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Good morning bus riders!
I hope everyone received the email with the link to the lectionary page and read all the readings for today, because I talk about them all. Not just a few pick and choose here. No ignoring anything.
So, if we’re all ready, let’s go!
The first Old Testament offering tells of David’s son, Absalom, and his death.
The reading skips over a lot, so the details are missing that explain the history of Absalom. They aren’t pretty. Long story short: He took over being the king of Israel and Judah, forcing David to go into exile with his devoted followers.
The focus being placed on this cut & paste reading is this: David told to be gentle with Absalom. That says David knew Yahweh was still behind him as the true King of Israel, so the rebellion would end. David still loved his son and wanted him left alive; but his general, Joab, [which is not read] found Absalom hanging defenseless from a tree branch and threw darts into his chest. Then the armor bearers finished him off.
When the news of Absalom’s fate reached David and he was told his son was dead, David cried. He had given clear instructions to be gentle with Absalom and those orders had not been followed.
The curse placed on David’s reign was in full effect.
The Psalm that accompanies this reading – Psalm 130 – is a popular Psalm. Last May it was read on two different occasions. The last time was after Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle, with the news of their demise leading David to write the Song of the Bow and order it placed in the Book of Jashar, to be taught to Israelite children.
The death of Absalom needs to be seen as David’s Song of the Bow, which repeats: How the mighty have fallen.
Psalm 130 sings, “O Israel, wait for Yahweh, for with Yahweh there is mercy.”
David gave instructions to show mercy to his son Absalom. No mercy was given. The Israelites were turned against the sinner David as king. Therefore, the nation of Israel (with Judah) no longer waited for Yahweh.
David had ended Psalm 130 by singing: “With him there is plenteous redemption, and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.”
The death of Absalom prophesied there was no redemption for David’s sins. David had to suffer the pains of punishment; and, Absalom’s death was a tremendous pain for David to suffer. The murder of a defenseless man was a barbaric act, no different than the mutilations of Saul’s corpse, along with that of his sons. True Israelites did not disobey commands. When they sinned in the death of Absalom, there would be no redemption for the people of a nation that wanted a king to be like the Philistines.
In the symbolism of Absalom’s death, where his flowing hair became entwined with a strong branch of a tree, his hanging there made him like an ornament on the tree of Israel. That made the mighty oak tree [actually a turpentine tree] be symbolic of all the rulers of Israel’s history. Absalom hung from the branch of David, as another example of a failed human king. All the branches of that tree would have ornaments of leaders who would eventually have the tree destroyed and cut down to a stump.
Remember that Jesus is said to come from the stump of Jesse. [Isaiah 11:1]
In the optional track two reading from First Kings, one needs to see how Elijah was also under a tree. He was under a broom tree.
A broom tree, which is like a Juniper tree, is said to only have enough shade for one person. It is nothing like the shade produced by much larger turpentine tree – an oak-like tree. That difference needs to be seen in the difference between Absalom (and David and Saul) and Elijah.
While the symbolism of a large tree was the nation of Israel, whose rulers lead many, many people – those of twelve tribes – the broom tree only led a few at the end of its relatively straight branch. With Elijah known to be a prophet, the broom tree becomes symbolic of the few who led the rulers, with those few being truly sent from Yahweh.
The shade produced by the rulers of Israel is barely broad enough to cover a prophet like Elijah – the greatest prophet of all Israelite history.
Elijah was fleeing a death sentence placed on his head by Ahab and Jezebel; so, the only shade Elijah had to rest under was not that produced by the prickly leaves at the end of Elijah’s branch. Elijah found shade from Yahweh.
What is difficult to see in this short reading from Second Kings is Elijah dying, just as Absalom died; but, Elijah asked Yahweh to take his life. Absalom was still trying to figure a way to cut his hair and get free, to come back and fight another day.
When we read, “[Elijah] lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep,” we need to hear Jesus speaking about the news of Jarius’ daughter, when he said, “Stop wailing! She is not dead but asleep.” [Luke 8:52] We need to hear “fell asleep” like meaning the same as when Lazarus becoming gravely ill and Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” [John 11:11]
In the Bible, sleep is metaphor for death. Thus, when Elijah “fell asleep” he died.
We read that the angle of Yahweh “touched” Elijah, and we conjure up images of a winged angel in white reaching out and tapping Elijah on the shoulder, as if making him wake up. Angels are not physical beings, so they cannot nudge one with a touch.
When the angel first touched Elijah, his soul had left his body. Elijah was dead when touched and shown bread and water to eat and drink. Those were not physical items, so the angel did not bake fresh bread in the wilderness on hot rocks. The soul of Elijah was joined with the angel of Yahweh and in that union the soul of Elijah was told to consume the soul of Jesus [who was still many years to come in the future].
When the angel touched Elijah’s soul a second time, it was when Elijah was resurrected. When his soul was told to eat spiritual food and drink living waters, it was the soul of Jesus within his being directing him, in the same way Jesus gave directions after other raising of the dead. Jesus told Jarius to feed his daughter.
He did not mean give her some hot bread from the oven. Jesus meant to feed her spiritual food. That is what the resurrected Elijah was fed when he arose from death.
I know this is difficult to believe, because nobody else says Elijah died while under the broom tree [I don’t think]. But here is a tidbit I found: The references to Elijah after this event finds him name “Elijah the Trishbite.” Scholars do not know why that is.
The word “Trishbite” means “Returnee.”
I guess another way of reading that would be as Elijah the Resurrected.
Now, the accompanying Psalm that is read with this short reading about Elijah is Psalm 34. While not read publicly, there is what is believed to be the title in verse one, which explains the reason David wrote this Psalm.
To paraphrase that title, it says, “A psalm of David, when he rudely appeared in the sanctuary in Nob before Ahimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.” What that means is David was possessed with fear, because Saul was trying to find him and kill him. David was filled with the Spirit of Yahweh and he did not fear being killed. David feared killing Saul, who was the King of Israel. That fear drove David to a sacred place, demanding the showbread to feed his followers. Ahimelech would give David five loaves of sacred bread, even though that bread was supposed to only be consumed by priests who maintained the tabernacle.
What needs to be discerned from that title, while also knowing the history behind that event, David was led to the tabernacle by Yahweh, so David’s fears could be cast out. In effect, Ahimelech cast out the demon that was David’s fear, as well as his anger that made him want to kill Saul and the Israelites who supported him, was removed by David being given spiritual food – the bread cooked on hot coals and set before the Ark each day. As such, an unseen angel touched David, casting out the demon of anger and fear, so David could leave redeemed by Yahweh.
Psalm 34 then sings, “This poor soul cried, and was heard by Yahweh, and was saved from every trouble.” The poverty of David’s soul was it had become covered with human emotions. David had become faced with the dilemma that was Saul having been anointed as king, only to have that king rave with jealousies that drove him to want to kill David, who was anointed by Yahweh.
In the same way that Elijah fled the death sentence set on his head by Jezebel, Elijah was not afraid of being killed, as much as he was afraid what harm he would do his soul, if he were to kill a queen and her king. Elijah could not go to where a temple had been set up, because the temples had been corrupted. Elijah had just killed four hundred fifty priests of Baal, which led to his death sentence. Elijah needed to be freed of the cloud of doubt that forced him to be on the run.
In that sense, both Elijah and David were resurrected from their limits as human beings. They both completely surrendered their self-egos, dying of self so Yahweh had total control over their actions.
That is a good lesson that everyone should catch.
Psalm 34 sings, “Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed.” That says David’s faces of fear and anger died when he met with Ahimelech and received the showbread. David then wore the radiant face of Yahweh, as His servant and wife. Wearing the face of Yahweh, and only that face, means one’s different expressions of that face will never lead one to guilt or shame; because whatever Yahweh has one do, it is for good.
As we reach the end of David’s life, after he has sinned and condemned his “house,” which was a necessary failure because no man is a king that can be better than Yahweh, today’s reading need to also be seen shining in the light of Father and Son, where both words are capitalized as divinely related.
David was chosen by Yahweh to replace Saul as a judge. Yahweh chose David because of his soul’s past faith, when David’s soul had proved its commitment to Yahweh as his Father, with that soul as His Son. Still, in his life as one chosen by Yahweh – not the other way around – David could not call Yahweh his Father.
David was a human father of human children, through human wives. While David’s soul became a wife of Yahweh – such that he named that spiritual Husband in his songs – but David was not reborn, through death and resurrection, as would be Elijah. David was a human Father, but he was not a divine Son.
Elijah the Returnee was what David never became, as he was reborn as a Son of man. Elijah is then a reflection of one who serves Yahweh as more than a judge, as more than a hero prophet, as more than an inspiration to the people he comes in contact with.
Elijah would go forth and anoint others to be prophets, in the same way that Jesus would go forth and anoint Apostles or Saints.
David only sires sons who were all flawed. In the same way all the prophets – Eli and Samuel for instance – sired human sons, none of whom could inspire anyone to follow their lead. The Israelite elders had gone to Samuel with a demand for a king, because Samuel’s son were not righteous leaders.
Thus, the lesson of Elijah is to achieve greater heights of service to Yahweh, which can only come from self-sacrifice. One must die of self and be touched by an angel of Yahweh who will resurrected within one’s soul-body. We know that angel by the name “Jesus,” a name meaning “Yahweh Will Save.”
In Paul we have a clearer example of Elijah, as he encountered a vision of Jesus and was stricken blind for three days. When Saul changed his name to Paul, that came when his soul was touched by an angel of Yahweh, which was named Jesus.
In the story of Elijah, after he was resurrected and most divine, he went and anointed other prophets. In the story of Paul, we read from his letters how he did the same. Those touched by Elijah – most prominently Elisha – they took on the Spirit of Yahweh, with Elisha receiving a “double share,” which means he too died of self and was resurrected most divinely. He became Elijah reborn.
When we read today from Ephesians we read the verses come from the end of chapter four, extending to the beginning two verses of chapter five. However, the reading does nothing to convey that chapter change, thus a change of Paul’s focus.
When we read Paul tell those whose souls he has touched as Jesus reborn:
“Putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors”
“Be angry but do not sin”
“Thieves must give up stealing”
“Let no evil talk come out of your mouths”
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for
the day of redemption”
All of that becomes wise advice given by a father to a child. One can imagine David took the time to share such words of wisdom with all his sons. One can imagine Absalom had heard words similar to these from David.
The true Christians touched by Paul had not only heard those words, but the lived up to them. They did not live up to them by self-will. No one can will oneself to live righteously.
David proved that when he quit being king and began a rampage of sins that brought about the ruin of his family … his house.
Absalom did sins like his father, because Absalom had never married his soul to Yahweh. As David did, so did Absalom. As the biological father did, so too did the son.
The true Christians of Ephesus had married their souls to Yahweh. As promised by Jesus to his disciples, the Advocate came to make sure they lived righteously. With that touch by an angel of Yahweh – His Spirit – upon their souls, they submitted their self-will to the lead of the Spirit.
They lived as David lived, after Yahweh poured out His Spirit upon him.
What is missed in the Ephesians reading is how the transition takes the reader from the first touch of an angel of Yahweh to the second. That is when one has been resurrected as Jesus, one with the Christ and a Saint sent out in ministry to save others in the name of Jesus Christ.
In chapter five, Paul began by saying, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.”
The word translated as “imitators” is actually Paul telling the Ephesians to be “one who imitates, emulates,” where the usage says be a positive imitation, as one who arises by admiring the pattern set by someone worthy of emulation, i.e. a mentor setting a proper example.”
It does not mean pretend to be Christian. It says one must have an inner Advocate, whose advice one always follows AND one must have someone like Paul to mentor you externally.
It means to be Christian one must have been touched by the angel of Yahweh and then be fed the spiritual food that comes from a teacher … a minister … a good shepherd.
When those come together, just like came together under that broom tree Elijah rested under, then one dies of self AND is reborn by the second touch of the angel of Yahweh, when one becomes the Son of man resurrected.
Thais transformation must take place for one to be able to call Yahweh one’s Father. It means one must first be touched by the Spirit in marriage; and, it then means one must then be reborn as Jesus, so one’s Husband is also one’s Father in Salvation.
Remember: Jesus means Yahweh Will Save. One is not completely saved and promised eternal life with the Father, if one has not become Jesus resurrected.
This brings us to the Gospel reading. John’s sixth chapter begins fairly easy; but as it goes along it becomes deeper and deeper, more difficult to grasp.
Next Sunday be prepared to read what atheists call Jesus promoting cannibalism: eating his flesh and drinking his blood.
Certainly, Jesus did not say that, because those words are heard in the same way they hear an angel said to Elijah, “Get up and eat,” and their minds see a hot, steaming physical loaf of bread next to Elijah’s head.
That angel of Yahweh did not say “Get up and eat physical bread.” The bread is spiritual.
Just like Jesus said – which is a prior verse carried over to this read [and will be again next Sunday] – “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
The “bread of life” is the bread of resurrection.
The “bread of life” is the bread that promises eternal life.
The “bread of life” is what transforms one’s soul into a Son of man, another Christ, and makes one be in the name of Jesus.
In this Gospel selection today, the focus is turned to that of father-son, based on how one’s ears and eyes are trained to hear and see.
The Jews asked, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?”
They saw Jesus as nothing more than a bud on a branch of the tree of Israel – the turpentine tree that had been chopped down, but a shoot had resurrected it. They certainly did not see Jesus as important as was Absalom (for a brief while, back when).
When Jesus knew they were grumbling, just like everyone who is not a king of a nation does, especially is someone else is seeming to climb higher on the tree of Judaism without good cause, he told them like it is.
What Jesus said tells you like it is.
Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day.
The word translated as “drawn” means “I drag, draw, pull, persuade, unsheathe.”
Read that as Jesus saying, “No one can be born as me unless I have been planted within one’s soul-flesh being by the Husband and then pulled out by the Father at my birth.”
That says one must be Jesus. Jesus will save one’s soul, which will separate from one’s flesh “on the last day” of life on this earth.
Jesus is a name that means Yahweh Will Save. For Yahweh to save one’s soul, it must be married to the Spirit of Yahweh [the Advocate] and then it must be born as Jesus, delivered by the hands of the Father.
When Jesus said, “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me,” he spoke as Yahweh being his Father. To be able to call Yahweh one’s Father, one must become Jesus reborn.
When Jesus then said, “Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father,” this speaks of Adam, who was the flesh and blood that first possessed the soul of Jesus. Adam was made by the Father because Yahweh’s plan was to Save.
Souls who have married Yahweh and given birth to the resurrected soul of Adam, being in the name of Jesus, will be brothers in Christ – thus true Christians – as all will be the Son of man reborn and all will have the right to call Yahweh their Father.
Thus, when Jesus said, “Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh,” he spoke as the angel of Yahweh who told Elijah, after he touched his soul a second time, “Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.”
To gain eternal life, one must eat the bread of life and become Jesus in the flesh. The flesh is yours; but his soul will possess your soul and become the Lord of righteousness.
That means a future in ministry, as Paul and Elijah displayed.
I think I hear the bus coming; so, we will end here. Please think about what I have said about these readings.
We’ll meet again and talk some more next Sunday. Until then, I pray the week finds your heart opening more to receive the Spirit of marriage.