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James Chapters 4 and 5 - Christogenea on Talkshoe 01-20-2012
Here, because of its importance, and because of the ways in which the chapter is abused, I thought to repeat James chapter 3, and to present it in a manner a little more pointed than how it was presented last week.
III 1 You must not produce many teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive a greater judgment. 2 For we all fail often! If anyone does not fail in word, he is a perfect man able to guide with a bridle even the whole body. 3 Even if the bridles of horses are put into their mouths for which to persuade them for us, then we maneuver their whole body. 4 Behold also, there are such great ships, and being driven by severe winds, maneuvered by the smallest rudder, being driven straight where impulse desires. 5 Thusly also the tongue is a small body-part and boasts loudly. Behold how small a fire ignites so great a forest! 6 And the tongue is a fire, an ornament of injustice. The tongue sits among our body-parts soiling the whole body and setting ablaze the course of existence, and being burned by Gehenna!
Gehenna, the destruction caused by the fiery trials of this life, the wars and strife caused by the tongue. All of these things are of course true, but we must consider how and what kind of speech causes men to slip. And in whose perception do men slip? One man may think that you have erred when he does not like what you say. But what is sin, to slip in the eyes of man? Or to slip in the eyes of God? It may well be that man's pride which causes him to think badly about you. Therefore we have only one Judge: Yahshua Christ, and one Guide, which is His Word.
The context here is set in verse 1, and reinforced in verse 14. We cannot take James' words here out of context, as some would like to do, in order to attempt to show that they themselves are being criticized unfairly. James is not telling us that we cannot be critical of men. Rather, at the end of James chapter 5 the apostle tells us that we should indeed correct our brethren! Rather, James here tells us that the tongue, the smallest organ, can cause a whole bunch of trouble. And how can it do that? James is talking in verse 1 that there should not be many teachers, because they shall receive the greater judgement. In verse 14 he states “do not exult and lie against the truth”. Those who claim to be teachers, yet teach a false gospel, they are the men James talks about here. A world of iniquity is created by false teachings in the name of Christ.
7 For every species of both beasts and birds, and reptiles and sea-creatures, is tamed and has been tamed by the species of man [Genesis chapter 1] 8 but the tongue no one of men is able to tame; it is an unstable evil, full of death-bearing poison. 9 With it we praise the Prince and Father and with it we would curse men who have been born according to the likeness of Yahweh. 10 From the same mouth proceeds praise and curse! There is no need, my brethren, for these things to be so. 11 Does any spring from the same opening flow sweet and bitter? 12 Is it possible, my brethren, for a fig tree to make olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither does salt make sweet water!13 Who is wise and knowledgeable among you? He must show by good conduct his works in meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and rivalry in your hearts, do not exult and lie against the truth.
Lying against the truth, THAT is how the tongue sets off a world of iniquity. Teaching lies contrary to the Word of God, THAT is how the tongue gets a man into trouble. If I speak against God, then I pray to be corrected. If I do not repent, God will correct me! If I speak against men in the light of the Word of God and they blaspheme me and resort to slanders, then I praise God, because as Yahshua told us in Luke chapter 6, “22 Blessed are you when men hate you and when they separate from you and they reproach and they cast out your name as evil because of the Son of Man: 23 Rejoice in that day and leap, for behold, your reward is great in heaven! For in accordance with these same things did their fathers do to the prophets.”
Submitting to the truth of the Scriptures, that is true meekness. Playing politely is not meekness, as the popular culture today would have us believe. In fact, the serpent in the garden was playing politely. Submission to God and to His Word is real meekness, and that is real humility.
As we see James explain here, heresies of doctrine most often come out of pride of heart. As he says in verse 14, “But if you have bitter jealousy and rivalry in your hearts, do not exult and lie against the truth.” This is the source of nearly all of our disputes. Some disputes are honest, because not all Scripture is so easy to understand, however they are usually minor and have no real relevancy or danger to sound doctrine. However there are many people in Christian Identity who have not shed their Catholic, Baptist, Jehovah's Witness or other unsound beliefs. And there are just as many others who imagine themselves to be the revealers of some great new and unique idea which will somehow save us from error. These themselves are far greater errors. The trumpeting of frauds such as Ron Wyatt, Jordan Maxwell, Zechariah Sitchin, so-called Mayan calender prophecies, Elenin, Nibiru, and many other supposed “discoveries”, such as men imagining themselves to be one of the two witnesses or one of the 144,000 of the Revelation, all of this is error produced and nurtured by pride. All of these lies, when we fall for them, only lead us into reproach and an indefensible position in the light of true Biblical scholarship. How can we willingly spread these lies, and even care to face our Redeemer? If doctrine is not explicit in the original languages of Scripture, then forget about it, it is not doctrine at all. If truth cannot be established in the light of Scripture and by two or three witnesses, and also stand in the context of the rest of the Scripture, then it is not truth at all.
15 This is not the wisdom coming down from above but earthly, animal, demoniacal.
As John says in chapter 4 of his first epistle, we are to test every Spirit, to see whether they are of God or of the World. Spirits born of the World are not from God, and they are the spirits of demons. As demons are the disembodied spirits of bastards, then naturally bastards are the embodied spirits of demons! When someone starts teaching false doctrines in the name of Christianity (such as the idea that bastards can somehow be saved) then they indeed reveal their demonic nature.
16 For where jealousy and rivalry are, there is instability and every mean deed.
This describes all of those who have nothing better to do than to sit in forums and make ad hominem attacks, rather than listening to the Word of God, or if they do not like what is being offered, going off and studying it better for themselves. By harassing Christians who do seek the Word of God, they make manifest their jealousy and cause strife in others.
17 But the wisdom from above is first indeed pure, then peaceful, reasonable, obedient, full of acts of mercy and good fruits, unhesitating, unhypocritical. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those making peace.
Yet the “peacemakers” are not the world's compromisers. Rather, the real peacemakers are those who seek to uphold the Word of God, as the Proverb says: “He that winks with his eyes deceitfully, procures griefs for men; but he that reproves boldly is a peacemaker” (Proverbs 10:10, from the Septuagint). Any man that thinks he is above criticism, makes himself to be as God. James chapter 3 cannot be used by a man to put himself above criticism.
James 5:19-20: “19 My brethren, if one among you should stray from the truth and one should correct him, 20 you must know that he correcting a wrongdoer from the error of his way shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of errors!” We can save each other from sin by telling each other the truth about sin, and the errors that it leads to! Yet we can only save a man's soul: his life in this world. That Spirit which God has imparted to Adamic man cannot die.
IV 1 From where are battles, and from where are fights among you? Is it not from this: from your pleasures making war among your members?
James is talking metaphorically of the body of Christians as members, much like Paul often did. Most commentaries, however, interpret this verse at the personal level, and while it can be interpreted in that way, that is not merely what James is referring to. James is also talking at the national, or tribal level. The “twelve tribes scattered abroad” for many centuries fought with each other, whether they be Roman or Greek of Scythian or Parthian, seeking to better themselves by procuring one another's goods and one another's lands.
2 You desire, and you have not. You murder and strive and are not able to succeed. You fight and battle. You do not have for reason that you do not request. 3 You request and do not receive for reason that you request evil, in order that you may be consumed in your pleasures!
People often pray with the hope of satiating their own lust. Rather than seek after our own lusts, and after the goods or lands of our brother, we should seek after God and He will make certain that we have our necessary worldly amenities.
Paul taught likewise, where he said in Galatians chapter 5: “16 Now I say, you must walk in the Spirit, and desire of the flesh you should not at all fulfill. 17 The flesh desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; indeed these are in opposition to one another, in which case you should not do these things that you desire. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are under no law. 19 Manifest are the deeds of the flesh, such things are fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, use of drugs, hostilities, contention, rivalry, wrath, intrigues, dissensions, sects, 21 envyings, drunkenness, revelries, and things like these; which I have announced to you beforehand, just as I have said before, that they who practice such things shall not inherit Yahweh’s kingdom. 22 Now the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control: there is no law against such things. 24 But they of the Anointed crucify the flesh along with those affections and those desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, in the Spirit we also should walk. 26 We should not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
4 Adulterers! Do you not know that the love of Society is hatred for Yahweh? He therefore who would desire to be a friend of Society establishes himself as an enemy of Yahweh! 5 Or do you suppose that vainly the Scripture says: “With envy yearns the spirit which dwells in us”?
I cannot determine from where James is quoting this scripture, “With envy yearns the spirit which dwells in us”. It is not found in the Septuagint. Yet it may be a reference to Genesis chapter 6, where it is evident that the Spirit of Yahweh within men strives with the fleshly nature of man, a lesson which is also often taught by Paul.
Worldly people here are called adulterers. Our ancient forefathers were adulterers because they sought the things of the the world: to accept and to please and to have communion and intercourse with the others races and to learn their ways, rather than to isolate themselves from the aliens and seek to please God. When we engage with the world, we all too often are compelled to compromise the Word of God, even so far as to compromise our own racial integrity. We cannot do both, we cannot please the world and still please God. We cannot seek to be successful in the world, to have power and wealth, and yet seek the mercy of God, because success in the world necessitates compromising the Word of God. Satan, a collective word for the adversaries of God, they are the princes of this world, and to be successful in the world we have to please them. Therefore, we must renounce the world and not seek its comforts of wealth and power and riches. The rewards of the world are temporary, and we seek the greater rewards promised by God.
Therefore, if we seek the things of the world, God may very well deny us, and not provide us with them. But if we seek anything that with it we intend to serve God, perhaps He will either give us what we seek or perhaps He will convince us in our hearts that we should be content without it, because we really do not need it, and He will give us opportunities of serving Him some other way.
For this reason Paul explains in Romans chapter 8: “25 But if we expect that which we do not see, through patient endurance we wait. 26 And in like manner the Spirit assists us with our weakness; for that which we should pray for, regarding what there is need of, we do not know, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible utterances. 27 And He who searches the hearts knows that in the mind of the Spirit, because in accordance with Yahweh it intercedes for the saints. 28 But we know that to those who love Yahweh all things work together for good, to those who in accordance with purpose are called. 29 Because those whom He has known beforehand, He has also appointed beforehand, conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be first born among many brethren. 30 Moreover, those whom He has appointed beforehand, these He also calls; and those whom He calls, these He also deems worthy; while those whom He deems worthy, these He also honors.”
6 But more greatly He gives favor, on which account it says: “Yahweh opposes the arrogant, but He gives favor to the humble.”
Reading the Greek, there are many citations of the Old Testament in James which lead me to believe that the Septuagint was his primary reference. Here we shall compare this saying of James to Proverbs 3:34 and Job 22:29 in both the King James Version and in the Septuagint, using Sir Francis Brenton's English version.
Proverbs 3:34 from the King James version: “Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.”
Proverbs 3:34 From the Septuagint: “The Lord resists the proud; but he gives grace to the humble.”
Job 22:29 from the King James version: “When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.”
Job 22:29 From the Septuagint: “Because thou hast humbled thyself; and thou shalt say, Man has behaved proudly, but he shall save him that is of lowly eyes.”
The truly humble man is not one who is polite to his fellow man only, but one who subjects himself to the Word of God. Of course, we should be polite to our brother, but we have no compulsion to offer them comfort when they are opposed to the Word of God. Polity is not humility. True humility is obedience to God in spite of the desires or expectations of men. James explains this in the very next verse!
7 Therefore subject yourselves to Yahweh, but stand against the False Accuser and he shall flee from you.
What is true humility? Subjecting oneself to the Word of God! We cannot separate verses 6 and 7. As James says, ““Yahweh opposes the arrogant, but He gives favor to the humble. Therefore subject yourselves to Yahweh”.
Subjecting ourselves to the Word of God, we have a promise that the devil, the false accuser, will flee from us. Paul at Ephesians 6:11 tells us to “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
8 Draw near to Yahweh and He shall draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners! And purify your hearts, double-minded!
Paul at Hebrews 10:22 states “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”
A double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways, as James explained in the first chapter of this epistle. A man who would reject the Word of God, creating his own doctrine while claiming to be a Christian, he is a double-minded man.
9 Endure hardship and lament and weep! Your laughter must turn into grief and joy into sorrow!
Peter and Paul both made similar statements, that we must rejoice in our inevitable trials.
From Job 9:23-24: "23 If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent. 24 The earth is given into the hand of the wicked...”
1 Peter 1: “7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
2 Timothy 1: “8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began”.
2 Corinthians 1: “3 Blessed is Yahweh, even the Father of our Prince, Yahshua Christ, the Father of compassions, Yahweh also is of all encouragement. 4 He is encouraging us upon every one of our afflictions, for us to be able to encourage those in every affliction, through the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by Yahweh. 5 Because just as the sufferings of the Anointed are abundant to us, in that manner through the Anointed our encouragement also is abundant. 6 Now, whether we are afflicted on behalf of your encouragement and preservation, or if we are encouraged on behalf of your encouragement which is being produced in the endurance of the same sufferings by which we are also affected, 7 then our hope for you is steadfast, knowing that just as you are partners of the sufferings, in that manner also of the encouragement.”
Matthew chapter 5: “3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who are mourning, because they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, because they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness, because they shall be satiated. 7 Blessed are those having mercy, because they shall be mercied. 8 Blessed are those who are pure in heart, because they shall see Yahweh. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, because they shall be called sons of Yahweh. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted on account of righteousness, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
10 Humble yourself before the Prince and He shall exalt you.
The meek are those who humble themselves before God. Subject ourselves to His word, seek to serve God, and He will take care of the rest.
11 Do not slander one another, brethren. He slandering a brother or condemning his brother slanders the law and condemns the law. Now if you condemn the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
καταλαλέω, in its weakest sense, to talk or blab about. In its stronger sense it means to make evil reports about another.
12 There is one Lawgiver and Judge, He who is able to save and to destroy! Now who are you who is judging him near to you?
Of course, the phrase “him near to you”, which is usually translated “neighbor”, can only refer to a fellow flock-member.
This does not mean that we do not correct each other. Rather James tells us in chapter 5 that we should indeed correct each other, where he says “19 My brethren, if one among you should stray from the truth and one should correct him, 20 you must know that he correcting a wrongdoer from the error of his way shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of errors!”
We do not condemn our brethren, the real sense of the word “judge” as it is used here. Rather, we seek to correct them when they do wrong. Paul explains in Galatians chapter 6: “Brethren, even if a man should already be caught up in some transgression, you, those of the Spirit, restore such a man in a spirit of meekness, watching yourself lest also you may be tested.”
Romans 14: “4 Who are you to be judging another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he shall stand; indeed the Prince is able to establish him.” All Israel shall be saved, and therefore we should not judge our brother, but only correct him from the Word of God.
13 Come on, those now saying “Today or tomorrow we shall go into this here city and we shall spend a year there and trade and make profit”, 14 those who do not know what condition your life is in tomorrow! For you are as vapor appearing for a short time, and then disappearing. 15 Instead of which you are to say “If the Prince desires and we shall live, then we shall do this or that.”
In other words, every plan in our lives should first consider the will of Yahweh, and nothing is assured by us for ourselves.
Isaiah 40: “6 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: 7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. 8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”
16 But now you boast in your pretenses. Any such reason to boast as this is wicked! 17 Therefore he knowing to do good and not doing it, for him it is error.
We boast in our pretenses, in our own plans and our own empty and worldly assurances. Rather, we know that we should be seeking the will of our God, and not our own fleshly desires.
V 1 Come on, those who are wealthy now, weep, crying out upon your coming hardships! 2 Your wealth is putrefied and your garments have become moth-eaten! 3 Your gold and silver are corroded and their corrosion shall be for a testimony to you and it shall eat your flesh as fire. You have saved up for the last days.
How does this not describe all of those who insist on working hard for themselves and squirreling away whatever they can for some future unforeseen disaster, imagined by men? They will always find a way to justify storing up gold, silver, and supplies such as an excess of guns and ammunition and food. They store their wealth in caves and huts in the wilderness, planning to flee for refuge when the hour comes. No matter how they try to justify what they do, it is wrong, because their faith is in their own devices, and not in Yahweh their God. Christians are told to hold their heads up high when the hour of judgement comes, because their redemption is nigh!
At Luke 12:24 Yahshua says "Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?" Luke 12:15-21: "15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
There is nothing wrong with planting a garden, and canning up the produce for use throughout the year. That is stewardship. But if you have more than you need, you had better consider your brethren, and not squirrel away your excess for yourself, because God may very well require your life of you before you ever get to enjoy any of your labors.
4 Behold, the wages of the laborers reaping your fields which have been withheld by you cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have entered into the ears of the Prince of Armies!
Instead of squirreling away riches, give that excess which you have gained by God's good grace to those of your kin who are near to you, who do not have enough for their daily needs. And if you grow rich through your business, perhaps you should consider that you have not paid those who work for you fairly enough. That is why James says to the rich man that the wages of the laborers working for them have been withheld. For example, if you made a half- million dollars operating a business with ten employees, and they only earned $25,000 a year each, perhaps you had better consider doubling their wages!
5 You have lived luxuriously and lewdly upon the earth: you have nourished your hearts in a day of slaughter! 6 You have condemned, you have murdered the righteous, who did not oppose you!
If you have an excess of life's necessities, and your brother has want, how do you not murder your brother? If you are wealthy, and there is a needy White family in your community, how are you a good steward over what God has given you? “The earth is Yahweh's, and the fulness of it.” Therefore what Yahweh dispenses to us, we should seek to do well with, and not horde for ourselves.
Exodus 16: “17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. 18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.”
The New Testament respects property rights as they are reckoned by men, as we see Paul in his epistle to Timothy explain that slaves should even purchase their freedom justly according to the customs of man, if they could, and if not then they should remain content in their position. Yet we each have a duty to make certain that our brethren are afforded the necessities of life.
Exodus 16: “17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. 18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.”
7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Prince. Behold, the farmer awaits the precious fruit of the earth, having patience for it until he should receive the early and the late. 8 You also have patience. Establish your hearts, because the coming of the Prince has approached. 9 Do not bemoan, brethren, against one another, in order that you would not be judged. Behold: the Judge stands at the door!
Like Paul, James taught the Second Coming of Christ as if it were imminent, because we all should conduct ourselves as though it is already here. Yet there are many who doubt an actual, physical return of Christ. However at Acts 1:11 we read “Men, Galilaians, why do you stand looking into the heaven? This Yahshua, who is taken up from you into the heaven, thusly shall He come in the manner which you have beheld Him going into the heaven.” There are many other Scriptures which teach a physical return of Christ. Yet, of course, this does not negate any obligation that we have to be obedient to His word.
1 Thessalonians 4: “14 For if we believe that Yahshua had died and rose up, in this manner Yahweh also through Yahshua will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep.”
The epistle of Jude: “14 And Enoch, seventh from Adam, prophesied to these saying 'Behold, the Prince has come with ten thousands of His saints 15 to execute judgment against all and to convict every soul for all of their impious deeds which they committed impiously and for all of the harsh things which the impious wrongdoers have spoken against Him!'”
Matthew 24: “30 And at that time the sign of the Son of Man shall appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn and they shall see ‘The Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and much effulgence!’ 31 And He shall send His messengers with a great trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from out of the four winds, from the ends of the heavens unto the extremities of them.... 35 The heaven and the earth shall pass, but My words shall by no means pass! 36 But concerning that day and hour no one knows: not the messengers of the heavens nor the Son, except the Father only.”
10 Take as an example, brethren, of ill-suffering and of patience those prophets who have spoken in the Name of the Prince. 11 Behold, we are blessed who are enduring. You have heard of the endurance of Iob and you know the accomplishment of the Prince, that the Prince is very affectionate and compassionate.
Job 1: “8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.”
Yet Satan – the adversary - was discredited because Job withstood his trial and never did curse God. Neither did Job claim innocence or blame God for his trials, as his so-called friends had beckoned him. Rather, Job knew of the greater reward to come, where he said in chapter 19: “25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. ”
12 But before all, my brethren, do not swear, not even on heaven nor on the earth nor any other oath, but it must be from you the yes “Yes” and the no “No”, in order that you would not fall under judgment.
Christians should take NO OATHS! Matthew 5:33-37: "33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." As Paul says at 1 Corinthians chapters 6 and 7, we were bought for a price, and we are not our own. Therefore we cannot guarantee the efficacy of any oath, because we know not what plans Yahweh has for us tomorrow.
13 One who suffers ill among you must pray. One who is cheerful must sing. 14 One who is sick among you must summon the elders of the assembly and they shall pray for him anointing him with olive oil in the Name of the Prince, 15 and the prayer of the faith shall save the afflicted, and the Prince shall raise him. And if an error may have been committed, it shall be remitted for him. 16 Therefore acknowledge faults to one another, and pray for one another that you may be healed. The entreaty of the righteous being employed prevails much.
Yes, we may join together and pray and have faith that our sick brethren will recover. But we should not become discouraged if they do not recover. Neither should we expect healing to be miraculously immediate, even if that is sometimes the case. Yes, Christ raised Peter's mother-in-law immediately, and even the dead child of the centurion, and the dead Lazarus. And later Peter and John healed the lame man immediately, and with the other apostles many others. All of this was a sign of the truth of the gospel in the first century.
Yet even then, there were times when men fell sick, and did not recover immediately. In Acts chapter 20 a young man fell out of a third-floor window, and Paul running down to him brought him up immediately. Yet in Philippians chapter 2 we learn that Epaphroditus was afflicted with a prolonged illness, which prevented him from visiting Philippi. And in 2 Timothy chapter 4 we see that Paul had to leave Trophimus behind in Miletus due to an illness which he had.
There are times when we are ill because we need to be humbled, there are times when we are ill because we have plans that are not commensurate with what Yahweh has planned for us. There are times when we are ill because God is calling us to Him, and there are times when we are ill because God in His mercy wants us to know the power of His mercy, and we recover. There are many different reasons why men fall ill. Yet we should in any and in all cases display our love for each other by caring for one another in our illnesses as well as when we are in good health.
17 Elijah was a man of like nature with us, and in prayer he prayed for it not to rain, and it did not rain upon the earth for three years and six months. 18 And again he prayed, and the heaven had given rain and the earth sprouted her fruit.
From 1 Kings 17:1: And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
And from 1 Kings 18:1: And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.
Prayer exhibits our faith in God, that we can abide in Him and await His mercy.
19 My brethren, if one among you should stray from the truth and one should correct him, 20 you must know that he correcting a wrongdoer from the error of his way shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of errors!
We can save each other from sin by telling each other the truth about sin! We can save our brethren from sin, form trial, from destruction, by showing them the Truth of the Way and the Word of God. If indeed they choose to listen.