The Philadelphia Church

And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matt 4:19)"

The following Scripture passages are offered to aid beginning fellowships. The readings and commentary are offered as openings into dialogue about the subject or concept. And the concept behind the readings for this Sabbath is the Scarlet Woman of Revelation.

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Weekly Readings

For the Sabbath of January 28, 2006

The person conducting the Sabbath service should open services with two or three hymns, or psalms, followed by an opening prayer acknowledging that two or three (or more) are gathered together in Christ Jesus’ name, and inviting the Lord to be with them.

The person conducting the services should read or assign to be read Revelation chapter 17.

Commentary: The timeframe for the book of Revelation is the Lord’s day, the seventh day of a spiritual creation week, when the return of Christ Jesus is near or soon. The timeframe is not the 1st-Century CE, when John was on the isle of Patmos, but a period in the distant future, as far into the future as the creation of the sun and moon were from the creation of Adam and Eve. And every day begins with darkness; i.e., the absence of light. The Lord’s day is no exception: it begins with the last forty-two months or 1260 days of the seven endtime years of tribulation. Thus, the Lord’s day begins when Satan is cast from heaven (Rev 12:9-10). The twisting away or dark portion of the Lord’s day begins in Revelation chapter 12 and continues through chapter 18. The hot or light portion of the Lord’s day begins with chapter 19 and continues until time ends with the coming of the new heavens and new earth, which will not be physical but spiritual and as such timeless. Night will then be no more (Rev 22:5), for God is Light. In the earthly realm, a type and copy of the heavenly realm, the sun and the moon are the greater and lesser lights, the greater to rule the hot or daylight portion of a day, the lesser [a reflection of the greater] to rule the dark or twisted away portion. God the Father rules the heavenly realm, while the Son [a reflection of the Father, speaking the words of the Father and being the image of the Father] rules the physical creation, which He created (John 1:3).

In the past and especially during the 2nd, 3rd, & 4th centuries, many intelligent men [and women] attempted to reconcile Jesus’ statements with the physical and political realities of Judah and Asia Minor. What Jesus said about the kingdom of heaven being then (while He lived) with men, about Him seeing Satan fall like lightening, about the prince of this world then (in the 1st-Century) being defeated caused early Church fathers to deduce that the Church was the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. The logical conclusion was that the Church would soon rule the world under the authority of Christ Jesus. So when the Roman Emperor Constantine, for historically apparent political reasons, embraced Christianity, Church fathers in the 4th-Century assumed that through the auspices of the Roman Empire, the Church then ruled the civilized world, and would soon rule the remaining pockets of paganism.

What the early Church fathers didn’t realize when the Hellenistic concept of an immortal soul (especially as developed by Plato) married Christianity was that the Church, as the last Eve created from a wound in the side of the last Adam, swallowed the same lie that the first Eve swallowed in the garden of God (Gen 3:4). Instead of death coming in the physical realm as it did for the first Eve (death didn’t come instantly, for Elohim [singular in usage] made clothing or coverings for Adam and Eve from the skins of animals), death for the last Eve comes in the spiritual or heavenly realm. Again, as physical death did not immediately come upon the first Eve when she believed the serpent and ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, spiritual death has not immediately come upon the last Eve. For the last Eve, a singularity (as the first Eve was the only woman created as helpmate for the first Adam), doesn't consist of one individual, but is one organization that divided and divided until it is as many as were the snakes of Medusa. And that greater organization created when Jesus breathed on ten of His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit [Pneuma ’Agion]” (John 20:22), is today about as “Christian” as that ancient female Greek terror. Nevertheless, within this organization that is today’s greater Christian Church there are many spiritually alive disciples. These are the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 10:5-7) to whom Jesus will send endtime disciples, proclaiming to these lost sheep that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. And these sheep are not in any particular denomination, but are scattered throughout the plains of spiritual Babylon, and hidden in the cliffs of Judea.

As the natural nation of Israel, the firstborn physical son of God (Exod 4:22), never forsook the idols of Egypt (Ezek 20:8, 24), the spiritual nation of Israel, the firstborn spiritual son (of whom Jesus was the first of the firstfruits), never gives up the idols of sin or lawlessness, the invisible mental topography that is visibly represented by the geographical landscapes of Egypt and Babylon. The spiritual king of Babylon (Isa 14:4-21) reigns as the present prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2). He was been defeated by Christ Jesus, but he was still reigning when the Apostle Paul wrote his epistles. He still reigns today over all of the world, including over the holy nation of spiritual Israel, which lives spiritually as the natural nation of Israel lived physically while in Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon. Even the remnant of the natural nation that returned to the Jerusalem below to rebuild a physical house of God were under the authority of the Persians kings of Babylon (Ezra 5:13). Likewise, the law of sin and death still dwells in the flesh (Rom 7:25) of every disciple, even in the flesh of those disciples who form the spiritual remnant that left Babylon to rebuild the house of God in the Jerusalem above, this Jerusalem above empty when the last Eve was driven from the garden of God…because the last Adam did not eat forbidden fruit, but overcame Satan, the last Eve remains spiritually covered by the last Adam. The last Eve is cloaked in the garment that is Jesus’ righteousness; she is under the covering of her Husband; she is under Grace, and will remain so until the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17:26-30). Then, she will be exposed as the lawless woman that she became when she swallowed the lie of the serpent. Disciples who have used the garment of Grace to practice walking uprightly before God will walk uprightly. But the majority of today’s great Christian Church does not practice walking uprightly, but uses the cloak of Grace as a covering for lawlessness. This majority will rebel against God when the lawless one is revealed (2 Thess 2:3), and this majority will become the firstborn son of the last Eve, a son born before the last Eve went into labor (Isa 66:7), a spiritual Cain who will slay his righteous brother.

Like the prophecies of Daniel that were sealed until the time of the end, the endtime vision of John has been sealed even though its internal claim is that it isn’t sealed. The book of Revelation, however, will not be sealed on the Lord’s day (Rev 22:10), for the completion of the described events will then be soon or near (same verse). The command of the angel not to seal pertains to when the events described within the vision occur. But again, what John sees doesn’t occur near the end of the 1st-Century although no contemporary of John’s would have known as much, for the seven named churches co-existed as real fellowships. Thus, just as the angel who delivered to Daniel what was written in the book of truth (Dan 10:21) began by introducing Darius the Mede, then saying that he would show Daniel the truth (Dan 11:1-2), the One who has the keys to Death and Hades begins by saying, ‘“Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this”’ (Rev 1:19). Those things that are [when John is in vision on the Lord’s day] are not the things of the 1st-Century, but the things of the Lord’s day. Therefore, through the literary trope of the vision being placed in the future, and its internal contents pertaining to the future then and after then, Revelation has not been understandable. And to insure that John’s vision could not be understood until the time of the end, the appearance of entities within John’s vision is the description of how the entities function in the plan of God. For example, Jesus in the first chapter appears as ‘“a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest”’ (v. 13). But in the fifth chapter, Jesus appears as a Lamb, slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes (v. 6). Jesus functions in the plan of God as the reality of the paschal lamb, as well as the reality of the daily or the lamb sacrificed every morning and every evening. Plus, the seven eyes are said to be seven spirits, which, though invisible, function as the eyes of Jesus. Compare now the remainder of the image of Jesus from the first chapter: Jesus stands in the midst of the seven golden lampstands and seven stars that are the seven churches and seven angels to the seven churches. The seven horns become equivalent to the seven churches (the golden lampstands), and seven eyes to the seven angels to the churches (stars). Hence, the two descriptions of Jesus allow endtime disciples to unseal that portion of Revelation sealed in a similar manner as how the prophecies of Daniel were sealed, for the description of the four horsemen are how these four entities function in the plan of God. Likewise, the description of the dragon and of the woman of chapter seventeen reveals how these entities function.

Until the things that John has seen in vision on the Lord’s day begin the seven endtime years, the Lamb of God does not remove the seven seals from the scroll (Rev chaps 5 & 6). No one living earlier is worthy to open the scroll that is written within and without. No person today or in the past can read or has read the inside of the scroll. And until the prophecies of Daniel were unsealed when the time of the end began, no one could even read the outside of the scroll. So every prophecy pundit who wrote about the book of Revelation in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries was truly clueless as to how to take meaning from the words. And it is from the writings of 19th and 20th Century Evangelical pundits that the great whore of chapter seventeen was identified as the Roman Church.

The structural hierarchy of the old dragon’s reigning oligarchy over the earth appeared to King Nebuchadnezzar as a humanoid image, its shadow forming the empires of Babylon, Persia, and Greece, and extending from Nebuchadnezzar himself to Antiochus Epiphanes, whose reign over Jerusalem was broken by human sons of light. Rome, the Roman Empire, the Roman Church, and the Roman See are not parts of the spiritually lifeless shadow of the humanoid image that represents spiritual Babylon. Rather, the shadow ends with the beginning of the Maccabean war, for Christ Jesus will liberate spiritual Israelites and will break spiritual Babylon in a different manner than was done in the 2nd-Century BCE. Thus, every reading of Daniel and Revelation that includes Rome or the Roman Church is of men, and is of false prophets.

Until the garment of Christ Jesus’ righteousness is removed from the Body of Christ, thereby revealing the Son of Man, every disciple is under Grace, with his or her lawlessness to be revealed when the Christ returns. No disciple has lawlessness attributed to the disciple because of the fellowship with which the disciple worships. A disciple (i.e., a person who has been born-from-above) in the Roman Church is no more nor less a sinner than a Baptist or a Lutheran. The disciple who knows to keep the laws of God inscribed on the heart and mind through birth by Spirit and who knowingly does not keep these laws is a hypocrite whose righteousness doesn’t exceed that of the Pharisees. This disciple will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:20). But this disciple will not be revealed as a hypocrite until the person’s judgment is revealed at Jesus’ Second Coming. Therefore, no Christian Church today automatically qualifies as the whore of chapter seventeen although many denominations are committing adultery with the spiritual king of Greece. This great whore isn’t the Roman Church, or the Mormons, or any other denomination. It isn’t, today, all of 8th-day Christianity. It will be, though, the firstborn spiritual son of the last Eve. For the great whore of chapter seventeen comes from the delusion sent over those disciples who rebel against God when the man of perdition is revealed.

When the Son of Man is revealed, disciples are liberated from the law of sin and death that presently dwells in every disciple. They are liberated through empowerment by the Holy Spirit. And following empowerment, sin and death will be outside of every disciple. The son of God who has practiced walking uprightly under the cloak of Grace will now walk uprightly before God, his nakedness covered by his obedience to the laws of God. This son will be like the man Jesus—and except for a remnant, will be slain or sacrificed as Jesus was. And he will be slain by his elder brother, who would have been accepted if he had done well. But sin lurked at the firstborn’s door, and devoured him when he blasphemed the Holy Spirit by denying his empowerment. Obedience is not too large a giant to defeat (Num 13:31-33).

Spiritual Babylon will be thrown down when Satan and his angels are cast to the earth (Rev 12:9-10). The kingdom of the world will then become the kingdom of the Most High and of His Christ (Rev 11:15 & Dan 7:9-14). The Holy Spirit will be poured out upon all flesh (Joel 2:28). And every person alive will be born of Spirit, and will be called by God: “‘Come out of [Babylon], my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues”’ (Rev 18:4). Now, all who endure to the end shall be saved, the good news that must be proclaimed to the world as a witness to all nations (Matt 24:13-14). Enduring means not partaking in sin, not taking upon the person the mark of the beast, the mark of Death, this mark being the tattoo of the cross [chi xi stigma].

The great whore that rides the beast, the remains of the Satan’s oligarchy, comes into existence after the Son of Man is revealed. It will have slain its spiritual younger brother, a righteous Abel, and it will believe it has done God a service. But the god it serves will have [has already had in the timeless heavenly realm] fire come out from its belly, devouring him, turning him into ashes under the feet of saints. So while this great whore can kill the flesh and become drunk on the blood of martyrs, she cannot send anyone into the lake of fire unless the person joins in her lawlessness.

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."