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Yah'shua (Jesus)




    Section 351

    The Two Birds

    The New Testament records how Mary, the sister of Lazarus, learned at the feet of Jesus in her home at Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan whilst her sister Martha grudgingly prepared the food. In the story that follows it is Martha, who is the recipient if the wisdom of the resurrected Master in one of His many post-resurrection appearances before the Ascension. Only a few of the post-resurrection narratives survived to be placed in the first outer Church's scriptures, the New Testament, the rest, according to tradition, being preserved by the Holy Order of that time under the leadership of John the Apostle. This one, called the Two Birds, first made its modern appearance in a fragmented form through a Bulgarian mystic and has here been restored to its complete form by the Presiding Patriarch of the contemporary Holy Order. This is a typical Firstborn Text, not immediately easy to grasp, and partly or completely meaningless to those not a part of the New Covenant work. Whether this is an actual historical account or a pseudepigraph is not certain; it has, in any case, been placed into the Olive Branch primarily because of the truthfulness of its spiritual content [Vĺler, Řstfold, Norway].

    1. Now the disciples had gathered together upon the Mount, and Jesus appeared before them, arrayed in glory, saying: "Peace be unto you!"

    2. And He said unto Martha: "Your heart is troubled by things that seem to be, but which are not." And she understood not His saying.

    The Parable of the Bed

    3. Therefore the Master said: "'Two will rest on a bed; the one will die, and the other will live.'" But they understood Him not.

    4. And He said unto them: "Have ye so soon forgotten the words that I spake unto you?

    5. "For verily I say unto you: No man can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born again." And they wondered at His meaning.

    6. "'Two will rest on a bed; the one will die, and the other will live.'

    7. "Beloved, thou art the bed, but there are two lying upon it. If one dieth, which will you give your attention to?"

    8. And Martha saith unto Him: "Unto the one which dieth."

    9. Yah'shua (Jesus) saith unto her: "Beloved, this is why thou art anxious about so many things, for thou givest thine attention to that which is built on sand, which shall fall and become a ruin.

    10. "Yea, even before it is built it will fall and become a ruin." And Martha yet understood Him not.

    11. Yah'shua (Jesus) said unto her: "There are two on a bed. One dieth and the other liveth.

    12. "To which shall the soul pay attention? Toward whom shouldst thou move; towards whom should your life energy flow?"

    13. And she said unto him: "To the one which hath life!"

    14. And Yah'shua (Jesus) smiled, and said unto her: "Yea, verily, thou hast spoken the truth.

    15. "For those who are dying, the one dying on the bed is the goal.

    16. "Behold, that is why thou art always anxious, because thou art building a house on sands, a house that must tumble down in ruins.

    17. "Thou tremblest much for thou writest thy signature on water.

    18. "Before thou hast completed it, it hath disappeared.

    19. "Thou art anxious because thy thoughts and feelings are occupied with the Kingdom of Death.

    20. "Thou hast not looked toward the Kingdom of Life."

    21. Martha saith unto Him: "O Lord, have I not always sought to serve?

    22. "Have I not always sought to bless? Have I not been true unto Thee?"

    The Parable of the Two Sparrows

    23. And He saith unto her, pointing up into the tree under which they were sitting: "Behold, two sparrows yonder!

    24. "One sitteth on a higher branch, and one on a lower.

    25. "The bird upon the lower branch thinketh, worrieth, desireth, demandeth, accumulateth, fighteth, and competeth;

    26. "It is forever in anguish, tension, and hoppeth from one branch to the other, always moving, never in repose.

    27. "But, behold the other sparrow, who sitteth on the higher branch yonder.

    28. "He is so silent, as though he were not there.

    29. "He hath no desires and no dreams.

    30. "He hath no needs to fulfil, for all is fulfilled and every need is met.

    31. "He hath attained all and hath nowhere to go.

    32. "He sitteth in his joy and watcheth the bird on the lower branch."

    33. Lifting His right hand He said unto them: "Verily, verily, I say unto you: If you would but come unto life, ye would no longer be as the sparrow on the lower branch hopping from place to place, for ye would have all that ye needed.

    I am the Life

    34. "I am the Life, and whosoever cometh unto Me hath all and needeth nothing.

    35. "Therefore if ye have Me, ye have peace."

    The Two Natures in Man

    36. And the Master lowered his hand and became silent for a while.

    37. "Thou art the tree.

    38. "The lower or carnal man is always disturbed.

    39. "The lower is your body and its needs and desires.

    40. "On the higher branch, at the top if the tree, sitteth the other bird who is a witness, who looketh down at the foolish bird jumping, moving in anguish.

    41. "The witness is the Light, even that Light of men {Christ}."

    The Way to Perfection

    42. John saith unto Him: "How then shall we attain unto perfection? [1]"

    43. Yah'shua (Jesus) saith unto him: "Perfection is within you, and imperfection is within you.

    44. "He who loseth himself entereth into perfection;

    45. "But who who is concerned about self remaineth in imperfection.

    46. "Forget thyself, O son of man, and thou shalt become one.

    46. "And in place of two, there shall be one, and it shall be as it was always supposed to be."

    47. He saith unto them: "Ye strive after things that ye do not understand.

    48. "Ye seek to do what ye cannot do because ye lack faith. And why do ye lack faith?

    Believe in Love

    49. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, because ye believe not in love."

    50. And they were astonished at His teaching.

    51. And He saith unto them: "That which is spirit is spirit, and that which is flesh, is flesh.

    52. "If that which is invisible could be seen, then it would not be invisible.

    The Mind Yields Only Thoughts

    53. "He who seeketh with the mind will find only thoughts, and desires, and dreams.

    54. "They move to and fro like the sparrow on the lower branch.

    55. "They are as the clouds in the sky.

    56. "But between them, if thou seeketh with the eye of the heart, thou wilt find the blueness of the sky.

    57. "But do not be in a hurry, beloved, else thou wilt not find.

    58. "I am the Light.

    59. "He who seeketh the Light shall find the Light.

    60. "But He who seeketh too fast shall not find it.

    Hurry Slowly

    61. "Hurry slowly. Sit and wait.

    62. "Within the silence of the world is the music of angels.

    63. "Ye cannot take the Kingdom of Heaven by force.

    64. "Only he who is like a little child can enter for a little child forceth not.

    65. "Hearken unto the Witness who silently watcheth and knoweth.

    Expect Nothing

    66. "Expect nothing, for this {expectancy} is disturbance.

    67. "Believe in the promises, and wait patiently.

    68. "He who forceth the river shall be overwhelmed by the river.

    69. "He who forceth His way into the Light shall be pushed back.

    Love Freely

    70. "Love freely; give, and ye will receive back all that ye have given, and more.

    71. "When ye have entered the Kingdom ye will know it for ye will be still and will say:

    72. "'I have all. I have no desires. I am at peace.'

    73. "He who hath entered the Kingdom of Heaven watcheth the hoppings and anxieties of those on the lower branches in stillness.

    The Higher and the Lower

    74. "The lower comprehendeth not the higher, but the higher knoweth all things.

    75. "I am the Higher, and I am within you, if ye would but receive Me.

    76. "He who hath the Son is as a river of love that poureth and never emptieth.

    77. "He watcheth until the sparrow on the lower branch ceaseth its futile struggle, and, turning upwards, saith:

    78. "'Now I am willing to die, for I behold the futility of my dance.'

    79. "And so saying, he yieldeth unto the higher, and the two become one.

    80. "Therefore he sleepeth upon his bed as one, and he is at peace.

    Come Unto Me

    81. "I am the Living One.

    82. "Come unto Me, beloved, for I am gentle and meek, and turn none away.

    83. "But ye must leave your anxieties, and clamourings, and desires, and all that is of the flesh behind.

    84. "Ye cannot understand until ye have yielded; therefore words cannot comfort you.

    Husbands and Wives

    85. "Women, submit unto your husbands in pure love, that ye may be one with them.

    86. "Men, yield yourselves unto the Son, that we may be one also, even as the Son is one with the Father.

    87. "Then ye shall abide in peace."

    88. And so saying, He embraceth Martha, and disappeared from their midst


    [1] The biblical idea of perfection is a state of ideal wholeness or completion, in which any disabilities, shortcomings, or defects that may have existed before have been eliminated or left behind. In the OT, two Hebrew roots express this idea: shlm and tmm. (For the literal sense of the adjective shálém, see Dt.25:15; 27:6; for that of támîm, see Lev.3:9; 23:15). In the NT the usual adjective (19 times) is teleios (noun teleiotés, Col.3:14; Heb.6:1), which expresses the thought of having reached the appropriate or appointed telos ('end' in the sense of 'goal', 'purpose'). The corresponding verb, teleioó (16 times in this sense), means to bring into such a condition. In secular Gk. teleios means also: (i) adult, full-grown, as opposed to immature and infantile, and (ii), in connection with mystery cults, fully initiated. The former sense shines through in 1 Cor.14:20; Eph.4:13; Heb.5:14; cp. 6:1; the latter in 1 Cor.2:6 and perhaps Phil.3:15; Col.1:28. Two adjectives of similar meaning are: (i) artios (2 Tim.3:17; KJV 'perfect', RV 'complete', JNT 'fully', NASB 'adequate'), denoting ability and readiness to meet all demands made upon one, and (ii) holokléros (Jas.1:4, with teleios; 1 Thess.5:23, RV 'entire', RSV 'sound', JNT & NIV 'complete'), for which Arndt gives 'whole', 'complete', 'undamaged', 'intact', 'blameless'. The NT also uses (7 times) the verb katartizó, translated 'perfect' in the KJV, meaning 'put in order', or 'to bring to a fit state', by training, or supplying some lack, or correcting some fault. Perfection is a relative term, meaning simply the attainment of a due end, or the enjoyment of an ideal state. What that end and state is varies in different cases. The Bible speaks of perfection in three distinct connections.

    I. The Perfection of God. Scripture speaks of God (Mt.5:48), His 'work' (Dt.32:4), His 'way' (2 Sam.22:31 = Ps.18:30), and His 'law' (Ps.19:7; Jas.1:25) as perfect. In each context some feature of His thought is that what God says and does is wholly free from faults and worthy of all praise. In Mt.5:48, Christ holds up the ideal conduct of the heavenly Father (particularly, in the context, His kindness to those who oppose Him) as a pattern which His children must imitate.

    II. The Perfection of Christ. The writer to the Hebrews speaks of the incarnate Son of God as having been made "perfect through sufferings" (Heb.2:10). The reference here is not to any personal probation of Jesus as man, but to His being fitted by His experience of the power of temptation and the costliness of obedience for the high-priestly ministry to which God had called Him (Heb.5:7-10; cp. 7:28, RV). As High Priest, having "offered one sacrifice for sins for ever" (Heb.5:9), securing for them by His intercession constant access to God (Heb.7:25; 10:19ff.) and giving them the constant sympathy and help that they need in their constant temptations (Heb.4:14ff.). It was His own first-hand experience of temptation that fitted Him to fulfil this latter ministry (Heb.2:17ff.; 5:2,7ff.).

    III. The Perfection of Man. This is spoken of with reference (a) to God's covenant relationship with man and (b) to His work of grace in man. (a) God's Covenant Relationship with Man. The Bible speaks of man's perfection in the covenant with God. This is the perfection which the OT demands of God's people (Gen.17:1; Dt.18:13) and ascribes to individual saints (Noah, Gen.6:9; Asa, 1 Ki.15:14; Job, Job 1:1): loyal, sincere, whole-hearted obedience to the known will of their gracious God. It is faith at work, maintaining a right relationship to God by reverent worship and service. This perfection is essentially a matter of the heart (1 Ki.8:61; 2 Ki.20:3; 1 Chr.29:9); outward conformity to God's commands is not enough if the heart is not made perfect (2 Chr.25:2). Perfection is regularly linked with uprightness, as its natural outward expression (Job 1:1,8; 2:3; Ps.27:37; Prov.2:21). In Mt.19:21 teleios, as well as expressing the negative thought, 'lacks nothing', would seem to carry the positive meaning, 'sincerely and truly in covenant with God'. The Bible also speaks of God's perfecting His covenant relation with man. This is the perfecting of men through Christ with which the writer to the Hebrews deals. "The perfecting of men refers to their covenant condition...To perfect...is to put the people into the true covenant relation of worshippers of the Lord, to bring them into His full fellowship" (A.B.Davidson, Hebrews, p.208). God did this by bringing the Old Covenant to completion and specifically replacing the Levitical Priesthood, tabernacle and sacrifices with something better. The 'old covenant' in Hebrews means the Mosaic system for establishing living fellowship between God and His people; but, says the writer, it could never 'perfect' them in this relationship, for it could not give full assurance of the remission of all sins (Heb.7:11,18; 9:9; 10:1-4). Under the New Covenant, however, on the ground of Christ's single sacrifice of Himself, believers receive God's assurance that He will remember their sins no more (10:11-18). Thus they are "perfected for ever" (v.14). This perfection of fellowship with God is something that OT saints did not know on earth (11:40) -- though, through Christ, they enjoy it now, in the heavenly Jerusalem (12:23ff.). (b) God's Work of Grace in Man. The Bible speaks of God's perfecting of His people in the image of Christ. God means those who through faith enjoy fellowship with Him to grow from spiritual infancy to a maturity (perfection) in which they will lack nothing of the full stature of Christ, in whose likeness they are being renewed (Col.3:10). They are to grow till they are, in this sense, complete (cp. 1 Pet.2:2; Heb.5:14; 6:1; Gal.3:14; Eph.4:13; Col.4:12). This thought has both a corporate and an individual aspect: the church corporately is to become "a perfect man" (Eph.4:13; cp. 2:15; Gal.3:28), and the individual Christian will be "made perfect" (Phil.3:12, RV). In either case the conception is Christological and eschatological. The realm of perfection is 'in Christ' (Col.1:28), and perfection of fellowship with Christ, and likeness to Christ, is a divine gift that will not be enjoyed till the day of His coming, the Church's completing, and the Christian's resurrection (cp. Eph.4:12-16; Phil.3:10-14; Col.3:4; 1 Jn.3:2). Meanwhile, however, mature and vigorous Christians may be said to have attained a relative perfection in the realms of spiritual insight (Phil.3:15; cp. v.12), tempered Christian character (Jas.1:4), and confident love towards God and men (1 Jn.4:12,17ff.). The Bible nowhere relates the idea of perfection directly to law, nor equates it directly with sinlessness. Absolute sinlessness is a goal which Christians must seek (cp. Mt.5:48; 2 Cor.7:1; Rom.6:19) but which they do not as yet find (Jas.3:2; 1 Jn.1:8-2:2). No doubt when the Christian is perfected in glory he will be sinless, but to equate the biblical idea of perfection with sinlessness and then to argue that, because the Bible calls some men perfect, therefore sinlessness on earth must be a practical possibility, would be to darken counsel. The present perfection which, according to Scripture, some Christians attain is a matter, not of sinlessness, but of strong faith, joyful patience, and overflowing love.

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    This page was first created on 2 February 2002
    Last updated on 2 February 2002

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