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 salvation.
For the Sabbath of May 1, 2010
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.
So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—not that anyone has seen the Father except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit [that] gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (John 6:41–65 emphasis added)
Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me [Christ Jesus] (John 6:45)—and no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws the person (v. 44). Hence, the juxtaposition is that the person who has been drawn by the Father hears and learns from the Father and because of this hearing and learning comes to Jesus. By extension, no one will come to Jesus who hasn’t learned of Jesus from the Father. Thus, the “Christian” who hasn’t been drawn by the Father and who therefore has not heard and learned from the Father will accept another Jesus as the saints at Corinth readily accepted whatever Jesus was preached to them (2 Cor 11:4). Apparently, for the Corinthians salvation was more important than the means by which they would be saved, for when Paul answered their letter (see 1 Cor 7:1), they were still influenced by pagan aestheticism and cults of the flesh. In their zeal for piety, they had apparently succumbed to what had the “appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but” in reality had “no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh [F"D6`H]” (Col 2:23). And it is in the saints at Corinth that most endtime Christians will see themselves.
In this era, no one makes a decision for Christ without the Father first drawing the person; however, many are the lay Christian and the Christian pastor who try to take the kingdom by force (i.e., comes to Christ without being drawn by the Father). But none who use force have heard the Father or learned from Him. All who use force are bastard sons of the Adversary; for all who use force also use Paul’s epistles as cover as the person attempts to compel the Father and the Son to accept the person into heaven. And as a universal mantra, the person will say, “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” (Rom 1:16). And the gospel [good news] to which the person holds is “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scripture” (1 Cor 15:3–4), but this good news that Paul declared to the saints at Corinth is spiritual milk, the food for infants; for in this same epistle, Paul tells the Corinthians, “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh” (3:1–3) …
If the body [FVD> — from John 6:55] of Christ is true food, is the Body [Fä:" — from 1 Cor 12:27] of Christ also true food? Or does the flesh [FVD>] of Jesus that is the true bread from heaven (John 6:50–51) profit disciples when Jesus said that “‘the flesh [FŹD>] is of no avail’” (v. 63)? And when Jesus, after blessing the bread and giving it to His disciples, said, “‘Take, eat; this is my body [Fä:V]’” (Matt 26:26), was it His flesh [FVD>] that the broken unleavened bread represented or was it His Body [Fä:V]? For the Twelve at this Passover did not eat bread that represented a then-dead body of Christ, but bread that represented a living body of Christ, a living Body that would remain alive for as long as disciples took the sacraments of bread and wine on the dark portion of the 14th of Abib, the month beginning with the first sighted new moon crescent after the spring equinox.
Solid food is not digestible by spiritual infants, but will cause these infants to choke and die. Paul could not feed the saints at Corinth solid food even though Paul was “under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish” (Rom 1:14); so he sought the Corinthians, a melting pot of peoples brought in to repopulate a geographically important city that Rome had destroyed in the east in the 2nd-Century BCE as Rome had destroyed Carthage in the west, with Carthage being initially populated by peoples from Sidon and Tyre and Israel’s northern kingdom of Samaria. Thus, in type, in the gospel coming to Corinth is seen the good news going to the Jew first—the writer of Hebrews said, “For good news came to us just as to them [Israel in the wilderness], but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened” (4:2)—and also to the Greek, whose teachers were likewise not united in faith with those who heard the gospel but who sought “proof that Christ [was] speaking in [Paul]” (2 Cor 13:3). The gospel did not benefit outwardly circumcised Israel because of Israel’s unbelief (Heb 3:19; Num 14:11), and the gospel did not benefit Greeks at Corinth because of these Greeks’ unbelief; for if anyone proclaimed a different Jesus from the one Paul proclaimed to them, or brought a different spirit from the one these saints initially accepted, they “put up with it readily enough” (2 Cor 11:4). These saints had no spine, no firm foundation in the Christ. When they heard Paul speak, they heard a good thing and they wanted to escape death, but they never grew in grace and knowledge to where they could digest solid food. Rather, when they heard someone else speak, they believed they also heard a good thing and they were apparently as eager to accept another Jesus and another gospel as they were to accept what Paul taught. And it is to these saints at Corinth that the endtime ignorant and unstable go (i.e., those who seek to twist Paul’s epistle into instruments of destruction) for scriptural answers for their infantile questions so that they in their own eyes will seem wise and possessors of great maturity. It isn’t to Jesus that they go.
Example: The controversy between Catholic Christians and Lutherans over whether the bread of the sacraments literally becomes the flesh of Christ was answered by Jesus when He said (literal translation), The spirit [JÎ B<,Ř:V] is the making alive; the flesh does not profit anything. The words which I have spoken to you spirit is and life is. Thus, for any Christian to place significance on whether the bread of the sacraments is transformed into the literal flesh of Christ Jesus when taken is to place importance on what does not profit the disciple: the bread that came down from heaven are the words Jesus spoke, not the flesh of His body that came from the dust of this earth … it isn’t dust that gives a person life, but the breath [B<,Ř:"] of God. It is the breath of the Father within Christ within the person that gives life to the inner person. The flesh of Jesus does not give life to a disciple, but the spirit or breath of Christ [B<,Ř:" OD4FJ@Ř] in a person functions as the vessel able to hold the ever-burning fire that comes to a person through receipt of the breath of God [B<,Ř:" 2,@Ř]. It is this ever-burning bright fire that gives life to the inner self. As the dark fire of cellular oxidation of simple carbohydrates within a person’s physical body supplies life to the flesh, with this dark fire sustained by oxygen molecules supplied by physical breath, the invisible bright fire of God gives life to, and sustains life in the equally invisible inner man who became a son of God by being raised from the dead.
When Jesus said, I am the bread that came down from heaven, and the Jews grumbled among themselves, saying, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, “I have come down from heaven,” the Jews failed to realize that Jesus had made a distinction between the inner self and the fleshly body of a person—yes, in saying that He was the bread that came down from heaven, Jesus separates what came down from heaven from His fleshly body which was not food for anyone. Jesus’ spiritual “body” was then the message He brought from the Father, and His Body would become disciples whose lives are epistles written not with ink but with the breath of God in the Book of Life (2 Cor 3:3). The message that the only Son of the Logos brought from heaven would become embodied in Jesus’ disciples, thereby making that message alive as it was alive in Jesus’ own physical body. Hence, because of the message that came from the Father and that was embodied in Jesus and then embodied in Jesus’ first disciples and finally embodied in His endtime disciples, all who believe the writings of Moses and hear the words of Jesus and believe the One who sent Him are the body/Body of Christ.
It was the inner self of Jesus that was the only Son of the Logos (see John 3:16) whereas His fleshly body was composed of the base elements of this earth (i.e., dust). Jesus’ inner self didn’t come from Joseph, the husband of Mary. It didn’t come from the first Adam. But it came from the Logos [Ň 8`(@H], who was God [2,ÎH] and who was with the God [JÎ< 2,`<] in the beginning (John 1:1) for it was this Logos who was Theos who entered His creation (v. 3) as His only Son.
In the third clause of the sentence comprising John 1:1, the Logos [Ň 8`(@H] shares His definite article with Theos [2,ÎH]: in Greek, all definite nouns have definite articles that can be used like pronouns so for a definite noun — 2,ÎH — not to have a definite article attached to it discloses that the noun is the same as the noun whose article it shares. Thus, John linguistically establishes that the Logos was God and was of/with the God [JÎ< 2,`<] and not simply the message delivered by the God [JÎ< 2,`<].
Whereas Jesus left the word [Ň 8`(@H] He spoke with His disciples as the judge of those disciples who reject Him (John 12:48), with the word [Ň 8`(@H] He spoke functioning as a legally appointed jurist, the Word [Ň 8`(@H] that was God and was in the beginning with the God became a human being born of woman. This Word was not the breath of God [B<,Ř:" 2,@Ř] as some well-intentioned but ignorant Christians contend, but was Yah, the only God physically circumcised Israel knew. So for John, the message that Jesus brought from heaven and from the Father gives to a person life, but the message Jesus left with His disciples will condemn the Scoffer to the lake of fire even though this Scoffer has received indwelling “life” through the inner self being raised from the dead following the Second Passover liberation of Israel from indwelling sin and death.
The invisible inner self is not an inherited immortal soul, but is better described as the software that causes the physical body of a person to do work. In its “dead” form, it is passed from father and mother to child at conception; for it is this “software” that causes a person to involuntarily breathe and causes the heart to involuntarily pump. In its dead form, this software causes a person to be “a person” or a cat to be “a cat” … King Nebuchadnezzar had his personhood taken from him for the seven years that he had the mind/nature of a beast (see Dan chap 4); so this software can be “overwritten” by God or simply unplugged and different software plugged in, with this transmutability of software extending upward to the angels who by definition have life in the timeless heavenly realm.
About his vision in the first year of Belshazzar, Daniel writes,
I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. The first was like a lion and had eagles' wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it. (Dan 7:2–4 emphasis added)
The first beast or king that Daniel sees emerge from out of the sea is the demonic false prophet, with the scriptural basis for this statement having been explicated in previous Sabbath Readings. This first beast is NOT Babylon or the king of Babylon even though this king or fallen angel will be given the mind of a man, and will come looking like a man. The four beasts are NOT Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome, with the ten horns on the head of the fourth king being ten resurrections of the Roman Empire as is commonly but errantly taught. Rather, these four kings are the four horns that emerge from around the base of the broken first king of the King of Greece (Dan 8:8). They are represented in type by Alexander and the Diadochi as Nebuchadnezzar represents in type the spiritual king of Babylon (see Isa 14:4). And the first king or great king of this demonic King of Greece will be broken at the Second Passover because he is first, an uncovered “firstborn” of the Adversary. Thus, the date for when the four beasts emerge from the sea and for when the four horns appear towards the four winds of heaven and for when the four horsemen of the Apocalypse appear is the Second Passover and particularly the 15th through 17th of Lyyar of the year of the Second Passover. If the year of the Second Passover is a near year, say, 2011, then the four beasts will emerge on or about May 20th, with a sudden coming to the office of Prophet by another Joseph Smith.
Every reading of Daniel’s visions that finds in his visions Rome, the Roman Empire, or the Roman Church comes from men and comes from before Daniel’s visions were unsealed in 2002; for Daniel’s visions were sealed and kept secret by the Father (Dan 8:26; 12:4, 9) until the time of the end. Although concerning the things that happened to Israel during the Exodus, Paul writes, “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the age has come” (1 Cor 10:11). Paul also wrote to the saints at Thessalonica, “For we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep [to glory]” (1 Thess 4:15, also v. 17).
Paul declares to the saints at Corinth and to the saints at Thessalonica what he had received from the Lord, but Paul did not and could not understand Daniel’s visions; plus, John’s vision [the Book of Revelation] had not yet been given. Thus, Paul did not realize how much time would pass before the end of the age was truly at hand. So what Paul said is correct, but correct for those saints upon whom the end of the age comes.
John realizes that what he sees in vision pertains to the end of the age; and about his vision, John says, “‘I, John, the brother of you and partner in the Affliction and Kingdom and Endurance in Jesus, was in the island being called Patmos because of the word [JÎ< 8`(@H] of the God [J@Ř 2,@Ř] and the testimony of Jesus’” (Rev 1:9 literal translation). The testimony of Jesus is the spirit [JÎ B<,Ř:"] of prophecy (Rev 19:10). So John was imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos because he possessed the word of God and the spirit of prophecy—that is John’s claim! And he is the brother and partner of disciples who possess the word of God and have the spirit of prophecy even to the end of the age.
John knew, because he had the testimony of Jesus that is the spirit of prophecy, how much time remained before Jesus would return, but he didn’t know how much time remained until his own time was short. And this will be the case for every disciple: none will know how much time remains until the time is short for the person. The same is true today. If the end is not at hand for all of humankind, it is at hand for those who have the testimony of Jesus. But because the visions of Daniel have been unsealed and publicly declared, the end is at hand for humankind.
The visions of Daniel were not unsealed in the 1st-Century BCE or in the 20th-Century CE. The time of the end did not begin in the 1st-Century or in the 19th or 20th Centuries, but began in the 21st-Century, 1900 years after the Body of Christ formally died with the death of John. And every Christian who looks at the Pope and at the Roman Church as the Antichrist looks amiss, for the false prophet and the man of perdition will not be Trinitarian Christians but will be Arians who hold that Jesus Christ was a created being before He created all that has been made.
In John saying that he was the brother and partner of endtime disciples in the Affliction and Kingdom and Endurance in Jesus, John discloses the organizational structure of his vision, with chapters 4 through 11 being about the Affliction, chapter 11 through 13 being about the Kingdom, and chapters 13 through 19 being about the Endurance, and with the Affliction and Endurance forming mirror images of each other. Thus, the man of perdition (the lawless one — from 2 Thess 2;3) in the Affliction is the mirror image of the old dragon, Satan the devil, being cast to earth and coming claiming to be the Messiah in the Endurance. The man of perdition in the Affliction will be a human being possessed by Satan, whereas the true Antichrist in the Endurance will be the Adversary given the mind of a man.
The first king or beast that Daniel sees in vision will not be either the man of perdition or the true Antichrist, but this king will come looking like a man to the office of Prophet that already exists here on earth, and he will come at the beginning of the seven endtime years of tribulation. He will be the one for whom both Islam and Latter Day Saints have long waited. And as a demonic king, he had ever-lasting life for as long as he remained in the timeless heavenly realm or in the timeless Abyss where the presence of life cannot coexist with death; thus all who have life in heaven have ever-lasting life for the moment [i.e., the present] remains without decay. But when this demonic king is cast to earth, he becomes subject to change and to the changes brought about by time. Within time, one moment passes into the next moment, and what had life in the one moment can lose life in the next moment. So within the creation, every living organism is subject to death as the creation itself passes away (1 John 2:17) through decay. Therefore, the life of this demonic king, when cast into time, will end when he is condemned in the lake of fire (Rev 19:20).
The man Nebuchadnezzar as the human king of Babylon was the shadow and type of the Adversary, the spiritual king of Babylon (Isa 14:4). And as Nebuchadnezzar had his mind changed from that of a man to that of a beast for seven years (Dan 4:16), the old dragon Satan the devil when cast from heaven (Rev 12:7–10) will also be given the mind of a man, with his seven years being the Endurance (i.e., the last 1260 days of the seven endtime years) and the short while he is released after the thousand years (Rev 20:3, 7–10); his seven years will consist of two three-and-a-half year periods that are separated by a thousand years.
If angels can have their angelic natures taken from them and be given the mind or nature of men, and if men can have their human natures taken from them and be given the mind of a beast, then the inner self of the person is not an immortal soul but is metonymically represented by the human breath of the person, with this shallow breath representing biological and psychological associations that cause and sustain personhood. This shallow breath is represented in Greek by the linguistic icon, RLP¬ — psuche, usually translated into English as “soul” because of the long standing acceptance of Greek paganism’s teaching about human beings having immortal souls. But there is nothing immortal about fire coming out of the belly of the Adversary and reducing him to ashes under the feet of the saints (see Ezek 28:18–19), and there is nothing immortal about beasts [other nephesh] of the field. So it is stupid arrogance that causes human beings to sincerely believe that they are born with immortal souls received from the first Adam.
I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? (Eccl 3:18–21 emphasis added)
God continues His testing of the children of men to see whether they believe that they are like the beasts or whether they will believe the Egyptian/Greek lie that men are humanly born with immortal souls.
Paul writes, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23) — the sinner, whether under the Law or not under the Law, earns the wages of sin for Paul also writes, “For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified” (Rom 2:12–13). Thus, the son of God, angelic or human, who practices sin will be condemned to death for this son will have earned the wages for sin. But the gift of God is life, with the new creature [self] that is of God being born under no condemnation (Rom 8:1–2) for the record of debt with its legal demands (Col 2:14) that stood against the dead old self was canceled by Christ’s death on the cross, with the dead old self of the person joined to this transformative death when the disciple is baptized into Christ Jesus (Rom 6:3–7).
But not everyone who is a disciple of Christ Jesus will listen to the hard sayings of Jesus. Many take offense at what Jesus said. Hence, Jesus said,
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day [when judgments are revealed] many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matt 7:21–23)
Today, and for the past 1900 years, it is and has been the lawless that take offense at what Jesus said. It is the lawless that teach Christian converts to ignore the commandments, and ignore the words of Jesus and the words of Paul. But the lawless and those teachers of circumcised-of-heart Israel who teach disciples to break (not relax) even the least of the commandments have been publicly condemned to the lake of fire. This is not what those who do mighty works in the name of Jesus want to hear, or what they believe about Jesus.
When Jesus spoke to both His disciples and the Jews who had crossed the Sea of Galilee to seek Him, He was asked for a sign that the crowd might see and believe:
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” (John 6:26–34 emphasis added)
If the work of God is to cause disciples to believe in Christ, then belief in Christ is not of the person’s faith, with the person choosing to invite Jesus into his or her heart [decision theology], but is the outward expression of real work done by the Father who has drawn the person from this world.
Again, the work of God—not the work of men—is to cause human beings to believe in Jesus. A Philadelphian doesn’t bring another person to God; rather, God brings a person to Philadelphia if that is where God wants the person for Philadelphia does the work of delivering Jesus’ word or message of the Endurance [JÎ< 8`(@< JH ßB@:@<H :@L — the word the endurance of me] to the world, proclaiming to all peoples that once the kingdom is given to the Son of Man and the world is baptized into life, all who endure to the end shall be saved.
No person in this present age can come to Christ unless the Father first draws the foreknown and predestined person, but once the spirit is given en masse to first Christians [Israel] following the Second Passover then to the world [Gentiles] when the kingdom is delivered to the Son of Man, it is the person who chooses righteousness who shall be saved.
It is the words of the Father delivered by the breath of Jesus that tells saints how and when life comes, and it is those words delivered by that breath that makes a person alive.
But will disciples believe Scripture? When Jesus spoke, many of His disciples heard His words and “turned back and no longer walked with Him” (John 6:66). The same is true today, and will be true after the Second Passover liberation of Israel, for belief (i.e., believing the Father and the Son) when a person is surrounded by doubt, by unbelief, is difficult, especially when the Adversary supports doubt with more help than needed.
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."