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 error preceding truth.
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For the Sabbath of June 2, 2012
The person conducting the Sabbath service should open services with two or three hymns, or psalms, followed by an opening prayer acknowledging that two or three (or more) are gathered together in Christ Jesus’ name, and inviting the Lord to be with them.
Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming; it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains a great and powerful people; their like has never been before, nor will be again after them through the years of all generations. Fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns. The land is like the garden of Eden before them, but behind them a desolate wilderness, and nothing escapes them. Their appearance is like the appearance of horses, and like war horses they run. As with the rumbling of chariots, they leap on the tops of the mountains, like the crackling of a flame of fire devouring the stubble, like a powerful army drawn up for battle. Before them peoples are in anguish; all faces grow pale. Like warriors they charge; like soldiers they scale the wall. They march each on his way; they do not swerve from their paths. They do not jostle one another; each marches in his path; they burst through the weapons and are not halted. They leap upon the city, they run upon the walls, they climb up into the houses, they enter through the windows like a thief. The earth quakes before them; the heavens tremble. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. The LORD utters his voice before his army, for his camp is exceedingly great; he who executes his word is powerful. For the day of the LORD is great and very awesome; who can endure it? "Yet even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments."
Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber. Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and say, "Spare your people, O LORD, and make not your heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'"
Then the LORD became jealous for his land and had pity on his people. The LORD answered and said to his people, "Behold, I am sending to you grain, wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied; and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations. I will remove the northerner far from you, and drive him into a parched and desolate land, his vanguard into the eastern sea, and his rear guard into the western sea; the stench and foul smell of him will rise, for he has done great things. Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the LORD has done great things! Fear not, you beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and vine give their full yield. Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before. The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls. (Joel 2:1–32 emphasis added and prophetic line breaks are removed to emphasis narrative flow)
Continuing with the premise of Bible study versus simply reading the Bible, Joel chapter two must be placed beside the opening of the seventh seal as recorded in John’s vision:
When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them. The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter. The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night. Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, "Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!" And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them. In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, their hair like women's hair, and their teeth like lions' teeth; they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails. They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon. The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come. Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number. And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions' heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths. By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound. The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. …
The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come. Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever." And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth." Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. (Rev chaps 8 & 9 plus 11:14–19)
Now, examine Joel’s prophecy in context with John’s vision, and what will be seen is that when the holy spirit is poured out on all flesh, and the Lord will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke, [and] the sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of YHWH comes, and some in Jerusalem shall be selected to be saved immediately preceding the single kingdom of this world being given to the Son of Man (cf. Rev 11:15–19; Dan 7:9–14). Many or most of the third part of humankind (from Zech 13:9) will be saved when the Messiah comes 1260 days after the single kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man, with none of this third part of humankind being Christian as of the beginning of the seven endtime years of tribulation.
It is in natural Israel being in and around earthly Jerusalem when the Lord stands on the Mount of Olives, a granite monolith—the great stone cut without being the work of hands of Daniel chapter 2—that will be split in two from east to west when the Lord fights for Israel on a [indefinite article] day of battle (Zech 14:3–4) halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation, that forms the form of natural Israel’s salvation in the escape of the 144,000 through the split stone that will close to swallow the armies of the Adversary as the Sea of Reeds closed to swallow Pharaoh and his army (cf. Ex 15:12; Rev 12:16).
The split monolith that is the cleaved Mount of Olives represents the coming kingdom of God when all living peoples will be Israel through being baptized in the divine breath of God when the spirit is poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28). This is the reality of what Nebuchadnezzar saw in vision, of what Joel writes, of what John sees in vision, and of what the Apostles experienced on that day of Pentecost following Calvary when the sound of rushing wind filled the room. The cloven tongues of fire that came on Pentecost represents the baptism of the world in fire—Jesus will baptize in spirit and in fire (Matt 3:11)—when the new heavens and new earth replaces this present heaven and earth. So what the Apostles experienced on that day of Pentecost following Calvary was the visible shadow and copy of Jesus baptizing the world in spirit halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation and of Jesus baptizing the world in fire after the great White Throne Judgment (see Rev 20:14–21:1).
No one can visually see the divine breath of God as the person can see water or fire; thus, to know that the world has been baptized in the breath of God [ΠΝΕΥΜΑ ΘΕΟΥ], this baptism of the world will be, must be accompanied by signs and wonders—
The sign or wonder of the spirit being poured out on all flesh is accompanied by wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke, [and] the sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood: the wonders in heaven and on earth are, again, necessary for unlike when the world was baptized [submersed] in water in the days of Noah and all flesh knew what was occurring, fleshly persons will not be able to perceive the reality of being baptized in the divine breath of God—the subsistence of holy spirit—if this baptism were not accompanied by supernatural signs and wonders. All the human person would know is that his or her thoughts would have suddenly changed in the way that the predatory natures of the great predators will change when the spirit is poured out on all flesh (see Isa 11:6–9). But for human persons, being filled with spirit (with the divine breath of God) means liberation from indwelling sin and death. Therefore, the person who has been suddenly filled with spirit can come to God without the person’s previous sins hindering the person, but being filled with spirit also means that the person’s ignorance of the Law does not cover or excuse any transgression of the Law; for the Law will be written on the person’s heart and placed in the person’s mind so that all know God (see Jer 31:31–34; Heb 8:8–12), from the least of human persons to the greatest. Being filled with spirit, however, will mean that all who endure to the end shall be saved (Matt 24:13). And it is this good news [gospel] that shall be preached to all nations before the end comes. It is this gospel that is presently being preached to all nations by The Philadelphia Church.
As the Flood in Noah’s day baptized all but eight human persons into death, pouring out the spirit of God [ΠΝΕΥΜΑ ΘΕΟΥ] on all flesh when the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man will baptize all human persons who have not marked themselves for death into life … baptism in the divine breath of God will function as moving air [ΠΝΕΥΜΑ — pneuma] functions in that when a person breathes in air the person sustains the life of the flesh; baptism in the breath of God will give to each person opportunity to be included in the harvest of the firstfruits of this earth. All this person is now required to do to be saved is endure to the end—to when Christ Jesus returns as the all powerful Messiah—without taking upon the person the mark of death, chi xi stigma, the tattoo of Christ’s cross.
The question that must here be asked: was Joel’s prophecy fulfilled on that day of Pentecost that followed Calvary in 31 CE? And the answer is, No! … Where were the wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke, the sun turning to darkness, and the moon to blood? Didn’t happen. So why did Peter claim that what happened on this day of Pentecost fulfilled Joel’s prophecy? Did Peter just not understand what was happening? Did Peter confuse a type for the reality? Did Peter reveal that he, himself, was still a spiritual infant, a newly born son of God, when he delivered his sermon that contributed to three thousand devout Jews repenting and being baptized on this day of Pentecost? He did, didn’t he? Peter was a spiritual infant, a newly born son of God. And if these three thousand devout Jews continued in the Apostles’ teaching, with Peter having gotten it wrong as to what had happened when he and the others spoke in words that were heard in every person’s mother-tongue, how much understanding did these three thousand devout Jews receive from the Apostles?
If Peter got it wrong on Pentecost—not so wrong that he, himself, is false, by no means, but wrong in that what he claimed was not so—then did the Christian Church hold the truth at its inception? It did not. So again, the three thousand converts made on that day of Pentecost following Calvary had little understanding even after being in the Apostles’ teaching for some time.
An assumption exists within greater Christendom that false teachers departed from the truth, from orthodox belief [i.e., the right opinion], but if this assumption is correct, when did Christendom possess spiritual understanding and the truth? Certainly not on that day of Pentecost when Peter claimed that what was occurring fulfilled Joel’s prophecy about the spirit being poured out on all flesh … was the spirit poured out on Pilate, or on temple officials, or even on the lame beggar whom Peter and John healed (see Acts chaps 3 & 4)? No, none of these men were filled with spirit on that day of Pentecost following Calvary. So the evidence of Scripture is that Peter didn’t understand spiritual matters when he stood up to speak: Peter didn’t realize that only a type of what would happen at the end of the age had actually occurred—
Again, on that day of Pentecost following Calvary, Peter was a spiritual infant, a babe, too young to comprehend spiritual matters, let alone teach others about these matters. Nevertheless, only seven weeks and four days after having denied Jesus three times on the night of the 14th of Aviv, Peter was boldly declaring things about which he had some understanding but nowhere near complete understanding.
Should Peter have remained silent on that day of Pentecost following Calvary? Peter probably couldn’t have remained quiet even if he wanted. He had to speak, and speak he did: endtime disciples should be thankful that he spoke for without seeing in print the error of what Peter said, it would be much more difficult to understand why greater Christendom is in the ideological mess that it is, awash in confusion and contradictory dogmas, divided, no more one belief than the Greek pantheon was one god.
The Apostle Paul was called in large part because the first Apostles didn’t fully comprehend the movement from outside to inside; i.e., from circumcision of the flesh made by hands on male Hebrew infants to circumcision of the heart made by the soft breath of God on sons of God that dwelt as newly born infants in either male or female houses of flesh … human beings are not born with immortal souls. No inner self of a son of Adam had preexisting inner life prior to when the person receives as a physical adult a second breath of life, the breath of God in the breath of Christ. The inner self of no human person is a spiritual being trapped in flesh, trapped in time, and needs only knowledge to return to heaven—that is a nonsensical dogma that came with bad understanding of what Paul taught, of what John taught. Every human person is humanly born with a dead inner self; with an inner self consigned to disobedience (Rom 11:32) as a son of disobedience (Eph 2:2–3) without ever having received any indwelling life. Jesus said to permit the dead to bury the dead of themselves (Matt 8:22), and so it is: human persons are spiritually dead. They are without inner life. They never had any indwelling inner life that needs to be regenerated. They need to receive for the first time indwelling eternal life, with this inner eternal life coming when the person is born of spirit, born through receiving a second breath of life, with this second breath of life giving the inner self of the person life in the supra-dimensional heavenly realm as a glorified son of God for it isn’t the fleshly body of a human person that is a son of the Father but the inner self.
Returning to the writings of a public agnostic, Professor Bart D. Ehrman, the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: in Lost Christianities, Oxford, 2003, Ehrman writes (p. 191),
A somewhat more substantial argument comes in the proto-orthodox claim that truth always precedes error. This argument comes in several guises. On the most basic level, the heresiologists point out that the distinctive viewpoints of each heresy were created by their founders: for example, Marcion, the founder of the Marcionites, Valentius, the founder of the Valentinians, and for Tertullian at least, Ebion, the founder of the Ebionites. But if these teachers were the first to propound the proper understanding of the truth of the gospel, what of all the Christians who lived before? Were they simply wrong? This makes no sense to the proto-orthodox. For them “true precedes its copy, the likeness succeeds the reality” (Tertullian, Prescription 29).
Does truth precede error? Did Peter speak truth or error on that day of Pentecost following Calvary? From a literal perspective, Peter spoke error: truth did not precede error. And what of those three thousand devout Jews who were baptized on this day of Pentecost? Did they hear truth in the Apostles’ teachings, or did they hear a mix of truth and error coming from the Apostles being spiritual infants, babes, able only to ingest milk and not solid food and therefore not able to teach anything but the most elementary tenets of the Christian faith?
Every Philadelphian who has wanted to do a work for God, teaching others when the Philadelphian needed to remain silent and to continue to learn, can understand the mindset of Peter and the others Apostles on that day of Pentecost following Calvary and in the weeks and months following this day of Pentecost. And every Philadelphian who has tried to teach when still a spiritual infant has theological cover in Peter teaching when he was a babe, an infant son of God. This is not, however, justification for continuing to teach when not called to do so as too many strive to do. This is, rather, the understanding needed to sort out the confusion of Christian doctrine of the 1st-Century: in a scenario analogous to the last verses in the Book of Judges, every Christian was proclaiming what was right in his or her own eyes. The convert who had been a devout Jew insisted that additional converts must become outward Jews before they could become inward Jews [this was the teaching of the Circumcision Faction and later, of Ebionites]; whereas the convert who previously was a pagan Greek found in faith [belief of God] no need to keep the Law, especially the Sabbath commandment and clean meats. Therefore, error preceded truth by decades … actually error preceded truth by about two millennia, with truth not yet having fully arrived.
Knowledge is useful, but the base upon which Christendom is built is love for God, neighbor, and brother. No Christian has to have perfect understanding of the truth, but every Christian must have love for others equal to the love the Christian has for him or herself.
Knowledge is impressive, impressing both oneself and others, but to have love is of so much more importance that knowledge really amounts to nothing. And this is the lesson that endtime disciples are to take from the discrepancies in fact found in the Gospels, discrepancies not noticed until the advent of the printing press and typological inscription.
This is enough for this Sabbath.
The person conducting the Sabbath service should close services with two hymns, or psalms, followed by a prayer asking God’s dismissal.
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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission.
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