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 discipleship.
For the Sabbath of May 20, 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.
Scholars usually teach that the purpose of apocalyptic literature is not to reveal the future, but to make an oppressed people feel better about their dire situation; they teach that apocalyptic literature is, in reality, psyche “comfort food” that promises future rectifying of wrongs suffered. But this critical approach to apocalyptic literature has at its core the assumption that these writings originate in oppressed psyches and do not originate from a divine source. Hence, for these scholars Scripture is ultimately a mixture of myth, wisdom writings, and comfort literature that makes “God” the cause of [to primitive peoples] unexplainable physical phenomena, such as drought, pestilence, and socio-economic conquest. These scholars are without faith, for they have not been born of Spirit so they are unable to comprehend spiritual subjects, a claim they would dismiss as rubbish, but a statement of fact that they cannot escape.
Literary criticism is less about being critical or skeptical of a document than about evaluating the writing by social norms or mores, thereby piercing the author’s concealed constructs and values that caused one phenomenon or character to be remembered or included and another to be forgotten or excluded. As such, scholars attempt to reconstruct the socio-economic dictates that caused the production of a document. Scholars are ill-prepared to accept divine authorship of any document: doing so would require that these scholars accept a document for its inherent “truth.” Therefore, literary scholarship becomes a rejection of inherent truth and the acceptance of unbelief as the basis for professional integrity. “Good” scholarship reinforces the spiritual ignorance for otherwise intelligent men and women, while, at the same time, inspiring these scholars to construct from the fragments of collected history an alternative explanation for what God claims He has done.
Meaning is taken from any document by some sort of a mental “exit” strategy, but literary criticism is not about the taking of meaning from a text. Rather, it is about the “meaning” of the existence of the text. Hence, the person who seeks a degree in, say, Historic Theology will learn very little about what meaning is inherent in Scripture; the person will learn what Scripture has meant to the socio-economic constructs underpinning Western cultures. Therefore, the person who desired to learn about the God that Scripture reveals has traditionally attended a theological seminary that used historical exegesis going back to the post-Nicene era, when the last traces of Judaism were finally expunged from Christianity.
The expunging of Judaism was also the expunging of Christ Jesus from the Christianity of the Cross; therefore, the many theological seminaries that churn forth the pastors and teachers of Christendom reinforce the best thinking of Hellenistic paganism that entered the Church in the 2nd and 3rd Centuries CE and caused God to expel the Church from the Jerusalem above and to send the Church into exile in spiritual Babylon.
The Philadelphia Church practices typological exegesis, which holds that phenomena imbedded in Scripture through the selective inclusion of historic events and peoples form the visible, physical copies and shadows of invisible events and personages in the supra-dimensional heavenly realm. Thus, the lawlessness of the pre-Nicene Church—especially its profaning of the Sabbaths of God—caused the Father and Son in the heavenly realm to again consign disciples to servitude to the spiritual king of Babylon, from whom they had been mentally liberated through spiritual birth. The copy and shadow of this consignment was natural Israel falling to King Nebuchadnezzar.
Before falling to the Chaldeans, the nation of Israel shrank in size from its expansion under David to being no more than the polis of Jerusalem. The northern house of Israel was taken captive by Assyria because of its sins, especially the sin of Jeroboam who turned this northern kingdom away from the Lord. The house of Judah, however, after seeing the northern kingdom taken captive committed greater abominations than her northern sister—as if driven to idolatry, Jerusalem committed adultery with sticks and stones as its history is recorded as the shadow of the Church. The northern kingdom disappears into a historic abyss because those phenomena it experienced do not foreshadow or form a copy of the history of the Church in the heavenly realm…biblical scholars will note that the northern kingdom disappears from Scripture, and might suggest that the kingdom’s disappearance comes from its population giving up Sabbath observance, the marker through which the remnant of the southern kingdom that returned to Jerusalem from Babylon can be traced through the Dark and Medieval Ages. But the concept that only the history of earthly Jerusalem going into Babylonian captivity and a remnant of natural Israel returning from that captivity forms the lively shadow of the Christian Church from the 4th Century CE through the 16th Century is outside of the parameters of “good” scholarship. Yet, this concept remains within the scope of literary criticism, and is the meat of theological study.
Apocalyptic literature, now, has both a topical function and two or more prophetic applications: apocalyptical writings reference a near-future situation that will seem to be a partial fulfillment of the literature, as well as a distant-future fulfillment that would better conform to the text if the fulfillment occurred in the confines of time, or space-time. But since the latter fulfillment pertains to phenomena in the supra-dimension that are reflected in time as the moon reflects the light of the sun.
The moon is cold and lifeless, but it is not the dark shadow of the sun. An eclipse of the sun is the shadow cast by the moon. The “shine” of the moon is the reflection of the sun.
If the natural nation of spiritually lifeless Israel had lived by the laws of God to form a light for humanity as a reflection of God, natural Israel would have “shone” from the light of God as the moon shines from the light of the sun. But because the natural nation rebelled against God, refusing to walk in His ways while profaning His Sabbaths, this natural nation caused a spiritual eclipse, thereby blocking the light of God from shining upon humanity. Therefore, the history of the natural nation forms the spiritually “dark” shadow of the spiritually alive nation of Israel as this latter holy nation rebels in the heavenly realm against God by refusing to walk in His ways while profaning His Sabbaths.
The logic supporting typological exegesis requires that disciples of Christ Jesus, the last Adam, have actual life in the heavenly realm as the first Eve had physical life within space-time. If a first Adam and a first Eve never existed, then the hope of every Christian is in vain, and we are, indeed, the most miserable of all humankind. Scholars “bet” that the creation account of Adam and Eve is a myth; disciples at large bet that the account is based in fact; and disciples within The Philadelphia Church bet that the account forms the actual shadow of what has occurred in the timeless heavenly realm which they cannot yet enter.
If birth by Spirit imparts actual life in the heavenly realm as birth by the water of the womb imparts life in this created universe, then birth by water forms a visible physical copy and shadow of birth by Spirit—the argument of The Philadelphia Church is that this is the case. And if this is the case, then the history of humanity from Genesis 2:7 to Gen 4:26 forms the abbreviated lifeless shadow of the Church from Matt 3:16 to the end of this age.
In the allegorical comparison of Hagar and Sarah that the Apostle Paul makes in his epistle to the Galatians, the Church is compared to Isaac, who through Rebekah gives birth to two sons that struggle in the womb, each a nation, one hated, one loved. The hated nation is Esau, or Edom, who dwelt on Mt. Seir, and this hated nation compares to Cain, the firstborn son of the first Eve.
The comparison of Esau to Cain works because Cain slew his righteous brother, and Esau would have slain his deceitful brother if Jacob had not fled. Both are or would be murderers with or without cause. Abel was righteous; Jacob overcame his deceitfulness by wrestling with God. And the firstborn son of the last Eve will slay his righteous spiritual brothers, those disciples that live by the laws of God, and would slay the descendants of Jacob that do not flee into a mental wilderness where they wrestle with Christ Jesus for the remainder of a time, times, and half a time.
No third son is born to Isaac and Rebekah as Seth was born to the first Eve. The twelve sons of Jacob function as the spiritual Seth, born to the last Eve when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all flesh halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation, thereby giving spiritual birth to the third part of humanity (Zech 13:9) that only has to endure to the end of the age to be saved (Matt 24:13). This third part of humanity is to humankind as the twelve Apostles were to the Church, and as the twelve sons of Jacob were to the natural nation of Israel.
The first two parts of humanity (Zech 13:8) that will be cut off by God as God caused the sword to strike their Shepherd, Christ Jesus (v. 7 & Matt 26:31), are collectively today’s greater Christian Church that as two sons wrestling in Rebekah’s womb will be the children Zion brings forth in a day (Isa 66:8). And this is as harsh a prophecy as any Jeremiah delivered to the natural nation before that nation went in Babylonian captivity. But prophets do bring warnings about war, famine, and pestilence. They are not harbingers of a “prosperity gospel” that would have the spiritual nation of Israel growing wealthy in spiritual Babylon. They are not teachers of lawlessness as are pastors teaching disciples a dispensation of Grace. They are not popular in any generation, for they are the messengers of bad news—disciples will die either spiritually as Cain or Esau died, or they will die physically as Abel was slain. During the first half of the seven endtime years, the natural nation of Israel, penned in Judea when the descendants of this nation crossed the Jordan on the 10th of the first month, will be sacrificed as the selected endtime Passover lamb of God, just as Sabbatarian Christians that today wrestle in the womb of Rebekah against their stronger elder brother will be sacrificed as the righteous revealed Body of the Son of Man, its uncovered Head having already been sacrificed at Calvary…a disciple is not greater than his or her teacher, nor a servant greater than his or her master. Both teacher and master as the Head of the Son of Man died on the cross. Except for a remnant, the holy nation of God will also die when delivered into the hand of the lawless one for a time, times, and half a time (Dan 7:25), these three and a half years being the first half of the Tribulation. And because the natural nation of Israel is still loved for the sake of their ancestors, the natural nation will be grafted onto the Root of Righteousness through tribulation and death during the first half of the seven endtime years.
What sort of love for the ancestors of the natural nation of Israel would cause God to send this people to their death through tribulation and keeping the Sabbath? What else would cause this nation to accept Christ Jesus as the risen Son of the Most High? The answer is nothing else. Only when this natural nation realizes that genuine Christians keep the commandments of God, especially the Sabbath commandment, will the descendants of the nation that killed its God accept the One their forefathers slew as their Savior.
As seen in Isaiah chapter 24 and Zephaniah chapter 1, the inhabitants of the earth will be few when Christ Jesus’ rule as King of kings and Lord of lords begins. Those Christians that rebelled against God by attempting to enter His rest on the following day, the 8th-day, will be slain by the Lord—they marked themselves for death by taking the tattoo of the cross. Those genuine disciples that loved God more than their own lives will be dead, slain by their rebellious brothers. The third part of humanity that will be born from above when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all flesh will comprise, if baptized, the harvest of the firstfruits of humanity. It will be they who are changed from mortal to immortal in the twinkling of an eye. That leaves only born from above disciples who did not take judgment unto themselves as the only physically living human beings, all of whom will be infant spiritual descendants of the patriarch Israel. They will be as the moon is, in that they will reflect the light of God in the darkness of the still spiritually lifeless geography of the world. They will be the lesser light created on the fourth day of the spiritual creation week.
Now, to some Scriptures:
The person conducting the service should read or assign to be read Isaiah chapters 34 & 35.
Commentary: In the continuation of the allegory the Apostle Paul begins, Edom or Esau represents the hated son, who today, while still in the womb has no sin imputed to him because of the garment of Christ Jesus’ righteousness, but who practices lawlessness and who teaches infant sons of God to erase the laws of God written on hearts and placed in minds. And the Lord will slay this son, and the host of heaven—the demonic angels that support this lawless son—in a day of judgment. When Christ returns, never again will the mental landscape of the hated son be inhabited by the sons of God.
The good news that must be taken to the world as a witness to all nations is the message that all who endure to the end shall be saved (Matt 24:13-14). The other side of this message is that all who look for physical salvation as the first thief on the cross did (Luke 23:39) will die physically as well as spiritually.
Disciples who would relax the least of the commandments and who teach others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of God, whereas disciples who keep the commandments and teach other to do so will be called great (Matt 5:19). Therefore, the teachers of spiritual Israel who would have disciples break the commandments, for all of their clever arguments and slimy logic, are spiritual murderers: they are today spiritual Cains and Esaus in the womb of the last Eve, and the sword of the Lord will not be sated with their blood until the Lord makes a complete end to them and to those demons that support them.
The theological arguments made by the hated son contain within them a perverse logic that causes disciples not to strive to walk uprightly before the Lord. These arguments offer an “easy” salvation that would have disciples entering heaven just as they are; these arguments are part of the old serpent’s lie that human beings will not die, but have within them an immortal soul. This is the lie the first Eve swallowed (Gen 3:4); this is the Hellenistic lie that the last Eve swallowed when the best thinkers of paganism became baptized theologians. And this is the lie historical exegesis has continued for far too long; for this “truth” underlies everything that the hated son teaches to infant sons of God. May this hated son repent…he won’t, for he has been drawn by the Father to fulfill Scripture about the great falling away sure to occur when the man of perdition is revealed. He is the endtime son of destruction destined to betray and slay his righteous brother.
Give thanks to God that you have been allowed to enter into His rest—that is to keep the Sabbath, for the hated son has been created as a clay vessel for dishonorable usage, this son to be “revealed” when spiritual Israel is liberated from bondage to the law of sin and death that presently dwells in the flesh of ever member (Rom 7:25). Only the mind and heart, the dwelling place of the new creature born from above, has been liberated (Rom 8:2)—and the hated son has taken lawlessness into the mind and heart as seen by the day on which this son attempts to enter God’s rest. This is the lawlessness that will send this hated son into the lake of fire when the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17:30).
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."