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 remains “knowing God,” but through the prophecies of
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 Jeremiah chapters 30 & 31.
Commentary: The Lord (YHWH,
the Elohim of Israel)
tells the prophet Jeremiah of Anathoth that the days are coming when He shall restore the fortunes of Israel and Judah, His people. This restoration
shall be after a day like none other (30:7). That day shall be a time of distress for Jacob, who shall be freed to serve the Lord,
with David king over Jacob. And herewith is the passage dated, for David will
be resurrected upon the coming of the Christ, when the judgment of every
disciple is revealed (1 Cor 4:5). David’s judgment is already known, as are the
judgments of a few others. But none of these mighty men (and women) of God
shall precede those who endure to the end of seven years of tribulation—all who
have taken judgment upon themselves shall be changed in the twinkling of an
eye. Therefore, the Lord’s restoration and return of Israel
to Judea occurred not in 1947, nor will it occur in any
other year prior to the coming of the Messiah. The return of Jews to the modern nation of Israel is not this promised restoration.
spiritual day when Israel
is recovered, the Lord shall be God to all the clans of Israel
(Jer 31:1), indicating that before this time He is not their God. He shall make
a new covenant with the houses of Israel
and Judah (v. 31), for the fault of the first
covenant was with the people (Heb 8:8). They had a law [or covenant] that would
have led them to righteousness is they had pursued the law with faith, but they
pursued it through works (Rom -32).
This law was the second covenant mediated by Moses (Deu chptrs 29-31), which
has as its preface: when Israel has
been exiled from Judea, and when
Israel in that far land turns to God and begins keeping His commandments and
statutes, then the Lord will bring
again Israel into His rest and will give the nation circumcised hearts and
minds [naphesh]. Turning to the Lord
in a far land and there beginning to keep His commandments which the nation had
not kept when in Judea constitutes a national act of
faith—the nation would have pursued righteousness by faith. The nation would
have received circumcised hearts, a euphemistic expression for receiving the
promise added to the second covenant when the mediator changed from Moses to
Christ Jesus is that the Holy Spirit is given prior to demonstrated obedience,
not after (turning to the Lord and keeping His commandments in a far land is
demonstrated obedience). Gentiles, who never before had knowledge of God,
receive knowledge through receipt of the Holy Spirit (Jer 31:34). They, then,
turn to God and begin keeping His commandments, for they are already in a far
country, exiled from God. Thus, by faith, Gentiles do (or did) what was
required of the natural nation of Israel
to receive circumcised hearts. Therefore, the greater Church’s insidious
teaching that keeping the commandments is “legalism” that every disciple should
avoid has condemned many in two, three, four generations of born anew sons of
God to the lake of fire, for these disciples have not used the mantle of grace
to practice walking uprightly before God. Walking uprightly
means, among other things, keeping the commandments.
But keeping the
commandments, or beginning to keep the commandments is
only an act of faith when the person has not previously been keeping them, with
one notable exception. When that spiritual day [seven years in length] begins upon
which the Lord recovers the natural branches as well as the spiritual nation
that has followed the course of the natural nation, keeping the Sabbath
commandment will require faith. And it will be through keeping the Sabbath
commandment that the natural branches are grafted back onto the root of
righteousness. For these natural branches will not give up the Sabbath. Many in
this natural nation will give up their lives before giving up the Sabbath—and
for demonstrated obedience, they will receive circumcised
hearts and minds in a day when the Holy Spirit has empowered the spiritual
nation. They will be born anew, born without sin (for they won’t have
previously had life in the heavenly realm), and born empowered to overcome self. They will be spiritual virgins.
And from all those who are born-from-above after the Church has been
empowered by the Holy Spirit will come the 144,000 virgins that follow the Lamb
wherever He goes during the light or hot portion of this spiritual third day.
God is not a
respecter of persons: what was required under the second covenant mediated by
Moses is likewise required under the second covenant when the mediator changed.
The Book of Deuteronomy is the witness against every Israelite, natural or
spiritual (John -47 & Deu 31:26);
the second covenant is the godly accuser of brethren. For in the second
covenant, good and life is set before natural and spiritual branches, as is
evil and death (Deu 30:15). The Lord tells the branches to choose life, but He
doesn’t require that they so choose. Every disciple of Christ Jesus, every
natural branch is free to choose evil. And many will, for in the light portion
of the spiritual day upon which Israel
is recovered, the evildoer will still do evil (). Unfortunately, the greater Church today teaches disciples,
intentionally or unintentionally, to transgress the commandments of God,
thereby rebelling against Father and Son while professing great love for the
Son. They, like the natural branches that were broken off, are an adulterous
through receipt of the Holy Spirit and birth-from-above is not a teachable
endeavor. The second covenant as mediated by Moses offered the Holy Spirit to
those who by faith demonstrated love for God by keeping His commandments and
precepts when not previously doing so. Abraham received the Holy Spirit when
ninety-nine years old—received the Breath of God [Pneuma ’Agion] after decades of
demonstrated obedience through faith. Noah had more than a century of such
demonstrated obedience. And during the seven endtime years of tribulation, the
natural branches will have the opportunity for such demonstrated obedience.
They will collectively form the spiritual Abel that the firstborn son of the
last Adam will slay. And they will know God without any teacher but Christ
Jesus, the Lamb of God.
of Israel on
the third spiritual day of a seven day spiritual creation week does not involve
the return of English-speaking peoples to their homelands after some form of a
German captivity, as is taught by the splintered Churches of God. No doctrine,
no dogma can place disciples farther from understanding endtime biblical
prophecies about the return of Israel from Assyria and the four corners of the
earth than Herbert Armstrong’s teachings about the United States and Great
Britain falling captive to a United European superpower.
The Lord tells
Jeremiah, ‘“In the latter days you will understand this’” (Jer 30:24). Indeed,
in the latter days—at the time of the end when the sealed and secret prophecies
of Daniel are comprehended—understanding shall come. These latter days are now
here. They were not here in 1927, or even in 1957, ’67, ’77, ’87, ’97. Daniel’s visions remained sealed by the earthly shadow
of the foretold spiritual events until, after the turn of this century, the
spiritual sar of Persia
pushed against the spiritual sar of Greece,
who flew out of the west to trample this sar of Persia.
This trampling is on-going, and will take about as long as it took Alexander to
defeat the Persians; so a few more years will pass before the first king (of
five), the great horn of the sar of Greece is broken. But the course of events that will
see the restoration of Jacob has begun. Humanity is now in the latter days.
Restored Israel isn’t a physical nation, isn’t the
natural branches grafted onto the root of righteousness; rather restored Israel
is a spiritual nation, a royal priesthood, a holy people who were not before a
nation until born-from-above (1 Pet 2:9).
nation of Israel
was, like its physical counterpart, sent into Babylonian captivity for its
lawlessness. It could not go unpunished (Jer 30:11) when it rejected the law of
God that was neither far from it, nor too difficult to keep (Deu 30:11). Thus,
what the prophet Jeremiah wrote to the captives in Babylon
(chapter 29) pertains equally to the post-NiceanChurch,
which was to seek (and has sought) the welfare of the spiritual city of Babylon.
Indeed, spiritual Israel
built houses in Babylon, but the
house of God in the Jerusalem above
lay deserted and in shambles for a spiritual seventy years, a centuries long period during which infant baptism kept the
streets of the glorious city silent and empty.
But the seventy
spiritual years passed nearly five centuries ago. A decree went forth from the
spiritual sar of Persia.
The house of God was to be restored by a remnant of the spiritual nation then
in Babylon—this remnant of
disciples, never many, but the few who willingly took judgment upon themselves,
is now known as Anabaptists. And their journey from Babylon
to Jerusalem was fraught with
peril. Most never arrived, but settled in houses along the way. Only faint
historic traces braid together adult baptism with commandment keeping and
understanding the nature of God to mark the trail followed. Thus, this remnant
that left Babylon followed a narrow
pike to roadhouses named the Seventh-Day Baptists, the Church
of God Seventh-Day, and the Radio
Church of God. If this remnant had remained on this narrow path, it would have
arrived at Jerusalem. But radio,
then later television allowed the Gospel to be marketed as if it were laundry
soap. More money came to the remnant than it knew how to spend. The remnant
imploded. The larger fragments of the remnant retreated towards Babylon,
but a shower of miniscule splinters flew in all directions, and the
merchandising of disciples began. A thousand disciples would buy a television
broadcast. Another thousand would buy a slick magazine. A third thousand would
support a tiny college. And the hunt was on. Open season was declared on every
disciple who had been in the imploded remnant, and a flurry of activity left
disciples packed into united chaos as the spiritual remnant is aptly described
in the last lines of Judges: “In those days there was no king in Israel.
Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg ).
The reader should now read Jeremiah chapters 11 through
Commentary: The words that the Lordcaused Jeremiah to speak against Judah
came to pass, but the physical fulfillment of these prophecies forms a copy and
shadow of the spiritual fulfillment. What Jeremiah spoke against the house of Judah
and against Jerusalem also happened
to the greater Christian Church. Only, the Lord has not yet restored either the
natural nation, or the people of spiritual Israel.
He has not yet caused Israel
to pay double for the nation’s iniquity (Jer ).
The prophets or preachers of the spiritually
circumcised nation that today say the Church is on the verge of a tremendous
revival have not been sent by Father or Son although they speak words that will
seem to come to pass. But what they speak will cause the holy nation to rebel
against God. They will cause empowered disciples to attempt to enter God’s rest
on the following day, just as the circumcised nation that Egypt tried to enter
on the following day (Num 14:40-41). And when liberated or empowered disciples
trespass against God, they will have no covering for their sin. They will be
spiritually sentenced to death, as the circumcised nation in the wilderness of Paran was sentenced to death for its disbelief (Heb & Num ).
God will send a great delusion over rebelling disciples so that they cannot
repent (2 Thess -12).
Unfortunately, the firstborn son of the last Eve is as the firstborn son of the
patriarch Abraham, Ishmael, whose mother was an Egyptian, who married an
Egyptian, and who died in the wilderness of Paran.
The texture of
Holy Writ has the same story repeated as the story moves from physical to
spiritual, from visible to invisible. The rebellion of the firstborn son of
God, the holy nation that left bondage to Pharaoh, is repeated in Israel's
rebellion in the days of Samuel. The nation wanted a king like other nations
had. It wanted what it could see. And it placed itself in bondage to a human
being; it rejected God as its sovereign. Likewise, the majority of empowered
disciples will reject God the Father as their sovereign when the man of
perdition is revealed—this man of perdition, a human being coming by the
workings of Satan, will appear as a great religious leader, not as a sinister
villain. He will appear as light, not
as darkness. And the false prophet,
performing miraculous deeds, will support him.
Jeremiah prophesied against Jerusalem
has happened to the Church in the spiritual realm, and will happen again. The
Church, which rebelled against God as Israel
rebelled in the wilderness of Paran and in the days
of Samuel, will again rebel against God 220 days into the seven endtime years
of tribulation. Thus, the fulfilled prophecies of Jeremiah have application in
this age, immediately prior to when a great delusion is sent over empowered
disciples who don’t love the truth enough to walk uprightly before God when
they have the power to do so.
The task of The Philadelphia Church, which this
church accepted before its conception, is as Jeremiah’s obligation was: this
church is to tell the holy nation of God that it is to hear the words of the
covenant and do them, and not to walk in the evil ways of its stubborn heart.
The “why” is in what happened to the natural nation.
The reader should now read Jeremiah chapter 23.
Commentary: The teachers and pastors of the holy flock of God have
scattered the sheep into hundreds of denominations, have destroyed innumerable
sheep through teaching disciples to neglect the laws of God.
The recovery of Israel,
natural and spiritual, will not be from sin [Egypt],
but from death [Assyria]. The price for sin has already
been paid. This price was paid by the firstborn of Egypt
(Isa 43:3-4), and by the firstborn Son of God the
Father. The price or ransom for the recovery of Israel
from death, however, has not been paid. It will be paid by the firstborn of
spiritual Babylon at the beginning
of the seven endtime years of tribulation, and by the firstborn sons [Cain and
Abel] of the last Adam during the first half of these seven endtime years.
teachers and pastors of the holy flock of God have not taught is that all but a
remnant of the Church will die, spiritually [from rebellion] or physically
[from persecution], during the night portion of the third spiritual day. During
this period of twisting away from
God, from Light, the Son of Man will be revealed. The Church as the Body of
Christ will be revealed, will be spiritually naked, with
obedience to God as its only covering for sin.
today is knowing that disciples are to practice
walking uprightly before God under the cloak of Grace, of Christ Jesus’
righteousness, thereby redeeming their time. Soon enough this cloak will be removed
to reveal the body of the Son of Man, either naked through disobedience or
clothed through obedience.
The person conducting the Sabbath service should
close services with two hymns, or psalms, followed by a prayer asking God’s