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 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 “infallibility.”

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Weekly Readings

For the Sabbath of March 7, 2015


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.


Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him. See, I have told you." So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me." …

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw Him they worshiped Him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matt 28:1–10, 16–20 emphasis added)



A great earthquake and an angel rolling back the entrance stone—and in John’s Gospel, Mary Magdalene neglects to mention this angel rolling back the stone …

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." (John 20:1–2)

How could Mary have either not remembered or have missed seeing this angel in John’s Gospel that she saw in Matthew’s Gospel? Did the author of John’s Gospel simply not know about this angel when the two women named Mary told the disciples that Jesus had risen from death? Of perhaps Matthew’s account is simply not true—the end of this chapter in Matthew’s Gospel, even to this day, isn’t true: all authority in heaven and on earth has NOT yet been given to Christ Jesus. It is true that all authority will be given to Christ Jesus halfway through seven endtime years of tribulation as seen in Daniel’s vision and in John’s vision:

As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took His seat; His clothing was white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool; His throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came out from before Him; a thousand thousands served Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. …

But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end. And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; His kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him. (Dan 7:9–14, 26–27 emphasis added)


Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever." And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth." (Rev 11:15–18)


Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!" (Rev 12:7–12 emphasis)

When all authority is given to the Son of Man—when all authority in heaven and on earth is given to Christ Jesus—the Adversary will be cast down to earth and will be among men. He will declare himself to be the returned Christ and will then demand that all take upon themselves proof of their fidelity to him, this proof being the mark of the beast (Rev 13:18), the tattoo of Christ’s cross [chi xi stigma]. And it will be at this time—halfway through seven endtime years [on the doubled day 1260]—when Jesus can rightly tell His disciples that all authority in heaven and earth has been given Him, not before.

This will now have Jesus telling His disciples that all authority has been given Him halfway through seven endtime years of tribulation, meaning that Matthew 28:18–20 is a futuristic event that occurs mid tribulation. This suggests that the angel rolling away the stone and speaking to the two women named Mary and the glorified Jesus appearing to the two named Marys is also a futuristic event—and this would bring endtime disciples to Paul writing,

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. (Rom 5:6–9 emphasis added)

When does the wrath of God occur? Perhaps the better question is, has the wrath of God yet occurred? It has not! So Christ dies for us—endtime disciples—so that we shall be saved by Him from the wrath of God that hasn’t yet occurred. This now leads to the question, when were we sinners? And this can be easily answered: between when we were humanly born as sons of disobedience (Eph 2:2–3), consigned to disobedience (Rom 11:32), and when Christ died for us, thereby justifying us … this would have Christ dying for each of us after we were humanly born; for human persons do not have immortal souls that possessed life prior to the human birth of the person. Christianity should not teach any form of soul transmigration. Therefore, disciples cannot be sinners before they are humanly born as serfs of the Adversary: they become sinners through transgressing the Commandments, the logic supporting the importance of infant [8th-day] circumcision. They are then justified by Christ dying for them while they are still sinners.

With the man Jesus being crucified in 31 CE and with few if any still living disciples being humanly born before 1931, it is safe to say that 1900 years [one hundred lunar time-cycles for the person who places importance on these cycles] plus more years passed between when the physical man Jesus of Nazareth was crucified at Calvary and when this same Jesus was crucified for the endtime disciple who was not a sinner until after the disciple’s human birth. These 1900+ years can be figuratively dismissed by saying that Jesus being crucified at Calvary in 31 CE “covers” all sinners regardless of when these sinner lived, but this is simply not true: Jesus’ death at Calvary covers the sins of Israel. The death of the third part of humanity in the Second Woe (Rev 9:13–21) “covers” the sins of the third part of humanity (from Zech 13:9). The death of all uncovered firstborns in the Second Passover liberation of Israel “covers” the sins of greater Christendom … Christ Jesus’ death at Calvary “covers” the sins of the Elect, the nation of Israel to be circumcised of heart; therefore, the Christian who hears the voice, the word of Jesus and believes the One who sent Jesus into this world passes from death to life without coming under judgment (John 5:24) for the Christian’s transgressions of the Law—all of them ever made—are covered by the death of Jesus at Calvary.

Jesus died for the ungodly while they were ungodly/unbelievers, but Jesus didn’t die for those human persons whom the Father does not draw from this world; for no person can come to Jesus so that He can “cover” the person with His righteousness unless the Father draws the person (John 6:44, 65). This presents a conundrum for Christian pastors who preach universal salvation, a subject for another Sabbath Reading.

For the glorified Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel to have told His disciples that all authority has been given Him, the author of Matthew transcends time in a similar way to how the Apostle Paul transcends time when Paul writes,

Nevertheless, with most of them [the nation of Israel that left Egypt] God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play." We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Cor 10:5–12 emphasis and doubled emphasis added)

Did the end of the age come upon Paul? No, the end of the age has not yet come upon humanity. So what Paul wrote was the truth, but was not fully true. Paul didn’t fully understand the juxtaposition of the timeless heavenly realm and the passage of time in this physical realm/creation. Therefore, Paul didn’t understand that an event that happened here on earth for Paul 1500 years earlier and happened for today’s endtime disciples 3500 years ago happens at the same moment for each of us in the heavenly realm … the author of Matthew’s Gospel understood this reality, but was then faced with the difficulty of how to express this reality in a way that later [endtime] disciples would understand.

I am, as a fiction writer called to reread prophecy, faced with the same difficulty.

I’ve said this before and I will say this many times: Christians collectively are extremely poor readers of Scripture. Most Christians are poorly educated. Most Christian pastors are charlatans, having been schooled to know the humanness, the logical inconsistencies of Scripture, but then telling their congregations that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. And the combination of frauds teaching the ignorant has sent Christian Sabbath attendance into a tailspin … Christianity as a viable ideology stalled in the late 19th-Century. Because of the altitude greater Christendom had culturally obtained, Christianity’s death spiral has been long and relatively slow. But Christianity’s crash is certain and is perhaps the last event to occur before the Second Passover liberation of Israel, when all who profess to be Christians through having been baptized in Jesus’ name will be filled-with and empowered by the spirit of God [pneuma Theou]. For the Second Passover liberation of Israel occurs when humanity can get no farther from God, with greater Christendom theoretically being the last to abandon God, Father and Son.

The author of Matthew’s Gospel signaled faithful disciples throughout his Gospel that what he wrote pertained to the indwelling glorified Christ, not to the earthly man … having his Jesus tell disciples that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him, Jesus, before the doubled day 1260 comes upon humanity, the author of Matthew’s Gospel should have broken Christian disciples’ suspension of disbelief.

Truly, no Christian genuinely born of God can be so spiritually ignorant that the Christian would believe Jesus is responsible for man’s inhumanity against man presently seen in this world; no Christian can be that dumb! Yet, if all authority has been given to Christ Jesus, He would be responsible for the Holocaust and for Cambodia’s Killing Fields; for Stalin’s Gulag and ISIS’ beheading of 21 Copts. He would be responsible for America’s 18+ trillion dollars of national debt that will never be repaid. He would be responsible for everything else bad that has happened over the past two millennia—and this simply isn’t true. The responsibility for evil in this world belongs squarely with the Adversary, the present prince of this world; the still reigning prince of the power of the air.

Godly faith should not be blind, or manifested in stupidity. There is no godly command to park the Christian’s common sense with the Christian’s vehicle in the church parking lot … why would a Christian believe that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Christ Jesus when television news coverage was of the rioting at Ferguson? Would not Christ Jesus have the authority to stop the beheading of an American journalist if all authority had been given Him? So for a Christian to believe that all authority has been given to Christ Jesus, the Christian has to also believe that it was Christ’s will that James Foley was decapitated—and that simply isn’t true! Christ Jesus is not a murderer. The Adversary is. And Foley was beheaded by thugs having the mindset of the Adversary.

ISIS thugs seek to return to the physical righteousness of Moses and Mohammad—and God may use these thugs to punish greater Christendom as He used Nebuchadnezzar to punish physical Jerusalem and the House of Judah.

Godly faith is manifested in belief of God, not belief of the Pope or belief of the Prophet in Salt Lake City or belief in the Metro of Moscow. Godly faith isn’t belief of Martin Luther or of John Calvin or of Alexander Mack or of Ellen G. White or of Andrew N. Dugger or of Herbert W. Armstrong. For the Word [’o Logos] of God isn’t the Bible, but is the glorified Christ Jesus, with the indwelling of Christ in the form of His spirit [pneuma Christou] placing the Word of God inside the born of spirit disciple. As such, disciples become living epistles in the heavenly Book of Life. And by extension, disciples are the Word of God. Genuinely born of spirit disciples—once past their spiritual infancy—do not “read” the Word of God, but rather, “speak” the words of God as the man Jesus spoke the words of God the Father.

Now, consider spiritually the significance of the following: if Mary Magdalene and the other Mary felt a great earthquake and saw an angel rolled away the stone blocking entrance into the Garden Tomb and heard this angel tell them not to be afraid, but to go to the disciples and tell them that Jesus has risen and is going to Galilee where He would meet with them, what would be the need for the glorified Jesus to meet with these two women and tell them the same thing? Did the glorified Jesus not trust the angel to faithfully and impressively convey the message to meet Him in the Galilee to His disciples?

Remember, in Mark’s Gospel, the three women fled from the angel and told no one of Jesus’ resurrection (see Mark 16:8 — everything after verse 8 was added to Mark’s Gospel in, apparently, the 4th-Century CE) … in Mark’s Gospel, three women went to the tomb; in Luke’s Gospel, all of the women that had come down from the Galilee went. Thus, as the pre-Calvary portions of the synoptic gospels contradict themselves, the post-Calvary narratives don’t agree.

Something all experienced writers understand either through being schooled or intuitively is narrative efficiency. The author of Matthew’s Gospel is a sophisticated writer, much too sophisticated to sloppily use narrative inefficiency in double-telling the two women to tell His disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee—a clunky sentence, but double-telling someone to do something in a narrative isn’t often seen, and is usually reserved for use as an expression of distrust of the messenger, in this case of the two women. Thus, in double-telling [once via the angel, and the second time directly by the glorified Jesus] the women to have Jesus’ disciples meet Him in the Galilee where this Jesus would tell His disciples that all authority in heaven and one earth has been given Him, the author of Matthew’s Gospel deliberately breaks his readers’ suspension of disbelief if any suspension of disbelief still exists … the author of Matthew’s Gospel signals his readers that what he has written should not be read literally: he does what he can to guarantee that his Gospel is read metaphorically.

It is the Adversary and his ministers, disguised as servants of righteousness that would have Christians believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God; believe that the Christ is a lifeless book … the Word of God is the living Christ, the Beloved of God the Father.

The Christian who argues that the Bible is the infallible Word of God is utterly without spiritual understanding, and is a person who denies Christ. This is correct. The Christian who would have a Greek Second Sophist novel [the Book of Acts] being the Word of God has the spiritual understanding of a mushroom. The Christian is, most likely, an unintentional antichrist. The one who pastors this Christian, however, knows that the Bible is a human book complied by human scribes and authors, a book composed of redacted texts originating in antiquity; a book that is of value to greater Christendom if read metaphorically but of little or no value when read literally for when read literally the Bible spawns unbelief of God.

The Bible spawns unbelief because it contains passages that cannot possibly be true … from what tall mountain can all kingdoms of this earth and their glory be seen (Matt 4:8)? From what elevation can the opposite side of the earth be seen? Can a person see over the horizon? Yes, slightly. But no, a person cannot see kingdoms and the glory of kingdom on the other side of the globe. What the author of Matthew’s Gospel writes in his temptation account cannot be literally true. And if what the author of Matthew’s Gospel writes about the temptation of Jesus cannot be literally true, then has not this author written a fictional account of the temptation?

Compare temptation accounts:

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when He came up out of the water, immediately He saw the heavens being torn open and the spirit descending [into] Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." The spirit immediately drove Him out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And He was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to Him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:9–15 emphasis added)

The author of Matthew’s Gospel and the author of Luke’s Gospel use Mark’s Gospel to establish a chronology for Jesus’ ministry; for Peter in particular and the first disciples in general taught using chreiai, explicated sayings or antidotes, such as, And Jesus said …, or And Jesus did ….

Peter in particular didn’t teach converts a history of the man Jesus’ ministry, but what the man Jesus said and actually did in situations. Apparently this was true for the other first apostles, with the Gospel of Thomas being a collection of 114 sayings, each beginning with, And He said ….

There was no chronological account of Jesus’ ministry in known existence prior to John Mark’s untangling the chreiai Peter used. Hence, the authors of Matthew’s Gospel and of Luke’s Gospel—both fictional presentations of Jesus’ earthly ministry, but fictional for differing reasons—obtained the structure and considerable language for their Gospels from John Mark [Mark’s Gospel]. And because enough evidence exists to support Mark’s Gospel being the first of the Synoptic Gospels, where Matthew’s Gospel or Luke’s Gospel differs from Mark’s Gospel a lacunae exists that permits either Matthew’s or Luke’s Gospel to be deconstructed.

But Christian apologists—like “Jackie” [his given name] Derrida refusing to deconstruct the writings of Karl Marx—refuse to deconstruct the Bible; for if these apologists were to critically read the Bible, they would expose the false underpinning of Western Civilization … collectively, Christians are extremely poor readers of texts, a repeated statement. And not only are Christians collectively blind readers, but they take pride in how poorly they read. They absolutely refuse to think critically. They refuse to challenge what they read and what they accept as true. As a result, greater Christendom is simultaneously dead and dying, not an oxymoronic statement but the factual expression of greater Christendom’s spiritually lifeless state that has most of the greater Church being spiritually dead and the portion that retains a semblance of life dying from suffocation and traumatic shock, how crucifixion kills the living person.

Readers of Matthew’s Gospel should have had their suspension of disbelief broken before they finished the first chapter, with disbelief returning these readers to being critical or skeptical readers of the Gospel … in the Gospel’s first chapter is the author’s false genealogy of Jesus. Readers should know the Old Testament well enough that they know more generations lived between Abraham and Christ than three sets of fourteen generations. Basic counting skills reveal that generations are missing from Matthew’s listing of generations.

So why was it important to the author of Matthew’s Gospel that there be three sets of fourteen generations … these three sets of fourteen generations function as an imbedded code that is not easily cracked, or they disclose authorial sloppiness. And it isn’t authorial sloppiness that sends the infant Jesus to Egypt so that the author could slip Jesus behind the children of Israel as the spiritual son of God called out from Egypt [note, the author of Matthew only cites the spiritual portion of the thought-couplet contained in Hosea 11:1]. Rather, what this author writes about Egypt is good fiction; for it is believable fiction. Herod could have ordered the death of all male children less than two years of age in Bethlehem. However, if he had an inscribed record would exist of him having done so. None exists. No one complained. No one contacted Rome. Neither citizen nor official. So the story, while believable, didn’t happen. Nevertheless the story was needed to make the argument about the inner son of God, born of spirit through the indwelling of the spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou], being the son of God called out of Sin.

When the author of Matthew’s Gospel can create good fiction, believable fiction that sends Jesus, Joseph, and Mary to Egypt, with Jesus returning to Judea when still a small child—too young to be contaminated by sin, what Egypt represents spiritually—this author is also good enough to assign meaning to three sets of fourteen generations, the first set having in it two kinsmen redeemers and the third set having two kinsmen redeemers, and with the middle set having the kings of Israel serving as the spiritual representatives of the people, thereby functioning as redeemers …

Every human person is humanly born as a son of disobedience (Eph 2:2–3), consigned to disobedience so that God can have mercy on all (Rom 11:32). Metaphorically, Egypt represents Sin; thus, metaphorically, every human person is humanly born as a spiritual Egyptian … Christian converts are metaphorically represented by the mixed multitude that left Egypt with Moses [Moses’ name represents, born of I AM, or son of no name] and with the people of Israel that perished in the Wilderness of Sin. Thus, every Christian convert began life in spiritual Egypt, and would remain throughout the person’s life in spiritual Egypt if the person doesn’t become a spiritual Israelite through the indwelling of the spirit of Christ and then as an infant son of God, leave Sin and journey toward the Promised Land that in type represents both the weekly Sabbath and the Millennium, the millennial Sabbath rest that comes upon the earth in a manner analogous to the giving of manna in the Wilderness.

Metaphorically, the indwelling Christ Jesus “goes to Egypt” when He, in the form of His spirit [pneuma Christou], enters into the spirit of the person [to pneuma tou ’anthropou] in the soul [psuche] of the person—and then in the form of an infant son of God, the indwelling Christ Jesus leaves Egypt/Sin and returns to Judea when the Christian convert begins to keep the Commandments, especially the Sabbath Commandment. Therefore, Matthew’s genealogy of Christ Jesus reflects the calling of the “royal priesthood” about which Peter wrote: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet 2:9).

There is a logical theological reason for Matthew to present the House of Judah’s kingly descent line as being the line of descent through which Jesus came, but this descent line does not represent the genealogy of the Messiah, who would be a shoot [root sucker] growing from the stump of Jesse (Isa 11:1–5) …

For a moment consider the problem facing the author of Matthew’s Gospel: this author understood spiritual matters as well as Paul did, and he understood that the Israel of importance was no longer the outwardly circumcised nation, but the nation circumcised of heart. And this nation circumcised of heart dwells in physical “houses” that are fleshly bodies, but is not these fleshly bodies. Therefore, the Jesus that dwells within circumcised of heart Israel is not the earthly body of the man Jesus; so those things that the “man” Jesus did can only represent in type those things that spiritual Jesus does in the spirit of the person … how does even the most sophisticated writer convey a non-physical existence and activities through words intended to describe the physical things of this world? Fiction is perhaps the most effective way; for fiction tells a “truth” without necessarily being true.

Pilate asked Jesus, What is truth? (John 18:38)

The author of Matthew’s Gospel presents a narrative and says, This is truth … but where is what this author writes true? All authority in heaven and earth was not given to Christ Jesus in the 1st-Century, nor has all authority yet been given to Christ Jesus in the 21th-Century. What the author of Matthew writes is true in the hearts [inner selves] of born-of-spirit sons of God.

Every Christian should have realized long ago in what the voice from heaven said to John the Baptist when he raised Jesus from the waters of the Jordan that Matthew’s Gospel presented to the world a different Jesus than the physical man of Mark’s Gospel … in Mark, the Father speaks to His Beloved, not to those in the vicinity of where John baptized. But in Matthew’s Gospel, the Father speaks to John the Baptist, not to His Beloved. And in speaking to John, the Father speaks to the Elect who also make straight paths to the Lord: the Father speaks to Philadelphia in the hearing of the other six named Churches. And how can this be declared with certainty? It can be declared by separation of the portion of greater Christendom that doesn’t keep His Word about the Endurance in Jesus from the portion that does.

Every Christian should have realized long ago from the account of the temptation of Jesus that the author of both Matthew’s Gospel and of Luke’s Gospel employed fiction for apparently differing reasons.

It is difficult to believe that the author of Matthew’s Gospel could so efficiently handle his narration until Calvary, then accidently succumb to inefficiency. It is more plausible to believe that the double-telling of the two Marys to go to His disciples was intentional, and pertains to two sets of disciples, or at least to disciples having both physical as well as spiritual life … this latter declaration is the production of eisegesis, reading into Matthew’s Gospel the most logical explanation for this author’s conscious alteration of text copied from Mark’s Gospel. So while disciples can discuss what the author of Matthew’s Gospel was trying to convey in double-telling the two Marys to have His disciples meet Him in Galilee, disciples cannot escape the reality that Matthew’s Gospel defies literalist readings, but requires instead the reader to accept that Matthew’s Jesus is not Mark’s Jesus, and is not the physical man born to Mary. Only the grossest inattentive readings of Matthew’s Gospel will permit harmonizing Matthew’s and Mark’s Gospels.

Textual sophistication encourages reader sophistication, something beyond the maturity level of spiritual infants, how the Apostle Paul identified the holy ones at Corinth (1 Cor 3:1–3).

If a Christian disciple willingly suspends disbelief, this Christian will accept as true logical inconsistencies that in any other context would be rejected. However, because the Christian wants to believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God, the Bible becomes for the Christian the infallible Word of God—and the Christian presents him or herself to this world as a fool, an identifier in which the Christian relishes:

Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (1 Cor 1:13–29 emphasis added)

Is Christ divided? Was Martin Luther crucified for you? Was John Calvin crucified for you? Was Herbert Armstrong crucified for you? Were you baptized into Ellen G. White as outwardly circumcised Israel was baptized into Moses [“I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” — 1 Cor 10:1–2 emphasis added]?

Because the author of Matthew’s Gospel wrote that disciples were to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Christians have been baptized into the name of these three—and here is where we shall begin next Sabbath’s Reading.

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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."