Chapter 5

God Condemns the ‘Rich Men’

From the booklet The Epistle of James
By Gerald Flurry

The concluding chapter of James is a blistering warning from God for our day.

Verse 3 shows that it is describing events “in the last days” (the word for comes from a Greek word that should be translated “in”).

This is an urgent message to be understood when “the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (verse 8)—and when “the judge standeth before the door”! (verse 9).

Who is the message directed to? The people of God. Even Lange’s Commentary says that James 5 is about an apostasy of God’s people.

Our work started with a major warning to the Laodiceans with Malachi’s Message. We see now that we are to close this work with one last, major warning to the Laodiceans.

All of the general epistles, or “last-hour epistles,” speak to the Laodiceans. James sort of sums these epistles up and addresses his book specifically to God’s lukewarm people.

James is a New Testament counterpart to Malachi of the Old Testament.

You urgently need to understand this burning message.

Rich Men

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

Here James is in the role of a prophet. This is a prophecy for this end time, but primarily for “the last days.” James says “your miseries … shall come upon you” in the future. That means somebody would prophesy about the book of James today.

Terrible suffering is coming upon these rich men. Lange’s Commentary states that this chapter is about an apostasy, or a great falling away. Only God’s true Church can fall away. And many prophecies explain this greatest of tragedies.

Who are these rich men? James is talking to the rich Laodiceans who sold God’s property for millions! They are the only ones with the money to fight us in court.

God also is addressing all of the Laodiceans. All of them are “rich and increased with goods.” They put material things ahead of God. They wanted us to lose in court.

God thunders that it is time for those saints to weep and howl!

The Laodicean leaders have bowed to riches, putting physical wealth before God. They must pay a penalty for that monstrous sin. They are about to be consumed by miseries!

We are entering the time of weeping and howling, the time of howls of mourning. Israel has already started to experience horrifying punishments, and the tribulations will only intensify. The Laodiceans will be caught in the middle of them.

Where did those men get that wealth? How did they become rich? They don’t know how to run a church—they only know destruction! They made their money by greedily selling the Ambassador Auditorium and other treasures that were built by the tithes and offerings of God’s precious people! They turned over the magnificent house of God to the devil! That is one of the great catastrophes in God’s end-time Church. How could anyone dare sell the house of God to this world? You can be sure God will not permit that sin to go unpunished.

God’s faithful elect must deliver this warning—one final time. The Great Tribulation is almost here—it is weep-and-howl time!

“Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are [have become] motheaten” (verse 2). Some translations say their gold has been corrupted.

Of course, it is not a sin to be rich if you put God first. The Bible has many positive examples of men who simply gave more to God when they became wealthy.

But the carnal mind can be corrupted by riches. Why did the state of California take over the headquarters of the Worldwide Church of God in 1979 (under Mr. Armstrong)? It was totally unnecessary, because even without that severe action it had access to plenty of evidence—60,000 documents as a matter of routine—that would have proven whether the Church was involved in any misdeeds. The fact is, those officials just wanted the money! Politicians and men at the top thought they could take the church for a lot of money! They lusted for property and goods, just like the Laodiceans do. That is human nature.

If true Christians put wealth before God, it will amount to nothing. It is corrupt! Put God first—that is the only way to truly prosper!

In biblical analogy, garments refer to character; for example, fine linen is called the righteousness of saints (Revelation 19:8). The garments of these rich men have become motheaten; they weren’t always that way. These men had it all and then lost it all—or close to it. Now it is time for them to weep and howl!

“Your gold and silver is cankered [rusted]; 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 [in] the last days” (James 5:3). When? In the last days!

Gold and silver don’t contract rust or become oxidized, and they will not become corroded (or cankered) like iron and steel. God isn’t talking about physical gold, but spiritual. “How is the gold become dim!” the Prophet Jeremiah wrote. “The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers …” (Lamentations 4:1‑2). God is discussing spiritual gold. The Laodiceans were rich with fine spiritual gold, but it has become corrupted—rusted and ruined! They have no real work. The Laodiceans receive absolutely no revelation for the Church and world today.

The Laodicean leaders gathered piles of money from selling God’s property, and have become rich and increased with goods. They think that if they get enough wealth, they can look after themselves. But what a miscalculation! God says, No—every one of you will weep and howl! They are going to weep and howl for the massive sin they have committed before God!

They believe their wealth will protect them. God says that wealth will eat their flesh like fire! First, nuclear fire, then gehenna fire—the lake of fire! That will be a time of weeping and howling for all those who thought they could push God aside and be okay!

And again, this will happen “in [not for] the last days” (James 5:3)—many references support that translation. The Greek word translated for is en, and it denotes being within or remaining within. This massive problem occurs in the last days!

As the Apostle Paul wrote, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Timothy 3:1). Perilous times indeed! Where are these rich men in the last days? It doesn’t take much understanding to know!

This is occurring just as world events are falling into place prophetically, and this world needs God’s warning message more urgently than ever before. Yet these men are not serving God—they are not laying up treasure in heaven. Instead they are spurning God and laying up physical treasure for themselves!

“Prophesy not,” they say. Toward the end of his life, Herbert W. Armstrong said he was frustrated that he couldn’t get the Worldwide Church of God ministers to speak more about the Bible’s prophecies. So there was already a resistance to God’s prophetic message even while Mr. Armstrong was alive. Then that message was quickly stopped after he died.

Those ministers really ought to speak about prophecy today, which is being fulfilled more quickly than ever before—but the Laodicean churches are almost silent on the subject!

Defrauding the Laborers

James 5:4 talks about “the labourers who have reaped down [harvested] your fields.” Who are these laborers? That is talking about the many tens of thousands of members in the Worldwide Church of God who faithfully contributed tithes, offerings, prayers and support over the years for that work. God really does recognize our efforts.

For example, I was in the wcg from 1961 through 1989—28 years. All that time, I gave my tithes and offerings to that church. There are thousands of examples similar to mine, and some of those members even volunteered free physical labor to help construct many of the buildings.

Most of our pcg members helped build that mighty work.

The pcg is doing that labor today—building God’s Work as quickly as we can. As in the days of the wcg, we are always looking for more laborers to help us finish the Work (Matthew 9:37-38). God always lauds those who labor in His Work!

But notice what has happened to those wcg “laborers” at the hands of the Laodicean leaders: “Behold, the hire of the labourers who have [harvested] 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” (James 5:4).

What a dramatic picture. Laborers helped build up that work and contributed a great deal of wealth—but the leaders have kept for themselves every bit of that wealth by fraud!

The Supreme Court of heaven finds those men guilty of fraud! The U.S. courts wouldn’t even give us the books and booklets that the wcg leaders hated. And God will hold them accountable for that injustice.

They didn’t make that money! They calculated their way into their offices and positions of power. Those who contributed to the Church for decades didn’t receive any of that money back. The leaders took it all, sold the property and everything else they could, and kept the millions. They fraudulently took it from people who had committed themselves to God’s Work over numerous years.

Many of God’s people have surely thought, Doesn’t God see what happened? Oh, does He ever! He blazes with indignation: You have defrauded my people!

In His love, God is giving those leaders time to repent. He commands His faithful remnant to teach them specifically what to repent of and how—and to warn them that if they fail to do so, they will lose it all!

We must not overlook the fact that God’s remnant Church is being judged by God as well.

The laborers cry out—but where this verse says “crieth,” it is speaking not only about the workers, but also the wages—the money. Even the wages cry out! It is like the blood of Abel—which God said “crieth unto me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10). God hears those cries and is going to take vengeance! All that money should be used to get the message of God to this world—but it has been stolen!

Where did the leaders get those riches? From the Work that was built under the faithful stewardship of an end-time Elijah. Yet they wouldn’t even give us the books that they wanted only to destroy! That shows how firm Satan’s grip on them truly is! We had to invest six years of our effort and spend a lot of money to get Mr. Armstrong’s writings.

According to the Anchor Bible, fraud is another legal term. The wcg leaders suing us in court was a massive example of their fraud!

God has witnessed all of this. The cries of the victims have gone up and “are entered” into God’s ears. This is present tense. It has already happened. God is going to bring justice to this matter in the Church. Every fraudulent deed provides testimony against those men. They have already been convicted as guilty of fraud against the people of God! Those men are accountable to a Higher Court!

Why does James use the term “Lord of sabaoth”? It actually should be translated “Lord of hosts,” which means Lord of the armies of Israel! It refers to those who maintain God’s cause in war. All the fraud and the stealing of millions has entered the ears of the Lord of the armies of spiritual Israel! God is absolutely capable of vindicating His people! His armies are saddled up, ready for warfare—so expect some devastating things to occur. Those men are going to weep and howl!

Cries are going to ascend when God takes vengeance for what they have done to God’s people and God’s Church.

Our God is the Lord of tremendous angelic armies! Those armies are out there, watching over us—so we need not fear anything. God is completely aware of what is going on—He prophesied it all in advance! He supplies us with the revelation of these matters in order to build our faith as problems intensify. Protecting us is practically the easiest part of what He must do in the time ahead!

But the picture gets even more dramatic.

There could be no worse time in man’s history to be defrauding God’s people.

The Day of Slaughter

“Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter” (James 5:5). The Laodicean leaders have fattened themselves up forthe day of slaughter” (a better translation). It is “the day of slaughter”—a time of suffering many times worse than any suffering ever before on Earth! The Laodiceans have “fattened” themselves up for this.

Notice this parallel prophecy in the book of Jeremiah: “And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground. Howl, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow yourselves in the ashes, ye principal of the flock: for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel” (Jeremiah 25:33-34).

Here is the day of slaughter: the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord! The most common sight on Earth will be dead bodies lying around as far as the eye can see! There are so many of them that no one will be lamenting them or gathering them to bury. These corpses will become like dung upon the ground.

Could it be the God of love prophesying this? Does anyone truly believe the all-powerful God of the Bible?

This is the bleak future of humanity! No matter what they do to the messenger who tries to warn them, it is still going to happen!

Where have all the trumpet-blowers gone? The Laodiceans don’t want to hear this message, so they say prophesy not. But the day of slaughter is almost upon us! And it is going to start with Israel!

God’s very elect must deliver this warning to physical and spiritual Israel.

Jeremiah 12:3 also prophesies that God must “prepare them for the day of slaughter.” God’s trumpet-blowing Work plays a big part in how God prepares them. And notice what else appears in that context: “I have forsaken mine house, I have left mine heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies. … Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness” (verses 7, 10). The teachers whom God prepared to teach actually destroyed the church! They ruined His vineyard. God will never be able to use them at headquarters in the World Tomorrow.

We must prepare to be teachers whom God can really use! When we teach, we must teach what God says. When God tells us to do something—we should do it with gusto! Above all, God wants teachers who will tell the truth.

To tell the Laodicean leaders that they are fattening themselves up for the day of slaughter is a strong message! But if ever it appears as though delivering God’s truth will get us in trouble, we need to simply trust God’s armies to back up every word.

Jeremiah 4 shows the urgent need for us to warn about the coming day of slaughter: “Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities. Set up the standard toward Zion [that is, God’s righteous people]: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction” (verses 5-6). The “evil from the north” is a massive attack by Germany. God tells us to “stay not,” or flee to a place of safety, just before the worst suffering ever on Earth breaks out. The only safe place is Zion, where the armies of God are!

“The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant” (verse 7). How bad will it get? After Einstein saw the devastation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he lamented his part in making the bomb. “Bullets kill individuals—H-bombs destroy cities,” he said.

“I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light” (verse 23). These are the same words used in Genesis 1:2, which shows how Lucifer’s rebellion created waste and emptiness; God had to renew the Earth to make it livable for man. Today, Satan is the god of this world, and Earth has regressed to a state of tohu and bohu again!

Everywhere Satan rules, destruction ensues. Everywhere God and Christ rule, beautiful precious fruits are abundant. How long will it take us to learn that?

The nations of Israel are awash in sin. God is striking with intensifying catastrophes to jolt people into repenting.

More and more you hear people asking questions on television and radio about whether there is a biblical connection with hurricanes and other catastrophes. Those questions are bound to increase as times get worse. But, of course, many religious leaders are there to assure people that there is no connection, and that anyone who says otherwise is just a fool. God’s Word says the opposite! Those people dont get their religion from the Bible! There are over a hundred biblical prophecies of how God punishes us for our sins—to the point of destroying nations. Christ Himself made many of those prophecies. God’s Word heaps greater condemnation (James 3:1) upon anyone who would presume to speak for God and make such idiotic statements!

The supreme court in Oregon ruled in 2005 that live sex acts in public places are constitutional. The Oregonian, Oregon’s number-one newspaper, agreed with the decision.

That means people can go down to their local bar and see people commit any lewd act you can imagine! And what’s more, it is constitutional, according to the state’s supreme court.

People originally came to America to establish God’s rule. The Constitution, in many ways, was established on biblical principles. But these judges twist and interpret that document to suit their own evil purposes.

They know that the Founding Fathers never intended such rulings. Remember, James tells us that God holds teachers and leaders more accountable for their sins.

Oregon is the state where God’s Work began in these latter days. Herbert W. Armstrong thundered God’s message for 57 years. So these judges and our people have been warned. And we continue to warn them today.

Why is our warning even going out to them? Because they are about to incur God’s wrath! We can provide an abundance of material to prove that to anybody.

Weapons of mass destruction are proliferating, and Satan is stirring hatreds as never before! World leaders acknowledge that they can’t control nuclear power. Where does that leave us? With “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved”! (Matthew 24:21-22).

Those are Jesus Christ’s own words! Why don’t this world’s churches tell it like it is from the Bible? Because they don’t know God! And neither do the Laodiceans.

We live in an exceedingly evil age. We are getting very close to the time when dead bodies will line the Earth from one end to the other.

It is time to speak out!

Humanly, we would rather not. But we must not fail as the Laodiceans have. James 5:5 says they have been “wanton,” which means lewdly lustful or lascivious. Lange’s translates it “worldly and effeminate”! That is God’s judgment: The Laodiceans don’t have the courage or the character to do their job. They are not enough like Jesus Christ.

Where are all those teachers God trained to tell the world what is coming in order to save them from that madness?


James chapter 5 contains four instances of the word behold, which means to look or perceive.

Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth …” (verse 4). This verse calls attention to something we can see! A criminal fraud was committed that everyone can behold! Anybody can perceive what happened! Even the weakest judges should have been able to see it: These leaders changed all the doctrines and kicked everyone out who was committed to doing that Work! Behold! See what they did!

God doesn’t take that lightly. He knows about that scandalous fraud! Lo! Behold! Take a good look at that!

The second behold is found in verse 7, which refers to “the early and latter rain”—a subject we will cover shortly.

Here is the third behold: “Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door” (verse 9).

The word door here means something through which a rush is made. The Judge is Jesus Christ. He is standing—meaning to stand ready or prepared. He is prepared to rush in. You can see by world events that Christ is at the door!

You can also see by what is happening inside God’s Church.

Grudge means to murmur, groan or sigh. It denotes a descent from a higher plane—like people of God not thinking like God anymore. It is used as an utterance of various kinds of pain. James tells us to be careful. One translation reads, “Do not blame one another for the distress of the present, soon-to-be-ended present age.” There is going to be a lot of stress in this end time—but don’t let that bother you. Don’t murmur, groan or grumblebecause Christ stands right at the door, ready to break it down and return with power and glory! We are almost finished! Don’t fail right on the threshold of God’s Kingdom!

Christ Himself made a similar pronouncement: “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:32-33). One translation of the word “doors” is door. This has the same meaning as James 5:9, but James takes it further. Christ said the signs are at the door; James says Christ Himself is at the door! When the book of James is revealed in this end time, Christ is about to return. Behold! Look at what is happening! You will know the judge is at the door by what is happening in this world.

Right now as you read this, God is making preparations for how He is going to handle things in the Tribulation and Day of the Lord.

The final behold comes in verse 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.”

When God uses that word, He is saying, Look! See! Lo! You can see the Laodicean fraud—behold! You can see the former and latter rain—look aroundbehold! Christ is standing at the door, ready to return to this filthy world—you can see it from events around us—behold! And finally, look at what happened to the Worldwide Church of God—and yet there are some few who endured to the end like Job. Behold! Learn their lesson and make it into the Family of God!

If we don’t endure, we receive nothing. We simply must endure to the end. Behold! Those who endure to the end!

You Have Killed the Just One

God’s criticisms continue: “Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you” (verse 6). That is shocking!

Who is “the just”? The Revised Standard Version translates this verse, “You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man [singular]; he [that righteous man] does not resist you.” The Anchor Bible says, “You have murdered the righteous one.” What righteous one has been hated so much?

This is talking about Mr. Armstrong. Did the Laodicean leaders actually kill Mr. Armstrong? This verse is speaking spiritually. As Christ explained, according to the spirit of God’s law, hating your brother is murder (Matthew 5:21-22). James is talking about hate most of all. This verse is God’s judgment against those men: You hated him and are guilty of murder!

That hatred leads to physical killing as well, because God says that if they fail to deliver His warning message, blood will be on their hands and they will end up dying physically (Ezekiel 3:17-18; 33:7-8).

Toward the end of his life, Mr. Armstrong was surrounded by people of hate. The “synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 3:9) was already in place before he died! But he didn’t resist them. Of course, he was old and frail and didn’t have the strength to resist much of what they were doing. But he also wasn’t hateful in return. As we will see in the next chapter, however, he did pray that God would cut them off spiritually!

What greatness Mr. Armstrong had in order to withstand all that resistance. Imagine being surrounded by such traitors. Shortly before he died, he said that some men were like “vultures waiting for me to die.” God agrees! Mr. Armstrong was surrounded by vultures! But he never gave in to them. Those leaders stand condemned by the great heavenly Judge. This passage in James exposes them for their greedy desire to take over all the church’s wealth. Mr. Armstrong didn’t think God would let that happen, but He did.

We were shocked at some of what we learned during the court case about what those men did even before Mr. Armstrong died! They had gained quite a degree of control and did a lot of damage. Much of this is revealed in my son’s book, Raising the Ruins: The Fight to Revive the Legacy of Herbert W. Armstrong.

Those teachers dismally failed God. They didn’t realize it then, but God was examining them very thoroughly—and He is about to judge them harshly for what they did to His end-time Elijah! And, He is going to expose them for their sins.

Thayer’s gives additional information about this “righteous one”: “In the New Testament those are called righteous who have conditioned their lives by the standard which is not theirs, but God’s. A righteous person is one justified by faith and showing forth his faith by his works.” Mr. Armstrong certainly did that!

If we produce no works, we have no faith. Mr. Armstrong’s life was full of beautiful works! The men who succeeded him have produced no works—all they have is physical wealth. They also inherited a lot of spiritual wealth—God’s truth—but they cast that to the ground instead of teaching it to the world.

Those men also “condemned” Mr. Armstrong. Thayer’s says that word means to judge, or pronounce sentence or judgment against someone. It is a sentence condemning someone for a crime. The Anchor Bible says that word evokes the image of a courtroom. The Laodiceans condemned Mr. Armstrong even in their lawsuit! As they testified in court and during depositions, they tried to make God’s end-time Elijah look like a fool and a sham before this world’s unjust judges. It was embarrassing to see what they were telling the world!

What is more shocking, the appellate judges ruled in their favor. However, the wcg still caved in and gave up the victory. God showed who the supreme Judge really is!

After winning in court, why did they give us even more than we dared ask for? They still faced a jury trial to assess the damages—what we would have to pay them. Perhaps they feared more exposure.

Who knows what all they did in their hatred of Mr. Armstrong. He was almost helpless near the end of his life—as James says, “he does not resist you.”

Does God know what is happening in His Church? Does He ever!

Lets not ever be afraid to face the truth.

As God says in 1 Corinthians 6, You dare go before the judges of this world with a God Family issue? Those men dared! That is a gigantic witness against them. And other Laodiceans applauded their efforts—not one of those groups helped us! They passionately wanted the wcg to win!

Throughout that process, God discovered the depth of the evil in their hearts. Surely He had a general idea of what they would do, but by giving them free reign to behave however they desired, they exposed themselves as never before! Who would have imagined they would have so zealously supported the prohibition and wholesale destruction of God’s truth? What crime could be worse?

We are nearing the time when God will take vengeance! God is not passive about this crime. Soon they will weep and howl. The window of opportunity for repentance before the Great Tribulation is fast closing. Once that ends, it won’t take long for God to tear this land apart! That nightmarish process is already under way!

Early and Latter Rain

“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” (James 5:7). The farmer must be patient in waiting for the harvest.

What is the “early and latter rain”? In Deuteronomy 32:1-2, God’s word is spoken of as dropping like water from heaven: “My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass.” Amos 7:14-16 use the same analogy. Rain is a clear type of God’s revelation. God’s new revelation drops as rain—from heaven.

Joel 2:23 speaks of “former rain” and “latter rain,” and is explained in our free booklet about the Prophet Joel. James uses virtually the same terminology. “The early and latter rain” refers to the new revelation God gave during the Philadelphia era of His Church to Mr. Armstrong and that which He has given in the Laodicean era, through me.

The Philadelphia Church of God produces over 50 books and booklets aside from those of Mr. Armstrong’s that we publish. Almost all of them contain new biblical revelation from the great God!

Surely, 90 percent of the “latter rain” has already come.

God tells us to be patient until the early and latter rain. The Laodiceans lacked the patience to wait for the latter rain. We must have “long patience.” It sounds easy, but it isn’t.

Christ is almost ready to harvest, and He wants to make sure He takes in a good crop! So He is showering us with spiritual rain. It will continue until He comes.

Just as rain comes from the heavens, revelation comes from God! The revelation that we had to fight for (because the Laodiceans hated it) was given by the omnipotent God!

Christ is raising a magnificent spiritual crop in spite of what the Laodiceans have done.

James tells us to be patient for the “coming” of Jesus Christ. The word coming means presence. Christ is about to be present on this Earth. He is almost here! Prepare your mind for His presence. What a precious firstfruit crop will be harvested then! Christ is ready to be present here and to rule Earth from Jerusalem. Yes, there are terrible troubles. But never forget where all those troubles are leading! They are introducing the return of Christ to Earth! Lift up your head, because your redemption is here!

Swear Not

“Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (James 5:8). Over and over, James emphasizes the imminence of the Second Coming. In this chapter alone, he mentions it four times in seven verses! Christ’s return is so very near! In the Greek, the last few words of that verse literally mean, “it has already drawn near and it’s coming near.”

James is telling us to establish our hearts, or build a strong spiritual life, while there is time!

“Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door” (verse 9). We are admonished to keep a good attitude; don’t grumble, complain and hold grudges. Why? Because our Judge is at the door, ready to burst through!

Verses 7 through 9 speak of how close the Second Coming is—three straight verses. Then we are strongly urged to build the enduring character of God to face the difficult trials ahead. “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience” (verse 10). We have biblical examples of prophets “suffering affliction, and of patience.” The word affliction means evil treatment. They received plenty of that, but it didn’t deter them from their vision.

Job had to endure some painful trials (verse 11). He remained steadfast and it gave rise to the modern expression “the patience of Job.” God, through His tender mercy, brought Job to a deep conversion. Soon he will be resurrected to rule with Christ.

“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” (verse 12). This almost sounds like it’s talking about another court situation. Amos 7 suggests that we may well get wrapped up again in something like that in the near future.

Commentaries think the “above all” expression is exaggerated. The whole world is deceived (Revelation 12:9). They don’t know God and they don’t know the devil, nor do they understand his power. Satan is a master at getting us to rely on self or others. Then he destroys our faith and begins to influence us.

Above all, don’t look to self for anything. Christ said, “I can of mine own self do nothing.” His total trust was in the Father. We must have implicit faith in God, whether we are in court or any place else.

Whatever happens, we need not fear. Don’t swear, as Christ Himself said (Matthew 5:34-37), and never, ever look to men—including yourself! If we trust in God, everything will work out perfectly. “Above all,” James says, don’t be afraid of judges, or any other people who might be able to damage God’s Work. God can take care of that with no difficulty at all. The Lord of the armies of Israel is on our side!

Above all,” keep your focus on God and His Word.

Continue Reading: Chapter 6: Elijah’s Prayer