James Chapter 1 - January 6th, 2012

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The Epistle of James, Chapter 1 - Christogenea on Talkshoe 1-06-2012

I do not see how the Hebrew name Ya'aqob, the Greek Iakobos, could have possibly become James in English. At first I pondered the notion that the translators of the King James Version were purposefully flattering the king who commissioned them. However that cannot besince the spelling of this name in the 1560 Geneva Bible is Iames, which today we would write as James. Wanting instead to be faithful to the Greek, when I translated the New Testament I spelled it Iakobos, leaving it as it appears in the Greek Nominative case. The English name James seems to have come from the French word for leg, which is jambe (the 'b' is silent). A related French word jamon, refers to a leg of ham. King James Version apologists strive to connect the two terms since Iakob does come from a Hebrew word with a meaning connected to the heel of the foot. But Ya'aqob (Strong's # 3290) means "heel holder" and therefore allegorically it means "supplanter", and that has nothing to do with a pig's leg.

In the New Testament there were two men named Jakob, or James if you prefer, who were associated with Christ. Many commentators claim that there were three. At one time I thought there were more, now realizing that apparently different men are really one and the same. The first is James mentioned in the Gospels is the son of Zebedee and the brother of John, for which see Matthew 4:21. He was slain by Herod, as recorded in Acts Chapter 12, in or around 44 AD. This here James is the half-brother of Christ mentioned by Jude in his epistle. He is the son of Alphaeus, mentioned with his brother Jude in Luke 6:15-16, and he is “the Lord's brother” as we see in Galatians 1:19. He is also the son of Mary, the mother of Christ, and he is the brother of Joses, mentioned at Matthew 13:55 and 27:56. Commentators call this James “the greater”, however scripture calls him “James the less” as the King James version has it at Mark 15:40. These commentators believe that Mark 15:40 refers to the son of Zebedee, where in fact it refers to the son of Alphaeus – for only he was the brother of both Jude and of Joses, and the half-brother of Christ.

Luke 6:14-16: 14 Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, 15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, 16 And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

Acts 1:13: And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.

Jude 1:1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

Luke 6, Acts 1, and Jude 1 all confirm that James the son of Alphaeus was an apostle, and that he was the brother of Jude who was also an apostle. These men are not listed as apostles in Matthew and Mark, and it is evident that the lists in those Gospels describe 12 apostles early in the ministry of Christ, while the group had changed over the years and Luke's list was a later compilation.

Matthew 13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

Mark 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

So we see that James and Jude and Joses were all among the sons of Mary, the mother of Christ.

Matthew 27:56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.

Mark 15:40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;

Here we see that James the brother of Joses, who must have been that same apostle and brother of Jude, is called James the less by Mark.

Galatians 1:19: But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.

Paul is speaking of the event described at Acts chapter 15, which is another witness establishing that the apostle James the son of Alphaeus of Acts chapter 1 is indeed James the apostle of Acts 15 and 21.

James the less is James the brother of Jude and Joses, the son of Alphaeus, the son of Mary, and the brother of Christ, he is the James who wrote this epistle. I had once called him James the elder, after the mainstream commentators, but that is wrong – James the son of Zebedee was the elder and was an apostle even before the brethren of Christ. This James was slain in Jerusalem circa 62 AD, as Josephus later records that he was stoned shortly after the death of Phestos.

From Whiston's Josephus, Antiquities 20:195-201: “195 And when Nero had heard what they had to say, he not only forgave them what they had already done, but also gave them permission to let the wall they had built stand. This was granted them in order to gratify Poppea, Nero's wife, who was a religious woman, and had requested these favours of Nero, and who gave orders to the ten ambassadors to go their way home; but retained Helcias and Ismael as hostages with herself. [Because of this and other clues it is often assumed that Poppaea was a jewess. But we know from the Roman annalist Tacitus and from archaeological sources that she was from a Roman family. She certainly was sympathetic to jewish causes.] 196 As soon as the king heard this news, he gave the high priesthood to Joseph, who was called Cabi, the son of Simon, formerly high priest. 197 And now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator; but the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus. 198 Now the report goes, that this oldest Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and who had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests; 199 but this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, {a} who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; 200 when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or some of his companions]; and, when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: 201 but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king [Agrippa], desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for what he had already done was not to be justified; 202 nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a Sanhedrin without his consent; 203 whereupon Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which King Agrippa took the high priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest.”

I 1 Iakobos servant of Yahweh and Prince Yahshua Christ to the twelve tribes in the dispersion, greetings.

A lot of commentators call this a “Jewish Book” because of this salutation. They are all fools. It is utterly ridiculous to imagine that any of the tribes of the dispersions of Israel, which occurred in the 8th and 7th centuries BC, were ever considered “jews”. The people known to us as “jews” developed as a conglomeration of diverse tribes in the second century BC, out of a remnant minority of Israelites, and the Edomites and various other tribes of late Judaea. Associating jews with Israelites is like associating orientals and mexicans currently inhabiting American cities with the Saxon founders of this nation over two hundred years ago. Rather, Josephus attests to an “innumerable multitude” of Israelites “beyond the Euphrates” in his time, and in a different place he states that he wrote his book of the Wars of the Judaeans for the benefit of these “northern Barbarians”, as he calls them. In his book of the Wars he recounts wars of the Alans and other Scythian tribes, indubitably considering them to be of import to the Judaeans – whose wars he is recounting. However Chapter 7 in Book 7 of his Wars of the Judaeans also reveals that there are writings concerning the Scythians that Josephus had made and which are now clearly wanting. There was no “innumerable multitude” of jews beyond the Euphrates in northern Mesopotamia at any time in this period, and all of this area and its peoples were recorded in detail by many Greek and Roman historians and geographers. Aside from other Bibically identifiable people such as the Medes, there were only “innumerable multitudes” of Germanic peoples in this area at this time, notably Alans and Scythians and other so-called Caucasians, Josephus' “northern barbarians”, and these are the people, along with Galatians and Dorian Greeks and Romans and Illyrians and other descendants of the anciently dispersed Israelites, to whom James is writing.

From Whiston's Josephus, Antiquities 11:131-133: “131 When Ezra had received this letter, he was very joyful, and began to worship God, and confessed that he had been the cause of the king's great favour to him, and that for the same reason he gave all the thanks to God. So he read the letter at Babylon to those Jews that were there; but he kept the letter itself, 132 and sent a copy of it to all those of his own nation that were in Media; and when these Jews had understood what piety the king had toward God, and what kindness he had for Ezra, they were all greatly pleased; nay, many of them took their effects with them, 133 and came to Babylon, as very desirous of going down to Jerusalem; but then the entire body of the people of Israel remained in that country; therefore there are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers.” These must be the Sakae – also known as Scythians and Galatae and by other names, the Parthians, the Alans and other groups descended from the ancient Israelites of the Assyrian deportations.

2 Regard it with all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith results in endurance. 4 But the endurance must have a finished work, in order that you would be perfect and complete, wanting in nothing.

Peter and Paul both also connected the suffering of trials with the test of the faith. Peter calls these the trials of fire. Christians do not suffer the fires of hell after death. Rather the trials of fire are those things which we suffer here in this life.

1 Peter 1:6-7: “6 In which you must rejoice, if for a short time now it is necessary being pained by various trials, 7 in order that the test of your faith, much more valuable than gold which is destroyed even being tested by fire, would be found in praise and honor and dignity at the revelation of Yahshua Christ”

2 Thessalonians 1:4-6: “4 Consequently we ourselves are boasting in you among the assemblies of Yahweh, for your endurance and faith in all your persecutions and the afflictions which you are bearing: 5 a token of the righteous judgment of Yahweh, for which you are to be deemed worthy of the kingdom of Yahweh, for which you also suffer.”

Romans 5:3-5: “3 And not only, but we should also boast in afflictions, knowing that affliction results in endurance; 4 and the endurance a tried character, and the tried character an expectation 5 and the expectation does not disgrace, because the love of Yahweh has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which is given to us:”

5 Now if one of you wants wisdom, he must ask from Yahweh, who gives to all sincerely and without reproaching, and it shall be given to him. 6 But he must ask with faith doubting nothing. For he who doubts is like a wave of the sea being driven and blown about by the wind. 7 For that man must not suppose that he shall receive anything from the Prince, 8 a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Paul states repeatedly that Christ is our wisdom, one example being 1 Corinthians 1:30 where he states in part that “you are in Christ Yahshua, who has become to us wisdom from Yahweh”. Yet the model for inquiry which the New Testament provides again and again is inquiry through the Scriptures. This is not merely some inner soul-seeking that the Hindus and Taoists and any practitioner of Buddhism or voodoo may also engage in. In Chapter 4 of his epistle, James refers to the disputes among us, and then in verse 5 he cites the Scripture. He also refers to the Scripture for understanding twice in Chapter 2 of this epistle, in verses 8 and 23. For this same reason Paul says at 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that “16 All writing inspired of God is also beneficial for teaching, for evidence, for correction, for education which is in righteousness, 17 that the man of Yahweh would be perfect, having prepared himself for all good works.” Paul asks several times in his letters, “What saith the Scripture?” and Christ consistently referred to those same Scriptures. He did not tell the Pharisees to go search their souls when they disagreed with Him. Rather, He told them to go search the Scripture. It is through Scripture, and not through our own emotions, that we are to inquire of God. In 1 Timothy 6:3-5, Paul states that sound doctrine is the words of Yahshua Christ: “3 If anyone teaches differently and does not capitulate to sound words: those of our Prince Yahshua Christ, and to the doctrine in accordance with piety 4 he is conceited, standing upon nothing, but is mad for inquiries and arguments over semantics from which come envy, strife, blasphemies, wicked suspicions, 5 constant contentions corrupting the minds of men and defrauding them of the truth, supposing piety to be a means of gain.”

KJV Proverbs 4: “1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. 2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. 3 For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. 4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. 7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. 8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. 9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. 10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.”

9 The lowly brother must boast in his grandeur, 10 but the wealthy in his humiliation, because as a flower of grass he shall pass away.

The lowly brother must boast in his grandeur”: his knowledge that his poor state accounts for his glory in the life to come. Isaiah 40:6, 1 Peter 1:24, “all flesh is as grass”. Matthew 11:29-30: “29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” The truly humble man lays aside his own purposes and submits himself to the Word of God.

11 For the sun rises with burning heat and parches the grass and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed. Thusly also the wealthy with his purposes wastes away.

The intonation here is much stronger than the King James translation reveals. This verse clearly shows that the purposes of wealthy men are contrary to the purposes of God. The plans that the Rothschilds and Rockefellers and Gates and Buffets and all of those other “princes of this world” have, to mold the world in their perverted image, we should know that all of those plans shall come to naught.

12 Blessed is a man who endures trial, because being approved he shall receive the crown of life which He promised to those who love Him. 13 No one being tried must say that “From Yahweh I am tried”! For Yahweh is not able to be tempted by evil, and He tries no one, 14 but each is tried by his own desires being drawn out and enticed. 15 Then the desire conceiving gives birth to error, and the error being accomplished brings forth death.

A lot of commentators see a conflict between this verse and Matthew chapter 6, where in teaching the apostles how to pray Christ says in His prayer “and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”. Many even want to amend the King James translation here, however the verb is translated correctly. Does God lead men into temptation? The truth is that Yahweh, being God, cannot help but know long in advance what trials men must face, what temptations they shall encounter, and what men will either succumb to or overcome. The prayer of Christ acknowledges the ultimate sovereignty of God. The admonition by James reminds us that we cannot blame God when we succumb to temptation. Yahweh allowed Job to be tempted and tried by the Adversary, and Job was considered righteous because he did not curse Yahweh for his misfortune, as the Adversary vainly claimed that he would.

James describes here the stages of sin. If the error conceived in the thought is not actually performed, there is no need for judgement. This passage exposes the folly of Ted Weiland and all of those clowns who claim that Eve was somehow only mentally deceived. Paul explains, that while Eve was deceived, sin came into our Society through Adam when the transgression occurred. Here we see that sin demands an act, and not merely a thought, and that judgement would be executed if the act occurs: the result of which is death. Unlike the government and the jews, there are no thought crimes before God. There are evil thoughts, but evil thoughts which are not performed are not punished by the law. Judgment requires an actual act in order to be executed.

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren, 17 every good act of giving and every perfect gift is from above, descending from the Father of Lights, with whom there is not a variation or shade of change.

Every good gift comes from God, because God supplies us with the ability to care for our brother. When we have gifts to share with our brethren, those gifts come from God and we thank him for them. If you take care of your brother, do not expect to be praised. Rather, expect your brother to praise God that you were able to help him.

With God, there is not a variation or shade of change: Every word of Scripture coming from Yahweh is true, and there is no change. No Scripture invalidates any other Scripture. When a conflict is perceived, there are several sources from which it may come, from corrupted manuscripts – which can on occasion be demonstrated, from bad translation – which happen more often, or from personal agendas – which is usually the case.

18 Having desired He brought us forth in the Word of truth, for us to be some first fruit of His creations.

The Word of Truth is Christ Himself, and that is what James refers to here. John called Him “the Word made flesh” and the “Word of life”. The Old Testament Scriptures were seen as another manifestation of that same Word, and Christ is the Word of God come to life – for He is Yahweh our God. Therefore the best lens for understanding the Old Testament Scripture is the Gospel. If any interpretation of the Old Testament conflicts with the Gospel, it is certainly in error. Likewise, interpretations of the Gospel must agree with the law and the prophets. The Bible is one book.

19 You know, my beloved brethren, that every man must be quick for which to listen, slow for which to speak, slow for anger. 20 Indeed the anger of man does not accomplish the righteousness of Yahweh. 21 On which account laying aside every filth and residue of evil, accept with meekness the implanted Word which is able to save your souls.

James refers to what we may also see at Jeremiah 31:33: “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” The implanted word is literally written upon our hearts – in our genes – if only we would obey it. Psalm 68:11: “The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.” Psalm 119:11: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

22 Now you must be doers of the Word and not hearers only, defrauding yourselves. 23 Because if one is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man observing the appearance of his race in a mirror, 24 for he observes himself and departs and immediately forgets of what sort he was.

In the King James Version this verse this verse reads: “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass…” But the word translated as natural here in the King James Version is not an adjective modifying the noun face. The Christogenea version reads: “because if one is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man observing the appearance of his race in a mirror”. This is a significant difference!

A reader of Christogenea.org once wrote and stated “At verse 23: change race to face”. It is true that errors in typing where one word is substituted for another similar and properly spelled word, and therefore not detected by a software spelling checker, are very common. And while I do imagine that people will find errors in my translations – for no man is perfect – this however, is not one of them. Here my translation of the phrase in question is purposely “the appearance of his race”, and I shall explain why.

23 ὅτι [because] εἴ [if] τις [one] ἀκροατὴς [a hearer] λόγου [of the word] ἐστὶν [is] καὶ [and] οὐ [not] ποιητής [a doer] οὖτος [he] ἔοικεν [is like] ἀνδρὶ [a man] κατανοοῦντι [observing] τὸ πρόσωπον [the appearance] τῆς γενέσεως [of the race] αὐτοῦ [of him] ἐν ἐσόπτρῳ [in a mirror]

The words in question here are five in Greek and in English, and the Greek reads: τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γενέσεως αὐτοῦ, which transliterated into English characters and words, is here to (the) prosōpon (appearance) tes yeneseōs (of the race) autou (of him, or simply his). The words τὸ πρόσωπον are a noun with the definite Article and are in the Accusative case and therefore are the object of the verb translated “observing”. The words τῆς γενέσεως are respectively a noun with the definite Article and a pronoun, and are both in the Genitive case. Together here they are treated as an adjectival phrase modifying the noun πρόσωπον by the King James and by most other translators. While the phrase itself may be adjectival, the words are still nouns, and should not be merely reduced to an adjective, i.e. his natural face. The Greek language certainly had other adjectives for such a purpose.

The word πρόσωπον (which we will see again in Chapter 2 here) is defined by Liddell and Scott: “…the face, visage, countenance … one’s look … outward appearance, beauty …” The word γενέσεως is the genitive form of γένεσις (from which we have the English genesis) and is defined “… an origin, source, productive cause … a beginning … manner of birth … [and then] race, descent …” In the context here, speaking of the sight of a person in a mirror, I have translated the word race, and I would assert that descent, origin, or source would bear the same meaning in this case, but it would only be masking the intent of the statement if any of those employed in place of race. This clause can only be read “the appearance of his race”, since γενέσεως is a genitive noun!

All of this is supported by a comment found at the word face here in the Bible Works program in the edition of the New American Standard Bible, where it is stated: “ Lit., the face of his birth; or, nature”, yet I would assert that neither do they understand the literal and true meaning of the phrase. Phrases such as “the face of his birth” or “the appearance of his birth” make no sense to us today. One's nature is one's race. I have translated the words “the appearance of his race” because that is exactly what James meant. The message here is that although we may be children of Adam and of Israel, born in the image and likeness of Yahweh our God, this is not enough by itself: for unless we are also doers of His Word then we are certainly not doing well, and we are not performing to the intent of our Creator. However by using the phrase “appearance of his race” James also indicates to us that not every race here on earth was born in that image and likeness!

25 But he peering into the perfect law of freedom and abiding by it, not being a forgetful hearer but a doer of work, he shall be blessed by his deed.

What is the “perfect law of freedom”? It is the fact that Israel was freed from the judgements of the Law by the propitiation of Christ. This is something that first century jews did not understand. It is something which many in Christian Israel today still do not understand. Peter said in 1 Peter 2:15-16: “15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.” That liberty which we have is liberty from the judgements of the law to which our Israelite ancestors were obligated.

This is what Paul strove to explain in his epistle to the Romans, for instance at the end of chapter 3 where he explained that all men sinned, yet for us there is a propitiation in Christ, which is granted freely. However that does not give us license to further sin: for he also said in that same place that we should voluntarily seek to establish the law of God for that reason. In Romans chapter 7 Paul again explained that we - Israel the Wife - were free from the law upon the death of the Husband, who is Yahweh, which was effected in Christ. Yet we should be bound to Christ, in His resurrection which is a sign of the promise to us that we shall live. Paul says at Romans 7:6: “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”

26 If one supposes to be religious not guiding his tongue with a bridle, but deceiving his heart, his religion is vain. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and Father is this: to watch over orphans and widows in their tribulation; to keep oneself unblemished from society.

Pious acting is not a sufficient display of faith. Rather, it is self-deception for the purpose of self-aggrandizement. Keeping ourselves away from the wicked temptations of the world, and looking out for, and providing for whenever we can, our less fortunate brethren, that is what James is defining as true religion.

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