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Saturday, October 10 2016

James 2: Who Was James?

"James the LORD's brother"

"James" is the English-language version of the Hebrew name Jacob - which is itself the English rendering of the Hebrew name pronounced yaw-aw-cob. The most-famous Jacob in the Holy Scriptures was Abraham's grandson and Isaac's son (see A Biography Of Abraham: The Genealogy Of Abram and The Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah) who the LORD renamed as "Israel" (see The Jacobites Of Syria and The Origin Of Israel). Interestingly, he was named Jacob, and then Israel, because of the struggle that he did not "win" but refused to give up on (see also The Race Toward The Dawn Of The New World).

Jacob and Esua

"25:20 And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian. 25:21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 25:22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD. 25:23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. 25:24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25:25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. 25:26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them." (Genesis 25:20-26 KJV)

"32:24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 32:25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. 32:26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 32:27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 32:28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed." (Genesis 32:24-28 KJV)

There were three prominent men named James (as their name Jacob was rendered into English) in the early Church. First, the apostle James, the brother of the apostle John (see also What Did Jesus Tell John About Creation?), who was martyred before the time of the writing of the epistle of James:

"12:1 Now about that time Herod [see The Herods] the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. 12:2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword" (Acts 12:1-2 KJV).

There was a second James in the twelve apostles (see Disciples, Ministers, Apostles, Prophets), James the son of Alphaeus, who some believe was the author of the epistle of James:

"10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 10:3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 10:4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him" (Matthew 10:2-4 KJV).

The third James, who became prominent in the Church, was James the brother of Jesus Christ (see Mary's Other Children?).


"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? 13:56 And his sisters, are they not all with us?" (Matthew 13:55-56 KJV).

Many believe, based on what is recorded about him, that James, the brother of Jesus, was the author of the epistle of James:

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

The epistle of James is about living a true Christian life - not playing vulgar and egotistical politics with fellow believers, "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well" (see the Fact Finder question below for the Biblical origin of that term).

"2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2:2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 2:3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 2:4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? 2:6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? 2:7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?

2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 2:11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

2:12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment." (James 2:1-13 KJV)

Genuine faith is about living according to God's Way (see Faith Is The Law). It is not about self-righteous lawlessness (see What Does The Holy Bible Say About Idiots?).

"2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 2:16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." (James 2:14-26 KJV)

Fact Finder: Many believe that "love your neighbor as yourself" is a "New Testament" doctrine, but when and where did it actually begin?
See Leviticus 19: Love Thy Neighbour As Thyself

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This Day In History, October 10

19: Germanicus, Roman general and nephew of Emperor Tiberius (Tiberius was the Roman emperor at the time of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ - see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars and Whatever Happened To Those Romans?), died at age 34 from poisoning. Note that Germanicus, from which the national name Germany is based, was a Roman name. It's no coincidence that the full official name of the "Holy Roman Empire" was "the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).

German Empire

732: Charles Martel with a force of Frankish infantry repelled an invasion of France by a force of 65,000 Saracens at the Battle of Tours.

1560: Jacob Arminius was born. The Dutch theologian's teachings brought about Arminianism (a doctrine of election based upon God's foreknowledge).

1580: After a three-day siege, the English Army beheaded 600 Irish and Papal soldiers and civilians at Dun an Oir, Ireland.

1733: France declared war on Austrian Emperor Charles VI after Augustus III was elected in Poland instead of the French preferred candidate Stanislav Leszczynski.

1780: The Great Hurricane of 1780 killed up to 30,000 people in the Caribbean Sea region.

1864: The Canadian Fathers of Confederation met at the Quebec Conference to discuss the political union of British North America. The 33 delegates from Upper and Lower Canada ("Upper" and "Lower" were geographic terms based on the flow of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River toward the Atlantic Ocean i.e. Upper Canada was Ontario and Lower Canada was Quebec), New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island passed 72 resolutions as an outline to the proposed union; these eventually formed the core of The British North America Act, the original Constitution of Canada.

Canadian Confederation
1899: In South Africa, the Boer War began.

1911: The Panama Canal officially opened.

1911: Chinese nationalist leader Sun Yat Sen proclaimed a republic at Wuchang (The Wuchang Uprising) and began the revolution that overthrew the Manchu dynasty.

1918: During the First World War (1914-1918), the German submarine UB-123 sank the Irish mail and passenger boat Leinster in the Irish Sea. Of the over 770 people aboard the ship, over 500 were killed.

1935: A coup by the pro-monarchy Greek Armed Forces took place in Athens. It overthrew the government of Panagis Tsaldaris and established a regency under Georgios Kondylis, thereby ending the Second Hellenic Republic.

1938: Germany completed its occupation of the Sudetenland by taking part of Czechoslovakia. It was one of the acts of aggression by Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) that resulted in the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).

1973: U.S. Vice-President Spiro Agnew pleaded guilty in a Baltimore courtroom to tax evasion and accepting kickbacks. Agnew resigned later that day and was replaced by Gerald Ford, who then later became President after Richard Nixon resigned to avoid criminal prosecution for "Watergate" (Ford was the only man to serve as both U.S. Vice-president and President without ever being elected to either office).

1985: U.S. warplanes intercepted an Egyptian civilian airliner and forced it to land in Italy. The commandeering was executed to arrest passengers who had been responsible for the earlier hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro during which elderly wheelchair-bound Jewish-U.S. passenger Leon Klinghoffer was murdered.

1995: Israel began its West Bank pullback and freed hundreds of Palestinian prisoners after a deal with the PLO ("Palestine Liberation Organization").


Copyright © Wayne Blank