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 typology basics.

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Weekly Readings

For the Sabbath of February 11, 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 Psalms 40.

Commentary: The basics of typology that are visible in the creation accounts, albeit difficult to initially grasp, are also visible in the structural repetition of Hebraic poetry: the Psalms were written as poetry, which, again, foregrounds “words.” Thus, the mimetic reading [the reading that uses words to mimic or imitate a thing or event in the natural world] of a poetic passage isn’t the ultimate focus of the passage, but the poem itself is its foremost focus. Poetry is self-aware text; i.e., poetry looks at itself, not at the thing or event it describes, as being most important. Therefore, movement within a poem exceeds in importance movement described by the poem. And King David was a master poet, who understood God much better than his translators have.

In the “P” creation account that begins in Genesis 1:1, light comes from darkness, and darkness followed by light creates one day. The Apostle Paul wrote that the natural precedes the spiritual, as the first Adam preceded the last Adam (1 Cor 15:44-47). So within the completeness of a unit is the natural or physical component followed by its spiritual equivalent. Likewise, within a Hebraic poetic conceit is a natural component followed by its spiritual counterpart. But within the conceit are paired thought couplets which also move from natural to spiritual.

So from the level of basic Hebrew linguistics through the division of the Bible, the natural precedes the spiritual. One example within a collection of examples is verse 8 of Psalm 40: “I [David] desire to do your will, O my God” — this is David voicing his conscious thoughts. And David’s conscious thought is followed by, “[Y]our law is within my heart” — the heart and mind as fleshy tablets upon which God has written His law constitutes a euphemistic expression for the conscience, part of the subconscious mind. So the movement of the conceit, which begins with “sacrifice and offerings” (v. 6) is from the works of the hand to written Scripture (v. 7) to conscious thought to the conscience. This movement is from darkness [sacrifice and offerings] to light [the covenant of God in the conscience]. And in the darkness/light metaphor that forms each day, and governs the daily routine of human beings is the confirmation of typology, and typological exegesis.

The reader should now read 1 Corinthians chapter 10, verses 1 through 22.

Commentary: The greater Christian Church has forgotten [or badly misread] what the apostle wrote to the saints at Corinth: Paul definitively says that the events that happened to the circumcised nation during their exodus from Egypt are examples for the saints upon “whom the end of the ages has come” (v. 11). Paul thought he would be one of those saints, that he would be alive when Jesus returned. Even Paul’s vision of the work to be done was too small, for Israel’s example was for a worldwide church, not a body of Believers in and around the Mediterranean Sea.

Paul didn’t live to see the end of the age. Even today, this end remains ahead of the Church, but no longer in the distant future. So, since it is to the endtime Church that Israel’s exodus from Egypt serves as an example—in the same way that the lifeless moon reflects the glory of the sun, or that darkness precedes light—the juxtaposition of the Passover lamb slain in Egypt with the Passover Lamb of God slain at Calvary aligns the example with prophecies about endtime Israel.

The many false prophets that have come and that are prophesied to come inevitably identify endtime Israel as a physical nation, usually as the modern nation of Israel long descended from the physical remnant of the house of Judah that left Babylonian captivity by Cyrus’ decree. Some few false prophets identify endtime Israel as the English-speaking descendants of, allegedly [and probably], the ancient house of Israel that was the northern kingdom of Samaria. But endtime Israel has the same relationship to the natural nation of Israel as the sun has to the moon. Thus, endtime Israel is the greater Christian Church, not any one division or schism within the Church. And endtime Israel is composed of the many sons of God that have been born of Spirit, and that are presently domiciled in tents of flesh of varying colors. These tents and especially, the ancestry of these tents have no spiritual significance. Hence, any teacher of Israel who excludes or includes on the basis of the flesh is false, and should be utterly rejected. This is particularly true for the Christian Identity Movement in all of its many manifestations—and among Sabbath-observing disciples are many who hold tenets of “Christian Identity.” These Sabbath-observing disciples do more harm to spiritual infants than they can possibly imagine; they are inevitably tares, mistaken for wheat but yielding worthless fruit.

As the moon reflects the light of the sun, and makes the sun visible in the darkness of the night, so too does the natural nation of Israel reflect the light of the woman cloaked in the brilliance of the sun/Son (Rev 12:1) as it serves as a copy and shadow of the greater Christian Church. And if the natural nation is a shadow of the spiritual nation, then the historical record of the natural nation in Judea becomes the visible shadow of the invisible nation in the heavenly realm…although the Christian Church is a visible entity, who within and without this assemblage actually has been born of Spirit cannot be determined by mere observation, and might not be determinable by human beings. Therefore, while the visible history of the Church has been recorded by various human historians—this account tainted by having been written in darkness by blind scribes—the actual historical record of the greater Church is today readable through the writings of Moses, Joshua, and other ancient Israelites scribes, who left the Church a record of itself in the heavenly realm.

The Apostle Paul warns 1st-Century disciples not to repeat the conduct of the natural nation. He aligns crossing the Red Sea with baptism, and eating manna and drinking from the waters of the rock with eating and drinking the sacraments. And Paul warns these disciples, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons” (1 Cor 10:21). Yet, within three centuries, partaking of the cup and table of demons was prescribed behavior for “Christians.”

The reader should now read 1 Corinthians chapter 11, verses 17 through 34.

Commentary: The early Church so sought to disavow its Jewish heritage that it systematically proceeded to profane the blood and body of Christ Jesus. It didn’t continue to accidentally eat and drink in an unworthy manner, as the saints at Corinth were doing when Paul rebuked them. Rather, the early Church accepted the Hellenistic concept of human beings having immortal souls, which is a doctrine of the old serpent himself, and this now corrupted Church took to itself the determination of good and evil. So by the 4th-Century, God formally sent the Church into Babylonian captivity at the Council of Nicea (ca. 325 CE), where eating the body and blood of the Lamb of God on the night that He was betrayed, as Paul received from the Lord and delivered to the saints at Corinth, was officially condemned. From that summer forward (and earlier for many fellowships), the Church partook of the cup and the table of demons.

The Apostle Paul didn’t realize that two millennia would pass before Jesus would return. He didn’t know that later disciples would ape the examples of Israel in the Wilderness of Sin; he didn’t know that the liberated natural nation of Israel served both as (1) the shadow of individual conversion, and as (2) the shadow of the future Church when it, too, is liberated from bondage to the law of sin and death that presently dwells in the flesh of every disciple (Rom 7:25). Paul didn’t know that his instruction to the saints at Corinth would be used to justify taking the sacraments whenever and however disciples desired. He would have vigorously condemned taking the sacraments at any time but on the night that Jesus was betrayed, that night being the dark portion of the 14th day of the first month. That night isn’t any particular weeknight; it isn’t on Thursday evening, the weeknight on which extremely poor readers of Scripture believe Jesus was taken. Rather, it is the dark portion of the day when the Passover lamb was slain—and its date is fixed on the sacred calendar.

On one night a year, [unleavened] bread and wine are the body and blood of the Lamb of God, sacrificed for the household of God. On every other night of the year, bread and wine are an offering of the fruit of the ground (Gen 4:3). So through the eating and drinking of the sacrament, the central division affecting the greater Church is made manifest. Most disciples partake of the cup and table of demons, and believe they serve God when they do so. They have placed their faith in some man, or in the decisions of the Council of Nicea. They do not believe God, and their unbelief is directly akin to the unbelief of the natural nation that left Egypt (Heb 3:19).

If a disciple will not believe the Apostle Paul and will not believe the example the man Jesus left, then is this disciple not like a natural Israelite who rebelled against God and would not listen to Him (Ezek 20:8)? Certainly, the disciple is. And are not most disciples like natural Israelites who would not cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor forsake the idols of Egypt [sin] (same verse)? Don’t most disciples do the majority of their buying and selling on the Sabbath, thereby greatly profaning it? Certainly they do. And the greater Church has profaned God’s Sabbaths for 17, 18, 19 centuries—for long enough that the greater Church has acquired a taste for sin, has actually become addicted to sin, which, like sugar, leaves such a sweet taste in the mouth but kills the body. [Research indicates that sugar is more addictive than cocaine.]

The Apostle Paul probably never imagined how unheeded his admonishment of the saints at Corinth would be. He wouldn’t have wanted to believe that the Church would rebel against God as it did in those early centuries. He wouldn’t have wanted to believe that the natural nation was the actual shadow of the spiritual nation. He lived long enough to see corruption enter the fellowship at Galatia—and that corruption never ended, but only shifted from accepting the teaching of the Circumcision Faction (which placed emphasis on the flesh) to rejecting all things Jewish.

The reader should now read Jeremiah chapter 16.

Commentary: In the darkness/light juxtaposition between natural Israel and spiritual Israel, the Jerusalem of Jeremiah’s day compares first to the Jerusalem-above in the 3rd and 4th Centuries CE. The martyrdom of the decade between 303 and 313 CE didn’t come upon the Church because of its righteousness (this isn’t to say that the righteous were not martyred, for most likely the righteous died during this period because of their righteousness). Rather, the Church appeared before God as the natural nation of Israel appeared before God just prior to when God drove the natural nation from the Jerusalem-below.

Jeremiah makes the connection between the emptying of Jerusalem and the exodus from Egypt, saying that God would again set His hand to recover Israel (vv. 14-15). So the penalties attached to the examples of natural Israel in the Wilderness of Sin about which the Apostle Paul warns the saints at Corinth appear spiritually in, ‘“But first I will doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, because they have polluted my land with the carcasses of their detestable idols, and have filled my inheritance with their abominations” (v. 18).

The reader should now read Ezekiel chapter 20.

Commentary: This is how God sees the greater Church, and this is what He promises to do. He will recover those He can, and He will do so in a manner that makes everyone forget the exodus of the natural nation from Egypt.

The prophets link the recovery of endtime Israel to the exodus of the natural nation from Egypt…the former exodus forms the lifeless shadow of the endtime reality. This includes the liberation of the spiritual nation from bondage to the spiritual king of Babylon, a Pharaoh who will successfully cause the vast majority of Christians to rebel against God once they are liberated from sin and death. This rebellion will be the great falling away, and for the disciple who habitually transgresses the laws of God and profanes His Sabbaths, this rebellion will be business as usual.

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."