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James to the Twelve Tribes

Many in the past have wrestled with the supposed conflict between James and Paul over the issue of law and faith. Both agree that faith needs "fruit" to be considered genuine. Spiral bound book.

Category - Bible Commentaries

Chapter 24

Man was Created to Bear Fruit

James 5:7 and 8 says,

Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). God created Time in order to produce this fruit. Moses was given 80 years to produce this fruit in sufficient quantity to qualify him to lead Israel in the wilderness. God gave Joseph and David twelve years to produce this fruit so that they could rule properly.

Those who revolt against Time are not yet qualified to rule in the Kingdom, for they have not yet produced the fruit of Patience in their lives. I have met many who consider Time to be their enemy, rather than their friend. Many think that if they acknowledge the importance of Time, they cannot live in the Spirit, which is the timeless realm. But that is like saying Jesus could not live in flesh while at the same time being in the Spirit. Heaven and earth are often juxtaposed, but they are not in conflict. The goal of history is to reconcile all things that God has created—not to love one and despise the other.

Genesis 2:5-9 says,

5 Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth; and there was no man to cultivate the ground. . . 7 Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden, and there He placed the man whom He had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food. . .

The purpose for man's creation was to bring forth fruit in the earth. As in the physical realm, so also was man called to bring forth the various fruits of the Spirit. Farming the earth or tending orchards was designed to teach him patience—otherwise, God could have created different laws by which man could produce instant cabbage. In fact, our “instant” society today, complete with credit card mentality, has brought forth a generation of Americans who have little or no patience. We are the “now” generation.

James tells us that God Himself is the Great Husbandman of the earth. Though He has delegated authority to mankind, He has retained an active interest in managing and directing the activities on His great farm. The physical activity of farming is designed to bring forth fruit in mankind. In fact, all that He commands and directs us to do is designed to bring forth fruit in our lives.

He is therefore the great example of patience, because the fruit of the Spirit is His character that He is working into us. James implies that patience is linked to “the coming of the Lord.” This was one of the reasons that God designed two comings of Christ, instead of just one. The interim time, which we know as the Age of Pentecost, is designed to bring forth the fruit of patience.

There is no doubt that God could have accomplished His work in just a single coming of Christ, if He had chosen to do so. But instead, He designed from the beginning that the Scepter would be separated from the Birthright (1 Chron. 5:1, 2), so that Christ—being born in human flesh—would come first of the lineage of Judah and later of Joseph, whose robe was dipped in blood. This was prophesied in the law, as I have shown in my book, The Laws of the Second Coming, but the rabbis did not comprehend it.

Impatience in the Church

The Church under Pentecost has had an advantage over the rabbis in that they recognize two comings of Christ. Many Jews have become embittered for waiting so long for the Messiah to come, and many have given up altogether. Christians have generally understood that they must wait for the second appearance of Christ (Heb. 9:28), but many have tried to circumvent Time because they do not like the constraints of patience. Hence, many doctrines have arisen out of impatience.

Preterism, for example, claims that Christ came around 70 A.D. at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. Their view does not understand the prophetic connection between King Saul’s kingdom and the Pentecostal Age. Hence, they have too much confidence in Pentecost as being sufficient to establish the full Kingdom of God on the earth. Neither do they understand the idea of Sonship or the feast of Tabernacles. Hence, they believe that Christ came in 70 A.D., and that we are now fully equipped, through Pentecost, to establish the Kingdom.

If they had understood that Saul was crowned on the day of Pentecost (known as the day of “wheat harvest” in 1 Sam. 12:17), they might see that Saul’s kingdom was a type of the Kingdom of God under the Pentecostal anointing. Saul’s anointing was legitimate, but it was not permanent. Being Pentecostal, Saul’s dynasty could not be established permanently.

In fact, being of the tribe of Benjamin, his tribe would eventually have to give way to David, whose tribe was prophesied by Jacob-Israel in Gen. 49:10,

10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

Even so, the Kingdom of God under Pentecost was a temporary interlude to the final form of the Kingdom 40 Jubilees later. Even as Saul reigned 40 years, so also, as we have seen, there were cycles of 40 years, Sabbath years, and Jubilees.

40 years from 33-73 A.D. to overthrow Jerusalem and Judea.

40 Sabbath years from 33-313 A.D. to overthrow Rome.

40 Jubilees from 33-1993 A.D. to overthrow Babylon.

Not many in the Church understand the three cycles of 40 in Scripture.

Jehovah's Witnesses claim that Christ came in 1917, and when their view proved to be wrong, they interpreted it as a spiritual and invisible coming, not realizing that the Church had entered into a new Babylonian captivity through the Federal Reserve Act.

Some are ignorant of (or even reject) the Sonship message of Christ coming forth in us through the feast of Tabernacles. Others personalize His coming totally, claiming it to be an individual experience, and reject any historical fulfillment of a second coming. Scripture teaches both a personal application and a historical fulfillment, and so we must see both sides of it without rejecting one aspect or the other. Those who reject the historical fulfillment, however, attempt to eliminate any appointed time, hoping that they may enter into the experience apart from the rest of the body.

For example, the feast of Pentecost was fulfilled historically in Acts 2, but individuals were filled with the Holy Spirit long before then. The Spirit of God was involved with Creation itself (Gen. 1:2).

Abraham was filled with the Spirit when God changed his name, putting the breath of God (the Hebrew letter hey) in the middle of his name (Gen. 17:5).

Moses had a Tabernacles experience when he came off the Mount with his face glowing (Ex. 34:30).

In the story of Samson in Judges 13:25, we are told that “the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him,” and in 14:6 and 19, “the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily.”

All of these personal examples occurred long before the day of Pentecost was fulfilled historically in Acts 2. In each case, we could say that Christ came to each person individually. But in no way does this set aside the need for a historic fulfillment at an appointed time.

Hence, individual experiences occur independently of the historical fulfillments.

When Jesus died on the cross, He fulfilled the feast of Passover on a historic level, though all the past saints, by personal experience, had been justified by faith in His blood.

Likewise, when the Spirit of God came upon the 120 disciples in the upper room, it marked the historic fulfillment of Pentecost, even though many had experienced this individually for thousands of years already.

The same is true with the feast of Tabernacles, though fewer people in history have matured to that place in their lives. My point is to show that the individual application is independent of the historic fulfillment. For this reason, the feast of Tabernacles has yet to be fulfilled historically. It is fulfilled when the corporate body of overcomers is transformed with resurrection life and receive their tabernacle from above (2 Cor. 5:1-4).

In that historic fulfillment, the overcomers will receive their new tabernacle (or clothing, as Paul says in 2 Cor. 5:2) at the same time. This is the main feature of the manifestation of the Sons of God. We read in 2 Thess. 2:10 of the time. . .

10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed. . .

But Paul makes it quite clear that he was speaking of a future historical event that was to occur in the corporate body of saints at the same time. Certainly, we ought to show forth this pattern individually as well in our own life time, as we grow in Christ through the experiences of Justification (Passover), Sanctification (Pentecost), and Glorification (Tabernacles).

Nonetheless, if any man repudiates the historical fulfillment of these feasts, he has not yet learned patience, nor has he embraced that part of God's creation which we call Time.

God’s Husbandry

James tells us in 5:7 (NASB),

7 … Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.

The Greek term for “farmer” is georgos, which literally means a husbandman. There is an intimate connection between a farmer and a husband, and this is reflected in the biblical terminology. For this reason also, we read a prophecy in Isaiah 62:4, 5,

4 It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,” nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”; but you will be called “My delight is in her,” and your land “Married.” For the Lord delights in you, and to Him your land will be married. 5 For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you.

Farmers are therefore husbandmen, for as they bring forth the fruits from the earth, they are demonstrating the same type of fruitful relationship of a godly marriage that brings forth children. Furthermore, this is the divine pattern for God Himself as He brings forth the Sons of God.

God's husbandry is demonstrated historically when He planted a “vineyard” in the land of Canaan. He did this through Joshua (Yeshua), who gave the families of Israel their inheritances in the land. Isaiah 5:7 says,

7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His delightful plant. Thus, He looked for justice [mishpat], but behold, bloodshed [mispakh]; for righteousness [tsedakah], but behold, a cry of distress [tsaakah].

God planted the Israelites in His vineyard. Isaiah 5:2 says, “He expected it to produce good grapes, but it produced only worthless ones.” For this reason, God destroyed the nation and cast Israel out of the land, as He said in Isaiah 5:5,

5 So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard; I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed; I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground.

God also destroyed the nation of Judah in the days of Jeremiah and again—for the same reason—in the first century.

Jesus spoke of this in His vineyard parable (Matt. 21:33-44). The leaders who were in authority over the vineyard refused to render Him the fruit that He required, though He sent many servants (prophets) to receive the fruits of the vineyard.

After prophets had come and gone for centuries, God finally sent His Son, saying, “They will respect My Son” (Matt. 21:37). However, when they recognized Him, they decided to kill Him, rather than give God the fruit of the Spirit that was due Him.

38 But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and seize his inheritance.”

He even allowed the religious leaders to determine their own judgment in 21:40-42,

40 Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers? 41 They said to Him, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers, who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons. 42 Therefore the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it.

Earlier in the same chapter He cursed the unfruitful fig tree, which was the symbol of Judean nation, forbidding it to bear fruit ever again (Matt. 21:19). This came at the end of Jesus’ three-year ministry, in which He had looked for fruit in the Judean nation. For three years Jesus had looked for fruit, but found none (Luke 13:6-9).

The Son of God was sent to receive the fruit from the vineyard and from the fig tree (i.e., Judah). In Luke 13 the outcome was yet uncertain, but in the final week of His ministry, Jesus made it clear in Matthew 21 that the vineyard keepers intended to kill Him, rather than bring forth the fruits that God required.

God is Still Looking for Fruit

There is no doubt that James knew well about the cursed fig tree. That fig tree had an abundance of leaves, but no fruit (Matt. 21:19). Likewise, Jerusalem claimed to have an abundance of faith, but their “faith” did not produce any fruit that God desired and required of them. This was the reason for Jesus’ curse: “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.”

James saw this virtually every day as he interceded for the city. Yet he saw this as a universal problem, not only in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, but also to the uttermost parts of the earth.

God has not given up on his quest for the fruit of faith. He is still looking for fruit, and a major factor in this is patience. God has experienced major crop failures in the past. Even these were planned, of course, but it illustrates the patience and persistence of God. He will continue His husbandry until He receives a hundred-fold increase. On a personal level, Passover believers bring forth thirty-fold; Spirit-filled believers of Pentecost bring forth sixty-fold; and Tabernacles overcomers bring forth a hundred-fold.

Early and Late Rains

There were two rains in Canaan. The early rain came in Autumn after the Tabernacles season; the late rain came in the Spring between Passover and Pentecost. In Acts 2 Pentecost was the fulfillment of the late rain, which was required to bring the wheat harvest to fruition.

There is another rain coming, which is actually the “early rain” associated with Tabernacles. This rain was needed to germinate the seed that was planted in October or November. It prophesies of the time that the Sons of God will be sown in the earth, accompanied by a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

After this manifestation of the Sons of God, the Tabernacles Age will begin, in which the Sons of God will spark the greatest harvest ever seen in history.

This is the harvest that God has waited patiently to receive. James wrote his epistle long after the “rain” of Pentecost, and this shows that James was referring to another rain and another harvest of fruit yet to come. Hence, he tells his readers in 5:8 to follow God’s example,

8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.