“If you love Me keep My commandments”
A very simple phrase spoken of the Lord amid His disciples as He prepared to manifest the final sacrifice. The simplicity of the statement must be in the context of the events that were unfolding before the eyes of the hearers. The Lamb of God was made flesh and dwelt among His people that He might reveal the work which was finished in Him before time began. God sent forth His Son, in the fullness of time, born of a woman and made under the Law that He might redeem them that were under the Law. The Elect Servant fulfilled the Law in all righteousness and, being the Messenger of Yehovah, He proclaimed the eternal glad tidings of great joy to them that dwell upon the earth (Rev. 14:6). He came forth to make an open declaration of the Salvation of Yehovah for all the world to see and the time had come for the Atonement to be revealed; “Now before the feast of Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end” (John 13:1).
The Anointed Salvation of Yehovah made Himself of no reputation because of the eternal love of the Father for His children. His blood was shed, as the perfect sacrifice for sin, before time began and the travail of His soul was sufficient to please the Father so that the incorruptible seed should not be tainted when it was appointed to become a partaker of flesh and blood. He stood, risen before man as created, for He is the Life of His people who are risen up in Him and seated together in Him in the heavens. The Father having predestinated them whom He foreknew to have a time of habitation, in an earthen vessel afore prepared to receive the seed. These vessels are of the earth and are subject to the frailties and limitations of the creation. They never rise above their Adamic station in life even after their eyes are opened and they see their corruption. Thus each one, every man in his order, is tempted with that which is common among men to prove that in the flesh dwells no good thing and the faith within.
Jesus was not talking to Adam, commanding or begging him to love Him, neither was He setting forth conditions either to make one a child of God or for a child to remain in good graces with the Father. He was speaking of the axiom of the children of the Kingdom who having the love of God in them, love the Father because He first loved them. He came forth to make manifest the love of the Father for His Beloved and He loved them unto the end. The commandment of God was upon Him to be faithful in all things and to keep every jot and tittle of the perfect Law (not the types and foreshadows) of God.
“I do not speak to you all and I know whom I have chosen, but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eats bread with Me has lifted up his heal against Me” (13:18)
There were no surprises in the events of the upper room; every thought, word and deed were unfolding in the exact order as ordained of old. The Spirit inspired the prophets of old to set forth the events that were finished in eternity but were coming to pass in time so that when they came to pass, the Adamic arrogance could not boast of either knowing before hand or giving credit to some idol or pagan god. Jesus, being that prophet who should come (Deut. 18:18) told those assembled together with Him all that was about to happen that they might believe in Him and on the One who sent Him. Did this work on Judas? It could not for he was a son of perdition from the beginning and when Satan entered into him, it was the Master who commanded him to make haste and be about his assigned business (13:27).
Did the others comprehend what was transpiring? Not in the least for even though Jesus told them plainly that the one He gave the morsel of food unto was the one who was appointed to betray Him, yet when this happened before their eyes, “some thought because Judas had the bag that Jesus had said unto him, buy that we have need of against the feast or that he should give something to the poor” (29). The ministry of Jesus was not interrupted because of the people who did not accept Him, nor was His life cut short because of political, social and religious corruption. The determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God had ordained all things and the power of His will had properly prepared all parties, assembled on the stage of time, to think, feel and act, without possibility of failure, according to the dictates of His will.
The Son of God was glorified in and through these acts as the Wicked One and his children performed as directed to take and slay the Prince of Glory for the Beloved. The end of the world had come as the child, whose name has forever been, Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father and Prince of Peace was about to shake the earth in manifestation of the power of His wrath. Jesus thus revealed to His disciples His commandment, not according to the first testament which was to be fulfilled in the death of the testator, but a new covenant based upon better promises.
When the people were assembled at the base of Mt. Sinai, they heard the mighty sound and were afraid. Moses spoke with God who commanded the people that He alone was the Lord God over all, who had delivered them out of the land of captivity, and they were to have no other gods before Him (Ex. 20:2). As the people, forty years later, were about to cross the Jordan River, Moses gave them the commandment again saying, “Hear O Israel, Yehovah, your God Yehovah, is one and you love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your might and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:4). These were the words of the ministration of condemnation and death for no man could keep them as the history of the nation of Israel bears out. Jesus was not reiterating these words for His was the ministration of life and because He is faithful so are His people. He cannot deny Himself and they cannot deny Him, therefore “A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another as I have loved you, that you should also love one another” (John 13:34).
This was the identifier that all men might know that these sons of God were the students, being taught of the Spirit of God. It is also the fellowship of experience that the children have one for another and upon Jesus speaking the new commandment, Peter identifies himself with the nation of Israel. He blurts out, with all reverence and natural exuberance, that he would follow Jesus, presumably in testimony for his love for the Master, anywhere He went. The children of Israel told Moses that whatever the Lord spoke to him on the mount they would keep in complete obedience and Peter said he would follow where Jesus said no man could come. This is the human nature and the conflict which every child of grace endures in consideration of showing forth their love of God.
Peter followed Jesus to the garden and fell asleep with the others while Jesus prayed. He drew his sword and cut off the ear of the servant of Malchus in defense of Jesus but was rebuked of the Lord who healed the man’s wounds. Amazing how this act of faux bravery on the part of Peter did not spark the mob, armed with staves and torches, into immediate frenzy and unimaginable slaughter of the innocent disciples. But these were assembled by the hand of God to arrest and deliver the Lamb to the slaughter and no one else; nothing could have preventing them from accomplishing this or to enhance the experience. Peter followed as Jesus willingly submitted to this angry ‘posse’ led by the one who betrayed Him, back to the judgment hall. Here Peter denied the man three times whom he said he loved, even to the point of swearing an oath against the Temple, saying that he never knew him.
Peter demonstrated that the New Commandment was not after the ability or intentions of Adam. There can be no doubt that he meant well and certainly intended to show everyone, especially his fellow disciples, that he loved the Lord but after the impotence of the flesh, he could not. Messiah must suffer and die as He who knew no sin, became the sin of His people, in testimony that He is the Anointed. Painfully, Peter was set as the confirmation that this was not by might, nor by strength but by My Spirit says Yehovah of Hosts (Zech. 4:6). He was debased, humbled and embarrassed in the flesh all his days.
“So, when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon Bar-Jonas, Do you love me more than these? He said unto Him, Assuredly, Lord, You know I love You. He said unto him, Feed My lambs” (John 21:15)
The events of the crucifixion of Messiah were a dreadful vexation upon all His disciples but Peter was cut the deepest. As the words left his mouth in denial of Jesus and the cock crew, Peter was overcome with remorse and complete embarrassment for he had failed to do that which he swore he would; or had he? Truly Peter the son of Adam had failed just as his father had in the garden but could the child of grace dwelling within ever stop loving the Father? Never!
Three times the man denied Jesus before witnesses and three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. The third time, considering what had recently transpired and commensurate to the conditions, that is, his announcement and persuasion of the others that he was returning to the fishing occupation, Peter is grieved at the question. With the memory of his denial fresh and in the presence of a divine manifestation of His love for Peter, the Adamic nature is offended that Jesus is not listening to his answers and continues to doubt his sincerity. The question is, however, not for the natural man nor is the answer contingent upon the actions of the flesh; “And he said unto Him, Lord You know everything; You know that I love You. Jesus said unto him, Feed My sheep” (18). Peter carried this experience with him his entire life as he was reminded of the bitterness and anguish of the uncleanness of his outer man. Each time the rooster crowed in the morning, with the rising of the sun, Peter could not deliver himself from the memory of his corruption, yet the Spirit testified to Him that He was a son of God. This was the lesson he was to use to feed the sheep of the Lord as they experience the same conditions in Adam and the common deliverance in Jehoshua.
What of the others with him? Did any of them forget Peter’s boast in the upper room or his actions in the garden? Which of them excuses his denial or was ignorant to his bitter weeping for the conduct which he could not abate in any manner? And which of them was deaf to the word of testimony concerning the risen Lord when the Messenger said, “but go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that he goes before you unto the sea of Galilee; there shall you see Him as He told you” (Mk. 16:7). Peter was still among them and none judged him for what he had said or done because, being taught of the Spirit, they knew that obedience to the commandment of God was not contingent upon the flesh.
When Phillip asked to see the Father, assuring Jesus of the sufficiency of the matter, Jesus said unto him, “Have I been so long with you and you have not known Me Phillip? He that has seen Me has seen the Father and how do you say, Shew us the Father?” The inseparable unity of the Godhead is all inclusive and even though the doctrine of man desires to dissect God into separate (yet equal) components for observation and explanation, yet it remains that the Son given for the salvation of His people is the eternal Father (Is. 9:6). The singularity of the fullness of all things is Yehovah God who in the beginning (Alpha) created all things by Himself, through Himself and for the good pleasure of His will. He created man in His image, male and female, having the fullness of his generation within (seed). Now if this is the image of God, how then do some assert that God did not have His children in Him from the beginning? Since He created man having Eve in him until the time of separation, how can it be inferred that the Bride was not in the Beloved before the image was manifested? Some have developed a term to signify that God had His children in Him in ‘seed substance’ because this is how Adam had his children. Yet Adam is subject to time as the events of his life unfold moment upon moment, day upon day, season upon season and generation upon generation. Time has no bearing upon the One who created it and since the declaration is that of the Eternal Father then there must be eternal children.
“Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me or else believe Me for the very word’s sake” (John 14:11)
The love of the Godhead is not divided between whatever divine essences that man may have invented in his limited understanding. The love of the Godhead is complete in Him and never was there or ever shall be a time when there is any distinction between the love of the Father for the Son or the Son for the Father. Thus the love of He who alone inhabits eternity is complete for His Beloved who is as one in Him as the Godhead is one. Never can there be the slightest intimation that the Beloved Bride is anything but holy and spotless without blame in Her beloved. She has not been granted to be arrayed in the righteousness of the saints because she was found to be obedient; she is obedient in Him because His seed is incorruptible. She has ever had the testimony of the finished work of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah and she keeps His commandments because she is born of God (I John 3:9).
The theology of man has devised many derivations of the commandments of God and the sect, called Pharisee, had perverted the types to the point where they were confident that, according to the righteousness found in the law, they were blameless. Yet can there be any righteousness found in the handwriting of ordinances which was against us from the beginning? Can the blood of bulls and goats purge the conscience of sin? Is there peace to be found in the daily observance of rituals, sacrifices, holy days and self-imposed humility? “Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship and humility and neglecting of the body, not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh” (Col. 2:23).
The description and explanation of the commandments of God is developed and expanded through the ‘wisdom of man’ to include subjects like eating and drinking, what clothes are to be worn, what people to associate with and with whom business is conducted. These temporal evidences may prove a sense of morality and social acceptability, but they die with the user. They cannot ease the pains of death or the sorrows of hell that surround the strangers and sojourners in this world yet the nature of man wallows in these endeavours daily as a pretense of obedience.
And which commandments of the written law shall remain, and which should to be discarded? Shall the blood sacrifice be fulfilled in the Lamb of God, but the observance of the seventh day Sabbath remains? Has the first day of the week replaced the seventh day to the exact parameters as the Law of Moses demands (no servile work and the affliction of the soul)? And where does the interpretive liberty of man end since the handwriting of ordinances is without strength to do anything but condemn those who attempt to live by it?
Some may agree that to return to the old way is improper, yet their teachings set forth a different set of statutes. They speak of needing to cultivate an effectual fervent prayer life, or following a regimented discipleship program wherein a testimony is practiced and delivered that praises their god for what they have done. Words like accept, surrender, dominion over and claiming promises are the tools necessary to gain favour with their god and to achieve happiness in this life and impress others. The work ethic is for all the world to see and the results are normally very favorable as many flock together to hear or to speak something new.
The New Covenant far exceeds the types and shadows of the old by reason of the glory. The glory of the old came in testimony of God’s approval for the work He had enabled the children of Israel to perform, but that glory faded away. The glory of the New is the eternal glory of God which cannot be diminished or extinguished. The New Covenant is based upon better promises, secured in a better sacrifice, upon a better altar in a better sanctuary that is not of this world; as far as the east is from the west and the heavens above the earth so much better is the Salvation of Yehovah.
The Kingdom of Heaven is not of meat and drink or the observance of days and new moons which things are of this habitation. Jesus did not infer to His disciples that it was time to revisit Mt. Sinai and this time get it right. Nor was He here to rewrite the commandments for by the deeds of the Law shall no flesh be justified. The justification of the elect is because of the faithfulness of the Son who fulfilled the law in all righteousness and abolished death in His flesh; “Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God” (Rms. 5:1).
Jesus gave His disciples a new commandment; “that you love one another, as I have loved you”. This love is not found in Adam; that all of creation should be fashioned and function for good to them that love Him, to the called, according to His purpose. That the Son so loved His children as He loved His own body that He should lay down His life to deliver the election according to grace. That the Father so loved His children throughout all the world and in every time manifestation, that He should send His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes IN HIM, should have eternal life.
This is not God’s reaction to a failed attempt at delivering a people who fell in Adam, neither is it plan ‘B’ because He came unto His own and they rejected Him. This is the New covenant which is not like the covenant that was made in the wilderness, which covenant man brake, being incapable of keeping even the type and not knowing the reality of heavenly things. This is the covenant of God for His people who are protected and preserved in the Anointed Salvation form the beginning, wherein He has given a new heart sensitive to the darkness of the world. Upon this heart He has written His Law and statutes, which the Spirit causes the children to keep as they walk in the light of Yehovah and thereby do they see the uncleanness of their ways and their abomination before God. These are hated of all men, especially the outer man of their dwelling, who knows the inner man because of the light within. Thus, the wicked one, the dragon that piercing serpent, is furious at the children of that woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet and upon her head a crown of twelve stars, going about as a roaring lion to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev.12:17).
“But as touching brotherly love you have no need that I write unto you for you have all been taught of God to love one another” (I Thes. 3:9)
The religious nature of man strives to show forth his piety through his benevolent actions and philanthropic endeavours. The pure and undefiled religion of the Holy ones of God is the systemic love of God, worshipping Him in Spirit and truth and the love of the brethren. Man strives to teach his followers how to love by mandates which give tangible demonstration of good intentions but the redeemed of Yehovah have been created in the Anointed Salvation unto good works, which the eyes of man cannot see.
Many a dear fellow companion in the tribulation and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ has been confronted and grieved with their inability to love those they esteem as fellow strangers in this weary land. They know, as the Spirit reveals, that there is nothing lovable in themselves, yet they cannot contain the feeling which so easily beset them about others. These feelings, centered in the emotions and perceptions of the natural man, can result in nothing but confusion and doubt because the natural man is limited, selfish and ordained to perish. Anger, jealousy and fear are the ways of the carnal man which lead to feelings of injustice and strife. These are the characteristics of the natural order and the identifying number of man.
The children of hope have the testimony which the natural man cannot feel. The Spirit of the Most High continues to shew them the barren wilderness of this world as they hunger and thirst after righteousness. They have the hope of glory within, but the sentence of death remains upon the body of this death. They know that this world is not their home and the evidence of the flesh causes them to cry out to the Father as it is drawn back to the impotent and helpless elements of this world. Even this confounds the children; they have been taught of the Spirit through experience, that there is nothing profitable in this world, yet they cannot halt the appetites of the flesh nor control even the smallest member of the body.
The Lord did not ask His disciples if they would mind loving one another nor did He make it a prerequisite for joining His family. His statement is clear, “I am the vine and you are the branches”. The branches cannot exist without the vine nor can fruit be produced without the branches; “for without Me you can do nothing”. The branches abide in the vine and bring forth fruit; the Husbandman is glorified in the fruit that is produced. This is the relationship of the Godhead for as the Father loves the Son, so the Son loves His brethren. They continue in His love and keep His commandments, separate and distinct from anything of the flesh. They love Him because He first loved them, and they love each other because the love of God remains in them.
“If a man loves Me, he will keep My words and My Father will love him and we will come unto him and make our abode in him. He that does not love Me, does not keep My sayings. The Word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s which sent Me; these things I have spoken unto you being present with you, but the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father shall send in My name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things to remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:23ff)
Nothing can be done to make Adam lovable for he is of the dust of the earth. Even less can be done to diminish the love of the brethren, for whom the blood was shed, or separate them from the Beloved.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
December 17, 2017