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 27, 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 Jeremiah chapter 16, verses 14 & 15, followed by Jeremiah chapter 23, verses 1 through 8.
Commentary: As the Lord brought physically circumcised Israel out of Egypt, the Lord will bring the people of Israel out of the north country and out of all countries where He has driven them in such a mighty manner that the exodus from Egypt will no longer be remembered…what would cause Israel’s exodus from Egypt to no longer be mentioned?
Israel’s exodus from Egypt has defined the nation for three and a half millennia. No other event in recorded history has had the same unifying effect upon a people. Yet three and a half years into the seven endtime years, the physically and spiritually uncircumcised children of Israel, a new nation of Israel just as a new nation of Israel crossed the Jordan under Joshua and Caleb—a new nation that was not previously of God or even a nation—will be delivered from bondage to sin and death. And the story of this new nation’s delivery will cause Israel’s exodus from Egypt to no longer be remembered; for the magnitude of endtime Israel’s delivery from the North Country will be so much greater than what has been previously imagined by theologians and biblical apologists that until 2002, no disciple even speculated about a second Passover delivery of the single nation promised to the patriarch Abraham (Gen 12:2-3). In this single nation, all families of the earth will be blessed, language used to describe Christ Jesus. Endtime Israel is the Christian Church—spiritual Israel—and a new nation, a new Church that was not previously Christian, will be the nation delivered from the North Country, a geographical representation of death. This is the nation described in Zechariah 13:9.
After the pagan Emperor Constantine rejected all of Moses at the Council of Nicea (ca 325 CE), realized eschatology became the order of the Empire: the kingdom of God was declared to be here on earth in the form of the Hellenistic “Christian” Church, and no bishop attending the Council dare tell the Emperor that he was an instrument of Satan, the spiritual king of Babylon, and that he had incorrectly decided the issues central to salvation…in the three and a half millennia since Moses led Israel from Egypt (the visible representation of the invisible mindset of lawlessness or disobedience), a time, times, and half a time has passed with, of all humanity, only the nation of Israel being holy to God. And this holy nation of Israel, like Jesus himself, began as a physical creation and became a spiritual creation: Israel began physically with the patriarch Jacob, the beloved son of double promises—and began spiritually with the baptism of the man Jesus of Nazareth, whose physical tabernacle was a tent of flesh that had descended from Jacob, but who was of heaven.
Jesus of Nazareth is called the Son of Man—and indeed, He is the uncovered Head of the Son of Man, but disciples forming the Body of Christ also form the covered or cloaked or clothed Body of the Son of Man. And all of biblical prophecy is ultimately about two governmental hierarchies, one presently reigning over the single kingdom of the earth, one to begin reigning upon Christ Jesus’ return. The reigning kingdom is Babylon; its king, Satan the devil. And it reigns “over” the earth, not from the earth: it reigns through controlling the mental topography of humanity, through the Adversary being the prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2).
What hasn’t been understood by theologians and apologists is the nature of spiritual birth—of being born of water and of Spirit (John 3:5). The words of Jesus have traditionally had being born of water meaning baptism, which symbolizes the death by suffocation of the “old man,” or “old creature” that was a son of disobedience, consigned by God to Satan and to disobedience (Rom 11:32). Being crucified with Jesus—crucifixion kills by suffocation, by preventing the intake of air, by stopping what the Apostle Paul terms “shallow breath” [psuche]—means the deliberate and necessary killing of the old creature that was born into a body of flesh through the water of the womb. This old creature, a received human nature governed by natural law, is what has been consigned to disobedience so that God could have mercy on all…until born of Spirit, this old creature doesn’t have a choice about whether it will obey God: it doesn’t know God, and indeed, cannot know God, for it is hostile to God (Rom 8:7) because of its consignment to disobedience.
All human beings are, from the moment of birth, consigned to disobedience, a euphemistic expression for being given to the Adversary as one of his subjects—and this misunderstood consignment is central to the concept of original sin. The person is of “the world,” with his or her citizenship in “the kingdom of the world,” a single kingdom (Rev 11:15) that will be taken from the Adversary and given to the Son of Man (Dan 7:9-14) halfway through seven endtime years of tribulation. So being born of water means being born unto death: again, water suffocates and leads only to death, as evidenced by the Flood when all non-aquatic life except what was in the ark with Noah perished. Individual baptism equates to the baptism of the world in the days of Noah. Thus, baptism doesn’t lead to life, but is a symbol of death.
Humanity’s consignment to disobedience doesn’t begin with Adam’s sin, through which death entered the world, but with iniquity being found in an anointed cherub (Ezek 28:14-15) before the creation of the universe. The plan of God was implemented before the foundations of the universe were stretched tight—long before Adam ate forbidden fruit—and this plan included a spiritually lifeless creation preceding the spiritual creation of sons of God in whom iniquity would never be found once these sons were glorified.
Birth by water is conscious entrance into this death chamber that is the physical creation. Prior to birth by water, the elemental elements that will be combined together to produce a tent of flesh had no conscious life. These elemental elements were, literally, the dust of the earth; they were not merely like clay, but were clay—and birth by water gave no life in the heavenly realm to this dust, but rather, turned the dust into miry clay that can be shaped or sculpted into earthenware vessels, some created for honored or special usage, some for dishonorable or ordinary usage (Rom 9:20-23). Birth by Spirit begins the process of shaping or sculpting a lump of miry clay into a clay vessel capable of receiving “conscious awareness”—and this vessel must now be “fired” before it is useful to the potter who has produced this vessel. If this vessel is never fired but is only dried, the vessel will “dissolve back into its elemental elements, thereby losing its distinction and uniqueness. Therefore, the world will be baptized with Spirit and with fire (Matt 3:11), two still future baptisms of the world foreshadowed by how the world was baptized with water in the days of Noah.
The firing of clay vessels begins with the forming of the soft lump into a vessel through becoming an Israelite, a person who overcomes or prevails with God. Figuratively, a person is spun on a wheel, drawn out and slapped, pressed and pinched following birth by Spirit until the miry lump that the person was becomes a cup or a chamber pot or whatever other vessel the master potter wishes to make from the lump. And who are we, disciples of Christ Jesus, to tell either the Father or the Son what we will be, or can be?
Until born of water, the dust of the earth remains dry and dusty. Only when this dust is born of water does it become miry clay, capable of being born of Spirit and shaped into a vessel destined for glory or a vessel prepared for wrath (Rom 9:22-23)…and here is where a mystery of God has become less mysterious: from the same dust born of water, God takes a piece and spins it into a son of destruction, and takes another piece from the same lump and spins it into a foreknown son of God. The single lump is all of humanity: all of humanity has descended from the lump of clay Elohim [singular in usage] formed into the man Adam; thus, all of humanity, regardless of plumbing or color or social status, is a single lump of miry clay. But within this single lump, consigned to the Adversary for grinding (the process by which naturally occurring clay is prepared for spinning), are individuals in which God sees characteristics or proclivities or abilities that causes Him to draw the person out from the lump to become a vessel that ensures the fulfillment of all Scripture. The remainder of the lump, still being ground by the Adversary [grinding clay is hard work], will be shaped into vessels after the Adversary is cast into the lake of fire following him being released from the bottomless pit for a short while—the remainder of the lump will be shaped into vessels during the great White Throne Judgment, when all of humanity not previously born of Spirit will then receive a second birth (and a first chance to receive salvation). Therefore, there are things or character aspects God sees in a portion of the entire lump that causes Him to draw the person from the world as one born out of season. All of the individuals He draws or calls are to fulfill Scripture—and many are called, but few are chosen (Matt 22:14). Many are drawn to be sons of destruction; many are drawn to be the spiritual firstborn son of the last Eve, the son who will slay his righteous brother. Few are called to be that righteous son who offered a lamb to God, and who is offered as a lamb.
The production of clay vessels requires that after being shaped and prior to firing, the vessels are allowed to “dry.” Vessels rest on shelves while drying. For most vessels shaped since the last Adam breathed on His disciples (John 20:22-23), thereby creating the last Eve, the vessel rests in the grave. But for a special lot [or consignment] of vessels spun at the end of this evil age, resting will mean liberation from the law of sin and death that presently dwells in the vessels’ fleshy members prior to naturally occurring death. These spiritual vessels will be liberated from spiritual bondage in the same way that physical Israel was liberated from physical bondage to Pharaoh…there will be another Passover liberation of the holy nation of God, a liberation foreshadowed by the exodus of Israel from Egypt. And it is this liberation that will cause the natural nation’s exodus from Egypt to no longer be remembered, for again, the lives of men will be given as ransom (Isa 43:4).
Time, times, and half a time is a non-calendar linked expression: literally, the expression equally applies when a time is a year, a century, or a millennia; thus, the three and a half millennia since physical Israel left Egypt corresponds in linguistic expression to the three and half years that spiritual Israel will have lived without sin when the kingdom of the world is taken from the Adversary halfway through the seven endtime years. In addition, these three and a half years are the first three and a half days of a spiritual Feast of Unleavened Bread—and the first time or day of the endtime years begins/began with one long spiritual night that saw the first earthly setting of the light of men (John 1:4) at Calvary.
Neither Babylon today, nor the Son of Man beginning halfway through the seven endtime years rule the single kingdom of the world by standing on the earth. Both rule [or will rule] from the supra-dimensional heavenly realm, and rule by reigning over humanity’s mental topography, from which so-called human nature derives…when the Holy Spirit is poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28), even the predatory natures of the great predators will be changed (Isa 11:6-9). Human nature will also be changed. No longer will there be any harm done by one human being to another; no longer will nations learn war; no longer will false ministers swindle widows and the elderly. No longer will the fields of God be filled with tares and tumbleweeds, planted by the Adversary to deceive infant sons of God.
Jesus said that when the inside of the cup was clean, the whole cup would be clean…when the hearts and minds of disciples no longer have disobedience lurking in their crevices and corners, disciples will not want to transgress the laws of God. These disciples will be as the Apostle Paul was when he said that he was flesh, sold under sin (Rom 7:14), not understanding his own actions, doing the very things he hated (v. 15). Paul’s flesh was still consigned to disobedience (v. 25), even though his mind was liberated (Rom 8:2). He didn’t want to do what he found himself doing, and so it has been or should have been or should be with every disciple since: the flesh remains in bondage to disobedience, to the law of sin and death—and the flesh will die from so-called natural causes because of its bondage to sin and death. The flesh is subject to decay; it is mortal and temporary. It is the unfired clay in which a spiritual son of God temporarily resides as this son grows in grace and knowledge.
No sin has [yet] been imputed to any spiritual Israelite; nor will any sin be imputed until judgments are revealed upon Jesus’ return (1 Co 4:5). But every spiritual Israelite is under judgment, with the Israelite doing the judging—the Israelite knows whether this son of God does what he knows is right. Under the second covenant, judgment of Israel is given to Israel (Deu 30:15-20). Life and death has been set before the Israelite. The Israelite who keeps the commandments, loving God and neighbor, walking in the ways of God, doing those things that pertain to the holy nation shall live—this is the person who has heard the words of Jesus and believed the One who sent Him, and who has passed from death to life (John 5:24). This is the person who has done good and who will be in the resurrection to life (v. 29), even though the flesh of this person remains in bondage to disobedience. The person, the disciple has cleansed the inside of the cup, redeeming the time he or she wore the garment of Grace…salvation isn’t by works, for the flesh remains consigned to disobedience. Salvation is a gift given when the person is born anew—and the person by his or her actions tells Father and Son what the person thinks of this gift by how the person strives to walk in the ways of God as Paul strove against his flesh. The person who doesn’t value this gift enough to attempt walking uprightly before God should not be surprised when resurrected to condemnation, for this person has done evil when he or she could have done good. Thus, hypocrisy is the ultimate killer, not the disobedience of the flesh. “Life” is given to the liberated new creature dwelling within the heart and mind of a fleshy tent consigned to disobedience, and when this new creature willingly succumbs to the lawlessness of the flesh, this new creature “sins” and thereby condemns itself as to the lake of fire.
Therefore, since no sin is presently imputed to disciples, the spiritually holy nation of Israel entered the reality of the Feast of Unleavened Bread [Passover week] at even of the 15th of the first sacred month [to Israel] of the Roman year 31 CE. And according to instructions given by God to Moses, spiritual Israel has roasted with fire the Lamb of God through the Lamb bearing in the heavenly realm the sins of the holy nation (as the Azazel goat has the sins of Israel read over its head) throughout this long spiritual night that has not yet reached the midnight hour. Here, wisdom is required: the seven endtime years begin with the non-calendar linked spiritual night that came with the return of spiritual darkness when the man Jesus died at Calvary. This is a long night of waiting and watching, a night akin to the night Israel spent in Egypt while awaiting the tenth plague. And as the nation in Egypt roasted with fire its Passover lambs, a lamb appropriate to the size of the household, a lamb penned on the 10th day and slaughtered between the evenings on the 14th, the spiritual nation has roasted with fire the Lamb of God, a Lamb appropriate to the size of the household of God, a Lamb penned in Jerusalem on the 10th of the first month and slain between the evenings [as the Pharisees reckoned when paschal lambs should be slain] on the 14th.
The new creature confined within the heart and mind of a fleshly tent consigned to disobedience cries out to God for liberation from sin and death in the same way that the physical nation of Israel in Egypt cried out to God for liberation from physical bondage to Pharaoh. And the Father and the Son heard these cries before the foundations of the creation were laid. So before Adam ate forbidden fruit, the liberation of these new creatures, each a son of God, was planned—and this plan incorporates a second Passover liberation of the second nation of Israel in the single spiritual Feast of Unleavened Bread that will see the recovery of endtime Israel from death, from the North Country, a recovery that will cause Israel to forget the exodus from Egypt.
The reader should now read Hebrews chapters 7, 8, 9, & 10.
Commentary: As the high priest of the physical nation of Israel had to enter the Holy of holies year by year to make atonement for himself and for Israel; as the same sacrifices were offered year by year, season by season, day by day, Christ Jesus as the high priest for spiritual Israel entered once into the heavenly Holy of holies where He was accepted by the Father. Thus, as the natural nation of Israel which corresponds to the flesh of disciples [this flesh still consigned to disobedience as natural Israel was consigned to death under the Law] keeps the annual Sabbaths of God year by year whereas the glorified Christ Jesus entered the heavenly sanctuary only once, there is only one spiritual Feast of Unleavened Bread. There is only one spiritual Feast of Weeks. There is only one spiritual Feast of Tabernacles. And all of spiritual Israel entered into the spiritual Feast of Unleavened Bread when the Lamb of God was sacrificed at Calvary. All of spiritual Israel has been roasting this Passover Lamb of the household of God, and all has been [or should have been] eating of this spiritual Lamb while waiting liberation from sin and death at the midnight hour of this long spiritual night that began with the sacrifice of the Lamb.
What occurred year by year to or for the natural nation of Israel happens once for the spiritual nation. However, this spiritual nation exists as twins in the womb of the last Eve, with one son hated, one loved. The hated son will slay his righteous brother, leaving Abraham without seed if the third part of humanity doesn’t become that single nation descended spiritually from the patriarch. And for this second spiritual Israel, foreshadowed by a second physical Israel crossing the Jordan, liberation from sin and death will occur when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all flesh.
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."