The Philadelphia Church

And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matt 4:19)"

The following Scripture passages are offered to aid beginning fellowships. The readings and commentary for this week are more in line with what has become usual; for the following will most likely be familiar observations. The concept behind this Sabbath’s selection is invisibility.

Printable/viewable PDF format

Weekly Readings

For the Sabbath of October 28, 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 Revelation chapter 14, verses 1 through 5, and Revelation chapter 12.

Commentary: The seven endtime years of tribulation are divided into two equal halves, both 1260 days long, the first half being the time-linked shadow of the second half. The first half is also the mirror image of the second half. The first half begins with the liberation (from indwelling sin and death) of born-of-Spirit disciples through these disciples being filled with the Holy Spirit in a manner foreshadowed by what happened on the day of Pentecost following Calvary; the second half begins with the Holy Spirit being poured out upon all flesh (Joel 2:28), thereby causing all of humanity to be born of Spirit, and born empowered or filled with the Spirit. Thus, the 120 in Jerusalem on Pentecost (Acts 2) forms the visible shadow of both the Church being liberated from indwelling sin at the beginning of the first half of the seven endtime years, and of all humanity being liberated from indwelling sin at the beginning of the second half of these seven years. Firstborns not covered by the blood of the Lamb of God [a third of humanity] will be slain at or just prior to the beginning of the first half; a third of humankind will be slain in the sixth Trumpet Plague just prior to the beginning of the second half. The man of perdition, a human being possessed by Satan, will come and declare himself God in the first half; Satan cast from heaven and given the mind of a man will come as the Antichrist, declaring himself the Messiah, in the second half. Disciples who are of God will be marked by Sabbath observance in the first half; those who are of the Antichrist will be marked with the tattoo of the Cross [Chi xi stigma] in the second half. Thus, in the first half of the Tribulation, disciples faithful to God will be marked as other, as contrary to or different from the world. In the second half, everyone who has taken or takes the tattoo of the Cross will be marked as other, as contrary to or different from those disciples who enter into God’s rest by enduring to the end. And all with the mark of Death upon themselves will be killed when Jesus returns … great will be this slaughter, for many are the slain of the Lord (Isa 66:16). The birds will feast on the corpses, and the spiritual lives of those who accept the tattoo of the Cross will end in the lake of fire, the second death. None of this firstborn holy nation will enter into God’s rest because of the nation’s unbelief. It now is foreshadowed by the ancient circumcised nation that left Egypt following the first Passover liberation of Israel.

There are, however, two holy nations of Israel, one physical (Exod 19:5-6), one spiritual (1 Pet 2:9). The first is the woman; the second is the offspring of the woman. And here is where wisdom is required, for Revelation is not the unsealed Book that it purports to be: the book is not sealed when the time setting of the vision occurs, and the vision’s time setting is the Lord’s day, or the day of the Lord, a specific period at the end of the age when the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of the Father and His Son. Until this time setting, the seals remain on the Scroll; the vision is not fully understandable (the Scroll is written within [what cannot be read] and without [what can partially be read]). Thus, in the time setting of the vision, the natural branches of Israel will, because their forefathers were greatly loved, be grafted back onto the root of righteousness (Rom 11:1-5, 24-32). On and just prior to day of the Lord, Sabbath observance will mark those who are of God. Observant Jews will not give up Sabbath observance. When these Observant Jews profess that Jesus is Lord, they will be grafted onto righteousness. Therefore, the endtime holy nation of Israel consists of Christians who keep the precepts of the law by faith (Rom 2:26-29) and Observant Jews who by faith profess that Jesus is Lord (Rom 10:6-9).

The two holy nations of Israel, forming one nation before God, will arrive at the middle of Tribulation by different paths and will remain separated going into the second half of the seven endtime years, but they will share common persecution. Observant Jews are not today born of Spirit, and will not be born of Spirit when the Tribulation begins, for they do not profess that Jesus is Lord. If they did, they would no longer be Jews but would be Christians (assuming that the Father has drawn them from the world by giving them life through His Spirit). Observant Jews have, today, already separated themselves from their biological relatives who have chosen not to live by the commandments of God. This separation is evident by how they live their lives.

Christians, today, remain a mingled people born of Spirit and in rebellion against God. Two major divisions exist within Christianity, and not the two that most Christians suspect: the larger of these two divisions is that portion of Christianity comprising the hated son, spiritual Esau, still in the womb of the last Eve today. This division includes all disciples who have incorporated disobedience to God into their foundational articles of faith; includes all disciples who worship on the 8th day, and who pejoratively label keeping the commandments as legalism. This is the visible Christian Church.

The second division consists of all disciples who keep the precepts of the law by faith, worshiping on the 7th day, the Sabbath. But this division is riddled with schisms, heresies, and false prophets—and this division must be purged of its heresies and false prophets during the first half of the seven endtime years. And the separation of genuine Sabbatarian disciples from false Sabbatarians comes from unrelenting persecution by the lawless firstborn son of the last Eve.

All of Christianity [i.e., all who have been born of Spirit] will be empowered by the Holy Spirit at the second Passover liberation of Israel. No longer will sin and death dwell in the flesh of disciples; thus, disciples will no longer need the mantle of Christ Jesus’ righteousness. The Son of Man, Head and Body, will be revealed (Luke 17:30). Grace will end! And this will be vigorously disputed and denied by the lawless division of Christianity that counts on Grace to continue to cover its disbelief and disobedience. But once Grace ends, all lawlessness by an empowered disciple will be blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and will not be forgiven. So the stage will be set for the visible Christian Church, the voluntary servant of sin, to slay his righteous Sabbath observing brother as Cain slew Abel—and God will use the visible Church’s slaying of Sabbatarian disciples to purge heresy and false teachers and false prophets from the Obedient Church, leaving only a remnant of the offspring of the Woman.

God will deliver both Christians and Jews into the hand of the lawless one, the man of perdition, when the seven endtime years begin, or shortly (220 days) afterwards. Christians who worship on the 8th-day and non-Observant Jews will rebel against God and conform to this lawless one. For Christians, this will prove spiritually fatal. God will send a great delusion over these rebelling Christians so that they cannot repent (they will be so thoroughly convinced that they are correct that regardless of what happens to them, they will not repent), and they will die spiritually. They will have condemned themselves to the lake of fire, whereas the non-Observant Jew, without any spiritual life, will merely die to be resurrected in the great White Throne Judgment, or the non-Observant Jew will live into the middle of the Tribulation when the Holy Spirit is poured out onto all flesh.

The extreme persecution of Sabbatarians during the first half of the seven endtime years will cause the death of all Jews who cling to the Sabbath, except for a remnant, the 144,000 who by faith profess that Jesus is Lord. Under the second covenant mediated by Moses (Deu 29-31), Observant Jews who add an action of faith to their obedience will receive circumcised hearts (Deu 30:6), a euphemistic expression for receiving the Holy Spirit. They will, during the first half of the Tribulation, be born of Spirit, fully empowered by the Holy Spirit; they will be spiritual virgins. They will never have sinned in the heavenly realm, for they [unlike the Christian] did not previously have any life in this realm. And through demonstrated obedience, they set their minds and hearts on keeping the commandments of God prior to spiritual birth so with empowerment by the Holy Spirit they will continue to live their lives without taking sin within themselves.

No Christian today will be counted among the 144,000. Every Christian now living has sinned in the heavenly realm, and has that sin covered by Grace; thus, no Christian is a spiritual virgin … once virginity is lost, a person cannot return to being a virgin.

Therefore, the two portions of Israel that cross from the first half of the Tribulation into the second half are the Woman, the 144,000 Observant Jews who have by faith professed that Jesus is Lord; and the remnant of the offspring of the Woman, Christians who keep the commandments and have the spirit of prophecy and have endured three and a half years of persecution. Both portions of Israel will be empowered by the Holy Spirit, but they will be separated one from the other.

The 144,000 follow Jesus, who had stood on the split Mount of Olives when they fled through the gap (Zech 14:3-5), wherever He goes as he resumes His ministry, interrupted at Calvary. The 144,000 will follow Him as His disciples followed Him when He was previously here on earth.

Less has been known about what happens to the remnant last seen with Satan coming after them (Rev 12:17).


The reader should now read Revelation chapters 2 & 3.

Commentary: The seven named churches are not seven eras of the Church, a dispensationalist heresy adopted as if a lost waif by Adventists and the splintered Churches of God. And the sooner this lie is rooted out of Sabbatarian theology the sooner Sabbatarian disciples will develop the understanding necessary to grasp the spiritual things of God. As dogma of Sabbatarian Christianity presently stands, disciples are physically minded; they lack understanding even basic spiritual principles; they see with their eyes only. Thus, these disciples need an excuse not to practice typological exegesis, which overturns the teachings of both Ellen G. White and Herbert W. Armstrong, the icons of Sabbatarian Christianity.

The seven named Churches were seven separate fellowships that co-existed in the 1st-Century. Each had the described strengths and weakness addressed in the letters. But all had left Christ Jesus; all had left the Apostle Paul (2 Tim 1:15). None of them were where they belonged theologically, not even Philadelphia.

The letters, however, are to be delivered on the Lord’s day, a specific period that begins halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation. So these letters have not yet been delivered, meaning that the seven named Churches will also co-exist in the 21st-Century as they co-existed in the 1st-Century. And here is where spiritual understanding is required: the seven named Churches on the Lord’s day will all be Sabbatarian fellowships that relate to the two witnesses as Joshua related to Moses and Aaron—Joshua was Moses’ assistant and successor. The seven named Churches will be the two witnesses’ successor. And they, with a spiritual Caleb, will lead the third part of humankind (Zech 13:9) to victory over Satan, a victory won through patient endurance; through not taking the mark of death upon themselves; through living day-by-day by faith.

Christ Jesus and the angels to these seven named Churches are as Noah and the seven were to the seven pair of clean animals that entered the ark to cross from one age to the other.

The Christian Church today is spiritual Isaac, the second born son of the patriarch Abraham, the firstborn son of promise. But in Isaac’s womb [Rebekah’s womb] are two sons that struggle against each other. Both of these sons are of promise (Gen 25:21). One is spiritual Esau; the other spiritual Jacob … God is the Theos of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not the God of Esau, the hated son. Yet Caleb was of Esau.

Caleb, who had a different spirit with him, represents the single pair of unclean animals of every species that entered the Ark with the seven pair of clean animals. Thus, with the seven pair of clean animals representing Joshua as well as representing the seven named endtime Churches, the single pair of every species that boarded the Ark with Noah represents a single congregation or fellowship or some other comparable unit of every denomination of the hated son that is today 8th-day Christianity.

Visible Christianity is lawless; it voluntarily presents its members to sin; it serves sin. As such, visible Christianity has made a mockery of Paul’s epistles through making itself the uncircumcised nation that does not keep the commandments of God; thus, it is directly comparable to the circumcised nation that did or does not keep the commandments—and if circumcision of the lawless person causes this person to be condemned by the law, birth by Spirit of the person who remains lawless causes this person to be condemned for his or her lack of faith. Yes, unbelief or willful disobedience by the person born of Spirit causes Christ Jesus to sculpt the person into a vessel of wrath to be endured for a season. And the foremost visible evidence of unbelief is the day upon which the person attempts to enter into God’s rest.

Love for God might well begin with a warm fuzzy feeling in a person’s heart, but that love is not manifest until the person begins by faith to keep the precepts of the law. Anything less than keeping the precepts of the law by faith is actual contempt for the Father and the Son; for in keeping these precepts, the person expresses both love toward God and love towards neighbor.

Lawlessness is expressed hatred for God; lawlessness is the ultimate “hate crime.” It is the inner and outer manifestation of Satan’s mind in the person’s life—and attempting to enter God’s rest on the following day, the 8th-day, is manifested hatred of God, regardless of how many “feel good” hymns the person sings. And spiritual Caleb, coming from this background of co-mingled praise and hatred, has about him a different spirit than other 8th-day fellowships. He voluntarily makes himself of Israel, meaning that he begins to live as a Judean just before or just after the Tribulation begins. He begins to keep the Sabbath as well as the other precepts of the law.

As for the remainder of visible Christianity, well, what can be said: they will slay their righteous younger brother and believe that they do God a favor. They will suffer God’s wrath, and they will perish, physically and spiritually. They will perish in sin because of their unbelief—and there isn’t much anyone can say to prevent them from perishing, for they chose death on their day of salvation. They chose death when they, as spiritual infants, voluntarily made themselves part of lawless fellowships. They looked over Christendom with their physical eyes, saw small and large churches, and what they saw with their eyes was of more importance than obedience to God. Therefore, they chose disobedience when they were no longer subject to disobedience. They never left the world, but made themselves part of the churches of this world. And because of their unbelief, most visibly apparent by the day on which they worship God, they will never enter God’s rest regardless of how much they tell themselves that they are heaven-bound.

Every disciple’s prayer should be that those born of Spirit disciples who presently are members of lawless fellowships earnestly repent, leave those fellowships and return to God, thus leaving behind the deity that they presently worship. Unfortunately, the shadow of the events that will transpire here on earth reveals that individuals can be drawn back into covenant with God, but that collectively, the hated son, when born empowered by the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the Tribulation, will slay his Sabbatarian brother upon the beckoning of the man of perdition.

The seven named churches and the single fellowships of every other denomination will form the remnant of the offspring of the woman.

Two remnants will cross from the first half of the Tribulation into the second half. The first remnant will be the 144,000, all that remains of Observant Judaism … the holy circumcised nation entered God’s rest, physical Judea (Ps 95:10-11), on the 10th day of the first months; the nation entered as the selected Passover lamb of God. The man Jesus of Nazareth, born into this nation, is that selected Lamb, but He is also only the Head of that Lamb. His Body awaits being slain—and His Body when slain will consist of Christians who keep the precepts of the law by faith, and Observant Jews who by faith profess that Jesus is Lord.

The second remnant is that remnant of Revelation 12:17.

The glorified Jesus will be with the 144,000, who really don’t know Him the way that the empowered disciples of the second remnant will know Him. This second remnant has lived without sin for three and a half years; has lived by faith, ideologically separated from their surrounding world. Therefore, using typology as prophecy the following can be said: when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all flesh (Joel 2:28) halfway through the seven endtime years, all of humankind will be born empowered by the Holy Spirit and will be in the same taxonomically hierarchical position to God that the second remnant was in throughout the first half of the Tribulation. This second remnant did not have the same use of the Holy Spirit as the two witnesses had—the two witnesses are human beings who have use of the Holy Spirit in a similar way to how the man Jesus had use of the Holy Spirit during His earthly ministry. Thus, disciples see in the 144,000 following Jesus wherever He goes the same relationship as will exist with the third part of humanity, recently born of Spirit, following the second remnant wherever it goes, meaning that this second remnant in the latter half of the Tribulation will have the use of the Holy Spirit in a similar way to how the two witnesses had use of the Holy Spirit in the first half of the Tribulation.

So there are no mistakes: the remnant that Satan pursues when he cannot capture and kill the Woman will consist of the seven named churches and a single fellowship of every other denomination, and in the second half of the Tribulation, this remnant will become many witnesses for Christ Jesus as the two witnesses were His witnesses in the first half—and these many witnesses, in the last three and a half years before Jesus’ return, will have power and authority similar to the power of the two witnesses in the first three and a half years.

Now, from the letters to the seven churches, those of Smyrna know that some of them will die. Likewise, the other churches know what they must do. And for Philadelphia, what the fellowship must do is merely to continue doing what this fellowship has been doing since this today.

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

* * * * *

"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."