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 walking in the name of any god but the Lord.
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For the Sabbath of January 14, 2012
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.
And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day." Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him, "Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom." Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able." He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father." And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. (Matt 20:17–28)
I [Paul] mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Gal 4:1–7 emphasis added)
Although Paul said to Timothy that Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for all (1 Tim 2:6), Matthew records Jesus saying that He was the ransom for many (Matt 20:28), not all. Likewise, Mark recorded Jesus saying, “‘For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’” (Mark 10:45). Luke recorded disciples saying to the resurrected Jesus, whom they did not recognize, that they had hoped that Jesus would be the one to redeem Israel, not all of the world. And to Titus, Paul would have Jesus being the redeemer of disciples from lawlessness; whereas the prophet Israel recorded the Lord saying that as He gave the lives of Egypt as the ransom for Israel (Isa 43:3), He would again give the lives of men as the ransom for Israel (v. 4), not for all of humanity—
If all of humanity were Israel, then Jesus would have paid the ransom price for all of humanity. But because all of humanity is not yet Israel, the portion of humankind that is not Israel is not yet redeemed, or ransomed from when God consigned all to disobedience (Rom 11:32), with disobedience equating to death … all of humankind will become Israel, the single great nation promised to Abraham; so what Paul wrote to Timothy about Jesus giving Himself as a ransom for all jumps time and is akin to Peter saying that day of Pentecost following Calvary was the reality of those things about which the prophet Joel prophesied (see Acts 2:16–21), which simply isn’t true. The things that occurred on that Pentecost were the visible shadow and copy of Christ Jesus baptizing the world in first the spirit/breath of God (Matt 3:11; Joel 2:28), and then a millennium later, baptizing the world in fire before the coming of the new heavens and new earth (Rev 21:1).
· In the days of Noah, the world was baptized in water and baptized upon death—one baptism and one death;
· In the days of the Son of Man, the world will be baptized in spirit and into life when the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man;
· The world will then be, following the Thousand Years and the great White Throne Judgment, baptized in fire and into heavenly life.
One death is sufficient to kill what has only one indwelling breath of life, but it takes a second death to kill what has received a second breath of life. But when that which has received a second breath of life is further clothed or housed in a heavenly body—when the mortal flesh puts in immortality—then no death remains for this entity that can pass through fire unharmed; that can cross dimensions, passing through the dimensional fire that separates things physical from things that are of heaven … when the Lord drove Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, He placed “a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life” (Gen 3:24), with this flaming sword forming a shadow and type of the dimensional fire that prevents physical entities from crossing into the heavenly realm.
The living entity that does not twice receive heavenly life—life outside of this physical realm—will perish in the lake of fire or when the world is baptized in fire as if the whole world were plunged into the lake of fire. Hence angelic sons of God who have been cast into space-time as well as human sons of God whom the Son has chosen not to glorify, with each having once received heavenly life, will perish in the lake of fire … heavenly life is routinely called eternal life, but the English linguistic icon <eternal> does not convey the Greek concept of “from age to age” that is translated as eternal. A more appropriate linguistic icon is needed, with heavenly life being the one used here. For a human person is born of God and receives a second breath of life [the breath of God in the breath of Christ] when the Father raises the dead by calling a person forth from disobedience to which all of humankind has been consigned (Rom 11:32).
When the Father draws a person from this world (i.e., from disobedience) by giving the person the earnest of His breath/spirit [Greek, B<,Ø:"], the Father has raised the person from death regardless of whether the person is physically living or was physically dead, thus having physical life returned to the person as if he or she were merely asleep. This person has once received indwelling eternal life, or heavenly life (i.e., life from the heavenly realm). The inner self of this person is now like an angel confined in space-time, cast into Tartarus and enchained in gloomy darkness (2 Pet 2:4), with this earth representing a spot of light in the outer reaches of darkness. Therefore, unless the human son of God also receives life from the Son (see John 5:21) by Christ Jesus causing the mortal fleshly body of the person to put on immortality, the human son of God will also perish in the lake of fire.
Jesus is the Redeemer of those human beings whom the Father foreknew, predestined, called, justified, and glorified (Rom 8:30) in this present age … context matters: the antediluvian age preceded this present age, and the Millennium will follow this present age. Between the antediluvian age and this age was a mini-age referenced by Christ Jesus as the days of Noah, who lived as long as his ancestors and nearly four times longer than his second-generation descendants. There was a transition between life expectancies of nearly a millennium to life expectancies of less than a hundred twenty years—and the mirror image of this transitional mini-age will again occur when moving from this present age to the Millennium, where human beings will no longer have sin and death dwelling within them. And this second transitional mini-day can be referenced as the days of the two witnesses, who will not physically live anywhere near as long as their theological descendants.
The transition between this present age and the Millennium will see the days of the two witnesses, both witnesses being brothers as Moses and Aaron were brothers, completing the seven year ministry of Christ Jesus. Details drawn from this reality can be speculative, but with the certainty of Scripture it can be said that as Christ Jesus was cut off midweek, the two witnesses will be cut off midweek (or after three and a half years). More speculatively, it can be said that as Christ Jesus was about thirty-three and a half years old when He was cut off, the mean age of the two brothers will be about sixty-seven years of age when they are cut off, meaning that the two witnesses are, most likely, presently mature men in or nearing their sixties, if this is the time of the end as Philadelphia contends.
The ark Noah constructed didn’t magically appear in his backyard in the second month of Noah’s 600th year. Rather, the suggestion of Scripture is that Noah spent a hundred twenty years constructing the vessel—a comparable time in this present age would be a dozen years. Thus, speculatively it can be said that the two witnesses will spend about a dozen years constructing the theological ark that takes seven pairs of clean animals [the seven named churches] and the single pair of unclean animals [a single fellowship or congregation or sect of the remainder of Christendom] from this present age into the Endurance, the 1260 days that precede the Second Advent.
The holy ones [saints] are those who keep the commands of God and their faith in Jesus (Rev 14:12); the Remnant that crosses from the Affliction into the Endurance are the offspring of the Woman [Israel] who keep the commands of God and have the spirit of prophecy (Rev 12:17 with Rev 19:10). Therefore, every Christian who crosses from this present world that was delivered to the Adversary for the destruction of the flesh when the world was baptized in water in the days of Noah to the world to come that will be ruled by the Son of Man and baptized into life will keep the commandments and will have the spirit or breath of prophecy: everyone who crosses.
Many sermons delivered in the past five centuries have had as their central message that Christ Jesus giving His life at Calvary paid the ransom price for all of humanity, that salvation is a many spoked wheel, that there are as many paths to salvation as there are christs being taught from pulpits. Listen to what the prophet Micah wrote:
It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, and many nations shall come, and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations far away; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore; but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever. In that day, declares the LORD, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away and those whom I have afflicted; and the lame I will make the remnant, and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and forevermore. (Micah 4:1–7 emphasis and double emphasis added)
What happens to those peoples who walk in the name of a god other than the God of Jacob, the God of the Living (from Matt 22:32)? What happens to the hills that represent ruling hierarchies other than that of the God of the living? What happens to lesser mountains that also represent ruling hierarchies?
There is a reality that must be addressed when it comes to the Millennium, the Thousand Years long reign of Christ Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords between when the single kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man (Dan 7:9–14; Rev 11:15–18) and when the Adversary is loosed from his chains and again permitted to go forth to deceive the people of this world … the Adversary would be able to deceive no one when loosed from his chains if all peoples were of the mountain of the house of the Lord. The fact that the Adversary can deceive anyone—for all of humankind will be born of God as sons and will be filled-with and empowered by the spirit of God—discloses that the days of the two witnesses passed without all peoples taking judgment upon themselves and thereby being changed or resurrected to glory when Christ Jesus comes as the Messiah.
In the Millennium, all peoples will have been redeemed—
· The saints—those Christians who keep the commandments and have love for brother and neighbor—of this present age were redeemed by the blood of Christ Jesus, with these saints signifying that they comprehend that they were redeemed by these saints taking the sacraments of bread and wine on the dark portion of the 14th day of the first month;
· But most of Christendom does not keep the commands of God, and/or does not have love for neighbor and brother;
· Most of Christendom has not been redeemed or ransomed by the blood of Christ Jesus, but awaits ransoming when the lives of uncovered firstborns, natural and legal, are taken on earth and in heaven at the Second Passover liberation of Israel: it will be the blood of these firstborns that pays the ransom for lawless and/or loveless Christendom.
All Christians in the Affliction, the first 1260 days of the seven endtime years of tribulation, will have been redeemed by either the blood of Christ shed at Calvary, or by the blood of firstborns that belong to the Lord, this blood shed immediately prior to the Second Passover liberation of Israel, the nation that is to be circumcised of heart. But this still leaves about half of then-living humankind without a ransom having been paid for them and thus, still the bondservants of the Adversary, the spiritual king of Babylon.
· The Second Woe (Rev 9:12; 11:14) occurs immediately [within 30 days] before the kingdom of the world is taken from that Adversary and delivered to the Son of Man halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation—and in this Second Woe, a third of then-living humankind will be randomly slain (Rev 9:15);
· The third of humanity slain by the four angels will pay the ransom price for the third part of humankind (see Zech 13:9), and a ransom price must be paid for the remainder of humankind for the kingdom of this world has not yet been given to the Son of Man.
The blood of Christ that was shed at Calvary paid the ransom price for every Christian who has truly been born of God through receiving a second breath of life, the breath of God [B<,Ø:" 1,@Ø] in the breath of Christ [B<,Ø:" OD4FJ@Ø], with the inner selves of these Christians—metonymically represented by the Greek icon RLPH (Rev 6:9)—being already glorified and only awaiting to be further clothed in a body that puts on immortality when the Son gives life to whom He will.
It is always wrong to say that a Muslim has presently been redeemed by Christ Jesus, or to say that any Christian who makes a practice of lawlessness has been redeemed by Christ. Muslims will be redeemed by the lives of the third of then-living humankind that are taken when the four angels are loosed in the Sixth Trumpet Plague, meaning that firstborn Muslims will have given their physical lives when the Second Passover liberation of Israel occurred, then a third of remaining Muslims will give their lives when the four angels are loosed … now, step the preceding sentence up to the level of all humanity: Christ Jesus at Calvary represented the lives of uncovered firstborns, natural and legal, in heaven and on earth. Christ’s blood shed at Calvary was a sufficient ransom price for all Christians who are/were genuinely born of God as sons in this present era; hence, Christ paid the ransom price for many. But Christ’s blood has not paid the ransom price for Christians who refuse to walk as Jesus walked.
The fact that lawless Christians refuse to keep the commandments is prima facie evidence that these Christians remain unredeemed and continue as the bondservants of the Adversary; therefore, a second ransom must be paid for lawless Christendom, with this second ransom being the lives of all uncovered firstborns, natural and legal, at the Second Passover liberation of Israel.
· Christ Jesus’ shed blood at Calvary is to Christendom as the death of all uncovered firstborns is to Muslims and is to those peoples who walk in the name of any god other than the Lord;
· Lawless Christians require a second ransom price to be paid for their liberation from indwelling sin and death, this price being the death of uncovered firstborns, which is the initial ransom price for Muslims and for others who walk in the name of gods who are no gods—
· Muslims and all who walk in the name of any god other than the Lord also require that a second ransom be paid for their liberation from sin and death, with this second ransom being the random death of a third of humanity in the Sixth Trumpet Plague.
Philadelphia is exempted from this hour of trial that is the Second Woe because Philadelphia has kept [proclaimed] the word or message of the Endurance in Christ, the 1260 day period between when the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man and when the Second Advent occurs. Otherwise, Philadelphia would also be subject to the randomness of death that comes from the four angels being released to slay a third part of humankind.
It is important that Philadelphia continues to proclaim the word/message of Christ Jesus about the Endurance. For assisting in proclaiming this message, thanks is extended to all. And let the person who walks in the name of any god but the Lord—and in the Millennium, many will even though they have been born of God and born filled with spirit—receive the just rewards for his or her walk.
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.
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