called by the Spirit of God into the Spiritual Kingdom of God which spans time and space are so full of pride that we believe that our iteration of Christianity will be the only one present on that day. I choose to believe the Word when it says,
For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 2:11 English Standard Version
Paul says this considering the Corinthian division thinking themselves to be special, when all that they had received in Christ was given to them. There are vastly more divisions today. Perhaps if we had listened then, it would not be so today and because of our unity we would have presented the world with the truth that the Son was sent from the Father and they would have believed. Some believed anyway because they saw examples of unity in their own context, but these, my siblings, were the exception instead of the rule. Remember, however, that even if we had, we are not preparing an earthly throne for Christ to sit on. He sits on a Spiritual throne in our hearts and the day and time of His return is kept by the Father until the end of days and every generation that He has ordained to exist has existed. There is no quota to meet and fulfil, but only a life lived in service and obedience to our King who dwells in unapproachable light.
Flaming Hoops of Failed Glory
If we read the Bible in the light of God spreading the news of God’s established Spiritual Kingdom through His people, then we no longer read it as if it says, “this is who to exclude,” but read it, as it often explicitly says, “why did you think you were special and exclude them from my Kingdom?” The first step towards organising ourselves in the material according to the Spirit is to re-ground ourselves in the Word of God and take note that we are not special. There were no flaming hoops for us to jump through when we received the gospel that means that we have a corner on the market of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we are the people of God, then we have received mercy for our shortcomings in glory and there is nothing of ourselves for us to boast about. Not our education, our pedigree, our governance, our economics–nothing. It is a Spiritual Kingdom with material fruits, and any of those material fruits that come to pass are because of the work done by God and not by us. By recognising that we have received everything we possess in and from Christ we can then identify what we have received in Christ, who He has made us, and the rights we now possess as heirs of God and His Spiritual Kingdom.
I have written about the rights of the people of God inThe Christian’s Bill of Rights and in other posts marked under the same category, but the topic is nowhere near exhausted. Every generation will have to have this conversation with itself. There is no distinction in Christ. The wildest of derivations of our hearts and intents do not preclude us from being included in the Kingdom of God if we call on the name of Jesus to be saved.
To conclude, God’s immaterial Kingdom is made manifest in His material household. Increased belief in Spiritual ecumenism will result in increased physical ecumenism under God. This is not due to the homogenising effect of modern day Judaising, but rather that we all love and obey God, identifying with the Son of God in His death, burial and resurrection and look forward to His coming return. Maranatha.
Commentary on Paul’s Letters to the Corinthian Church
ARC Guide Level 1 Ideal for those getting acquainted with our thought process at Ammi Ruhama Community.
1 Corinthians 5:9-13
9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church[b] whom you are to judge? 13 God judges[c] those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
1 Corinthians 5:9-13 English Standard Version
Over the past 5 chapters Paul has repeatedly reminded the people of God in Corinth and everywhere His letter was to be read that we have nothing to boast about, ourselves, as everything that we have has been given to us by God. In that mind consider Paul’s focus on sexual immorality, greed, idolatry, reviling, drunkenness, or swindling as the collective means of excess and boasting in the flesh. He says, in effect, that the body has become a proverbial locker room where we slap each other on the back for our respective scores and revile anyone who would oppose us. We love a good reviling. If I had to guess, I would say that it’s our favourite form of entertainment today–even within the church. To attribute all the social ills of society to those outside of us and to parade ourselves as having a righteousness coming from ourselves. To turn outsider’s names into pejoratives in an act of supreme self-righteousness, self-aggrandizing judgement. Paul says that if we are to judge anyone, we ought to judge those who claim to be controlled by the Spirit of God and yet continue in this way of life. The message that is communicated by these pretenders is, “I am a Christian, full of the Spirit of God; I do what He tells me to do, go where He tells me to go, and say what He tells me to say and what He has told me to do is to take advantage of the poor and socially disenfranchised–to take my Father’s wife into my bed, to revile anyone who would disagree with what I say God has told me to do, and say and where God has told me to go. ” It is the height of taking the Lord’s name in vain. As believers we cannot help but to make the first claim; it is the essence of our calling in the Spirit, but to boast in our sin as being commanded by God and to not associate with the non-believer, judging them for sins we ourselves commit in the body and sometimes boast about is a darkness and wickedness that needs, as Paul says, ‘purged,’ from among us.
ARC Guide Level 3 Ideal for those well acquainted with our thought process at Ammi Ruhama Community.
Materialism is the butt of every Dad joke. A child comes to the father of their youth, and say, “Dad, I’m hungry,” to which the beloved father figure replies, “Hello Hungry, I’m Dad!” It pokes fun at the idea that our whole identity could be the sum total of our physical markers, desires and chemical reactions. This would be akin to someone ‘coming out,’ to us and us responding, “Hello Gay! I’m Cis!” It’s ludicrous! But, our culture still does it–quite a bit, actually. We define ourselves and others concretely based on what we can see rather than on what we cannot see; our souls. This results in massive division, as what we can see is rather diverse and our mindsets cannot cope with how to categorise such diversity into unity. We cry out in our materialism with Shylock,
If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? If you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
Shylock, The Merchant of Venice
Shakespeare appeals to the materialist mindset of his day in finding commonalities in our material experience to appeal for our common humanity with one another. But, no matter how many correlations we amass to signify our common humanity, a simple diversion like an accent or the colour of someone’s skin can still elicit the strongest of discriminatory behaviour. This suggests that materialist reasoning fails to cut to the heart of the sins of racism, sexism and othering–simply appealing to common humanity is not enough for us to treat one another as common souls.
A New Classification I Give You
I don’t like using the words we have invented for the classification of those who differentiate themselves from others because it has the same effect for us as their divisiveness does. We don’t associate with racists because they don’t associate with other races. By the very notion of calling someone a racist we acknowledge the validity of defining someone’s whole identity based on their outward appearance. The materialist answer to this quandary is to ‘not see colour,’ which prompts another word materialists use called ‘erasure’. We ‘erase,’ women or people of colour in an attempt to fix in our minds that our blood all runs red–it runs red in muskrats as well but most of us don’t claim that we ought to treat them like people. So, I propose a new term, a term that promotes the love, mercy and understanding that we ought to be showing one another regardless of if we are material girls living in a material world, or idealists who believe in the unity of all things. This word is Agility.
Agility speaks to how nimble one is in their thinking and adaptability to any mental or physical situation based on both mental and physical preparedness. Ones agility may be present ideologically, politically, culturally, religiously, or, indeed, physically; any mode in which we can imagine there will be intersoul communication. So, one may be classified as ‘ideologically agile,’ but perhaps, ‘culturally clumsy,’ while this may seem like painting the pig, it acknowledges each one’s journey and that some of us continue classifying others in divisive ways, but, we will rise above divisiveness and encourage growth by the mass removal of pejoratives. Afterall, what is to be gained by speaking about someone pejoratively? Will they see the error of their ways as we scoff at them from behind our keyboards? Will they turn from their wickedness and see the light of Christ in our haughty eyes? No. The more we capitulate to materialist demand for concrete and divisive pejoratives, the more we live by the flesh instead of by the Spirit. Agility is also rather easily determined in a person–it is seen by their agreeableness, their winsome take, their ability to present the truth to anyone without trite talking points. It is in their humility to say, “I don’t know,” and in their expert intersoul communicative skills.
So the next time someone asks, “whose hungry,” and the group all responds extatically, “I AM!!” Have the bravery to gasp audibly and retort, “It must have been a popular name that year!”
ARC Guide Level 3 Ideal for those well acquainted with our thought process at Ammi Ruhama Community.
The truth sets us free, but what is truth? It is more than abstract factual correctness. It is the fruit of which tree we are grafted into; the very language we learn from our Father upon our new birth.
31So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:32-33 English Standard Version
In the ramp up to his crucifixion, Jesus engages the Jewish leaders in a rather volatile exchange that nearly results in His stoning. Jesus is teaching in the temple testifying about Himself saying that He is light of the world, the Messiah and says to those who believed in Him that if they abide in the words He has just spoken about Himself then they are truly His disciples and that they will know the truth and the truth will set them free. The Jewish leaders take exception to the suggestion that they are not in fact free. They cite their political and heritage status as proof of their freedom but Jesus maintains that those who practice sin are not free but are enslaved to sin, and walk in darkness. Jesus cites their hatred of Him and desire to put him to death as proof that they walk in the footsteps of their murderous father and are indeed the offspring of the devil. This is what moves the elders to take up stones but Jesus disappears into the crowd to avoid death before His time.
What is Truth?
The Truth sets us free, but what is truth? It is more than abstract factual correctness. It is the fruit of which tree we are grafted into; the very language we learn from our Father upon our new birth. The Jewish leaders were not speaking a factual lie when they said that their ancestor was Abraham, nor that they themselves were not slaves in the social hierarchy. However, they were not speaking the metaphysical truth that Jesus was discussing. Jesus says that the one who claims Abraham as their father and yet walks and talks nothing like Abraham is a liar as Abraham walked and spoke by faith and the Jewish leaders walked and spoke by sight. Jesus likens this deep self deception of claiming to be something other than what we are, to claiming to speak the language of our so-called fathers and yet not speak their language. To say, for example, that we are Chinese, yet when a born and breed Han from China walks into the room and greets us in Mandarin, we don’t know the language and get angry at them for not greeting us in English! We are exposed as fraudulent in our claims. In the same way, if we do not know the voice of the Spirit of God and are offended when He speaks because we do not understand, then there is a good chance that we are not born of God. But, knowing this, the truth can set us free.
Free from Sin for Freedoms Sake
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1 English Standard Version
It would be very easy, reading a verse like this, to think that what Paul means is that since we have been physically set free we should not bind ourselves to a physical or political yoke of slavery. We need to remember that Jesus says that the one who sins is a slave to sin or to their flesh. Other verses say a slave to our passions; that is to the unconscious visceral reactions of our bodies to any exterior stimuli. When compared with other imagery in the New Testament we find that what Jesus means is that the one who sins is a slave to their own body. Paul, on the other hand flips the situation on its head. The New International Version gives us a vivid image of disciplining the body.
No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:27 English Standard Version
In Paul’s analogy, he is discipling his body for a race or a fight. He trains others to run and fight, but would be a sorry excuse for a coach if he himself could not run or fight. What Paul and Jesus are saying is that either we are slave to our bodies or our bodies are slaves to us! We are either controlled by the flesh and the things of this world, or we submit to the Spirit and make our flesh the servant and slave of our minds. The idealists (of which I am one) are wont to remind us to take back our thinking from our bodies and to give it back to our minds–this I think is the idea behind freedom. If freedom is a state of being–a state of mind–that results in a physical reality then the Spirit unleashes our minds from our bodies and we can then understand the sayings of Jesus in regards to food being for body and not the body for food, only perhaps we will slightly adjust to say that the body is for the soul and not the soul for the body. Both are integral to the interface, the body is the primary interface; the slave, but the soul is the one who communicates through the body. The body may be in chains and the soul free, but if the soul is in chains then so will the body be. When the soul is set free the body will not be far behind.
No one who is master of their body enslaves another in body or mind to do their will; they are perfectly capable of doing the work themselves and indeed say to themselves regularly, “if you want something done right, do it yourself”. However, when ‘like minds,’ meet they spark genius between them and move mountains by the power of two or more souls who were masters of their own bodies and therefore of their environment. These are the truly free ones. They are not, necessarily, marked by wealth or status, or ascetism or poverty–they are those who tell their bodies to behave a certain way and obey.
The Spirit is Willing But the Flesh is Weak
However, the interface is broken. No matter how masterful we are over our environment it is still marred by secondary interfaces that, over time, have weakened us. We attempt to tell ourselves what to do, and end up crying out in frustration with Paul,
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Romans 7:24 English Standard Version
Every action done in the flesh leads to death and every action done in the Spirit leads to life–Paul concludes that Christ saves us from this body infested with death. Belief in Christ as the light of the world sets us free, as Jesus testified about Himself. Not free as in separated fromour bodies of death but free from the control of the body, and indeed freedom to enslave the body to the soul to be used once again for intersoul communication.
The State of Affairs
Our bodies exude self absorbed death when they are in control and as a result we drive people away from us, whether they be controlled by the flesh or by the Spirit. People come together in the flesh when there is a common goal to legitimise, provide for and protect one another’s bodily well being. This is so engrained in us, that we all just thought, “well, what’s wrong with that,”. What’s wrong with that is that what or rather whom we are protecting one another from are other primary interfaces controlled by secondary interfaces. We fail in our common goal of intersoul communication and settle for the compromise of interbody cooperation.
People controlled by the Spirit, however, are not concerned about their own legitimacy, safety or provision because it does not rest in other people, nor even in themselves, but in the Spirit. They speak the words they are told to speak, they go where they are told to go and do what they are told to do without fear of alienation from their source of value. Those controlled by the flesh look on them as if they were the hyper-individual, but that is their own failed eyesight. If they were to look on them in the Spirit they would see that they are one with the Spirit and with all those who are also one with God; but again do not derive their value from one another nor their association with one another but with God alone. There is a deep love between them because of their deep love for God, their is a deep unity among them because of their indescribable unity with God and the ones who live by the flesh but claim to be redeemed are driven from their presence because the Spiritual ones don’t need those who walk by the flesh as much as they think they need to be needed by other people. This is the clash between the flesh and the Spirit. This is the battle for freedom that rages in the heart of every man, woman and child. The flesh cries out to more flesh for legitimacy, safety and provision and the Spirit rests full of value in the person of Jesus.
We who would be free and would tout ourselves as free in Christ, would do well to pay heed.
A Focus on the Damage of Secondary Interfaces in the People of God
ARC Guide Level 1 Ideal for those getting acquainted with our thought process at Ammi Ruhama Community.
To help us illustrate what Paul has been teaching the Corinthians let us look at what exclusive human power and secondary power structures do to people.
In the time of the Judges in the Old Testament, Samuel was the last ruling prophet and judge. He had eight sons in his old age and he made them judges over Israel but they were wicked and corrupted justice for bribes. So the people protested to Samuel to anoint a king over them; an exclusive ruler to legitimize them among the nations, to keep them safe and to ensure provision for the future. God tells Samuel to capitulate to their demand for a king and , curiously, tells him not to get too emotionally involved or to think that they are rejecting him personally, but that the people were rejecting God and His legitimacy, security and provision for a face they could look on and appeal to directly, a sentiment that Jesus later echoes to His disciples. This is the warning God and Samuel gave to the people before asking if this is what they wanted:
10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
1 Samuel 8:10-18 English Standard Version
“Hold on,” I hear you say. “A governmental change has nothing to do with how the people of God organise themselves. It’s completely different,” and to that I say, “That’s not how God saw it.” Keep in mind that these are the people of God who have received mercy at the time; the nation of priests to declare God’s glory to the nations. God saw the people’s call for a king as a personal affront to Himself and so gives the above warning about placing an intentional secondary interface between God and humanity. He says that the king will eventually be an unfaithful steward of God’s people and tax them, extort them, pull them into wars that are not their own and make space for the world in God’s Kingdom ultimately thinking that it is their kingdom and in that day they would cry out to God whom they have rejected as their king but He will not answer them.
This event is juxtaposed to when God was going to give Moses and the people into the land of Canaan but leave them there. Moses responded that if God was not going to go with them then they would not go either–only at this time the people cried out louder that they should have a king.
Today we no longer ask God for a king, instead, we ask God for a Chief Executive Officer but the warning stands.
Commentary on Paul’s Letters to the Corinthian Church
ARC Guide Level 1 Ideal for those getting acquainted with our thought process at Ammi Ruhama Community.
1 Corinthians 5:1-8
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? 3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. 4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,[a][b] so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.
6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1 Corinthians 5:1-8 English Standard Version
The Fellowship of Light in Bodily Language
Paul draws yet another example of the body’s immaturity in the Spirit; instead of letting the light of love cast out all darkness, as we hear from John. They hid the light and made space for darkness within their hearts and within their fellowship. A member of the body, very likely one of these influential people calling people exclusively after themselves took his father’s wife (likely one of many) for himself. An act so dishonourable, and divisive that, Paul says, it can only have come from malice towards his father and the wickedness of his own unchanged heart. Paul doesn’t spell it out as black and white as John does later on in the century, but rather gets right down to handing down judgement on this man. Ultimately, Paul says that the ‘old leaven,’ their old gentile lives, are what is causing all of this immaturity and sin to enter the body and cause such division and defilement of the body. The natural state of the body is to reject diseased tissue not to accept it or to attack healthy tissue.
A Brief Focus on Expectations & Fulfilling Our Potential
ARC Guide Level 2 Ideal for those acquainted with our thought process at Ammi Ruhama Community.
The alcoholic, the drug addict, the absent parent, video game junkies, phone addicts;–it doesn’t matter what the coping mechanism is, the real addiction is the homeostasis that they bring to our bodies and minds–the stress release. When nothing is amiss…no screaming children, no nagging spouse, no concerned family member…just me and my own self resetting to zero. It is this addiction to zero that controls us. Our bodies produce the stress hormones we tell them to produce when we are out of touch with reality; when our expectations are beyond normal. We say or think things like, I have kids but they shouldn’t be quintessential children; they need to be emotionally mature adults around me or I can’t cope. Our bosses, our spouses, our family members all look down on us when we are in our sub zero state. So, when we’re resting comfortably at zero, or one or two we actually feel great! We feel respected and loved and cherished. We’re told that we are someone’s rock and steadfast lover of their souls, and we believe it. We also believe it, when we’re told that we are neglectful when no one is looking and a sorry excuse for a Christian and that we are leading people astray towards some errant belief. We want to be operating at 100% but, as well, we feel guilty for wanting more because we’re accused of wanting to be the big man on campus; the harvest gods. We operate at around 80% in some areas like work or faith, but around 10-20% in others. Our addiction to zero holds us steady in its grasp. Ask about any area in our lives and we will give a standard for what we expect our lives to look like. Unless we fix the standard in our minds we will not adjust how we behave on a regular basis to raise our standard of homeostasis.