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 offered as openings into dialogue about the subject or concept. And the concept behind this Sabbath’s selection is, again, the second covenant.

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Weekly Readings

For the Sabbath of August 27, 2005

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 services should read or assign to be read Hebrews, chapter 8.

Commentary: The Apostle Paul and the writer of Hebrews (if not Paul) refute all teaching that the temple and the priesthood were abolished at, or after Calvary. The temple went from being a stone building to being the body of Christ Jesus, the Son of Man. Disciples form the body of the Son of Man; they are the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16-17). They are the royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9). They are spiritually what the tribe of Levi was physically. And they have the same rights and responsibilities in the spiritual realm that the tribe of Levi had in the physical realm before that physical priesthood was abolished with the destruction of the stone temple, inside of which were stone tablets and an earthenware jar of manna.

Remember, the essence of Christianity—the basis for the philosophical construct that represents the argument for Christianity—is that the disciple is not a body of flesh, or the flesh, but is an entity born of God that is temporarily housed or domiciled in a body of flesh. Therefore, the person cannot be defined as the body. The flesh is no more than an earthenware vessel, or a building of common stone. The disciple is a priest of God and an actual child of God that lives for a season (while maturing) in a humble physical abode that has no inherent life. The person has inherent life (that can be lost while confined within space-time), but the body does not. Flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom of God. The body will die. This is the promise of all Holy Writ. Only the life imparted by spiritual “breath” [pneuma] or as often translated, the soul of the person, will or can enter the kingdom of God. Only the life received when the person has been born-from-above can exist in the dimension that constitutes the kingdom. Glorification is this life receiving a body of this heavenly dimension, and glorification occurs at a specific place in space-time: the return of Christ Jesus as the Messiah. Therefore, the life received from above that has matured in a body of flesh awaits—from the perspective of being inside space-time—the revealing of its judgment in the grave, or awaits—from the perspective of the heavenly realm—under the altar until the specific location for the coming of the Messiah within space-time develops or arrives.

Christ Jesus is the spiritual high priest. He was foreshadowed by the physical high priest, a son of Aaron, a son of Levi. He is also the Head of the Son of Man, the body of which consists of disciples. Thus, the physical priesthood of the physically circumcised nation of Israel forms the shadow of the spiritual priesthood of the spiritually circumcised nation of spiritual Israel. This priesthood is the Son of Man in his entirety, and this priesthood will receive glorified bodies prior to the resumption of physical sacrifices, performed by the reconstituted and reorganized physical priesthood. A physical Levite (a son of Zadok) will draw near to the Lord to minister to Him through the slaughter of animal sacrifices in the Millennium (Ezek 43:19). But until the Messiah returns, animal sacrifices are an abomination to the Lord, for they are a denial of His sacrifice at Calvary. In fact, all physical mindedness is a denial of Christ Jesus. The teachers of spiritual Israel who would have this holy nation focus on the circumcised priesthood in a stone temple, inside of which the laws of God are inscribed on stone tablets are themselves little antichrists who deny that the Logos came in the flesh. They truly have a zeal for God, but they are without knowledge. They place before newly born sons of God the same stumbling blocks that caused the physically circumcised nation to rebel against the Lord. Their zeal for the laws of God written on stone tablets cause most disciples to disbelieve God, and to not believe that all disciples must walk upright before God, which means keeping the commandments as the disciple knows to keep them. Thus, those disciples whose zeal is for the stone temple and stone tablets inadvertently aid (or have already aided) the majority of the spiritual nation of Israel to rebel against God—they make the schoolmaster more important than the high priest. Those disciples whose zeal is for stone are spiritual murderers who will pay with their lives for the damage they have done to the holy priesthood. Likewise, those teachers of spiritual Israel who would have disciples disobey the laws of God will be denied in their judgments, for they are truly ministers of the Adversary.

The fault of the first covenant wasn’t in the first being a copy or shadow of the heavenly, but in the people.

The reader should now read Jeremiah chapters 30 & 31.

Commentary: The Lord “will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast” (31:27)—the new covenant made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah occurs after the Lord has sown both houses of Israel with the seed of man and the seed of beast, with the inclusion of the nations that were as beasts to the circumcised nation. The Lord has been faithful in doing this sowing, which ends when the fullness of the nations has been grafted to the root of righteousness (Rom 11:25). The partial hardening of the circumcised nation will then be removed.

The reader should now read Ezekiel chapters 36 & 37, followed by chapter 11, all, especially noting verses 19-20.

The reader should now read Isaiah chapters 65 & 66.

Commentary: All who sanctify and purify themselves, eating pig’s flesh and other abominations (because their teachers have told them that “Christians” are not under the law) shall come to an end together. Many shall be the slain of the Lord upon His return. The physically circumcised nation has paid with its life for its lawlessness and its lack of faith, made necessary for it to be the lively shadow of the spiritually circumcised nation. This is correct: circumcised Israel was given ordinances by which the nation could not live in order for this nation to reveal through being the shadow of the spiritual nation how ugly the spiritual nation of Israel looks to God.

The reader should now read Ezekiel chapter 20.

Commentary: As the Lord entered into judgment with the nation of Israel when that nation left bondage to Pharaoh, the Lord will enter into judgment with the spiritually circumcised nation of Israel once the seven, endtime years of tribulation begin. More precisely, He will enter into judgment with the Church 220 days after the Church is empowered by the Holy Spirit, and thereby liberated from bondage to sin. And as the physical nation rebelled against God because of its unbelief that became disobedience (Num 14:11, 35, 39-41 & Heb 3:19-4:6), the spiritual nation will rebel when the lawless one is revealed (2 Thess 2:3).

The second covenant made at Moab (Deu 29:1) forms the shadow of the spiritual second covenant made with the uncircumcised children of the nation that leaves bondage to sin and the spiritual king of Babylon when the Tribulation begins. The Moab covenant is a type of the covenant under which all disciples live today—and under the Moab covenant, the holy nation of God was to keep all that was written in “this” [Deuteronomy] book of the law (Deu 30:10). Included in all that is written are the commandments of God (Deu chap. 5). This are the same laws of God that are today written on the hearts and minds of disciples. Stone tablets become tablets of flesh.

Disobedience or lawlessness separates a Christian from the Father, thereby making the covering of Grace (i.e., Christ’s righteousness) absolutely essential. Christ, however, knows who the disciple is under this covering of His righteousness. Both the disciple and Christ know whether the person is a hypocrite, and whether the disciple endeavors to walk uprightly before man and God.

Christ’s righteousness is, literally, the covering that cloaks every son of God at this time. Disciples daily put Christ on as they would put on clothes when they pray—their prayers and their daily putting on of Christ spiritually replace the physical daily sacrifice of lambs. Therefore, the daily sacrifice ends midweek at Calvary in one level of typology. The “daily” [the literal translation of the Hebrew phrase] also ends midweek when the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17:26-30) or disrobed, an expression meaning that Grace ends with the liberation of disciples through their empowerment by the Holy Spirit. Certainly, the daily ends when the Church rebels against God when the lawless one is revealed. And it is this last ending that is of prophetic importance. Rebelling Israel will then neither cover the nation’s sin by obedience, or by sacrifice. The nation will have to die.

The second covenant is about life…and death being set before each disciple (Deu 30:15), with every disciple being empowered to choose life, but with most disciples choosing death instead. Many are called, but few are chosen. Few disciples choose life, which means putting the old man or creature to death.

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."