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 remains “knowing God,” but through the prophecies of Ezekiel.

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Weekly Readings

For the Sabbath of October 15, 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 Ezekiel chapter 36.

Commentary: It is not for the sake of the house of Israel that the Lord will give the holy nation a new heart, and put a new spirit [breath] within the nation. It is for the sake of His holy name, which Israel profaned among the Gentiles—which the Church, like its natural shadow, circumcised Israel, has profaned in all the world.

How, teachers of spiritual Israel will ask, has the Church profaned the name of the Father and of His Son? How is the spiritual nation like the abominable circumcised nation that continually worshiped idols and the works of their hands? The Church has a new heart and new spirit, placed within disciples by the Holy Spirit. So, teachers of the holy nation will say, the Church and circumcised nation are not alike and cannot be compared.

But the would-be teachers can be answered by saying that their tradition of teaching converts, infant sons of God, to erase the laws of God that have been spiritually written on hearts and minds by the Breath of God (Heb 8:10) is the inner application of the natural nation’s outward practices of worshiping idols, and of sacrificing their firstborns to Molech. These teachers of spiritual Israel profane the name of Father and Son by teaching converts that disciples are now under the dispensation of Grace, not Law, thereby revealing that these would-be teachers do not understand either Grace or the Law. They profane by teaching converts not to believe Moses. The disciple who will not hear Moses will not hear Jesus (John 5:46-47), will not be convinced by the One raised from the dead (Luke 16:31), will not believe the One who sent Jesus (John 5:24). Rather, these deceived disciples will hear and believe wolves who have climbed into the holy sheepfold to devour the lambs of God, all the while believing that these wolves are mighty men of God. Indeed, many of these wolves have done mighty works in the name of Christ Jesus, but He will deny knowing these teachers of iniquity when their judgments are revealed (Matt 7:21-23). And great shall be their wailing and gnashing of teeth, for they are without excuse. They had the laws of God inside them, but they chose not to keep them.

Knowing the Lord is knowing that He will vindicate the holiness of His great name through recovering the Church from death by pouring out His Breath upon all flesh, thereby causing all of humanity to become the single great nation promised to the patriarch Abraham. One nation empowered by, or filled with the Holy Spirit—that is the promise.  The cross-shaped beast and the false prophet will have been thrown into the lake of fire; Satan is bound in a bottomless pit. And for a thousand years, humanity will know neither death nor sin as a copy and type of heaven.

In vindicating the holiness of His great name, the Lord will, when the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of the Most High and of His Christ (Rev 11:15), bring to spiritual birth the last part, the third part of humanity (Zech 13:7-9). As the first Adam fathered a third son, Seth, after Cain slew Abel, the last Adam will bring to term a third spiritual son who only has to endure to the end to be saved. This third son, born empowered by the Holy Spirit, will be accepted by the Father, just as Jesus was accepted. This third son will have the nature and mind of Jesus; for Satan will have been cast from heaven (Rev 12:9-10), and will no longer be the prince of the power of the air. The Holy Spirit will have been poured out upon all flesh (Joel 2:28), thereby changing even the predatory natures of the great carnivores (Isa 11:6-9)—thereby changing human nature, itself received from the prince of the air. And the birth announcement of this third son is the good news that must be proclaimed to all nations as a witness to all peoples before the end comes (Matt 24:13-14).

The firstborn son of the last Adam and the last Eve would have been accepted if he had done well (Gen 4:7), but sin lurked at his door. Lawlessness will devour the spiritual Cain, whose offering of bread and wine on days other than the Passover remains the unaccepted fruit of the ground. Only on the Passover as instituted by Jesus the night He was betrayed does bread and wine become the body and blood of the Lamb of God. Even on the following night, when the circumcised nation roasted and ate the selected lamb, bread and wine are the fruit of the ground.

It is this spiritual firstborn son of the last Adam, delivered before the last Eve’s first labor pain (Isa 66:7), that profanes the name of the Lord, while loudly proclaiming, Know the Lord. This son knows neither his Father, nor elder brother. If this son knew either, he would keep the commandments (1 John 2:4).

When the Lord places His Spirit within His holy nation, He will cause His people to (1) walk in His statutes, and (2) to be careful to obey His rules (Ezek 36:27), accomplished by (1) empowering the Church, thereby liberating disciples from the law of sin and death that presently dwells in their flesh (Rom 7:25), then (2) removing the garment of Grace, thus revealing the Son of Man (Luke 17:26-30). This one/two combination of empowerment and revealing will have disciples who love the truth walking uprightly before Father and Son. But this one/two combination isn’t delivered to an infant holy nation, but to the holy nation when it is old enough for national [military] service. A natural Israelite went to war at twenty, but a Levite didn’t enter the priesthood until thirty.

The remnant of the natural nation that returned from Babylon was not initially careful to obey the Lord although when the Law was found and read to them, they wept grievously. Yet Nehemiah had to threaten merchants who came to do business on the Sabbath, for apparently these merchants had ready customers. So the Lord didn’t give to the remnant that returned a new Spirit, but gave the Holy Spirit to the disciples of Christ Jesus the evening following His Ascension (John 20:22).

However, the last Eve created from a wound in the side of the last Adam followed exactly the copy and shadow provided by the first Eve. The Church believed that old serpent, Satan the Devil’s, lie that she would not die, and the Church ate the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Church embraced the satanic lie that humanity is born with an immortal soul—and the acceptance of this lie precluded the Church from understanding the spiritual birth process, and the plan of God. Then taking to herself the determination of good and evil, the Church rewrote the commandments of God, and changed by practice the Sabbath commandment, thereby placing the Church outside of the garden of God, outside of God’s rest. Remember, Judea as the geographical representation of God’s rest (Ps 95:10-11) is also the visible representation of a mental landscape entered on the weekly Sabbath. Therefore, it is entirely appropriate for the Lord to exile the Church from His rest, from His garden, by having the Church keep the eighth day as its day of rest.

The reader should now read Ezekiel chapter 20.

Commentary: Notice that the Lord says, ‘“Moreover I gave them statutes that were not good and rules by which they could not have life, and I defiled them through their very gifts in their offering up all their firstborn, that I might devastate them”’ (vv. 25-26). God gave the natural nation these statutes and rules. Satan didn’t give them to Israel, God did. Because the holy nation had, for a long while, rejected His statutes and had profaned His Sabbaths, God have the nation rules that were intended to destroy the nation so that in the nation’s destruction, the nation might know that the Lord is God.

Knowing the Lord requires knowing that He will destroy you if you transgress His commandments and statutes.

Knowing the Lord is, also, understanding that the greater Church’s practice of Sunday observance comes from the Lord forcibly evicting the Church from His rest, from His garden, because the Church took to herself the determination of good and evil. And as the majority of humanity has not been allowed back into the garden of God, the majority of the Church has not been allowed back into God’s rest, but has remained in Babylon to till stony soil and try to take a crop from among the thorns and thistles.

Notice also that the Lord will ‘“with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out”’ (v. 33) be king over His holy nation. He will recover this nation, bring them into a wilderness, and there enter into judgment with the nation as He entered into judgment with the natural nation of Israel that left Egypt—and in that judgment, of the nation that left Egypt, only Joshua and Caleb entered His rest. In this latter purging out of rebels, those disciples who have not used the covering of Grace to practice keeping the laws of God will rebel against the Most High when the man of perdition is revealed (2 Thess 2:3-12). The Lord will send over them a great delusion so that they cannot repent. The rebels will never be allowed to enter His rest, to enter the heavenly realm.

Knowing the Lord is knowing that He will not be inquired-of by those who will not walk in His ways and keep His Sabbaths. It is as simple as that. If a person will not believe Moses, the person will not believe Jesus, as evidenced by the history of the Church, which took to itself the determination of good and evil. For the Church’s usurpation of authority, the Lord evicted the Church from His rest, His Sabbaths.

But every rebelling disciple will claim he or she knows the Lord although not one of them will admit having heard and believed Moses.

The reader should now read Ezekiel chapter 33.

Commentary: For nearly half of the 20th- Century, one fellowship claimed to do the job of watchman for the endtime house of Israel, but that fellowship delivered a warning message to physical peoples, not to the spiritual nation of Israel. That fellowship never understood that the natural nation of Israel shrank from all of Judea promised to Joshua to a divided nation, to the polis of Jerusalem, and finally to the temple itself. The natural nation was then superceded by the spiritual nation (1 Pet 2:9). Thus, the greater Church today forms the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16-17), and the warning message that should have been delivered by watchmen doing the work of Ezekiel was prematurely delivered to the United States, Britain, and other English-speaking peoples, according to the doctrine of British Israelism.

Ezekiel did his job as watchman for the physically circumcised nation of Israel, but those initially commissioned to do the job of watchman for the spiritually circumcised nation neglected their duties. Therefore, the failed work of the ones commissioned was tested and consumed by fire. The task fell to others, and it is The Philadelphia Church today that picked the dropped gauntlet to warn the adulterous spiritual nation of Israel that the Lord has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but would rather that the wicked turn back from wicked ways and live. ‘“[F]or why will you die, O house of Israel?’” (Ezek 33:11).

Why indeed? Why will the greater Church not believe Moses? Not believe Jesus, or the One who sent Him? Not believe the only One resurrected in glory? Why will the greater Church believe the testimony of a man about himself, and not the testimony of the Son of Man? Why will a disciple believe, say, Herbert Armstrong, who never understood spiritual birth, who never understood the recovery of Israel from death, who never understood anything about then sealed endtime prophecies? Or, say, Ellen G. White, who also never understood then sealed endtime prophecies? Or, say, Menno Simons, who never understood the hand to heart movement of the laws of God when going from the natural nation to the spiritual nation?

The watchman for the spiritually holy nation will warn the Church that when empowered by the Holy Spirit, the righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver the son of God from death when he transgresses the Law. Likewise, the wickedness of the wicked shall not be remembered if the wicked turn from his way and restores what he has taken and begins (and continues) to walk in the statutes of God. It is the end of the matter that counts. And empowered or liberated disciples should fear to rebel against God, who will send a great delusion over them so that they cannot repent and turn and begin walking uprightly. For empowerment is through being filled with the Holy Spirit. The empowered disciple who turns from righteousness will have committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and this blasphemy shall not be forgiven him (or her), because of the delusion sent.

The greater Church cannot, when liberated from sin and death, continue in its present ways, using historical exegesis to justify its commandment breaking. It cannot enter God’s rest on the following day, the eighth day. It cannot take upon itself the mark of death, the tattoo of the cross, and still live. And the watchman has to warn the spiritually holy nation that Grace and the winking at sin will end when the Church is empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Church, if it is to live, has to quit playing games with God. It has to use the remaining period of Grace to practice walking uprightly before man and God.

Ezekiel quotes the Lord, saying, ‘“[T]he mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that none pass through. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I have made the land a desolation and a waste because of all their abominations that they have committed”’ (33:28-29). And for the natural nation, this mostly occurred. For the spiritual nation, this will absolutely occur during the first 1260 days of seven endtime years of tribulation. With the exception of a Joshua and a Caleb, all of the holy nation of God will die, either spiritually or physically, during the first half of the Tribulation. All will be either as Cain was, or as Abel was. Thus, the good news that must be proclaimed is that a third son, accepted by God from birth, will be born to the last Adam and the last Eve when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all flesh. And this good news that all who endure to the end shall be saved is the message that The Philadelphia Church proclaims, and will proclaim to the world. This is the message of the watchman.

There are many who claim to do the job of Ezekiel, many who would have the United States and Britain being taken captive by a united European (mostly German) military power, many who have the Roman pope the lawless one who comes by the workings of Satan. None of these alleged watchmen understand prophecy, and even understand their role in the plan of God—they exist to mask the voice of Christ Jesus, so that only His sheep will hear His voice. Harsh words? Yes, but true. Just as the bleating of goats differs from the baaing of sheep, the voice of hirelings differs from the voice of the Shepherd.

The reader should now read Ezekiel chapter 34.

Commentary: The indictment of the false shepherds of Israel stands as an indictment of the would-be teachers of spiritually circumcised Israel. Likewise, the judging between the fat and the lean sheep stands as an indictment against the laity of the Church, with the fat sheep feeding on the Word of God.

A sword will come against the Church as the sword of the Chaldeans came against the circumcised nation. Within the Church, neither righteous nor wicked will be spared.

The reader should now read Ezekiel chapters 21 and 22.

Commentary: In moving from physical to spiritual, what was outside the person moves to inside the person. The typologically slain, natural nation serves as the shadow of the spiritual nation that will be slain when it is delivered into the hand of the man of perdition (Dan 7:25). The false shepherds of the holy nation have not effectively or consistently warned the greater Church to mend its ways, and the fat sheep say nothing to those whom they regard as “nominal Christians.”

The task of every teacher of Israel is to warn not a physical people, but a spiritual nation that judgment is upon it. Delivering a warning that the United States as endtime Israel will have the sword of the Lord come against it misses the mark. Endtime Israel isn’t a natural nation, or a natural people, but the spiritual nation consisting of all who have been drawn and called by the Father. And when the now broken off natural branches are grafted to the root of righteousness through receiving a new Spirit, a second spiritual son will be born to the last Adam and last Eve. The spiritual nation will then consist of the two sons, and the first will slay the righteous second son; for the firstborn will do as Cain did. The firstborn of the last Adam will have rebelled against Father and Son. Using historical exegesis and citing ten witnesses, the majority of the Church, 220 days into the seven endtime years, will rebel against God, and will attempt to enter His rest on the following day. And this firstborn son will come under a great delusion.

Today, few are the teachers of Israel who will warn the Church against rebelling when empowered by the Holy Spirit. Few will even acknowledge that the recovery of the Church from sin and death requires the sacrifice of firstborns.

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."