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 “ believe without the benefit of evidence.”
For the Sabbath of January 16, 2016
[A Third Followup to the December 26th Reading]
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.
You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit of our God. "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be dominated by anything. "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food"—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, "The two will become one flesh." But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, that you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Cor 6:11–20 double emphasis added)
If the body is a temple, then the inner self, joined to the Lord and thus becoming one spirit with Him is a royal priest, one with Christ Jesus. … The inner self of a disciple born of spirit serves God in a temple of flesh as the Levitical priesthood served the Lord in a temple constructed of wood and stone. And as the children of Israel entered the Promised Land and dwelt in houses they did not build (Deut 6:11; 19:1), the inner selves of disciples will enter heaven and dwell in “houses” they did not build, these houses being spiritual bodies formed from the essence of heaven itself.
Imbedded in the story of Israel’s exodus from slavery in Egypt is the story of a second Israel’s liberation from slavery to Sin and Death, and exodus from this earth via the gift of salvation. But also imbedded in the story of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt is evidence supporting the redaction of Moses’ narratives …
The Apostle Paul wrote by the hand of Tertius that it didn’t matter that some of Israel disbelieved the Lord, that the unbelief of Israel did not negate the faithfulness of God (Rom 3:3) … the unbelief of Israel prior to when Paul wrote did, however, create textual problems for endtime biblical scholars; for while the learned are usually less troubled by a story not being historically true if the story is morally true, the undereducated biblical “literalist” will argue for textual infallibility when both textual evidence and archeological evidence rejects all literal readings of the text. So while the faithfulness of God looms over Scripture, the unfaithfulness of Hebrew scribes discloses itself by the provable redaction of Moses’ narratives, provable through the storehouse city of Raamses (Ex 1:11) [Rameses — Ex 12:36] being a New Kingdom city with a fairly short lifespan, about two centuries, 1250–1000 BCE.
Archeological evidence shows that there was no significant population of Israelites dwelling in Egypt during New Kingdom dynasties; that no exodus of the sort described by Moses took place, nor could have taken place during the lifespan of the city of Rameses. And using the Bible’s own chronology, tenured Egyptologists dismiss Israel’s Exodus from Egypt as genuine history. Yet, the imbedded chronology found in the Book of Exodus is prima facie evidence for demonstrating that Moses’ narratives were redacted by Imperial Hebrew scribes after the reigns of Israel’s kings began.
From both archeological evidence and from close reading of Scripture, Israel’s Exodus from Egypt occurred during the Middle Kingdom: the Thirteenth Dynasty that seemed to exercise dominion over the Semitic Fourteenth Dynasty was at its end ruled by the Pharaoh with whom Moses interacted … the history of the Hyksos invasion and of the Fifteenth Dynasty is shrouded in chronological uncertainty, but apparently the Exodus brought the Middle Kingdom to an end, thereby leaving Egypt devastated and open to a sudden takeover by indwelling Hyksos peoples that had been living in the delta region for several centuries. Regardless of how the Fifteenth Dynasty of Asiatic rulers came to power, from Scripture (1 Kings 6:1), the Exodus dates ca. 1450 BCE. From archaeology, the Exodus dates perhaps a century earlier (1550 BCE). But both dates have the Exodus occurring before the city of Rameses was built. Thus, when Moses led Israel out from Egypt, the city of Rameses didn’t exist and wouldn’t exist for another two or more centuries.
But the city of Rameses was built near and atop the ruins of the Middle Kingdom city of Avaris, where archeological evidence actually places Semitic peoples in Egypt from the 18th through 15th Centuries BCE. It is in the ruins of Avaris where the tomb of Joseph can be found. So apparently Imperial Hebrew scribes, knowing that Rameses was built on the ruins of Avaris—that Avaris no longer existed—used the name Rameses as the identifier for the location of where Israel dwelt in Egypt; for the location of Rameses would have been known to peoples in the Levant during the reign of Israel’s kings. The location of Avaris would not have been known for Egypt’s New Kingdom did its best to erase the Hyksos from Egypt’s history (Avaris served as a capital or principle city for Hyksos rulers).
For Avaris to be identified as the city of Rameses required scribes to rewrite Moses’ narratives from any date closer to modernity than the first of the kings of Israel … Moses did not and could not have identified Avaris as “Rameses”; therefore, the words of Exodus that endtime disciples received from Judaism are not words Moses wrote, but are at least one redaction removed from Moses. This will, now, become important in comprehending the correspondences between ancient Israel in Egypt and the greater Christian Church enslaved by Sin and Death, with the spiritual kingdom of Babylon to be destroyed by Christendom’s exodus from enslavement by Sin and Death.
(The 2015 documentary Patterns of Evidence, directed by Tim Mahoney, effectively argues for the Exodus occurring in Egypt’s Middle Kingdom. This website, thephiladelphiachurch.org, has from its inception in 2003 argued for a 1450 BCE date for the Exodus, the website’s argument based on recorded generations in Judges and in Chronicles, taking into account obviously missing generations.)
While the details of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt are important, they are less important than the story itself that serves as prophecy from the correspondences that exist: the people of Canaan correspond to rebelling angels. The people of Israel that left Egypt following the Passover correspond to greater Christendom following the Second Passover. This will now have the people of Israel dwelling in slave houses in Egypt corresponding to greater Christendom dwelling in fleshly bodies in this present age. And as the men of Israel numbered in the census of the second year (Num chap 1), except for Joshua and Caleb, did not enter the Promised land but died in the wilderness because of their unbelief, Christians within the greater Church, except for those represented by Joshua [in Greek, ’Iesou, Jesus] and represented by Caleb in whom was a different spirit, will not enter heaven because of their unbelief. Rather a new nation of Israel, brought into existence when the single kingdom of this world is given to the glorified Christ and with this new Israel seen in Scripture as the third part of the little ones (Zech 13:9), will be saved because of its belief—and today, none of this third part identifies itself as “Christian.” All of this third part of humanity will come to believe Christ Jesus when the spirit of God is poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28) on the doubled day 1260 halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation.
In the tribulation, those Christians represented as Joshua/Jesus will be so identified through each of them being born of spirit; through the spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou] having entered into the spirit of the person [to pneuma tou ’anthropou], thereby giving to these believing disciples the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16). And those Christians represented by Caleb will have in them a different spirit from the majority of Christians within the greater Church, this different spirit discernable through their belief of God, belief that causes them to keep the Commandments, especially the Sabbath, the representation of the Promised Land (Heb 3:16–4:11).
When Paul writes that he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him (1 Cor 6:17), he also writes that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her (v. 16) … the man becomes one with the prostitute through his penetration of her; through him inserting his “head” into her vagina, thereby temporarily transforming two persons into one fleshly body having four arms and four legs. This union will not last. Separation is inevitable. And when separation occurs, the business transaction has been concluded.
But in the case of the Christian truly born of spirit, Christ Jesus in the form of His spirit penetrates the spirit of the person that is inside the soul [psuche] of the person as a husband penetrates his wife for the purpose of procreation, and as a child is conceived through the husband’ penetration of his wife, a new creature that is a son of God is conceived inside the soul of the person, this new creature having life that comes from God and that will return to God.
There is an advertising campaign that advances the argument, What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas … the campaign is a lie. Whatever happens in Las Vegas is carried by the person who visited Law Vegas wherever the person goes, and carried beyond the grave; carried into the person’s judgment. Thus, the person who becomes one body with a prostitute, thereby transforming the penetration of one person by another person into a mercantile transaction, will not forget what he or she has done. This person can be forgiven, but this person will not forget what has been forgiven. And as the memory of the transaction becomes either hated or loved over time, the memory becomes “stone-hard” in the person’s mind, a stone over which the person will stumble whenever coming to the Lord.
It is easier for the person to forgive someone who has wronged the person than it is for the person to forgive him or herself. Yet as a Christian is under obligation to forgive others, the Christian is also under obligation to forgive his or her own fleshly body for doing those things the Christian’s inner self now hates.
But how is the inner self of a Christian to forgive what the fleshly body has done? Forgiveness requires—does it not—the work of a priest … Christ Jesus is the high priest of every son of God, but the glorified Christ gave to His disciples the authority to forgive sin:
On the evening of that day, the first [after the Sabbath], the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld." (John 20:19–23 emphasis added)
Of any includes the person’s own fleshly body; for once Jesus “breathed” on His first disciples, His breath, His spirit entering into the breath/spirit [pneuma] of His disciples, the now living inner selves of the ten disciples had the power of priests to forgive or withhold forgiveness of sin …
A temple without priests is a tourist attraction, that’s all. And there are already too many surviving temples that are merely just another roadside attraction, the expression borrowed from author Tom Robbins. Thus, if the body of a disciple that can commit fornication with prostitutes “is a temple of the Holy Spirit,” then the fleshly body isn’t the person; isn’t Israel; isn’t anything more than a roadside attraction unless there is a living inner self—a living soul [psuche]—functioning as a priest inside the fleshly body and operating out of the fleshly body as Levites offered sacrifices in the temple and in the courts.
The Christian pastor or teacher unable to grasp the concept that the fleshly body, able to commit fornication with prostitutes, is the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16–17) that requires within it a functioning priesthood is a spiritual dullard … within the slivered remains of the former Worldwide Church of God are a handful of struggling ministries continuing the teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong: all of these slivers teach that a Christian is not born again, or born of spirit until the fleshly body is glorified; that is, until when pricked with a pin, the body doesn’t bleed.
None of these fossilized ministries have really thought about what Paul preached concerning a person with a prostitute becoming together one fleshly body that can be bundled with others [adulterers and fornicators] and sold as slaves of the Adversary to the highest bidder, what is seen in John’s vision:
When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!" (Rev 6:5–6)
This black horse has nothing to do with famine, but everything to do with Sin, the demonic king of the South, making merchandise of those persons who constitute the harvests of God, both the harvests of firstfruits, the barley harvest, and the far larger general wheat harvest in the great White Throne Judgment … the oil and the wine are the already processed fruits of the Promised Land, those Christians represented by Joshua and Caleb.
None of the fossilized splinters of Armstrong’s ministry have really thought about the person whose spirit is penetrated by Christ Jesus, a life-giving spirit [pneuma] (1 Cor 15:45), becoming one spirit with Christ, not one fleshly body … the believing disciple is not a prostitute, having intercourse with gilded sticks and stones as if a statue of Zeus were a sex toy. No, what is of the flesh is of this world, and will never leave this world.
This world [kosmos] changes, but the Lord doesn’t for He is of timeless heaven, where what is has to coexist with what was and what will be. Thus the coupling of a man and a woman, the two becoming one flesh, is of this world where flesh bleeds. It is not of heaven where the physicality of even air molecules prevent their existence; where the son of God born from the spirit of Christ penetrating the spirit of the person in this world brings forth a new creature that has no physicality.
The son of God when born of spirit lives in a house of flesh, but is not the house of flesh, just as Levitical priests were not the temple in which they served … if the fossilized slivers of Armstrong’s ministry were larger and had concrete dinosaurs painted pink in their parking lots, the petrified dogmas that these ministries teach would be greater roadside attractions.
Neither Armstrong when alive nor the remaining slivers of his ministry can discern the signs of the times, for they trip over a Scripture that they often cite:
For I the LORD do not change;
therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. (Mal 3:6)
If the children of Jacob are not consumed because the Lord does not change, then the children of Jacob will never be consumed: the Lord will continue to bear the iniquities of the children of Jacob … but that is not what the Lord tells these children of Jacob:
Behold, I send my messenger, and He will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, He is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of His coming, and who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years. Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts. (Mal 3:1–5 emphasis added)
The children of Jacob are not consumed because it was not then the time for the Lord to draw near them to judge them, not because the Lord does not change … the Lord doesn’t change, meaning that He will not tolerate theological prostitution, and will not forgive unbelievers. The Christian who succumbs to the blandishments of Las Vegas sins against God, Father and Son. Again, this Christian can pray for forgiveness, but the Lord will not strike the memory—either for good or for evil—from the Christian’s mind. The Lord will cause the Christian to remember what occurred just as Paul three times asked to have a thorn in his flesh removed but was told,
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor 12:7–9 emphasis added)
Today, the medical profession and the wealth of society in general has advanced to the point where most matters of the flesh can be addressed without God intervening on the person’s behalf. The person doesn’t need to be given a physical ailment to keep the person humble although such ailments still exist: the memory of who the person was, and the mistakes the person made should be sufficient to humble the person truly born of spirit.
Becoming a drunk to try and forget either unused abilities or painful memories separates the person from the Lord; for the person isn’t supposed to forget, but is supposed to be humbled by memories that cause the person to realize the weakness of the person when governed by the desires of the flesh. The person needs to remember how strong were the desires of the flesh and how weakly the person resisted the Adversary; for these memories will permit the person to appreciate the Second Passover liberation of the person from enslavement to Sin and Death.
Neither the Pharisees nor the Sadducees nor modern Christian ministers such as Herbert Armstrong could discern the signs of the times that today have Paul’s thorns in the flesh being translated as thorns in the mind, messengers from Satan placed in the mind to harass the son of God—almost always bad memories of when the weakness of the flesh caused the Christian to do those things the Christian hates to this day—
The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test Him [Jesus] they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.' And in the morning, 'It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah." So He left them and departed. (Matt 16:1–4 emphasis added)
Times change. On several occasions in the 1960s, I drove past the fabricated dinosaur park in southern Oregon that attracted Tom Robbins’ attention, some of the dinosaurs as tall as the lodgepole pine that shielded them from curious eyes in passing cars, each vehicle on its way somewhere. I never stopped. I didn’t know anyone who had stopped. And so it is today with the slivered ministries left over from Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God: not many are stopping by, and those who stop are tourists, religious hobbyists, looking to see what they can see before heading on down the road.
Times change, but memories do not. And what these Christian legalists have never understood is that you, Christian, cannot lie to yourself about what happened in the past.
Can you today justify what happened or didn’t happen? Have you been able to twist your memories into something they are not? Or do your memories resist supporting self-justification? Do they permit you to craft excuses that you know are not true? And again, can you lie to yourself about yourself?
Do you, Christian, use the excuse, Nobody got hurt, when you broke a law or committed a moral wrong? Do you, Christian, say, We were just trying to help people, to justify having broken contract law? Do your memories not bother you, as if they are not Devil’s Club thorns that “nailed” your jeans to your thigh, penetrating the fabric of jeans and longjohns? … If you can forget what you have done, you are not today born of spirit. And it will be understandable why you cannot discern the signs of the times.
Do you, Christian, worship God my praising Him with song? Do you, Christian, lift up holy hands in your worship of God? Do you not understand that the only acceptable worship of God since “times changed” is your obedience pouring forth as an artesian spring from your belief of Him, the waters of the spring becoming a creek then a stream then a river, navigable by grain barges and ocean freighters, salties sailing to distant lands?
It is upon unbelief that the commerce of this world is conducted—
Is your belief, Christian, hamstrung by your unbelieving praise and worship services, in which the signs of the times are not understood?
Everyone should be able to comprehend that times change; for bleating lambs are not today sacrificed at Passover. Rather, unleavened bread as the symbol for the spiritual Lamb of God’s body is eaten on the First Unleavened. But not eaten by all who call themselves Christians, but by only those who have taken judgment upon themselves, with the Passover sacraments covering the sins of the firstborn son of God.
Moses had Israel take some of the blood of the Passover lamb and smear it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the house in which the Israelite in Egypt dwelt … apparently, the houses in which Israel dwelt in Egypt had one door, one doorway. A house today (unless a small cabin) will have at least two means of egress (two doors to satisfy safety codes). Again, times change. Whereas under Moses the blood of the lamb not smeared on doorposts and lintels would have been poured onto the ground, the wine in the blessed Cup that symbolizes the blood of Christ Jesus as the Passover Lamb of God is drank. Any leftover wine that has been blessed, however, will be poured onto the ground. So the wine in the blessed Cup is analogous to the blood smeared on the entryway of an Israelite’s house in Egypt.
The blessed Cup that symbolizes the blood of the Passover Lamb of God again establishes the chirality between the house of an Israelite in Egypt and the fleshly body of a disciple humanly born as a son of disobedience. The slave house in Egypt equates to the fleshly body enslaved by Sin and Death. And as a slave house in Egypt would have been larger than the Israelite that lived in the house, the fleshly body of a human person is larger than the spiritually living soul [psuche] that temporarily dwells in the fleshly body, with Jesus using Jonah in the whale to make this size and type comparison.
In Egypt, the Israelite wasn’t the house in which the Israelite lived. Likewise, the fleshly body of a human person that drinks from the blessed Cup on Passover isn’t the firstborn son of God that dwells inside the fleshly body for a time, today.
Again, times change: under Moses, the Passover lamb was a sin offering for the firstborn in the house of the Israelite in Egypt. Under Christ Jesus who is in Himself the Passover Lamb of God, the blessed Cup represents His blood poured out for many for the forgiveness of sin (Matt 26:27–28). Disciples drinking from the blessed Cup have their sins covered by Christ Jesus; covered by the garment of His righteousness.
Under Moses and under Christ Jesus as the high priest of a second Israel, there is a once-a-year sin offering for the firstborn in the “house” of the Israelite, this sin offering occurring on the dark portion of the 14th day of the first month … when there is a sin offering that externally covers the firstborn person, this offering will always be made on the dark portion of the 14th day of the first month. This offering will not be made on the dark portion of the 15th day: only when Israel has no covering for its sins other than its own obedience will the Passover be sacrificed on the day when Israel left Egypt.
Times change: under the Moab Covenant that forms the shadow and copy of the New Covenant, the Second Passover Covenant, the Passover moves from being offered and eaten on the dark portion of the 14th day, the night before Israel in Egypt spoiled the Egyptians during the light portion of this day, to being eaten the night Israel left Egypt, the night of the 15th day of the first month:
Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover to the LORD your God, for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night. And you shall offer the Passover sacrifice to the LORD your God, from the flock or the herd, at the place that the LORD will choose, to make his name dwell there. You shall eat no leavened bread with it. Seven days you shall eat it with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction—for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste—that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt. No leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the flesh that you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain all night until morning. You may not offer the Passover sacrifice within any of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, but at the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name dwell in it, there you shall offer the Passover sacrifice, in the evening at sunset, at the time you came out of Egypt. And you shall cook it and eat it at the place that the LORD your God will choose. And in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents. (Deut 16:1–7)
Where was Israel to cook and eat the Passover in Egypt:
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, "This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD's Passover. (Ex 12:3–11)
Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. (Ex 12:21–22 emphasis added)
If an Israelite in Egypt could not go out of the door of his house until morning, then this Israelite could not have left Egypt on the night when he ate the Passover. And if the Israelite was to select, pen, and then personally kill the Passover lamb, priests didn’t kill the Passover lamb, nor did the Israelite go to the temple [there was no temple] to kill the Passover lamb. And again, times changed. The sacrifice changed. Where the sacrifice was to be killed changed. When the sacrifice was to be killed changed. Why the sacrifice was killed also changed, and this was not and has not been understood by Pharisees and Sadducees [the order in which they are presented changes in moving from the physical presentation of the sign of Jonah in Matthew chapter 12 to its spiritual presentation in chapter 16]. Nor has the “why” been understood by the Sabbatarian churches of God that keep the Passover.
Paul tells us that death reigned from Adam to Moses “even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come” (Rom 5:14) … how did death reign? It reigned by all of humanity being consigned to disobedience (Rom 11:32) as sons of disobedience (Eph 2:2–3). God consigned all of humanity to disobedience, this consignment symbolically represented by Adam and Eve being driven from the Garden of Eden when Adam’s unbelief manifested itself as disobedience in Adam eating forbidden fruit.
But after Moses as a type of Christ entered into the presence of the Lord and the reflected glory of the Lord shone from Moses’ face, the children of Israel on the plains of Moab were offered liberation from consignment to disobedience when Moses told them,
See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in His ways, and by keeping His commandments and His statutes and His rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. (Deut 30:15–20)
The children of Israel were offered a choice: love the Lord, keep what He commands, and live long physical lives in the Promised Land, or turn away from the Lord as the earth twists away from the light every night, worship and serve other gods, and perish in the Promised Land that serves as a type of heaven. This choice was given to the children of Israel on the plains of Moab. It hadn’t been given to anyone since Adam. And why was this choice given to the children Israel? Because upon entering the Promised Land, these children of Israel would have no covering for disobedience except obedience. These children of Israel were as Cain was, with Cain being told by the Lord, “‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it’” (Gen 4:6–7 emphasis added).
With the giving of the Law at Sinai, “sin” was brought to life so that it might devour the people of Israel who did not believe the Lord …
Sin, when brought to life, crouched as a lioness about to pounce upon the people of Israel that would not hear nor heed the Lord when they were in Egypt (Ezek 20:7–8).
Time changed with the giving of the Law. Sin was brought to life whereas Sin had previously lay dead, and therefore easily overcome by the people simply believing the Lord. But once Sin was brought to life, it needed to be periodically fed; hence, sin offerings.
With the Passover serving as a sin offering, Sin was “eating” enough to keep itself alive. But under the Moab Covenant with its movement for when the Passover would be observed from the dark portion of the First Unleavened to the dark portion of the Great Sabbath of the Sabbath (from John 19:31) in anticipation of the Second Passover liberation of a second Israel, Sin had to adjust its eating habits, devouring not just Passover lambs but also the children of Israel that chose to worship and serve other gods, artfully crafted sticks and stones gilded with gold.
At the Second Passover, a second Israel will be liberated from indwelling Sin and Death, this liberation bringing Sin to life outside of the disciple’s fleshly body, leaving all Christians to initially be as righteous Abel was, who held Sin at bay through his belief of God. However, when Sin is held at bay by belief, a return to unbelief will permit Sin to devour the disciple as Sin that lurked at Cain’s door devoured him.
Times will again change when dominion over the single kingdom of this world is taken from the Adversary and given to the Son of Man halfway through seven endtime years of tribulation; for Sin will have devoured so much of greater Christendom, only a remnant of faithful Christians still live physically. So as the children of Israel replaced virtually man for man the people of Israel that had left Egypt forty years earlier, a third part of humanity (from Zech 13:9) will replace greater Christendom in the Endurance in Jesus, the last 1260 days of the seven endtime years, with the Endurance to end with the Second Advent when change once again occurs. For with the beginning of the Millennium will come construction of the Third Temple, and the return of an external sin offering—the slaughter of Passover lambs—for the firstborn people of Israel on the dark portion of the 14th day of the first month.
Under Moses, the physically circumcised nation of Israel was the firstborn son of the Lord (Ex 4:22); hence, a bleating lamb as the Passover sacrifice was the sin offering that covered this firstborn physical son of the Lord …
Under Christ Jesus, He and those in whom He dwells in the form of His spirit having entered into the spirit of the person are the firstborns sons of God the Father; hence, a bleating lamb is an inappropriate sacrifice as a sin offering. The First of these firstborn sons of God, Christ Jesus, is the appropriate Passover Lamb of God, with His righteousness as if a garment covering the nakedness of His younger siblings.
Under the liberation of a second Israel from indwelling Sin and Death, this second nation of Israel, itself, is the Passover Lamb of God to be sacrificed for its sins. It is for this reason that the children of Israel crossed the Jordan on the 10th day of the first month (Josh 4:19) as the selected Passover lamb of the Lord, albeit a spiritually blemished lamb that couldn’t be sacrificed but had to await the birth of Christ Jesus for an Israelite to be born to fulfill the destiny of the children of Israel in being the Passover Lamb of God.
Under the Moab Covenant; under the New Covenant, a second nation of Israel is liberated from being consigned to Sin and Death, and is thereby given the choice of obeying or not obeying; believing or not believing God. And with this choice comes responsibilities: this second nation of Israel is responsible for its own sins. It has no covering for its sins other than its obedience (this nation of Israel not committing sin).
Moving now forward into the Millennium, a new nation of Israel—a nation of Israel filled with spirit and thereby liberated from indwelling Sin and Death—will again offer physical sacrifices in the Third Temple as a reminder of what death is and why sin is to be spurned. And the Passover sacrifice will return after a seven year hiatus to being eaten on the dark portion of the 14th day of the first month because there is a covering for the unintentional sins of Israel on the 7th day of this first month. The Passover will then serve as a second sacrificial covering, the first sacrifice for the living outer self (the physical precedes the spiritual) and the second sacrifice (the Passover sacrifice) for the living inner self.
It can therefore be said with certainty that when the Passover sacrifice serves as a covering for firstborns, all of whom belong to God, the Passover is eaten on the dark portion of the 14th day of the first month. But when there is no Passover sacrifice other than the Israelite’s belief of God that leads to personal obedience to God, the Passover sacrifice moves inside the Feast of Unleavened Bread and moves to the dark portion of the Great Sabbath of the Sabbath, the first High Sabbath of Unleavened Bread, the 15th day of the first month, with leavening representing sin and being unleavened symbolizing living without sin.
If the preceding is difficult to understand, then the preceding either isn’t well written or the auditor is intentionally dense. If not well written, then expect to read the preceding in another Sabbath Reading; for if the disciple has truly been born of spirit and has the mind of Christ, grasping the “signs of the times” and how the passage of time changes signs shouldn’t be difficult.
And for the umpteenth time, once again times change: when earthly Jerusalem was the “Jerusalem” of record and Solomon’s temple was the “temple” of record, the new year began with the first sighted new moon crescent seen at the temple following the spring equinox, with the equinox determined by the parallel alignment of shadows cast by the two bronze pillars, Boaz and Yakhin. But neither the temple nor the two named pillars survived Jerusalem being razed by the Chaldeans … in Babylon, Israel learned what Chaldean astronomers knew about predicting moon and solar phases; so when a remnant of Israel returned to Jerusalem to build for Cyrus a temple for the Lord, this remnant didn’t need two standing bronze pillars and their shadows to establish the calendar at Jerusalem. They could calculate when a new moon could be seen. There would not again be a need for the “thirtieth Sabbath” to be kept until Israel was once more scattered and separated from the learning found in the temple.
The signs of the times move from being physical; from physical things and peoples symbolizing spiritually living entities, to dark spiritual entities forming the mirror image of light spiritual entities. This movement is more difficult to understand, but it is understandable by those who have a maturing mind of Christ … in an analogy used in previous writings, a human infant is born with the mind of man, but this infant doesn’t understand the way of a man with a maid until after the infant matures enough to go through puberty. Likewise, an infant son of God is born with the mind of Christ, but this infant son of God doesn’t understand the things of God until the son of God matures sufficiently to think entirely in metaphors, where one thing is not what it seems to be. Grasping the signs of the times requires not just thinking spiritually in a static state, but thinking spiritually in a dynamic state where change is ongoing while everything remains as it is, the practice for this kind of thought comes while the son of God still dwells in a fleshly house that cannot enter heaven …
Young children cannot factor a quadratic equation. Likewise, young sons of God cannot project metaphors into metaphors.
By the very nature of metaphors, there can be no valid “literal” reading of Scripture—
Although Jesus changes not, the world [the earth and the human cultures of the earth] changes regularly; thus the glorified Jesus’ relationship with the world is in a constant flux that is based on the signs of the time.
John’s Gospel records that the first disciples were not of like mind on the day of the Wave Sheaf Offering following Calvary; for Thomas wasn’t with the other ten, and didn’t see the Lord until eight days later, Monday, May 7 [Julian], 31 CE … any argument that the first disciples were gathering together on the day after the Sabbath [the first day of the week] is negated by John 20, verse 26.
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld." Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe." Eight days later, His disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe." Thomas answered Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:19–29)
Thomas’ belief was based on evidence, not on unsupported faith … the glorified Jesus gave to Thomas the evidence Thomas had demanded before he would believe; so evidently Thomas’ belief was important to Christ Jesus. But in the same breath, Jesus said that blessed are those who believe without the benefit of evidence.
There have been divides within Christianity since the middle of the 1st-Century CE, with these divides usually having blurry edges well into the 2nd-Century CE, edges that didn’t cause hard separations between factions as would be seen once Bishop Arius challenged orthodoxy at the Council of Nicea (ca 325 CE). But since hard edges came into existence, greater Christendom has become just another roadside attraction, as spiritually dead as concrete and steel dinosaurs are physically dead. It is likely that greater Christendom can only fool itself into thinking it is spiritually alive if no more paying tourists stop for visits than presently do, but we have gotten ahead of ourselves, for hard edges are the subject for next Sabbath’s Reading.
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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."