Our study of the epistles, starting with James 1:1 the first thing that we notice is whom James is addressing his letter to, the twelve tribes scattered abroad. Most of us reading this epistle are of Gentile descent, so is he addressing this letter to us? Are we Israel? This informative subject will be discussed at length throughout the year; it’s an important narrative because the tribes of Israel is our story. We will learn about who we are as Christians, where we come from and how we fit into the matrix of Gods Kingdom, as spelled out from the book of Genesis all the way to revelation. So the answer, in short, is A RESOUNDING, YES, the letter is addressed to you, and I! Most of us fit in with the tribe of Ephraim representing the seat of the Northern ten tribe’s; some call the ten lost tribes. I submit “you’re not lost,” God knows where you are and who you are, you are also called Israel. We are the fulfillment of Genesis 48:19 the blessing of Ephraim and as Manasseh, in the story, Jacob blessed the younger Ephraim giving a prophetic word that “his seed shall become a multitude of nations.” The tribe of Judah being to the South, and the tribe of Benjamin merged with Judah; this is the physical Israel we see today in the land of Israel we see in the news daily with all the conflict in the middle east. You and I are spiritual Israel when we received Jesus into our heart we who were once lost, have been found, Ephraim is wakening up. We read in Psalm 80:2 -3 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up (H5782 Awaken) thy strength, and come and save us. Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
As we continue to put things into context; James 1:2-4 in the time of James when he wrote this letter the church was very Hebraic in its thinking, and we need to realize that it was going through great turmoil. Because they were living in a time of the greatest reformation, with Jesus’ death and resurrection, he becoming our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, we read in Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our profession. The priesthood of Aaron was now fully reunited with the priesthood of Melchizedek no longer was Israel a nation with a priesthood, but once again we are a nation of priests, 1 Peter 2:9 however, ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: we also read in Acts 6:7 And the word of God increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly, and a great company of the Priests were obedient to the faith. As a result, the world had changed, and the old guard was persecuting this new movement. James the brother of Jesus being the Bishop of Jerusalem is encouraging the believers; we read in James 1:2-4 my brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. However, let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
This brings to light why James was encouraging Israel and the context of the times, and what Jesus did for each of us, the tremendous blessing we have received as we touch and explore the context of what was happening at the time of the early church. Gaining an appreciation of the turmoil that they were going through and the priesthood that you and I are a part it says in Exodus 19:6 and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. So you see this was always what God intended for his people.