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 more extensive for this week and next than will be usual; for the following will most likely be new and unfamiliar observations. The concept behind this Sabbath’s selection is predestination.

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Weekly Readings

For the Sabbath of April 8, 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 service should read or assign to be read Romans chapter 8, verse 18 through chapter 9, verse 29.

Commentary: As noted in last Sabbath’s reading, the question of freewill has confronted Christianity from its beginning. Does a person choose to become a disciple of Christ Jesus, or is the person made a disciple despite the person’s will? Is one person “predestined” to be glorified while another isn’t?

If the creation has been “subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it” (Rom 8:20), then all that has been created, including humankind, is in a state of futility (i.e., lifelessness) by design. It wasn’t original sin that caused this futility, for then the first Adam would be responsible not just for sin or lawlessness (from 1 John 3:4) entering the world, but also for the “lifelessness” or futility of the elemental elements of the earth and of the heavens that existed prior to Adam’s creation. Obviously, no, the first Adam is not responsible for what came before him. No one is responsible for what predates the person. So only the Logos, who was born as the man Jesus of Nazareth, is responsible for the futility of the created universe, for all things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made (John 1:3). All things mean just that: the futility, itself, was created by the Logos, who was Theos, and was with Theon from the beginning (vv. 1-2).

The implication of Scripture is that all things have a beginning before which there was nothing physical, or nothing able to be observed or measured by humankind. This implication carries within itself the concept of “a beginning,” which introduces the relative temporal relationships of past, present, and future, thereby necessitating the existence of “time.” The apparent solidity of matter requires one “moment” to become another moment so that matter can relocate itself, and not be forever confined to its then-existing geographical location, with the measurement of the parading moments becoming humanity’s expression for the passing of time. But if one moment truly becomes another moment and does not exist as merely an illusionary matrix, then that which has a beginning must continually be changing in a measurable way—and the universe is continually expanding through the decay of dark matter, this decay evident by the uniformity of background temperatures in all quadrants of deep space. Thus, the passage of time occurs at the decay rate of heavy mass particles, and is limited or restricted to the amount of heavy mass particles available for decay. Therefore, that which has a beginning also has an end that is discernable [in the future].

The Apostle Paul writes that the creation needs to be set free from bondage to decay (Rom 8:21); the flesh of every human being is subject to this same bondage to decay—and the expression “bondage to decay” is a euphemism for Death, as is “futility.”

Life was in the Logos (John 1:4), and this life is the light of humankind, not the light of bacteria or bruins. Except for those human beings that have been born of water and of Spirit (John 3:5), nothing living or dead truly has life. For within time, where one moment becomes the next moment through decay of dark matter, everything, including rebelling angels imprisoned in this darkness, is subject to death, and indeed, must die. Only in the supra-dimensional heavenly realm where one moment doesn’t become the next moment, regardless of activity, is there everlasting life—and any life short of everlasting is not truly life, but delayed death.

The supra-dimensional heavenly realm exists without decay, thus without beginning or end as humankind perceives these constructs. That which has life has everlasting life, for life and the absence of life [i.e., death] cannot co-exist in the same entity at the same moment…in order for an entity with life in the heavenly realm to lose that life [i.e., to die], the entity must first be confined in a dimension governed by, or subject to change, with parading moments. During one of the changes from moment to moment, life is or will be lost. Hence, the iniquity that was found in an anointed cherub (Ezek 28:14-15) produced a disharmony that threatened to jam up or bring to a halt all activity in the heavenly realm, where, because of described conditions of a paradox, all life must function as one entity for the moment doesn’t change. In order words, a person sitting in a chair must rise from the chair before another person can sit in the same chair. The moment in which the first person sits must yield to the moment when that person rises—and in turn, that moment must yield to the moment when the second person sits. But in the timeless heavenly realm, the two individuals must function as one entity in that one flows out of the chair as the other flows into the chair. All activity must be coordinated to the extent that all living beings move and think as one self-aware organism, somewhat analogous to the bodily cells of a human being working together to give life to a lump of clay that is nothing more than the base elements of the creation.

The consistent analogy found throughout Scripture is that to the elemental elements of the earth, “breath” has been added to create life. And because the visible reveals the invisible (Rom 1:20) and the physical precedes the spiritual (1 Co 15:46), the discernible breath that was added to a lump of red clay to produce the first Adam (Gen 2:7), created before plants or any other animals was a type of the divine Breath [Pneuma ’Agion] added to the breathing lump of clay that formed the last Adam. (Gen 2:5-9 — for a discussion of the “J” and “P” creation accounts, see

Before proceeding, and because of the long standing tradition stemming from the creation account recorded in Genesis chapter one of Adam and Eve being created on day six of a seven day creation week, a word or two must be said to clarify confusion: the account recorded in Genesis one is of the spiritual creation, not of the physical creation. If it were of the physical creation, then serious problems exist for the waters of the earth will be above the heavens [plural — above the heavens would be beyond outer space] as well as below, and the plants will have been created before the sun and the moon. But these problems cease to exist when a disciple realizes that the account of Genesis one is of the spiritual creation, with the earthly ministry of Christ Jesus being the light that came from darkness to form the first day. And the creation account of Genesis chapter two forms the account of the physical creation, which has Adam and Eve being driven from the garden of God before they enter into His rest.

Again, the first Adam, a type of the last Adam (Rom 5:14 & 1 Co 15:45), was created before any other life was created, and forms the lively shadow of Christ Jesus, created spiritually as the first of the firstfruits. Disciples are the children of God, born from above into fleshy tents that are subject to decay. These children of God are not the tents, an important distinction to remember. Their life is not the life that is fueled by the cellular oxidation of sugars; the “life” of their decaying tents is fueled by physical breath. So it is the life of the tent of flesh that is subject to decay, not the life that comes from above through receipt of the divine Breath of God [Pneuma ’Agion]. The tent has been created as a type of, and as the temporary housing for a new creation that will be a vessel for honored use, or a vessel for dishonorable use.

For too long, the Sabbatarian churches of God have shied away from the phrasing honored/dishonorable, opting instead to substitute special and ordinary usage as a better understanding of the great White Throne Judgment which emerged in the 20th-Century. For too long, modern Christianity fled from the early Reformed Church’s understanding of predestination. It became culturally offensive to teach that a person was ordained by God to fry in hell, while another person was ordained for glory. So the remnant of spiritually circumcised Israel returning to the Jerusalem above from spiritual Babylon shadowboxed with the long-dead Apostle Paul as it looked for explanations that would pull the fangs from, “What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory” (Rom 9:22-24).

No good explanation emerged, so predestination became a divisive subject until the mid 20th-Century when the leading edge of returning Israel began teaching that the mass of humanity wasn’t today called by God, and was not now a part of the household of God, and therefore, was not now under judgment (1 Pet 4:17), so upon death, would not fry in hell. Only the household of God is under judgment, with the righteous of this household being scarcely saved (v. 18). So predestination became when a person would be called from the world, and given the Holy Spirit. Those individuals who were foreknown and predestined were to be called by God in this present evil age, while the mass of humanity would await its calling until it was resurrected in the great White Throne Judgment. And as far as this teaching went, it improved upon John Calvin’s understanding of predestination.

But it also missed much of what Calvin understood: some individuals whom God has endured are vessels of wrath, meaning that these vessels have been created for dishonor just as Judas Iscariot was given by the Father to Jesus as the son of destruction. Yes, created for dishonor contains within itself that concept that the vessel has been made alive through receipt of the Holy Spirit—the vessel created for dishonor will be a Christian; that is, will have been given to Jesus by the Father, which is why both have endured the vessel.

What Calvin missed was that vessels created for dishonorable use have been made alive in the heavenly realm through receipt of the divine Breath of God. Calvin didn’t understand that until born-from-above or born of Spirit, no individual has any life in the heavenly realm. Human beings do not have immortal souls. Hence, the person who has not yet received birth in the heavenly realm is not subject to the second death, and cannot fry in hell, but awaits resurrection in the great White Throne Judgment when the person will be “born” a second time…a person must be born a second time before the person can die a second death.

So, what about the unrighteous of the household of God? What about Judas Iscariot, who was given to Jesus so that Scripture would be fulfilled? What about those disciples who will betray their brethren when the man of perdition is revealed—these disciples have been drawn by the Father (John 6:44) and given to Jesus as Judas was drawn and given to Jesus. The great falling away must occur if Scripture is to be fulfilled, meaning that disciples will necessarily be drawn by the Father for the purpose of falling away. And if being drawn to betray one’s fellow disciple or if being drawn for the purpose of falling away isn’t being created as a vessel of dishonor—

Even among Sabbatarians there are disciples who have been drawn as vessels for dishonorable usage: a disciple doesn’t have to look far, or to look hard to find swindlers and con men and cultmeisters shearing the lambs of God. Each of these spiritual reprobates has a following; some have large followings. Each comes as a “super-apostle” who fails Paul’s test of genuineness (2 Co 11:7-15). And they know who they are. They know whether they preach or teach out of compulsion, or out of the need for a vocation.

If a disciple has been drawn for dishonorable use, shall God not have compassion on the vessel when judgments are revealed?

Herein is a question that mortal human beings do not have to resolve: if the Father draws a person from the world for the expressed purpose of the disciple betraying his or her brethren—as Judas Iscariot was drawn and given to Jesus, or as Pharaoh had his heart hardened so as to bring about the destruction of the nation representing sin—will the Father also not have mercy on the person who was drawn to fulfill Scripture? Or shall the Father and the Son break the “unclean” vessel, knowing from the beginning that the vessel’s purpose would be fulfilled by its dishonorable usage?

If the latter case were true—and it seems to be—then every disciple who knows to keep the commandments of God and who feels compelled to do so needs to thank God by striving to keep the commandments even beyond the best of the disciple’s abilities. The disciple was created as a son of God intended for honorable use, and nothing can separate the disciple from the love of God.

If the former case were true, that the Son shall have compassion on those disciples drawn for dishonorable use so that Scripture will be fulfilled, then why are many called, but few chosen (Matt 22:14)? Is it because tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or the sword (Rom 8:35) can or did separate the vessels created for dishonorable usage from God? Is it because those vessels had no staying power inherent in them? Did the Father draw a disciple He knew would fail as a test of the disciple, or as the means of eliminating the disciple from the main crop wheat harvest that will be resurrected to judgment in the great White Throne Judgment?

The answer is in the story of Jacob and Esau (Rom 9:10-13).


The reader should now read Genesis chapter 25, verses 19 through 34; followed by Genesis chapter 27, verses 1 through 41.

Commentary: Before Esau was born, because of the qualities of timelessness, God knew what Esau would do, knew how he would value his birthright and inheritance—and knew that he would determine in his mind to kill Jacob as Cain killed Abel, and as rebelling disciples will kill faithful disciples when the man of perdition is revealed. Satan killed his figurative brothers [i.e., a third of the angels] when he rebelled against the Most High, so the act of killing a brother causes God to hate the individual. And disciples drawn by the Father to be sons or daughters of destruction (as Judas Iscariot was) are hated by the Father because He knows what they will do—and knows that they will slay their brethren regardless of whether drawn or not. They are of their spiritual father, Satan the devil, who was a murderer from the beginning. They are murderers, betrayers, and they have been drawn to be used by the Father to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy.

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."