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 the readings for Tabernacles is the roadmap that the holy nation of God follows from mortality to immortality.

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High Sabbath Readings

For services on Tabernacles, October 18, 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 Leviticus chapter 23, verses 33 through 42, followed by Numbers chapter 29, verses 12 through 32.

Commentary: Although the greater Christian Church has labeled the High Sabbaths of God as “Jewish” holy days that Christians do not observe because Jesus fulfilled them, the High Sabbaths disclose the plan of God for the transition between darkness and light, death and life. The sixth of these High Sabbath convocations is the first day of Tabernacles, celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh month. And while collectively the High Sabbaths constitute the transitional week between the lifeless physical creation and the arrival of a new heaven and a new earth, with the earth becoming part of the heavenly realm—of the earth and everything then remaining on it crossing dimensions—Tabernacles represents for the latter wheat harvest what the first High Sabbath of Unleavened Bread represents for the early barley harvest. Both represent liberation from bondage to the laws of sin and death that has dwelt in the flesh of every human being.

Before proceeding, it should be said what Tabernacles does not represent for disciples of Christ Jesus: the festival is not a vacation, a time for Christians to escape this present evil world for eight days. For Christians, Tabernacles is not a time when disciples must physically relocate themselves to temporary quarters. It is not a time of dwelling in temporary booths on rooftops, or in tents in backyards. These activities pertained to the Feast’s shadow. So boughs of goodly trees are not needed to celebrate the festival. In fact, a focus on dwelling in temporary physical quarters—from hotel rooms to bough booths—usually causes a disciple to miss the analogy that this son of God’s body is a fleshly tent akin to the fabric or skin tents in which Israel dwelt when the nation came out of Egypt. Every disciple now dwells in temporary quarters. Again, a disciple doesn’t need to build a booth or rent a hotel room. The disciple merely needs to understand the typology of spiritual birth and maturation, and then come in prayer and in services before the Most High to properly observe the Feast as a son of God in a temporary dwelling.

When death and the grave are thrown into the lake of fire, time and its passage (created through the decay of dark matter) will cease. There will be no darkness, no decay, no more temporary quarters, for the moment will not change. All that have life will have life everlasting. But resurrected and glorified human beings do not go to heaven; rather, heaven comes to them, just as birth-from-above came to them. Thus, the significance of the High Sabbaths, obscured by the animal sacrifices formerly offered on these days, has escaped the spiritually holy nation, as well as the natural nation of Israel.  This significance will again be obscured when animal sacrifices return during Christ Jesus’ 1000 year reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. If it were not obscured, no one would follow Satan when he is loosed for a short season after the 1000 years. So for a while, understanding is being given to those who love the truth enough to hear the Son and obey the Father, given to prepare a people to resist and defeat Satan when he is cast to earth. This is the mission of The Philadelphia Church: to preach the good news, the gospel that all who endure to the end shall be saved (Matt 24:13-14), and to prepare disciples to hold the testimony Christ Jesus.

Those disciples who are of Philadelphia should make no mistake: understanding is not now being given to all who have been born of Spirit. It is being given to the few, the undefeatable remnant, the spiritually mighty sons of God who are foreshadowed by the mighty men of King David (1 Chron 11:10-12:40).

Scripture is not of private interpretation. Understanding is today being given to those disciples who will hold the testimony of Jesus (Rev 12:17), which is the spirit of prophecy (Rev 19:10); even if these disciples are few in number. But these few will, as Joshua and Caleb did, lead the third part of humanity (Zech 13:9) into the first resurrection, and the marriage feast. They will lead the spiritual children of the nation that left bondage to sin and death across a River Jordan and into God’s rest, heaven.

All spiritual gifts are for a job. Again, the spirit of prophecy is no exception—the spirit or breath of prophecy is given to disciples called to teach the third part of humanity (Zech 13:9) that will be born-from-above when the Holy Spirit is poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28) halfway through seven endtime years. And because extensive knowledge is given to those disciples called to teach, physical resources to these same disciples are limited. Belief must be by faith, not by mighty works or through an enormous organizational structure. As with Elijah in the cave, disciples need to hear the still small voice of Christ Jesus, not a strong wind that tears mountains to pieces (1 Kings 19:11-13), or a blaring boom box hosted on many satellites, each broadcasting an easy message of salvation. Jesus said His yoke was easy; yet to this easy yoke, the Apostle Peter adds that the righteous are just barely saved (1 Pet 4:17). The difficulty comes from placing oneself into this yoke, a task that ultimately requires breaking the legs of the crucified old man, or old creature. For every person will be like one of the two lawbreakers crucified with Jesus on Calvary, both of whom had their legs broken before the Sabbath began. The son of God born-from-above into the fleshly tabernacle of a son of disobedience will break the legs of the old creature who formerly dwelt in his tent of flesh, or Christ Jesus will break the legs of the corrupted new creature when judgments are revealed. Flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom of god, nor will sons of disobedience.

The journey of every son of God born-from-above is from sin and death to life during this son’s spiritual maturation in a temporary dwelling of flesh. These sons of the Most High undertake a mental journey of faith foreshadowed by the journey of the patriarch Abraham (then Abram), who left Ur of the Chaldees [Babylon/Assyria] with his father Terah (Gen 11:31), who, like the old man who was a son of disobedience, dies before reaching the Promised Land. Abraham arrived where he was to go. But too often, because of the law of sin and death that dwells in the flesh (Rom 7:25), the son of God’s journey doesn’t end in Judea: after arriving in the land of Canaan, a severe famine caused Abram and Sarai, his half-sister and wife, to journey down to Egypt.  And this is the mystery that the Apostle Paul didn’t understand, but that he aptly describes (vv. 13-23). Because disciples are in bondage to sin and death that dwell in the flesh, disciples often do what they do not want to do, just as Abram journeyed to Egypt, the visible representation of sin, where the Pharaoh took Sarai for one of his wives. Abram placed his life and safety before his marriage to Sarai, for whose sake the Pharaoh dealt well with Abram, giving him sheep, oxen, donkeys, camels, male and female servants, thereby multiplying Abram’s wealth (Gen 12:14-16). But the Lord also afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai (v. 17), who becomes a type of the promised nation, natural and spiritual, that will descend from her. The Lord afflicted Egypt with plagues until Pharaoh let the natural nation of Israel go in a similar manner to how the earlier Pharaoh let Sarai go. Likewise, the Lord will afflict a spiritual land of Egypt, or Babylon until the spiritual king of Babylon (Isa 14:4-21) lets the spiritually circumcised nation, holy to God, go serve Him as Sarai served Abram.

But as Pharaoh came after the natural nation, the king of Babylon will come after the spiritual nation. The man of perdition, or lawless one, who comes by the workings of Satan (2 Thess 2:3, 9-10) will have the saints delivered into his hand for a time, times, and half a time (Dan 7:25). But he will be broken by a flood (Dan 9:26). His armies will be crushed by a stone cut without human hands (Dan 2:34 & Zech 14:4), and swallowed by the earth (Rev 12:16 & Exod 15:12) when the Lord fights on a [indefinite article] day of battle. This lawless one will be a man, a human being, possessed by Satan. He will declare himself god because he will sincerely believe that the angel inside him is the Lord. He will be the Arian Christian who leads the northern division of the Church to victory over trinitarian Christianity, the southern division. But victory will come with a high price as war rages worldwide. If these days immediately prior to the kingdom of the world becoming the kingdom of Father and Son (Rev 11:15 & Dan 7:9-14) were not shortened, no flesh would be saved alive (Matt 24:22); for north or Assyria represents death as south or Egypt represents sin.

The nation of promise descends from Abraham through Sarah and through no other. Abraham had other sons; Sarah does not. Thus, as Abraham and Sarah (born of the same father, but husband and wife) dwelt as sojourners in an epic journey from the land of Chaldea to the Promised Land, the holy nation of God has dwelt in God’s rest as sojourners, awaiting the completion of still unfulfilled promises.

The relationship between Abraham and Sarah becomes a visible representation of the creation of adam [lower case /a/, thus representing humankind] in the likeness of Elohim (Gen 1:27). To be in the likeness of Elohim, the regular plural of Eloah (or Allah), adam was created male and female, and the two (of one flesh and with one parent) became one flesh through marriage. Humanity then descends from Adam through Eve, its single progenitor. The son of promise, Isaac, descends from Abraham through Sarah. And all sons of God, which are neither male nor female (Gal 3:28), descend from God the Father through Christ Jesus, for there is no other name by which salvation can come. Thus, the relationship between Theon and Theos [from John 1:1-3] when joined, as if by marriage, in the tetragrammaton YHWH is represented by Abraham and by Sarah, who on the command of her husband, became part of Pharaoh’s household as Theos, sent by Theon, entered the creation to be born as the man Jesus of Nazareth. The promise of salvation comes through Sarah, through Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus, who bridges the dimensional gulf between the natural and the spiritual nation of Israel.

Analogies are not exact representations, but close approximations used to explain otherwise difficult or incomprehensible concepts. Typology and typological exegesis produce meaning through the texture of Scripture, which discloses a play of shadows, each a copy and an example of the journey from death to life everlasting.

The single nation promised to Abraham (Gen 12:2) that came through Sarah by promise of a son (Gen 17:16) journeyed vertically, going from being a physically circumcised people to being the spiritually circumcised holy nation of God, dwelling temporarily in corruptible tabernacles when Christ Jesus completed the pathway to heaven. And the Feast of Booths, or Feast of Tabernacles commemorates the journeying through remembrance of the temporary nature of the flesh. A physically circumcised Israelite in a booth on the roof of his house is analogous to a spiritually circumcised son of God’s conscious awareness of the temporary nature of his fleshly abode. The natural Israelite on his roof looked back at the journey from Egypt to Judea, remembering again the nation’s dwelling in tents after the Lord brought the nation out from Egypt (Lev 23:43). But the nation that left Egypt died in the wilderness because of its unbelief (Heb 3:19). The nation that dwelt on rooftops died spiritually because of its unbelief (2 Cor 3:6-7 coupled with 1 Pet 2:7-10). And the new nation, born of Spirit, looks forward to the journey from spiritual Babylon to the spiritual Land Beyond the River. Therefore, the Feast of Tabernacles should be annually celebrated by all Christians, by all disciples who make this mental journey of faith. For its celebration is not a time that looks forward to Christ Jesus’ millennial reign over humanity as was taught by the former Radio Church of God. Rather, Tabernacles is a period of enhanced awareness of the journey each disciple as a spiritual descendant of the patriarch Abraham through Sarah makes from sin and death to God’s rest as a glorified son. This journey is the story of Israel, of the Church, of each disciple. And during Tabernacles, disciples need to reread the roadmap for this journey.

But as the natural nation of Israel died physically (Num 14:35) and spiritually, so shall the spiritually circumcised nation die physically as righteous Abel died, or spiritually by taking upon itself the tattoo [stigma] or mark of Death [chi xi].

Because the greater Church does not observe the Feast of Tabernacles, the greater Church cannot locate itself on the long road of faith that has it still lingering in Babylon, remodeling ancestral homes built when the spiritually holy nation was first sent into mental captivity.

Abram’s journey from the land of Canaan down to Egypt foreshadowed the natural nation of Israel’s journey from Canaan down to Egypt.

The reader should read Genesis chapter 12.

Commentary: When the seventy (the patriarch Jacob and his family) when down to Egypt, the Pharaoh took the brethren of Joseph into his house as his ancestor took Sarai into his house (v. 15). The seventy entered as a favored people because of Joseph, who was second to Pharaoh in all of Egypt. Joseph was the helpmate of Pharaoh; thus, he was as a wife to Pharaoh. Joseph was not a free man although he certainly could have escaped. Instead, he chose to serve the Pharaoh who had elevated him as a wife traditionally chose to dwell with her husband. And again, in moving from physical to spiritual, there is no—even in analogies—male or female, Jew or Greek, free or bond. Glorified sons of God will marry the Son of God, thereby being to Christ as helpmates while being one [through marriage] with the Father as Christ Jesus is one with Him. Therefore, within the Church, traditional stereotypes concerning gender relationships between males and females can only pertain to the flesh, and not to the son of God residing in a tent of flesh.

The man Jesus served the Father as the elevated Joseph served Pharaoh—as Sarah served Abraham, and as the Church is to serve Christ Jesus. Thus, Pharaoh taking Sarai as his wife forms the shadow of Satan, the spiritual king of Babylon, taking humanity captive; for the son of promise was then unannounced and the Breath of God (/ah/) was not yet included within Abram’s name, or added to Sarai’s name. Nevertheless, because of the nation still in Sarai’s womb, Pharaoh was afflicted and came to know that Sarai was the wife of another man, Abram, just as the latter Pharaoh and all of Egypt was afflicted because of Israel, the natural wife of the Lord (Exod 24:7-8 & Ezek 16:8). And for the husband to marry another, either the natural wife or the husband in the natural realm had to die (Rom 7:1-4).

Every covenant is ratified with blood, including the marriage covenant made between one man and one woman. The blood shed for the spiritual circumcision of the Church was spilt at Calvary; the blood of the woman will be spilled during the Tribulation. Therefore, the co-habitation of disciples with a triune deity or a four-headed beast [when the Virgin Mary becomes the fourth to whom prayers are directed], while seeming as right as physical co-habitation prior to human marriage, breaks a spiritual hymen and weds the disciple to another, other than Christ Jesus. The disciple will now have to die in either the natural realm as Jesus died on Calvary, or die the second death in the heavenly realm. About dying, the disciple is without choice; for truly, the disciple has wed another. And the spiritual virgin is the son of God born-from-above after the Church has been empowered by the Holy Spirit, or liberated from sin and death at the beginning of the seven endtime years foreshadowed by Israel’s exodus from Egypt. This new creature will know no sin, and will continue without sin—thus being a spiritual virgin—or this son of God will commit blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will not be forgiven.

Disciples who have put to death their old natures will have died in the natural realm as Jesus died. But the Apostle Paul could not rule over the law of sin and death that dwelt in his flesh, a mystery he did not understand. Thus, his flesh died. Likewise, all disciples not living [deceased] when the Church is empowered by the Holy Spirit and liberated from sin and death will have died in the natural realm, thereby paying the same wage for sin in this physical creation that Christ Jesus paid. The Apostles paid this wage. The Church fathers paid this wage. The disciple who died yesterday will have paid this wage. They are, therefore, free to marry another, other than Sin and Death, the deities to which their flesh was married when naturally alive [Sin is the spiritual king of the South, the multi-headed beast to which humanity has been consigned]. But if their righteousness does not exceed that of the Pharisees (Matt 5:20), who were hypocrites (Matt chptr 23), having the law but not keeping it (John 7:19), they will not enter the kingdom of heaven. They will be resurrected to shame and condemnation (John 5:29); for they will have loved their flesh more than they loved God. And their flesh was one with Sin and Death, the third and fourth horsemen of the Apocalypse, the third and fourth beast of Daniel chapter seven.

The Church will be the wife of the last Adam. She is presently the Body of Christ. And again, gender does not pertain to spirit beings. So when the Church as spiritual Zion gives birth to a son prior to going into labor (Isa 66:7-8), her firstborn son is delivered into bondage to sin and death, just as Abraham’s firstborn son was of bondage, for Ishmael is of Hagar, an Egyptian. This son must die—and will die either physically or spiritually prior to, or during the first 1260 days of the seven, endtime years. This son, as Jesus of Nazareth was for Israel, will be sacrificed for the redemption of the third part of humanity.

The natural nation of Israel was this firstborn, natural son of the Lord (Exod 4:22). Thus, the nation of Israel was jointly the son of Abraham and the son of YHWH, Israel’s Elohim (Exod 20:2), through Sarai receiving the Holy Spirit when Abram received the covenant ratified by circumcision. For when Abram’s name is changed to Abraham through the insertion and inclusion of the linguistic radical for breath (/ah/), the Spirit of God (Pneuma ’Agion, or Breath Holy in direct translation), Sarai’s name is also changed with the addition of this linguistic radical. However, while initially in Egypt, neither Abram nor Sarai possessed the Breath of God. They were, thus, as the holy nation of God (Exod 19:5-6) was when it was in Egypt. Abram and Sarai’s expulsion from Egypt was as the natural son’s was, in that both left increased with goods.

Spiritual circumcision wasn’t offered to the natural nation until Moses mediated a second covenant (Deu 29:1) between YHWH, Israel’s Elohim, and the uncircumcised children of the nation that left Egypt. Then, spiritual circumcision would only occur after the natural nation remembered the Lord and returned to keeping His laws when the natural nation was in a far land (Deu 30:1-6); so it wasn’t enough for the natural nation to leave Egypt and return to Judea. An act of faith was also required. As in the case of Sarai having life return to a barren womb, faith also comes by promise.

So there is no misunderstanding, the natural nation of Israel was the firstborn natural son of Sarah, not Abraham, and was the firstborn natural son of the Lord.

The reader should read Genesis chapters 15 & 16.

Commentary: When the Lord told Abram that his offspring would be sojourners in a land, would be servants there, and would be afflicted there four hundred years because the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet complete (Gen 15:13-16), the Lord made a covenant with Abram by which He would give the land from the Nile to the Euphrates to  Abram’s offspring, singular in number (Gal 3:16), plural in sense and in promise (Gen 15:5). Abram did not then have any offspring, so his wife sought to obtain children for her husband through her bondservant, Hagar, analogous to the present day Jerusalem (Gal 4:21-31). But the natural offspring of Abram through Hagar were not and are not the lawful possessors of the land between the Nile and the Euphrates. Nor is the natural offspring of Sarah by Abraham. For the promise is through one, Jesus of Nazareth, a natural son by human birth, the firstborn spiritual Son of the Most High by obedience. The promise is to the Church and for the time following when the Lord sets His hand to recover Israel from the north country (Jer 16:14-15). There will then be three, for a highway will stretch from Assyria to Egypt (Isa 11:16) as there was a way for Israel when the nation came up from Egypt.

The geography of pre-Flood Eden encompasses the entirety of humanity’s conscious mental topography—the visible landscapes of Egypt, the Promised Land of Canaan, and Assyria reveal the invisible topography of sin or disobedience, of righteousness, and of death. Every disciple’s journey is from Egypt to Judea, from sin to righteousness. Sin in Judea, however, brings banishment to Assyria (death), or a return to the land of the Chaldeans to begin again the journey Abraham made by faith. Thus, Egypt and Babylon function as synonyms for sin or lawlessness. And the northern house of Israel, the elder sister of Jerusalem, sent to Assyria for its lawlessness, has not yet returned to Judea as a nation. It will not return until the Lord sets His hand to recover Israel from death.

Again, in typology the geography of nations within Eden’s pre-Flood boundaries equates to mindsets that produce the character and the actions of a person, or by extension, of a people. Hence, nations outside of Eden’s boundaries do not form the visible representations of invisible mindsets. They are outside of the scope of biblical prophecies, and outside of the lands through which Abraham journeyed, his trekking covering the entirety of human conscious thought. He and his father left “death,” or the land of the Chaldeans. His father didn’t arrive in the Promised Land, but died along the way as the nation that left Egypt died in the wilderness, and as the old man or creature crucified with Christ Jesus dies and doesn’t enter into God’s rest. Then Abram went from Canaan into Egypt when the rains of Canaan failed, these early and latter rains symbolizing receipt of the Holy Spirit. And when Abram crossed the border into Egypt, he entered into sin, for he lacked the faith to trust the Lord to deliver his life when the Egyptians saw the beauty of Sarai. His half-truth functioned as a lie.

Notice, famine in Canaan comes from no rain (Deu 11:10-12)…the Holy Spirit had not been given to Abram and Sarai. But even after the inclusion of the radical for breath in now Abraham’s name, the same half-truth caused Abimelech, king of Gerar, to take Sarah for his wife (Gen 20:2). But the result was different than when Pharaoh took Sarai into his household. Abimelech, dwelling in a portion of the Promised Land, came under sentence of death for taking Sarah. He pleaded his innocence (v. 5). And the Lord said that it was He who had kept Abimelech from sinning (v. 6); for sin or lawlessness in the Promised Land will not be long tolerated. So Abimelech chastises Abraham for bringing sin on him and his kingdom—and for Abraham’s failure of faith (vv. 9-10). Nevertheless, the Lord heard and answered Abraham’s prayer for Abimelech (vv. 17-18). And so it is and will be for born-from-above disciples. At times, faith fails even within the Promised Land. King David had such failures, for sin and death still dwell in the flesh of every son of God. Tabernacles is about remembering that the flesh is only a tent, and at times, a tent that is impossible to properly pitch.

Rigidly clinging to the exactness of the Law, to the exactness of “truth” [She is my sister] negates faith. So Abram’s faith temporarily failed even though he prospered mightily by Pharaoh making Sarai part of his harem. His faith failed in the matter of Abimelech; yet he prospered. Likewise, the faith of disciples will, mostly likely, have failed when disciples prosper mightily in this world. King Solomon is no exception, despite his earthly kingship typifying the reign of born-of-Spirit, human authority during the Millennium. His many foreign wives caused him to wander away from God when he was old and his wives were young. He lost an important battle to his flesh.

If a disciple rigidly clings to the exactness of the Law, this son of God will pursue salvation according to the works of his hands (Rev 9:20), and the sight of the eyes (1 John 2:16). This disciple will not undertake a mental journey, but will be satisfied building sandcastles in spiritual Babylon. The laws of God that would have marked, as stone cairns across a desert, the way to the heavenly realm will, instead, become curses and stumbling stones that cause the disciple to fall backwards into darkness.

Again, the journey to Egypt is the journey into sin, into bondage to disobedience. And liberation from sin and death comes through empowerment by the Holy Spirit. But when the spiritual firstborn son of the Lord is liberated, many disciples will want to return to disobedience as the natural nation wanted to return to Egypt. They will rebel, and rebel, and rebel so that on a particular day—about when the greater Church celebrates Christmas—the empowered holy nation of God will return to its traditions, and will again attempt to enter God’s rest on the following day, the eighth day, as the nation that left Egypt, acknowledging its sin, tried to enter Judea on the following day. And as the natural nation was turned away and never entered, so too will the spiritual nation be turned away by the sending of a great delusion (2 Thess 2:11-12).

Each disciple’s old man, or old nature, crucified with Christ, will die before reaching God’s rest, as Terah died in Haran, and as the nation that left bondage to Pharaoh died in the wilderness, and as the greater Church will die in a wilderness of sin. Tabernacles is about remembering that each disciple, as a newly born infant son of God dwelling in the fleshly tabernacle of the old man or woman, has left spiritual Babylon to mentally trek a similar landscape to that which Abraham and Sarah traversed in the natural world. Perhaps, by remembering this journey, disciples will not wander into sin to be taken captive by a many-headed spiritual Pharaoh. Tabernacles is about the journey to Judea while camped in a tent of flesh. It is not about living today as earthly kings and priests.

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."