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 people can be both good and evil.
For the Sabbath of August 23, 2014
Is America of God?
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.
These are the statutes and rules that you shall be careful to do in the land that [YHWH], the God of your fathers, has given you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place. You shall not worship [YHWH] your God in that way. But you shall seek the place that [YHWH] your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation there. There you shall go, and there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, your vow offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. And there you shall eat before [YHWH] your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which [YHWH] your God has blessed you. You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes, for you have not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance that [YHWH] your God is giving you. (Deut 12:1–9 emphasis added)
Under Moses, the spirit of God the Father—the Most High God—was not given to Israel. According to Paul, the Law was given to Israel as a schoolmaster to teach the chosen people until the coming of Christ (Gal 3:24) the principles of love for neighbor and brother that would be written on hearts and placed in the minds of endtime Israel. However, endtime Israel is not the nation circumcised in the flesh: endtime Israel is the nation to be circumcised of heart, the nation liberated from indwelling sin and death at a second Passover liberation, with the 2520-day-long Affliction and Kingdom [giving of the kingdom to the Son of Man] and Endurance in Jesus spiritually representing the reality that cast as its shadow the forty years Israel wandered in the wilderness. And therein lies the “fault” of Judaism, of Islam, and even of great Christendom; for as Paul wrote to the spiritual milk-drinkers at Corinth,
I do not want you to be unaware, 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. (1 Cor 10:1–12)
Christians believe they stand upright before God because they profess Jesus is Lord and believe in their hearts that God raised Jesus from death (Rom 10:9), but they teach and accept line-upon-line, precept-upon-precept exegesis, thus taking a little from here and a little from there as if they were drunkards (see Isa 28:1–13) stumbling over pebbles, unable to discern physical from spiritual, or darkness from light … the one who professes that Jesus is Lord and who shall thus be saved as a firstfruit is the one who, when far from God (Deut 30:1–2), by faith turned to God and chose to believe God with heart and mind (which will necessarily have the person keeping the Royal Law) and thereby was circumcised of heart (v. 6). To place Romans 10:6–9 in its context, read all of Deuteronomy chapter 30; for Paul’s righteousness based on faith comes from the Moab Covenant (Deut 29:1), with what Paul wrote in Romans 10:6–8 coming from Deuteronomy 30:11–14.
It is the Book of Deuteronomy that is placed beside but outside the Ark of the Covenant (Deut 31:24–29) as Moses’ witness against Israel:
You [elders of Israel] search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me [Jesus], yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words? (John 5:39–47 emphasis added)
A person witnesses against him or herself by what the person does, and by what the person knows about him or herself (the reason why the person did whatever). But a thing—even a death sentence—isn’t established before God except by the testimony of two or three. Therefore the thing that an Israelite does in secret and that is not known to anyone but the Israelite is confirmed by the testimony of Moses, making two witnesses against the Israelite … the person judges him or herself worthy of death, with the glorified Christ either confirming or staying the person’s judgment of him or herself.
But the preceding doesn’t pertain to the Elect, who are foreknown by God the Father, predestined to be glorified by the Father, called by Christ Jesus, justified by Christ dying for the person while the person remains a sinner (Rom 5:8), and glorified by the indwelling of Christ in the form of His spirit (pneuma Christou) in the spirit of the person (to pneuma tou ’anthropou). This person is now a son of light (John 12:36) because he or she walks in light, not gazing at the light, but living the person’s life by the light that is Christ, thereby walking in this world as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6).
When Moses raised up the serpent and the people of Israel gazed at the serpent and lived, the serpent didn’t represent Christ Jesus or God the Father: the serpent represented the Serpent, solidified in bronze (imprisoned in bronze) so that it could not harm Israel:
And the people spoke against God and against Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food [manna]." Then [YHWH] sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people. And [YHWH] said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live." So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. (Num 21:5–9 emphasis added)
Who sent the serpents against Israel? Not the Adversary who would have had the people of Israel grumble against Moses if he would have entered the camp of Israel—the Rock that according to Paul was Christ (again, 1 Cor chap 10) sent the serpents against Israel to kill those who grumbled against Moses.
A fundamental problem within greater Christendom, and especially within Sabbatarian Christendom is the tendency to ascribe all good that happens to Christians to God and all evil or bad things that happens to Satan, when this is simply not the case. Was serpents biting and killing Israelites a good or a bad thing? Was the people grumbling against Moses good or bad? Was the people complaining about bread from heaven good or bad?
In John’s Gospel, Jesus identifies Himself as the true bread that has come from heaven (chap 6), which suggests that as natural Israel complained about the type [manna], with natural Israel being the shadow and type of spiritual Israel [the nation circumcised of heart], spiritual Israel will complain [disrespect] the reality of true bread from heaven, Christ Jesus … Christians within the greater Church will grumble against Christ and rebel against Christ during the Affliction, the first 1260 days of the seven endtime years. By doing so, they will commit blasphemy against the spirit, more lethal than any serpent’s bite.
Grumbling against Moses and against manna came from the people of Israel dragging their lawlessness—the Adversary’s nature—out of Egypt with them. The rebellion of greater Christendom (the Apostasy — 2 Thess 2:3) against God, Father and Son, in the Affliction will come from Christians dragging their ideology into their liberation from indwelling sin and death. And as Israel in the wilderness was bitten and smitten by their unrealized allegiance to the Adversary, Christians in the Affliction will be spiritually slain by their lawlessness: their bodies will continue to live for a while, but they will be as Israel, the nation numbered in the census of the second year, was in the wilderness, walking dead men once they rebelled against the Lord:
Then [YHWH] said, "I have pardoned, according to your [Moses’] word. But truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of [YHWH], none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers. And none of those who despised me shall see it. But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it. Now, since the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valleys, turn tomorrow and set out for the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea." (Num 14:20–25 emphasis added)
Before Israel grumbled about having only manna to eat, Israel—except for Joshua and Caleb—had been condemned to die in the wilderness because of its unbelief of the Lord … unbelief lies at the heart of all rebellion against God, with greater Christendom in the Affliction casting as it shadow and type Israel in the wilderness.
The children of Israel numbered in the census taken on the plains of Moab (Num chap 26) represent a second nation of Israel, the nation that would cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land. It is this nation with whom the Lord makes the Moab Covenant:
These are the words of the covenant that [YHWH] commanded Moses to make with the people of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant that he had made with them at Horeb. …
You are standing today all of you before [YHWH] your God: the heads of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, all the men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and the sojourner who is in your camp, from the one who chops your wood to the one who draws your water, so that you may enter into the sworn covenant of [YHWH] your God, which [YHWH] your God is making with you today, that He may establish you today as His people, and that He may be your God, as He promised you, and as He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. It is not with you alone that I am making this sworn covenant, but with whoever is standing here with us today before [YHWH] our God, and with whoever is not here with us today. (Deut 29:1, 10–15)
The Moab Covenant is not made with just the children of Israel assembled on the plains of Moab and awaiting crossing the Jordan in the days of Moses, but with the covenant is the shadow and type of the Second Covenant made with all who will enter either heaven or the Millennium. It is this covenant that has its mediator changed from Moses to the glorified Christ Jesus. It is by this covenant that life and death, good and evil has been set before Israel, with the Lord commanding all to choose life. It is this covenant that goes into effect when the Adversary and his angels are cast to earth, and the single kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man, Head and Body. It is this covenant that will see the Holy Spirit (the divine breath of God, pneuma Theou) poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28), thereby liberating all flesh [Jew, Muslim, Hindi, Buddhist, atheist] from indwelling sin and death, setting the stage for all who endure to the end shall be saved (Matt 24:13; 10:22). It is under this covenant that Islam will be saved …
God is not a respecter of persons, consigning some to unbelief, to disobedience, while permitting some to come to Him without Him first drawing the person from this world, giving to the person the earnest of the spirit. Jesus in John’s Gospel said that no one could come to Him unless the Father draw the person from this world:
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." (John 6:41–51 emphasis and double emphasis added)
The bread of life that Jesus gave to those who come to Him—to those who are drawn from this world by the Father—is the flesh of Jesus, represented by the Passover sacraments of unleavened bread and wine taken on the night that Jesus was betrayed, the dark portion of the 14th day of the first month, this month beginning with the first sighted new moon crescent following the spring equinox wherever the person dwells on this round earth …
When did Jesus feed the five thousand? When did Jesus tell those Jews who grumbled because He said that He was the bread that came down from heaven? “Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand” (John 6:4).
When was manna promised? On the day that would become the second Passover:
They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, "Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger." Then [YHWH] said to Moses, "Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily." (Ex 16:1–5 emphasis added)
Do Christians not grumble against Christ Jesus when they are told to walk in this world as Christ Jesus walked? Do Christians not grumble against Sabbath observance, utterly failing the test the Lord established for Israel?
What does it mean to endure to the end in faith? Does it not mean to walk in this world as Jesus walked? And how can a Christian walk as Jesus walked if the Christian attempts to enter into God’s presence on the day after the Sabbath? Does this Christian not deceive him or herself? Yes, the Christian is deceived.
The Adversary has deceived the whole world (Rev 12:9), not the whole world minus Christians, or more tightly focused, Sabbatarian Christians. And how has the Adversary deceived Sabbatarians, and if possible, would deceive even the Elect? Through being disguised as an angel of light; through being the prince of this world that would seem to give good things to those who serve him, these things spawned from the world of transactions [trade/commerce].
The world of commerce tends to favor those who make astute transactions, separating winners from losers, the haves from the have-nots. This world of commerce, however, rewards ethical transactions even when God is not involved, but this world doesn’t punish unethical actions—and it is here where Adam having eaten of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil can be seen … both good and evil comes to a person via the world of transactions. Plus, God causes it to rain on the just and on the unjust, making no distinction between these two in this world. It is in the world to come where the distinction is made:
Then those who feared [YHWH] spoke with one another. [YHWH] paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared [YHWH] and esteemed His name. They shall be mine, says [YHWH] of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him. (Mal 3:16–18)
The Book of Remembrance doesn’t distinguish between men while they live physically, but makes a separation between those who loved neighbor and brother even under the most adverse of conditions or under the best of conditions versus those who did not love the least of humanity, doing good to and for the ones who were unable to return good for good. It is the person who withholds his [or her] hand from helping another that is numbered among the wicked, not necessarily the one who does what is outwardly evil.
Christians who do not keep the Law at this moment in history are to God as Jews or Muslims are; for the Christian truly born of spirit will by faith keep the Commandments and will have manifested love for neighbor and brother, even when the manifestation of this love causes pain to the Christian.
Now a comment before beginning another piece: With the beheading of journalist James Foley by ISIS, a cowardly act that is worthy of the lake of fire—an act Muhammad would condemn because Foley posed no threat to Islam—President Obama vowed America would stay the course before returning to the golf course in perhaps the most tasteless display of his disconnection with the office of President yet. But the evil done by ISIS is supported by here a little, there a little exegesis of the Qur’an. As Americans we can see this evil; yet we do not see the evil done by greater Christendom from similar here a little, there a little exegesis of the Gospels, this evil harming the soul of the Christian, deforming it so that when the Christian is filled-with and empowered by the spirit of God, the Christian will blaspheme the spirit by taking sin [unbelief of God] back inside the Christian. The soul of the Christian will not long hold the spirit of God.
Christians within the greater Church are, following the Second Passover liberation of Israel, unfortunately, destined to be Kool-Aid drinkers by returning to sins.
"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."