Justified by works? well that depends

Chris

Administrator
Staff member
Chris I want to clarify something after reading your post. It's not that part of the bible is to Jews and other parts to Gentiles. It's that part is to Jews in the tribulation and other parts are to the church during the church age. (consisting of both jew and gentile)

The entire bible is written FOR everyone. But doctrinally speaking, not all the bible is written TO everyone

Well, you have touched on several different areas in regards to James. Sometimes not even mentioning which verses you are speaking of. Can you tell me which verses you are talking of here?

Now since we know that in the Christian Church there is "neither jew nor gentile, for all are one in Christ" and the entire book of James makes several references to "my brethren in these last days" it becomes apparent that James is speaking to jews during the tribulation.

Maybe the series on James which is verse by verse will explain it? :idunno :scratch
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff member
Eastxn said:

Now since we know that in the Christian Church there is "neither jew nor gentile, for all are one in Christ" and the entire book of James makes several references to "my brethren in these last days" it becomes apparent that James is speaking to jews during the tribulation.

This is strange. Either I missed something while scanning the text quickly or I am confused. :scratch

But I have gone to the KJV, NIV, and NASB versions using Bible Gateway and none of them say that specific phrase of "my brethren in these last days". Rather they say something like "my brethren" or "my brothers and sisters" but not "my brethren in the last days".

Which Bible verses and version are you seeing that say "my brethren in these last days"?

If it does not say that, then perhaps that will clear everything up for you? :scratch
 

Eastxn

Well-Known Member
That was my mistake Chris. I didn't mean for that to be understood as an actual phrase. What I was trying to say is that James makes several statements regarding the brethren and one that mentions the last days. One example of James mentioning the last days is this one:

James 5:3 "Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days."

Sorry for the oversight.
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff member
That was my mistake Chris. I didn't mean for that to be understood as an actual phrase. What I was trying to say is that James makes several statements regarding the brethren and one that mentions the last days. One example of James mentioning the last days is this one:

James 5:3 "Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days."

Sorry for the oversight.

From Part 5 of the "Letter from James" articles:

In this study we’ll conclude our survey of the the letter from James, half brother of Jesus. The original Apostles named him overseer of the Church in Jerusalem, a position he held until his death in 62AD. James probably wrote his letter around 50 AD or even a little before. The stoning of Stephen in 36 AD had led to the persecution and scattering of the young Church, which was still primarily made up of Jewish converts. This study will focus on chapter 5, the final chapter of his instructions to the scattered Church.

Warning to Rich Oppressors

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you (James 5:1-6).

Without any warning, James turned to unleash this tirade against the wealthy. In a few years the Romans would come, destroying everything in their path. The life style that the rich had come to enjoy, often by oppressing the poor, would be ripped away from them and they would be left with nothing. From the language it’s reasonable to see this as a dual fulfillment prophecy, taking place both in the first century Roman conquest of Israel and in the end times where the Lord will hold the whole world accountable for things like this.


Now, in light of the dual prophecy fulfillment above in the bolded text that Jack mentions it seems that this would be more appropriate given the context of the rest of the Chapters of James in that I don't really remembering them speaking of the last days. A lot of it was on salvation, etc. It just doesn't seem the Tribulation was in view here to me. :idunno

I hope this might help some? :scratch
 

Eastxn

Well-Known Member
Really? Do you take Luke 14:26 literally, for example?
Yes. In context that verse means exactly what it says and before you say "that's not what you said earlier", the twelve tribes consisting of Jews and only Jews....IS the proper historical context. I didn't see the need to state what I felt was obvious.

Proper context tells you the interpretation that fits the verse. You guys are doing it backwards. You're trying to use "context" to make the verse fit your interpretation and that's not how context works.
 

mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
Yes. In context that verse means exactly what it says and before you say "that's not what you said earlier", the twelve tribes consisting of Jews and only Jews....IS the proper historical context. I didn't see the need to state what I felt was obvious.

Proper context tells you the interpretation that fits the verse. You guys are doing it backwards. You're trying to use "context" to make the verse fit your interpretation and that's not how context works.
So you take Luke 14:26 literally. It says, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." So, ignoring the fifth commandment, you literally hate your mother and father, etc?
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff member
Yes. In context that verse means exactly what it says and before you say "that's not what you said earlier", the twelve tribes consisting of Jews and only Jews....IS the proper historical context. I didn't see the need to state what I felt was obvious.

Proper context tells you the interpretation that fits the verse. You guys are doing it backwards. You're trying to use "context" to make the verse fit your interpretation and that's not how context works.

I went over to Dr. Andy Wood's commentary on the background of James. It is very interesting a good read. You can find it here:

http://www.spiritandtruth.org/teach.../20200902_001_Introduction_transcript.htm?x=x

Here's what he said about James 1:1 that we are talking about:

Number one, the audience is Jewish; it’s Hebrew. How do we know that? Because of James 1:1 “…To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad.” By the way the tribes are not lost. There are a lot of people running around today saying the tribes are lost and that they got lost when the northern kingdom was scattered in 722 BC. So a lot of people think the tribes were lost 700 years before the time of Christ, well, obviously they are not lost because James is addressing them. Paul refers to the Twelve tribes in his time period, Acts 26:7, and there is a woman named Anna who is waiting for Christ in the temple, and her tribal identity is given from the time of Asher, one of those northern tribes in Luke 2:36. So the tribes aren’t lost and James is writing to these twelve tribes.

Further:

So the first thing to understand about this audience is it is Jewish. The second thing to understand about this audience is it is heavily persecuted. They were pushed out of Jerusalem and the land of Israel by Saul of Tarsus. Saul of Tarsus who had not yet been converted to the apostle Paul, (Acts 9) heard Stephen preach in Acts 7, and Stephen condemned the Jewish nation from beginning to end. Paul was so mad about this that in Acts 8:3, when he was still Saul, began ravaging the church, entering house after house, dragging off men and women putting them in prison. Therefore those who had been scattered went about preaching the Word.

What did Jesus say to the early church? You are going to be my witnesses in Jerusalem then in Judea and Samaria, and then to the remote parts of the earth. The problem with the early church though, which was all Jewish, was that they liked staying in Jerusalem. So God says, ‘we will fix that, we will bring a wave of persecution against you,’ and this is how the gospel, the believing Hebrew Christians were actually pushed out of Jerusalem and scattered. That is the group that James is addressing as their pastor because he was the pastor of the Jerusalem church. Acts 11:19 says, “So then those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with Stephen, made their way to…” and it describes all of these sort of far-flung places.

So that is who James, the half-brother of Christ, is addressing. He is addressing not just Jews; he’s addressing those who had been dispersed, and how did they get dispersed? They were dispersed because Saul of Tarsus (Acts 8) was so angry at what Stephen said, that not only did he have Stephen, one of the first deacons of early Christianity — in fact, it wasn’t even called Christianity yet; they weren’t even called Christians until the church starts to take off up north in Antioch; they were just Hebrews who happened to believe the message of Jesus. Saul hated that message because he heard what Stephen said, so Saul not only had Stephen executed — martyrdom #1, but he launched a horrific wave of persecution against the Hebrew Christians, and it literally pushed them out of Jerusalem into the dispersion. So when James is writing to these people as their pastor, he will say things like, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.” And immediately, your typical 21st century Christian takes that and applies it to their own life, which is fine. We should apply that to our own lives, but we first need to understand that trials he is dealing with; I mean, he is dealing with people, who many of their loved ones had been killed; they had been kicked out of their homes; kicked out of their country, because of Saul of Tarsus. ‘Consider it all joy, my brethren when you encounter various trials.” Oh, that’s the trial James is speaking of — it gives us context and meaning to what is going on here.

So the audience is Jewish; the audience is persecuted. Now where was this audience residing? — in one of two locations: either in Babylon or north central Turkey. Because when the Jews were scattered, those were the two places they went. The first place they went was up north to northern Antioch, what we call modern day Turkey. There is another picture of it.

The second place they went was into Babylon, Mesopotamia, modern-day Iraq between the rivers — the river Euphrates and Tigris. Now why would Jews flee there? Because that is where all their people were because many of them did not come back from the Babylonian captivity. Check out the genealogies in Ezra and Nehemiah.

When the Jews came back from the Babylonian captivity, only a small fraction of them came back to Israel; a lot of them stayed there in Babylon; in fact, Josephus talks about a habitation at Babylon where there were Jews in great numbers. So when James, the half-brother of Christ, addresses this scattered Jewish flock, he is either addressing the folks in north central Turkey or the folks in modern day Iraq. I am of the opinion that James is addressing the people in Babylon; I can’t prove that dogmatically, but the reason I think that is because Peter is already going to address the folks in north central Turkey. He is going to address them in 1 and 2 Peter, so it makes sense to me that James would address the other group in that Mesopotamian Babylonian area. So Peter would write to the scattered Jews in the west, and James would write to the scattered Jews in the east.


Also:

http://www.spiritandtruth.org/teaching/James_by_Andy_Woods/002_Introduction_2/index.htm?x=x

So this whole book is about the walk of faith: not saving faith, but serving faith, James 1:1-3:12, then he switches to wisdom; ‘chokmâh’; ‘sofia.’ And he does that in James 3:13 where he defines it. And he does this to the very end of the book, so I believe this whole book is about faith, serving faith and wisdom.

In conclusion, who wrote the book? James

What do we know about the author? He is Christ’s half-brother

Who was the audience? Believing Jews in the Diaspora

Where was it written from? Jerusalem

When was the book of James written? AD 44-47, the earliest book in the New Testament

What was the book’s occasion? Hebrew Christians in the Diaspora concerned about practical righteousness

What is the book’s purpose? How to achieve practical righteousness

What is the book about? Practical righteousness

What is the book’s theme? Daily living

What makes the book different? It is probably the most practical book to read in the Bible other than the book of Proverbs

How is the book organized? By its two central divisions of faith (not saving faith but serving faith) and ‘chokmâh’; sofia or wisdom.



If you want context, please read Dr. Andy Woods two articles on the context of the Book of James. I do not see anything in there talking about Jews in the Tribulation period. You can find them here:

Book of James - Part 1 - http://www.spiritandtruth.org/teaching/James_by_Andy_Woods/001_Introduction/index.htm?x=x

Book of James - Part 2 - http://www.spiritandtruth.org/teach.../20200909_002_Introduction_transcript.htm?x=x


So the book of James is about the middle tense of salvation. So this is not a book about how to become a Christian. The gospel of John is a book about how to become a Christian. A lot of things Paul says in the Book of Romans is about how to become a Christian. The book of James is not set up that way; it is set up to help the Christian who is already regenerated to mature in the middle tense of their salvation.

So that is why the message of the book of James is practical righteousness, not positional; positional is a justification issue; practical is a sanctification issue, that is, how our practice catches up to our position in daily life. Practical righteousness is attainable when believers live by faith and walk by wisdom. So we are completely here in the book of James in the middle tense of salvation.

What are some themes in the book of James? The transition from being a ‘hearer’ to a ‘doer,’ James 1:22, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” It is easy to come to a Bible church, take notes, fill up your notebook with all kinds of great scriptural insights and then just put it on the shelf where it has no influence over your life whatsoever. That is what you would call knowledge that has not yet translated into wisdom. If we are doing that, then we are hearers only and deluding ourselves. Why are we deluding ourselves? Because the goal of knowledge is to become wisdom. God never gave knowledge just for the sake of knowledge; knowledge is not the end game. Knowledge is not the final step; it has to be translated into practice or the knowledge that God has given us is not of much value.

Also:

The book of James is not dealing with saving faith in the same sense; it is dealing with serving faith and sanctifying faith. So what happens in James 1:1-3:12 is that it is an explanation on how our saving faith can be transferred into serving faith as we keep trusting God through trials, James 1:2-18; as we keep trusting God by obeying His Word, James 1:19-27; as we keep trusting God by not showing favoritism in the synagogue favoring the rich James 2:1-13; and as we allow our faith which is already inside of us to become serving faith, which begins to manifest itself in good works, James 2:14-26. And if your saving faith never becomes serving faith, then your serving faith is dead. ‘Faith without works is dead.’ Now is James making a comment on saving faith? Not at all. But he is making a comment on serving faith. You are going to heaven, but God can’t use you for anything significant here on the earth because you don’t trust Him through different issues of life, just like the Exodus generation didn’t.
 

DWB

Well-Known Member
I love reading the Bible, always finding something new I hadn't seen before. I'm just a hick grease monkey/farmer, not any kind of Theologian, but one of the best pieces of advice I got concerning understanding the Bible was making sure to understand who is speaking, to whom, and why. Also understanding the 12 did not have the revelations given to Paul, only what they had learned during the Lord's earthly ministry and His brief time after resurrection. Even Peter mentioned this about how Paul's teachings were hard to understand. The 12 do not teach what Paul teaches. Trying to morph Paul and the 12 together results in confusion. Also the 12 were still trying to live under the law. Until I learned this I was totally confused.
 
Top