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 Philadelphia read John’s Book, understood and acted.
For the Sabbath of December 13, 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.
The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul [psuche]. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth. (3 John 1–8 emphasis added)
Last Sabbath’s Reading began with, Spiritual truth isn’t “discovered” by the person who undertakes a journey of opening up what has been hidden—a “truth” that was shortly followed by a citation from the Moab Covenant, the covenant which has Christ Jesus replacing Moses as its mediator. This citation was,
Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: "You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet. You have not eaten bread, and you have not drunk wine or strong drink, that you may know that I am the Lord your God. (Deut 29:2–6 emphasis added)
The children of Israel, even those born in the wilderness, were witnesses to all that the Lord did in the land of Egypt … how can that be? How can an unborn child witness Israel passing through the Sea of Reeds? At best, the child’s testimony will be hearsay evidence even when the child’s father describes in detail what occurred.
Spiritual truth isn’t discovered, but is received by the person whom God chooses to receive truth. While others undertake long journeys of discovery—lifelong journeys—the person chosen to receive truth undertakes no journey; effectively does no study, no extensive research; does none of those things usually associated with a search for truth. Rather, the person chosen to receive truth receives truth simply by realizing what is and what can be known about God by having observed the surrounding world, such as clothing not wearing out, sandals not wearing out, no manna on the Sabbath.
Now, consider what Moses tells all of Israel, with only those males too young to be numbered in the census of the second year being males who could possibly have seen Pharaoh’s army perishing in the Sea of Reeds: to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. Yet in the preceding declarative clause, Moses said, You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders …
How is it that eyes see and ears hear phenomena that occurred in this world, but have these same eyes and ears not see or hear what they saw and heard? How is that children of Israel born in the wilderness are witnesses to what occurred before their birth? Apparently seeing with eyes and hearing with ears doesn’t cause a person to be a witness to what God does—
A person knows what God does and has done by receiving that knowledge directly from God, thereby becoming a witness for God.
How is it that a person doesn’t notice that over a forty year span, the person’s clothes haven’t worn out, nor has the person’s sandals? It is as if no time passed, no decay occurred. It is as if the journey has not been a physical trek through space and time, but a heavenly trek—or rather, that Israel’s trek through the wilderness for forty years represents a spiritual trek in the timeless heavenly realm, the physical trek revealing and preceding a spiritual trek (cf. Rom 1:20; 1 Cor 15:46) so that those who undertake and comprehend the spiritual trek are witnesses to this trek that was disclosed in type by an ancestral physical trek.
The preceding should cause confusion … did Israel undertake a physical trek of forty years duration in the days of Moses? As far as can be known, yes Israel did. So why didn’t the clothing of Israel wear out during these forty years? A miracle? Yes, certainly. The same sort of miracle as occurred when Elijah stayed with the widow of Zarephath, her flour jar and oil jug continuing to have enough in each only for the day. The same sort of miracle as occurred when Moses twice went forty days without food or drink when in the presence of the Lord. The same sort of miracle as occurred when Elijah went forty days without food or drink on the mountain of the Lord. And a pattern begins to emerge: in the supra-dimensional heavenly realm, there is no time, no passage of time. For the passage of time can be written as a mathematical function of gravity, meaning that time (space-time) was created in the Abyss by the One who created all things physical.
In the supra-dimensional heavenly realm, there is no decay of one moment into the next moment. Everything that happens occurs in the same heavenly moment, with what occurs happening in a dance of oneness analogous to the music playing during a game of musical chairs … when iniquity was found in an anointed cherub, figuratively, the music stopped. Thus, in order for earthly phenomena to reveal heavenly events, these phenomena must evidence time standing still of the sort necessitated by a person going forty days without food or drink.
You ask, didn’t Moses twice go forty days without food or drink? Didn’t Elijah go forty days without food or drink? Did the man Jesus go forty days without food or drink? And I ask, can any person go forty days without drink and not die from dehydration? No, a person cannot. Therefore, on the four occasions where Scripture records a person going forty days without food or drink [fasting for forty days], the context of each occasion must be examined, with all occasions occurring in the wilderness or on the mountain of the Lord, the context narratively requiring that a physical location where the human person continues to have air to breathe represent the timeless supra-dimensional heaven realm … for narrative purposes, on each occasion the person [Moses, Elijah, Jesus] symbolically entered heaven. Thus, the question is, did these forty day periods actually occur here on earth? And the question doesn’t have to be answered; for an endtime disciple is a witness to Moses and Elijah going forty days without food and drink just as the children of Israel on the Plains of Moab were witnesses to all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to Egypt in Egypt. And concerning Jesus, Mark’s Gospel probably provides the better record of the Adversary’s temptation of Jesus than does either Matthew’s or Luke’s Gospel for Matthew’s Gospel is prophetic and is about the indwelling Jesus that is in each disciple and Luke’s Gospel is uninspired hearsay evidence according to the Gospel’s author (see Luke 1:1–4).
In order to understand the juxtaposition between physical and spiritual—in order to understand dual referents, the physical journey of Israel and the children of Israel representing in type the spiritual journey of greater Christendom and the third part of humanity following the Second Passover liberation of Israel—the Christian must be given by the God a heart and mind to see the metaphorical nature of all things physical; to see how visible physical things reveal concealed spiritual things that will have significance to all of greater Christendom.
Again, the preceding will cause confusion … the Apostle Paul was taught by Christ Jesus as Moses was taught by the Lord. The first disciples were taught by Christ Jesus as the Moses taught Israel and the children of Israel the rudimentary principles of God—
There are Sabbatarian Christians that sincerely believe Paul hijacked the Jesus Movement and made the movement his own, with Paul teaching a differing gospel from the one Jesus taught. This is simply not true. When the Law moves from regulating the hand and the body of an outwardly circumcised person to regulating the desires of the heart and the thoughts of the mind of a circumcised of heart person, the physical has given way to the non-physical or spiritual. Paul laid the foundation for the movement from physical to spiritual, not something that John the Baptist could do; not something the first disciples could do when immediately born of spirit as infant sons of God. Hence, endtime disciples have no writings from the first disciples in the first two decades following Calvary; for as long as these first disciples expected Christ Jesus to return at any moment—the expectations of spiritual infancy—there would have been no need to write anything down, especially not by uneducated workmen. After all, they were witnesses to what had occurred throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry and at Calvary. They were comparable to Israel seeing what the Lord did to Pharaoh in Egypt, with Jesus being to them as Moses was to Aaron and to Israel (see Ex 4:16).
The Lord tells a reluctant Moses,
Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be God to him. And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs." (Ex 4:14–17 emphasis and double emphasis added)
The reason why Christians are to take no anxious thought about how they will testify or what they will say when brought before kings is because the Lord will be with their mouths and will teach them what to say.
In Mark’s account of the Olivet Discourse, he has Jesus saying,
But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. (Mark 13:9–11 emphasis added)
In the physical portion of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus tells His disciples that He sends out, two by two (as if they were entering the Ark to cross from one world/age to the next world),
Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. (Matt 10:16–20 emphasis added)
A person becomes a witness to all those things that the Lord does, did, and has done not by seeing earthly phenomena with eyes or having heard of these phenomena with ears but by having been given knowledge of what the Lord has done through the indwelling of the spirit of God in the spirit of Christ that is in the spirit of the person born of God as a son. … The person born of spirit just “knows” what God has done through having the mind of Christ, and is thereby a witness to those things that God has done. This criteria, however, is open to abuse, with those who testify falsely about Christ Jesus greatly outnumbering those who testify truthfully.
The Christian who would speak for God—who would teach another—comes under the rubric expressed by Jeremiah:
Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to Hananiah the prophet in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of [YHWH], and the prophet Jeremiah said, "Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord make the words that you have prophesied come true, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the Lord, and all the exiles. Yet hear now this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet." (Jer 28:5–9 emphasis)
The Christian pastor or teacher who tells another Christian that God will heal the person or prosper the person is as the prophet Hananiah was: when the person is healed or becomes prosperous, then it shall be known that godly counsel was offered. But the person shall not be recognized as speaking the words of God until the one who spoke has his or her words verified by deeds in this world. In other words, the pastor or teacher who counsels a person to trust God for the person’s healing rather than to seek medical attention becomes responsible for the person’s life; for this person spoke in the name of God without having received authority from God to so speak. And if the ill person dies because medical attention was not sought, the one who gave presumptive counsel has taken upon him or herself Hananiah’s fate.
When the spirit of God gives to the Christian words that will be spoken before kings [government authorities] following the Second Passover liberation of Israel, then decades of Bible study is of questionable value, especially when this study has been used to reinforce biblical error taught to the person by another human person. What does Scripture declare: They will all be taught by God … was Arron taught by God or taught by Moses, his brother, who was to be god to him? You answer correctly when you say, By both, the Lord and Moses.
Except for Joshua and Caleb, the nation of Israel numbered in the census of the second year did not enter the Promised Land, analogous to heaven. The nation of Israel that actually witnessed the miracles the Lord performed in Egypt had very few witnesses to what happened once the children of Israel crossed into the Promised Land. So what Moses tells the children of Israel on the Plains of Moab must be read symbolically.
How can a convert to the Jesus Movement in mid or late 1st-Century be a witness to what happened at Calvary? They can be in the same way that children born in the wilderness were witnesses to all that the Lord did to Pharaoh in Egypt.
In the clothing and footwear of the children of Israel not wearing out for forty years a miracle occurred, but one that went unnoticed by Israel and by the children of Israel. And in the children of Israel born in the wilderness never having eaten bread or drunk wine or strong drink when the Moab Covenant was made with them, with those present and those not present, another miracle occurred that had not called attention to itself. For the Lord used the fleshly bodies of the children of Israel to visibly show the birth and journey of the invisible, non-physical inner selves of sons of God who have been or are to be born-of-spirit … the soul of a person doesn’t eat bread or drink wine.
You cannot see with your eyes your own soul or the soul of someone else. Yet in symbolism, you can. You can see what is invisible by indirectly looking at what is; e.g., the attire of a man’s wife reveals what is in the man heart even more so than the outward actions of the man, which often can appear “good” to hide the torment of the inner self, with “good” deeds serving as a public mask openly worn to deceive.
But you will ask, isn’t the man’s wife her own self, her attire suiting her tastes and wishes? Certainly such reasoning is logical and plausible in this world that doesn’t deliberately speak or act metaphorically. But can two walk together unless they are of one mind? Can a righteousness man have a prostitute for a wife? Hosea did: “When [YHWH] first spoke through Hosea, [YHWH] said to Hosea, "Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord" (Hos 1:2).
Hosea took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, as his wife (v. 3); for she served as a type of Israel, a nation that was a shame to the name of the Lord for all of its idolatry.
Stay with this line of reasoning: Hosea marries Gomer and has children by her,
And [YHWH] said to him, "Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel." She conceived again and bore a daughter. And [YHWH] said to him, "Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by [YHWH] their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen." When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. And [YHWH] said, "Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God." Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, "You are not my people," it shall be said to them, "Children of the living God." And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel. (Hos 1:3–11)
Hosea becomes a representation of the Lord, and Gomer a representation of Israel, with the children of Gomer representing types of punishment that the Lord will bring upon Israel for its idolatry, followed by acceptance of a repentant Israel. So in Gomer could be seen what was in the heart of Israel, the heart of the outwardly circumcised [male] nation made visible by the adulterous wife.
Did Gomer know when she married Hosea that she served as a representation of what was in Israel’s heart? Probably not. But Hosea knew.
Now back up to greater Christendom, the nation that should constitute circumcised-of-heart Israel: can the heart of greater Christendom be seen through the modest apparel of Christian wives who cover their long hair with a covering of their own making, thereby symbolizing that they are voluntarily in submission to God first and secondarily, to their husbands? Yes? No?
Do American Christian women, with the exception of Anabaptist sects, appear in public like other American women? They generally do. And there is no unmarked woman. Every piece of her attire—her appearance overall, even to how she stands and walks—can be “read” symbolically, meaning that her hair length and hair style marks her. The cut of her dress marks her. Her shoes and bag marks her. How much flesh she exposes marks her. How much makeup she wear marks her. How much and what type of jewelry she wears marks her. And when all of these marks are added together, she is involuntarily read as if she were a book … she may object to being so-read, but even her objection marks her.
And what sort of score do American Christian women receive? What do these Christian women reveal about the state of greater Christendom in North America? Does not their apparel reveal they are worldly and not of God?
When there is no significant distinction between a worldly woman and a Christian woman, there is no significant distinction between the world and greater Christendom, meaning that greater Christendom is of this world and not of God … this will change following the Second Passover liberation of Israel, and change to greater Christendom’s detriment. For the Christian should be a model of righteousness to this world, not another model of idolatry. The Christian should be to Christ Jesus as Sarah was to Abraham:
For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. (1 Pet 3:5–6)
By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore. (Heb 11:11–12)
What were Hosea words, Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered (Hos 1:10)? … Despite the great Apostasy of Day 220 of the Affliction (the first 1260 days of the seven endtime years), the number of the children of Israel shall be that of sand on seashores, meaning that despite the vast majority of greater Christendom rebelling against God as Israel in the wilderness of Paran rebelled against the Lord (Num chap 14), these Christian rebels will be replaced virtually man for man by the third part of humanity (from Zech 13:9) in the Endurance of Jesus (the last 1260 days of the seven endtime years) as the children of Israel replaced the nation of Israel numbered in the census of the second year (cf. Num 26:2, 51; 1:2, 46), the slight difference having significance discussed in previous years’ Readings.
If a Christian pastor or teacher doesn’t understand the reason why the children of Israel’s garments did not wear out for forty years—the wilderness being symbolic of heaven and its timelessness—the person is not qualified to teach anyone the basics of Christendom. No caveats permitted. No Christian should say no more to another than is necessary to answer the other person’s question in a concise manner. No question? Then the Christian need not and should not introduce his or her beliefs into a dialogue with the other person. The Christian’s acts/deeds should testify to the love the Christian has for neighbor and brother. And no testimony will be as convincing as the outward manifestation of love toward another.
Now, realizing that if the Lord doesn’t give a heart that understands the mysteries of God to a person, that person should never attempt to teach another the subtleties pertaining to the mysteries of God, let it hear be said that Paul—taught directly by God through revelation (Gal 1:12)—never understood those mysteries clarified by John’s vision [the Book of Revelation], the foremost of which pertained to the core of Paul’s Gospel:
For God shows no partiality. 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. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (Rom 2:11–16 emphasis and doubled emphasis added)
God shows, according to Paul, no partiality: the person who transgresses the Law will perish, regardless of what the person believes about being under or not under the Law. Thus, the Gentile [a person of the Nations] who transgresses the Law will perish, but by this same standard, the Gentile who does those things that the Law requires—having love for God, neighbor, and brother—justifies him or herself before God. Hence, the Muslim or the Buddhist or the Hindi who practices love for neighbor and brother will, according to Paul’s Gospel, be saved by faith, by belief.
But this doesn’t square with what traditional Christendom has taught about salvation—
Why doesn’t it square with the teachings of traditional Christendom? Is it because the teachers and pastors of traditional Christendom haven’t been called to teach? Indeed, that is the case.
In John’s vision, John lays out the chronological timeline for the seven endtime years when he writes,
I, John, your brother and partner in the [Affliction] and [Kingdom] and [Endurance in Jesus], was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in spirit in the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, "Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea." Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around His chest. The hairs of His head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, His feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and His voice was like the roar of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, from His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and His face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. (Rev 1:9–20)
John is commanded to write what he sees in a book and send the book to the seven churches that are the seven lampstands, these seven lampstands giving light to the world so that endtime sons of God need not walk in darkness … John does as he is commanded, with Philadelphia being one of the seven endtime churches to receive the book John wrote—
What about the other six endtime churches? Have they not also received the same book?
Indeed, they have. But Smyrna and Pergamum have no works credited to them when the single Kingdom of this world is taken from the Adversary and his angels and given to the Son of Man. Sardis claims to be alive but is dead, and Laodicea is lukewarm. This leaves only Ephesus and Thyatira, both with latter works that exceed their initial works.
Why is it that Philadelphia is told to continue doing what they have been doing, that they need to do no more than not to permit someone to take their crown from them? Is it not because Philadelphia read John’s Book, finding in it the revelation Paul received about the movement of the Law from hand to heart? For in John’s vision, the Thousand Year long reign of the Messiah is framed by the resurrection of firstfruits at its beginning and the great White Throne resurrection and judgment at its conclusion, with the resurrection of firstfruits forming the shadow and copy of the outside-of-time [space-time] great White Throne Judgment.
Two resurrections, one in this world when Christ Jesus returns as King of kings and Lord of lords for those disciples who received the spirit of God in this world, and the second outside of the physical creation for those human persons who were neither born of spirit nor filled with spirit while they lived physically in this world …
It has never been the will of God that the majority of humanity perishes because this majority was not Israel. It has always been the will of God that all be saved, even when knowing that not all could be saved; for if an angel created perfect in all aspects couldn’t remain perfect, it wasn’t likely that all of humanity consigned to disobedience would rebel against disobedience and turn to righteousness. It was more likely that only a tithe of humanity could be gathered to God, this tithe belonging to God from the beginning.
The Christian who doesn’t tithe for whatever reason doesn’t understand the justification for the tithe.
"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."