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 faith.
For the Sabbath of July 22, 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 Numbers chapters 13 & 14.
Commentary: Why would Moses send out spies with instructions
to see whether the land to which the Lord was leading
God does not tempt, but He does test—and He sometimes watches the affairs of men without intervening in these affairs.
Signs do not produce faith. Almost the opposite happens. When a nation sees signs or seeks signs, the nation desires physical evidence to support a course of action. Likewise, the person who seeks a sign for, say, whether he or she should marry the other is without faith, without wisdom, and is actually hostile to God. The person is physically-minded, and able to believe only what is manifest in this world. The person is a rebel, someone who will when the chips are down turn against God and against His disciples, placing before God the person’s own affairs and petty interests. Therefore, few signs are given to the Church—and the one sign Jesus gave is rejected by most professing Christians; for very few disciples believe that Jesus was actually three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
The nation that left
Many arguments can be made for why disciples are not under the law of Moses, but the second covenant (Deu 29:1) is made with the uncircumcised nation born into the tents of the nation condemned to death for its unbelief.
circumcised nation that left
· The fabric or skin tents in which this circumcised nation dwelt for forty years are analogous to the fleshly bodies of disciples.
· The physically uncircumcised sons born to the circumcised nation in the skin tents during those forty years are analogous to the new creature born of Spirit in the fleshly tent of the old man.
covenant is made with these uncircumcised sons on the plains of
· The terms of this second covenant require of these uncircumcised sons an act of faith (Deu 30:1-2) before this second covenant is fully implemented.
Thus, uncircumcision becomes circumcision when these sons of the
nation that left
Apostle Paul asks if “a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law,
will not his uncircumcision be regarded as
circumcision?” (Rom 2:26). By faith, the person who is physically circumcised or uncircumcised
must become spiritually circumcised, which is a matter of the heart, by the
Spirit, not by the letter (v. 29).
This person will then become the reality foreshadowed by the sons of the nation
Every clever argument made for why disciples do not need to keep the commandments is a lie; is of Satan, the father of liars; and is analogous to circumcised Israelites causing their firstborns to pass through fire (Ezek 20:25-26).
No uncircumcised person has to live by the
commandments of God. Every person, circumcised or uncircumcised, has the
freedom to neglect the laws of God, to ignore the Sabbath, and to fry in the
fires of hell. And until the person has been born of Spirit, the person is
absolutely free to do whatever he or she chooses, with the exception of course
that the person cannot submit to the laws of God (Rom 8:7), for the person
remains fully consigned to disobedience. Thus, this person can live in sin
until his or her sinfulness is revealed as sin. The commandments of God bring
this revelation to the person (Rom 7:7). But seeing oneself as a slave to sin
is not good for one’s self-image; so most of the endtime Church teaches
disciples that they are no longer subject to laws that were abolished at
Calvary. They see obedience to the laws of God as the circumcised nation that
And that is what you are if by clever argument you cry out against the Lord, choosing for yourself a leader to take you back into sin.
The reader should now reader 2 Timothy chapters 1 through 4.
Commentary: Apparently the faith of a grandmother and of a mother dwelt in Timothy, whom Paul reminded to “fan into flame” (1:6) this gift of God.
If the faith of two generations dwelt in Timothy, then Timothy probably grew up keeping the commandments and believing that Jesus is Lord. Timothy would have been like the rich young ruler was who asked Jesus what he must do to inherit everlasting life (Luke
The patriarch Abraham has two significant recorded acts of faith that are separated by years. By faith, Abraham left home and kin and journeyed to the Promised Land where he was to die as a sojourner. The second act of manifested faith had Abraham offering as a sacrifice Isaac, the son of promise, the son through whom Abraham’s offspring would come.
Timothy pursued the high calling of preaching Christ by faith, for he could have remained at home, working as a tradesman of some sort. But early on, he followed Paul and taught Christ wherever he was sent despite his age. Now, according to the example of the faith of Abraham and of Caleb, Timothy needed to perform one more significant act of faith—and this act was not being ashamed of Paul, from whom all who were in Asia had turned away (1:15).
Today, the person who has grown up professing that Jesus is Lord but attempting to enter His rest on the 8th-day needs to, by faith, begin keeping the precepts of the law, especially the fourth precept, the Sabbath commandment. This person then, by faith, needs to follow in the steps of Paul, and in the steps of Timothy, and preach the Jesus who died as the Passover Lamb of God to wherever God sends the person. Nothing else will be enough, unless the person has been consigned by God to die as a martyr, a very real possibility in these endtime years.
The person who, by circumcision, has grown up keeping the commandments of God must profess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead, an act of faith that most of the person’s peers will never do. Then this person, too, must follow Jesus, not being ashamed of the simple message that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female.
Too many disciples quarrel over words, especially words that might be construed as, or twisted into abolishing the law…again, if you don’t want to keep the law, then don’t. Why pretend that it is okay to keep eight or nine commandments, but not the Sabbath commandment? Why not just scrap the entirety of the law, admit that you are rebellious, and accept the consequences of rebellion? You’re going to receive these consequences whether you want them or not. Why pretend? For if you don’t want to keep God’s laws, He doesn’t want you in His kingdom—He’s not in the business of creating more Adversaries. He doesn’t need another Satan. One was enough.
It is God’s desire that all are saved, but Jesus has already said that many are called, but few will be chosen (Matt
Herein is a mystery of God: human beings are born with no life other than that which comes from the cellular oxidation of sugars. Until born of Spirit or born from above, human beings are as spiritually lifeless as molten magma is physically lifeless. Human beings are the maquettes of the spiritual sons of God foreknown to God (Rom
Today, only the
firstfruits have been drawn from the world and invested with spiritual life.
The remainder of humanity awaits spiritual birth either in the grave, or in the
darkness of this long spiritual night that began at
So maybe you don’t have much choice about whether you are a vessel for honor or dishonor. The Apostle Paul tells you to cleanse yourself from all impurity so that you might become a vessel for honored usage, set apart as holy, ready for every good work (2 Tim 2:20-21). Can you do that? Apparently it is possible. But it will mean keeping the commandments by faith because that is the beginning of every good work. All of your arguments for why you do not have to keep the commandments are fit only for toilet paper.
The nation that left
What a collection of rebels, the likes of which will never enter God’s rest.
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."