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 being defiled by touching a dead body.
For the Sabbath of
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.
After he had finished all his sayings in the
hearing of the people, he entered
The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, "Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?" And when the men had come to him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, 'Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?'"
In that hour he [Jesus] healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me."
When John's messengers had gone, Jesus began to
speak to the crowds concerning John: "What did you go out into the
wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see?
A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid
clothing and live in luxury are in kings' courts. What then did you go out to
see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it
is written, "'Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will
prepare your way before you.' I tell you, among those born of women none is greater
than John. Yet the one who is least in the
More than a prophet — prophets of
Wearing a hair coat was a sign that identified its wearer as a prophet of the Lord. The coat or mantle [cloak] as a sign could be read by everyone observing the prophet from as far away as the prophet could be seen in the distance. But wearing the hair coat required that what the person prophesied be true, that events prophesied shortly come to pass (or as in the case of Jeremiah who prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem for 23 years before the city was razed, come to pass in the person’s lifetime).
Why were hair coats the garb of prophets? And why camel’s hair, with camels being unclean as opposed to sheep [wool] or goat hair?
The foreskin of the male is his natural skin covering that is analogous to the skin clothing made by the Lord for Adam and Eve before they were driven from the Garden of Eden … the woman was deceived, the man was not; therefore, the woman’s covering continues to be her husband, with the skin garment the Lord made for the woman representing her husband.
The man was not deceived; hence, every human male is born with a skin covering of his head, a covering that is pared away for males that enter into covenant with the Lord according to the terms given to Abraham that Abraham walk uprightly and be blameless before the Lord (Gen 17:1–2) … a covenant made with the flesh is ratified in the flesh, with the shedding of blood being the sign that the covenant is of the flesh and is an earthly thing and is temporary even though the covenant extends to the end of the age; for the flesh itself is temporary, a shadow and type of the heavenly body that the son of God will receive when judgments are revealed.
The skins of sheep and goats are hairy, in that sheep have wool that is sheared, carded, spun, and woven into fabric from which a garment can be made, a garment that covers a person’s nakedness. If the guard hairs are left in the wool, the yarn creates a coarse, scratchy, and virtually indestructible fabric. And the same applies but more so for goats, with the indestructibility of the garment forming a metaphor for the enduring relevance of the words of the prophet that are the words of God passing through a secondary voice, thus creating double-voice discourse.
In all cases, the words of the prophet claim to be
double-voice discourse. If the Lord had/has not sent the prophet, then words
that by their presentation claim to be double-voice discourse are not and do
not come to pass. The discourse was delivered by a false prophet, with the
modern equivalent being every Christian teacher or pastor who finds
A hair coat is a garment made with the animal’s
guard hairs included in the spinning of the yarn and weaving of the fabric;
therefore, a hair coat is an uncomfortable garment to wear … being a prophet of
the Lord was an uncomfortable position to be in, for prophets weren’t sent to
Israel until the people had gone astray. Thus, most everyone in
Now, what about a coat of camel hair … what was an Israelite supposed to do if he or she touched the carcass, the hair of an unclean/common animal?
Whoever touches anything that is unclean through contact with the dead or a man who has had an emission of semen, and whoever touches a swarming thing by which he may be made unclean or a person from whom he may take uncleanness, whatever his uncleanness may be—the person who touches such a thing shall be unclean until the evening and shall not eat of the holy things unless he has bathed his body in water. (Lev 22:4–6 emphasis added)
And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to
them, "Speak to the people of
Again, the hair coat that was the sign of John being a prophet of God, a prophet like Elijah the Tishbite who wore a garment of hair and a belt of leather around his waist (2 Kings 1:8). However, the sign, itself, the coat of camel’s hair, makes John ceremonially unclean/common and unable to take of the sacrifices in the temple. Thus, for John the Baptist to be more than a prophet to Israel, John would need to be a prophet to all those who were defiled through being made common via sin as he was made common or unclean by the hair coat he wore as a sign of being a prophet.
Hold the concept in your mind for a moment: the
very sign that John was a prophet—his coat of camel’s hair and leather
belt—caused John to be defiled and separated from the temple as Daniel’s
castration and imprisonment in Babylon caused Daniel to be defiled and unable
to enter the temple if one had still existed in Jerusalem … the sign defiled John, and because John was
made common by the sign or symbol or sacrament of his calling [i.e., the hair
coat he wore], John would need to bathe
as in baptizing in full immersion in water to be made clean. But upon rising
from the water, John would again be made common
by the garment he wore in the same way that
Because the sign that John wore disclosing he was a prophet after the order of Elijah—again his coat of camel’s hair—caused John to be ceremonially unclean or common, John can be read in double-voiced discourse as an in-text narrator telling the people of Israel to repent of their evil ways and wrongdoing because sacrifices at Herod’s temple could not cleanse them; thus, they were condemned to remain outside the camp of Israel until they bathed in baptism, and brought to the Lord the offering of repenting bitterly for their sins.
But even after repentance and baptism,
John the Baptist rewrote the role of prophet in Israel through wearing a camel’s hair coat rather than a coat of goat’s hair, but the larger rewriting of roles was that of the high priest, with this rewriting coming from Christ Jesus, who came up to the funeral bier and touched it and said, “Young man, I say to you, rise,” and the dead man sat up and began to speak (Luke 7:14–15) …
According to Moses,
Whoever touches the dead body of any person shall
be unclean seven days. He shall cleanse himself with the water on the third day
and on the seventh day, and so be clean. But if he does not cleanse himself on
the third day and on the seventh day, he will not become clean. Whoever touches
a dead person, the body of anyone who has died, and does not cleanse himself,
defiles the tabernacle of the LORD, and that person shall be cut off from
This is the law when someone dies in a tent: everyone who comes into the tent and everyone who is in the tent shall be unclean seven days. And every open vessel that has no cover fastened on it is unclean. Whoever in the open field touches someone who was killed with a sword or who died naturally, or touches a human bone or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. For the unclean they shall take some ashes of the burnt sin offering, and fresh water shall be added in a vessel. Then a clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water and sprinkle it on the tent and on all the furnishings and on the persons who were there and on whoever touched the bone, or the slain or the dead or the grave. And the clean person shall sprinkle it on the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day. Thus on the seventh day he shall cleanse him, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and at evening he shall be clean.
If the man who is unclean does not cleanse himself, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, since he has defiled the sanctuary of the LORD. Because the water for impurity has not been thrown on him, he is unclean. And it shall be a statute forever for them. The one who sprinkles the water for impurity shall wash his clothes, and the one who touches the water for impurity shall be unclean until evening. And whatever the unclean person touches shall be unclean, and anyone who touches it shall be unclean until evening. (Num 19:11–22)
When men from John came and asked Jesus if He was the one who is to come, Jesus, “in that hour, healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me’” (Luke –23).
The men of
In a similar but not identical manner, Jesus was defiled by doing good as John was defiled by his camel’s hair coat: Jesus’ doing good—His healing of the blind, the lame, lepers, the deaf, and raising the dead—were the outward sin that He was the one for whom Israel had waited as John’s camel hair coat was the sign that John was a prophet and more than a prophet, with this more that a prophet pertaining to what “camel hair” represented.
By signifying through the sign that even after repenting, the fleshly body of the baptized sinner remained defiled by sin, John the Baptist delivered to Israel the message that repentance alone was not enough to cleanse the nation that was to God as common or unclean flesh was to them … an endtime Christian needs to take care that he or she doesn’t succumb to eisegesis, the introduction of one’s own ideas/meanings into the text, for John’s hair coat could signify that a Second Passover liberation of Israel would be needed to free the nation from the type of defilement that John would experience in putting on his camel hair coat after bathing, the type of defilement that would come from the living inner self touching the fleshly body in which it dwells along with sin and death.
The baptized person emerges from baptism just as defiled as he or she was when entering
the water; for hearts are not cleansed with water, but with a mental journey of
faith comparable to Abraham’s physical journey of faith from
Christianity cannot be likened to taking a high school diploma or a Bachelor degree where, when the person completes a proscribed amount of coursework, the diploma or degree is earned. Rather salvation is the gift of God given through the indwelling of Christ Jesus in the person. If, in this present era, the Father does not choose to draw a person from this world, that person can desire the Holy Spirit, desire a relationship with Christ, can even sincerely believe the person has a relationship with Christ, but because the person doesn’t walk as Jesus walked, doesn’t practice righteousness but continues to transgress one or more of the commandments thereby making a practice of sinning—because the person denies Christ Jesus through denying that the Logos, the One who entered His creation as His only Son, was the Creator of all that has been made—the Christian reveals to the holy ones that he or she has not yet been born of spirit but is to Christ as enslaved Israel in Egypt was to Moses.
There can be no debate about whether a Christian has or has not been born of God: the Christian whose mind is set on the things of this world regardless of whether those things are political or matters of prosperity is not born of God. The Christian who is concerned about how Jesus’ name is pronounced is concerned about a thing of this world and is not born of God. Likewise, the Christian who desires the finer things of this world is a spiritual bastard, claiming God as his or her Father but serving the Adversary as one of his sons. The Christian who teaches without being called to teach—and Christians teaching without being called to teach are too many to number—is a spiritual bastard. The Christian who turns to a person not called to teach and honors this person as his or her teacher is not born of God, but is enslaved by the Adversary and will soon be sacrificed as a warning to others not to follow this particular person.
The Apostle Paul’s gospel was simple: “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 –13).
It doesn’t matter whether a person is or isn’t under the Law; it doesn’t matter whether a person is or isn’t born of spirit, the sinner will perish for it is those who are doers of the law that will be justified. … But the person who has truly been born of God doesn’t practice sinning, transgressing the Law, for the seed, the spirit of Christ dwells in the person (1 John 3:9). Therefore, whoever transgresses the Sabbath by conducting his or her mundane affairs on the seventh day reveals that he or she remains a bondservant of the Adversary; whoever bears false witness about him or herself, claiming to be a teacher of Israel when this person has not been called to teach reveals that he or she remains a bondservant of the Adversary; whoever makes an idol of a thing of this world, or makes an idol of a linguistic icon used to represent the Father and the Son reveals that he or she remains a slave of the Adversary.
Jesus told the men who came from John that blessed was the person not offended by Him, Jesus, who touched a dead body and returned life to that dead body and who did not cleanse Himself as proscribed by Moses … every Christian touches a dead body when the Christian touches his or her own fleshly body, but, some will argue, this isn’t what Moses meant. What did Moses mean? That the dead body had to be a corpse as Adam was before Elohim [singular in usage] breathed into this man of mud’s nostrils? What about the man thrown atop the dead body of Elisha? He was a corpse as Adam was: “And as a man was being buried, behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet” (2 Kings ).
A Christian can get him or herself tied into theological knots applying Moses, a shadow and type of Christ Jesus, to the Church if the Christian is not truly born of God: if a dead person lives again when touched, was the dead person really dead? And if he or she were really dead, how can the one touching the dead person be defiled before God … being defiled according to Moses must be reevaluated in light of Jesus touching the lame, lepers, the blind, deaf, and the dead, healing all as a sign that He is the Messiah, the one who is to come; the one who breaks the barrier that had separated Jew from Gentile, the Circumcised in the flesh from the Uncircumcised in the flesh (see Eph 2:12–16). In Jesus’ flesh, He destroyed barriers between defiled and undefiled that pertained to the flesh, with John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus to do so by wearing a coat of camel hair rather than goat hair.
The flesh of every person, Jew or Gentile, is defiled through the indwelling of sin and death in the flesh until the Second Passover liberation of Israel, the message that John the Baptist conveyed in the sign disclosing that he was ordained to be more than a prophet—
The sign that the flesh of every person is defiled
before and after repentance and baptism brought to an end the earthly covenants
contained in the Law and the Prophets: “For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John” (Matt
11:13). Only the reality of the heavenly covenants—those covenants not ratified
by the shedding of blood—remained, with the entirety of the Book of Deuteronomy
forming the shadow and copy of the heavenly
The person conducting the Sabbath service should close services with two hymns, or psalms, followed by a prayer asking God’s dismissal.
* * * * *
"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission.