“For ye had compassion of me in my bonds and took joyfully the spoiling of you goods, knowing that, in yourselves, ye have, in heaven, a better and enduing substance.”
The writer of this epistle signifies that whatever he was involved in had led him to a position of being bound, maybe even in chains, for the work of the ministry. God had sanctified this individual and sent him forth with the commission of the ministry of reconciliation. He was not sent to rectify the world unto God but that God had reconciled the world unto Himself. Now, in the performance of his duty and under the color of the authority given to him by the Spirit of the Most High God, this servant on the King was fast in the confinement of the flesh. He was not bound of the Spirit to the interruption of the labours that had been assigned unto him; rather, he was bound of the flesh that he may continue to be at liberty to do the will of God.
It had been made manifest to the audience that had receive this treatise, that they had become associated with a group of people that were deemed, by the standards of excellency of this world, to be undesirable. When it had pleased the Father to reveal Himself to His children, every man in his order, these, after they were illuminated but the light of glory that shone forth in their hearts, were given to endure “a great fight of affliction”. Once God had revealed the commonality between each member of this select few and made them aware that they were ‘joint partners’ with those who were considered ‘gazing-stock’ by this world and endured “reproaches and affliction”, they themselves became compassionate to all those who suffered the same. When the uniformity of their condition and the contradiction of the world against themselves were made evident, their feelings were activated for this writer who suffered for the same cause. They had feelings for him in the exact same way that the great High Priest has feelings for the infirmities of His people. Since He was touched with the lusts and desires of the flesh, he was tempted in all points, exactly like each and every one of His people are tempted, yet without sin, He was able to ‘bring aid’ to His people; “For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted” (Heb. 2:18). He experienced all of the fears and doubts of the uncertainty and weakness of the flesh in addition to the contradiction of sin against Himself. Nothing that comes into the hearts and minds of the earthen vessel, in which His people dwell during the time of this habitation, has escaped His experience or eluded His compassion; “Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard, in that He feared” (Heb. 5:7).
The children of the King are made to have the same experience as their Elder Brother. This experience is given unto them for the ‘fellowship’ with Him in His sufferings (Phl. 3:10) because God has ordained them to be conformed to the image of the Son (Rms. 8:29). This conformance must be exactly alike for there to be unity and perfection between all the parts of the building and the body. The earthen vessels of each member must have been dug from the same pit so that the Refiners fire may consume the wood, hay and stubble. Each member must have been hewn from the same Rock so that same fire may prove the gold, silver and precious stones within without tarnishing the living stones. This is the common lineage, the common experience and the ‘common salvation’ that Jude speaks of. It is also the common frame of reference for the feelings of the people of Jehovah.
They are also an indication of heritage. The experiences and sufferings of the Anointed of Jehovah when He became partaker of the same flesh and blood as His people were unto the First Born of God. He is the First-born of every creature (Col. 1:15) and by Him were all things made that are made (John 1:3). He is the First-born from the dead (Col 1:18) and all the children given unto Him of the Father have been raised up together in Him. This is the general assembly and ‘called out assembly’ of the First-born (Heb. 12:25), whose names are written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, who are made perfect in all that they suffer. These have the testimony of a finished work by the Anointed Servant who came to do the will of Him that sent Him for it is the faithful witness of the First-born of the dead and the Prince of the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5).
Because of this comradery and the partaking of the suffering, which have been given, exclusively to the little flock as they traverse the wilderness of this present evil generation, the brethren of hope were moved ‘with joy’ to plunder and they robbed their own possessions to help meet the needs of another. The Spirit of God brought to mind the remembrance of the sufferings they had endured and caused them to be filled with compassion for the brethren in need, moving them to count the goods of this world as unimportant for their keeping. They were influenced, empowered and activated unto the tangible evidence of a good work that they had been created unto by He who created all things by Himself and for Himself (Col. 1:16).
This is the influence of the Spirit upon the vessel. This is how and why the children love one another. They have a fellowship in the sufferings of Jesus Christ and this fellowship is the common experience of the entire family. It is a fellowship of reproach and affliction. This two-edged sword brings the accusations of heretic, dissenter and trouble maker to those who are not led about by customs and traditions while it convicts these scattered few of their unworthiness in Adam. They understand that the law demands perfection which they have not in the flesh and that they cannot be made perfect and obtain a clear conscience were they to keep every jot and tittle of the handwriting of ordinances. These are accused of turning the world up-side-down and are those who trouble all of Israel yet they know that in them, that is in their flesh, dwells no good thing. Therefore they groan within themselves, waiting for the manifestation of the children of light.
The Spirit now has brought these to the remembrance of the former days and the trials and tribulations that they endured. He has given them to an understanding of the association of those who are joint partakers of the same conditions as they walk the same path led by the same Spirit of God and illuminated by the same Light of the World upon their feet. In this their joy is filled up as they understand that the kingdom of God is not in meat and drink but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. With this joy or being filled with this joy, they account the possessions of this world as expendable for the needs of another fellow companion in tribulation and they willingly spoil the goods they have. They perform an act of kindness and communal interest to the other members of the pasture and in as much as they do this to the least of the brethren, they do it unto the Lord (Matt. 25:40). Thus the Spirit, causing them to walk according to the statutes of God, leads them into the performance of these good works where unto they were afore-ordained. Adam’s imagination is not the motivation for this good work and the power of his will does not facilitate the action. He is effected by the indwelling Spirit like the clay pots were effected by the torches within (Judges 7:16) and he is passive in his involvement as the earthen vessel is in its birth.
Because the members of the body are pressed together in tribulation and comforted of the Father with a peace that passes all understanding, they are enabled to comfort one another in any kind of trouble. Because of this common experience they esteem a brother more than themselves and gladly take the watch and care for one another. They carry each others burdens, weeping with them that weep and rejoicing with them that rejoice. This is how they are brethren “and companions in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9). Herein do they love one another and fulfill the commandments of God.
This is not an involuntary activity like some programmed robot that is devoid of feelings and emotions. God stirs the feeling and emotions and grants all wisdom and spiritual understanding to His redeemed causing them to know, in themselves, that they have in heaven a better and more enduring substance. This is not a feeling that can be explained by Adam for it is not carnal. The evidence for this proof is in things unseen and things hoped for and, since the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit, he cannot discern these proofs. The testimony of the evidence is of faith and it is conveyed from faith to faith and the justified live by this faith because it is the faith of the Son of God who loved His people and gave Himself for them (Gal. 2:20).
His Spirit bears witness with our Spirit that we are the sons of God and if sons then heirs of God. This inheritance is incorruptible and undefiled. It is not of this world, on this world or soon to be constructed in a certain region of the world. This unspotted, clean and perfect inheritance is exclusively for the children of the house of the First-born, in heaven where He has blessed His children with all spiritual blessing. This is where all His elect are seated together with Him (Eph. 2:6), the whole family (the generation of Jesus Christ) is named (3:15), the administration of the civil affairs (conversation) of the citizens of the land are conducted (Phil 3:20) and the inheritance is reserved (I Pt. 1:4) The citizens are of a better country (Heb. 11:16) where the King of Glory resides with His Bride. This is the city set upon the hill that has seven foundation pillars, hewn out by Wisdom from before the foundation of the world. It is a city whose builder and maker is God. It is a fitly framed together spiritual habitation of Jehovah God where He tabernacles with His people. It is that New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven as a Bride adorned for her Husband, that would only be tainted and marred if it were to come in contact with the corruption of this world (Cp. Hag 2:12).
It is a Better, more glorious, hope than that of the nation of Israel who still had to work the land for their sustenance and fight the enemy of the land. It is a Better, more excellent, testament than the one that was broken before the people received it and was only the ministration of condemnation and death. It has a Better, more advantageous, sacrifice in that He entered in to the sanctuary, not made with hands, and presented the sacrifice for sin, once in the end of the world. Therefore there remains no more sacrifice for sin for the conscience of the sinner is purged. And it is a Better, more useful, resurrection. It is not the return of the flesh and blood of Adam for the refiners fire shall consume all the stubble of Edom and no residue shall remain of the man of the field (Ob. 18). It is the manifestation of the children given unto Him by the Father of whom He lost none but raised them up together in Him in the end of the world. It is the laying aside of the tabernacle of this dwelling and seeing the Redeemer in the flesh of the glorified risen Lord. It is being like Him when He shall appear and ever being with Him in the air. It is the final manifestation of the liberty from the captivity of the bondage of this corruption when the body of this death is torn away and His children see Him as He is. But most important it is eternal and cannot fade away.
The elect of God are a people that are born zealous of good works. They have been created in Christ Jesus unto these works and it is God who works in them both to will and do His will, which is the good works where unto they have been ordained. The power of the Spirit causes them to perform the works assigned unto them without any possibility of failure and in complete ignorance to Adam. The good and faithful servants of the Most High God have done all that they have been bid to do. They have, are and will always give all praise and glory to the Lord God Omnipotent who lives and reigns forever, Amen.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
May 5, 2013