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Reconsidering James

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting, James 1:1.

There can be no doubt that the Book of James was aimed at and written to the Jewish people scattered throughout the world. Common Dispensational Theory makes that a book off limits to those of us who practice church doctrine as written by Paul the Apostle. Can we look for a moment at the Book of James as a book written to those Jews both in Israel and to those scattered throughout Europe and Asia during the time in which the Apostle Paul spoke; who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us, Ephesians 2:14?

The principal objection to this besides some internal statements is that it clearly says that it is to the twelve tribes scattered abroad. Colossians is written to the Colossians without the standard inclusion of all the other saints as Paul so often wrote. Timothy is written to Timothy. Titus is written to Titus. Philemon is written to Philemon. Somehow mature Christians seem to get over this but can't seem to get over James which isn't specifically addressed to them.

Why would an apostle need to single out the Jews of his day and not just write a common epistle that they could read? Isn't that obvious from reading the Book of Acts? They would not have read a common epistle, and if they did, they would not have taken it seriously. Keep in mind, when Jesus Christ arose from the dead, no angel blew a whistle to void the salvations of every Jew who had faithfully believed the promises of God as they had been delivered to them. There was a transition in which believing Jews were implored to understand that the man Jesus was the Messiah in whose coming they had trusted, and that he was the focus of the promises they had believed. Whereas they had previously brought forth fruit in accordance with the dictates of Moses, now they were to bring forth fruit in accordance with the faith of Christ.

It was Jesus Christ who had said; Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone, Matthew 23:23. Is it no wonder that an apostle who heard those words spoken sought to remind the Jews of his day that judgment, mercy and faith were demanded by the law and were in fact weightier than those things upon which they had relied?

Historically, the Jews of the first century were often a prosperous and important cog in local governments throughout Europe. Josephus tells us that when Alexander the Great came to Jerusalem to besiege it and subdue it as he had all other cities he came upon, the elders of the Jews came out and greeted him and showed him the prophecies in Daniel foretelling his coming.

Alexander was dutifully impressed. He established Jewish communities throughout his realm and gave them great authority in finance and government. This is how the Jews of both Asia and Europe were situated during the writing of the Book of Acts. The Romans who were very wise in government never displaced a functioning bureaucracy of local government if it ruled wisely and was loyal to the Romans. The Jews of those cities held great wealth and power under that system similar to what happened in the Book of Esther.

It is to those Jews of the twelve tribes scattered abroad that James writes. To those who balk at the twelve tribes because they think that ten tribes are lost, read this post from 2023. The Apostle Paul was under no such illusion when he said; Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come, Acts 26:7. James wrote to twelve tribes scattered abroad in his day.

Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not, James 4:2. That doesn't sound like a bunch of good christians. Do christians kill? Men with power and holding great authority often kill and sometimes when they should not have killed.

Brigadier General Telford Taylor who prosecuted Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg War Trials personally wrote a letter of apology to the wife of German General Alfred Jodl whom he had hanged in the early days of the trial. Upon reflection and after learning more, Taylor became convinced that Jodl was not worthy of death and that he had made a mistake in ordering his death. David almost killed everyone in Nabal's household.

Imagine how many wrongful deaths occurred in a society where even petty theft could get a man killed and where part of the spoils of that death often went to the judges as well as the executioners. James writes to such a people.

The other great impediment to modern readers to ever accepting James as written to them is that it equates works to faith. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone, James 2:17. This is what happens after a half century of fruitless "soul winning" in which legions of half cocked do gooders canvas their neighborhoods near and wide and get everyone to pray a prayer. Since the hapless victims of this unscriptural competition with Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses show no lasting fruit, the churches are forced to either conclude that there is no faith, or that verses such as James 2:17 don't apply to them.

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?, Romans 10:14. Legions of Romans 10:13ers have attempted to build up their churches by inducing faithless people to mimic calling upon the Lord. Since there is no belief in these people that looks anything like what Jesus Christ called belief, a theology is contrived in which millions of people are being "saved" but never showing any outward sign or never changing at all. It is no wonder that adherents to such a scheme despise James 2:17 and any like verses.

James is a rich book worthy to be preached to the churches in the 21st century. If a baby is born and never moves, never breathes, and never grows, you can be sure its dead. Likewise for faith, if it never moves, never breathes, and never moves, there has never been a time in eternity that God has ever considered it to be alive. Only silly fundamentalists do that.

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God bless you.

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With all due respect: There's obviously a change at the new birth of God that is of God by faith in the Gospel according to the scriptures, while the possibility of carnality & sins not unto death are still possible in our age as written. James is just as obviously written to the twelve tribes scattered, having instruction in righteousness for all, with special application for the time of Jacob's trouble, else you have conflicting doctrine. Given that those in Christ are neither Jew nor Gentile, but Christ all & in all. Ephesians speaks to both: grace as well as the good works prepared & expected of the redeemed. Else grace is no more grace & we fall back to…

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For years when this subject came up I would ask "can God have a stillborn?" We have just left a church that tried to keep Sat visitation going but when the people went out they were only gone for an hour and it was here say this prayer and poof you are saved. never saw any of them darken the door of any church. but when you bring it up the backlash is horrific and it goes downhill from there.

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