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 maturing to prayers of praise.
For the Sabbath of June 21, 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.
Hear my prayer, O [YHWH],
and give ear to my cry;
hold not your peace at my tears!
For I am a sojourner with you,
a guest, like all my fathers.
Look away from me, that I may smile again,
before I depart and am no more!"
(Ps39:12–13 indented lines are spiritual portions of thought couplets)
What was going on in King David’s mind that he would say to the Lord in the physical portion of a though-couplet: Look away from me, that I may smile again? And while death and being no more relates to the Lord looking away from a person, any person, how does being no more relate to again smiling? Or better, how does the Lord [angels serving as the eyes of the Lord] looking on someone, watching someone, observing every deed of the person cause the person grief? Is living life a mocking of life itself, such as being a sojourner with the Lord, a guest, not a resident?
What David understood was that he had no inherent permanence with the Lord; that mankind (David’s fathers, forefathers) had all been guests of the Lord, visitors that had passed through, staying for a while (a human lifetime) then passing on in death. And this concept separates Israel from the ideologies of its neighbors that had dead human persons being shades, spirits, inhabiting the underworld, the land of the dead. The concept of human persons having indwelling immoral souls in the form of shades had emerged in the Greek world, but shades didn’t go to heaven. That ideological development was still centuries away—and yes, the concept of human souls going to heaven after death, becoming stars in heaven, having started in Egypt, was spreading across the Near and Middle East through human reasoning, not through divine revelation.
David understood that a person is simply breath, a vapor here today and gone tomorrow, like morning fog that follows the tide, burning off as it comes ashore … would this awareness cause a person to smile? Would it not become a burden on the person; for of what value is much learning or great wealth when the person will depart and be no more? Is life a joke that God has played upon people? And it is this question that remains central to a partial hardening having come upon Israel until the fullness of Gentiles comes to God, this fullness not coming until dominion over the single kingdom of this world is taken from the Adversary and given to the Son of Man halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation.
The fullness of Gentiles coming to the Lord can be likened to the liberation of natural Israel from physical slavery to a physical king in a physical land. Thus, the fullness of Gentiles coming to God will not and cannot occur until the Second Passover liberation of Israel, with this Second Passover liberation being from indwelling sin and death and being on the second Passover. And as the house of Moses was constructed from planks of righteousness adzed true by the Law, the house of God over which the Son reigns will be constructed from living stones formed into pillars of faith; from belief of the precepts of God that cause a human person to walk uprightly before God as Abraham walked, as Jesus walked, not crawling in the dust as serpents.
David understood that man was a sojourner, a guest, here today, gone tomorrow, passing on as dust blown about by the wind. Human persons have no permanence about them.
Modern humankind has deceived itself into believing that life itself has worth based upon what the living person does in this world, when the only value a human person has is as a spiritual ovum from which a son of god can come if “fertilized” by the spirit of the Father …
In the Native Culture of the Pacific Northwest Coast is the story of Raven bringing the sun to the People. What deed could any person do greater than bringing the sun; yet when Raven was given a wife for his deed, he didn’t hunt, he didn’t provide for his wife, and he was driven away as a worthless fellow … every deed a man of the People can do is lesser than bringing the sun, but if the man of the people provides for the daily welfare of his wife, his family, he is of greater worth to the community than Raven. Now, take this story and lay it over the deeds of David, not a Trickster Figure but a man who once lived. What greater deeds has anyone done for Israel than David? Yet for all of his greatness, David understood that he was but breath, a vapor, a sojourner here on this earth. In a way, he had been tricked, not by God but by life itself. For in having the Lord’s eyes on him continually, he had to suffer mocking, rebellion of a son, defiling of wives, and he had to do it all in good cheer, which he found he couldn’t do hence the tears. Did he really want the Lord to look away? Perhaps. But only so that the joke of his existence would be complete and he could die knowing he had been fooled.
On the cross and at the point of death, Jesus cried out, “‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matt 27:46), the passage from Psalm 22, a psalm of David’s in which he complains about being abandoned by the Lord.
David wasn’t getting his prayers answered.
Christians know that certain prayers are not answered in the affirmative, but they tend to believe that overall, their prayers are answered. After all, did they not get that parking space for which they prayed? Did they not get help from a stranger when broken down alongside the road, an answer to their prayer? Did they not get this or that, their prayers always coming in the form of begging God to do something for them? And yes, they got a house just the color they wanted. They got a home loan for the house they always wanted. They then prayed for cheaper homeowner’s insurance, and they got a better quote. Just look at how many prayers have been answered. Look what God has done for them. But don’t look across the street where a Muslim thanks Allah for the same answered prayers.
Collectively, Christians are superstitious beyond belief. They tend to attribute everything that happens to them to cosmic forces, the good things that happen to them to God and the bad things to Satan, demons, not realizing that God is presently keeping His hands off the creation, which he has consigned to the Adversary for a predetermined length of time.
David hadn’t been fooled by life: he just wasn’t having much success getting prayers answered. But even Jesus on the cross—having taken upon Himself the sins of Israel—wondered why He was abandoned by God.
Sin separates man from God. Even seemingly small sins cause a separation for all sin originates in unbelief.
What does a partial hardening coming over Israel mean if not that God had grown weary of being ignored, of being not believed by His human cultivar, the natural descendants of the patriarchs? In the case of Pharaoh, God caused his heart to be hardened so that he would not let Israel go: God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that He, God, could destroy Pharaoh and Egypt. God didn’t use the Adversary to harden Pharaoh’s heart; He did it Himself. So what about the partial hardening of Israel, a nation that mimicked the ways Egyptians worshiped their gods, then mimicked the ways Canaanites worshiped theirs?
If the God of Abraham hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that He could bring devastation upon Egypt for a generation or generations and possibly cause Egypt to mend its ways, using Egypt as a type or representation of endtime humanity consigned to disobedience [sin] and ruled over by the prince of the power of the air (cf. Eph 2:2–3, Rom 11:32), then it would seem logical to conclude that a partial hardening of Israel would serve a similar purpose, this partial hardening bringing devastation upon the natural descendants of the patriarchs for generations and possibly causing natural Israel to mend its ways, with these natural descendants being forewarned of this destruction by the prophet Jeremiah,
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 emphasis added)
Note: at the time this warning was given, the House of Judah [the southern kingdom of Jerusalem] was no longer circumcising on the eighth day. The descendants of the northern kingdom of Samaria, the House of Israel, even though having been taken into captivity was continuing to circumcise on the eighth day. It cannot here be determined whether the House of Israel, in captivity, returned to circumcision or whether the House of Israel never left off circumcising on the eighth day, with the latter being the more unlikely possibility considering how quickly the House of Israel abandoned Moses once Jeroboam separated from Rehoboam.
Said in another way, once the House of Israel was taken captive and removed from Samaria, its zeal to “get right” with God most likely caused this people to return to outwardly circumcising the flesh, the people believing that God was angry with them for having abandoned Abraham and the Covenant of Promise.
At no time between when Jeremiah spoke and when the glorified Jesus breathed on ten of His disciples and said, Receive spirit holy (John 20:22), were the natural descendants of the patriarchs, collectively, circumcised of heart. Hence, it remained the Lord’s prerogative to punish peoples who knew that they were to be circumcised of heart—this included Egypt, Edom [Esau], the sons of Ishmael [those that dwelt in the desert], and the sons of Lot [Ammon and Moab]. So Egypt is linked by the Lord to the descendants of the patriarch Abraham, with Abraham having gone to Egypt before Jacob and his sons went.
The peoples whom the Lord promised to punish, because they were merely circumcised in the flesh if they were circumcised at all, are of Abraham either biologically or by long association. It would therefore logically follow that Pharaoh and all of Egypt had sufficient knowledge of the Lord that Egypt was without excuse for worshiping the creature, the creation, rather than the Creator (Rom 1:18–20), and if Egypt was without excuse for its idolatry, then the hardening that came upon Pharaoh so that the Lord would devastate Egypt was more justified than Paul realized when he wrote,
I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. 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 9:1–18 emphasis added)
God would be a respecter of persons if He prevented one person from repenting but permitted another person to repent; so while what Paul wrote is true, some of what Paul understood doesn’t come across in the transcription and translation of his words … in order for Pharaoh to serve as a type of the Adversary, the present prince of this world, with natural Israel [circumcised-in-the-flesh Israel] being a type of spiritual Israel [circumcised-of-heart Israel], the human heart in Pharaoh had to be hardened so that it would be as bitter and unbelieving as is the heart [heart being a euphemism for inner self] of the Adversary. But the Lord would not have hardened Pharaoh’s heart if Pharaoh had an excuse for his unbelief.
Abraham’s witness to Pharaoh wasn’t a particularly good one, but what the Lord did in afflicting Pharaoh and his house (Gen 12:17) was a strong witness to Pharaoh that should not have needed to be repeated generation after generation.
However, the evidence of history is that humanity has a very short collective memory: the people of Israel couldn’t remember their promise for forty days—
The God of Abraham made a covenant with Israel that the people broke in forty days, “forty” being a symbolic as well as a real number, with “forty” representing a lifetime or the completion of a matter as in the completion of a life. In Moses’ 120 years, Moses lived three lives, the first as a son of a Levite adopted by the royal house of Egypt hence the name <Moses> [son-of, or was born of no-name], then as a fugitive shepherd tending the flocks of his father-in-law in the wilderness outside the borders of Egypt, and finally as God to Aaron and by extension to all of Israel (Ex 4:16) and the servant of the Lord in the house of God (Heb 3:5). It was in this third figurative lifetime that Moses entered into the presence of the Lord, thus causing his face to shine intensely enough that he wore a veil to keep from frightening the people of Israel (Ex 34:29, 33–35). In this third figurative lifetime, Moses was physically “glorified”—not spiritually glorified—with the glory of God causing his face to shine, the shine being the reflection of the glory of God, this reflection serving as the chiral image of the inner self of the Elect being glorified while remaining in this present world.
Human persons who are humanly born consigned to disobedience—that is without having a living spirit [pneuma] of man dwelling in the person’s soul [psuche] that in turn animates the fleshly body [soma]—are typified by Israel in Egypt; whereas the Elect are typified by the man Moses, the Elect adopted into the royal household of God, as sons of the God who has “no name” that can be or ought to be uttered. And this is correct: the Tetragrammaton YHWH is an inscribed linguistic determinative that was never pronounced, a subject addressed in the book Rereading Prophecy. Thus, in the figurative first life lived by the Elect is their spiritual infancy followed by their adoption by the Father through the indwelling of Christ. Their second life will have them living as spiritual fugitives in this world, itself a wilderness, tending those things that do not belong to them (i.e., the things of this world). Their third life will see them entering into the presence of God where they receive glorified bodies, foreshadowed by the glory that shone from Moses’ face. And as in all analogies; as with all symbols, the type “suggests” and doesn’t exactly represent.
The God of Abraham did not cause the people of Israel to cast a golden calf (Ex chap 32) nor did the God of Abraham harden Israel’s hearts at this time. However, the God of Abraham would “test” Israel on at least a generational interval. Moses records:
If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, “Let us go after other gods,” which you have not known, “and let us serve them,” you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For [YHWH] your God is testing you, to know whether you love [YHWH] your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after [YHWH] your God and fear Him and keep His commandments and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against [YHWH] your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which [YHWH] your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, “Let us go and serve other gods,” which neither you nor your fathers have known, some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. But you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from [YHWH] your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. And all Israel shall hear and fear and never again do any such wickedness as this among you.
If you hear in one of your cities, which [YHWH] your God is giving you to dwell there, that certain worthless fellows have gone out among you and have drawn away the inhabitants of their city, saying, “Let us go and serve other gods,” which you have not known, then you shall inquire and make search and ask diligently. And behold, if it be true and certain that such an abomination has been done among you, you shall surely put the inhabitants of that city to the sword, devoting it to destruction, all who are in it and its cattle, with the edge of the sword. You shall gather all its spoil into the midst of its open square and burn the city and all its spoil with fire, as a whole burnt offering to [YHWH] your God. It shall be a heap forever. It shall not be built again. None of the devoted things shall stick to your hand, that [YHWH] may turn from the fierceness of His anger and show you mercy and have compassion on you and multiply you, as He swore to your fathers, if you obey the voice of [YHWH] your God, keeping all his commandments that I am commanding you today, and doing what is right in the sight of [YHWH] your God. (Deu 13:1–18)
There is now—in Moses’ writings—no basis for the children of Israel to adopt the ways of the Canaanite peoples they dispossess. Any person who tells Israel to abandon the Commandments was to be killed to keep the evil from spreading—and the first Commandment forbids idolatry.
But in a curious manner, the hardness of Egyptian hearts was carried by Israel and then by the children of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land;
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 man, 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 man, 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 [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)
Now back to David: when life is but breath, spirit, a vapor like that rising from a cooking pot on a cold morning, what can this breath carry out from Egypt other than disbelief, unbelief, a refusal to believe God? A breath doesn’t carry gold or silver out of this world. A breath doesn’t even carry itself out of this world, but rather is blown about by stronger winds …
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:2–8)
David met trials on all fronts, and his trials produced a form of steadfastness—not a perfect form as the mother of the preacher would confirm, but a form that left David as a young man without doubts. However, doubts came as David matured, with David saying he was a worm, not a man:
In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me;
they wag their heads;
"He trusts in [YHWH]; let Him deliver him;
let Him rescue him, for he delights in Him!"
Yet you are He who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother's breasts.
On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother's womb you have been my God.
Be not far from me, for trouble is near,
and there is none to help.
(Ps 22:4–11 indented lines are spiritual portion of thought couplets)
David lived long enough that he passed from faith without doubts, to faith with doubts, to faith that praised the Lord, a different sort of faith than he had when he called out Goliath. It is this latter form of faith seen in the late Psalms.
As with the human body that goes from conception to birth, from infancy to adolescence, from teen to adult, the faith of a disciple matures, going from selfish prayers asking for this or that (a car, a house, things of all sorts) to intercessory prayer, asking God to intervene on behave of others, to prayer praising God for who He is … it is this last stage of faith that precedes having the faith necessary to move mountains, the fully mature faith of a son of God.
The Adversary stands in the way of a disciple maturing in faith: by creating an environment of doubt—every person knows that he or she cannot walk on water (Moses didn’t; Moses walked on dry land), so a person doesn’t truly expect to be able to walk on water when the need arises. The person, the Christian will drown instead.
Every Christian knows that a steel axe head doesn’t float, but will immediately sink to the bottom of a stream or a pond. Yet for Elisha, an axe head floated—and the story is read as a metaphor, not as a real event. In fact, the entirety of Elisha’s ministry is thought to be fictional. Sobeit.
Although it might not be the Adversary who causes immature Christians to pray for things that are either unneeded or that the Father already knows the Christian needs, it is the apparent answering of these many prayers that gives substance to superstition, thereby hindering the Christian’s growth in faith. Only when the Christian begins to have far more unanswered prayers than seemingly answered prayers will the Christian abandon his or her superstitious ways.
When a Christian reaches the point where most of his or her prayers are not selfish, but are intercessory prayers, asking God to do for others what these others cannot do for themselves—such as a bodily healing—the Christian will experience the reality that his or her prayers are not really being acted-upon by God … whereas the Christian’s prayers seemed to be answered before when asking for things for the self, answered prayer on the behalf of others is more easily seen or not seen; so fewer mistakes are made in attributing time and chance to God actually answering prayers for this or that.
An answered intercessory prayer will be known.
When a Christian prays that another person—say, someone with cancer—is healed, and the person for whom prayers were made dies from the cancer, the Christian making the prayer knows for certain that his or her prayer was not answered. But the superstitious Christian will attribute the death to some cause other than the fact that God didn’t answer the Christian’s prayer … it was the will of God [for the Muslim, the will of Allah] that the person died; it was because of the person’s hidden sin that the person died; it was for any other reason than God chose not to hear the Christian’s prayer, for the Christian asked as a doubled-minded person, asked as someone with doubts.
Prayers the immature Christian believed were being answered by God lead the Christian to venture into intercessory prayer, praying for the welfare of others, a good thing but also a faith-killer.
An infant human person doesn’t look like an adult although many similarities exist … infant faith doesn’t look like adult faith although similarities exist. The selfish faith of the newly born son of God doesn’t look like the praise faith of David’s maturity. Doubts arose and had to be overcome. And how were they overcome? Not by answered prayer, but by unanswered prayer that caused the person of God to reexamine everything the person previously believed about prayer, about fasting, about God.
Death reigned over humankind from Adam to Moses (Rom 5:14), not from Adam to Noah, or from Adam to Abraham, or from Adam to Christ Jesus. It was Moses, a murderer who looked this way and looked that way before slaying the Egyptian beating his brethren (Ex 2:11–12), who entered into the presence of the Lord, thereby putting an end to Death’s uncontested reign over humankind …
There is a criterion for establishing whether a person is of God, is a man of God:
And Moses said, "Hereby you shall know that [YHWH] has sent me to do all these works, and that it has not been of my own accord. If these men die as all men die, or if they are visited by the fate of all mankind, then [YHWH] has not sent me. But if [YHWH] creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised [YHWH]." And as soon as he had finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split apart. And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods. So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. (Num 16:28–33)
If Moses had died as other men die, then Moses would be a man like other men, even through the glory of God shone from his face and had to be hidden from Israel with a veil, but Moses didn’t die as other men have died. There are two references to Moses death that tend to disagree with each other:
But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you." (Jude 9)
Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And [YHWH] showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. And [YHWH] said to him, "This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, 'I will give it to your offspring.' I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there." So Moses the servant of [YHWH] died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of [YHWH], and He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day. Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated. (Deut 34:1–7)
The God of Abraham buried Moses, but not any other men.
Whether it was Yah or the archangel Michael who actually took Moses’ body—his body was not ready to die of itself, but died to fulfill the word spoken to Moses—matters less than the reality that Moses did not die from injury or old age, but according to the word of the Lord; he did not die in bed or on the plains but atop the tallest mountain in the land, a mountain from which he could see the future kingdom of Israel that in type represented all kingdoms of this world. And it was because of where Moses died that the author of Matthew’s Gospel metaphorically has the Adversary take the man Jesus to a tall mountain from which all kingdoms can be seen (Matt 4:8–11), and as the man Jesus rejects the Adversary’s bargain, the man Moses doesn’t bargain with the Adversary, who is unable to approach Moses until life has left his body.
So that the preceding can be better understood, Matthew’s Jesus is not the man Jesus, but the indwelling Jesus that is crucified for the disciple while the disciple remains a sinner (Rom 5:8); the indwelling Christ that gives life to every son of God. Thus, for the author of Matthew’s Gospel to convey the essence of Moses seeing the Promised Land from the top of Mount Nebo at a spiritual level, he has to place his Jesus on a tall mountain from which all kingdoms of this earth and their glory can be seen.
By having entered into the presence of the Lord, glory shone from Moses’ face, with this glory functioning as a protective bubble that kept the Adversary at bay.
Prayers of praise come “naturally” to the disciple as he or she spiritually grows in faith … consider the twenty-four elders:
After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for His judgments are true and just; for He has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants." Once more they cried out, "Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever." And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, "Amen. Hallelujah!" And from the throne came a voice saying, "Praise our God, all you His servants, you who fear Him, small and great." Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure"—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are the true words of God." (Rev 19:1–9 emphasis added)
Human infants bawl when diapers need changed, when hungry, when uncomfortable—and spiritual infants pray selfish prayers. Spiritual infants pray to get things, to have needs met, to obtain what they don’t have … what sort of prayers do you make: do you pray to get for yourself, or to get for someone else? Or are your prayers those of praise, with you being thankful that you have been healed from death?
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.