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. This Sabbath’s selection addresses whether natural disasters such as Katrina are of God.
For the Sabbath of September 17, 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 Genesis chapters 18 & 19.
Commentary: When the Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, Isaac was not yet born. Abraham’s only son was
Ishmael, the son of Hagar, a woman of bondage and allegorically comparable to
Again, no son of promise was yet born when Abraham
pleaded with the Lord that
Isaac was the
second born son of Abraham, and comparable to the
Because the Church remains in bondage to the law of sin and death that dwells in its members, the Church is as Ishmael was; i.e., it is today the firstborn spiritual son of Abraham. The second son that is of promise will be born when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all flesh halfway through seven endtime years of tribulation. Thus, the destruction of Sodom, Jerusalem’s younger sister, occurs before the son of promise is born, this son of promise being all of humanity who were not previously born of Spirit—when Christ Jesus returns, every person who has endured to the end shall be saved (Matt 24:13). They will be saved, for they will have been born from above, or born of Spirit. Enduring to the end, however, will mean not taking the mark of the beast [chi xi stigma], the mark of death, the tattoo of the Cross. Those who have taken unto themselves the mark of death, the fourth horseman (Rev 6:8), shall be killed by Christ Jesus and his returning army.
the Church is as Ishmael was…Ishmael dwelt in the Wilderness of Paran, halfway or so between
Disciples should do as Abraham did: they should reason with God to save sinners for the sake of the righteous who dwell among them. These sinners will, someday, be born from above and will become the great harvest of God. In particular, if these sinners live to the middle of the seven endtime years of tribulation, they become the featured great harvest that is silently ripening even though they are not now part of the Body of Christ. They will become the Body when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all flesh.
The Lord is
today doing a mighty work apart from the efforts of the greater Church. This
work is being done with a remnant of those spiritually circumcised disciples
The reader should now read Genesis chapters 6 through 9.
Commentary: The Lord will not again destroy human beings with
water—it wasn’t the Lord who caused people to die by drowning in the Southeast
Asian tsunami last December, or in
The reader should now read Matthew chapter 24, verses 1 through 14.
Commentary: The seven endtime years of tribulation begin between verses 8 and 9. The delivery of the “good news” [gospel] that all who endure to the end shall be saved comes during the first half of these seven endtime years, occurs during the 1260 day ministry of the two anointed ones. The “end” references the last three and a half years when Satan is cast to earth (Rev 12:9-10) and comes against the saints as a roaring lion, knowing that his time is short.
Satan will come, when cast into time, claiming to be the returning Messiah. He will come in the fall of the year, and he will deceive many. But he will not deceive the remnant who keep the commandments and have the spirit of prophecy (, coupled with ). They will be as Joshua and Caleb were, and they will lead the saints to victory over Satan, a victory won by enduring in faith to the end. They will know that when God sets His hand to destroy wickedness, no wickedness shall survive. There will be no wars, no false peace, no abominable behavior. Instead, the dead shall rise, some to joy, some to everlasting contempt. And the false messiah with his two demonic cohorts will be taken.
Destruction that is of God will not be incomplete, nor will it leave a wet city able to rebuild itself. Katrina isn’t of God, which is not to say that God cannot use the disaster for His purposes. Indeed, He can—and He will.
The reader should now read Psalms 93 & 94.
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."