The following Scripture passages are offered to aid beginning fellowships. The readings and commentary for this week are more in line with what has become usual; for the following will most likely be familiar observations. The concept behind this Sabbath’s selection is mingling of physical and spiritual narration.
For the Sabbath of January 4, 2014
The person conducting the Sabbath service should open services with two or three hymns, or psalms, followed by an opening prayer acknowledging that two or three (or more) are gathered together in Christ Jesus’ name, and inviting the Lord to be with them.
Then Jesus was led up by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But He answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Then the devil took Him to the holy city and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to Him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, "'He will command his angels concerning you,' and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to Him. (Matt 4:1–11)
The spirit immediately [following baptism] drove Him out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And He was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to Him. (Mark 1:12–13)
And Jesus, full of holy spirit [no definite article], returned from the Jordan and was led by the spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, He was hungry. The devil said to Him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.'" And the devil took Him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to Him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours." And Jesus answered him, "It is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'" And he took Him to Jerusalem and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to Him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, "'He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,' and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" And Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:1–13)
In the head quote, the Matthew and Luke citations are in smaller font than the Mark citation; for among the Synoptic Gospels, Mark is the unmarked Gospel whereas both Matthew’s Gospel (a sermon) and Luke’s Gospel (a redaction of 1st-Century Christian oral and written gospels) are marked texts because of their additions-to and contradictions of Mark’s Gospel—the only known source text for Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospels. These additions and contradictions have no known source texts; plus, they cannot be logically true. Allegedly, additions come from a mythical “Q” (for Quelle) text or from an “M” text for Matthew’s additions or an “L” text for Luke’s additions that didn’t come from a common additional source text, the “Q” text. However, no scholar has ever read any of these additional source texts; yet scholars remain convinced that all three texts existed in the 1st-Century, thereby giving to historical criticism the attributes of belief that describe religious ideology … yes, academic historical criticism is a sect of Christendom populated by agnostics, a sect that seeks to convert youth who have grown to physical maturity within communities of dead Christians [spiritually dead Christians] to a higher way of thinking, a way that has the Bible being a human book, written by mere mortals to explain natural phenomena and social movements. And indeed, all of Scripture has been constructed by mortals from the assignment of allegorical meaning to historical events. Let’s be honest: the only text God wrote was the two tablets of stone that Moses received, then cast down and broke. Everything else has been written by human persons, including the Commandments on the two stone tablets that were in the Ark of the Covenant: Moses inscribed the words of the Lord onto these two tablets of stone that were in the Ark (“So he [Moses] was there with [YHWH] forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments” — Ex 34:28).
It is not possible to go without water for forty days, with “forty” being a number representing the completion of a matter, such as a lifetime … to “read” Moses going forty days without water a second time, will have the reader understanding that except for being in the presence of the Lord, Moses “died” a second time, with the second death being the lake of fire. Thus, in the Lord initially inscribing the Commandments on two stone tablets that where broken when Moses returned from the Lord’s presence to find the people of Israel engaged in an orgy in celebration of the gold calf/calves that was/were to be their deity/deities, then in the Lord commanding Moses to make two additional stone tablets on which Moses had to inscribe the Commandments—all of this being a shadow and type of spiritual Israel’s post-Second-Passover journey into the presence of God—readers having the mind of Christ will understand that the veracity of whether Moses actually fasted for forty days and forty nights is immaterial: spiritual Israel, the Body of Christ, will twice die [will perish in the lake of fire] if this holy nation doesn’t enter into the presence of God as Moses entered into the presence of the Lord. Again, whether Moses actually did or didn’t twice go forty days without water is of no importance; for the forty days become a representation of the forty years the people of Israel trekked through the wilderness of Sin/Zin, with only Joshua [in Greek, ’Iesou] and Caleb of the men of Israel numbered in the census of the second year entering into the Promised Land. And twice having to fast forty days and forty nights—each time more than enough to kill Moses—speaks directly to the Body of Christ twice dying if this Body doesn’t enter into the presence of God, with the initial death of the Body [ca 100–102 CE] coming from breaking the Commandments as the physical body of Jesus died at Calvary when He took on the sins of Israel so that Israel/Israel could live … Jesus lived because He did enter into the presence of God as the accepted Wave Sheaf Offering. Moses lived because he entered into the presence of the Lord, with the glory that henceforth shone from his face forming the shadow and type of Jesus’ glorification. And the Body of Christ will live through those saints who keep the Commandments and have the testimony of Jesus (cf. Rev 12:17; 14:12–13).
To demand physical veracity from the story of Moses entering into the presence of the Lord is to think carnally. To demand physical veracity from the Adam and Eve story is to think carnally. Are these stories true? Can they be believed? These are the wrong questions to ask: do these stories reveal a spiritual reality than can not be otherwise known? And the answer is yes. These stories function, when told in Hebrew style narration—in chiral narration—as prophecy functions in that they reveal what cannot be ascertained through observation and measurement. So again, can they be believed? … They are more believable than the story told that the murder of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya was the action of an Islamic mob angered by an obscure video. But they need not be more believable from the perspective of physical veracity. They need only to exist in Holy Writ; for their existence will speak into existence their spiritual reality.
It is the preceding statement where the marking of Matthew’s Gospel and the marking of Luke’s Gospel obtains its importance … where Mark’s Gospel is the unmarked Gospel, the Gospel that best respects what the Apostle Peter taught to outwardly circumcised converts from the sects known as Sadducees and Pharisees, Matthew’s Gospel in particular adds Mark’s Gospel scenes that simply didn’t happen, scenes that reveal what will happen spiritually, thereby writing/speaking into existence a spiritual reality that will see disciples betraying other disciples and salvation coming to those who fed the hungry and clothed the naked and gave shelter to the homeless, thereby demonstrating love for neighbor and brother in an era when human survival will be in doubt. In other words, the sheep in Matthew chapter 25 were willing to give “life” to those who would have perished otherwise. I suspect, the sheep were willing to lay down their lives even if their death was not required for the lives of the least of Jesus’ disciples even when the sheep did or did not know the Lord.
Mark’s Gospel need not speak anything into existence for as the unmarked Synoptic Gospel, Mark’s Gospel represents in Hebrew style what actually occurred … John’s Gospel “sets straight” the way of the Lord, thereby doing for endtime [21st-Century] disciples what the ministry of John the Baptist did for 1st-Century. As such, John’s Gospel needs not speak anything into existence even though chapter 21 would seem to be an important addition to the Gospel as originally received, with the addition pointing to the Apostle Peter and how his two epistles are structured to feed lambs, tend sheep, feed sheep, a circling back to and linking up with Matthew 25.
Now, returning to the head quotations, marked and unmarked through the inclusion of additional narration that cannot possibly be true … where is the high mountain from which all kingdoms can be seen? At what moment in time can all kingdoms be seen? At what moment in time is there not transition in the kingdoms of men occurring? Is there not transition occurring today? Even in a republic as stable as the United States of America, is not transition underway, thanks mainly to a half century or more of Marxist instruction in the public school system? Will not the legalization of recreational pot and homosexual marriages change America so that this nation isn’t the same republic as existed when WWII ended? Certainty, Germany is not today the same nation as it was in the 1930s; nor is Russia today the same nation that Stalin ruled. The people are not the same: one generation replaced another generation, and that generation was replaced by two succeeding generations. Even the land isn’t the same: pivot point irrigation has changed the shape of fields as soil fertility waxes and wanes and crops grow from genetically modified seed. So what was the moment in time when the Adversary showed Jesus all kingdoms? When did time freeze for long enough that Jesus could look from kingdom to kingdom to make the Adversary’s offer of giving Him all kingdoms a real offer, something to be desired?
The fact is that according to Mark’s Gospel, Jesus was in the wilderness being tempted for forty days. Mark’s Gospel says nothing about Jesus fasting for forty days, then being tempted by the Adversary; for again, fasting—going without food and water—for forty days isn’t physically possible. Yes, the human body can go without food for forty days, but dehydration will take the life of the person in much less time. And so-called juice fasts are not fasts at all: they are simply living on juices instead of solid food for an extended period of time … do commercial fishermen go on coffee fasts when they work around the clock, ingesting nothing but coffee to sustain themselves during the long hours of work when they do not stop to cook? Or better, do these fishermen go on sandwich fasts when they live on sandwiches during the entirety of an opening? Did I go on a sandwich fast for the weeks I lived on sandwiches while longlining halibut in the Bering Sea … the word <fast> shouldn’t be linked to anything other than going without food and drink for a day or more. The word <fast> is misused when a Christian doesn’t respond to the “fast day” as the Christian ought to respond to Yom Kipporim. So a three day “fast” or a seven day “fast” is a very long “fast,” more than a novice ought to undertake; for real health issues exist when going beyond three days without drink. Forty days without drink and the person is dead. Hence, a forty day fast mandates entering into the presence of God in order for life to be sustained, not simply figuratively entering into the presence of God. And Mark’s Gospel doesn’t have Jesus fast for forty days and forty nights. However, Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospel have Jesus performing this miraculous feat in a mingling of physical and spiritual narration.
Note that in the temptation accounts of Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospels, what the author of each has Jesus say is the proper response to the Scriptures that the Adversary cites. And note, the Adversary quotes Scripture and uses Scripture against the newly baptized Christ Jesus in a manner similar to how Goliath would have used sword and spear against David if the youthful David would have engaged Goliath with sword and shield … David didn’t engage Goliath with either a bronze sword or an iron sword, but rather with a naturally formed stone hurled from his sling—
What sort of stone is supposed to be used by Israel as an altar?
And [YHWH] said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the people of Israel: 'You have seen for yourselves that I have talked with you from heaven. You shall not make gods of silver to be with me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold. An altar of earth you shall make for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you. If you make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stones, for if you wield your tool on it you profane it. And you shall not go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness be not exposed on it.'” (Ex 20:22–26 emphasis added)
David used faith as a weapon—and faith cannot be employed through tools or by forging the world into a tool. If David had taken a sword into combat with Goliath, he would have lost. The people of Israel would have lost and would have become the slaves of the allophyles, with such a situation existing today through humanity being figuratively bought and sold as if they were commodities listed on the futures market … the Senate and the House of Representatives are gearing up for a political fight over extending unemployment benefits, with the long term unemployed becoming available for “purchase” because of how poorly the American economy has performed since 2007/2008. As if political serfs, the unemployed are bound to benefit checks that effectively keep them in the geographical location in which they filed for benefits. They are as early 19th-Century Russian serfs were when serfs were the chattel of landowners.
The difference between Jesus being tempted by the Adversary for forty days [Mark’s Gospel] and Jesus, after fasting for forty days and forty nights being tempted by the Adversary [Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospel], is allegorically great, almost too great to fully encompass with words: in being tempted for forty days, the Adversary in type tempts a disciple in whom Jesus dwells in the form of the breath of Christ [pneuma Christou] for the duration of the Christian’s life. If however, Jesus fasts for forty days and only then is tempted by the Adversary, the forty days represent a lifetime without being tempted by the Adversary: temptation will, for the disciple, occur after the disciple either dies or enters into the presence of God. This will have the disciple living a lifetime without temptation, and this latter scenario reaches up to engulf Christ Jesus so that He is no longer a spiritual infant (that is, newly born of spirit) when He engages in battle with the Adversary. This is not the case in Mark’s Gospel, which has Jesus—the spirit of God newly entering into Him and thereby giving life to Jesus’ inner self [soul]—still being a spiritual youth when He engages the Adversary, a spiritual Goliath, in battle.
What happened in the fall of 27 CE when Jesus was baptized is that the Adversary tried to take Him out while He was still a spiritual youth. What didn’t happen is what Matthew’s Gospel and Luke’s Gospel records, with these two Gospels unable to agree on when the Adversary offered Jesus rule over all human kingdoms. Now, is this placing too fine a point on the Adversary taking Jesus to the top of a very high mountain and showing Jesus all the kingdoms of this world and their glory … I have asked this question for a couple of years: where is this mountain located? And how high is it that the kingdoms on the other side of the globe and their glory could be seen? The passage is fictional and cannot be seriously read literally. The passage can only be read allegorically—and if this passage can only be read allegorically, how much more of Matthew’s Gospel should be or has to be read allegorically?
Same for Luke’s Gospel, except the author of Luke’s Gospel didn’t understand the use of Hebrew style narration even as employed in Mark’s Gospel.
The preceding is a subject to which I will return in the near future.
The person conducting the Sabbath service should close services with two hymns, or psalms, followed by a prayer asking God’s dismissal.
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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."