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 the fullness of iniquity.
For the Sabbath of March 22, 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)
Outward circumcision is for uncircumcised Gentiles a stumbling block as would be expected, a stumbling block for Gentiles that is akin to Christ Jesus as the Son of God being a stumbling block for both Judaism and Islam.
But it is what Paul wrote about mercy versus disobedience that remains underexplored territory in need of further explication, especially when it comes to a partial hardening of Israel permitting the fullness of Gentiles to come to God. For if outward circumcision is a stumbling block preventing the fullness of Gentiles from coming to God in earlier eras, then it is inner circumcision (that is, circumcision of the heart) that today prevents the fullness of Gentiles from coming to God … hearts, a euphemism for the inner self of a person, cannot be circumcised with hands and flint knives or steel scalpels. The inner self is circumcised by the soft breath of God—and if God doesn’t choose to give to the person the earnest of His spirit/breath, then circumcision remains the barrier that prevents the fullness of Gentiles from coming to God.
Outward circumcision does nothing spiritually for either Judaism or Islam or Sabbatarian Christendom despite the curious mindset associated with outward circumcision: when the people of Israel broke covenant with the Lord, outward circumcision was neglected, enough so that the House of Judah—the southern Israelite kingdom of Jerusalem—was in the days of Jeremiah listed with those peoples who were not circumcised in the flesh:
Behold, the days are coming, declares [YHWH], when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh—Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all who dwell in the desert who cut the corners of their hair, for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart. (Jer 9:25–26)
The peoples of Edom were of Esau, the brother of Jacob. The sons of Ammon and Moab were descended from Lot, the nephew of Abraham. Those that dwelt in the desert were probably of Ishmael. And Egypt had a long association with first Abram, then Joseph and his father Jacob and the brothers of Joseph. So all of the nations named as uncircumcised peoples would have had knowledge of Abraham and should have known of the covenant by which Abraham was to walk uprightly before God, with outward circumcision being the ratifying sign of this covenant that was made with the descendants of Abraham before these descendants are old enough to exercise freewill.
The preceding is correct: no male descendant of Abraham places himself in the covenant of promise made with Abraham when Abraham was 99 years old. Rather, the parents of the male infant places the descendant of Abraham into the covenant that requires of the male to walk uprightly before the Lord, with outward circumcision being the outward ratifying sign of this covenant. The male Israelite is not afforded the opportunity to choose for himself whether he wants to be included in this covenant of promise. Rather, this male has no freewill, no right to choose unless this male’s parents have abandoned God and have chosen to rebel against God by not placing their son in the covenant of promise.
When Israel ceased to be the nation merely circumcised in the flesh but became the assembly of “inner selves” that was to be [is] circumcised of heart, circumcision remains the ratifying sign disclosing inclusion in this assembly of Israel. Only now, circumcision cannot be seen with eyes … as the outward circumcision of the male was not to be seen by the eyes of others, except for the man’s wife, circumcision of the heart cannot be seen by the eyes of others except for the eyes of the heart, the eyes of the inner self, with the fleshly body of the person (outwardly male or female) functioning as the wife in human marriage, and with the inner self functioning as the husband in marriage.
In typology, the lack of Israelite freewill represents the lack of spiritual freewill that born-of-spirit sons of God have.
As the human parents of a natural Israelite male have their son circumcised on the eighth day of their son’s life, the divine parent of a son of God causes the heart of this person to be circumcised shortly after spiritual birth, again with the “heart” being an euphemistic identifying phrase for the inner person of the one who has become a disciple of Christ Jesus through the Father drawing this person from the world and Christ Jesus calling the person.
Has God today drawn all Gentiles from this world? No, He has not. If He had, the Adversary would not remain the still-reigning prince of this world. A partial hardening remains upon the natural descendants of Israel, the hardening that serves as Moses’ veil whenever Scripture is read:
Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. (2 Cor 3:7–16)
The veil Moses wore hid the glory of God that shone from Moses’ face because he had entered into the presence of the Lord, with Israel not to see this glory because of the idolatry of the nation while Moses was with the Lord atop Mount Sinai. This veil functioned as a partial hardening of the hearts of Israel that will remain in place until the fullness of Gentiles come to God, with God preventing the fullness of Gentiles from coming to Him through withholding the earnest of the spirit from the vast majority of humankind …
God is today for Christians what the Lord was for Israel when the Sons of Korah sought to rouse the Lord from apparent slumber (Ps 44).
God initiated works of salvation in the 1st-Century—these works of salvation were the drawing of some Israelites and some Gentiles from this world through giving to them the earnest of His spirit. But about a year after the razing of Herod’s temple (ca. 71 CE), God ceased to draw additional disciples from this world. Thus, with the death of the last disciple truly born of spirit (ca. 101 CE), the Body of Christ died spiritually, and was dead in a manner foreshadowed by the Lord not delivering Israel from its enemies once the Lord settled Israel in the Promised Land, the lament of the Sons of Korah.
This does not mean that God figuratively sleeps while the world marches in circles to tunes played by the Adversary. Rather, it means that as the Lord worked to settle Israel in the Promised Land for the sake of His name and the promise He had to Abraham, God worked to settle spiritual Israel in the Promised Land of heaven for the sake of Christ Jesus and the promised He had made to the last Abraham, the glorified Christ, with Paul writing,
And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. … There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. (Gal 3:8–9, 28–29)
Outward circumcision prevented women from coming to God; the Holy Place and Holy of Holies prevented Gentiles from coming to God; Moses’ veil prevented Israel from coming to God. And what’s is seen in Scripture is a God who is not actively seeking the worship of human persons, but who is permitting a demonstration project to run with a minimum amount of interference, a demonstration to show angelic as well as human sons of God that there is only one organization of governance that will work. All others will fail, including that of the United States of America.
In blunt speech, God’s way works. All other forms of governance do not work but will result in death. And God’s way is having love for God, neighbor, and brother that is at least equal to the love one has for him or her self.
If no equality of love exists; if a person hates him or herself (and some do); if a person hates either neighbor or brother, then the person hates God who is not a respecter of persons, favoring Israel but hating the rest of humanity. Despite what the prophet Malachi seemed to declare,
The oracle of the word of [YHWH] to Israel by Malachi. "I have loved you," says [YHWH]. But you say, "How have you loved us?" "Is not Esau Jacob's brother?" declares [YHWH]. "Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert." If Edom says, "We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins," [YHWH] of hosts says, "They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called 'the wicked country,' and 'the people with whom [YHWH] is angry forever.'" Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, "Great is [YHWH] beyond the border of Israel!" A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says [YHWH] of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, “How have we despised your name?” By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, “How have we polluted you?” By saying that [YHWH]'s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says [YHWH] of hosts. And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says [YHWH] of hosts. Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says [YHWH] of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says [YHWH] of hosts. (Mal 1:1–11)
and despite what Paul wrote when citing Malachi,
But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: "About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son." And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger." As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. (Rom 9:6–18)
God will have mercy on all:
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you [Gentiles] were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their [Israel’s] 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. (Rom 11:29–32)
With God, love in the form of mercy is accorded to all. But what “all” will do with the love of God is not universal.
Freewill exists when a person is free to believe God or to believe the Adversary, choosing to be the slave of one but not the slave of the other. Today, such freedom doesn’t exist. The human person who has been drawn from this world by the Father through receiving the earnest of His spirit, His glory, has been involuntarily born of spirit as a son of God … as a human infant has no say in whether he or she will be humanly born, a son of God has no say in whether this son will be born through being foreknown by the Father, predestined, called, justified, and glorified through the indwelling of Christ. This son of God can go through a period foreshadowed by the terrible twos of human infancy, but this period will not last. The son of God will be disciplined, and will involuntarily grow in grace and knowledge; for the person isn’t in charge of his or her salvation: Christ Jesus is. The person will come to love neighbor and brother because of the indwelling of Christ. The person cannot long prevent him or herself from loving others once the person learns to love him or herself.
To be free to choose righteousness that leads to life or sin that leads to death, the person must be liberated from indwelling sin and death, this liberation coming through being filled with spirit, the breath of God [pneuma Theou], without being born of spirit that comes with the indwelling of Christ. The person must be spiritually as Israel was physically in the days of Moses—
The seven endtime years of tribulation (the 1260 day long Affliction followed by its mirror image, the 1260 day long Endurance of Jesus) serve for all humanity as the forty years in the wilderness served for Israel in the days of Moses, with the Adversary continuing to be the prince of this world throughout the Affliction, but with dominion taken from the Adversary on the doubled day 1260 and given to the Son of Man on this same double day that also begins the Endurance, this doubled day referenced as the Kingdom by John the Revelator (Rev 1:9).
Before proceeding further in this direction, a dropped subject needs to be picked up.
Apparently when an outwardly circumcised people turn away from God and begin to worship sticks and stones and metal idols, this people leave off circumcising sons and redeeming firstborns: the people become like their idolatrous neighbors …
It is unlikely the northern kingdom of Samaria—the House of Israel—continued to outwardly circumcise its sons when the peoples of the southern kingdom of Jerusalem had ceased to circumcise their sons. It is more likely that after the northern kingdom was taken into captivity (ca 721 BCE) and taken from Samaria, the House of Israel, in an attempt to regain the favor of God, had returned to outwardly circumcising its sons, thereby using circumcision instead of Sabbath observance as its “sign” of exclusivity by which it would retain its identity as being of Abraham when the nation was a captive people in distant lands … Abraham has no link or association per se with the Sabbath, or with the Commandments. It was because of the promise made to Abraham that the Lord gave to Israel the land beyond the river; thus, it would logically hold in human reasoning that captivity and deportation from this Promised Land was the result of transgressing the Lord’s covenant made with Abraham and ratified by circumcision. And this would be in keeping with the dispersed House of Israel historically identifying itself as Isaac’s sons, the sons of promise, rather than as Jacob’s sons.
The so-called Lost Ten Tribes of Israel can be traced through their retention of the identifier, ’Sax, not that physical lineage is of any spiritual importance. Although the descendants of the northern kingdom of Samaria identify themselves as being of “Isaac,” this imprecise identifier can equally pertain to the descendants of Esau, the Red Men that migrated into and through Egypt and apparently on to Carthage and from there into un-inscribed history, probably North American pre-history, with outward circumcision being lost by the migrating descendants of Esau. But remember what was told Jeremiah: the Lord would punish all those who are merely circumcised in the flesh; for to be only circumcised in the flesh and not also of the heart is a self-inflicted indictment of idolatry through elevation of the flesh over the spirit.
It seems to be true that when descendants of Abraham are threatened with loss of their identity as descendants, these descendants return to outward circumcision as the identifying sign of their descent from Abraham if they have ceased to circumcise their sons. Thus, when the descendants of Ishmael united under the banner of Islam, outward circumcision was an inviolable precept that established descent from Abraham.
In last Sabbath’s Reading, Psalm 44 was cited … why would the Lord have turned His back to Israel that was merely circumcised in the flesh, or worse, not circumcised at all? The contention of the Sons of Korah was that Israel had not broken covenant with the Lord, but was this true at anytime after the children of Israel entered the Promised Land on the 10th day of the first month (Josh 4:19) as the chosen Passover lamb of God? It was not true; for what does the Lord tell Ezekiel?
In the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of [YHWH], and sat before me. And the word of [YHWH] came to me: "Son of [Adam], speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, Thus says the Lord [YHWH], Is it to inquire of me that you come? As I live, declares the Lord [YHWH], I will not be inquired of by you. Will you judge them, son of [Adam], will you judge them? Let them know the abominations of their fathers, and say to them, Thus says the Lord [YHWH]: On the day when I chose Israel, I swore to the offspring of the house of Jacob, making myself known to them in the land of Egypt; I swore to them, saying, I am the [YHWH] your God. On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands. And I said to them, Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am [YHWH] your God. But they rebelled against me and were not willing to listen to me. None of them cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made myself known to them in bringing them out of the land of Egypt. So I led them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. (Ezek 20:1–10 emphasis added)
If the Lord will not even permit Himself to be inquired-of by the elders of Israel that were in captivity, then the reality expressed by the Sons of Korah—that God was not with Israel—remained in place after both houses of Israel went into captivity, Samaria taken captive by Assyria, and Jerusalem taken captive by Babylon. The Lord would have abandoned Israel in Egypt, pouring out His wrath upon Israel while the people were still slaves of Pharaoh, if it wasn’t for the sake of His name and the promise He made to Abraham:
Then [YHWH] said to Abram, "Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete." (Gen 15:13–16)
The timing of the Passover liberation of natural/physical Israel from physical bondage to a physical king in a physical land was predetermined, but was also dependant upon the iniquity of the Amorites that occupied the land where Abram/Abraham dwelt as a sojourner … if the Amorites had mended their ways, abandoned their idolatry, and worshiped the Lord as Abraham had worshiped the Lord—as they had seen Abraham worship the Lord—then the dynamics of the Passover liberation of Israel would have been different. How different cannot be known with certainty, but the fullness of Amorite iniquity would not have occurred after four hundred years even though that is how long the Lord had allotted to the Amorites. This now suggests that the fullness of Amorite iniquity was or could have been completed prior to the ending of the four hundred years; that the Lord waited to bring Abraham’s descendants out from Egypt not upon Amorite iniquity, but upon the promise He made to Abraham—waited for His name’s sake.
Consider the Lord waiting to liberate the enslaved descendants of Abraham so that at a particular time—at a time that He had previously declared—He could bring destruction upon Egypt as well as liberate His firstborn son (from Ex 4:22). This suggests that as was the case with Amorite iniquity, so was the case for Egyptian iniquity; that Israel’s liberation was as much dependent upon Egyptian and Amorite iniquity as it was Israelite suffering.
Backing up to the lament of the Sons of Korah that the Lord needed to be roused from slumber: apparently the reason the Lord did those things that the Sons of Korah acknowledged in the first eight verses of Psalm 44 was for the sake of His name, for He had promised to bring judgment upon Egypt and to address Amorite iniquity, meaning that the people of Israel was to be His instrument for bringing judgment upon Egypt and addressing Amorite iniquity as Nebuchadnezzar was the instrument used by the Lord to bring judgment upon Israel and to address Israelite iniquity:
Therefore thus says [YHWH] of hosts: Because you have not obeyed my words, behold, I will send for all the tribes of the north, declares [YHWH], and for Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these surrounding nations. I will devote them to destruction, and make them a horror, a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. Moreover, I will banish from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the grinding of the millstones and the light of the lamp. This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. (Jer 25:8–11)
The Lord gave to Egypt centuries before He brought punishment upon this people [Egyptians] who at one time knew Him, according to the Apostle Paul. The Lord gave to Amorites and Hittites centuries before He addressed their iniquity in the Levant. And the Lord gave to Israel centuries before He visited Israel, requiring of first the House of Israel and then of the House of Judah reparation for the iniquity of these two nations … and how is the firstborn son of the Lord [again Ex 4:22] to repay the Lord for this son’s transgressions of the Law? With the life of the son. But how is Israel to “live” if this firstborn son ceases to live physically? This firstborn son shall be the slave of another people, of another nation—
When the firstborn son of God has only one breath of life to lose, not two as would be [is] the case for Christians, then physical slavery (loss of freedom to come and go as the person pleases) serves as the loss of one breath of life. Hence, when Christians are not liberated from indwelling sin as evidenced by their transgression of the Law, these Christians remain sons of disobedience and thereby enslaved by the Adversary … Christians that habitually break the Law do so from the weakness of the flesh, weakness coming from the Christian remaining a slave of sin, a son of disobedience, with the Apostle Paul writing,
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. (Rom 6:16–18 emphasis added)
The most clever way to keep a slave from attempting to escape his or her enslavement is to convince the slave that he or she is “free”; is a free person, liberated from the Law, liberated from obedience to the Law, liberated from striving for righteousness. If the Adversary can convince his serfs not to even attempt to keep the Law—no one can keep the Law, his words—then his slaves will spurn righteousness, labeling righteousness as legalism …
If a driver of an automobile comes to a full stop at a stop sign, is this driver guilty of legalism? How about if this driver rolls through the stop sign, slowing down but not really coming to a stop? A California stop, as the practice was called when I learned to drive a half century ago?
If a driver knows that the speed limit for the particular stretch of highway is 55 mph, but also knows that he or she won’t be ticketed unless exceeding 62 mph—if this driver drives 60 mph, is this driver guilty of legalism? What about if this driver travels at 55 mph? Is it legalism to break the law just a little, or is it lawlessness? Is it legalism to keep the law and compel the person who travels faster than the speed limit to pass the slower driver?
Is it legalism to keep the Sabbath and compel those who want to purchase goods and services from you to come after the Sabbath to make purchases? Is it legalism to keep the Sabbath and compel an employer who values the work you do to respect the Sabbath? Is there anything wrong with legalism? … Can you be replaced by a machine that works seven days a week? What if this “machine” is another human person, a serf of the Adversary? Then where is your trust of God? Do you compromise with the Sabbath and become a lawbreaker, or do you keep the Sabbath and become unemployed, forced to trust God to provide your needs if you are diligent to work six days a week?
Will you, driving 55 mph, the speed limit, speed up because others are passing you? How affected are you by peer pressure? Is peer pressure enough to cause you to transgress the Law? If it isn’t, why would you as a Christian transgress the Law? Why would you not keep the Sabbath?
What is spiritually wrong with being forced to trust God to provide your daily sustenance through becoming unemployed because of Sabbath observance?
Consider what Paul wrote,
So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (Rom 1:15–25 emphasis added)
For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play." We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. … I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. (1 Cor 10:1–12, 15–21 emphasis added)
In the liberation of physical Israel being how the Lord brought judgment upon Egypt and how the Lord addressed Amorite iniquity, how much more will the liberation of spiritual Israel from indwelling sin and death bring judgment upon the world and address the iniquity of the sons of the Adversary? And it is here where next Sabbath’s Reading will pick up.
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."