January 10, 2016
Q & A:
Becoming like Little Children
Question: The Bible tells us to have faith like little children, to become like little children but in doing that how are we to understand the deeper meaning?
The question was asked of The Key of David website, and this question really cannot be answered without having understanding of deeper meanings.
To answer the question of how can a little child understand the mysteries of God at more than a surface level requires understanding that the visible, physical things of this world reveal and precede the invisible, concealed spiritual things of God (e.g., Rom 1:19–20; 1 Cor 15:46), with a person’s own physical maturation from infancy to being a toddler to being a small child forming the visible shadow and copy of the spiritual son of God’s maturation, with the spiritual son of God conceived within the person’s fleshly body when the spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou] entered into the spirit of the person [to pneuma tou ’anthropou], thereby creating a new creature inside the inner self [psuche] of the person—
It is this new creature, a son of God, that must come to Christ as a little child, believing Christ simply because He said a thing was so, is so; for in Greek, the linguistic signifier <pistis> [Strong’s #G4102, from Rom 14:23] or <pisteos> means to believe a thing with sufficient fervor to cause the person to act upon the person’s belief. Thus, in Greek Scriptures, “faith” is belief of God put into action, as in small children believing parents before the child grows old enough to ask “why” questions.
With human children, physical maturation is time linked, with a child younger than thirty months not able to comprehend dual referents [where one thing represents another thing as in metaphoric speech] but with most every child older than thirty-six months able to comprehend dual referents … every human infant is born with the mind of a man, but a child not old enough to have gone through puberty doesn’t understand the way of a man with a maid. An infant is not able to factor quadratic equations. But will be able to comprehend advanced math when an adolescent or young teen. And as the teen matures, the teen will discover how much more his or per parents knew than the young person realized when an adolescent.
The new creature conceived in the believing disciple is a spiritual son of God without physical gender; hence what Paul writes to the Galatians:
The law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ [“put on”
as if putting on a garment]. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in
Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. (Gal 3:24–29 emphasis added)
Spiritually, a person is not the fleshly body that bleeds, but is the inner self that animates the fleshly body: the relationship of a person’s inner self to the person’s fleshly body is analogous to the relationship between Jonah inside the whale [great fish] to the whale itself, the whale corresponding to the person’s fleshly body and Jonah, raised from death inside the whale, corresponding to the person’s inner self that is also raised from death through the indwelling of the spirit of Christ in the spirit of the person. And Jonah said about himself when inside the whale:
I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and He answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. Then I said, “I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.” The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God. (Jonah 2:2–6 emphasis added)
To comprehend the proportional relationship between the inner new creature, born of spirit, to the fleshly body in which this new creature was brought to life comes through mentally visualizing Jonah in the whale.
In the physical, the sign of Jonah as initially referenced by Jesus (Matt 12:40) pertained to Jesus being resurrected from death after being in the heart of the earth—the Garden Tomb—for three days and three nights: there is no ambiguity in the Hebrew expression that has “night” representing twisting away from the light, and “day” representing the hot portion of a twenty-four hour period (see Jonah 1:17, English translations). But in the spiritual, the sign of Jonah represents the movement of aspiration, the movement of life-sustaining breath—the <ah> radical—from in front of the nasal consonant <n> as in the name <John>, to behind the nasal consonant as in the name <Jonah> … Jesus knew that Peter’s father was named “John” [“‘You are Simon, the son of John’” — John 1:42; also John 21:15–17]. But in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus identified Peter as <Simon Bariona — Simon BarJonah> (Matt 16:17) again when Jesus knows that Peter’s father isn’t named Jonah, but named John. Therefore, by Matthew’s Jesus misidentifying Peter’s father, Jesus identifies Peter’s father as God, whose breath [pneuma Theou] descended upon the man Jesus in the bodily form of a dove and visibly entered into [eis] Jesus (Mark 1:10), thereby inserting by penetration the spirit of God [pneuma Theou] in the spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou], causing the man Jesus during His earthly ministry to be twice-born, once of water [Mary’s womb] and once of spirit [receipt of the spirit of God].
The statement Jesus in Matthew chapter 16 makes about the sign of Jonah is analogous to the sign of a red sky, this weather sign taking its meaning from its context: the sign occurring at either dusk or at dawn. Likewise, the sign of Jonah takes its
meaning from its context. A once-born person has his or her physical life sustained by the physical breath of life that enters the person at the front of the face (through the nose), this physical breath supplying to each cell of the fleshly body the oxygen molecules needed to sustain the dark fire of cellular oxidation of simple carbohydrates. But the twice-born person who is counted among the Elect of God has indwelling spiritual life that is sustained by the bright fire that is the glory of God (see Ezek 1:26–28), this bright fire contained in a vessel that has also come from heaven, the indwelling Christ Jesus. Otherwise, the non-oxidizing bright fire that is the glory of God would utterly consume the person. And it is for this reason that Paul wrote,
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:16–23 emphasis added)
The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, literally, in Christ Jesus … no human person is born with indwelling eternal life; no human person is born with an immortal soul. But in John’s Gospel, Jesus tells unbelieving Jews, “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life’” (John 5:24). Not “will pass from death to life,” but “has passed from death to life,” meaning the thing has already happened. The Father will have already raised the inner self of the person from death (v. 21). The Son will not have yet given life in the form of a glorified outer body to the person; for the Son Himself is not at this point in His ministry glorified. But the Son has been again-born [’anagennesas — from 1 Pet 1:3], having been born of spirit when the spirit of God descended upon and entered into Jesus when raised from baptism.
Paul used the same past tense fait accompli sense of disciples being gloried while still dwelling in fleshly bodies when he wrote,
We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified [past tense]. (Rom 8:28–30)
When disciples are born of spirit, they are as Christ Jesus was after the spirit of God entered into [again, eis] the man Jesus, whose body did still bleed when crucified.
In Matthew’s Gospel and in the context of the sign of Jonah, Jesus goes on to tell Peter, “‘I tell you, you are [Petros], and on this [petra] I will build my church, and the gates of [Hades] shall not prevail against it’” (Matt 16:18) … the Greek name Petros in its utterance requires the person to pucker lips and exhale breath through the puckered lips to say the <tros> ending of the name; whereas the utterance of <petra> requires the person to open his or her mouth and inhale breath. Jesus told His disciples that He would build His assembly on the movement of breath, from exhaled [exhausted] breath to new, inhaled breath taken inside the person. So the sign of Jonah is a much greater sign than a red sky, but as the context in which the red sky occurs determines the meaning of the sign, the context in which the sign of Jonah is employed determines the meaning to be assigned to the sign of Jonah.
For the person who really isn’t interested in learning more, it will be sufficient to say that with genuine receipt of the spirit of God, the disciple’s inner self is born of spirit, and it is this new creature born as a son of God that must come to Christ as a little child. However, little children do not remain little forever—and a spiritual infant son of God should grow in grace and knowledge and should not remain an infant forever. Paul chided the holy ones at Corinth for remaining spiritual infants: “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh” (1 Cor 3:1–3).
Elsewhere, the writer of Hebrews said,
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Heb 5:11–14)
Within greater Christendom, there are far more disciples who have become dull of hearing and have remained spiritual infants than disciples who have grown sufficiently to understand that a person is in his or her own fleshly body a set of dual referents, having a living [glorified] inner self and a still dead [without eternal life] outer self.
The problem from which Christians have so far been unable to escape is what the writer of Hebrews addresses in preceding verses to the above citation:
For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people. And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not exalt Himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by Him who said to Him, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you"; as He says also in another place, "You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek." (Heb 5:1–6 emphasis and double emphasis added)
Too many Christians have taken upon themselves the honor that goes to the High Priest, appointing themselves to act of behalf of other men in their relationship with God. And those who have appointed themselves to high offices inevitably build for themselves the trappings associated with high offices, their endeavors to be like others that claim for themselves high offices taking their focus off of serving other men. Woe betide them. In their hubris, they have become enemies of God.
Now for readers not satisfied with partial answers: The glorified Jesus as the reality of the Wave Sheaf Offering, accepted by God on the morrow after the Sabbath—accepted by God on the fourth day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread—came to where His disciples were hiding behind locked doors:
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld." (John 20:19–23 emphasis added)
As God the Father transferred His glory in the form of His spirit, His “breath” [used metaphorically] of life to the man Jesus at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus “breathed” on ten of His first disciples and physically transferred to these ten His breath, His spirit [pneuma Christou] in which was the spirit of God [pneuma Theou], both of which are holy spirits … the spirit of God in the spirit of Christ functions as a man does in his wife, where the man is the head of his wife as Christ is the Head of every disciple and as God is the Head of Christ (1 Cor 11:3).
Again, a human person consists of an inner self that when the person is humanly born has no indwelling eternal life, plus a fleshly outer self that has biological gender as a male or as a female. Sometimes, the dead inner self has a sense of gender that differs from the fleshly body; hence the person becomes someone who believes he or she was born as the wrong gender. But gender is only of the flesh. And concerning being fleshly minded, Paul wrote,
Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to spirit [pneuma] set their minds on the things of the spirit [pneumatos]. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the spirit [pneumatos] is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Rom 8:5–8)
The person who is concerned about the fleshly body that bleeds either is not born of spirit or denies the person’s spiritual birth, thereby denying Christ.
In a manner represented by human breath entering the person from the nose or mouth, Jesus breathed His breath, His spirit into the noses and mouths of the Ten disciples gathered in secret on the day of the Wave Sheaf Offering, this breathing of His breath into His disciples causing each of them to be born of spirit, becoming therefore twice-born and sent forth as God sent Jesus forth.
But as Jonah in the whale could do no work for God, the inner self of Jesus could not really do any work for God until He was accepted by God as the reality of the Wave Sheaf Offering, thereby becoming a life-giving spirit [pneuma] and thus beginning the harvest of firstfruits in the Promised Land that physically served as a type of the Sabbath, of the Millennium, and of heaven itself. Therefore, Jesus’ first disciples could not be born of spirit until after Jesus was accepted by God as the reality of the Wave Sheaf Offering; for with spiritual birth comes receipt of indwelling eternal life in heaven. But this is not what spiritual infants understand or are capable of understanding …
A human infant has the mind of a man just as a human son of God has the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16), but a human infant thinks as an infant and doesn’t know the things of men despite having the mind of a man. In fact, at each stage of physical maturation, the “little person” has the mind of man (i.e., the human nature of human persons) but the “little person” cannot really understanding the things of men such as how to control the person’s breath when shooting, or how to run a bead of weld. The “little person” has to learn knowledge that is then put into practice before the “little person” masters what it means to be a person. Likewise, the infant son of God has to come to Christ and learn knowledge that is then put into practice before the son of God reaches his spiritual majority.
For more than seventy years, Sabbatarian Churches of God denied that any disciple was truly born of spirit inside a fleshly body, thereby denying the Father and the Son while giving aid and comfort to the Adversary: the Sabbatarian Churches of God simply did not understand spiritual things or concepts for those who taught within these Churches of God had appointed themselves as Pastor Generals, apostles, evangelists, preaching elders, and local elders. None were called as Moses was called, as Aaron was called, as the first disciples were called, as Paul was called. All were ordained by assemblies of men, taking their ordinations seriously without questioning whether their ordinations had the slightest validity, and with all teaching and preaching the same misunderstandings of Scripture.
Bishop Papias of Hierapolis (ca. 70–163 CE) wrote a five volume work, Expositions of the Sayings of the Lord, about 100–120 CE. This work has been lost except for passages cited by Eusebius of Caesarea in the third volume of his history of the Christian Church. And in this third volume, Eusebius quotes Papias writing about the creation of Mark’s Gospel and Matthew’s Gospel, saying that John the Elder told him that John Mark did nothing wrong in untangling the chreiai Peter used in his teachings of what Christ Jesus said and did … from serving as Peter’s interpreter, John Mark remembered what Peter had said and created a narrative time-line of Jesus’ ministry that was borrowed by both the author of Matthew’s Gospel and the author of Luke’s Gospel, with the evidence of this “borrowing” coming in the form of directly copying passages but transforming Mark’s rough Greek into more polished Greek—when a person copies a document, the person doing the copying does not take polished syntax and turn into rough or odd syntax. This is what happened in the Synoptic Gospels: Mark’s rough Greek was “improved upon” in the writing of Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospels, thereby suggesting that both copied from Mark, thus making Mark’s Gospel the earliest of the three Synoptic Gospels.
Why what Bishop Papias wrote about Mark’s Gospel becomes important is because of what he wrote about Matthew’s Gospel being written in Hebrew style, with the meaning of “Hebrew style” being unknown to Eusebius, who certainly was not a Hebrew. Therefore, considerable mangling of what Papias wrote has occurred over the centuries since Eusebius’ ciation of Papias.
The Apostle Paul understood what Hebrew style narration is, and what he understood can be condensed into two short citations: Rom 1:20 & 1 Cor 15:46—
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Rom 1:19–20)
Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit [Gr: pneuma]. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. (1 Cor 15:45–48)
Hebrew style poetics whether written as poetry or as prose has two presentations of the same or similar concepts, the first presentation being physical; of darkness (as in night preceding day); of this world; of the flesh, this presentation revealing the spiritual things of God as a shadow darkly reveals the thing casting the shadow.
The second presentation is spiritual, of light, of God.
There was a first Adam, created from the base elements of this world, with Elohim [singular in usage] having breathed the breath of life into the man of mud’s nostrils (Gen 2:7). Therefore, in Hebrew style there will be a second Adam, the man Jesus, born of Mary like every other man except His Father wasn’t the first Adam but was ’o Logos who was Theos and who was with ton Theon in arche/primacy (John 1:1) … the Father of the second Adam when this second Adam was born of the water of Mary’s womb wasn’t God the Father, but was the Logos who created all things physical (v. 3), and who entered His physical creation as His unique Son, the man Jesus of Nazareth. And this is what those who have appointed themselves to teach others have not understood: until the spirit of God entered into the spirit of Christ, Jesus of Nazareth was only once born as the unique Son of Theos who had created all things physical. Jesus was Himself physical. He did not receive spiritual birth until His ministry began and John the Baptist raised Jesus from a watery grave in the River Jordan, and the spirit of God [pneuma Theou] in the bodily form of a dove descended upon the man Jesus and entered “into” [again, eis, from Mark 1:10] about where the blowhole of a whale is found, thereby bringing to life the inner self of the man Jesus so that He became twice-born, once of the water of Mary’s womb, and a second time by the spirit of God [again, pneuma Theou].
And in a similar but not identical manner, Jesus’ first disciples were born of spirit when the glorified Jesus as a life-giving spirit [pneuma] breathed His breath [pneuma Christou] onto and into His first disciples. In doing so, the spirit of God in the spirit of Christ serves as the husband in a marriage, with the spirit of Christ serving as the wife that gives life to another generation of human children—in this case, human sons of God that are temporarily housed in fleshly bodies.
Mark’s Gospel and Matthew’s Gospel, together, form one narrative thought-couplet, with the man “Jesus” in Mark’s Gospel representing the physical man who lived in an earthly body two millennia ago in Palestine. The Jesus of Matthew’s Gospel, however, doesn’t represent the human man that lived two millennia ago, but the glorified Jesus that dwells inside the spirit of every human son of God. And declaring this will cause spiritual infants to choke on solid food …
The Apostle Peter in feeding “lambs” [from John 21:15], writes to those who are new in the faith, saying by the hand of Silvanus,
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with His blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again [’anagennesas — literally, “again born”] to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Pet 1:1–5 emphasis added)
Peter, in feeding the lambs [ta ’apnia] of Christ, not the sheep [ta probata] “who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours [Peter’s] by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 1:1), tells these lambs (“infants in Christ” — from 1 Cor 3:1) that God has caused these elect exiles to be “again born,” past tense … they have already been born again; hence what Paul writes is true,
[Previously cited:] So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. (Gal 3:24--29 emphasis added)
If a human person is female and is baptized, she emerges from the water as a fleshly female person. She didn’t lose her gender. Yet her inner self is a son of God that is genderless as angelic sons of God are genderless (Matt 22:30), gender being an attribute of the fleshly body that bleeds when stuck with a pin.
To the “lambs” of Christ Jesus, Peter also wrote,
Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which He went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to Him. (1 Pet 3:18–22 emphasis added)
For the three days and three nights that Jesus earthly body lay dead in the Garden Tomb, Peter has Jesus preaching to imprisoned spirits … Jesus as the reality of Israel’s Wave Sheaf Offering could not ascend to heaven and be received as the First of the harvest of firstfruits until the hour for the Wave Sheaf Offering as Sadducees waved the first ripe handful of barley to the Lord (this being about 9:00 am on the morrow after the weekly Sabbath that fell inside the Feast of Unleavened Bread). Therefore, the living inner self of Christ Jesus, previously raised from death by the receipt of a second breath of life, the spirit of God received in the form of a bodily dove descending upon Him and entering into Him, had to “go somewhere” for the three days and three nights the earthly body was dead (the physical sign of Jonah). And this living inner self of Jesus went to where spirits were imprisoned for their unbelief and there He preached to them.
A Christian born of spirit as a son of God isn’t today the fleshly body housing the “person,” but is the inner self [psuche] that has “life” apart from the life that sustains the fleshly body. The person was not humanly born with a living inner self despite what greater Christendom claims; despite what Islam claims; despite what any theological descendant from paganism claims. For again, eternal life is the gift of God in Christ Jesus, with Christ Jesus being the indwelling vessel that has come from heaven and that is able to “hold” the glory of God without being consumed by this bright fire glory.
Christians are to come to Christ as little children, but they have not been given indwelling eternal life so that they can forever remain as little children. They are to grow spiritually, and in growing spiritually, they will have greater spiritual awareness and be better able to understand the deeper things of God. But as every human child has to grow through the stages of his or her maturation, every son of God has to also grow through the stages of spiritual maturation. And as a grandmother or an aunt would like a human child to long remain as children are, the ministries of greater Christendom attempt to inhibit the spiritual growth of sons of God by feeding these sons of God spiritual milk when these sons of God should have been weaned long ago.
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