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 the temple.
For the Sabbath of June 27, 2009
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 John chapter 2, verse 13, through chapter 3, verse 21.
Commentary: The greatest difficulty Christians face in comprehending the mysteries of God is the reconstruction of the temple, not as a physical building but as the Body of Christ: for most Christians, temples are structures made from wood and stone, lifeless materials that are sculpted through subtraction of mass. Temples are where sacrifices are made, where animals were slaughtered in the ancient world, where mysterious rites occur. Temples are not people. Yet, Paul told the saints at Corinth that they were the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16–17; 2 Cor 6:16); and Peter told the dispersed Jewish converts that they were living stones, that Jesus was the living stone rejected by the builders (1 Pet 2:4–7); and Jesus told temple officials that He would raise up the temple in three days (John 2:19), the only charge against Jesus that stuck when He was before Caiaphas, the high priest (Matt 26:61–62).
If saints are living stones, and if Paul laid the foundation of the house of God (1 Cor 3:10–11), with this foundation being Christ Jesus, and if it was given to Paul to know the will of God (Acts 22:14), then it follows that disciples are, indeed, the temple, with the church of Philadelphia forming pillars in this temple (Rev 3:12) that stand on the foundation Paul laid and reach upward to support the endtime harvest of God in the Endurance, the last 1260 days of the seven endtime years of tribulation. Simply put, the temple is Christ, Head and Body, with Christ being a fractal image of the Father so that each disciple looks like Christ Jesus who looks like the Father. If a disciple doesn’t walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6) and doesn’t imitate Paul as he imitated Jesus (1 Cor 4:16; 11:1; Phil 3:17; 1 Thess 1:6) and if the Church doesn’t imitate the churches of God in Judea (1 Thess 2:14) in the mid 1st-Century, then neither the disciple nor the Church is of Christ, but is of the devil (1 John 3:4–10).
But how are the sacrifices to end if the temple is Christ?
Mass is what has been created, but God is without mass as is everything in the supra-dimensional heavenly realm. An animal has mass as does a person, but obedience is without mass. Righteousness is without mass. Faith and belief are without mass. Thus, in a temple composed of mass, a sacrifice will be of things with mass; hence, in Aztec and Mayan temples people were sacrificed, whereas in the temple at Jerusalem animals were sacrificed. But when the temple is Christ, a life-giving spirit (1 Cor 15:45), sacrifices will be of things without mass, such as obedience: a disciple makes a “daily” sacrifice when the disciple puts on the garment of grace through prayer morning and evening; the disciple prays for repentance, for forgiveness, for his or her transgressions of the law to be covered by the blood of Jesus, shed at Calvary. Therefore, for Israel, a nation now circumcised of heart and not necessarily in the flesh, “the daily” continued after the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem; the daily continued for as long as John lived, or until sometime between 100 and 102 CE. For after John died at great age, there really was no daily repentance, no daily putting on of Christ … how can a person repent of lawlessness then worship Christ on Sunday? Doing so mocks Father and Son, and exposes the person as a liar, a child of the devil who chooses to continue in sin, unrepentant, a bondservant of sin which leads to death. The daily ended with John’s death, and will end again 220 days into the Tribulation, which means that the daily had to resume sometime between the beginning of the 2nd-Century CE and the 21st-Century.
When the daily resumed can be debated; for resumption requires that the disciple, by faith, keeps the commandments. Thus, disciples that make a practice of sinning, as well as not being of God, are not under grace and do not put on the garment of Christ daily. But keeping the commandments does not automatically put a disciple under grace; believing God puts a disciple under grace. And believing God is much more than simply keeping the commandments, which everyone of the household of God will do (less than perfectly, admittedly) as the reasonable expectation of the household. Believing God includes believing that the Creator of everything that has been made entered His creation as His only Son to be born of Mary, that He lived without sin, that He received a second breath of life at the beginning of His ministry, that He was the selected Passover Lamb of God, sacrificed on the 14th of Abib, and resurrected by the Father after the third day, that He ascended to His Father and our Father where He had the glory He had before returned to Him, that He now sits at the right Hand of the Father as the First of the firstfruits, the First of many sons of the Father, and as the high priest of disciples. Anyone who denies any part of the previous sentence does not believe God and commits sin (i.e., unbelief) in the person’s denial of Christ Jesus. This sin is blasphemy against the Father and the Son, which will be forgiven the person, but which excludes the person from being of the household of God. What will not be forgiven a person is blasphemy against the breath of God [pneuma Theon] that lives life to the person and which conveys the words of God; thus, the person who doesn’t believe the words of Christ Jesus commits blasphemy against the spirit of God [pneuma Theon], whereas the person who hears the words of the Son and believes the One who sent Him passes from death to life without coming under judgment (John 5:24).
A few disciples today put on Christ daily, but very few—far fewer than falsely believe that they are under grace.
In relationship to God a stone is no less living than is a human being, composed of the elemental elements of the creation. When John the Baptist saw that many Pharisees and Sadducees were coming to be baptized by him, John challenged them, “‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father,” for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham’” (Matt 3:7–9) … today, rabbinical Judaism says, Abraham is our father, but so do Muslims and Christians. John’s challenge still pertains: Bear fruit worthy of repentance or perish in the wrath to come! It is not enough to claim Abraham as one’s father; for in addition to the promised seed, Abraham fathered Ishmael and the sons of Keturah: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah (Gen 25:2). It is repentance from evil-doing that is required, with evil being nothing more than unbelief.
The righteous Muslim who does not believe God is a son of disobedience, as is the Christian and the Jew who do not believe. All three theologies worship demons, not the Most High. Yes, righteous Muslims worship demons as do Christians, but they are not alone in doing so. After forty plus months of Tribulation and the death of two thirds of humankind (four plus billion people), those human beings left alive following the second woe will continue to worship demons: “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Rev 9:20–21). … A person worships the Adversary whenever the person doesn’t believe the Most High, and/or doesn’t act according to his or her belief of the Most High. Yes, a person worships demons when the person is not willing to strive with sin in a fight that can be won, thanks to Christ Jesus.
Prior to receiving a second breath of life, the breath of the Father [pneuma Theon], a human being has no life but that which comes from the oxidation of sugars at the cellular level; the person is spiritually as a stone is physically, its surface oxidized by long exposure to the atmosphere. Human beings are not born with immortal souls. Eternal life does not come via fornication in the backseat of a Chevrolet; eternal life is the gift of God in [en] Christ Jesus (Rom 6:23). And this life cannot come to the person in whom Christ does not dwell; for without Christ in the person, there is no “container” within the person able to hold the non-oxidizing “fire” that is the breath of God [pneuma Theon].
Human breath is the type and copy of the breath of God [pneuma Theon], in that human breath introduces the oxygen to the blood stream that then delivers these oxygen molecules to every living cell within a person’s body where the “fire” within the cell supplies the energy needed to sustain motion (i.e., life); whereas the breath of God gives to the new creature the fire that fuels life in the heavenly realm, with the spirit of Christ [pneuma Christos] functioning in the inner new creature as the cell wall functions within a person to contain the oxidizing fire that occurs within every cell … what would happen if the cell wall did not contain the oxidizing fire (chemical reaction) that occurs within the cells? What would stop the fire from consuming the person from so-called spontaneous combustion, a physiological anomaly that the author Charles Dickens exploited in Bleak House and an anomaly occasionally investigated by crime scene detectives? But the chiral image of human spontaneous combustion is exceedingly common: many disciples have spiritually perished when they rejected Christ Jesus.
Paul writes, “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ [pneuma Christos] does not belong to him [God]. But if Christ is in [en] you, although the body is dead [nekros] because of sin, the Spirit [pneuma] is life because of righteousness” (Rom 8:9–10). … Paul’s use of “dead” is the same as Jesus’ usage of dead when He said, “‘Follow me, and leave the dead [nekros] to bury their own dead [nekros]’” (Matt 8:22), with the dead referring to human beings who have not been born of spirit (pneuma Theon). Thus, what Paul writes is that the flesh [soma] is without life; the breath [psuche] that animates the flesh is without life. Only the second breath [pneuma] of life gives true life. And a disciple receives this second breath of life when drawn by the Father from this world; this second breath of life is only received because of the righteousness of Christ Jesus.
The temple that is of God—that is the house of God—and is of the heavenly realm will be without mass. It cannot be a physical structure; it cannot be even the fleshly bodies of disciples although the fleshly bodies of disciples serve as a type of the “spiritual” bodies disciples will have when the mortal flesh puts on immortality and what is perishable is made imperishable. The temple is New Jerusalem, the Bride of Christ Jesus (Rev 21:2, 9–11); for in New Jerusalem the “temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” (v. 22). Glorified disciples “marry” the Lamb and are one with the Lamb, and by extension, glorified disciples are the temple that is, again, New Jerusalem.
So there is no misunderstanding: a human being is both the flesh (in Greek: soma) and the breath (psuche) or old nature that animates the flesh, with psuche usually translated into English as “soul,” with implication that it is an immortal soul rather than the “life-force” of a person. It is not an immortal soul, but the old nature that King Nebuchadnezzar had suddenly taken from him when he was given the nature of a beast: the watcher told the king, “‘Let his mind be changed from a man’s, and let a beast’s mind be given to him’” (Dan 4:16). And what was prophesied occurred to the king one year later: “there fell a voice from heaven, ‘O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox’” (vv. 31–33). … Nebuchadnezzar did not lose his life and no one stood over him forcing him to eat grass; rather, suddenly the king lost what it was that made him a human being rather than an ox. He did not shape-shift and become an ox; he remained in a human body, with life sustained by the same physical breath that previously sustained his life. But his human nature—his spiritually lifeless old self or old man—was taken from him and he was given the nature of a beast. And just as a cow sustains life by breathing air, Nebuchadnezzar continued to breathe air, but his thoughts were not on the affairs of state or on modesty when relieving himself but on the things that oxen think about, such as the grass seems greener on the other side of the fence.
Men are men not because they are biologically disposed to thinking the thoughts of men, but because God has given them a software program—“old self”—that causes them to have “human nature,” with this nature then given over to the Adversary so that God could have mercy on all (Rom 11:32). It is this software program or old self that is “made alive” when a person is born of God. The flesh already has all the “life” that it is capable of sustaining. It is so-called human nature that is a dumb (as in a “dumb” computer system) operating system until it is crucified with Christ and resurrected new through receiving “life” from the Father.
Christians must get over the idea (borrowed from Greek paganism) that human beings are born with immortal souls. It is bad enough the both Judaism and Muslims has succumbed to the Adversary’s lie, first told to Eve, “‘You will not surely die’” (Gen 3:4), but it is inexcusable for a Christian to succumb to the same lie—the lie is blasphemy against both the Father and the Son, and believing the lie causes the person not to believe God and thus commit sin which must be repented-of. Yes, for a Christian to believe that he or she was humanly born with an immortal soul is blasphemy against the spirit of God [pneuma Theon] that gives to the disciple eternal life in [en] Christ Jesus, not within the cellular walls of the flesh.
As physically circumcised Levites served in the tabernacle and in the first temple (i.e., Solomon’s temple), inner new selves that are sons of God—that is circumcised of heart Israel—each having received life via receipt of the divine breath of God [pneuma Theon], today serve God in the fleshly bodies in which these inner new selves dwell, with these fleshly bodies analogous to the tabernacle, the temporary dwelling place of the Ark of the Covenant. The firstfruits of God are not typologically represented by all of Israel, but by the Levitical priesthood that served in the tabernacle and in the first temple—and as many of the Levities served the king rather than God, doing what the king asked even to sacrificing to idols, most of the firstfruits serve the prince of this world, the spiritual king of Babylon (Isa 14:4). They are false apostles, deceitful workers of iniquity, and “no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (2 Cor 11:14–15). But these teachers of lawlessness and of the lies of the Adversary will be denied by Christ Jesus when judgments are revealed (Matt 7:21–23). Then the squealing will really begin, and the wailing and gnashing of teeth will be loud as these false teachers are cast into the lake of fire where they will perish and be no more forever.
David was not permitted to build for the Lord a permanent dwelling place, ostensibly because he was a man of blood (having killed many), but typologically, David’s reign represents the Endurance, whereas Solomon’s reign typologically represents the Millennium while Saul’s reign represents the Tribulation, with Saul having an evil spirit being the shadow and type of the man of perdition coming by the workings of Satan (2 Thess 2:9). … Saul was anointed as a legitimate king of Israel, and the man of perdition will come as a legitimate Christian leader, albeit an Arian Christian who holds that Jesus was not the Creator but was Himself created by the Father as a brother to Lucifer and Michael. Trinitarians will recognize the man of perdition as false because of what he teaches about the nature of Christ, but Trinitarians will not recognize that they are equally false because of what they teach about the nature of Christ. Thus, Trinitarians, representing the spiritual king of the South, Sin, will make war against the man of perdition and all Arians, representing the spiritual king of the North, Death, the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse and fourth beast of Daniel chapter seven.
Understand, typologically, the seven endtime years are foreshadowed in Scripture by the return of the Ark of the Covenant by Philistines (1 Sam 6:21) equating to the second Passover liberation of Israel from indwelling sin and death. Thus, the record of Israel from 1 Samuel 7:1 through 1 Kings 2:46 serves as a copy and shadow (one of several) of what happens to the saints during the seven endtime years of tribulation, with Samuel’s reign over Israel and recovery of land (1 Sam 7:1–8:7) equating to the first 220 days of the Tribulation, or until the Rebellion (2 Thess 2:3) occurs; with Saul’s reign over Israel and enlargement of Israel’s borders equating to the remainder of the Tribulation, with the Tribulation being the first 1260 days of the seven endtime years. The geographical boundaries of Israel equates to knowledge of God; so when Israel’s geographical borders grow physically under a king equates to the expansion of knowledge of God during the seven endtime years and in the Millennium … the geographical size of unified Israel during the reigns of its first three kings equates mentally to the amount of knowledge of God that circumcised of heart Israel possesses, with the quantification of knowledge occurring both vertically (the depth of knowledge) and horizontally (the number of people possessing knowledge). Thus a few people having great knowledge of God roughly corresponds to many people having a little knowledge. And it was during David’s reign when Israel’s borders almost expanded to include all of the territory the Lord had promised Israel. Likewise, during the Endurance, the quantification of knowledge of God will almost reach the limits placed on humankind. Every person will be born of spirit and born with the Torah inscribed on the heart and placed in the mind so that all “know the Lord” (Heb 8:10–12 Jer 31:33–34); but some will take upon themselves the mark of death (Rev 13:18) and some will be as the five foolish virgins (Matt 25:2) were. Therefore, it was not possible for David to expand Israel to boundaries the Lord promised the nation, for he could not expand geographical borders beyond equivalency to the knowledge of God that Israel will possess in the Endurance. And Solomon did not expand Israel’s geographical boundaries but saw a slight shrinkage in geographical territory as there will be a shrinking of the quantified knowledge of God during the Millennium, not what endtime disciples expect but what is necessary for the Adversary to deceive people when he is loosed from where he is bound in the bottomless pit after the thousand years.
On the day when Christ returns, the Adversary can deceive no one. Yet, a thousand years later, he will deceive nations at the four corners of the earth, gathering Gog and Magog against Israel, with their numbers being like the sand of the sea (Rev 20:7–8).
What Jesus said about the crowds that followed him—
Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
“You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.
For this people's heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.” (Matt 13:14–15)—
pertains equally to the Christian Church: they read Scripture, but they read without understanding. They hear Scripture read to them; yet they assign preconceived meanings to these words so that they cannot understand the things of God and turn from their lawlessness and be healed. Christendom does not, today, realize that it is as Israel was in Egypt and as Israel was when the Philistines held the Ark of the Covenant. Christians are not a mentally free people that are able to keep the commandments. Rather, they imagine themselves free when in actuality, they are bondservants of sin and children of the Adversary (1 John 3:4–10). But they will vigorously insist that they are of Christ while they openly practice transgressing the Sabbath commandment. They are truly without understanding. If they were turnips, they would better understand the mysteries of God.
The temple of God will not be “assembled” until disciples are glorified upon Christ Jesus’ return; thus, because what is recorded in Scripture forms the shadow and copy of what occurs in the heavenly realm, the first temple could not have permanence prior to when its reality (i.e., disciples) receives permanence through mortal flesh putting on immortality. David could not build a house for God because he was a bloody man typifying disciples in the Tribulation and in the Endurance.
The movement from a second temple being composed of wood and stone (its construction begun by Zerubbabel when the first of the Babylonian refugees returned to Jerusalem, with foundational stones laid in 535 BCE and the structure completed in 516 BCE) to the second temple being composed of flesh and blood disciples, with its foundation laid at the Garden Tomb on the 15th of Abib, 31 CE, is analogous to spiritual birth, when a lifeless son of Adam receives a second breath of life … the lifeless temple became a living structure, constructed from living stones (1 Pet 2:4–5), with Christ Jesus being both the cornerstone and the capstone, the beginning and the end of the harvest of firstfruits, and with Philadelphia being the pillars that stand on the foundation Paul laid (1 Cor 3:10–11). And because Christ is a fractal, in Christ Jesus’ ascension and acceptance by the Father, the temple was complete, with its size to be determined by the number of times the fractal is repeated in disciples that walk as Jesus walked and imitate Paul as he imitated Jesus. That number cannot be known by human beings for all judgment has been given to the Son.
The endtime temple of God is not and will not be a physical structure in earthly Jerusalem or anywhere in the modern State of Israel: it is the Church, the assembly of circumcised of heart Israel. And every teacher of Israel, every prophecy pundit, every sect or denomination that looks for the building of a “third” temple to satisfy endtime biblical prophecies is without understanding and is false!
There are adages about taking a 2x4 to mules or jug-headed horses to get their attention (not a recommended procedure), but no mule or horse has ever been as hard headed as Sabbatarian disciples … it is really not possible to get the attention of these disciples who had not borne the fruit of the spirit and have been cut from the vine that is Christ by the Father (John 15:2). Yes, these disciples received the spirit of God; yes, they once bore fruit; yes, they were “pruned” by the Father; and yes, after pruning these branches ceased to bear fruit and were cut off. And because they have tasted the goodness of God, now that they have been cut off they cannot be restored to the vine. They live physically; they profess to be Christian. Some even have little ministries that recycle the theological errors that ended Herbert Armstrong’s work. But they are dead, very dead if such a thing were possible.
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."