Teachings of Jesus — Mark 2:14-22

We depart from Matthew’s Gospel at this point. There is really nothing I can add now to the previous work I’ve done explaining Matthew 24 and 25. You can reread them at your leisure on the static site. We jump now to Mark’s Gospel.

The Law of Moses arose during a time of ancient mysticism. It was not “law” in our sense of legislation, but as an expression of the character and will of the feudal Master who offered the covenant of adoption, making this new nation now a part of His extended family household. They did have to spend some time learning this covenant, but it was intended to make them fit to live in His household and not disrupt His long term plans.

Thus, it was designed to acquaint them with who He is and how He designed Creation to work. It was never meant to be legalism that locks everything into some static situation. A great many provisions, the rituals in particular, only worked for that particular setting — that time, that place, and those people. The people were supposed to dig into this covenant until they could see through the particulars to the character of God. This is how covenants were understood to work in the Ancient Near East (ANE). This was the intellectual tradition of the Hebrew people.

That the Jews had long since departed from this was manifestly obvious. Instead of sticking to the heart of the matter and making obvious adjustments to meet the changing situation, the leadership had nailed everything down and made life miserable. Instead of setting the people free to know instinctively how God did things in this world, those leaders had reduced it to mere codes and rules, which they controlled as a means to oppress and enrich themselves at the nation’s expense.

Jesus called His cousin Levi Matthew to join Him as a disciple. Matthew had been working as a tax contractor for the king (not for Rome). No other rabbi would have considered someone like Matthew. Not only were the taxes thoroughly unpopular, but the rabbinical colleges were almost uniform in rejecting Herod as a valid king of Jews, since he was notoriously immoral. Worse, he was a compliant vassal of Rome, so his tax collectors were painted as collaborators with the pagan occupiers, apostates worse than Gentiles.

Matthew acquiesced and decided to celebrate this change of career with his friends and associates. As a social outcast, it was quite natural that his friends would also be tax collectors and other social outcasts who had never rejected the Covenant, but didn’t care for the pompous arrogance of Pharisees. Jesus was the guest of honor at this reception.

Here He was in His rabbinical garb eating and drinking with these “notorious sinners” and the other rabbis wanted to know what He meant by socializing with them. Jesus said, in so many words, that He was a moral physician. Since the Pharisees felt no need for His services, He saw no need to spend time with them. He was going about His craft of healing among those who knew they needed to repent and restore them to the Lord’s favor. The Pharisees had refused to do this, which was supposed to be their mission in the first place.

Mark then recalls a similar moment when the someone questioned Jesus about the common practice of fasting weekly, a rule that actually wasn’t required by Moses. Fasting was expected in broad general terms, and there were a few solemn fast days in the original Mosaic calendar, but the Pharisees were extremist about it. We can be sure John the Baptist had entirely different reasons for his harsh regimen, since he echoed much of Elijah’s austere ministry.

Jesus had already called His cousin John the Baptist the Forerunner, a dedicated servant who must endure great discomfort for a truly critical mission. Jesus was the Messiah for whom John was the herald. And as Messiah, He was coming to claim His chosen bride. But not yet. This was the period of time for the bridegroom to hang out with His buddies in a rather elongated version of a stag party, as it were. This is something wealthy Jewish men were known to do during that time between betrothal and wedding when they were building a home for the newlyweds to occupy. His disciples could fast once He had to leave them to carry on their lives while He was on an extended honeymoon.

Then Jesus offered two parables that slammed the Pharisees for being stuck in the past, as if there would never be a Messiah. Even the best royal heir would honor his father, not by aping him, but moving forward with the same reserve of wisdom for handling new challenges. The character of Jehovah didn’t change, but the discrete provisions of the Covenant would naturally change some to meet new challenges. In the ANE wisdom, it was well established that a new king would change some things that were simply a matter of taste and planning.

New wine goes into new wineskins, and new cloth is not sewed onto old clothing. Jesus would harvest and trample new grapes for a new vintage; He would provide entirely new uniforms for His royal staff.

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Where His Footsteps Lead Us

Just a few reminders to help you keep your focus clearly on Christ.

The Tower of Babel narrative in Scripture isn’t about Nimrod, as if the only problem was who was in charge. Nor was it about his brand of religion as the driving force behind his grip on a unified human race. The issue was that grip itself, it was the sin of trying to bring all of fallen humanity together for any purpose at all. It is utterly impossible for fallen mankind to come up with a single global goal without poking God in the eye. Nothing mankind does without revelation is viable. This is the Curse of the Fall. The command at the Gate of Eden as the Lord drove the first humans away from the Tree of Life was to “spread out” and the inherent meaning is to exist without unity.

Any attempt at unity beyond a certain threshold is inherently evil. There are prescribed limits; the boundaries are intentionally soft, but anyone trying to gain God’s approval can work it out for their own context. There are multiple keys to divine approval on this. Some of them are: developing a single cultural and racial identity (not in the facts but in the perception), compelling all immigrants to conform, an eastern feudal government, and a tribal social structure. These are just the bare minimum. These are the fundamental assumptions underlying every Law Covenant, and they are central to the now applicable Covenant of Noah. That’s the message of the Tower of Babel; humans cannot possibly come up with anything better.

All of this is inherent in the gospel message. It was the foundation on which the teachings of Christ stood. Had Israel accepted Him as their Messiah, it would have been the basis on which His rule would stand. As it is, this now becomes the foundation of the any church that claims to obey the gospel.

A tribal social structure means living in your neighbor’s armpit in the social sense. It means your church is your closest kin and they know your private business, and you know theirs. It means you are there watching over them with a shepherd’s interest. But you never lead by force; you always lead by simply moving toward the next thing God says He wants for His glory. It requires a mystical orientation and a heart-led focus of human consciousness. It means knowing via the heart when to get involved and when to back off.

It means you never forget that accomplishments aren’t that important. It’s not that the church never tries to do anything, but that the core issue is building and maintenance of the covenant communion in faith. Nothing else really matters, so every project or endeavor has to be anchored on that. And we should never forget that the context is always shifting, so that the mission is always to meet God where He is working and calls to you. Never take seriously your understanding of wider strategic issues, because you you only know what God allows you to see.

So the only accomplishments and victories that you can notice are those internal to each individual member of the family. The entire reason God calls us together into family groupings is because that’s the proper atmosphere for conquering our individual demons. The covenant community is the essential element, not the goal itself. At the same time, it’s the ability to commune effectively that becomes a primary goal of each individual. It’s a big, time consuming project that only rarely gives thought to efficiency, but aims at bringing the moral fruit to maturity.

Finally, you need to understand that this image is what drives Creation itself. Creation is a member of the family, an ally who works with us toward this task of building a home for the soul to grow. This is what Creation itself longs to see. Everything in Creation stands ready to support this task of personal redemption within covenant communities. You have to bring the natural world into your communion as a member of the family. That means everyone must learn to take seriously the idea that nature speaks, that reality is a person, too. Everything around you is just a tool for His glory, and so are you.

This is what it means to follow Christ.

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No Unified Curriculum

While stuck in the house with this cold, I’ve been passing the time by viewing a few fiction videos I normally wouldn’t have time to mess with. Most of what I chose touched on themes of ancient civilizations. Once more I’m struck by how everyone avoids most of the Ancient Near East (ANE). Even when they cover it, they intentionally twist the image of what things were like. But they do the same with things that should be more familiar.

They refuse to understand that, for example, the Spartans were harsh and brutally oppressive. The warriors would go into battle covered from head to toe in heavy leather armor, typically covered in bits of metal. None of that showing off one’s muscles. They were also deeply immoral, sickening to our modern sensibilities. It was worse than the typical Ancient Greek bisexuality; it was deeply perverse and based on torture quite often. There’s nothing good in Sparta that we should emulate. They were crushed by the wrath of God; the Persians were friendly to Israelis returning from the Exile. The Persians were the good guys.

Most of the later Greeks were perverse beyond words, children of Hell. But it was their mission to seduce the remnants of Israel with Hellenism. Now the Greeks have nothing but ruins, and a ruined economy to match it.

The other thing I noticed is this recurring theme of saving the world and giving humanity freedom, peace and prosperity. It always had to do with erasing anything resembling divine revelation and replacing it with human aspirations to knowledge and reason. It was always some brand of hubris and precious little humility. It’s always another episode of the Tower of Babel.

I couldn’t bring myself to watch what passes for “Christian” fiction. Most of it was American feminist lite. Not a single thought was given to how much difference the gospel should make in the art form itself. They still emulate the standard crap methods of Hollywood. You can’t film a gospel story when everything is built in a rejection of divine truth. Hollywood and its products are doomed; we are likely to see it all destroyed in our lifetimes.

I’m not telling you to avoid that stuff. You’ll have to deal with such things on your own terms. By the same token, I also won’t list what I watched; don’t ask. If you feel led to investigate, go where you feel led. There is no single unified curriculum that fits everyone. There are common experiences, but you always have to make room in your heart for dealing with the unique results of lives that God redeems.

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Just a Silly Story 13

There is one thing I can say in favor of Q’s troll army: For the most part, they understand that the whole point is not activism, but information. This is information warfare. Most of the active participants invest their efforts in simply pulling out details to fill in the blanks on what Q offers in the “drops” — those typically taciturn and cryptic little posts on 8chan.

There is, therefore, a very large host of folks in this Q army who are not active participants, but consumers and sharers. The idea is not to change the course of things, but to give hope for relief from what many people who see as a globalist cult that has created a runaway government that ignores the people. We might debate whether the US government was ever interested in the hopes and dreams of the citizens, but I think Trump’s claim is that we can at least dial it back some to when things seemed to work a lot better than they do now.

Trump is at the helm and doing all the dirty work of wading through a system that has been made intentionally sluggish and unresponsive, and he’s making it more responsive. So the general attitude from Q is: This stuff is happening. You don’t have to do anything except share the story and vote.

That’s not to say this is such an easy task. I’ve already mentioned the recent collusion between major social media services to silence folks who reject the globalist idolatry cult and their Satanic agenda. I noted that there are few virtual sanctuaries to avoid this censorship, and I listed some of them. Even then, the problem is that these services springing up to give refuge to the non-lefties are all still rather vulnerable because, unless they have very substantial backing (money and resources), they will die. Most of them are denied advertising revenue, for example. The popular means of moving money on the Internet, and the banks themselves, are also globalist and hostile to these upstart social media services oriented toward the alt-right.

Remember CitiCorp and it’s ban on anyone doing business with guns and ammo? That’s one of the Big Four Banks in the US. They control and influence a whole lot more than they own, so that ban shut down, for example, a very large number of small local tactical training and self-defense companies, until they could get local and state banking support. And that wasn’t easy, since many state and local banks can’t afford the risk of alienating CitiCorp.

That was something that made the news. It was a terror campaign against those who support the 2nd Amendment. How many things do you suppose a leftist banking community can shut down without getting it into the leftist news media, if they want to keep it quiet?

I am convinced that the so-called Internet shutdown 2 years ago was a first attempt, in this case to prevent Trump getting elected. Back then, there was no Q and the troll army was far more thinly scattered among various right-wing activists aligned in a large number of informal fan groups following major “conservative” media figures. In other words, it was actually a rather easy target to defeat, since their main thing was grabbing articles off the Net and emailing them to each other. But it failed. The action was unsustainable simply because it was poorly targeted.

The globalists are back with a more targeted effort this time. They have gotten the cooperation of Big Social Media, with backing from the money transfer services (like PayPal), and some members of the banking community. The bankers are much more careful about not showing their hand, lest they offend too much their big right-wing customers, so their participation in this scheme is limited and secretive. So instead of jamming the whole thing, they’ve been trying to silence only Trump’s fans, while Antifa and the like are physically assaulting public figures who support Trump.

To the degree Q and friends found effective refuge on the likes of 8chan and Voat, there have been some concerted efforts to run shills into those discussion boards and obstruct the conversation. But because human shills are limited, the CIA stepped up with programming some AI bots to cover more boards all at once. They can post in multiple boards simultaneously, keeping track of countless threads of conversation and tracking individual posters they want to target. This is also why the NSA seized control of several massive mainframe supercomputers named “Snow White” — to keep the CIA globalists from using them.

Without digging into a mass of details (see this rather cryptic explanation graphic), some rather bright members of Q’s troll army were able to spot the bots. For one thing, the bots were very activist, not just info-oriented. A major trend in the bot game was pretending to be harsh activist Nazi shills. The intent was to clog up the conversation with demands the Jews be slaughtered. If nothing else, this kind of thing makes Google and other search engines likely to lower their search score so folks using those search engines would be less likely to discover any forums talking about Q stuff. Your average Internet user lacks the savvy to recognize a bot on the forums, and lacks the kind of search engine expertise to get around such manipulation.

The censorship efforts have just gotten started. All the Big Social Media services are still working toward a complete blackout for the alt-right. We should expect to see coordinated actions, taking increasingly bigger bites out of the chatter. The single biggest target is anything related to Q. My personal guess is something shocking before the end of the month, which works out to “any day now.”

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Divine Stress Test

You should expect this time of wrath and tribulation to shake loose things that are fake. This is behind the language of exposure in Scripture: things “laid bare,” sins brought into the light, etc.

During long periods of prosperity and relative domestic peace, there is a tendency to build up social structures and life habits that are impossible to maintain otherwise. It’s more than just luxury, though it includes that. Hedonism runs wild during prosperity. But there is a whole raft of expectations and petty demands that are quite viable in the good times, which cannot survive a time of testing.

This is when systems become corrupt. There’s no reason for self-restraint; people make no effort to hold their hedonism in check. So they explore every possible avenue for self-indulgence. At some point, it seems very much more than just a divine right, but a mandate from heaven that one must push the envelope. This is when self-discipline is turned on its head; it’s the time when all discipline is externalized in the sense that people demand the world around them conform to their extravagant wishes. It always peaks just before God’s patience ends.

Most people can entertain the intellectual concept of belt-tightening, but few have any idea what is truly essential to maintain during economic contraction. They don’t understand that this is not merely a decline in prosperity. God is moving in the power of His own divine justice, seeking to restore a consciousness of our fallen condition. So placing a focus on the material considerations only serves to compound moral error.

The Bible refers to times when the natural world rises up in rejection of any further abuse. There is a recurring reference in the Old Testament to restoring missed Sabbaths (Leviticus 26:34; see the whole context vv. 14-39). It’s a concept utterly foreign to Western Civilization. It really has very little to do with whether you work and keep your business open on Sunday; it has to do with the materialism that makes us forget why we need a Sabbath (Mark 2:18-28). The Sabbath was made to restore the focus on God as Creator and the way His divine moral character is woven into Creation. So the Law Covenants forbid engaging in all that material distraction for one day in seven, just so you’ll stop and contemplate just how broken mankind is.

You can’t keep running along business-as-usual in some endless search for a human calculus of materialistic efficiency. God is still providing extravagantly to those whose mission for His glory requires it. This is not merely an economic downturn with the attendant social disturbances. This is the wrath of God demanding we restore a clear focus on His revelation. He has gone to great lengths to reveal His character and His demands, even going so far as to explain in some detail why these things must be. No matter how nice it gets here, this is not Paradise. The Garden of Eden was a place of moral prosperity, not simply an easy existence.

Paradise is moral restraint, and moral restraint is Paradise. Biblical Law is its own reward. It’s not easy to fight off the demands of our fleshly nature, but self-restraint is the path of freedom and joy. However, it requires grasping fully our fallen nature for that to make sense. Moral restraint is simply restoring what God designed for us, and us for it.

So an awful lot of stuff we simply took for granted should be called into question during times of God’s wrath. We see in Scripture the language of catastrophe: “the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken” (Matthew 24:29). That’s a parable, a prophetic expression with a long history in recorded revelation. That’s what it feels like when God calls our attention to something our fleshly nature wants to forget.

Jesus also referred to social upheaval as the new norm when His divine truth is restored (Luke 12:51-53). This means divorce, for example, but only because a great many ostensibly good Christian folks were married without sufficient soul searching. And the reason they get into those marriages is because the society around them has lost track of what soul searching means. We live a world that is frankly hostile to the heart-led way, so it’s no surprise past decisions that seemed to make sense back then now turn out to be utterly stupid. It’s not a question of the marriage being “sinful” in the simplistic Western legalistic concept of sin, or that either party in the marriage is evil. It’s a question of jumping in without first checking what your convictions could have told you. It can easily be two good people who simply have no business being together as marriage partners.

Nor does that mean divorce is necessarily the way forward. It means taking the time to go back and start working on what your convictions demand, and taking it from there. Again: Don’t be legalistic about it. “God hates divorce” is not an excuse to torment people in a situation only the Devil likes. The context of that quote (Malachi 2:10-17) makes it clear the issue was self-seeking treachery against one another as a cheap excuse for trading off one spouse for another. Divorce was always justified when it meant fleeing from idolatry (Ezra 10:1-4 — purging wives who rejected the Covenant). That doesn’t reduce the horror of breaking families apart, but the issue was that one member of the marriage was determined to destroy the covenant of faith in favor of some idol. What most people don’t understand is that two people of good faith can discern their marriage isn’t going to work because God won’t prosper it.

The whole point of God’s wrath is to restore divine justice, not objectively, but internally in our souls. It is we who must repent, not the situation. God isn’t going to destroy the economy of America, but it will tighten up enough to demand we shed some luxuries. Most Americans will not see it that way, which is part of why that wrath must fall. Don’t get lost seeing the economics and social turmoil; this is a call to spend some time in contemplation and to restore the heart-led way.

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Taking Another Break

I had an allergy related infection start at the back of my throat yesterday. I’ve been fighting it as best I know how. It did manage to get into my sinuses, but the sore throat I’ve kept at bay and it’s about gone (gargling hourly with hot salt water is your friend). Between that and the off-n-on rain, I’ve not been able to ride for a week or so. Poor bike sits there looking lonely, and my legs are going soft on me.

We are in a bit of dead time. It’s not as if nothing is happening, but it’s things we cannot see, and won’t be told. There are little glimpses, but the real battle is out of sight from us. Stay the course; the Lord is hardly taking a break like I need to now and then.

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Romance: A Summary of Assumptions

The Red Pill Men and Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW), two movements overlapping a great deal, have one thing right: Violence against women should always be limited to self-defense. If you feel the urge to get violent with females, you are doing something horribly wrong in the first place. You aren’t handling your own internal weaknesses very well and you have no business being with women. When a woman gets stupid with you, don’t join her in getting stupid, any more than you would with another man. Getting stupid is called “stupid” for a reason, and we all do it. The whole point in studying humans relations is to get less stupid.

Key tangent: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Individual humans are not all one thing; we only appear to be so. We are actually a complex of multiple beings on multiple levels of existence. Your conscious self-awareness can wander all over your being, but where it’s rooted is the issue. With children it’s rooted in emotions, which we associate with the belly and the bottom of the spine. Some people never get past that stage. Most people believe their consciousness is rooted in their heads. That’s sad, because it’s not designed for that. Yours should be rooted in your heart, which is designed for that. Thus, your conscious awareness knows better than to take your feelings and thoughts too seriously. Convictions are written in your heart by the finger of God, so pay more attention to them. Your convictions are your divine identity, the anchor of your moral strength.

If you aren’t strong enough to help a woman through her stupid times, you aren’t strong enough to be her man. But if you handle stupidity well, you inspire her to help you with your own limitations. The whole key to building a great romance is to inspire her. She needs it. Without that, she has no reason to be with you in the first place. So an awful lot of Red Pill Men’s stuff is about being awesome, making the most of what manly charisma you possess. This is more likely to attract the kind of women who will fulfill God’s design from back in Eden — thus, that term “a help-meet.” For the most part, you are incomplete without her, so the best way to get a good woman is to be a good man.

We firmly assert that God takes an interest in this stuff. He actively works for His own glory, but He wants that glory to come through His children. So He gets involved in the matchmaking process in ways you could not comprehend. However, we reject the false doctrine that there is only one properly qualified candidate for you as wife during your whole life. In your journey of faith, you will encounter windows of opportunity for various different good candidates whom the Lord will bring into your life. Ditch the dreams of holy perfection in this life; that’s a fantasy that has destroyed a great many good things God has done for His children.

Recognize that you bear an aesthetic taste in female flesh. It may vary from time to time, which proves that it has nothing to do with God’s ideal. Discern how your tastes will tend to keep you from seeing the beauty many women possess below the skin layer. Don’t get hung up on your sense of what’s cute.

Don’t choose a woman based on what attracts you. Don’t choose any at all. It’s okay to signal in subtle ways your approval, but the true test of a good match is God moving her to choose you. Sure, there are plenty of women looking for another plaything, and they’ll manipulate you and sucker you in for their amusement. A critical element in all of this is the heart-led way that Red Pill Men cannot comprehend. We differ from them in a great many ways, but can’t totally reject everything they say. Mostly it’s a difference in fundamental motivations. We seek the Father’s glory, not merely the sating of fleshly desires. Most women are well equipped for the sating, and quite willing to handle that, but we have to give them a reason to want us. It’s that inspiration thing again.

So the best way to attract a good woman is to be yourself. Be the man devoted to shining His glory in the first place. Next to that is a huge dose of cynicism. Our Western society has produced a horrifying slander against God and what He says He has created, the average American gal is not worth your time. She may have potential, and that matters, but it does take some time to ensure she’s going to follow your lead out of Western culture. You owe her the respect it takes to work with her honestly so she’s not deceived about where you are headed in life. It’s an art to balance these two things. One is a godly reticence — not gushing and insecure, trying to win approval. Two is an honest report so she doesn’t feel like you are leading her nowhere. You have to work from the position that you don’t really need her, but would be awfully glad if she decides to throw in her lot with you.

There will be bumps and bruises and a great many false starts down that path. It takes awhile to learn how to discern women in a Western society. Again, on average, they aren’t worth your ultimate investment. However, God has things worked out so that you will encounter one now and then that isn’t really too compromised. There’s always at least one in any given context who is sensitive to the divine calling to come out of Babylon to join you. You have to give her a reason, but that good woman will sacrifice an awful lot to be with a man worth her time. She’s there. If you don’t find her, it’s time to invest more energy in being what you should be in the first place.

As early as possible, develop a cynicism about women. Don’t worship, don’t supplicate, and don’t believe even half of what they seem to be saying. Most of the ones you encounter are not right for you, and the demons have permission to make them tempting. Go through life being a man of God and taking all solace and comfort from Him. Don’t be a fool or you will destroy other lives along with your own. Always assume the vast majority of the females you meet are destined for some other guy. Enjoy their friendship, but keep yourself aloof in some ways. Chances are the right gal is watching somewhere to see if you send the right signals, and that includes being stronger than her in how you deal with a fallen world.

That signals you are strong enough to trust for headship. Now, understand that women are equipped to mother for a reason; there are things in your life mission where she’s in charge. You should retain executive leadership, but have no trouble delegating. Good men of God will vary all over the map. There will always be mamma’s boys and mommies to mother them. So if the guy you see in the mirror needs a mom, then find a mom. Be honest with yourself about it. But we are assuming the average guy doesn’t need that, so let’s avoid the (s)mothering types who will interfere with your divine calling. Be aware of the balance of things, because she will need to mother those areas in your life where you cannot and should not be in control. Watch out for women who feel driven to seek out men they can dominate. Most Western woman are taught to do that, and it has really taken root in some.

So your cynicism should say something like this: A few women are deadly threats. Most of them are simply reserved for someone else. In any given context and passage in your life, only one is likely to be God’s gift to you, if there is even one. Most women need a bit of shepherding because of the nasty world in which they live, same as most men. Be a clear revelation of God’s truth to all. Somewhere in the mix of things, if you are doing it right, several may attempt to cling to you. Typically only one of them is right for the long haul, if even that many. Be honorable in how you treat all of them and God will show you which one is ready for that critical mission with you.

Now, if you find yourself already in a relationship with the wrong person, we have a lot of work to do climbing out of the pit and discerning what God wants you to do next. That’s a whole other library of books we could write in restoring divine justice and healing things. A big part of that is understanding how it should have been in the first place.

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