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 abuse of the flock by pastors.
For the Sabbath of March 8, 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.
Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will banish ungodliness from Jacob"; "and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins." As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! (Rom 11:25–33 emphasis added)
Same head citation as used for last Sabbath’s Reading: a partial hardening of the minds of natural Israel had occurred—has occurred—until the fullness of Gentiles comes to God, this partial hardening to last until the liberation of Gentiles, with “Gentiles” being all of humanity not directly descended from the peoples liberated from physical slavery to a physical king in a physical land in the days of Moses, with this descent slipping behind Moses to reach back to Abraham. Thus, a Gentile is any person not previously included in the Promise made to Abraham, and a Gentile ceases to be a Gentile when this person comes under this Promise of being blessed [made holy] (Gen 12:2–3) … to be “blessed” is to be made holy, not to be increased with material wealth. When a blessing is external, the blessing comes with the expectation of long physical life and prosperity. But when this blessing is internal [spiritual], long physical life becomes heavenly or spiritual life and material prosperity becomes knowledge of God (i.e., inheriting the mind of Christ). Thus, the physical liberation of the natural descendants of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob forms the shadow and copy of the spiritual liberation of Gentiles on a Second Passover day, with this spiritual liberation being from indwelling sin and death.
Natural Israel in Egypt formed the visible [prophetic] shadow and type of enslaved Gentiles—enslaved by the prince of this world, the spiritual king of Babylon, the Adversary. And as natural Israel could not liberate itself so that this people could go three days journey into the wilderness to serve the God of Abraham, Gentiles cannot liberate themselves from the disobedience [sin] that dwells within each person, and also dwells within the natural descendants of Abraham that had/have a Law that would have led to righteousness if pursued by faith [by heart and mind] rather than by hands and body (see Rom 9:30–32).
The fullness of Gentiles CANNOT come to God until the prince of this present world is dethroned and dominion over the single kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man, Head and Body … the fullness of Gentiles cannot come to God until the Body of Christ (the Body of the Son of Man) is returned to life through a Second Passover liberation of Israel, the nation to be circumcised of heart, with this second liberation of a Second Israel being analogous to the liberation of Israel in the days of Moses, only at this Second Passover liberation of Israel, all uncovered firstborns in heaven and on earth will perish—and there is at least one legal firstborn in heaven that will perish, the first and great king of the federated King of Greece, with this great horn appearing as an erect penis on the humanoid image representing the presently-reigning hierarchy of the Adversary, and with this erect penis representing the kingdom of Greece that today rules humanity through the appetites of the belly and loins, the reason why hamburgers can be successfully marketed by sexual innuendos.
When the natural descendants of the patriarchs were liberated from physical slavery in the days of Moses, these natural descendants were not promised salvation, but a physical Promised Land flowing with milk and honey … no cow, sheep, or goat has to be killed to obtain its milk, nor does a hive of bees have to be killed to get its honey: the Promised Land did not represent a land of death, a land of slaughter and market killings. The Promised Land did not represent feed lots and factory farms, but each Israelite dwelling under his own vine and tree, inheriting houses not built by the Israelite and land already cleared and in cultivation.
The men of Israel numbered in the census of the second years (Num chap 1)—the men that left Egypt, except for Joshua and Caleb—did not enter into the Promised Land but perished in the wilderness of Sin because of their unbelief. Rather, the children of Israel entered into the Promised Land …
In typology, the men of Israel numbered in the census of the second year represent the outer self of the human person whereas the children of Israel represent the inner self. However, in the Thirdness of the model for salvation, the men of Israel that left Egypt represents greater Christianity, with Joshua [in Greek, Ίησου—Jesus] representing the seven Sabbatarian churches of God that are horns on the head of the slain Lamb of God, and with Caleb [of Esau by birth] representing the single pair of all unclean species that got on the Ark with Noah and the seven pair of clean animals, Noah and the seven with him representing Christ Jesus and the angels to the seven churches.
Christendom forms the element of Thirdness that connects life to death. Thus, the face of Moses and the glory that shone from his face becomes the face of the Elect before, into, and through the Affliction. And the Elect as the seven horns of the Lamb holds the Adversary and his angels at bay until the fullness of Gentiles can come to God … when the Adversary goes after the Remnant (Rev 12:17) that are the Elect, the Adversary gives Gentiles time and opportunity to slip away, with these Gentiles being liberated from indwelling sin and death through being filled with the spirit of God as all of Christendom was so-filled 1260 days earlier. The Adversary’s fixation on the Elect, for whose sake the Adversary’s days will be cut short (Matt 24:22), is so great that his representation of himself as the returned Messiah falls apart when his fangs are seen in his attack of Smyrna.
The partial hardening of the minds of Israel will continue into and through the Affliction, the first 1260 days of the seven endtime years of tribulation, with the 144,000 natural Israelites (12,000 of ten tribes, and 12,000 each from the two half tribes of Joseph, making only eleven actual tribes represented in the 144,000 number) representing the “partialness” of this partial hardening of endtime descendants of natural Israel.
Greater Christendom is today Gentiles for God: greater Christendom is many assemblies—not one—that profess with mouths that Jesus is Lord, but that do not in practice believe Jesus, or believe that the Father raised Jesus from death after Jesus was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Rather, greater Christendom has been compromised by the Adversary and his servants, each disguised as a minister of righteousness for he, himself, comes disguised as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:13–15). As if a boxer in the ring with the Adversary, greater Christendom, by its trope of inclusive counting, counted itself out after being knocked down by the first left hook thrown. The Adversary’s barrage of clergy, creed, and canon prevented Christians from seeing the knockout punch coming, and its shortened three-count didn’t give the Church time to stand before the winner was declared.
But the premature announcement of the winner will not stand: as the gates of Hades could not prevail over the earthly body of Jesus, the gates of Hades will not prevail over the spiritual Body of Christ … in the same heavenly moment when iniquity was found in the anointed guardian cherub, fire has come from the belly of this guardian cherub to utterly consume him. Unfortunately, humanity doesn’t yet dwell as a whole in this heavenly moment. Presently, only the Elect have life in this heavenly moment—and the Elect are today few in number and far from where they need to be. As if sheep scattered by wolves that have killed more than they can devour, the Elect roam theological deserts. They figuratively graze on prickly pear and the fruit of cholla cactus. They are terrified by the shadow of any man who claims to be of God: they are so fearful that even when they hear the voice of Christ, they have to test this voice against their human translations of Scripture, believing uninspired translations rather than Christ. Sobeit. The Elect are where the Adversary wants them, too scattered to come together with a unified voice that has the potential to shout him down.
Cholla spines have pierced the lips of too many Sabbatarian Christians, pinning lips together, preventing utterances except in bastardized Hebrew, mumbled while fleeing from God … can these Sabbatarians be saved? Probably not. They will spiritually starve because they will not permit any man to pull the hooked thorns from their lips; for again, they trust no man, such was the damage done to Sabbatarians by a 20th-Century ministry of Nicolaitans that had the audacity to check kitchen cupboards for contraband such as white sugar. The Sabbatarians that submitted to such abuses—like abused spouses—end up defending their abusers, even supporting their abusers and the successors of the abusers. Why? Stockholm syndrome? Probably.
Where the Stockholm syndrome is evident, traumatic bonding has occurred: examples include military basic training, fraternal hazing, and battered person syndrome. A hostage scenario is usually associated with Stockholm syndrome, with the hostages expressing empathy and sympathy for their captors, but no hostage scenario is necessary. All that is necessary is harassment, intimidation, threats, and verbal abuse, with—according to Freudian theory—the ego of the person being abused defending itself by identifying with the abuser. When the victim believes the same thing, has the same values as the abuser, the aggressor ceases to be a threat to the victim. And while the Stockholm syndrome is occasionally misidentified as Helsinki syndrome—group think from flawed reasoning in order to achieve a perceived benefit [going to a physical place of safety for disciples of Herbert Armstrong]—Stockholm syndrome is what would permit a Sabbatarian Christian to allow a pastor to enter his or her home and check cupboards or under the bed.
For a Christian pastor to oppress an already oppressed category of individuals such as an ethnic or racial minority—or oppress women as is still done by Christian fundamentalists—is especially egregious …
I write these Sabbath Reading because I was called to reread prophecy, and in the course of doing so, many individuals inquired who could hear Jesus’ voice in my words asked where they could attend with others of like mind. There simply were not others in most of these areas who shared in the same mindset. So the Sabbath Readings became a way in which many could receive a message each week in areas where I couldn’t go to speak. These Readings will be continued. However, because I know personally individuals who were seriously harmed by abusive pastors, some of whom I know, some I don’t, the anger I feel towards these pastors, still preaching from pulpits today, is such that I need to end this reading here—and resume after the Sabbath. The question will now be whether I permit this Reading to be posted … I will add a little more so that I don’t end with saying that too many pastors of the former Worldwide Church of God were abusers of the flock entrusted to them.
If some Gentiles are to be liberated from indwelling sin and death and some are not so-liberated, God would be a respecter of persons. If Christians are to be liberated but Muslims are not to be liberated, God would be a respecter of persons. If natural Israel is not liberated from indwelling sin and death, God would be a respecter of person—and He is not … Israel, however, is not today the nation of outwardly circumcised, natural descendants of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But rather, Israel is the nation that is (or is to be) circumcised of heart, with Paul writing,
For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God(Rom 2:25–29)
Circumcision is of no value—is counted as uncircumcision—if the outwardly circumcised person breaks the Law; hence, the outwardly circumcised Muslim is, according to Paul, counted as an uncircumcised person, is counted as a woman before God whereas the outwardly uncircumcised woman who keeps the precepts of the Law (that can be summed in loving God, neighbor, and brother as one loves self) will have her uncircumcision counted as circumcision.
But keeping the precepts of the Law goes beyond keeping the letter of the Law; for to keep the precepts of the Law, the Law must move inward, moving from regulating the actions of hand and body (e.g., murder and adultery) to regulating the desires of the heart (anger) and the thoughts of the mind (lust — see Matt 5:21–22, 27–28), with the Sabbath commandment not moving to the eighth day, but becoming the determiner of thoughts and desires on the seventh day. Thus, the natural Israelite who, on the Sabbath, sunbathes on a beach of one of Israel’s four seas (the Mediterranean, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, or the Red Sea) as has become the practice for a significant percentage of the population of the modern nation-state of Israel, may well keep mind and heart on the things of God, but probably not. And certainly, sunbathing on a public beach doesn’t lend itself to being garbed in modest attire. So when the Law moves from hand to heart, it is no longer the actions or activities of the flesh that either keep or transgress the Law, but what occurs in the inner self, that is, inside the mind.
If a person contemplating the creation can see God and worship God, not the creation, while contemplating the creation on the Sabbath, the person does not transgress the Sabbath. However, if the person has not yet grown spiritually to this degree, the person needs the discipline of Sabbath services and study of Scripture. And if the person has grown to this degree, the person will voluntarily engage in study of Scripture on the Sabbath.
Circumcision is of absolutely no value to the Muslim who, when seeing a scantily clad woman, lusts after her. And certainly no Christian who believes he or she is circumcised of heart is truly circumcised-of-heart if he or she has lust in his or her heart … with true circumcision of heart, lust is gone. It doesn’t exist, something I realized about two years after being baptized: I had returned from Alaska for business reasons and while again on the Oregon Coast, I wanted to ask a person I trusted (the owner of the sawshop at Toledo) about Husqvarna chainsaws—and when entering his shop, there was a full size poster of a mostly nude model in a boreal forest with one foot on a Husky saw posed on a stump. And the first thought I had was, How did they keep the mosquitoes off her? By this time, I had fallen enough timber (if it can be called timber) on the Kenai Peninsula that I was well acquainted with boreal forest mosquitoes. My second thought was wonder about my first thought; for coupled with other things, I realized that with baptism, I had mentally changed. I wasn’t the person I had been.
If a Christian thirty years in the faith still thinks like a Gentile, still thinks with the mind of the flesh, the Christian is not born of God; is not circumcised of heart; but remains a pious or impious Gentile. For with the indwelling of Christ, the Christian receives the mind of Christ and begins to think as Christ Jesus thought, meaning that this Christian will begin to walk in this world as Jesus walked. If the Christian was not previously a Sabbath-keeper, the Christian will become one—and not thirty years after being born of spirit, but within a relatively short while, weeks, or months, or a couple of years; for Paul said that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners (Rom 5:8), a declaration that transcends time, placing Jesus’ death at Calvary into our lifetime, with this transcending of time underlying Matthew’s Gospel that will have his “Jesus” being the indwelling Christ Jesus that was crucified while we—who had/have no preexistence preceding our conception—were still sinners and that was resurrected in us, thereby transforming us [our inner selves] from sinner to saint while not coming under judgment but passing from death to life (John 5:24). A convoluted sentence, the sentence addressing the non-physical reality that Jesus’ crucifixion that occurred inside time also occurred outside of time, not literarily, but metaphorically so that every disciple included within the “Elect” will be to Jesus as His first disciples were—will be as the Twelve were that became the Ten upon whom Jesus breathed His breath and said, Receive spirit holy (John 20:22). Thus, the Elect are as the Ten were, passing from death to life without coming under judgment but receiving life through having heard Jesus’ words, His voice, and believing the One who sent Him into this world to save the chosen few before dominion is taken from the Adversary and his angels.
The Elect are to bear fruit of the spirit when it isn’t the season for fruit; for Christ Jesus is resurrected from death in each of the Elect even though the man Jesus died at Calvary 1,900 years before the endtime Elect were humanly conceived, a physical impossibility but a spiritual/heavenly reality with heaven being a supra-dimensional realm in which there is no time, nor passage of time. For time can be mathematically written as a function of gravity, with gravitational pull coming from the mass of an object; thus, when an object or living entity has no mass, it has no gravitational pull, and it exists outside of space-time. The object or entity will exist in a single, unchanging moment. And if permitted, an entity can leave this single moment and enter into space-time wherever the entity pleases, the story behind Daniel’s long vision:
On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river (that is, the Tigris) I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude. And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves. So I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength. Then I heard the sound of his words, and as I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground. And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. And he said to me, "O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you." And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. Then he said to me, "Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come." (Dan 10:4–14 emphasis added)
The twenty-one days when the Sar of Persia withstood the angelic messenger passed here on earth, not in heaven where there was no passage of time despite the activity that occurred, the struggle between angelic messenger and a demonic king of the Adversary’s hierarchy, with the archangel Michael coming to the rescue … the message brought to Daniel was about heavenly war, not about the earthly rise and fall of human kingdoms that at best serve/served as the shadow and copy of heavenly administrations of the single kingdom of this world. The sealing of Daniel’s visions (all of them) came about through a parade of human kingdoms—again as shadows and types of concurrent spiritual administrations—seeming to fulfill Daniel’s visions. Most people alive today know that the world is a dangerous place, that nuclear war could happen and could lead to a nuclear winter in areas not directly impacted by the war itself, thereby threatening the existence of human life worldwide, the situation addressed in Matthew 24:22.
Christianity isn’t about white sugar, white flour, the appearance of material prosperity. Christianity isn’t about skin color or ethnicity or biological gender. And it certainly isn’t about Nicolaitans intimidating the sheep; for these same Nicolaitans are themselves merely fat sheep that put their pants on, one leg at a time.
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."