Divorce and Remarriage
The position paper of The Philadelphia Church concerning divorce and remarriage shall be a guideline for local fellowships addressing the question of whether previously divorced disciples need to separate from current spouses when entering fellowship. This position paper shall not be considered a definitive statement concerning whether divorce should occur.
No one is merely a Christian outwardly through professing with one’s mouth that Jesus is Lord or God—through mumbling the Sinners’ Prayer—but a Christian is one inwardly who has been circumcised of heart and mind, with the heart cleansed by faith before spiritual circumcision. The benchmark for circumcision by faith is the faith displayed by the patriarch Abraham prior to his physical circumcision (Rom 4:11-12). This faith caused Abraham to obey “when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise” (Heb 11:8-9). Moving from physical to spiritual, the faith Abraham displayed while still uncircumcised would cause a 1st-Century Hellenist convert to cease living as a Greek: the Hellenist who began to abstain from things offered to idols, from meats strangled, from blood, from sexual immorality (Acts 15:19-21) spiritually journeyed from the mental landscape, customs, and practices of his or her nativity to an unfamiliar land of promise. That Hellenist journeyed spiritually as far as Abraham journeyed geographically. And this same quality of faith will cause the endtime disciple—a person recently drawn from the world by the Father (John 6:44, 65)—to spiritually journey to Judea, a mental landscape unknown to the person, a landscape in which the disciple will dwell as a stranger living in a tent of flesh. The person will live as a spiritual Judean, keeping the Sabbaths of God, keeping the precepts of the law, doing those things that will make the person a Jew inwardly, circumcised by Spirit, not by the letter of the law.
The Christian who by faith keeps the precepts of the law (Rom 2:26-29) and the Observant Jew who by faith professes that Jesus is Lord (Rom 10:6-9) are both inwardly standing on the foundation that Paul laid in heavenly Jerusalem (1 Cor 3:10-11). They stand together, and they will inherit together—and none other will inherit as firstfruits, for there is no other foundation for the house of God but the one Paul laid in the heavenly city whose founder and builder is God.
The Psalmist identified the Promised Land of Canaan as God’s rest (Ps 95:10-11), which the nation that left Egypt could not enter on the following day despite acknowledging its sin (Num 14:40-45).
God rested on the seventh day (cf. Heb 4:4-5; Gen 2:1-3). No other day reflects His rest. Therefore, the rest that couldn’t be entered on the following day [i.e., ancient Canaan] is analogous to, or forms the visible representation and shadow of the invisible rest that remains for the people of God (Heb 4:9). The visible reveals the invisible (Rom 1:20) as the physical precedes the spiritual (1 Cor 15:46). Thus, ancient Canaan forms the visible, geographical representation of the invisible weekly Sabbath, a mental topography entered on the seventh day by fully focusing the thoughts of the mind and the desires of the heart on the things of God. Under the old written code, the hand and the body of the Israel rested on the Sabbath, but under the Second Covenant, the laws of God are written on the heart and placed in the mind. Murder, done with the hand, moves to anger, a desire of the heart (Matt 5:21-22); adultery, done with the body, moves to lust, a thought of the mind (vv. 27-28). So keeping the Sabbath commandment under the Second Covenant will cause the disciple to put aside the cares of the world on the seventh day, and turn his or her mind toward God. Under the Second Covenant, the Sabbath does not move from the seventh day to the eighth day, but moves inward to cause not just the hand and body to rest from their mundane labors, but also the heart and the mind to cease being concerned about the needs of the flesh.
Because God’s rest is visually represented by the Promised Land of Canaan and invisibly represented by the weekly Sabbath, the spiritual journeys of disciples can be tracked: when a convert leaves the mental landscape of his or her nativity, the convert leaves the world—the kingdom of Babylon—and begins a journey toward spiritual Judea. The journey of every disciple begins in Babylon, the Ur of the Chaldeans where the patriarch Abraham’s journey began. Unfortunately, most self-professing Christians remain in spiritual Babylon as most of natural Israel remained in physical Babylon when Cyrus, king of Persia, sent a remnant of Israel under Sheshbazzar back to Jerusalem to rebuild the house of God. Most Christians never mentally leave this world, but remain a part of it as they try to improve Satan’s reign over the kingdom of the world.
Leaving Babylon and beginning the spiritual journey towards God’s rest requires leaving behind the things of Babylon: voting, holding political office, being part of a military service, gaining great wealth, protesting war or abortion or public corruption. The Roman and Greek Churches have been, and remain part of this world, with the Vatican recognized as a city-state. Likewise, Evangelical Churches are deeply involved in politics, and have been dubbed America’s Religious Right. Only Anabaptist fellowships, Sabbatarian and Eighth-day, separated themselves from spiritual Babylon and remain somewhat separate.
The Remnant of spiritually circumcised Israel that left spiritual Babylon—this Remnant was foreshadowed by natural Israelites that returned to physical Jerusalem during the reign of Cyrus—escaped in the 16th-Century under the umbrella labeled “Radical Reformers.” This Remnant was not theologically unified; it was politically impotent; and it needed geographical lands into which it could flee. But this Remnant can be identified through two tenets: adult baptism, and political separation. Thus, the Remnant’s progress from Babylon to spiritual Judea is seen by when a remnant of the Radicals returned to keeping the weekly Sabbath—in each generation, only a remnant of the previous remnant spiritually continued on toward the heavenly city. The journey of faith has never been for the many that have been called, but rather, this journey has always been continued by the selected few (Matt 22:14).
Getting to Judea, however, doesn’t locate that remnant of the Remnant which left Babylon in heavenly Jerusalem: returning to keeping the Sabbath merely equates to crossing a spiritual Jordan River. Climbing to Jerusalem occurred when a remnant of Sabbatarian Anabaptists again came before God on the High Sabbaths in the first half of the 20th-Century—and there, just inside the city, that remnant stopped to build itself many spiritual houses, as did the natural remnant in the days of the prophet Haggai. The many houses are named, with each name ending in “Church of God.” They are all built of the same prophetic error and arrogance that typified the man who first led a remnant into the heavenly city, and they are all addressed by the words of the Lord, delivered by Haggai:
Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house [of the Lord] lies in ruin? Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. (Hag 1:4-6)
In every generation, the journey towards God’s heavenly rest has been continued by a remnant of the previous remnant all the way back to that original Radical Remnant that left Babylon after twelve centuries of spiritual captivity (325 CE to 1525 CE). And nothing will change between today and the middle of the seven endtime years of tribulation, when Satan will go after a remnant of the offspring of the Woman (Rev 12:17). Many are called to do a work, but few will be chosen. Few will continue the journey necessary to cleanse hearts by faith. The many will stop to rest, never to start again. They are fearful of continuing on. The giant Obedience looms larger and larger the closer they get to Jerusalem. And they know that they will rebel against God as soon as they get courage to do so. For now, though, they will go along, biding their time, waiting for the opportunity to rejoin the world. They feel good about what they will do when the time is right. After all, most everyone agrees with them.
Work commenced on rebuilding the house of God in the heavenly city when a thrice removed remnant of Sabbatarian Anabaptists returned to typological exegesis. That work is this work.
Today, most Anabaptists dwell in spiritual Babylon. They are the Remnant’s generational descendants who have journeyed nowhere. The Apostle Paul said that “not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring” (Rom 9:6-7), but it is through only Isaac, the son of promise, not the son of flesh, that the offspring of Abraham will come. Paul said elsewhere that the natural descendants of Abraham are the offspring of disobedience, the offspring of slavery, the children of present day Jerusalem (Gal 4:21-31), not the heavenly city whose designer and founder is God (Heb 11:8-10). And here the allegory Paul constructed can be extended: not all Anabaptists are Anabaptist disciples, for many Anabaptists have not cleansed their hearts by faith. They have remained in spiritual Haran, a part of Assyria, the geographical territory representing death. They are spiritually dead. Worse, those who are alive constitute part of the hated son Esau, still in the womb of Isaac [Rebekah’s womb is Isaac’s womb], without either good or evil presently being reckoned for or against this hated son, still under Grace.
When the Father draws a person from the world (John 6:44, 65) by giving the person the earnest of the Holy Spirit [Pneuma ’Agion or Breath Holy], the person is born anew, or born again, or born from above, or born of Spirit—all euphemistic expressions for the person receiving actual life in the heavenly realm, this life domiciled in a perishable tent of flesh. The Father did not consult with the person beforehand. As a human infant is not asked whether he or she wants to be born, a spiritual infant (a son of God) is not asked whether he wanted to be born. Birth came because God the Father wanted it so, not because the person made a decision for Christ. Spiritual birth is something done to the person—and once made spiritually alive, the infant son of God must choose life or death while still naïve; must choose before the crucified, but still living old self corrupts the spiritual child; must choose before deceit and guile poison the child of God. And once a choice is made on the person’s day of salvation, Christ Jesus sculpts the person into a vessel for honored usage if the child chose life, or into a vessel of wrath prepared for destruction if the child chose death. Free will ends once the person chooses life or death. From that point on, God honors the person’s choice by making the person, a vessel of living clay, into a vessel of His choice. He hardens whomever He wills; has mercy on whomever He wills, with His will being in accord with the will of the person on his or her day of salvation. And this understanding represents the culmination of knowledge that two millennia of discussion and debate about free will versus predestination could not produce.
The beauty of the above is that most Anabaptists have never journeyed anywhere beyond the land of their nativity, have never cleansed their hearts by faith, have never had their hearts and minds spiritually circumcised, and still have their day of salvation before them. Although they live physically, they are spiritually lifeless. But until the Father draws them from Babylon, they will vigorously insist that they are contending for the faith once delivered … but delivered when? With the Nicene Creed? The Anabaptist who uses the Nicene Creed as the basis for his or her belief might as well be Catholic; for it was at the Council of Nicea when the Father formally delivered the Church to the king of Babylon in the same way that Paul ordered the saints at Corinth to deliver the man who had his father’s wife “to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his Spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord” (1 Cor 5:5). God delivered Israel to the Adversary for the destruction of the flesh. The wages of sin is death, the ultimate destruction of the flesh. Whereas God had consigned spiritually lifeless humanity to disobedience [to the Adversary] so that He could have mercy on all (Rom 11:32), God delivered spiritually alive Israel to the spiritual king of Babylon (Isa 14:4-21) so that He could have mercy on whomever He will (Rom 9:18). And there are two sons in the womb of Isaac, one hated, one loved while still in the womb. God will have mercy on the son He loves. The hated son is a son of destruction to be endured for a season.
The Apostle Paul writes Timothy that “if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy” (2 Tim 2:21). Contrary to what Evangelical Christianity teaches, it is not Christ that cleanses a person’s heart. It’s faith that cleanses. And faith without action is dead rhetoric. The faith that cleanses causes the disciple to make a spiritual journey away from what is dishonorable, and that includes away from trying to enter God’s rest on the eighth day. Thus, the faith that will cleanse a heart will cause the person who grew up in an eighth day fellowship to spiritually trek to Judea where he or she will live as a Judean, keeping the precepts of the law and entering God’s rest on the Sabbath. This person will not fear the giant Obedience.
When the Apostle Paul constructs the allegory of Hagar and Sarah, he modifies the correspondence that Jesus used to confound the Sadducees (Matt 22:29-33), a correspondence concealed through translation: to the Sadducees, Jesus cited Scripture as translated in the Septuagint, thus making Theos the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But to the Pharisees a few minutes later, Jesus quoted from the Hebrew, orally rendering the Tetragrammaton YHWH as Adonai. Matthew hears the first line of Psalm 110 as, Adonai said to my Adoni, and translates both Adonai and Adoni as Kurios [Lord]. If Jesus would have uttered the Tetragrammaton to the Sadducees, Matthew would have recorded Jesus’ utterance as Kurios rather than Theos.
Paul reveals that he understands what Jesus said to the Sadducees and Pharisees two days before Jesus was betrayed—God the Father is the God of living Abraham, living Isaac, and living Jacob, no one else, just as Theos, who came as His Son, His only, was the God of physical Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And as Theos was not the God of physical Babylonia or Egypt, Assyria or Greece, the Father is not the God worshiped in spiritual Babylon. As Theos was not the God of Ishmael or Esau, both circumcised descendants of Abraham, the Father is not the God of spiritual Ishmael or of the hated son of promise, spiritual Esau. He is only the God of disciples of Christ Jesus, men and women whom He has made spiritually alive through receipt of His divine Breath [Pneuma ’Agion]. The glorified Jesus will only give life (John 5:21) to those disciples of His—already made alive by the Father through being born of Spirit—whom He knows (Matt 7:21-23) and judges worthy upon His return (1 Cor 4:5); for the spiritual life given by the Father temporarily dwells in tents of flesh.
So that there is no misunderstanding: All who will be glorified (made alive by Christ Jesus) at Christ’s return are first made alive by the Father through being born of Spirit, and all who will be glorified are only of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with Jacob’s birth through empowerment by the Holy Spirit occurring at the beginning of the seven endtime years of tribulation. Paul identifies disciples from the 1st-Century onward as being of living Isaac. Disciples who will be of living Abraham come from Observant Judaism during the first half of the seven endtime years.
What Paul understood was that every person is spiritually dead (having no life in the heavenly realm) until the Father draws the person from the world (John 6:44) through giving the person the earnest of spiritual life, this “earnest” of the Spirit being real spiritual life in the heavenly realm, but spiritual life domiciled in a tent of flesh. What both the lawyer (Luke 10:25) and the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18) asked Jesus was what must they do to inherit everlasting life; both knew that according to Scripture, humankind did not have immortal souls, but must receive as an inheritance immortal life. Both knew [as Paul did] that the mortal tent of flesh must put on immortality; the perishable must become imperishable. And here is where spiritual understanding is required: unless the mortal puts on immortality—unless Jesus gives life to the tent of flesh—even the spiritual life given by the Father will be lost in the lake of fire, the second death.
Jesus is the last Adam, a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor 15:45). The first Adam was the physical type of the spiritual last Adam (Rom 5:14). And as no physical life preceded the first Adam (Gen 2:4-9), no spiritual life here on earth preceded the last Adam.
The great men of old had the promise of everlasting life, but they never received that life. Their promise waits being fulfilled. But the better promise that came to the Second Covenant (Deu 29-31) when the Covenant’s mediator changed from Moses to Christ Jesus is that age-lasting life is given prior to demonstrated obedience and physical death. However, the age ends upon Christ Jesus’ return. He must, upon His return, continue the age-lasting life that the Father has given to Jesus’ disciples by turning mortal flesh into immortal spirit, or the disciple will perish in the lake of fire. And those disciples who teach lawlessness already have had their judgments revealed: they will perish, regardless of the mighty works they did in Jesus’ name (Matt 7:21-23).
Since Jesus’ Ascension, the waters of humanity have been divided (Gen 1:6-8). Those human beings the Father has drawn from this world have received actual life in the heavenly realm. The rest of humanity remains spiritually dead, having neither an immortal soul that needs regeneration, or the promise of spiritual life prior to the great White Throne Judgment. There is nothing any one of these human beings can do to compel God to give the person spiritual life … making a decision for Christ only causes the person to have a false sense of hope that will ultimately prove harmful to the person. Thus, the churches of Christendom are mostly filled with spiritual corpses, a fact painfully evident to many pastors.
Every person receives physical breath when born of the water of the womb. This breathing creature is of the first Adam, and will not be of the last Adam until born of Spirit, an action that depends upon the Father giving the person His Breath. Thus, when this breathing creature that remains a spiritual corpse marries another breathing creature, also of the first Adam only, God has no input into the marriage; for God consigned all of humankind to disobedience (Rom 11:32) when the first Adam was driven from the garden (Gen 3:22-24) before the man could eat of the Tree of Life. Literally, God gave humankind over to Satan so that He could have mercy upon whom He will have mercy, with mercy eventually being extended to all who are not firstfruits in the great White Throne Judgment, this mercy being a second birth through resurrection from death. Judgment comes after death (Heb 9:27), but the dead know nothing (Eccl 9:5). So judgment does not come until the person is born a second time through receipt of the divine Breath of the Father. Therefore, a person must be born of water [of the first Adam] and of Spirit [of the last Adam] before the person can see the kingdom of God (John 3:3-8) or understand the spiritual things of God (Rom 8:7).
It is the inability to understand the things of God until born of Spirit that has plagued Christendom; for within a generation or two, the children of early Greek converts gained control of Christianity—and the only journey these children undertook was back towards spiritual Babylon. They did not journey beyond the mental landscape of their nativity, but rather, they dumped the junk of Platonism into Christianity. In their wisdom, they returned to being Greek fools.
Until a person is born of Spirit, the person is hostile to the things of God, and indeed, cannot keep the Commandments of God (Rom 8:7). In fact, the carnally or naturally minded person will label those disciples who, by faith, keep the precepts of the law as legalists, a moniker that every disciple who would be of endtime Israel will bear … again, wisdom is required to understand that two sons are presently struggling in the womb of the last Eve, spiritual Zion, also spiritual Isaac [with God, there is neither male nor female]. Zion that will bring forth a nation in a day (Isa 66:7-8); she will bring forth children, two sons, one hated by God, one loved but deceitful (Rom 9:10-13). And it is this hated son that labels his righteous brother as a legalist.
Both the hated son and the loved son are—because they have not yet been born through empowerment by the Holy Spirit—presently under Grace, the righteousness of Christ Jesus that every disciple wears as a cloak that conceals the disciple’s sins from the Father and from angels. But a sin concealed by Christ’s righteousness is known by Christ Jesus, to whom the Father has given all judgment. And the Father knows whether the disciple as a son of His strives to live by His laws, or whether this son rejects these commandments, believing that since Jesus fulfilled the law, the disciple is under no obligation to live by the laws written on his or her heart and mind through receipt of the Holy Spirit; believing that the disciple has nothing to do but hear the words of Jesus; believing that the disciple does not have to live by every word uttered by the Father, these words delivered by Jesus as either the Logos [Theos] or as the only Son of the Logos. It is not hard to understand why this disciple is part of the hated son, spiritual Esau. Nor is it difficult to understand why the garment of Grace must be stripped from the Body of the Son of Man when the seven endtime years of tribulation begin: through empowerment by the Holy Spirit, the Son of Man, Head and Body, will be revealed (Luke 17:30) to make known to the third part of humankind (Zech 13:7-9) the distinction between the hated son and the beloved son.
The “Christian” who does not by faith keep the precepts of the law (Rom 2:26) does not value either his inheritance or his birthright as a spiritual Israelite enough to strive for the promise of entering into God’s rest. This disciple can utter many words against legalists; he or she can profess great love for the Father and the Son; but this disciple really loves disobedience, and the prince of disobedience. The god he or she worships is the Adversary, who could care less about the disciple once this disciple mentally rebels against God through choosing death on his or her day of salvation. This “Christian” is of spiritual Esau even though he or she remains in the womb of Grace.
Today, all disciples are of Isaac, but with some hated and some loved prior to the birth of spiritual Esau and spiritual Jacob. When the seven endtime years begin, Zion will give birth to these two sons of promise, one rejected as the natural son of Abraham was rejected; one accepted, but through much tribulation. And God (because he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) does not enter into the marriages made between dead tents of flesh, for death ends a marriage (Rom 7:1-3)—and death before life functions as death after life.
A radical concept, death before life—the person who, during his or her lifetime, never knew God has no sin reckoned against the person (Rom 5:13) even though the person has died; thus, this person has earned no wages for sin (Rom 6:23) for this person was never “alive.” And without having sin reckoned against this person because of his or her absence of life, then this person can marry and divorce and marry again as the person wills. God enters into none of these marriages of the dead who bury their dead, or of the dead who eat and drink, marry and give in marriage as humankind was doing until the day Noah entered Ark. To put God into the marriages of the dead is to make God the Theos of Babylonia, whereas God says that He is the Theos of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The Christian, now, who never knew God and has never been born of Spirit remains as spiritually dead as the person who never heard the name “Jesus of Nazareth.” But how is anyone to know if that person who warms a pew every Sabbath or Sunday has been born, or not born of Spirit?
The lawless disciple who condemns as legalists those disciples who by faith keep the precepts of the law presents prima facie evidence against him or herself having been born of Spirit. But is this evidence adequate to state that God has not entered into the lawless disciple’s marriage to bind it in the heavenly realm … again, no marriage made between human beings God has not called is bound by God. Those human beings remain the property of Satan until the Father draws one or more of them from the world.
Therefore, for positional clarity: marriages made between individuals who have not been born of Spirit are not bound by God, but by the vows taken by the individuals. Death ends these vows, as does civil law even though these vows might have been made to a deity the person did not know.
The Ark of Noah formed a physical separation between the dead and the living; the Ark of the Covenant forms a physical and a spiritual separation between the dead and the living. No natural Israelite dwelt inside the Ark of the Covenant, a wood structure that housed the two tablets of stone, the jar of manna, and Aaron’s budded staff. All of natural Israel was dead (i.e., spiritually lifeless) as was all of humanity physically dead except for the eight who entered Noah’s Ark … understand well, throughout the century spent building the Ark, Noah’s neighbors were dead meat that still breathed—they were dead when they “took as their wives any they chose” (Gen 6:2).
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. (Gen 6:5-8)
For the sake of Noah, God does not immediately kill all whom He had condemned to death. But every person, living a life numbered in hundreds of years, was as good as dead, for not one would be allowed into the Ark. Not Noah’s beautiful young neighbor, nor Noah’s talented second cousin, nor any of the mighty men of renown. Every one of these men [and women] was dead even though they continued to walk around for a century. They were dead because God drove Adam from the garden before he could eat of the Tree of Life; they were dead because Adam had not covered his nakedness with obedience; they were dead because they grieved God that he had made adam [lower case “a”].
The Ark of the Covenant, carried by poles on the shoulders of Levites, the natural sons of Abraham, formed the type of the spiritual Ark of the Covenant that is within every disciple. Instead of the laws of God inscribed by the finger of God on two tablets of stone, these same laws are inscribed on two tablets of flesh [the heart and the mind] by the soft Breath of the Father. Instead of an earthenware jar of manna, Jesus as the reality of the bread that came down from heaven resides in the heart and mind of disciples. Instead of a budded staff, every disciple has within him or herself the promise of resurrection. And as the Book of Deuteronomy lay on the outside of the Ark of the Covenant as a witness against Israel, the Book of Deuteronomy remains outside of the disciple as a witness against him or her (cf. John 5:45-47; Deu 31:25-29).
God claims all firstborns of Israel as His own, but He took the descendants of the tribe of Levi “from among the people of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb” (Num 3:12). The Levites belonged to God to do with as He pleased in lieu of all firstborns: ‘“On the day that I struck down all the firstborns in the land of Egypt, I [YHWH] consecrated for my own all the firstborn in Israel, both of man and beast. They are mine: I am the Lord’” (v. 13) … when the firstborns of Egypt were slain, the firstborns of Israel lived because of the blood of the Passover lamb smeared on the doorposts and lintels of the houses of Israel in Egypt. They lived because the death angel passed over their sin, covered by blood. They lived because the plagues had made a separation or distinction between Egypt and Israel, but in the wilderness of Paran, the home of Ishmael, the unbelief of the firstborn natural son of God (Exod 4:22) slew the men counted in the census (Num 1:2-3), except for Joshua and Caleb (Num 14:28-30).
God took the descendants of Levi as the firstborn sons of His firstborn natural son; thus, the natural nation of Israel is to God as Ishmael was to Abraham. This is the basis for the allegory Paul creates in his epistle to the Galatians. And the Levites were to God as Nebaioth was to Abraham (Gen 25:13). But Abraham did not know Nebaioth, who was born outside the boundaries of the Promised Land, God’s rest, and who remained all of his days outside these boundaries (Gen 25:18). Likewise, God really didn’t know the Levitical priesthood, which caused Israel to rebel against God. In the same way Jesus will tell, upon the revealing of their judgments, teachers of iniquity, “‘“I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’”” (Matt 7:23). Nebaioth serves as an antetype of today’s Evangelical theologians.
The sons of Ishmael were twelve princes; the sons of Jacob were twelve patriarchs; the Apostles as sons of God are twelve stars … God was with Ishmael (Gen 21:20), but YHWH Elohim does not claim to be the God of Ishmael. Likewise, God was with Jacob, but Jacob never knew the Father; he only knew Yah. And the spiritual descendants of the twelve Apostles have, by their unbelief, rebelled against the Father.
Wisdom is here required: the Apostle Peter said that since Calvary, disciples “are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his [God’s] own possession” (1 Pet 2:9). As natural Israel was the holy nation of God (Exod 19:5-6), the firstborn physical son of Yah [Theos], disciples collectively as the Church are now the holy nation of the Father [Theon]. And as Yah took the tribe of Levi to serve Him in lieu of taking the firstborns of all Israel, the Father has taken the Radical Remnant that left spiritual Babylon in the 16th-Century to spiritually serve in the temple of God as the Levites served in the physical temple. A bold claim? Yes, but not too bold to be true. However, it is a claim that spiritually circumcised Israelites who have remained in Babylon will find difficult to accept; for those disciples still in Babylon fear even the shadow of the Sabbath, the least of the commandments (Matt 5:19) that spiritually circumcised Israelites will keep. Those Israelites who have remained in Babylon are an extremely fearful people; they are cowards who will not enter into God’s rest when the promise of entering stands before them. They refuse to present their members to God as instruments for righteousness; therefore, they have removed themselves from the cloak of Grace and remain under the law, condemned by that old written code they deny (Rom 6:12-14) … understand what Paul writes: sin has no dominion over the disciple so there is no excuse for a disciple presenting his or her members to sin as instrument for unrighteousness. Thus, when a disciple deliberately sins by attempting to enter God’s rest on the following day, the 8th day, that disciple has presented him or herself to sin as its willing servant; this disciple has shed the garment of Grace and stands naked before the law, condemned by his or her unbelief. And though this disciple will insist that he or she is not under the law, but under Grace, the disciple lies to him or herself because of whom the disciple serves. The disciple does not serve God, but the king of Babylon.
Hence, not all of the Radical Remnant was/is of the Remnant that keeps the commandments and has the spirit of prophecy (cf. Rev 12:17; 19:10), just as not all of Israel is of Israel. Most of the Radical Remnant is of Babylon, a fact evidenced by when the disciple enters or attempts to enter God’s rest.
Whereas Anabaptist disciples are spiritual Levites, it is Sabbatarian Anabaptists who keep the commandments and have the spirit of prophecy. Sabbatarian Anabaptists form the seven named churches of Revelation chapters 2 and 3. In topology, this Remnant that keeps the commandments is the reality of the seven pair of clean animals and single pair of every other species that entered the Ark with the Eight, a type of Christ Jesus and the angels to the seven churches. The seven named churches are foreshadowed by the seven pair of clean animals, and foreshadowed by Joshua, son of Nun. The single pair of every other species is a type of those endtime disciples who leave the hated son, spiritual Esau, to join with the seven named churches as Caleb joined with Israel prior to the Passover liberation of the natural nation from physical bondage. Caleb was of Esau. And the Remnant of the Woman’s Offspring will lead the third part of humanity (Zech 13:9), born of Spirit halfway through the seven endtime years, as the Lamb of God will lead the 144,000 (Rev 14:1-5) during these same last three and half years; thus, this Remnant will be empowered by the Spirit as the two witnesses were empowered through their 1260 day ministry in the first half of the Tribulation. This Remnant will also have a 1260 day ministry, during which it leads the third part of humanity to glory as Joshua and Caleb led Israel across the Jordan and into the Promised Land of God’s rest; the third part’s victory will be won by patiently enduring to the end, not by the sword.
All of the above is truth that the one who would teach the Remnant of the Woman’s Offspring will acknowledge. The teacher of spiritual Israel who does not acknowledge the above is true does not build on the foundation Paul laid in the heavenly city. This teacher will die either physically or spiritually during the first 1260 days of the Tribulation so that he or she cannot teach error to the third part of humanity who is today hostile to God. Therefore, the problem of divorce remains to be unraveled: since Anabaptist disciples are spiritual Levites, separated from Christianity as the descendants of Levi were separated from natural Israel, then do the additional restrictions placed upon the marriages of Levites pertain to the Remnant? The answer has to be, in principle, yes—and here is the difficulty: most “Christians” are as spiritually common or unclean as anyone in the world. They are not holy; they have not cleansed their hearts. Their hearts have not been circumcised. They are Christian in name only, and a person of the Remnant should not marry one.
The above is especially problematic when second generation Christians—young people who have been reared in households that profess Jesus is Lord and keep the precepts of the law—become involved with other second generation Christians. Most often, neither young person has journeyed beyond where the parents journeyed; neither have by faith cleansed his or her heart. They are as the rich young ruler was (Luke 18). Thus, they are sanctified but spiritually dead as an unconverted mate of a disciple is sanctified yet spiritually dead. God has entered into the household through the one who is a disciple, but no person can compel God to give the Holy Spirit [His divine Breath] to another person other than by the covenant already in place. No person can make another person spiritually alive before the great endtime harvests of God. The Holy Spirit is not automatically received after baptism; rather, the baptism God recognizes is of the person who has been made alive through spiritual birth, and this baptism is unto judgment. Baptism of the person who has not yet been born of Spirit merely causes the person to get wet … in the endtime Church, baptism is probably the most misunderstood sacrament. Yet it inevitably forms the basis for whether one disciple should marry another.
Prior to physical Israel being baptized with Spirit [Pneuma ’Agion] (Acts 2), the divine Breath of God had to be directly transferred to each Israelite, as in Jesus breathing on ten of His disciples (John 20:22). But following Israel being baptized with Spirit, direct transfer was no longer required—and is not seen when the three thousand were baptized on that day of Pentecost following Calvary. Likewise, prior to Gentiles being baptized with Spirit, the divine Breath of God had to be directly transferred to each Gentile, as seen by Peter and John laying hands on Samarians (Acts 8:15-17) because the divine Breath of God had not fallen on any of them. But once Cornelius was baptized by the Spirit—the household of Cornelius is comparable to the 120 gathered on Pentecost—baptism followed receipt of the Holy Spirit for Jews and Gentiles, with the twelve who had been baptized with the baptism of John forming a third category, the shadow or type of the endtime 144,000 who will be empowered by the Holy Spirit following repentance [the baptism of John], and following professing that Jesus is Lord and believing that God raised Jesus from the dead [baptism in the name of Jesus] (Rom 10:6-9). The 144,000 will receive the Holy Spirit without direct transfer during the first half of the seven endtime years. These 144,000 empowered natural Israelites, escaping through the split Mount of Olives and following Jesus wherever He leads, correspond to the third part of humanity that will be born of Spirit when the Holy Spirit is poured out on all flesh halfway through the seven endtime years.
Since baptism is not generally understood, the assumption has been that once a young person is baptized and has lands laid on the individual, he or she has received the Holy Spirit and is “fair game” for every other baptized disciple. Thus, many, many marriages between second generation Christians have seen the same problems as marriages made in the world between spiritually dead persons. No evidence exists of one or the other or either party having the Holy Spirit. Within the marriage, the carnality of each person becomes apparent. And Church pastors, themselves in similar relationships, spend much of their time counseling Christians who have never cleansed their hearts; have never been spiritually circumcised. Yet the counseling given usually rests on the assumption that the failing marriage is between individuals with the Spirit of God.
The evidence that second generation Christians, for the most part, have not made journeys of sufficient length to cleanse hearts is these second generation Christians themselves. And the schools and colleges that cater to second or third or seventh generation Christians teach these young people how to mask their carnality with the language of discipleship. All of the appropriate words are uttered with conviction, but the Christian deportment of these generational Christians too often conceals addictions, alcoholism, spousal abuse, incest, and general depravity.
Add to the above, when a person is born of Spirit the person becomes an infant son of God—and spiritually behaves as a human infant physically behaves. When two infant sons of God marry, infantile spiritual behavior is inevitable: spiritual infants throw spiritual temper tantrums that cause God to intervene in ways that affect both parties in the marriage. And a person can see why the Apostle Paul wished that all disciples were as he was (1 Cor 7:7), able to live complete as a single individual.
If a disciple cannot be sure of whether another disciple has been born of Spirit, the disciple has no business even considering becoming involved with the other person, regardless of the physical qualities of the other person. If second generation Christians have learned to use the jargon of Christendom to mask carnality, then the utterances of these second generation Christians cannot be accepted at face value, but must be tested against demonstrated behavior—and where behavior raises doubts about the person having been born of Spirit, no marriage should even be considered. Additionally, no evidence that a journey of faith has been undertaken is prima facie evidence that the person does not have the Holy Spirit, but has merely learned to give to the ministry appropriate answers and to ask appropriate questions … when a fellowship is reduced to baptizing its own children generation after generation [as is primarily the case with Seventh-Day Baptists], the fellowship is spiritually dead.
Birth by Spirit causes a mostly invisible separation from the world to occur: it produces the condition of the flesh becoming the Ark of the Covenant, with the infant son of God living inside this Ark while all that is outside this Ark is dead. Therefore, disciples are not to love the world or the things of this world, which includes the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes (1 John 2:15-16).
Marriage between a man and a woman, with the two becoming one flesh, is the visible, physical type of YHWH Elohim, in which Elohim is the regular plural of Eloah: God [El as in El Shaddai — Gen 17:1] plus Breath [“ah” represents nearly universal icon for aspirated or vocalized breath]. Thus, Elohim deconstructs to (God + Breath) + (God + Breath), with the multiple undetermined. The Tetragrammaton YHWH, however, gives the multiple: YHWH deconstructs to /YH/ plus /WH/, with the radical /YH/ being Yah, the God of the patriarchs, the Logos who was Theos, born as the man Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:1-3, 14; 3:16). So translating the Tetragrammon into Greek [Roman characters used], YHWH would become (Theos + Pneuma) plus (Theon + Pneuma), with the two separate divine Breaths being seen in Paul’s epistle of the Romans (Rom 8:9, 11). Therefore, marriage between a man and a woman forms the lively shadow of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with the one in the helpmate position creating the physical universe and interacting with human beings. This relationship that is characterized by Adam and Eve being of one flesh and by the descendants of Adam and Eve joining together in marriage can only be broken in the heavenly realm by death, the way it was in the beginning before the first human was created. And this relationship was dissolved by death when Theos divested Himself of his divinity and entered His creation as His Son, His only Son. Theos as the helpmate of Theon was no more; rather, He became the beloved Son of Theon when the Breath of the Father descended as a dove (Matt 3:16-17). The new relationship was that of Father and Son, thereby opening a position [Gr: topos] that allows the glorified Christ Jesus to marry.
A man does not, however, marry his own body; thus, before the glorified Christ marries His Bride, He must separate from His Body, which the Father delivers into the hand of the man of perdition, the lawless one, for three and a half years [the first half of the seven endtime years of tribulation]. The Father turns His hand against two parts of the little ones (cf. Zech 13:7-8; Dan 7:25; 2 Thess 2:3-10). But Jesus will not separate from His Body without sending the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, in full measure, thus liberating His disciples from indwelling sin and death as natural Israel was liberated from physical bondage to Pharaoh. His disciples will be as He was while on earth—and it will become His disciples’ responsibility not to take sin back into themselves, even if that means physically dying as He died. And except for a remnant (Rev 12:17) all of His disciples will be martyred or will return to sin as a dog returns to its vomit … those who return to sin constitute the great falling away. They will come under a delusion that prevents them from repenting (2 Thess 2:11-12), and they will die in the spiritual realm while still living physically.
The principle is that since marriage represents a relationship in the heavenly realm that could only be dissolved by death, marriage in the physical realm should also only be dissolved by death—and this will be the case throughout the thousand year long reign of Christ Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords. Every person will then be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Every person will have actual life in the heavenly realm. There will be no indwelling of sin and death within a person. Christ Jesus will not bear the sins of anyone. Every person will be covered by his or her obedience, not the garment of Grace.
Human nature as it is presently perceived is the production of the Adversary’s broadcast of rebellion (Eph 2:2-3); human nature is a received nature. Thus, when the Holy Spirit has been poured out onto all flesh, causing even the predatory natures of lions, wolves, and bears to change (Isa 11:6-9), human nature will become the nature of Christ Jesus; every person will receive the mind of Christ. So divorce should never be necessary, and will not be seen until Satan is loosed for a short while after the thousand years.
Satan, however, is loose now; he remains in place as the defeated prince of this world. And most of humanity has not yet been born of Spirit, let alone empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is, therefore, unreasonable to hold human beings consigned to disobedience to the standard of God. Moses allowed Israel, due to the hardness of Israel’s hearts, to divorce. The Church needs to allow the world to marry and divorce as it pleases, not holding against the person God draws from the world through spiritual birth the mistakes made while consigned to disobedience. Therefore, as a binding principle for The Philadelphia Church, marriages made and ended prior to spiritual birth do not effect the marital status of the newly born of Spirit disciple.
The house of God is built on the foundation that the Apostle Paul laid in the heavenly city of Jerusalem (1 Cor 3:10-11), and Paul writes, concerning principles for marriage, that because of the temptation to sexual immorality—temptation originating from hormonal control of the thoughts of the mind and desires of the heart—each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband (1 Cor 7:2), with each giving to the other conjugal dues. Paul goes on to say that as a concession towards what the saints at Corinth wrote to Paul, he wished that all were as he then was, single and not tempted by the things of the flesh. He also says that this is not a command (vv. 6-8).
As a concession to those disciples who are not as mature or as focused as Paul, he says that they should marry, that being married is preferable to being “aflame with passion” (v. 9) … again, the audience to whom Paul writes is disciples, particularly disciples at Corinth. Paul doesn’t write to those who have not been born of Spirit, but to those who are still babes in Christ; to those who are too spiritually immature to handle the meat of the Word of God (1 Cor 3:1-3).
Paul continues by giving to the saints at Corinth the command of Christ Jesus: wives who have been born of Spirit should not separate from husbands who have been born of Spirit, nor should such a husband divorce his wife—again, Paul doesn’t write to the world, or to those Greeks who are not disciples and who do not know the Lord. The spiritually lifeless world is outside of the Ark of the Covenant, and unless the Father draws a person from the world, this dead world will remain spiritually lifeless until the great White Throne Judgment.
As discussed earlier, the assumption has been that every baptized disciple has been born of Spirit. This assumption might be valid for individuals who lived without knowledge of Christ Jesus as Hellenist Greeks lived prior to being drawn from the world, but this assumption is not valid for second generation Christians. Mere knowledge of Christ is not evidence of having been drawn from the world when that knowledge has been obtained from the household in which the person was reared. Nor is baptism that is based upon mere knowledge obtained from parents’ evidence of having been born of Spirit.
A journey of faith must be undertaken, a journey that is the spiritual equivalent of Abraham’s physical journey from Ur to Canaan. The young people who have grown to physical maturity within Christian fellowships journey nowhere if they remain in the fellowship of their parents, even if that fellowship is a Sabbatarian Anabaptist fellowship.
In practical consideration, since no person has yet physically matured in a fellowship of The Philadelphia Church, every person presently attending a Philadelphia fellowship has spiritually journeyed some distance from where he or she was reared. Thus, until sometime in the future, every person in a Philadelphia fellowship can be considered to have made a spiritual journey of faith qualitatively comparable to Abraham’s journey of faith.
Therefore, what Paul writes next to the saints at Corinth is especially important to The Philadelphia Church: if a husband or a wife who enters a Philadelphia fellowship has a spouse that consents to live with the disciple, he or she should not divorce the spouse (1 Cor 7:12). If not previously having entered into the relationship, God enters into the relationship through the disciple who is of Philadelphia.
If, however, the spouse wishes to separate and divorce, a determination will have to be made as to whether the spouse has been born of Spirit. Denial of Christ is prima facie evidence of not being born of Spirit. So the difficulty appears when the spouse that separates professes to be of Christ and born of Spirit … someone with agreed upon authority within the fellowship will have to make the determination of whether the departing spouse displays the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). If the answer is an unqualified no, then both spouses are free to remarry, but the remaining spouse is only free to marry a person who has been born of Spirit.
If a qualification exists—if the person in authority cannot say with conviction that the departing spouse has not been born of Spirit—then the remaining spouse needs to wait to remarry until the behavior of the departing spouse makes evident the presence or absence of the fruit of the Spirit. And while this might present what seems an unreasonable burden on the remaining spouse, the remaining spouse dwells in a tent of flesh better known to the departing spouse than to the pastor or person in authority.
If the separating spouse has been born of Spirit and if the marriage is not lawfully prohibited as in a marriage to a sibling, the marriage is bound and neither spouse is free to remarry, but only to reconcile to the other.
Under the Second Covenant mediated by Moses (Deu 29-31), receipt of a circumcised Heart followed demonstrated obedience by faith (Deu 30:1-2). When the mediator changed from Moses to Christ Jesus, demonstrated obedience by faith was added professing that Jesus is Lord (Rom 10:6-9). Thus, the unconverted spouse of the born of Spirit disciple who keeps the precepts of the law has available an option only otherwise available to Observant Jews, that of receiving spiritual birth through demonstrated obedience by faith followed by professing that Jesus is Lord. This is what it means for an unconverted spouse to be considered holy as the natural firstborn son of God (cf. Exod 4:22; 19:5-6) was considered holy. This is also what it means for the children of the Observant disciple to be considered holy: a journey of faith must still be undertaken, but if undertaken in the name of the Lord, receipt of the Holy Spirit follows.
In the beginning, before humankind was created, the only marriage-type relationship that existed was seen in the relationship expressed by the Tetragrammaton YHWH. This relationship saw the Helpmate, Yah, or the Logos, create the heavens and the earth and all living things. Everything that exists was created by the One represented by the human Woman, including the bridge between this natural realm and the supra-dimensional heavenly realm … with God, there is neither male nor female. Therefore, the relationship between a man and his wife forms a type of the relationship between Theos and Theon when both the man and the woman have been born of Spirit and empowered by the Holy Spirit. But until the man and the woman are born of Spirit, they are as the beasts of the field are (Eccl 3:18-20). Marriage shrinks to being a form of pairing necessary for successful biological reproduction.
Most of Christendom holds the concept that humankind has spiritual life from conception, but this concept of an immortal soul is contrary to Scripture. Spiritual life doesn’t come from sin, but is the gift of God, given once to every person who has drawn breath. To the firstfruits—the early barley harvest—it is given prior to physical death, thereby making necessary the crucifixion of the old self in the still living tent of flesh. To the majority of humankind—the main crop wheat harvest—it is given when the person is resurrected in the great White Throne Judgment. The old self died when the flesh died. The new self is born of Spirit when the flesh is resurrected to receive reward or punishment for those things done in the flesh. And all marriages made in the flesh will have ended when the flesh died. The new self in the Great White Throne Judgment will not be married to anyone, but will be single through the death of the flesh.
The early barley harvest is a type of the latter wheat harvest. Thus, the crucifixion of the old self has the same spiritual implication as the actual death of the flesh. The crucifixion of the old self ends all marriages made in the flesh—but since the flesh did not actually die, the spouse who desires to continue dwelling in marriage to the person born of Spirit now enters into a marriage recognized in the heavenly realm. This marriage will end with either the physical death of one of the partners, or when both are changed in the twinkling of an eye at the last trump.
The disciple born of Spirit is only free to marry another disciple born of Spirit. If the disciple were to marry anyone else, the disciple would be unequally yoked to the world and to disobedience. The marriage is one that should not have occurred.
Once a disciple born of Spirit marries another, the two of them form a union that is recognized by God and a union that can only be broken by death. They form a type of the relationship that formerly existed within the Tetragrammaton YHWH between Theos and Theon, and a type of the relationship that will exist between the glorified Christ Jesus and glorified saints.
Divorce should be discouraged even within the world, but especially so within the Body of Christ. No disciple from another Sabbatarian Anabaptist fellowship gets a free divorce and remarriage certificate when becoming part of a Philadelphia fellowship. Rather, in cases where self-professing disciples separate and are no longer pleased to dwell with one another, a determination must be made as to whether evidence of the fruit of the Spirit is present in one or both of the self-professing disciples, with an appropriate application of the principles Paul expresses in his first epistle to the saints at Corinth applied to the failed marriage.
Some cases will exist where disciples who married prior to both being born of Spirit were joined together with imbedded fraud present. This fraud will place the marriage into the category of should have never occurred, thereby annulling the marriage; for the marriage would not have initially occurred if the defrauded spouse had known what was concealed from him or her. An example would be if one spouse were a closeted homosexual. Even if both spouses are born of Spirit, the defrauded spouse may not wish to continue the marriage, and should be free to marry again, but only in the Lord to another disciple whose life discloses evidence of being born of Spirit. The initial marriage should not be considered bound by God if the defrauded spouse leaves immediately after disclosure of the fraud. If the defrauded party remains in the marriage, the consent of the defrauded spouse will cause the marriage to be bound. A right to divorce cannot be reserved for later use.
Among disciples born of Spirit, separation should be rare and divorce even rarer. Yah divorced natural Israel, but He was not free to marry another until either He or Israel died. He ceased to be [He died] when he left the heavenly realm as His Son, His only Son. Then as His Son, the man Jesus of Nazareth, He died at Calvary, and thereby officially ended the marriage covenant made at Sinai. He had died in both the heavenly realm and in the physical realm. Yet He lives again through having received the divine Breath of the Father, who then—three and a half years later—raised Him from the dead. He defeated death, and He is now free to marry His Bride, who will overcome death with the help of Her Husband.
No disciple who chooses death will enter the kingdom of heaven—and the disciple who chooses death is the disciple who, on his or her day of salvation, determined that he or she did not have to keep the laws of God, but could become the bondservant of sin and still sing praises to God. But once the disciple chooses death Christ Jesus sculpts the person into a vessel of wrath to be endured for a season. The disciple is held to the decision he or she made when the promise of entering into God’s rest still stood. And though Paul told Timothy that if anyone cleansed him of herself from what is dishonorable the person would be made into a vessel for honored usage (2 Tim 2:20-21), what must be grasped is that no person will cleanse the self from what is dishonorable once the person has been sculpted into a vessel intended for dishonorable use.
Only the person born of Spirit who keeps the precepts of the law by faith has truly cleansed the heart. Every other person born of Spirit—with the promise of entering into God’s rest standing open before the person—makes him or herself part of the hated son that is still covered by Grace, and covered until the person is “revealed” in his or her judgment. Then, the disciple who presented his or her members to sin as instruments for disobedience will be condemned by the law that the disciple contended against.
Vessels intended for honored use have no fellowship with vessels created for destruction. Certainly, no vessel intended for honored use should marry a vessel of wrath even though both have been born of Spirit. Therefore, Sabbatarian disciples have no fellowship with 8th-day disciples, and should not marry one. And since the vessel of wrath has been schooled in the language and customs of Christianity, the vessel of wrath must bring forth a harvest of the fruit of the Spirit prior to when any vessel intended for honorable usage considers a relationship with the repentant, former vessel of wrath.
Between born of Spirit disciples, marriage should not be entered into lightly. It will be until death do us part.
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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. All rights reserved."
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 The Seventy used the Greek icons Theos and Theon for the name of God, the /os/ and /on/ being case endings for masculine singular and neuter singular respectively in the nominative case. Jesus said that scholars of His day never understood Scripture even though these scholars knew the words used. For Pharisees in the 1st-Century CE and rabbinical scholars today, the physical creation conceals the things of God, whereas for disciples, the creation reveals the secrets of God. Thus, the Greek case endings concealed from Sadducees and Pharisees what Jesus revealed to His disciples: Theos and Theon are two who functioned as one as if married. Theos is Yah, the Logos or spokesman for Theon as Aaron was the spokesman for Moses. Theos is whom the seventy saw on Mt. Sinai (Exod 24:9-10), whom Abraham met, whom Jacob wrestled, whom David knew—and David revealed in his latter psalms that he knew that Yah was to YHWH as the first and second heavens are to the third heaven. This understanding represents “the key of David” that unlocks all of Scripture.
 The saints at Corinth wrote, ‘“It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman’” (1 Cor 7:1), but Paul disagrees with this fundamentally Greek position that the flesh is evil. His consistently held position is that the flesh is merely the tent that temporarily houses the born of Spirit disciple; that it is neither good nor evil; that its color, genealogy, gender, and social status really doesn’t matter. Thus, as a concession to the Hellenists at Corinth, he expresses the wish that all were as he was, so deeply focused on the things of God that the demands of the flesh did not tempt him to sexual immortality. But he acknowledges that each disciple has his own gifts—and not many can be teachers.