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 “time and chance.”

Printable/viewable File

Weekly Readings

For the Sabbath of March 28, 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.




But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him. It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun. Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going. Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them. (Eccl 9:1–12 emphasis added)




The same event happens to the good person, to the righteous person, to the believer, to the pious person as happens to scoffers and evil doers, according to Solomon. The lack of divine interference formed the complaint of the sons of Korah in Psalms 44 … where was the Lord when it came to protecting His own? Was He asleep? Must He be awakened? How does an endtime Christian explain bad things happening to seemingly good people; bad things happening to innocent children?

To say that time and chance happens to all seems like a copout; a non-explanation when an explanation is needed …

In January 1958, a member of Boring, Oregon’s volunteer fire department put his arm around my shoulders and said, “Your dad has gone to a better place. You have to be the man of the house now.”

I was eleven, in fifth grade, and dad had died of an unexpected, massive heart attack.

Yes, time and chance had happened to Dad, but not really. Dad was a three pack a day smoker. Unfiltered Kools. He had just worked through a bout of the Hong Kong flu without resting; working twenty hours a day without taking time off. And without telling Mom but taking me along, he had gone to a doctor because he was having cramps on the inside of his thigh. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD). The signs were all there: he was a prime candidate for a heart attack. He was one of the many unrecognized casualties of the Hong Kong flu, dying of a heart attack a couple of weeks after having seemingly recovered from the flu, his arteries cogged and turned into “tanned” leather by his smoking.

What Solomon wrote is superficial, the thinking of the carnal mind—

If both the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of Lord, then what happens to the good person, the moral person, the believer in this world is also in the hands of the Lord, who has, except for the Elect, taken a hands off position when it comes to human persons consigned to disobedience as sons of disobedience (cf. Rom 11:32; Eph 2:2–3) … the Elect are those individuals foreknown by God the Father, predestined, called by Christ Jesus, justified by Christ’s crucifixion for the individual while the person was still a sinner (Rom 5:8), and glorified by the indwelling of Christ—by the spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou] entering into the spirit of the person [to pneuma tou ’anthropou] as a husband enters his wife for the purpose of precreation, thereby bringing into existence a newly born son of God. This indwelling of Christ will cause the person to walk in this world as Jesus, an observant Judean, walked. If the person doesn’t willingly walk as Jesus walked, the person has not been born of spirit and doesn’t have indwelling eternal life. The person might well be a pious Christian, someone who eschews evil and chooses good, but the person is not a son of God, born of spirit.

According to Solomon, the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. All true, because the Adversary remains the prince of this world—and because the swift don’t analyze the race beforehand because that is not what the swift do; that is not what the strong do before entering battle. The wise don’t bake bread because the wise seek wisdom. The intelligent rarely seek riches but rather, knowledge. And the person with knowledge seldom has a dirty nose because the favor of this world has no lasting value.

Solomon had wisdom given by the Lord, because he had not asked the Lord for power or wealth. But he did not have godly character even though he knew what godly character was: he was not born of spirit, and only had the spirit of the God of Abraham as his father King David had this spirit (Ps 51:11) of the Creator of all things physical (see John 1:3)—

There is a major theological problem within greater Christendom that isn’t rooted in the Bible or in Sola Scriptura, but rooted in secular misunderstanding that gave rise to Pharisaical Judaism and its continuation, rabbinical Judaism; that gave rise to both Trinitarian and Arian Christianity, to 16th-Century Unitarianism—and this problem is that God the Father is the God of dead ones, not living ones:

But Jesus answered them, "You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not God of the dead, but of the living." And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching. (Matt 22:29–33)

The problem of Solo Scripture—the basis for the Protestant Reformation—is a problem of a different sort: the authority of the biblical text as the infallible word of God is a flawed concept. The Bible as received is neither infallible nor the Word of God. Christ Jesus is the living Word of God (John 1:1), with the indwelling of Christ bringing the Word of God inside the heart of the truly born of spirit disciple, thereby placing the Bible in the position of being a schoolmaster that “tutors” infant sons of God until these sons are mature enough to “read” what has been written on their hearts and placed in their minds.

Because the Bible is a humanly written and humanly redacted text that includes pseudepigrapha epistles and a Second Sophist novel [the Book of Acts], plus Matthew’s Gospel and Luke’s Gospel, Solo Scriptura is a problematic concept despite the concept forming the theological basis for nearly half of endtime Christendom … it is difficult to argue that reading the Bible for oneself has caused more problems than reading has solved for any such argument would not be true, but reading Scripture introduced unanticipated problems that have been glossed over, painted with a form of time and chance.

Take, for example, David having the Holy Spirit:

Have mercy on me, O God,

According to your steadfast love;

According to your abundant mercy

Blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,

And cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,

And my sin is ever before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned

And done what is evil in your sight,

So that you may be justified in your words

And blameless in your judgment.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,

And in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,

And you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;

Let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins,

And blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from your presence,

And take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

And uphold me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,

 And sinners will return to you.

(Ps 51:1–13 indented lines are spiritual portions of couplets; emphasis added)

The person schooled as a child knows how to read, and can read the words of David as he repents, pleading for both eternal salvation and for continuance as king, the earthly representative of the firstborn son of the Lord (Ex 4:22), but this person really cannot read David’s words even when the person believes otherwise. For the reader [auditor] assigns meaning to the words read. The words, themselves, are without meaning apart from whatever meaning a reading community assigns to them, with the English word I usually use to demonstrate being <malix>, a word I grew up hearing and a word I often used when my daughters were small … the word came into vogue along the Oregon Coast when “sidehill salmon” became too clichéd to continue being used. [As an aside, where and when I lived in Oregon, we claimed to “fall” trees, timber, not “fell” timber, and a “whistle punk” had a talkie-tooter; “boomers” were furry rodents, and the James G. Blaine Society wasn’t a joke.]

Now, for the reader schooled as a child, why did David write, “And in sin did my mother conceive me”? Jesse, father of David, did not go outside of his marriage vows when David was conceived; so what sin was committed when David was conceived? … The sin of Adam, his unbelief, which introduced sin into the world and with sin, death (Rom 5:12).

Adam’s unbelief causes and has caused all of humanity to be born consigned to disobedience (Rom 11:32) as sons of disobedience (Eph 2:2–3). David apparently understood that the humanly born person was without the indwelling spirit of God, with David as king receiving the spirit of the God of Abraham when anointed by Samuel. David would have known how he was (how he felt) inside himself before he was anointed by Samuel, and how he felt after being anointed …

Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the spirit of [YHWH] rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. Now the spirit of [YHWH] departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from [YHWH] tormented him. And Saul's servants said to him, "Behold now, a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you. …” (1 Sam 16:13–15)

As Saul noticed the absence of the spirit of the Lord when this spirit departed from him, David would have noticed the presence of this spirit in him. Likewise, when a Christian disciple is born of spirit, the spirit of the Lord [pneuma Christou] enters into the spirit of the person [to pneuma tou ’anthropou] and will become as noticeable to the disciple as the spirit of the Lord “rushing” upon David. Therefore, David was in a theological state analogous to, but not identical to a Christian disciple being born of spirit—not identical to because David received the spirit of Yah, the God of Abraham, whereas the disciple receives the spirit of God [pneuma Theou] in the spirit of Christ [again, pneuma Christou] entering into the spirit of the person, thereby making the spirit of Christ the heavenly vessel able to hold the bright fire that is the glory of God inside the spirit of the person. This David didn’t have. So even though David had the spirit of the God of Abraham, David was not born of spirit, nor could David have been born of spirit prior to when the Beloved of God entered His creation as His unique Son, and inside His creation, received in His spirit the spirit of God in the bodily form of a dove descending upon Him and entering into Him (Mark 1:10).

Again, David was not born of the Holy Spirit; David was not the second or last Adam. So the Holy Spirit David had was not the glory of the Most High God; was not indwelling eternal or heavenly life. Rather, the Holy Spirit that David asked not to be taken from him was the “spirit” [pneuma] of the God of Abraham, the God [Theos] of living ones. And it is here where Solo Scriptura fails readers schooled as children are taught to read.

Again, according to the scribe writing 1st Samuel—this scribe writing a redaction of an earlier text, translating pre-Davidic Hebrew into Imperial Hebrew—the Lord sent to Saul a harmful spirit that tormented Saul … is this an action characteristic of the Lord?

King Solomon will not write time and chance happens to all men for nearly another century; will not write, the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God, until he had married too many foreign women, made too many idols for them, and ignored the Lord too many times.

“The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun” (Eccl 9:5–6 emphasis added) — death is a human leveler/equalizer. The sins of the sinner perish with the sinner; the love of the righteous perishes with the righteous in this world where Solomon had wisdom … Solomon was spiritually dead. He had no indwelling spiritual life. He did not have within him the mind of Christ. And the inscription of his wisdom is analogous to a McGuffey Reader: his wisdom is for school children; for infant sons of God, not mature sons.

“The same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath” (Eccl 9:2) … what Solomon saw that confirmed the wisdom he had received is that the righteous are not privileged over the unrighteous. An Israelite has no inherent advantage over the unclean, the person of the nations. The hedge that the Lord had placed around Job prior to Job’s testing isn’t like a Star Trek force field, keeping out bad things, preventing bad things from happening to the Israelite, physical or spiritual. “Time and chance happen to them all” (v. 11).

If “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge” (Eccl 9:11), then what advantage does a Jew have over a Gentile, or a Christian have over a Muslim? The Apostle Paul claimed an advantage for a Jew:

Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though everyone were a liar, as it is written, "That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged." But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? (Rom 3:1–6 emphasis added)

Endtime disciples fail to appreciate just how unfaithful the various sects of Jews were for the entirety of the period between Joshua [in Greek, ’Iesou — Jesus] and Jesus the Nazarene; thus Sabbatarian Christians dream of journeying to earthly Jerusalem where they can live as Judeans, immersed in a Hebraic culture consigned to violence rivaled only by the antediluvian violence that grieved the Lord and made Him sorry that He had created sons of God from adamah, these sons of God being descendants of Adam through Seth … the Elect of spiritual Israel are sons of God, born of spirit, the indwelling spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou] that has “penetrated” their spirit of man [to pneuma tou ’anthropou] that resides in the soul [psuche] or “heart” of the person. And these sons of God do not escape time and chance simply because they are of God.

How, then, does a son of God differ from a spiritual Gentile? By the words that the son of God speaks, especially when there is no one present to hear words spoken within the person’s mind; when the person comes clean with him or herself, expressing what the person really thinks, these words heard by the glorified Christ as if the person were wired with an open mike. It will be these words—hidden words, unuttered words—that justify or condemn the person when his or her judgment is revealed.

If nothing bad were to happen to the born-of-spirit son of God, from where would this son of God’s spiritual growth come? How can a person learn patience when there is no delayed gratification? How can a person demonstrate genuine love for God when the Lord gives to the person everything the person needs or desires when the person wants whatever … the Lord occasionally asks the question, Will you love me in the morning when I don’t give you what you want tonight? Just how deep, how great is the person’s love for God? Deep enough to keep the Sabbath when keeping the Sabbath prevents the person from obtaining employment, a situation most every Sabbatarian Christian faced in Alaska during the Pipeline Boom? Is the Christian’s love for God deep enough he or she knows that when the Christian comes to a fork in the road, whichever fork the Christian takes, God will be with the Christian? That there is no right nor wrong fork. Both forks will lead to salvation if the unvoiced thoughts of the Christian reflect love for God, neighbor, and brother.

Or does the Christian mentally curse God for permitting the Christian to suffer; for permitting a tornado to wipe out the Christian’s home and everything the Christian has in this world? What was it that Job’s wife told him: “his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die’” (Job 2:9). And Job told her, “‘You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips” (v. 10).

Job was wrong: the evil that had befallen him was not of God, but of the Adversary. The scribe who wrote that the Lord sent an evil spirit to King Saul was wrong: what Saul felt was his return to being consigned to disobedience which he had, as the anointed king of Israel and representative redeemer of Israel, temporarily escaped through having the indwelling spirit of the Beloved.

An infant doesn’t know that he or she breathes on his or her own when initially born as a human person: awareness of “breath” isn’t something the newly born has. The infant breathes involuntarily. You breathe involuntarily. To not breathe you hold your breath. If strong willed, you hold your breath until you pass out, then you involuntarily breathe. When you cease to breathe permanently, you are pronounced dead. Evidence of having physical life is your involuntary breathing. And so it is with spiritual life: you do not “choose” to begin breathing [having indwelling heavenly life] spiritually because you have made a decision for Christ. You are born of spirit when you receive the glory of God (from Ezek 1:26–28) in the form of the indwelling of Christ Jesus [the spirit of God, pneuma Theou, having entered into the spirit of Christ, pneuma Christou, that in turn enters into the spirit of the person, to pneuma tou ’anthropou], with the indwelling Christ being the heavenly vessel able to “hold” the bright fire that is the glory of God. You are not born of spirit when you make a decision for Jesus, or when you utter the Sinner’s Prayer, or when you give your heart to the Lord—these are all things that you do, not what God does to you and for you; for until the Second Passover liberation of Israel from indwelling sin and death, no person can come to Christ unless the Father draws the person from this world (John 6:44). Giving your heart to the Lord may benefit you if you actually begin to walk in this world as Jesus walked, but usually so-called giving your heart to the Lord harms you, harms your neighbor because you trade believing one lie for another, thereby making accepting the Truth even more psychologically difficult.

As a human person can hold his or she breath until the person passes out, an infant son of God can figuratively hold his breath—refusing to live and act as a son of God—until this son of God passes out and involuntarily resumes “breathing,” walking in this world as Jesus walked.

There are enough human infants that hold their breath when mad or when uncomfortable that the condition is medically recognized, the infant alarming parents and causing parents to think something is seriously wrong with the manipulative infant … God as the son of God’s parent will not be manipulated by an infant son: a son of God—a human person genuinely born of spirit—involuntarily born from above can throw a figurative temper tantrum and (again figuratively) hold his breath, turn blue and appear to be on the verge of death, and God will do nothing for the person; for God knows that the person will involuntarily return to walking in this world as an observant Judean when the person figuratively passes out [loses human consciousness, governed by the person formerly being a son of disobedience]. The son of God will not die spiritually just because the son of God is a spiritual breath-holder, a manipulative infant.

As physical breathing is an involuntary act, walking in this world as an observant Judean is an involuntary act for the born-again son of God—and about this, the spiritually dead know nothing. They are spiritually dead even though they can be exceptionally wise and filled with godly understanding as Solomon was.

King David would not have known when the spirit of the God of Abraham came upon him—at the moment of his anointing, he would have known something happened, but he wouldn’t have understood just what happened. He wouldn’t have known that suddenly, he received the indwelling spirit of Yah, the Creator of all things physical. He wouldn’t have known that he received this Holy Spirit so that he could serve as the representative redeemer of Israel, the man who stands in the breach, the man who could not be found when the Lord searched for him: “‘And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none’” (Ezek 22:30) … all of Israel was slag, dross; the float of impurities and oxidation to be drawn to the side and cast away.

Carnal knowledge forms the mirror image—the left hand enantiomer—of spiritual knowledge, with the wisdom of Solomon forming the spiritually lifeless shadow and copy of a disciple having the mind of Christ through the disciple having the indwelling of Christ. The person with limited physical/carnal knowledge can only have limited spiritual knowledge—and because as human persons, none of us can know all there is to know physically (probably not since Erasmus has the possibility existed of a person knowing all there was to know physically), none of us can fully possess the mind of Christ even though as sons of God, we have the indwelling mind of Christ. However, we have this mind as a human infant has the mind of man. We deceive ourselves if we think we are spiritually more than infant sons of God, small children at best. We are so far from being mature sons of God, we cannot honestly conceive spiritual maturity. It is only in our arrogance that we can imagine being spiritual teenagers.

To think we have spiritual maturity discloses how far we are from truly having spiritual maturity. To state that we are obtaining spiritual maturity is prima facie evidence of our immaturity, making us spiritually analogous to my middle daughter who when obtaining sufficient height that she bumped her head on the apron of the kitchen table (when she became tall enough she had to duck to walk under the table), would identify herself as, Kristel Sue Kizer, Big Girl. She might have been three. She wasn’t any older than that.

When we grow enough spiritually to truly comprehend that the wisdom of Solomon is merely worldly wisdom—that time and chance happens to all men because we are not spiritually mature enough to control either time or chance by speaking into existence what was/is not—we will still be spiritual adolescents. But by then, we should have matured enough to develop self-awareness so that we become self-directed “texts” speaking ourselves into existence. When we have matured enough to absolutely have no concern about the surface of things, we will have reached young adolescence. We will still be very far from maturity.

* * *

"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."