The following Scripture passages are offered to aid beginning fellowships. The readings and commentary for this week are more in line with what has become usual; for the following will most likely be familiar observations. The concept behind this Sabbath’s selection is light and its reflection.
For the Sabbath of January 24, 2009
The person conducting the Sabbath service should open services with two or three hymns, or psalms, followed by an opening prayer acknowledging that two or three (or more) are gathered together in Christ Jesus’ name, and inviting the Lord to be with them.
In the past two Sabbath readings, a base was being laid for establishing the prophetic “falsity” of visible Christianity, or the Christianity that today poses as genuine. False Christendom will undergird the great falling away that occurs 220 days into the Tribulation; i.e., the seven endtime years. This false Christianity comes to disciples as the bright light reflected off the polished silver arms and chest of the humanoid image ancient King Nebuchadnezzar saw in vision, and as the bright light (but less so) reflected off the shiny gray legs of iron of this same humanoid image.
Christ Jesus came as the light of Day One of a spiritual creation week that has as its type the seven days of Unleavened Bread commonly referenced as Passover week: as Jesus was crucified mid-calendar-week and was resurrected mid-Passover-week [Jesus was crucified on the 14th day of Abib and was resurrected on the 18th day, three days and three nights after He was laid in the heart of the earth], disciples will be resurrected mid-week in the Genesis chapter one creation account, the so-called “P” account. The greater light that will rule the day is not the physical sun, but glorified sons of God that rule in light; i.e., the sons of God that will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:19) — the lesser light that will rule the night constitutes those disciples who will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.
Light cannot be seen with human eyes: surfaces that reflect light can be seen. Thus, a mirror will turn nearly the full spectrum of light around. Little of the spectrum is absorbed, but a mirror is not light. And mirrors will never be identified as “sons of light” (John 12:36).
The moon serves as a mirror but emits no light itself: its brightness results from the light that it reflects. Its surface is cold and relatively inhospitable; yet from a distance, visiting the moon has had enough appeal to fuel imaginations for centuries. It wasn’t, though, visited by men until 1969, when a laser target was humanly installed so that its movements could be more accurately measured (the rebuttal of those skeptics that do not believe Astronauts walked on the moon is the silence of Russian skepticism, that laser target, and the microscopic structure of the rocks brought back).
The head of the humanoid image Nebuchadnezzar saw is the king of Babylon; thus, the image can be properly identified as Babylon by taking its name from its head. The prophet Isaiah told Israel that when the Lord [YHWH] had given the nation “rest” from its pain, turmoil, and hard service that the Lord had put the nation through, Israel was to take up a taunt against the king of Babylon:
The person conducting the services should read or assign to be read Isaiah chapter 14, verses 1 through 23.
Commentary: Nebuchadnezzar as a human king is one of the kings of nations that lie in their own tombs (v. 18); he died and was buried. The king of Babylon against which Israel will take up a taunt is not an earthly king, but is Satan himself, who has disguised himself as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14–15). This king of Babylon is, today, the ruler of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), and is the prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2). He was disqualified to continue as the ruler of this world when the man Jesus died without sin, but he has not yet been replaced—and he won’t be replaced until the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man (Dan 7:9–14; Rev 11:15–18) halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation. So from today through the second Passover liberation of Israel and through the first 1260 days of the Tribulation, the old dragon, Satan the devil, will remain in power as the invisible spiritual king of Babylon.
But Satan as the king of Babylon, with the name “Babylon” representing the entirety of the humanoid image Nebuchadnezzar saw in vision, doesn’t reign over a unified kingdom … as Nebuchadnezzar looked at the humanoid image—golden colored head, belly and thighs, with silver-colored chest, arms, legs and feet—he saw two competing colors that represent the ideological schism that divides Babylon, thereby preventing this kingdom from ever standing long: Jesus said, “‘Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand’” (Matt 12:25).
· As the single kingdom of this world, Babylon is divided against itself.
· After the sixth Trumpet Plague, when a third part of humankind is killed for a second time, the “rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood” (Rev 9:20).
Today’s religions provide the basis for what the third part of humankind (cf. Zech 13:9; Rev 9:18) worships after the sixth Trumpet Plague: today’s religions worship demons and idols while sincerely believing that adherents worship a universally shared god, that salvation is a many-spoke wheel. Yes, certainly the kingdom of this world worships many gods, collectively represented by Babylon. Some of these gods are demons, worshiped as demons; some are idols reflecting the color of gold or the color of silver. Some are idols of wood and stone, with 21st-Century cultural sophistication causing these idols not to be corner deities sitting on shelves across rooms and to the left of entryways, but the creation itself (i.e., stone and wood in their organic forms).
Modern Americans or Western Europeans might keep a statue of the Buddha in a kitchen, but it is the environment that they truly care about, with global warming being the primary tenet of their faith that humankind is destroying the planet. Whether the American, Canadian, or European outwardly professes faith in Jesus Christ or in Buddha or in more recent gurus or in no one at all, it is really the creation that the person worships. With very few exceptions, modern cultures worship the creation as an extension of ancient sun and earth worship bedded together as if wed. Thus, the world does not know the Father whom Jesus came to reveal. It doesn’t even know Jesus, who said, “‘And this is eternal life, that they know you [the Father] the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent’” (John 17:3).
The world lacks spiritual life. It is a kingdom overtaken by darkness. Sons of light are very rare.
For most Christians, Christianity isn’t to be taken too seriously. For them, Jesus was a good person who came to bring peace to humankind, which isn’t at all what Jesus said about Himself. For most, Jesus is the idealized embodiment of peace and good vibrations, universal love and social utopianism. For most, He is the opposite of the harsh God of the Old Testament. And there isn’t any argument that can be made to convince them otherwise, a disturbing reality considering that eternal life is to know the Father and the Son.
Equally disturbing are the schisms that pit one Sabbatarian disciple against another, with each ignorantly clinging to what little spiritual understanding each has:
· The Churches of God are today divided against one another and thus will not stand;
· Yet Paul said, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ” (1 Cor 12:12).
Although some will argue otherwise, it is not possible for Sabbatarian disciples to be one with Christians who attempt to enter into God’s rest on the following day: the differences in ideology are too many to overcome. One person will have to change, with this one too often being the Sabbatarian who is nearly always alone in this world … a former member of the Sabbatarian Worldwide Church of God in Anchorage, Alaska struggled for years to just survive in the Anchorage bowl. When (following the death of Herbert Armstrong) the Worldwide Church of God abandoned the core beliefs upon which it was founded and adopted the beliefs of Evangelical Christendom this member left the Anchorage bowl and moved to a parcel of land in the Copper Center area where he and his wife built a small cabin some distance off the main road. They were welcomed to the area by a local Evangelical fellowship, and giving up the Sabbath that had for so long separated them from other community members, they began attending with the fellowship. Last September, he wrote in a personal e-mail:
I guess people are beginning to think I'm getting too old to cut firewood anymore. Two weeks ago, two young guys from our church showed up with chain saws and axes and said, we're going out behind your place to cut some wood. Several hours later they came back and left, while I was busy doing something else. Next day, I went back there to see what they did. They had cut down a number of dead, dry spruce, and gathered a bunch of downed logs that were scattered over the forest floor and piled them up with the trees they had cut. They did that so all I had to do is cut them to length and haul them home. Then, a few days later I got a phone call from another guy who I had just met a couple weeks before. He said he had some firewood he wanted to get rid of, and could I use some? He said he would haul it out to my place. I said, "yes". A couple of hours later he arrived with a pickup pulling a large horse trailer mostly filled with, already, cut-up firewood. He insisted on unloading it himself. Then last Sunday, at church, a young friend of ours told me that he had a problem. I asked him what his problem was. He pointed to a 20 foot tandem axle trailer, loaded with big spruce logs, that was attached to his truck and said..."I need to get rid those old dead spruce logs some place, and I was wondering if you had a good place in your yard where I could dump them". I told him that, he being a good friend and all, I thought I would be able to find a good place -- which of course I did.
Wow. I probably have 5 or 6 cords of firewood to start the winter with. I've never been in that situation before. It's nice to have friends.
In another e-message, the same fellow writes:
September 30 -- woke up in winter -- six inches of snow on the ground. Two days later -- seven more. Thirteen inches of snow to start out the winter season. We were hoping to get a driveway put in yet this year. Now it looked like it would have to wait till next year...but guess what? We got a phone call Monday night from — saying, "I'm going to start hauling gravel in the morning". I'm writing this Friday night, and of as late this afternoon, we now have a five hundred foot driveway, plus a gravel pad for parking. It will make life a lot easier.
In all of the years this fellow attended with the former Worldwide Church of God (WCG) in Anchorage and in Palmer, no one cut firewood for him, let alone put in a driveway (he walked a half mile into his place there at Peters Creek) … maybe everyone in the former WCG congregation at Anchorage lived too far away or was too busy to help, either or both could be true, for there was/is no concentration of Sabbatarian disciples in any one location: there are no lumps of salt. Yet work parties were organized in the mid-1970s to cut wood for the minister that then served the Anchorage and Kenai WCG congregations.
The Sabbatarian disciple who encounters outward displays of love by lawless Christians recognizes the love that one disciple should have for another and recognizes the lack of love that Sabbatarian disciples have one to another and inevitably gives up what should be retained and joins him or herself to those lawless Christians that are presently covered by grace. The disciple that is, today, of unborn Jacob [Israel] joins him or herself to Esau as the reversed image of Caleb, who was of Esau, joining himself to Israel. However, the ones to be most blamed are the Sabbatarian teachers of God that have placed pharisaical emphasis on keeping the commandments while forgetting to love their brother (1 John 3:10). One without the other—i.e., having love but not keeping the commandments, or keeping the commandments but having no love—marks the person as a child of the devil, with the devil himself appearing as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). The Christian who loves his or her brother enough to do something as simple as cutting wood for the one who is in his seventies needs also to love God as much, with this love expressed outwardly by keeping the commandments in a world dedicated [consigned] to disobedience.
The Sabbatarian, as a single grain of salt about to be devoured by this world, often feels completely alone and cut off from all other disciples; often feels as if he or she could not be more alone. Sometimes this is literally true, sometimes only figuratively true. But the lawless disciple can find fellowship about anywhere within the United States. This lawless Christian would have to live in a Muslim country to begin to experience what a Sabbatarian disciple experiences every day within a Christian nation; for the difference between Sabbatarian Christendom and Evangelical or Catholic Christianity is every bit as great as the difference between Islam and lawless Christianity. And the number of Evangelicals that “convert” to Sabbatarian Christendom is percentage-wise no more than the number of Muslims that convert to Christianity.
How easy would it be for a Christian to become a Muslim if living in an Islamic culture? Could this Christian be argued into becoming a Muslim? Probably not, but if conversion could occur it would come by intermarriage, by any number of ways that begin with the execution of good works, that begin with cutting wood, with building relationships as houses are built, one board at a time. Once the Christian no longer perceives the Muslim as an enemy but as a brother, then conversion can occur for it is difficult to maintain ideological isolation. After all, the Christian will reason, both he and the Muslim worship the same God. They both seek to enter heaven after death, and the Christian doesn’t really have to cease believing that Jesus is the Son of God—just as the Sabbatarian disciple doesn’t have to quit believing that the seventh day is the Sabbath in order to worship with Evangelicals or Catholics. He or she only has to keep his or her mouth shut. So the Sabbatarian, believing that the Body of Christ is one body and not many bodies, begins to worship on the eighth day in a fellowship where the Sabbatarian finds love and acceptance, forgetting that Israel was not to marry foreign wives for a reason, with “wives” forming the shadow and type of spiritual ideologies. Inevitably, a foreign wife/ideology will cause the spiritually circumcised Israelite to do what King Solomon did when his many wives turned his heart away from the Lord and caused Solomon to build for his foreign wives idols and abominations (1 Kings 11:4–9). The kingdom of Israel, except for one tribe, was torn from Solomon as greatness in the kingdom of heaven will be torn from the disciple who relaxes the least of the commandments of God (Matt 5:19).
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:17–19 emphasis added)
Is the Sabbath the least of the commandments? Most Christians believe that it is; so how would a Christian relax this least of the commandments other than to keep Sunday as the Sabbath, doing those things that should be done on the Sabbath on Sunday?
The Genesis chapter one creation account is the synopsis of the spiritual creation, not the record of the physical creation which reveals the invisible things of God (Rom 1:18–20). Therefore, it isn’t physical trees that bear fruit on the third day (Gen 1:11–12), but disciples that are as the olive tree from which Jesus sought fruit before it was the season for fruit (Matt 21:18–19); so it isn’t physical trees that bear fruit before the greater light [sun] is created, for this greater light isn’t the sun but glorified disciples in the resurrection of firstfruits. The lesser light isn’t the moon (the reflection of the sun), but those disciples who will be least in the kingdom of heaven.
· A reflection or a reflected light isn’t a “light” at all, but the portion of the spectrum that a dead object or entity doesn’t absorb or diffuse.
· Neither the greater nor the lesser light created on the fourth day (Gen 1:16) is a reflection of a portion of the spectrum. Both are “lights”; so the lesser light in its spiritual application cannot be the moon.
It is easy to say that ancient peoples didn’t know that the moon reflected the sun’s light … God knew, though. And if Scripture is the inspired word of God, then the presumption must be that inspiration precluded the moon’s reflected light from really being a “light.” It is this presumption of inspiration, now, that argues for gold representing a different “religion” than silver represents.
We left our Sabbatarian disciple alone for a while; for every Sabbatarian has to decide whether he or she would rather have acceptance in this world or greatness in the kingdom of heaven. The disciple cannot have both.
Jesus came to His own but was rejected by them (John 1:11), and a “‘disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master’” (Matt 10:24). As Jesus was rejected by Israel, the Sabbatarian disciple will be rejected by Christendom, his or her own people. And as Jesus was condemned to death by Israel, the Sabbatarian disciple, with very few exceptions, will be condemned to death by Christianity. Why, then, should the Sabbatarian not cling to his or her beliefs as a Christian should cling to his or hers in an Islamic culture, realizing that to truly convert will cost the Sabbatarian [or the Christian in an Islamic nation] his or her salvation?
Where all of this is going is back to the bi-color humanoid image Nebuchadnezzar saw: the gold color of the humanoid image’s head that Daniel tells the king is himself represents the ideology that is seen in the image of gold made by Nebuchadnezzar, a phallic symbol representing the sun’s masculine relationship with mother earth … with few exceptions, Satan doesn’t ask human beings to worship him directly. For him, it is enough for human beings to worship the creation; i.e., to worship the sticks and stones of this world.
Earth worship is the feminine form of sun worship, with the gold of Babylon’s head being the visible representation of sun worship and the gold color of the alloyed bronze (the only one of the four metals of the humanoid image that is not an elemental metal) being the representation of earth worship, expressed today in the green political agenda.
Biblical prophecy isn’t about geographical nations except as these nations serve as shadows and types of religious ideologies; so prophecy isn’t about economic or political ideology, but about religious beliefs, with Egypt representing sin (i.e., lawlessness) and Assyria representing death. Babylon represents the kingdom of this world that includes both sin and death, while Judea represents God’s rest (Ps 95:10–11), with heavenly Jerusalem representing glorified disciples or life. Therefore, in the first Passover exodus of Israel, the Lord led the people of Israel out from sin by giving to the nation the commandments of God, which didn’t stop Israel from committing sin but made the nation aware of what sin was (Rom 7:7–12) so that the nation could “cover” its transgressions of the law with blood. In the second Passover liberation of Israel, now a nation circumcised of heart, the Lord will lead the nation away from death by filling every person with the spirit of God:
· Death reigned from Adam to Moses, for death ceased to reign over Israel when Israel covered itself through obedience to God;
· But Israel as a nation never covered itself with obedience, for sin and death continued to dwell within the fleshly members of the nation;
· So a second liberation of Israel is necessary, a liberation that frees the nation from indwelling sin and death.
The blood of bulls and goats was only a temporary covering of Israel’s transgressions of the laws of God; was only a covering lasting until Calvary when the Creator of humankind died for every sin committed by Israel here on earth (all of humankind will eventually be Israel, the single nation promised to Abraham — Gen 12:2). Therefore, the disciple born of spirit as a son of God carries forward no “record of debt … with its legal demands” (Col 2:14), but is born free (Rom 8:1–2) to keep the commandments of God as Israel in the wilderness of Sin/Zin was free from Pharaoh and free to keep the commandments. But as Israel in the wilderness and in Judea did not keep the commandments but needed to cover the nation’s sins with the blood of bulls and goats until the blood of their Creator permanently covered their lawlessness, Israel as a spiritually circumcised nation has not kept the commandments of God but has its lawlessness temporarily covered by the glorified Jesus bearing the nation’s sins in the heavenly realm (i.e., in the inter-dimensional portion of the heavenly realm). However, this covering of spiritually circumcised Israel’s sins ends when the Son of Man is revealed or disrobed (Luke 17:30) and the spiritual nation is liberated from indwelling sin and death. Then, for seven years, Israel will cover itself with its own obedience. The nation will also bear the death penalty of the second death for sins committed during this period. And what is prophesied is that Israel as a spiritually circumcised nation will, even when liberated from indwelling sin and death, voluntarily return lawlessness in a great falling away (2 Thess 2:3) 220 days after liberation. This great falling away occurs about Christmas time, and it will involve the wholesale return to the principle tenets of today’s visible Christianity: Sunday worship, belief in human beings possessing immortal souls, and the cross serving as the symbol of Christianity.
The mark of the beast, chi xi stigma (Rev 13:18), can be read as the tattoo [stigma] of Christ’s [chi] cross [xi], and it is the taking of this mark that distinguishes who is of the Antichrist during the second half of the Tribulation. It is Sabbath observance that marks who is of God during the first half … two marks, one to disclose who is of God before Babylon falls, and one mark to disclose who is of the Antichrist after Babylon falls and the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man (cf. Dan 7:9–14; Rev 11:15–18). The first mark, Sabbath observance, also reveals who is of Israel, physically and spiritually circumcised, today. The second mark, the cross, even now reveals who is of Babylon.
The silver arms and chest of Babylon—the portion represented by the kings of Persia—reflects light even more brightly than the moon does, with the woman Israel having the moon under her feet (Rev 12:1).
The angel bringing Daniel the word of knowledge received in his long vision (chaps 10–12) said, “And as for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up to confirm and strength him” (11:1) … it was Cyrus, king of Persia and king of Babylon, that sent a remnant of Israel back to Jerusalem to build a house for God. So as shadows and types of the spiritual kings of Persia, the human kings of Persia had a more favorable relationship with Israel than did have either Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon or the Greek kings of Babylon, with this more favorable relationship reflected in the silver color of the arms and chest of the humanoid image Nebuchadnezzar saw in vision.
Satan appearing as a disguised angel of light appears as brightly reflected light in the yellow spectrum. So does the first horn or king of the king of Greece. But the kings of Persia appear as brightly reflected white light, a reflection of nearly the full spectrum.
The spiritual equivalent of Cyrus sending a remnant of Israel back to Jerusalem to rebuild the house of God [i.e., the second temple] occurred (and is still occurring) in the 16th-Century when the Protestant Reformers and the Radical Reformers sought to rebuild Christianity, with the Protestant Reformers seeking to rebuild the Old Church from the Bible and the Radical Reformers seeking to build a new Church from Scripture. Thus, contrary to what Philadelphians have thought, the ongoing battle between the spiritual kings of Persia (the ram of Daniel chap 8) and the spiritual king of Greece (the he-goat) is a battle between religious beliefs represented by the brightness of silver and the brightness of gold/bronze, with the gold to prevail over the silver—and with the silver representing Reformed Christendom, Evangelical and Catholic.
Before the second Passover will occur, the inhabitants of the earth will have to philosophically move as far away from God as they can get, with this distance representing the midnight hour of the long spiritual night that began at Calvary. All things Christian will have to be discredited even if these things belong to the spiritual kings of Persia and not to God. And in the recent American presidential election, the world saw the United States move away from the things of God and move closer to earth worship: the greening of America is a move away from God.
How green America and the world will have to get before the second Passover occurs cannot be discerned from this side of the midnight hour, but once the second Passover occurs, the first horn or king of the king of Greece will be suddenly broken because he is first—and the emerging four horns or kings of the king of Greece will not be green but will be the dull silver color of cold-rolled steel … false Christianity will reemerge with a vengeance. Both the kings of the North and of the South will support self-proclaimed Christian ideologies. And though Philadelphia has been proclaiming that both iron legs represent Christian ideologies since spring 2003, the prophetic certainty that both legs will represent false Christianity, with the king of the North representing Arian or Unitarian Christendom and with the king of the South representing Trinitarian Christendom, comes from the dull silver color of the iron legs and feet.
Those ideologies that are golden colored represent sun and/or earth worship (i.e., the worship of the creation), while those ideologies that are silver colored represent imitation Christianity as demons try to get as close to God as they can without obeying God … the love that is evident in most every false Christian fellowship is extended toward people and toward self and not extended toward the Father and the Son. Love for God is professed with the mouth as light is reflected off a mirror, but as a reflected flash is nearly blinding, the love of reformed Christendom blinds even Sabbatarian disciples that are as easy to pick off as deer are to shoot when blinded by a car’s headlights.
Today, all who are born of spirit are covered by grace, but within the womb of the last Eve are two sons, a Cain [Esau] and an Abel [Jacob]. One is hated by God even before the second Passover liberation of Israel; the other is loved. And it isn’t whether the disciple keeps the Sabbath that determines whether the disciple is hated or loved, but whether the disciple loves God enough to keep His commandments by faith and then loves his or her neighbor enough to cut wood or to put in a driveway for the neighbor without being asked or expecting payment.
Exactly what it means to be the greater light that rules the day is not now known, nor is what it means to rule the night as the lesser light known. But the difference between being called great in the kingdom of heaven and being called least is whether the disciple “relaxes” (not breaks) the least of the commandments. And what can be said for certain is that those who teach disciples to break a commandment will not be in the kingdom of heaven (Matt 7:21–23), for those who teach disciples to break commandments are reflected light: they are as the brightness of light reflected off silver—and they are as spiritually lifeless as silver is physically lifeless.
The person conducting the Sabbath service should close services with two hymns, or psalms, followed by a prayer asking God’s dismissal.
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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."