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 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 condemnation because of unbelief.

Printable/viewable PDF format to display Greek or Hebrew characters

Weekly Readings

For the Sabbath of September 19, 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 prophet Daniel was told by the angel,

And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. (12:1–3)

Jesus said,

Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. (John 5:25–29)

Paul wrote,

He [God] will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. (Rom 2:6–11)

The Lord told Moses to say,

See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. (Deut 30:15–20)

The long life promised to Israel upon demonstrated obedience by faith becomes eternal life when better promises are added to this eternal second covenant (i.e., it was not ratified with blood and is not, therefore, an earthly copy of a heavenly thing, but the heavenly thing itself — Heb 9:22–23) and its mediator goes from being Moses to being Jesus Christ … Paul identifies this eternal second covenant as “the righteousness based on faith” when he cites Moses (Rom 10:6–8), and for the Israelite who, by faith when in a far land, turned to the Lord and began to obey the Lord, keeping His commandments and all He says in the Book of Deuteronomy (Deut 30:1–2, 10), nothing more is needed for salvation but to profess with the mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in the heart that the Father raised Jesus from the dead (Rom 10:9).

It is not, however, enough for salvation to profess with the mouth that Jesus is Lord if the person does not choose life and good, with “good” being defined as walking in the ways of the Lord, keeping His commandments and all that He spoke.

John wrote,

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:1–6)

What John wrote is what Moses said: disciples are to walk as Jesus, our Lord, walked. Disciples are to walk in the ways of the Lord (Deut 30:16). Disciples are to imitate God as beloved children (Eph 5:1). And disciples cannot choose “good,” choose life, by doing what is evil with “evil” being nothing more than simple unbelief (i.e., not believing God); for salvation will come to the disciple who by faith keeps the commandments as the completion of his or her faith.

Scripture is unambiguous: the person who will be saved has the works of the law written on his or her heart, doing by nature or from being under the law those things that the law requires (Rom 2:14–15). No one else will be saved in either the resurrection of firstfruits or in the great White Throne Judgment. There will be no one in the kingdom with a differing agenda or a differing set of values or a different “worldview” than God. Heaven is not a religious or ideologically diverse dimension … diversity is of this world and of its prince, the old dragon, Satan the devil. It is an aspect of this world that is passing away, and it will remain in this world until Satan is cast from heaven. Those who would like to see diversity abolished, whether fundamentalist Christian or Muslim, will be deeply disappointed by what is sure to happen.

Where is all of this leading: to the parable of the democracy of goods that governed American advertising in the early and mid 20th-Century.

In Advertising the American Dream (1985), Roland Marchand (1933–1997), a former history professor at UC Davis, in focusing on the advertising narratives from the 1920s to 1940s, described “the Parable of the Democracy of Goods” that hawked products through deploying the equalizing myth that anyone who purchased the product had what the richest people in the nation had. This parable served to defuse tension between the have and have-nots of the nation in a period when socialism in its various manifestations (Christian Socialism, Fascism, Communism) was on the rise in Europe. This parable fostered the development of capitalism (for as long as the myth was believed) as the viable and preferred alternative to socialism, thereby preventing socialistic schema from taking deep root in this country. It is because of this parable that democracy was seen as a social equalizer despite the stark contrasts in living conditions that gripped the nation throughout the 1930s.

Marchand cites a Chase and Sanborn Coffee advertising tableau that showed “an elegant butler serving a family in a dining room with a sixteen-foot ceiling” and “reminded Chicago families that although ‘compared with the riches of the more fortunate, your way of life may seem modest indeed,’ yet no one—‘king, prince, statesman, or capitalist’—could enjoy better coffee” [the original advertisement appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Nov 21st, 1926, picture section, p. 2]. Marchand writes, “Thus, according to the parable, no discrepancies in wealth could prevent the humblest citizens, provided they purchased wisely, from retiring to a setting in which they could contemplate their essential equality, through possession of an identical product, with the nation’s millionaires” (par. 4).

Although a Sabbath reading does not usually address secular subjects, the imbedded reality created by this parable of the democracy of goods infected, as if it were a virus, the entirety of the American mental landscape throughout the period when Evangelical Christendom was being aggressively taken to the world by American missionaries, with American Christianity (even to this date) being reformulated and repackaged—the new and improved version—from theology derived from this parable.

Marchand writes, “The social message of the parable of the Democracy of Goods was clear. Antagonistic envy of the rich was unseemly; programs to redistribute wealth were unnecessary. The best things of life were already available to all at reasonable prices” (par 10). But if this parable of the democracy of goods could establish an equality in sleep (sleeping on the same mattresses) or in soap or in beauty, it could finally realize “the ancient religious promise of equality in death” (par 9) … if everyone just believed, praying the sinners’ prayer and inviting Jesus into the person’s heart, everyone would be saved regardless of whether the person had the works of the law written on his or her heart.

Is this not the message preached from American pulpits and from too many pulpits around the world to this day? The parable of the democracy of goods, an early 20th-Century advertising tableau, dramatically transformed the Christian message in the early 20th-Century from what Calvinists had preached about predestination and the Elect being saved and all others damned to the flames of hell into a message that has early 21st-Century pastors preaching the ungodly into heaven at their funerals. If the prayers of those burying this nation’s dead are to believed (and fulfilled), who doesn’t go to heaven? Even the most heinous criminal is told that God hates the sin but loves the sinner—and where does this come from? Not from Scripture; for Paul writes,

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess 2:9–12 emphasis added)

The person who does “good” is the one who shall be saved, with doing good having the person keeping the commandments by faith as the reasonable expectation of all who dwell in the house of God; for God will condemn all who do not believe the truth … simple unbelief will condemn Christians after the Son of Man is revealed or disrobed.

If unbelief condemned the nation of Israel in the wilderness (Heb 3:19; Num 14:11–12), and if unbelief will condemn Christians in the Tribulation, then how much unbelief will God tolerate in those who die in this era? Jude, the brother of James and half-brother of Jesus, writes,

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (vv. 5–7)

Jude, like Peter (see 1 Pet 1:10–12), shortcuts saying that Jesus came into this world as the only Son of the Logos, the one who created all that has been made physically, and instead, identifies Jesus as the Lord of the Old Testament, the One who spoke from atop Sinai to Moses, giving to Moses the ten living words (i.e., the Ten Commandments). And if this Jesus is the same today as He was yesterday (Heb 13:8), how is it that “His commandments” (John 14:21) are not the commandments He spoke as the Logos from atop Sinai? So how can Christians transgress the Sabbath commandment and not be guilty of unbelief? They cannot! They are guilty of unbelief; of not believing Jesus when He said,

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:17–20 emphasis added)

Were the scribes and the Pharisees not hypocrites (see Matt chap 23), having the law but not keeping it (John 7:19). Does the endtime Christian Church have the law? Is it not in most every Bible? Yet the Church does not, with very few exceptions, keep the law? What then differentiates the Church from the Pharisees? Both have the law but neither kept/keeps it, albeit for differing reasons?

Because of Israel’s rebellion in the golden calf incident, Israel was prevented from having eternal life, and the Lord put into play a scenario that would have whoever has sinned against the Lord being blotted out of His book (Ex 32:33); for the Lord told Moses,

The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation. (Ex 34:6–7 emphasis added)

If the Lord forgives iniquity and sin but will not clear the guilty, then the guilty are not sinners who are forgiven but are sinners who are not forgiven, thereby establishing a difference between sinners and sinners that is not addressed by either the denotative or connotative meaning of the linguistic icon, “sinner.”

If a difference exists between simultaneous sinners, then God would be a respecter of persons and this is not the case; so this difference cannot be between one sinner standing next to another sinner, for sin is sin and the sinner who retains guilt is no more guilty than the sinner who has been forgiven. Rather this difference between forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children must be expressed chronologically or in the realm of time rather than space. And this difference between sinners relates directly back to Israel not listening to the Lord when the nation was still in Egypt (Ezek 20:8); for Israel in Egypt forms the chiral image of today’s Christian Church under grace.

When Israel left Egypt, the nation did not leave behind those Israelites who had defiled themselves with the idols and detestable things of Egypt. Rather, all of the nation left as well as a mix multitude of other peoples (Ex 12:38). And this will be the case when the Church is liberated from indwelling sin and death: all Christians, even ones that others “Christians” do not regard as Christian, will be filled with or empowered by the spirit of God. But a difference separated Israel in Egypt (when sin was forgiven) from Israel at Sinai after the law was given (when sin was not forgiven). This difference between the Lord not taking action against the nation that rebelled against Him in Egypt (Ezek 20:7–10) and the Lord not forgiving the nation that rebelled against Him after the law was given anticipates the difference that will separate Christians under grace from filled-with-spirit Christians after the second Passover. Therefore, because Israel in Egypt and in the wilderness forms the shadow and type (chiral image) of the Church in this present era and after the second Passover, the Lord (Jesus, according to Jude) did not condemn Israel in Egypt although He remembered Israel’s sins (He would not have disclosed them to Ezekiel if He did not remember them), but He did not clear the guilty after the Passover liberation of Israel. However, because He will not slay rebelling Christians on day 220 of the Tribulation (when the Lawless One is revealed) but will send a strong delusion over them, in Egypt and in the wilderness the Lord acted for the sake of His name and did not immediately kill these rebelling Israelites (Moses interceded on their behalf), but rather, the Lord prevented these rebelling Israelites from entering into the Promised Land, His rest, a euphemistic expression for His presence. Of the Israelites numbered in the census of the second year, only Joshua and Caleb crossed the Jordan, and of those who are “Christians” following the second Passover, only the seven churches (from Rev chaps 2 & 3) as a remnant of Christendom will cross into the kingdom.

The Lord prevented the generations of Israel that came from the guilty, the ones who reveled around the golden calf, from entering into His presence by visiting the iniquity of the fathers onto the children through the simple command not to kindle a fire on the Sabbath. Likewise, Christians who do not today believe the Lord are not killed for their unbelief but are covered by grace; however, once these same Christians are liberated from indwelling sin and death at the second Passover, unbelief then will cause the Lord to send over them a strong delusion that causes them to believe what is false so that all may be condemned (again, 2 Thess 2:11–12). This “all” will not immediately die but will live until the Second Advent when the Lord, in fury, will strike them down. As dead men walking (i.e., the ancient nation of Israel) around and around the mountain of the Lord in the wilderness of Zin, these rebelling “Christians” will clutter up the landscape of the world until the Lord brings His “rebuke with flames of fire” (Isa 66:15). Then many shall be the slain of the Lord (v. 16).

The strong delusion that the Lord will send over those who rebel against Him in the Tribulation will be akin to the delusion that presently hinders Christians from believing Christ: the tenets of Protestantism spurn logic and privilege emotional responses, thereby producing a touchy-feely religiosity against which no reasoned argument will prevail … they have swallowed the parable of democracy hook, line, and sinker.

Protestants do not want to be under Moses so they, by faith, claim that the law has been abolished—this claim removes guilt and reinforces how good they feel about being In the Lord, and they involuntarily establish as factual the delusion that has come over them, a delusion that prevents them from walking as Jesus walked, or imitating Paul as he imitated Jesus. They are today as Israel was in Egypt when Israel would not listen to the Lord (Ezek 20:8).

Again, when Moses asks the Lord to forgive Israel, saying, “‘Alas, this people have sinned a great sin’” (Ex 32:31), those who committed this sin are not forgiven, for the Lord said, “‘Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book’” (v. 33) … whoever rebels against the Lord when the great falling away (2 Thess 2:3) occurs will be blotted out of the Book of Life.

Before the Passover, Israel was guilty of iniquity and sin; i.e., the eyes of the nation feasted on the detestable things of Egypt and the nation defiled itself with the idols of Egypt (Ezek 20:7). But because Israel was a slave nation, a nation in bondage to Pharaoh, the Lord did not hold Israel accountable for the nation’s iniquity and sin even though the nation would not listen to Him. However, once the Passover occurred, Israel was no longer in bondage to Pharaoh but had a different “habitation,” that of following the Lord.

Peter wrote, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into [Tartarus] and committed them to [pits] of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment” (2 Pet 2:4), then those Israelites whom God did not forgive can be likened to rebelling angels. And what is seen at Sinai is that the Lord, who does not change (Heb 13:8), did not spare the people of Israel who sinned but visited the iniquity of the fathers on the children by giving to Israel the seemingly innocent command to kindle no fire on the Sabbath. To this day, rabbinical Judaism goes out of its way to not kindle a fire on the Sabbath, which, when coupled to rabbinical Judaism’s denial of Jesus being Lord, continues to prevent Judaism from receiving indwelling eternal life (the fire that comes from God).

When the entirety of the Christian Church—when all who claim to be Christians—are suddenly filled with the spirit of God following the second Passover, the inner new selves of these Christians will be as angels were before iniquity was found in an anointed cherub (Ezek 28:14–15). Following the rebellion of day 220, Christians will be as angels were after iniquity was found in that anointed cherub, said with a caveat; i.e., instead of one third rebelling, almost all of the Christian Church will rebel.

The Lord did not spare the people of Israel when this nation dwelt (camped) around the mountain of the Lord: He had been “‘merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness’” (Ex 34:6), overlooking the iniquity and sin of Israel in Egypt but again, He had not forgotten these sins just as grace, for Christians, covers sins with the garment of Christ’s righteousness but does not pay the death penalty for sins committed by the inner new selves that are sons of God … Jesus’ death at Calvary paid the death penalty for the sins of the flesh that are committed in this world, not for the sins of the inner self such as anger (Matt 5:21–22) or lust (vv. 27–28).

To repeat, those who sinned against the Lord while the nation was still in Egypt were not then condemned to death, but rather, were liberated from serving Pharaoh and the idols of Egypt as Christians who today do not believe the Lord and actively sin against Him are not condemned to death but will be liberated from indwelling sin and death. So when the people of Israel, after being liberated, returned to worshiping idols, Israel became “the guilty” … the people of Israel were condemned after sin was made alive through the giving of the commandments at Sinai; for the Lord gave to sin the opportunity to slay this nation. And so will it be for Christians after liberation at the second Passover.

After the Passover, the same people who had their iniquity and sin overlooked in Egypt permanently became the guilty when, while dwelling at the base of the mountain of the Lord, they returned to doing what they had done in Egypt—and this nation of Israel forms the enlivened shadow of today’s Christian Church … the Lord will not spare rebelling Christians after the second Passover liberation of the nation, for the harshness of the Lord in not forgiving Israel at Sinai or in not forgiving Christians following the second Passover comes from both serving as the copies and types of rebelling angels who left their first estate. He will not commute the death sentences of those angels who are the guilty. However, out of love for His “sons” He will defer execution of these death sentences until, in the roll of an appellate court, His glorified heirs “judge” angels and verify who is the guilty.

The guilty of Israel were permanently condemned, with their iniquity being visited on their children, and with their condemnation forming the left hand enantiomer of both the flesh and the inner new self of the liberated Christian Church being condemned: God will not forgive those Christians who rebel against Him as part of the great falling away (2 Thess 2:3). He will send a strong delusion over those who do not believe the truth so that these Christians will never repent. This delusion is anticipated in Moses commanding Israel to kindle no fire on the Sabbath, and only after this rebellion of day 220 of the Tribulation occurs will a remnant of Judaism come to Christ and have the fire of eternal life kindled within them.

The apparent contradiction (i.e., difference) of the Lord saying to the prophet Ezekiel, “‘What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge”? As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die’” (18:2–4), and saying that the Lord “‘will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation’” (Ex 34:7) is in the context of each declaration. The Lord does not, according to Him, transfer the iniquity of the father onto the son even though that is exactly what He says He will do at Sinai. The resolution of this apparent contradiction is in Israel from Egypt to the Jordan River (not beyond) forming the enlivened shadow of the Church from this present era to entering into God’s rest. The forty years from Israel’s sacrifice of paschal lambs in Egypt to when Israel crossed the Jordan on the 10th day of the first month (Josh 4:19) is counted as one “day,” with day representing one epoch. For Christianity, this one day began at Calvary with its midnight hour yet to occur; i.e., the hour when death angels again pass over all the land. So the context of each declaration determines whether the Lord forgives or whether guilt remains; for grace ends with the liberation or empowerment of the Christian Church. When the Son of Man is revealed, both Head (Christ Jesus) and Body (the Church) of this Son of Man will be naked before God, covered only by individual belief and obedience. Belief will now need to be made complete by keeping the commandments so that the fruit of the spirit will ripen.

Scripture is both the text and its texture.

The great falling away or rebellion about which Paul writes (2 Thess 2:3) comes after the second Passover and after Christians have been filled with, or empowered by the spirit of God, with this liberation of the Church from indwelling sin and death being anticipated by Israel bodily leaving Egypt and receiving the law at Sinai. And about the commandments received, Paul wrote,

Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. (Rom 7:7–11 emphasis added)

And what happened at Sinai is the nation that did not listen to the Lord in Egypt—they would not hear and believe the Lord when dwelling in Egypt (Ezek 20:8)—was given the law, thereby making sin alive, with sin killing the nation when the people made for themselves a golden calf as they did or would have done in Egypt; for in making the idol, Israel transgressed both the first and second of the commandments, and probably the seventh. The sin that had lain dead within the hearts of Israel while the nation dwelt in Egypt was brought to life at Sinai, given an opportunity (when Moses, on the Lord’s command, entered the cloud — Ex 24:18), and taking that opportunity, sin deceived Israel and slew the nation that left its habitation of obedience. The people were destroyed (i.e., blotted out of the Book of Life) in forty days, with these “days” taking forty years to physically execute.

Yes, the forty days that Moses was in the cloud gave sin the opportunity to kill the nation that would not listen to the Lord in Egypt. In the same manner, the 220 days between the second Passover and the great falling away will give Sin (the third horseman) the opportunity to deceive and kill Christians that will not in this era hear the words of Jesus and believe the One who sent Him into this world. As the Lord “reached” behind the Passover to bring forward a nation that would not listen to Him, making sin alive after the Passover and giving sin the opportunity to kill those who left their habitation of obedience, God will reach behind the second Passover to bring forward Christians who will not today listen to Him. He will, after disrobing or revealing the Son of Man (Luke 17:30), release the third horseman, Sin, and will give this demonic horseman the opportunity to kill liberated and empowered Christians as sin slew Israel at Sinai. And the narrative repetition of making this point many times will not be enough to stop the great falling away from occurring, for once grace ends no more sacrifice remains. Returning to sin will be unforgivable blasphemy against the spirit of God.

The parable of the democracy of goods, the underlying construct of sermons preached from pulpits across American and everywhere American missionaries have gone, has positioned the Christian Church on the brink of a precipice, over which Christians are prophesied to fall, meaning simply that they cannot be collectively saved. Only individuals here and there can be plucked from the disaster certain to befall the Church; for Christianity is not democratic. Those individuals destined to be numbered among the firstfruits of God are those whom the Father foreknew, predestined, called, justified, and glorified—from outside of time, they are watching themselves work out their own salvation (from inside of time, they are many years away from being glorified). But none of those who preach a democracy in salvation will be in the kingdom: they had their chance to believe God, but they believed other men (and women) instead, thereby making gods of men. Their sermons promise immortality to what is mortal as the nymph Calypso offered Odysseus immortality if he would stay with her instead of return home (see Book 1, The Odyssey). What Christian pastors everywhere need to now do is return home, return to the Father and the Son, put away the junk dogmas they preach, and reread the text before repentance is not possible as it was not possible for Israel in the wilderness (Num 14:40–43).

No pastor can preach the sinner into heaven; he cannot even go himself unless the work of the law is written on his heart.

Moses was not present while Israel was framing its rebellion under Aaron; the two witnesses will, most likely, not be present while Christendom frames its rebellion on day 220 of the Tribulation. Certainly the two witnesses will not be among the “Christian” leaders that support the man of perdition, a human being that will be to the Church as King Saul was to Israel. This man of perdition will not be a Muslim or a Christian who has converted to Judaism, but will be a Christian who sincerely believes that the angel within him is Christ Jesus, whereas this spirit-being (angel) will be the Adversary. This man of perdition will be difficult to oppose because he comes by the workings of Satan (2 Thess 2:9). Only the two witnesses (also human beings, but empowered by Christ) have the power and authority to openly oppose this man of perdition.

The covenant God made with Israel on the day He took Israel by the hand to lead this nation out of Egypt was ratified by blood: Israel sacrificed Passover lambs and covered the entryway into their houses with this blood (Ex 12:7), and God gave “‘Egypt as your [Israel’s] ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you [Israel]” (Isa 43:3). Blood was shed on both sides. And this Passover covenant made with Israel on the day He lead Israel out of Egypt will remain in force until blood is again shed on both sides, not just by Israel … blood was shed by Israel at Calvary, but God has not again shed blood although through Isaiah, God promises Israel, “‘Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life’” (v. 4).

So there is no misunderstanding: Israel, a people that did not hear and believe the Lord in Egypt before the first Passover liberation of the nation, forms the shadow and type of the Christian Church in this present era, and as Israel’s unbelief was “exposed” and made deadly when the law was given at Sinai, the Christian Church’s present unbelief will be exposed and made deadly when disciples are filled with or empowered by the Holy Spirit following the second Passover. This exposing of unbelief comes in the first 220 days of the Tribulation, and comes on a particular day, the day when the lawless one (the man of perdition) is revealed—a day like when Saul was ordained as king.

The first covenant—the covenant made on the day when the Lord took the fathers of Israel by the hand to lead them out of Egypt—is ready to vanish away but will not vanish away until God again sheds blood. It is only because God has not yet again taken the lives of uncovered firstborns that the first covenant remains. What the Lord told Moses remains: the Lord is a God “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Ex 34:6–7), and it is these traits that prevent the new covenant from being implemented; for He has given to Christians everywhere the opportunity to put away the detestable idols of this world and return to Him. But as Israel in Egypt would not listen to the Lord, Christians today will not listen to Christ Jesus; thus, His words, His word, His message that He left with His disciples will judge and condemn today’s Christian Church (John 12:48), but will not condemn Christians today but will condemn them following their second Passover liberation.

As God gave Egypt’s firstborns as Israel’s ransom, He will give again the lives of men in exchange for the life of Israel, now a nation circumcised of heart. The ending of the Passover covenant is, thus, solely the prerogative of the Father; for His shedding of blood will see the death of the firstborn of humankind not covered by the blood of Christ—will see the death of firstborns, including the indwelling firstborn sons of God, that are not covered by drinking from the cup (taking the sacraments of bread and wine) on the night that Jesus was betrayed. This shedding of blood will leave a third of humanity [2+ billion people] dead at the second Passover liberation of Israel. And this great loss of life will wobble the kingdom of this world, doubling over Babylon’s reigning hierarchy, for numbered among the dead will be the great horn or king of Greece (Dan 8:8, 21), Satan’s first convert or firstborn son.

This Passover covenant that is passing away but has not yet passed away is the covenant that will be superseded by the promised new covenant that has the law of God written on hearts and minds. This covenant is passing away because Israel has shed the blood of the paschal Lamb of God at Calvary: humanity is in a period of watching and waiting analogous to the six hours between when Israel in Egypt killed the selected lamb and when the death angel passed over all the land … the Lord struck down all of the firstborn of the land of Egypt at midnight (Ex 12:29), halfway between sunset and sunrise, the hour that is the farthest from the light. And when moving from physical to spiritual, the midnight hour occurs when humankind can get no farther from God, with God being light; midnight occurs when circumstances force humankind to begin returning to God, with the foremost circumstance being the second Passover liberation of Israel.

Can human beings today actually get farther from God? Christendom is in open rebellion, professing to “Know the Lord” but refusing to walk as Jesus walked; refusing to keep the precepts of the law; refusing to keep the Sabbaths of God but keeping its own weekly and annual holidays; preaching a democracy of salvation. The Apostle John said that those disciples who say they know Jesus but do not keep the commandments are liars, and indeed they are—but they are also most of Christendom.

Judaism denies the Lord; Islam has never known the Lord; and everyone else either actively or passively worships demons. Islam is, by simple population growth, overwhelming both Christianity and Judaism.

So is it really possible for humankind to get farther from God than it presently is? If it is possible, the distance is not great. However, the example that has been left disciples—the example that Paul references when addressing the saints at Corinth whom he calls infants—isn’t of sin being made alive in Egypt and there in Egypt being given an opportunity to slay Israel but sin being made alive and given an opportunity to slay the nation after this nation’s liberation at the Passover. So in speaking of a second Passover liberation of Israel, what is always present is the Christian Church’s present unbelief being held against this firstborn son of God, with Sin being given power and the opportunity to slay this circumcised of heart nation … when the Son of Man is revealed, the Church as the Body of Christ and by extension the Body of the Son of Man will be disrobed, or stripped of the mantle of Christ’s righteousness. Grace will end: it will no longer be needed, for every disciple will have the Torah written on his or her heart and placed in the mind so that every Christian fully Knows the Lord. Sin will then, because grace has ended, have the opportunity to slay every Christian who doesn’t cover him or herself with the garment of obedience. But under the new covenant, sin will not be remembered although God will send “a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth” (2 Thess 2:11–12). So following the second Passover liberation of Israel, it isn’t the practice (activation) of sin that condemns disciples, but the unbelief that is manifested in the activities of hands and bodies as transgressions of the commandments.

Unbelief will condemn filled-with-spirit Christians as unbelief condemned Israel at Sinai, the mountain of God, with this former condemnation (again, Ex 32:33) forming the left hand enantiomer of this near future condemnation of the lawless Christian Church that openly rebels against God when the man of perdition is revealed … again, the man of perdition will be to the Church as King Saul was to Israel, with Paul while still known as Saul of Tarsus functioning as the man of perdition functions in regardless to those saints that spiritually constitutes righteous Abel. Yes, the linguistic play that has the man of perdition being foreshadowed by King Saul and persecuting genuine disciples as Saul persecuted the early church (Acts 8:1; 9:1–2) is intentional and discloses knowledge about what will happen in the Tribulation (i.e., the first 1260 days of the seven endtime years); for as King Saul pursued David but was replaced as king by David, the man of perdition coming by the workings of Satan will persecute and pursue the remnant of the Church (from Rev 12:17) even before Satan is cast from heaven. But this remnant, after the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man (Rev 11:15–18; Dan 7:9–14), will have powers like those the two witnesses possessed in the 1260 days preceding when Satan is cast from heaven (Rev 12:7–10). Christ as the Lamb of God leading the 144,000 natural Israelites and the remnant being witnesses to the third part of humankind (from Zech 13:9) will, together, be as King David and his mighty men were.


The person conducting the Sabbath service should close services with two hymns, or psalms, followed by a prayer asking God’s dismissal.

* * * * *

"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."