Jam 5:7-8 The Lord of Sabaoth 6/2/2002

 

 

 

#1. Address to the Worldly Rich (Jam 5:1-6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2. The parable of the Husbandman (Jam 5:7-8, I Pet 1:7,19, II Pet 1:4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3. Address to the Saints (Jam 5:8-12)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Epistle of James, chapter 5. (2X) You find James toward the end of your Bibles, right after Hebrews. This is a letter from God through the pen of the half-brother of Jesus. God was the father of Jesus; Joseph was the father of James. Here are ^ the Lord of Sabaoth. At first glance the Epistle of James reads kind of helter skelter, as if there is no coherence to it. For example in James 1:1, God said that He is writing this "to the twelve tribes, which are scattered abroad". Many people think that this letter was written only to the twelve tribes of Israel. They fail to realize that there were not twelve tribes, but thirteen. Moreover, this letter was not written to Jews who are the physical descendants of Jacob. This letter was written after the veil in the Temple was rent from top to bottom, and therefore the physical descendants of Jacob have no special privileges after the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross. After the cross the spiritual descendants of Christ are called Jews, like we find in Romans chapter 2. The Lord Jesus Christ is called Israel in the Bible, and WE are those twelve tribes of Israel. We have to keep in mind that God wrote the Bible. God wrote the Bible to US. God wrote the Bible coherently. Therefore everything must fit the context.

In James chapter 5 we come across a verse that seems out of context. Let us read this carefully,

James 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

Here is a verse that seems inserted in the midst of a context that speaks of condemnation of the rich, and condemnation of those who grudge one against another and of those who swear. The husbandman is an old English word for a farmer. In the KJV we do not find the word "farmer". I have been asked very often: "Why do you use the KJV? The English is so archaic." Well, when I compare various Bible translations with the interlinear Hebrew OT that is the Masoretic text, or with the Greek NT that is the Textus Receptus, I find that the KJV is a translation that is much closer to the original texts than any of the later translations. Moreover, all the study-helps such as concordances, dictionaries and 400 years of commentaries are keyed to the KJV and to the Strong's concordance numbers. That is why I use a KJV, even though I often will suggest a change here and there.

When we look at Jam 5:7, there seems to be no connection between the farmer of verse 7 and the context where it is found. Moreover, we find here the words: "the early and the latter rain". May I remind you that this is the sixth sermon and probably the last in the series of the "Latter Rain"?

The first sermon was from Joel 2:23, which was titled: "The Former Rain and the Latter Rain".

The second sermon was from Deut 11:14, which was titled: "Two Covenants".

The third sermon was from Hos 6:3, which was titled: "As the Latter Rain So the Former Rain".

The fourth sermon was from Jer 3:3, which was titled: "The Former Rain Without the Latter Rain".

The fifth sermon was from Zech 10:1, which was titled: "The Time of the Latter Rain".

The sixth sermon is today from Jam 5:7, which is titled: "The Lord of Sabaoth". Why do we need so many sermons on the "Latter Rain"? The reason we need that is because these days there are false teachings on the radio, and on TV, and on the internet, which claim that the church is dead and that we should gather around the radio instead of gathering in the church. The primary basis of these false teachings is that we have now entered into a period of the "Latter Rain", where the Word of God is no longer preached in the church, but it is only preached through these media such as radio, and TV, and the internet. This is what I want to disprove through these studies of the "Latter Rain".

Today we want to focus on Jam 5:7, but the first thing we always want to do is to harmonize the particular verse with the context. Therefore let us look at the first point. Here is an:

#1. Address to the Worldly Rich (Jam 5:1-6)

In verses 1 through 6 God addresses not just rich men, but those who are worldly rich and have obtained their riches by dishonest gain. Not everyone who is rich is going to Hell. For example Noah, Job, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Boaz, David, Hezekiah, Josiah, and Joseph of Arimathea were all rich in the sense that they were well endowed with worldly goods, but the Bible also says that these were all saved men. Their wealth did not possess them, but they possessed their wealth and used it for the Lord's work. Worldly riches will lead most people to Hell because they always want more, but people are not going to Hell because they are rich. Let us read now verses 1 through 6,

James 5:1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

James 5:2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten.

James 5:3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

James 5:4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. (Here are the words of the title: "The Lord of Sabaoth".)

James 5:5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton (= lived in self-gratification); ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.

James 5:6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

Who is God addressing here? God is addressing those who go to Hell. It is obvious from these verses that God is addressing not only the rich, but also all those who are covetous. You may not have much of the worldly goods and yet live a covetous life, which shows that you are still unsaved.

This passage may just as well apply to most people living in the United States. We are among the wealthiest people and among the most materialistic people in the world. Even the poor in our country have more than one set of clothing. Even the poor in our country have garments in their closets that are moth eaten. You find gold and silver jewelry in almost every household. We live in a culture where covetousness and the pursuit of pleasure rank about at the top of most people's priority list. People

who are in business for themselves try to pay their employees as little as possible. But God says:

James 5:4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

Does God speak about people who hire employees and do not pay them? Not likely! God speaks about a different kind of fraud, and it is a fraud that is legal in this country. 50Years ago most of the population of the US owned their own home, a single residence dwelling. When I entered the US in 1966 I was able to buy our own home after working only 1 years, and my wife was not working at that time. You try that today. Today about 50% of wage earners are not able to buy their own homes ever, and have to live in rented houses or apartments. What does that tell you about inflation and wages? It tells you that wages have not kept up with inflation and it tells you about the impoverishing of America. But that money from the prices that have been raised has gone somewhere. Add to this the fact that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and you understand why God says, paraphrased: "Behold the wages of the laborers in the field are crying out to Me for vengeance". They are crying to the Lord of Sabaoth, meaning the Lord of Hosts, or the Lord of the Armies. Christ is Lord of the armies of heaven and earth. He is able to put a stop to the mistreatment of the poor. He is able to put a stop to the all the injustice, and miseries, and pain in the world, but He does not. He is allowing it to happen, and allowing it to continue, "for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full" (G. 15)

Behold the hire of the laborers. God says in I Tim 6,

1 Timothy 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

It is not money, but the love of money, which is the root of all evil. People have pierced themselves through with many sorrows, because they constantly need to care for all their possessions. In the Parable of the Sower, in Matt 13, the Lord Jesus spoke about the third soil, which is the third group of people who heard the Word of God. The Lord Jesus said of them:

Matthew 13:22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

Did you hear that? The Word of God did not take hold in the souls of these people, because "the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the Word". These people are not going to Hell because they kill, or live in adultery, or because they steal, or because they lie. These people are going to Hell because God has not changed their heart, and so they still have a heart that is covetous and loves money, and in their heart there is no place for loving God. Then God says:

James 5:6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and He doth not resist you.

Did you notice how God switched to the singular? They are no longer the laborers in the field. God is not calling "just" all the poor who are oppressed and mistreated. The word "just" is the same word as "righteous". Just because you are mistreated does not make you righteous in the eyes of God. In fact, God says in Rom 3:10, "There is NONE righteous, NO NOT ONE". No one is righteous, or "just" of his own accord. No one is good enough to be called "just". But there is One who is "just" in the sight of God. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only One who was born without sin, and He never sinned in His entire life. He is the only One who lived a perfectly righteous life. Is He the One who is in view in verse 6? Are all the rich and covetous people of the world guilty of condemning and killing the Lord Jesus Christ? That is indeed true. God says in Acts 4:25-28, in a quotation from Psalm 2,

Acts 4:25 Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?

Acts 4:26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.

Acts 4:27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,

Acts 4:28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

The entire world consisting of Gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together to crucify the Lord Jesus Christ. We all were guilty of that crime. But when the Lord Jesus said: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34) that request was granted only for all those whom the Father had chosen to become saved. O yes, that sin still had to be atoned for, and the Lord Jesus Christ had to suffer for that sin the equivalent of an eternity in Hell on the cross. But for all the reprobate that sin was not forgiven. There are only two categories of people in the Bible: Those who become saved are those of whom ALL their sins were atoned for by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. The other group of people are those who die unsaved, and NONE of their sins were atoned for. The Lord Jesus did not suffer the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for those who themselves are going to Hell. That is why we read in Jam 5:6, "Ye have condemned and killed the just". They are guilty of condemning and killing the Lord Jesus Christ. And look at the last half of that verse: "He doth not resist you". The Lord Jesus did not resist when they bound Him and brought Him before Annas and Caiaphas, and before Pilate, and before Herod, and before the soldiers who whipped His back, and eventually they led Him to be crucified. "He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth". Now, let us turn to the next two verses:

#2. The parable of the Husbandman (Jam 5:7-8, I Pet 1:7,19, II Pet 1:4)

Based on what I find in the Greek text I want to suggest some changes in these verses.

James 5:7 Be patient (lit: Be longsuffering) therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold,

the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience (lit: being longsuffering) for it, until he (lit: until it) receive the early and latter rain.

James 5:8 Be ye also patient (lit: You also be longsuffering); stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

In verse 7 God says: "Be longsuffering therefore unto the coming of the Lord". The Lord of Sabaoth, the Judge, stands at the door. He sees the injustices done to you. He sees that you are defrauded. He sees your persecution. "When the sin of the Amorites is full" He will avenge you, at His 2nd coming. The word "longsuffering" means just that: "to suffer long".

Then God continues with a parable:

Jam 5:7, "Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and is longsuffering for it, until it receive the early and latter rain ".

First of all, there is no personal pronoun "he" in this verse. It is not a person, but it is the earth that receives "the Early and the Latter Rain". Is God concerned about farming and about farmers? No! God brings up this matter to teach us another aspect of the Gospel. There are more peculiarities in this verse. This truly is a parable. If this were a farmer waiting for his crops to grow, then the farmer is not longsuffering. He just waits, but he is not suffering while he waits. There is no suffering involved.

In addition, nowhere in the Bible do we find that the fruit of the earth, or the fruit of the ground is "precious". This word "precious" is a precious word, which has been used to describe "the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth" (I Pet 1:7), and "the precious blood of Christ" (I Pet 1:19), and "He has given unto us exceeding great and precious promises" (II Pet 1:4). But the crops on a farm are not precious like gold, silver and precious stones. There is not that great value in each ear of grain. Therefore, who does the husbandman represent, who is waiting for the precious fruit of the earth, and is longsuffering for it? It is not a farmer. It is not another human being, because there is no suffering involved in waiting. But it is the Lord of Sabaoth who suffers long, enduring the insults of man, while He is:

James 5:7 Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and is longsuffering for it, until it receive the early and latter rain.

What is the Lord of Sabaoth waiting for? The precious fruit of the earth is representing saved people. Saved people are very precious in His sight. So precious are they that God gave His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for saving some of this human race. So precious are we in His sight that God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8) This human race was created good in Adam. But Adam rebelled against God. And so by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (Rom 5:12) We were in Adam, and are represented by Adam, and therefore we came into the world as sinners, in rebellion against God and hating the God of the Bible. Yes indeed. We, whom God calls the precious fruit of the earth, we hated the God of the Bible. You want proof of that? Go and tell anyone outside this church that God has chosen His elect people from before the foundation of the world, and see what reaction you get. O yes, they speak of the nation of Israel as God's elect people. But the Gentiles? No! We come to Christ by our own free will. You don't want to deny us our own free will, don't you? Never mind what God said in Eph 1 & 2. We want to retain our own self-respect. You don't want us to become robots, don't you?

And so it goes. Until God makes us Born Again. Until God whispers in our soul: "Go read II Cor 4:3-6". Hold one finger here in James 5, and please turn a moment to II Cor 4. (2X) I want you to see these beautiful words in verses 3-6, which God wrote through the pen of the Apostle Paul. In II Cor 2 & 3 & 4 God says that we have a ministry here on this earth. It is a ministry of preaching the light of God. Then God says in II Cor 4:3-6, (2X)

2 Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

2 Corinthians 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

In other words, before God commanded the light of the Gospel to shine in our hearts, the god of this world, Satan, blinded us so that we were in darkness and in bondage to sin and Satan, and unable to hear the truth of the Gospel. We had absolutely no free will; our will was in bondage.

Please turn back to Jam 5:7. There we read about "the Early and the Latter Rain".

James 5:7 Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and is longsuffering for it, until it receive the early and latter rain.

So, what is the Lord of Sabaoth waiting for? He is waiting until the last of the elect has been saved. He is longsuffering until the last of the precious fruit of the earth has been brought into His barn. In other words, Christ waits until the Gospel has been preached over all the earth, and then shall the end come. The precious fruit of the earth is the result of preaching the Gospel, and the Early and Latter Rain represent the preaching of the Gospel. The Gospel must be preached. God declared:

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Is the Latter Rain associated with the end time? Absolutely not! The Latter Rain is connected to the Early Rain, or to the Former Rain, or to the First Rain. Therefore both the Early Rain and the Latter Rain represent the preaching of the Gospel. Moreover, the Latter Rain is connected to Pentecost, as we have seen in Joel 2, and at Pentecost God said through the Apostle Peter that these are the last days. The entire NT time is the last days. Therefore, to make all these verses harmonize, the Early Rain must represent preaching the Gospel from the OT and the Latter Rain must represent preaching of the Gospel from the NT, and it occurs all throughout the NT time period.

Some people object to such a spiritual interpretation of the Early and the Latter Rain. But already in the OT do we find that water is frequently used figuratively. Listen to these examples,

Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:

Isaiah 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the water(s), and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Jeremiah 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

Ezekiel 36:25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

Now that we have the solution to the parable, we must see what applications God has in store for us.

#3. Address to the Saints (Jam 5:8-12)

James 5:8 Be ye also patient (lit: longsuffering); stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

James 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

James 5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

James 5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

In other words, since the Lord of Sabaoth is longsuffering, be ye also longsuffering. We are called to imitate Christ. Verses 1-6 were addressed to the worldly rich, or the unsaved. Verses 8-12 are addressed to those who have been saved. As you know, saved people are called saints. That is what God says. A saint is someone who has been "sanctified", meaning "set apart". We are set apart by God the Holy Spirit in this life, when God the Holy Spirit gave us a new soul. But we were earlier set apart by the Lord Jesus Christ when He suffered and died for our sins in our place on the cross. Actually, we were much earlier set apart by the God the Father when He chose us before the foundation of the world. And so all three persons of the Triune God are active in our salvation.

Verse 8 is a repeat of the beginning of verse 7. The return of Christ is in view, and we are called to be longsuffering in our afflictions. God says: "Establish your hearts". Let your faith be firm, keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus, who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Our present suffering is just for a moment, and then the Lord Jesus Christ shall return and take us to be with Him. He shall wipe away every tear from our eyes and we shall be with Him forever. We have no idea how long forever is. But the saints who endured the burning stake knew. Their faith was unwavering. They suffered grievously, but they knew that within the hour they would be with the Lord. That made them strong. Therefore God says: "Be ye also longsuffering, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh". And then:

James 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

James 5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

What is this? Can we loose our salvation if we grudge one against another? No! Or can we become saved if we do not grudge against one another? No! You can see how easily we can fall into the traps of Arminianism. The Lord of Sabaoth has been waiting for the moment of our salvation and He has been longsuffering for us and with us. He will also work within us that which is pleasing in His sight, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Therefore God shall give us a disposition that we will not grudge one against another. The word grudge is actually the word "groan", or "murmur". Paraphrased God says: Do not make one another uneasy by your murmuring groans for what you suffer now, nor by your distrustful groans for what the future may bring, nor by your revengeful groans for your bitterness against those who make you suffer, nor by your envious groans at those who may not experience your sufferings. And do not make yourselves uneasy by these groanings and murmurings. They are eating you alive! Because remember: "the Judge standeth before the door". The end is near. Don't kid yourself. You may die tomorrow. Therefore, "make your calling and election sure", which means: Make sure where you stand, whether you are saved or not. Hell is very real.

Take for example the OT prophets. Almost all the OT prophets had to endure persecution and affliction one way or another. They walked with God, they were highly favored by God; God revealed the mysteries of His will to them, and they spoke for God. Still, though they enjoyed God's favor, they suffered much, they were ridiculed, and mocked, and hated by men and some were even put to death. Their afflictions and trials were great, yet they were longsuffering through them. They loved the people to whom they preached. But what was their reward? They were afflicted. Does the Lord of Sabaoth know this? O Yes! It is all part of His plan. God holds the example of the OT prophets before our eyes, and God holds the example of the Lord Jesus before our eyes. God calls us to be imitators of Christ. The Lord Jesus said in John 15:20, just listen as I read:

John 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

People by nature do not want the Gospel of the Bible, and by nature they hate the God of the Bible. These are the people we are called to minister unto. Do we like it? No! But will we do it? It all depends, if God has saved us. If He has saved us, we will do it. We find no greater pleasure here on earth than doing those things that are pleasing in His sight. "We love Him because He loved us first".

We read in Jam 5:11-12,

James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful (= full of pity), and of tender mercy.

James 5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

When we read in verse 11, "and have seen the end of the Lord", that does not mean "the end of the Lord", but "the end intended by the Lord". In the end we will say: "It has been worth waiting for".

A characteristic of the saints is that in the midst of their afflictions they will say: "The Lord is full of pity and of tender mercy". When we look back at our sinful life, and at all our intentions to sin even more, we must agree that: "The Lord is full of pity and of tender mercy". If these afflictions we endure are in any way contributing to the furtherance of the Gospel, and they are, then it is worth it all. God loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for whosoever believes in Him. If God loves us that much, then God will not afflict us with any sufferings that are unnecessary, or that are futile. We must hold on to the truth that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose". (Rom 8:28)

In summary then, in the first six verses God addresses all the unsaved in this world, and God primarily focuses on the sin of covetousness. Is it not interesting that this sin of covetousness is also the last one in the table of the 10 Commandments? Then God says that their sins have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, the Lord of the Armies of heaven and earth.

In the following six verses God addresses all the saints in this world. First God gives us a parable, which only the saints are able to understand. The Latter Rain is not associated with the end of time. The Latter Rain represents the preaching of the Gospel of salvation from the NT Scriptures. Then God draws on the longsuffering of God, mentioned in the parable. Now the whole passage becomes coherent: Affliction and longsuffering are in view and God gives us instructions for living in this world while we are waiting for the Lord.

Amen. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.