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 Israel’s rebellion.
For the Sabbath of September 30, 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 chapter 14.
Commentary: The nation that left Egypt refused to enter God’s rest while the promise of entering still stood (cf. Heb 3:16-4:11; Ps 95:10-11; Num 14); so the promise of entering into God’s rest (which is for disciples the weekly Sabbath) has a beginning and an ending. It begins with the builder of the house of God, Christ Jesus, with Moses representing the house (Heb 3:3). The relationship between Christ and Moses was that of the builder of the house to the house, or of the son owning the house to the servant dwelling in the house. And it is the curious juxtaposition of the first analogy used by the writer of Hebrews with the analogy used by the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians that produces a previously unexplored situation: Paul, as a master builder, laid the foundation of the house of God, (1 Co 3:10-11), which is Christ Jesus, the rejected cornerstone. Thus, Jesus is the foundation upon which the house that is Moses was built. Moses, now, built on what Paul wrote—and this is not an easy concept to grasp, but one that fits exactly with Paul’s law of faith (Rom 3:27), which is his righteousness that comes by faith (cf. Rom 10:6-8; Deu 30:1-2, 11-14).
The Sabbatarian needs a moment to consider Moses, who precedes Paul by fourteen or fifteen centuries, not an insignificant period, building upon a foundation that Paul laid in heavenly Jerusalem—unless this foundation has been laid from the foundation of the universe. Then, Moses building upon Christ Jesus, that foundation Paul laid, begins to make sense. And if Moses built upon the foundation that is Christ which he did, then the house that Moses built still stands today, for this house wasn’t built in this world but in heaven. Jesus said not to think that He came to abolish the Law [i.e., the Torah, the writings of Moses] and the prophets (Matt 5:17). So if Jesus didn’t abolish the Law and if Moses built in the heavenly city on the foundation that is Christ, what Moses built still stands for endtime disciples. Hence, when Satan is cast from heaven halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation, Satan goes after those disciples who keep the commandments and have the spirit of prophecy (Rev 12:17 with Rev 19:10). Keeping the commandments becomes the determiner for who is genuinely of God and who isn’t. And all who have been empowered by the Holy Spirit and who do not keep the commandments have made themselves into spiritual beasts to be sacrificed in the heavenly realm upon Christ’s return as ancient Israel sacrificed bulls and goats until Jesus died on the cross at Calvary as the reality of those sacrifices. Satan will ultimately die to pay for all disobedience, all lawlessness in the heavenly realm, but from the perspective of human beings, Satan will not die until after the thousand years whereas the firstfruits were glorified at the beginning of the thousand years. Jesus will not bear the sins of the firstfruits during the thousand years: as the reality of the Azazel goat, Jesus now bears the sins of disciples covered by Grace, but when the judgments of the firstfruits are revealed (1 Co 4:5), Jesus either returns the sins of the disciple to the disciple, thereby sending the disciple into the lake of fire [the second death], or Jesus temporary covers those sins which He will no longer bear with the lives of sacrificial beasts in the heavenly realm until Satan ultimately pays for those sins with his life after being released for a short while following the conclusion of the thousand years.
Here is the truth that could not be previously told to spiritually circumcised Israel: from humankind made spiritually alive in the heavenly realm through receipt of the Holy Spirit [made alive by the Father through receipt of His Breath — John 5:21 with John 6:44 and John 3:5-8] come spiritual beasts (vessels for dishonorable use) and glorified sons of God (vessels for honored use). The spiritual beasts are vessels of wrath, intended for destruction, endured by God for a season. Today, these spiritual beasts sing praises to Christ Jesus, but they absolutely refuse to live as Jesus lived or walk as Jesus walked. Their refusal to keep the precepts of the Law is profound, and is the result of God giving them statutes that were not good and rules by which they cannot have life. Yes, because of their lawlessness; because they chose death when the choice of life and death was before them, they entered into Christian fellowships to which God had given statutes and rules (just as He had given ancient Israel — Ezek 20:25-26) that cause these fellowships to burn the firstfruits of God in the lake of fire.
The Apostle Paul says to the spiritual beasts that if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, the person will become a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to his God, ready for every good work (2 Tim 2:21). But no mass cleansing will occur although it is the desire of God that all who have been born anew be saved. The means of moving from being called to being chosen (many are called but few will be chosen — Matt 22:14) is revealed in what Paul wrote Timothy: the person must cleanse himself or herself from what is dishonorable. But because God has given statutes and rules that are not good to those Christian fellowships that teach lawlessness, these fellowships will teach disciples that God cleanses hearts, that spiritual infants need not fret about keeping the commandments, to do so would be legalism, the unpardonable crime within these fellowships—for the disciple who would cleanse his or her heart from what is dishonorable will keep the commandments of God, all of them, not nine, or seven, or five of them.
The house that Moses built rests on the foundation Paul laid, and this foundation has a person who keeps the precepts of the law having his or her physical uncircumcision being counted as circumcision (Rom 2:26), so that there is with God no distinction between Jew or Greek, male or female, bond or free (Gal 3:28). All who will keep the precepts of the Law will be Israel, the single holy nation of God. And all who refuse to keep the precepts of the Law will not be a part of Israel, but will, if born from above, become spiritual bulls and goats to be sacrificed when the temple of God is assembled upon Christ Jesus’ return. All who refuse to keep the Law have rebelled against God, and with very few exceptions, those who have rebelled cannot now enter into God’s rest. The promise of entering for that person no longer stands. That person chose death and has since been made into a vessel of wrath.
A fatalistic view of what awaits the majority of Christians? Yes, indeed. And hopefully a view that though true can be individually altered by the Christian cleansing him or herself from what is dishonorable.
The circumcised Israelite exiled in a far land and the Gentile naturally dwelling in a far land both must turn to God, loving God with heart and mind while returning to or beginning to keep the precepts of the law (Rom 2:25-29). Then, the circumcision of the natural Israelite and the uncircumcision of the Gentile will for both, when both keep the precepts of the law, be counted as spiritual circumcision (Deu 30:6), the promise of the second covenant (Deu 29:1). Neither the natural Israelite in a far land nor the Gentile dwelling in this far land are under any social obligation to keep the precepts of the law [the Israelite wouldn’t be exiled to a far land if Israel had been keeping the law]. Both will begin keeping these precepts by faith that is equivalent to what Abraham had when he left Ur with his father, then left his father in Haran to journey to the Promised Land, and when he believed God that his heir would come from his dead loins (cf. Rom chap 4; Gen 15:6; Heb 11:8-10).
There is no distinction between Jew and Greek when it comes to the quality and quantity of faith necessary to cleanse hearts: the benchmark is the faith of Abraham before he was circumcised. Merely because disciples start from the differing locations in a far land doesn’t affect the faith necessary to cleanse a heart in anticipation of spiritual circumcision … a well established tenet of Evangelical Christianity is that Christ Jesus cleanses hearts; that disciples only have to accept Christ as their personal Savior for disciples to receive cleansed hearts. But what does it mean to accept Christ as one’s personal Savior? Is profession with the mouth enough? If a person professes that Jesus is Lord and sincerely believes that the Father raised Jesus from the dead, has this person passed from death to life (Rom 10:9; John 5:24)? Almost everyone within Evangelical Christianity will answer, Yes, the person has. But this is not what Scripture teaches, nor what a close reading of Scripture reveals. Romans 10:9 only pertains to the Israelite who keeps the precepts of the law by faith. John 5:24 only pertains to the disciple who hears Jesus’ words and believes them, for those words of Jesus are also the words of the one who sent Him. And Jesus’ words are not to think that He came to abolish the Law and the Prophets, that the person who will be great in the kingdom of heaven keeps the commandments and teaches others to do likewise (Matt 5:17, 19). Thus, keeping the precepts of the law by faith is the prerequisite for salvation—and any teacher of Israel who says otherwise is a liar who will be denied in his or her judgment (Matt 7:21-23) regardless of the great works done by the person.
The above is very hard for post-Nicene Christians to accept, just as it was very hard for natural Israel to accept their rejection by God during the days of Jeremiah. Yes, God intended good for Israel while the nation was in Babylonian captivity, but no, God would not permit lawlessness and idolatry to long reign in Jerusalem. Disobedience comes from the Adversary, belongs to the Adversary, and will cause fire to come from the belly of the Adversary, utterly burning the Adversary into ashes under the feet of the saints. Therefore, as disciples begin the fall high Sabbath season, disciples need to understand that the greater Christian Church, in its rejection of the high Sabbaths as “Jewish” days that New Testament Christians do not observe because Jesus fulfilled them, has never understood spiritual birth or Grace, a bold statement supported by every funeral service performed by ministers employed by the denominations, sects, and fellowships comprising Christianity.
The new creature born of Spirit as a son of God dwelling in a tent of flesh is not of this world; is not, again, male or female, Jew or Greek, bond or free. This new creature is not physical, and does not have physical attributes, nor does it commit physical transgressions of the laws of God. And it is this new creature that is garmented by the righteousness of Christ Jesus; it is this new creature that is covered by Grace if this new creature has presented its members to God as instruments of righteousness (Rom 6:13-14). But when this new creature, alive in the heavenly realm, presents its members to sin in this world, thereby transforming its members into instruments of unrighteousness, sin reigns in the mortal body and no sacrifice remains for this sin.
Grace is usually defined as unmerited pardon for sin, but this understanding is always accompanied with the acceptance of the old serpent’s lie that the last Eve will not die (Gen 3:4) because disciples have a regenerated immortal soul. Nothing could be farther from what Jesus taught, from what Paul taught, from what John or Peter or James taught. No human being had any life but that which came from the breath the first Adam received when Elohim [singular in usage] breathed into the man of mud’s nostrils (Gen 2:7) until the divine Breath [Pneuma ‘Agion] of the Father descended as a dove on the baptized man Jesus of Nazareth to fulfill all righteousness (Matt 3:15-17), thus making Jesus the last Adam (cf. Rom 5:14; 1 Co 15:46). To teach Israel that human beings are born with immortal souls is blasphemy—and today, every person, no exceptions, who teaches the spiritually circumcised nation of Israel that disciples have regenerated immortal souls is a minister of the Adversary disguised as a minister of righteousness (2 Co 11:13-15).
When born of the water of the womb, a person consists of [soma or flesh] and [psuche or shallow breath] (Matt 10:28 — read the passage in its original Greek). Every person who has ever lived has been born of water, so every person possesses the commonality of being flesh and breath, or flesh and blood [that which carries physical breath to every cell]. This is what can be scientifically observed; this is what is true regardless of what a person has accepted by faith, or by what has been traditionally passed down from pagan antiquity. Any other teaching is not true and is not of the Father and the Son. And if a person teaches any version of human beings having immortal souls, received from the first Adam, the person is false and teaches the things of this world, not the things of God.
When the Father draws a person from this world (John 6:44, 65), thereby giving life to that which was dead (John 5:21), the person is born a second time; the person is born from above, the person is born of Spirit (John 3:3-8), with life in the heavenly realm that invisibly goes where it will, with this spiritual life domiciled in a tent of flesh that remains perishable (2 Co chap 5).
The natural nation of Israel, long in physical bondage to Pharaoh, experienced the separation God made through the plagues between Israelite and Egyptian … Israel worshiped the idols of Egypt when dwelling in Egypt; Israel prayed to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for relief while at the same time making offerings to the idols of Egypt. God made Himself known to Israel, but the nation rebelled against God and was not willing to listen to God before being liberated from bondage (Ezek 20:5-8). Yes! Israel first rebelled against God before the death angel slew the firstborns of Egypt. And God swore then, when Israel was still in Egypt, that He would pour out His wrath on the nation and spend His anger against Israel in the midst of Egypt. Understand the significance of this—the Christian Church is in the void [Tzimtzum] created when lawlessness was found in an anointed cherub as natural Israel was in Egypt. And as God swore to pour out His wrath on natural Israel in Egypt but didn’t for the sake of His name, God is today refraining from pouring out His wrath on the lawless Christian Church for the sake of His name so that it should not be further profaned in the sight of the other peoples who have not yet been born of Spirit (v. 9).
Today, the separation between spiritually circumcised Israelite and the person who has not yet been born of Spirit [the person who is the spiritual equivalent of an Egyptian] isn’t through physical plagues affecting the one but not the other. Rather, the separation is outwardly invisible, and only revealed in this world by the actions and enacted philosophies of the spiritual Israelite as opposed to the spiritual Egyptian or Babylonian. In the heavenly realm, the separation is immediately evident, for one has life and the other is dead. The spiritual Israelite has life through the earnest of the Holy Spirit [Pneuma ‘Agion]—and as the person who places earnest money down on a parcel of real estate deposits real money with a Realtor, to be held by the Realtor until the sale is completed, the Father deposits real life in the heavenly realm in a tent of flesh to be held by this tent of flesh until the judgment of this tent of flesh is revealed upon Christ Jesus’ return (1 Co 4:5). Then, as the Father made alive that which was dead through depositing real spiritual life in a tent of flesh, the Son will give life to whom He will (again John 5:21), giving imperishable bodies to those disciples whom He determines worthy. Both the Father and the Son must give life to a spiritually lifeless tent of flesh before the mortal tent of flesh will put on immortality, thereby permitting the new creature born into that particular tent of flesh to walk through the fire (Isa 43:2) separating dimensions.
Being born of Spirit makes a person alive in the heavenly realm and is the necessary prerequisite for “seeing” the kingdom of God; for the person who has not been born of Spirit is hostile to God (Rom 8:7), while knowing nothing of God. The person who has not been born of Spirit has no spiritual understanding and is in a taxonomical hierarchy as a beast is to a human being—not a spiritual beast, but a physical beast to a physical human being. As a person’s dog or cat cannot understand why the person balances his or her checking account, the person who has not been born of Spirit cannot understand why a Christian would afflict the flesh by keeping the Fast—and the disciple who doesn’t keep the Fast has written a NSF check to God.
A spiritual beast [that disciple who doesn’t keep the Fast], like a physical beast, cannot understand the spiritual things of God, and cannot understand why a Christian would keep the high Sabbaths, or even the weekly Sabbaths of God. Spiritual beasts are without spiritual understanding even though they sing praises to Jesus and then pray to His breath (or to the Father’s breath). But as a cat seems unable to comprehend the difference between itself and the one who feeds it, spiritual beasts seem unable to grasp the difference between their worship of demons and the legalist’s worship of God. A spiritual beast, like a cat that thinks it rules a household, knows about the Sabbaths of God but cannot comprehend why he or she should, as a Christian, keep these Jewish days.
Being born of Spirit must be accompanied by believing in the Son of Man before the mortal flesh puts on immortality (John 3:14-15; 5:24). Merely being born of Spirit does not get a person into heaven, for the person born of Spirit has no say in the matter. Just as human birth comes without the infant’s consent and advice, spiritual birth comes without the spiritual infant’s consent, without prior consultation, without the infant deciding to be born or to make a decision for Jesus. [Billy Graham’s decision theology is bad theology.] God is not a respecter of persons: every person will be born a second time or born of Spirit, with most of these births occurring in the great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11-15) when the mass of humankind will be raised from the grave to receive credit or condemnation for those things done in the flesh. Judgment is the winnowing of the grain, the separation of the chaff from the kernels. The grinding of this grain into fine flour occurred during the course of living a life that has already been concluded. And this post-Millennium resurrection to judgment will be the main harvest of humanity, and is foreshadowed by the main crop wheat harvest of ancient Judea occurring in the fall of the year … this resurrection to life is being born a second time for all those who never before knew God. This is the Father raising the dead. But the Father does not judge the dead. All judgment has been given to the Son.
Judea brought forth not one but two grain harvests each year, with the harvest of the firstfruits [the barley harvest] beginning at Passover with the Wave Sheaf Offering and concluding with the Feast of Weeks, fifty days later. Disciples today are not the main crop wheat harvest, but the firstfruits, the early barley harvest. And the Father determines whom He will draw from the world to become part of the firstfruits; i.e., part of the early barley harvest, with the firstfruits comprising the Body of the Son of Man. The glorified firstfruits will rule with Christ Jesus during the thousand years.
Today, a physically unbridgeable schism exists among human beings: one part of all humanity has not been born of Spirit, but remains as the water that covers the surface of the earth. The second part of humanity has been born of Spirit, and has its citizenship in the third heaven. Thus, the first and second heavens separate the waters of humanity (Gen 1:6-8), with those who have been born from above being above the expanse and those who have not been born anew being below heaven. Day two of the spiritual creation is still ongoing, and will continue until the fullness of the Gentiles is born of Spirit (Rom 11:25). Day three begins with the start of the seven endtime years of tribulation.
Again, disciples who are born of Spirit have life in the heavenly realm, with this spiritual life presently domiciled in tents of flesh, which were consigned to disobedience by God (Rom 11:32) so that He could have mercy on all. The new creature born of Spirit is not consigned to sin and death, but is free to choose whether this new creature will live or die. However, the tent of flesh in which this new creature is domiciled remains consigned to disobedience, and is not given this choice of life or death but must die, the reason why disciples have died in generations past. Thus, for the son of God [the new creature born of Spirit] a decision of whether to live or die does, indeed, exist. While the person who has no spiritual life cannot choose to be born of Spirit, the person with spiritual life will [cannot escape choosing] choose whether to present his or her members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, or whether to present his or her members to God as instruments for righteousness (cf. Rom 6:12-16; Deu 30:15-19). On a day of salvation, every disciple chooses life or death, good or evil. And with this disciple’s choice, God as the Master Potter will form the person into a vessel for honored use covered by Grace, or for a vessel of dishonorable usage, a vessel of wrath to be endured for a season, a vessel doomed for destruction. These are every disciple’s only choices.
In blunt language, Christ Jesus takes seriously the disciple’s decision. God will not be mocked. Thus, when a disciple chooses to present his or her members as instruments to God for righteousness, Christ forms this son of God into a vessel for honored usage, thereby eliminating from the disciple the option to make a different choice. The disciple no longer has freewill even if the disciple thinks that he or she has. Rather, the disciple is tethered to righteousness and covered by the garment of Grace, which doesn’t mean that the disciple cannot sin … anyone who has attended a tethered a goat or a sheep knows how much harm the animal can still do to itself while tethered in a “safe” area.
The above is absolutely correct: once a disciple chooses life and presents his or her members to God as instruments for righteousness, meaning that by faith the disciples has decided to keep and live by the precepts of the law, Christ Jesus forms the person into a vessel for honored usage, covering the vessel with His mantle of righteousness [with Grace], and will do whatever is necessary in this physical realm to make sure that the person grows in Grace and knowledge. Christ will discipline the person as necessary—will do everything that a mother would do for a human child. Thus, once a disciple chooses life, the disciple will be glorified (said with the understanding that exceptions can exist, but probably won’t exist).
Equally correct is the other side of the equation: once a disciple chooses death and presents his or her members to sin for unrighteousness, the disciple will be made into a vessel of wrath, a son of destruction to be endured for a season, a sacrificial beast, not under Grace but remaining under the Law that this disciple will deny. This disciple will gravitate to lawless teachers and lawless fellowships that have been given statutes and rules that are not good but that kill the disciple, who does not even realize that he or she is dead while believing a delusion.
So yes, for the part of humankind presently born of Spirit, choice was given—and a choice was made by every disciple, with far too many disciples choosing lawlessness and death.
Why would anyone choose death rather than life when the person knew that both choices were available? Is it because the disciple actually hates authority, hates law, hates God, whom the disciple knows through receipt of the Holy Spirit (Heb 8:11)? It must be. So which came first, false teachers of Israel who taught disciples that they are not under the law but under grace, or rebellion against God by spiritually circumcised Israel? Did the false teachers produce rebellion, or did the rebellion produce the false teachers? The mystery of lawlessness was already at work while the Apostle Paul lived (2 Thess 2:7). It never ceased working through the succeeding generations. And it is alive and well today, with 24/7 worldwide television broadcasts that immerse the world in reinforced lawlessness.
Every teacher of Israel saying that the disciple who attempts to live by the precepts of the law is guilty of legalism is false, no exceptions. Such a teaching is contrary to what the Apostle Paul who wrote to Roman converts that if an uncircumcised man keeps the precepts of the law his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision (Rom 2:26). Such a teaching is contrary to what the Apostle John wrote
Keeping the precepts of the law makes a person an Israelite, not physical circumcision (Rom 2:28). When even the person who has never known the law does by nature what the law requires, the person shows that the law is written on the person’s heart—and this unknown yet inscribed law will, in the day of the person’s judgment, excuse the person (vv. 14-15). Therefore, for the person who knows the law but who voluntarily chooses not to keep it, no sacrifice remains. Too many endtime disciples know what the laws of God are, know that they are to love God with all of their heart and being, but want to live like they are still part of the world. They absolutely refuse to live as Judeans, being holy as God is holy (cf. 1 Pet 1:14-16; Lev 11:44). Instead, they proudly live as Gentiles, as Greeks or Egyptians, Babylonians or Assyrians, defiling themselves with abominations of every sort (Isa 66:17), eating that which would not be received with thanksgiving and is not made holy by the word of God (1 Tim 4:4-5). But as with other Scriptures, the lawless twist Paul’s epistles into instruments of destruction (2 Pet 3:16), whereby they can excuse themselves before themselves, pronouncing as good that which has spiritually slain them, making rebellion against God seem like wisdom, promising heaven as a comfort myth to even those who have not yet been born of Spirit. Yes, too many endtime Christians ignore the commandments of God, keeping instead the lawlessness of the Adversary close to their hearts while praying for ten fold or hundred fold physical blessings that the Adversary can indeed give to those who worship him.
Pay attention: if disciples are to store up treasure in heaven, why do disciples seek to store up treasure here on an earth that is passing away? Teachers of Israel who promise physical blessing for sowing into this ministry or that ministry are of Satan, who can and often does reward his servants and those who worship him with “things” that will perish. So yes, indeed, a person can receive physical increase for investing with Satan, but the person will receive no spiritual reward. Rather, the person will spiritually perish.
No disciple is today ignorant of what the precepts of the law require of the person. Some might feign ignorance, but with spiritual birth came the inscribing of the laws of God on the heart and mind of the disciple (Heb 8:10). So the disciple who plays cutesy games with God, doing great works in Jesus’ name but teaching disciples that Christians are not under the law but under grace, making Grace the excuse for lawlessness, will be denied in their resurrection (Matt 7:21-23). The moment that a newly born disciple presents his or her members to sin [i.e., lawlessness — from 1 John 3:4] to be instruments of unrighteousness, the disciple makes him or herself a bondservant of sin; the disciple chooses death when the promise of entering into life still stands. By his or her choice, the disciple tells God that he or she doesn’t love God enough to leave this world; therefore, this disciple will never leave this world … only in spiritual Judea does a portal exist between dimensions. The Tree of Life grows nowhere other than in the heavenly city of Jerusalem. The ladder Jacob saw that reached into heaven doesn’t have its base in Greece or Egypt, Babylon or Assyria, Edom or Moab. Thus, again, the disciple who will not live as a spiritual Judean is to God as sacrificial bulls and goats were to ancient Israel: the disciple will be made into a vessel intended for destruction, a vessel of wrath, a vessel for dishonorable usage. The disciple has rebelled against God.
If the choice remains yours to be made, choose life. Choose to keep the precepts of the Law by faith. Choose to walk as Jesus walked. Choose to live as a spiritual Judean. Your heart won’t be cleansed by continuing to live as a Gentile, hostile to God. And why would you believe anyone telling you that Jesus cleanses hearts of those individuals who rebel against Him by presenting their members to sin to be instruments for unrighteousness? That makes no sense at all.
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."