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Not every son of a king will be heir to the throne of the king.  Indeed, in matters of natural kingship, we know that only one of many sons will be and can be the heir to the throne, although it is possible to have other sons appointed king over the kingdoms that have been conquered.  Even under such circumstances, it is the chief heir who retains and remains the king over the other kings.  Hence, the title, the King of kings.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Son, the Heir of the Father’s Kingdom, which encompasses all that is created, both seen and unseen, from what was to what is to what will be.  All things belong to God, whether of the past, present or future, whether it is spiritual or physical.  As such, all kingdoms, past, present and future, seen and unseen, belongs to God and His Heir, Jesus the Son.  The Son conferred on His disciples a kingdom as He said when He was speaking to His disciples, You are those who have stood by Me in My trials.  And I confer on you a kingdom, just as My Father conferred one on Me, so that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”[1]  This He spoke at the last supper as the disciples disputed amongst themselves as to which of them was considered to be greatest.[2]

If our elder brothers are capable of such behaviour in the physical presence of the Lord at the end of their personal tutorship by Him, consider how much more likely this would happen amongst those who did not follow Him for personal tutorship because they did not really believe Him or did not really want to be seen with Him and even considered Him as being mad at one stage or another of His ministry.  Consider those who were the brothers of Jesus of whom the Gospels testify of them:  Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that He and His disciples were not even able to eat.  When His family heard about this, they went to take charge of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.”[3]  For even His own brothers did not believe in Him.[4]

And if only a person would read the Gospels, they would also realise that Mary the mother did not remain a virgin, but had children by Joseph after the birth of Jesus, for Matthew, Mark and Luke all record that Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see Him in Matthew 12:46[5], Mark 3:32[6] and Luke 8:19[7].  His brothers being James, Joses and Jude, and a sister called Salome.

With Jesus departed physically, would not disputes arise from the second and third tier of disciples, especially if the eleven were no longer around? 

With the sons of Mary and Joseph by the lineage of Joseph being the physical heirs of David, is it any wonder that James the Younger, son of Mary and Joseph, would then stand up and pronounce his judgment in Acts 15:19?  James the Younger may be sincere and well meaning.  He may even have loved Jesus and believed in Jesus by Acts 15 even though he did not in John 7, but so did Peter when he sincerely out of love, friendship, devotion and care for the Lord, said to Jesus, “Never, Lord!  This shall never happen to You!”[8] And he received from Jesus this reply, “Get behind Me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”[9]  Did James have the things of God in mind when he proclaimed his judgment?  “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.  Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.  For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”[10]  God had clearly commanded, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.  Listen to Him!”[11]  If James was truly going to make it easier for the Gentiles, he would and should have said, “Tell them to only listen to Jesus, my Brother the King.”  But then James himself would find no favour amongst the Jews.  If Peter copped the rebuke, so then should everyone who does not have in mind the things of God but the things of men, including James.  Are we too harsh or was this judgment of Acts 15:19 a once only statement by James the Younger who went against what Jesus said concerning food and blood?

Look at the letter of James, remembering that it is only to the twelve tribes of Israel for it is addressed:  To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations.[12]  Are there teachings there contrary to the words of Jesus?

§           [James 1:13]  When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.”  For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone…

If that is true, why did Jesus teach us to pray to the Father saying, “And lead us not into temptation”[13]?

§           [James 1:20]  for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

What about Jesus’ anger in the temple courts twice as He over turned the money changers’ tables and took to them with a whip?

§           [James 1:27]  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Wrong, James.  The only religion that God prescribed was “Listen to Jesus,” and concerning widows and orphans, Jesus said nothing although He did demonstrate compassion to the widow whose son was dead and yet He also called the Syrophoenician woman a dog.  Listening to Jesus is the only way of being kept free from pollution by the world.  But then, maybe James was not there when Jesus said, Leave her alone.  It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of My burial.  You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have Me.”[14]  There appears to be almost a certain callousness, which Jesus had for the poor, unless you understand and know Jesus said this in the context that they, the disciples, were to have power to multiply food after He was gone.

§           [James 2:8]  If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbour as yourself,” you are doing right.

Wrong, James.  If you really keep the true royal law, “Listen to Him,” you are doing right.  Just ask Mary sister of Martha.

§           [James 2:14]  What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such faith save him?

Yes, James, for Jesus said, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day. For My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”[15]  And do not forget John 3:16-18[16] and Mark 16:15-16[17].

§           [James 2:19]  You believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

Wrong, James.  There is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit who are One; and demons do not believe, they know for it was the demons who testified concerning Jesus, “You are the Son of God.”[18]  Do not insult the demons for they know Jesus is the Son of God.  Another demon testified, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”[19]

§           [James 2:24]  You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

Wrong again, James.  Refer to John 6:39-40, John 3:16-18 and Mark 16:15-16.  A person does not baptise himself.  He is baptised in water by another person and then he is baptised with fire and the Holy Spirit by Jesus.  So what work has he done to qualify for his salvation, even in his baptism?  Salvation is by faith through God’s grace alone.  Paul is right.  You are wrong, James.

§           [James 3:2]  If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.

Wrong, James.  Perfection does not come because a man can keep his tongue in check, but when he obeys Jesus’ command to “Love your enemies.”[20]  Being perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect does not come by keeping free from faults in what we say, but by loving our enemies, praying for them, blessing them and doing good to them.

§           [James 3:8]  but no man can tame the tongue.

Wrong.  Jesus did by giving us the Holy Spirit, who gives us the gift of tongues so that we may pray by the Spirit and so that we can hear and recognise His voice until we also only say what we hear the Father tells us, as Jesus did, for Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing.”[21]  And that includes saying only what the Father tells Him.

§           [James 3:12]  My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?

Yes, James.  The Tree of Life can bear twelve crops of fruit and a good tree can bear good fruits, so a fig tee can bear olives and a grapevine can bear figs.  It is only if you have a bad tree that you cannot bear good fruits.  It is only from thornbushes that you cannot pick grapes or figs from thistles.[22]  Or do you not know what a good tree is or what a bad tree is?

§           [James 3:18]  Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

Sorry, James, that is not what Jesus said.  He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”[23]  “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ ”[24]  Jesus did not sow in peace, but He is raising the harvest of righteousness for the Father.

§           [James 4:7]  Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Jesus said, “But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person.”[25]  Surely the devil is the most evil of all people. 

§           [James 4:8]  Come near to God and he will come near to you.

James, this smack of plagiarism from Job’s old friend, Eliphaz the Temanite who said, “Submit to God and be at peace with Him; in this way prosperity will come to you.  Accept instruction from His mouth and lay up His words in your heart.  If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored…”[26] Did you not know that concerning Eliphaz, God said, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right…”[27]  No, Paul is right as he said, “…when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son…”[28]  And John said, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.”[29]  The truth is, before we drew near to God, God had already crucified Jesus, the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.  It is not us who draw near to God, but God who draws near to us and in so doing, we are near to God.

§           [James 4:13-14]  Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.

Wrong, James.  Even though Jesus told us not to worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself,[30] He also said concerning the Holy Spirit, “…He will tell you what is yet to come.”[31]  The Holy Spirit will tell me what will happen tomorrow concerning Jesus.  I only need to recognise His voice and listen to Him.

§           [James 5:16]  Therefore confess your sins to each other…

I do not know where this came from.  Jesus said, “Repent and believe…”[32]  Never did He say we are to hear men’s confessions, but rather we are to forgive their sins.  I think confessing our sins to God, especially in secret, was what Jesus had in mind.  Why else would He teach us to pray in secret, to fast in secret, to do acts of righteousness in secret, known only to the Father?  Surely the confessions of one’s sin is the best act of fasting and praying and righteousness rolled into one, and should undoubtedly be done alone in secret with no one else except the Father.

§           [James 5:17]  Elijah was a man just like us.  He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.

That is correct – Elijah was a man under the law just like the twelve tribes of Israel, but Elijah is not like us who have drunk blood and are cut off from God according to the law so that our only access to God is by faith in Christ.  By the way, it is not written that Elijah prayed earnestly that it would not rain, but… Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”[33] 

Elijah spoke to Ahab and God heard and honoured his word because Elijah believed God.  However, this we can learn from Elijah and say as he said, “As the Lord the Son of God, Jesus Christ, lives, we take our leave of your letter James, for it was never meant for the disciples of Jesus Christ but for the twelve tribes of Israel concerning whom those disciples who stood with our Lord through His trials will judge.”  And indeed, if they were to judge those twelve tribes now, how would they judge them, a nation that rejected God who is their King and rejected His Son as their King?  Sufficient for now, we leave this letter of James to the tribes of Israel to glean some nutrient from, as those who glean amongst the straws would for some leftover grain.

For it is far easier for us to listen to Jesus who declared all food to be clean and commanded us to drink His blood and eat His flesh, and who made it so easy for a man to commit adultery that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart,[34] that sexual immorality must be rampant amongst the disciples of Jesus by those standards.

As such, as disciples of Jesus, we are and must be in constant repentance for we are sinners of the worst kind according to the law, and since we are cut off from God according to the law, we can have no hope of acquiring any righteousness by our works that could save us.  So we rely entirely on the righteousness of Christ and join with Him, our Saviour, on the Cross.  We will listen to Him and practise His words, not because we are hoping to be declared righteous or saved by such works, but that we seek to honour and glorify Him who is our righteousness by proving His words to be true and perfect and all men to be liars.

This time, if we encounter certain men from James,[35] it would only be fair to warn them that we may not deal with them as graciously as Paul did, but all men from James should take heed for the witnesses of Christ who walks the earth from now on may have fire coming from their mouths to devour the enemies of their Christ.[36]

You could have recommended that you should make it difficult for the Gentiles, that they should only listen to Jesus and practise His words, and write us a letter to warn us that we would suffer for His sake and that all men would hate us because of Jesus, and because our Master was called Beelzebub, we would be called worse… that indeed, men would think they were doing God a favour as they throw us out of synagogues and kill us, as Jesus said to Paul, “I will show him how much he must suffer for My Name.”[37]  And then remind us that because of the Holy Spirit, we have power to do all the things that Jesus had been doing and even greater things than those we shall do.[38]  Alas, you had not in mind the things of God but the things of men.  The Lord blesses you.  Amen.

Let us repent and be in continuous humble submission to Jesus who promised us persecutions and suffering and days of distress unequalled since the creation of the world, that we might be found worthy of the heroes of faith in Jesus Christ and His God and His Father.  Amen.


[1] Luke 22:28-30 

[2] Luke 22:24

[3] Mark 3:20-21

[4] John 7:5

[5] While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, His mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to Him.

[6] A crowd was sitting around Him, and they told Him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for You.”

[7] Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see Him, but they were not able to get near Him because of the crowd.

[8] Matthew 16:22, Mark 8:32

[9] Matthew 16:23

[10] Acts 15:19-21

[11] Matthew 17:5, Mark 9:7, Luke 9:35

[12] James 1:1

[13] Luke 11:42

[14] John 12:7-8

[15] John 6:40

[16] For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.  Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the Name of God’s one and only Son.

[17] Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

[18] Mark 3:11

[19] Acts 19:15

[20] Matthew 5:43-48

[21] John 14:12

[22] Matthew 7:16

[23] Matthew 5:9

[24] Matthew 10:34-36

[25] Matthew 5:39

[26] Job 22:21-23

[27] Job 42:7

[28] Romans 5:10

[29] 1 John 3:16

[30] Matthew 6:34

[31] John 16:13

[32] Mark 1:15

[33] 1 Kings 17:1

[34] Matthew 5:28

[35] Galatians 2:12

[36] Revelation 11:5

[37] Acts 9:16

[38] John 14:12

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