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 Scripture should be read, but not to the complete exclusion of secular authors.

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Weekly Readings

For the Sabbath of November 28, 2009

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.


Last Sabbath’s reading brought up the reality that today’s Christian Church worships demons albeit unknowingly: there is no “Christian” who intentionally worships demons. Those human beings who intentionally worship demons are apart of witchery in its many forms. They celebrate the occult, and they are many, with the Harry Potter book series having achieved great commercial success because of the common culture’s acceptance of witchcraft as a value neutral ideology—

Among themselves, visible Christians hold differing opinions about books such as the Harry Potter series or about J. R. R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings … although the movie adaptations of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and of Tolkein’s trilogy are similar, Rowling’s scribbling are not philosophically comparable with Tolkein’s writings, a literary elitist position derived from having worked with Tolkein’s criticism of English Medieval literature. Tolkein experienced difficulty conveying the medieval concept that faery was a location where orality’s demand for actions having named referents is suspended. Lord of the Rings is a demonstration of what Tolkein taught about medieval literature. While Rowling wrote/writes for financial gain, a perfectly acceptable reason for writing, Tolkein wrote his trilogy (which apparently wasn’t intended to be a trilogy) as a practical adaptation of difficult-to-understand literary theories.

In oral cultures (i.e., in mostly illiterate or non-inscribed cultures, including the near and middle East Hellenistic cultures of the 1st-Century), the “doer” of an action needs a proper name, that of the person who actually did the deed. John or Jesus needed to call Pharisees “vipers.” In oral cultures, the rhetorical “they”—as in the sentence, At the time they were calling Pharisees vipers—isn’t used. The pronoun “they” needs a specific referent, and a person was slandered if the person had not done what was attributed to the person, with lying about a person often the cause for bloodshed; so in oral cultures, the hypothetical is ascribed to a character or a landscape that is universally recognized within the culture as a fiction … the rhetorical “they” can do nothing; hence, Luke uses the names of individuals in passages such as, “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness” (3:1–2). The passage is precisely dated through named individuals although most semi-literate endtime disciples cannot read historical texts well enough to realize that the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in 27 CE, not 29; for these semi-literate disciples scan encyclopedic sidebars, grafts, and charts rather than read the historical text that have Tiberius receiving power in 13 CE, not 14, and has in the 15th year adding 14 years to 13 CE, not adding 15 years to 14 CE.

Native American and West African cultures employed a “trickster” figure such as Raven or Coyote. Old Norse culture used both faery and trickster figures such as Loki. Thus when a Native American storyteller slipped into archaic language and began telling a story about Raven coming to dinner and eating too much, the cultural audience knew at some level that Raven was a fiction, and understood that eating too much when a person’s guest was an offence that could harm the host. Slipping into archaic language signaled the audience that what was to come was a story, a fiction to which the audience should pay attention. Likewise, the introduction of Raven or Coyote signaled the audience that the story wasn’t about real people but about things that could happen to real people. However, to the auditor (hearer or reader of a transcribed story) not a part of the oral culture, the story was not understood as a moral parable but as a naïve myth. And a great many Native Americans have been laughing at white men for a couple of centuries. On reservations, the question is asked, How can they be so dense and not see that they’re here because of witchery—and Native Americans’ use of the rhetorical “they” discloses just how effectively the inscribed culture of Anglo-Europeans has overwhelmed the oral cultures of the continent. More interesting, though, is the subtle Native practice of attributing the coming of white men to witchcraft, an assignment of meaning that contains greater truth than the dominant culture would want to admit.

In the mingled Celtic, Saxon, and Norse culture of medieval England, orality prevailed, with a landscape (faery) instead of a character representing the geography of a fiction. This landscape was often reached via a journey through a foggy valley and a climb to the plateau above, and in this trickster-geography, trolls could forge hands and a green knight could speak from a severed head held in the knight’s hand.

If, however, the auditor doesn’t know the narrative conventions employed by oral storytellers, then what is intended as a fiction—and is a fiction within the oral culture—is treated as a factual but errant representation of the truth. What was told to the oral audience as a fiction becomes, for the inscribed audience, a literal truth or a rejected myth. And it is no wonder that a great many Native Americans laugh among themselves at the “stupidity” of Caucasians who should know better than to believe that Native peoples think Raven or Coyote or Muskrat created the earth, that it’s turtles all the way down, a phrase not intended to be understood by an inscribed culture. Unfortunately, too many young Native Americans, also reared in America’s inscribed culture, return to the stories of their ancestors as literate auditors and naively believe in the literalness of what was told as fictional moral parables.

The difference between the gospels being delivered to oral cultures in the 1st-Century, cultures in which actions had named referents, and the Torah being delivered to the literate priesthood of Israel fifteen centuries earlier, not to the illiterate Israelites that constituted the vast majority of the nation, is seen in references to an unnamed Pharaoh with whom Moses dealt: the linguistic icon Pharaoh functions in the Hebraic text as a pronoun, not as a proper name. In this manner the icon Pharaoh is similar in use to how the definite article is used in Koine Greek when the article functions as a pronoun.

When used in its rhetorical sense, the pronoun “they” has a vaguely defined referent: in the sentence, They spend too much money in Washington, “they” is understood to be the collective Legislative and Executive branches of the Federal government. No one specific person spends too much money. All of the government spends too much, thus leaving the nation to face certain bankruptcy. And “they” becomes a shorthand form through which every public official is indicted for being a spendthrift and of participating in the future monetary collapse of what was the richest nation the world has ever known. Therefore, because meaning is assigned to linguistic icons, uttered or inscribed; and because in an inscribed culture auditors have the ability to retrieve what was previously uttered or inscribed, giving to the ephemeral breath of a personal utterance the same sort of permanency that stone possesses, inscribed cultures accept acts without referents as representations of categories of individuals. People cease being individuals and start becoming groups, such as Native Americans or African Americans or Hispanic Americans. Politicians and marketers begin to target these groups; coalitions are formed, with “Christendom” becoming merely one of many religious coalitions that transgress the laws of God and serve the Adversary as his seed.

The rhetorical “they” allows an inscribed culture to paint many individuals with a broad brush and quickly dismiss critics and skeptics … Democrats in Congress presently dismiss their critics with the phrase, Tea Baggers, which they have attempted to transform into a pejorative slur. Christianity has, for centuries, dismissed Sabbatarian Christians with the slur, Legalists, when Jesus Himself was a legalist.

Not much thought is usually given to how the language is used. Thus, Christianity has missed the significance of Moses dealing with an unnamed or generic Pharaoh, a rhetorical Pharaoh, when Luke names emperor, governor, tetrarchs of the region, and high priests.

Moses is literate; Theophilus [lover of God] is literate. But Moses, as highly educated as anyone in Pharaoh’s court, was of a Pharaoh’s household and was a real person whereas Luke’s Theophilus is most likely a literary construction, a named referent representing all Lovers of God in an oral culture—Luke did not have the luxury of writing to no one in particular; hence, Luke’s gospel and history, like Paul’s epistles and James’ epistle and Peter’s epistles are directed to specific audiences even though they were intended to be read by many fellowships. Two of John’s epistles are addressed to named referents, and his gospel was apparently written as a rebuttal to a known person, the Gnostic Kerinthus. Although Matthew’s and Mark’s gospels were not addressed to named referents, it is reasonable to assume that they were also written to specific individuals.

If what Paul wrote only pertained to the church fellowship to which the epistle was addressed, then what is the theological basis for Christendom, other than Moses?

Here is what’s generally been overlooked: the Lord told Moses that He intended to build a great nation from Moses (Ex 32: et al). Moses protested, but the Lord never really changed His mind. The Lord merely deferred building that nation from Moses while the man Moses still lived.

As god to Aaron and to Israel (Ex 4:16), Moses was as a type of Christ Jesus, the Lord. Moses and Aaron’s relationship to Israel in the wilderness is directly analogous to the relationship between the two witnesses and the Church in the 1260 day long Tribulation, and to the relationship between the Lamb and the 144,000 and the Remnant and the third part of humankind in the 1260 day long Endurance. The Church is now and will be in the future the house of Moses, built by Christ Jesus; for Paul writes that not all of Israel is Israel and not all of the children of Abraham are his seed (Rom 9:6–7). Only those who believe the writings of Moses hear the voice of Jesus (John 5:46–47); only those of Israel or of the nations that believe the writings of Moses and hear the voice of Jesus, believing the words of Jesus as “they” believe the writings of Moses, are of Israel and are Abraham’s seed.

The above is correct: the Christian Church is the house of Moses, built by the Lord, who is worthy of more honor than is the house He built. The Lord told Moses that he, Moses, was to be god to Aaron and by extension to Israel. The Lord didn’t say that Moses was to be as god, how the passage is sometimes translated, but that Moses was to be god, a literate reading of the passage that discloses how Christendom doesn’t believe the Lord now and will rebel against the Lord after the nation is liberated from indwelling sin and death … the physical hierarchy that discloses the spiritual reality has the Lord being God to Moses as Moses is god to Israel. When this hierarchy is moved up a level, the Father is God to the resurrected Jesus (John 20:17) as Jesus is Lord to circumcised-of-heart Israel. There is no mistake in what the Lord tells Moses about him being god to Aaron; for the glorified Jesus is Lord to the spokesman/spokespersons for Him as Moses was god to Aaron, his spokesman. There are not, however, many people speaking for the Lord: there was one John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus’ coming, and there will be the two witnesses preparing the way for the kingdom of this world to be given to the Son of Man, Head and Body. If there are others doing the work of preparing the way for the Son of Man receiving the kingdom of this world, these others work as disciples, not as spokespersons.

The house of Moses is an inscribed fellowship, association, culture: the criterion for membership in this house built by Christ is belief of Moses’ writings, with this belief forming the qualifier for hearing the voice of Jesus, the definition of Christianity. Only by believing the writings of Moses can a person hear the words of Jesus; only by being part of an inscribed culture can a person be a Christian, making literacy the theological core of endtime Christianity.

·       The Church isn’t built on orality, but on inscription;

·       If the Church were built on the preaching of pastors or prophets, then oral traditions of the Church fathers would supersede Moses’ writings;

·       But in a previously unrecognized subtly, the absence of named referents to establish historical similitude is only an aspect of inscription and inscribed cultures.

·       When importance is placed on inscription, then texts become more important than people—and this is the case in Christendom, which places more importance on the inscribed Bible than on what any preacher or prophet says about the God or the Bible.

When the spiritual Body of Christ is the reality of Jesus’ physical body, with those things that happened to Jesus’ physical body forming the shadow and copy of what happens to the spiritual Body (i.e., the Church), then the death of the physical body on the cross equates to the death of the spiritual Body through loss of “breath,” the divine breath of God [pneuma Theon], commonly identified as the holy spirit. Hence, when disciples cease bringing forth the fruit of the spirit even though it is not the season for fruit, these disciples are not pruned but cut away (John 15:2). And when disciples are cut away by the Father, they cannot be renewed to the faith. They are permanently cut off from God. So when lawlessness fatally infected the Church late in the 1st-Century—John writes, “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning” (1 John 3:9)—the Church died because there was no one born of God left in the Church.

With the Apostle John’s death, the Church dies: this is what’s meant by Jesus telling Peter, “‘If it is my will that he [John] remain until I come, what is it to you?’” (John 21:22). The Church died, and it will not be restored to life until the second Passover, when John is the brother and partner with the saints in the Affliction and the Endurance.

By the time Justin Martyr converts to Christianity, the Church is dead and is as was the lifeless physical body of Jesus while still hanging on the cross, and endtime disciples can know this by what Justin Martyr writes; for Justin Martyr did not believe the writings of Moses, with observance of the Sabbaths of God serving as outer tests of inner faith.

Jesus Christ did not change: He “is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb 13:8). So when the Church evolved away from being a 1st-Century sect of Judaism, the Church moved away from God, denied Christ, and was in turn denied by Christ—and when denied by Christ, the Church was cut off by the Father. By 100–102, the body of Christ was a lifeless corpse that hung dead and limp in this world as Jesus’ dead body hung on the cross. The Church was not soon buried. The Body of Christ was visibly dead in this world (even though growing in membership) until Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicea (ca 325 CE) ordered this corpse buried.

Because the Church was dead, it could not be restored to life by orality—by the preaching of pastors and prophets. There is no apostolic succession, no unbroken line of ordinations going back to the first disciples. Rather, Scripture survives. And the Church will be restored in an inscribed culture, in a culture who is able to read and is dependent upon texts as Moses was able to read and write texts.

Whereas the Hellenistic culture of the 1st-Century was largely illiterate, and whereas Israel as a slave people was illiterate, Moses was not; nor is endtime Israel illiterate.

But the above leaves unaddressed the issue of disciples reading about witchery: spurning certain secular literary works has merit. A parent doesn’t feed newly born infants foods that require chewing, nor should newly born sons of God engage literary texts that require discernment and critical understanding, which isn’t to say that a disciple who has grown in grace and knowledge cannot engage difficult or even heretical texts. But every disciple needs to be cautioned against giving to infants—including the indwelling infant son of God within the disciple—more than can be easily digested.

The above admonishment actually walks a knife’s edge: until a son of God reaches spiritual maturity equivalent to a year old human infant’s physical maturity, this son of God cannot walk uprightly before God, keeping the commandments and doing those things that are pleasing to God. Yes, the son of God can keep the Sabbath commandment and can outwardly do what the law requires, but outwardly keeping the commandments is not all that the law requires. Control of thoughts and desires is also necessary. Thus, to ask a newly born son of God to walk uprightly without stumbling is unreasonable, but a Christian years in the faith who continues to transgress the commandments is not a son of God, but is, rather, the seed of the Adversary (1 John 3:4–10) — and this is especially true of televangelists who would have infants sons of God assemble on Sunday rather than on the Sabbath. Thus, a son of God must mature to a spiritual age equivalent to a three year old human child before this Christian is able to fully grasp the concept of dual referents that has the visible things of this world revealing the invisible things of God, with physically circumcised Israelites living in physical houses as physical bondservants of a physical king [Pharaoh] in Egypt, a land representing sin, forming the spiritually lifeless shadow and copy of the inner new creature, circumcised of heart, dwelling in a tent of flesh that remains the bondservant to indwelling sin and death in spiritual Babylon until the second Passover liberation of Israel. Sin has no dominion over the inner new self, but until the second Passover, the tent of flesh remains the bondservant of sin and death, what Paul experienced but couldn’t explain.

Paul writes,

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Rom 7:7–25 emphasis added)

What Paul writes is not well understood by Christendom: Israel in Egypt (i.e., the physically circumcised nation in the land representing sin) had not been given the law and it did not have its transgressions of the law counted against the nation (Rom 5:13). Israel was not under the sentence of death for transgressing the commandments; rather, it was under a form of natural grace in that Israel as the bondservant of Pharaoh had (because of its slave status) the nation’s transgressions of the law “covered” by Pharaoh. A slave nation is expected to obey its master. Thus, disciples, a people purchased by the blood of Christ, are expected to obey the Lord, not the prince of this world.

Moses was never a servant of the Pharaoh: he was reared as an heir, and after he escaped to Midian, he was deemed an outlaw. Whereas Israel was the bondservant of Pharaoh until the Lord liberated the illiterate nation at the first Passover, Moses was not the bondservant of Pharaoh just as the man Jesus was never consigned to disobedience; for Jesus’ “natural” Father was the Logos, not a descendant of the first Adam as Moses was not a descendant of Pharaoh. The parallel between Moses and Jesus holds that the forty years Moses was in Midian—from when Moses fled Egypt to when he returned to lead Israel out of Egypt—are analogous to the period between Calvary and the second Passover, the period that sees Jesus leaving this earth until He returns to redeem the Church at the second Passover liberation of Israel. This parallel also holds that the forty years Moses led Israel in the wilderness are analogous to the 1260 days of the Tribulation.

While the physically circumcised nation of Israel was a slave people, a mostly illiterate nation as far as can be known, a nation steeped in orality, Moses didn’t fit this model, but was a Hebrew reared in the Pharaoh’s household and the production of a small, inscribed subset culture. Moses would have been educated as Egyptian priests and military leaders were. Jesus was, mostly likely, apprenticed to Joseph of Arimathea after Joseph, Mary’s husband, died—and as the young representative of the tin merchant, Jesus would have been educated not at the temple but in the world of commerce in a manner similar to Moses being educated to be a military commander … a Jew from Galilee engaging in 1st-Century commerce in Europe (and beyond) would have been as rarely seen as a Hebrew general in post-Hyksos Egypt.

If Jesus had remained in the Galilee after Joseph died, He would have been locally known. But because the question asked in the synagogue at Nazareth seems genuinely quizzical and not rhetorical—“‘Is not this Joseph’s son’” (Luke 4:22), Jesus was most likely not locally known, meaning that He was not a local carpenter or building contractor, but had been gone from the area for long enough that he was only semi-recognized.

Regardless, Jesus was literate; He knew Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew; and He could quote from both the Septuagint and the Temple Scroll. He also knew where translation errors were in the Septuagint and He used these faults when they suited His argumentative purpose. But more so than this, He knew Greek narratives well enough that He turned the mocking of Pharisees back upon themselves when He told them a Cynic narrative that had Him being in the position of the Mentor and they being in the position of Greek children (see the Lazarus/Dives parable — Luke 16:19–31). Yes, Jesus used the literacy of the Pharisees to tell them a fiction, the telling of which turned their mocking back upon them without the mostly illiterate populace having knowledge of what Jesus said. Only Luke records the parable, and he records the parable without comment, but in recording the parable, Luke discloses that he understood what Jesus did to these Pharisees. Luke uses his literacy to write into history Jesus’ use of a recognizable fiction.

Only one problem exists with the above statement: the oral Hellenistic culture of 1st-Century Near and Middle East, not expecting Jesus to relate an after-death-fortune-reversal fiction to a Jewish audience, did not recognize the Lazarus/Dives parable as a Cynic narrative and instead assigned literalness to the fiction, a practice continued by the semi-literate Church to this present day.

If Jesus used a fiction and used His intended auditors’ literacy to make a point not recognized by the crowds that followed, then Tolkein’s trilogy can be read for what it is whereas Rowling’s scribbling is best left alone, especially when the Bible is not understood but treated as an idol rather than read as a book.

The number of fictional or secular texts encountered by endtime disciples is problematic: there is simply too much to read for everything worth reading to be read. Thus, until a disciple has the discernment necessary to understand that the fleshly bodies of disciples have not yet been redeemed or ransomed but remain captives of the law of sin (i.e., as long as sin continues to dwell in disciples as sin dwelt in Paul’s body, disciples serve sin in the flesh while hating what they do), disciples ought to spend time reading Scripture until they know it well enough that they cannot be deceived.

There is only one problem with the above admonishment: unless the disciple engages other texts, ones easier to address than Scripture, the disciple will not see nor appreciate the subtleties employed by the Lord when inspiring the writing of Scripture. This now presents a dilemma: read or not read, that is the question. Self-educated disciples need to learn to read critically, which usually means wrestling with difficult texts outside of Scripture. The Harry Potter series does not constitute “difficult texts.” Nor do most modern fiction narratives do more than entertain for a moment.

The restoration of the Church comes via rereading Scripture and assigning to the same inscribed text a different set of linguistic objects, a set of linguistic objects that comes from the Lord. Reading and rereading are complimentary activities as physically circumcised Israel and circumcised-of-heart Israel are enantiomorphs.

Half a century ago, many disciples brought to knowledge of God by Herbert W. Armstrong had nothing to read in their homes but the Plain Truth magazine, a few Radio Church of God booklets, and a copy of Ambassador College’s Envoy yearbook. Their homes were as intellectually barren as their minds were spiritually ignorant: they sincerely believed they had the truth, and they sacrificed financially to spread this truth to the world, but they were such lousy readers of text that they didn’t even know what the endtime gospel [good news] was that must be proclaimed to all the world as a witness to all nations. And the problem was top-down. The problem wasn’t at the local or regional level but stemmed from Armstrong’s own lack of reading skills.

The only homes known to rival the intellectual barrenness of Armstrong’s disciples are those of Latter Day Saints: texts not published by Deseret Books are shunned, leaving much more not read by Latter Day Saints than read.

If the aim of a Church Headquarters is to keep its disciples from drifting away, then the sect or denomination cannot permit its members to read just anything. The input of knowledge must be controlled; for who knows, if Amish youth began reading Scripture for themselves, they might start thinking for themselves. If Church of God youth began reading Scripture for themselves, they might start thinking for themselves. If Baptist youth began reading Scripture for themselves, they might start keeping the Sabbath. And in none of these cases is thinking outside of the sect’s reading community likely. Such thinking is not, however, even possible when parents prevent exposure to ideas and knowledge.

The Adversary has limited the thoughts and knowledge of humanity; the Adversary has prevented meaning being taken from Scripture via typology for centuries. It simply wasn’t time for Scripture to be reread; so the Lord didn’t intervene. And when the Lord was ready to intervene, fiction was used as a tool through which Scripture’s structure could be understood.

Perhaps it is easier for a writer to see the craft of another writer than it is for a carpenter to see how the text is assembled. That being a possibility, reading and writing among disciples should be encouraged. But there are much better narrative subjects than witchery available for literary exploration. Melville and Tolkein wrote works that are for the mature, but Paul was familiar with the poems of Aratus so why shouldn’t an endtime disciple be familiar with the writings of Shakespeare or Cervantes, two of many authors writing fiction intended to both entertain and instruct.

But a diet too rich in sugar or too filled with fat is not healthy … Scripture should be read, but not to the complete exclusion of secular authors. However, the endtime disciple who does not know that Israel rebelled against the Lord before the nation left Egypt needs to spend more time reading Scripture.

Consider the following: the prophet Ezekiel records,

And the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man [Adam], speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God, Is it to inquire of me that you come? As I live, declares the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you. Will you judge them, son of man, will you judge them? Let them know the abominations of their fathers, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: On the day when I chose Israel, I swore to the offspring of the house of Jacob, making myself known to them in the land of Egypt; I swore to them, saying, I am the Lord your God. On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands. And I said to them, Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the Lord your God. But they rebelled against me and were not willing to listen to me. None of them cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.

“Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made myself known to them in bringing them out of the land of Egypt. So I led them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. I gave them my statutes and made known to them my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live. (20:2–11 emphasis added)

When Israel’s transgressions were not being counted against the nation, its rebellion against the Lord was not forgiven but lead to the Lord giving to Israel His statutes and making known to the nation His rules. If Israel had kept these statutes and rules [commandments], the nation would have lived. But as Paul discovered, when the commandments come, sin comes alive and slays the person.

When Scripture comes alive, the person lives—and Scripture will not come alive for the person who is such a poor reader of texts that he or she doesn’t comprehend that today the Church in spiritual Babylon is as Israel was in Egypt prior to its Passover liberation.


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."