The Philadelphia Church

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 the righteousness of having no boundaries.

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Weekly Readings

For the Sabbath of December 5, 2015

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.


Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some [disbelieved — ’epistesan]? Does their [unbelief — ’apistia] nullify the faith [pistin] of [the] God? By no means! Let [the] God be true [and every man] a liar, as it is written,

"That you may be justified in your words,

      and prevail when you are judged." [from Ps 51:4, LXX]

But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? (Rom 3:1–6)



To what degree did the unbelief of Israel and of the scribes of Israel creep into canonical Scripture … in John’s Gospel, mid Tabernacles, Jesus tells Jews in the temple:

The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of Him who sent Him is true, and in Him there is no falsehood. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. (John 7:18–19)

The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory—what Israel didn’t have in Babylon was their own glory. Babylon claimed a creation myth that minimized the Genesis creation accounts [there are two]. Babylon had science that Israel did not have. Babylon could predict lunar cycles and didn’t have to rely on observation. Babylon was obviously militarily superior to Israel. Its architecture was superior. All Israel had was the God of Abraham whom the people had neglected for centuries; whom the people didn’t know. So the only glory the people of Jerusalem and of the house of Judah could use to make themselves feel better about themselves was the glory of Moses and of the God of Abraham. And on their own authority, the scribes of Israel in Babylon sought glory not for themselves but for an enslaved Israel.

When the Lord chooses to use once-born Israel as a shadow and type of twice-born Israel, the Lord permits the enslavement of once-born Israel to show that double-breath Israel as the reality of once-born Israel isn’t in this “reality” twice-born but only once-born at the particular point in history, meaning that greater Christendom is today without spiritual birth. So in the narrative that is the history of Israel from Abraham to the deportation, greater Christendom from Christ Jesus [in the position of Abraham—Gal 3:29] to the Second Passover liberation of a second Israel is analogous to Abraham then Isaac [1st-Century Christendom—Gal 4:21–31] and then to Israel in Egypt enslaved by Pharaoh and liberated in the days of Moses and Aaron, analogous to the two witnesses (Rev 11:3–14). Between Christianity in the 1st-Century and the two witnesses in the 21st-Century stand the two sons of Isaac, Esau [hated from before birth] and Jacob, a deceitful fellow who has to wrestle with God to prevail with God, with this wrestling in the spiritual not being physical grappling but the fight Paul was fighting between his inner self wanting to keep the Commandments and his outer self [fleshly body] doing those things his inner self hated. He—every born of spirit Christian’s inner self—has to prevail against the fleshly body.

The unbelief of Israel that permitted the people of Israel to practice idolatry in the Promised Land with clear consciences didn’t go away when Assyria took the northern kingdom of Samaria captive and relocated what was left of the House of Israel in lands beyond the Black Sea. The unbelief of Jerusalem and of the House of Judah didn’t go away when these peoples [minus the poorest of the people] were forcibly transported to Babylon. Rather, in Babylon, the unbelief of the people of Jerusalem took a hard “right turn” as these people sought to undo what it was that caused the Lord to turn His back on their plight. And in Babylon, Israel began zealots for monotheism .

In seeking their own glory (or rather the glory of enslaved Israel), scribes on their own authority redacted Holy Writ, the evidence for this redaction remaining with us to this day … when you, reader, speak, do you say <says me> in the middle of an utterance? No, you don’t. And neither do speakers in any other language or in any other period in history. It is not “natural” to interrupt your oral delivery of information or instructions with <thus says me> every so often. However, when inscription first began, the ones who wrote used always unpronounced linguistic determinatives to identify speakers so that the “knowledge” received by a reader would not be inferior to the knowledge of the person who heard the utterance or proclamation. Linguistic determinatives were used to repeatedly identify speakers, identify the language in which the speaker spoke, and the location where the speaker spoke.

The use of linguistic determinatives remained for deities after they went out of style for kings and other important people, but even for deities, determinatives became first passé, then forgotten … when scribes of Israel in Babylon, seeking glory for enslaved Israel, encountered the linguistic determinative YHWH—they knew better than to pronounce this Tetragrammaton—they apparently didn’t understand how a determinative functioned; for these scribes transformed YHWH into a singular naming noun. And they were faithful in their unbelief. They rewrote passages, keeping as many consonant clusters [Hebrew is written without vowels, so “words” are always without silent, that is without aspiration] as they found even though they restructured passages to eliminate even the taint of polytheism.

In seeking the glory that Abraham gave to Israel, that Moses gave to Israel, that David gave to Israel, scribes in Babylon on their own authority erased the God from the Tetragrammaton YHWH, assigning to Yah the position of Most High God, thereby making <Yah> a short form of <YHWH> when David, himself, understood that Yah served as an identifier for the God of Abraham in the physical interaction of Creator with creation whereas YHWH represented the conjoined deities in the heavenly or spiritual realm … Jesus said He came to reveal the Father to His disciples, not to all of Israel. David knew of the Father even if he didn’t know much about the Father. Thus, Jesus came to His disciples to give them knowledge David had, and still more knowledge.

Again, in construction of Hebraic thought-couplet verse, the first presentation of an idea or concept is physical, of darkness, and the second presentation is spiritual, of light, with this dark/light pattern placing “night” [the twisting or turning away] before “day” [the hot portion of a 24-hour period]. Thus, with humanity; with Israel, the turning away from God will precede the heat of crossing dimensions and entering the heavenly realm.

In his latter psalms, David understood that Yah was the physical representation of the conjoined deity represented by Tetragrammaton YHWH … Yah was the God of Abraham. As such He was the Beloved of God who entered His creation as His unique Son, a human infant not fathered by Adam but by the God of Abraham. Thus, He wasn’t humanly born consigned to disobedience but was free to keep the Commandments He spoke to Moses from the top of Mount Sinai. He was His Father, but not in the way Christians tend to believe; for He surrendered divinity when He entered His creation as His Son. He was no longer God. He was a man not consigned to disobedience but tempted in every way as any other person is tempted. But He was once-born until the breath of God the Father [pneuma Theou] descended upon Him in the bodily form of a dove and entered into Him, thereby giving to Him a second breath of life, the “glory” of God the Father.

Because the man Jesus was twice-born when the spirit of God entered into Him, the man Jesus had two Fathers, the conjoined deities of the Tetragrammation YHWH.

Every human son of God will be twice-born, the spirit of God in the spirit of Christ giving life to the inner self of the person, and human parents giving life to the outer self [the fleshly body] of the person. And as it takes two human parents, a father and a mother, to give life to the outer self, it takes two divine parents to give life to the inner self, God the Father and His Beloved, Christ Jesus. … When the spirit of God is poured out on all flesh, all flesh will not be born of spirit. Rather, in an analogy that can be humanly understood, all of humanity will be submerged in a figurative tub of semen. When the human person does what is right and good and is still doing what is right and good when Christ Jesus returns as the Messiah, the introduction of Christ’s spirit permits instant fertilization and the birth of many sons of God.

The unbelief of Israel before Babylon, in Babylon, and after Babylon gave rise to the concealment of God the Father from Israel, with the scribes of Israel doing the work of concealing the Father from the people even though David knew of the Father’s existence. And all of this before we even get to Jesus saying that none of Israel kept the Law …

Why would Jesus tell Jews gathered in the temple in obedience to Moses commanding Israel, “‘Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God at the place that He will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths’” (Deut 16:16), that none of them kept the Law? Of course they kept the Law, but not really; for the Law is the physical codification of what it means to love God, neighbor, and brother with all of one’s heart and mind. The Law expresses in legalese (in a human way) what Abraham did when he believed the Lord and had his belief counted to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6) — and what was it that Abraham believed?

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great." But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir." And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: "This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir." And He brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then He said to him, "So shall your offspring be." (Gen 15:1–5)

What the Lord told Abram in vision about “seed” is more complicated than simply Abram having many heirs; for as Paul rightly pointed out, the promise to Abram was for his own son being his heir: “Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, ‘And to offsprings,’ referring to many, but referring to one, ‘And to your offspring,’ who is Christ.” (Gal 3:16)

Abraham was a product of his region and his time. In Egypt, priests taught that pharaohs would be stars in heaven for as long as their earthly bodies existed, the justification for embalming, with similar teachings stretching across the Levant. So when Abram was told that his seed would be as many as the stars he could see, he would also have believed that his seed would be immortal, light-givers as stars are light-givers in darkness. He would have believed his seed would rule in the heavens as pharaohs ruled here on earth. In other words, coming from a different direction than modern Christians come, Abram would have believed almost the same message as is taught within greater Christendom without knowing anything about the Beloved of God entering His creation as His unique Son.

So when Scripture says, “And he believed the LORD, and He counted it to him as righteousness” (Gen 15:6) we can look to what Paul writes for understanding of why “belief” can be counted as righteousness.

To believe the Lord is to keep the Law without necessarily having the Law or knowing the Law. As Paul said a couple of times in his treatise to the holy ones at Rome that he spoke to these holy ones in a human way [Rom 3:5; 6:19], the Lord (the Beloved of God) spoke to Moses and to Israel in a human way when He spoke the Ten Living Words from atop Mount Sinai. He didn’t need to speak to Enoch in a human way. He spoke to Noah in a human way, not about righteousness but about how to build a wood vessel larger than any post Flood vessel until the 19th-Century. He didn’t need to speak to Abraham in a human way about righteousness, but spoke to Abraham in a humanly understandable way about Abraham’s seed. He did speak to Moses in a human way; for Moses wasn’t wanting to have anything to do with his people Israel who had abandoned him to the Nile and then abandoned him a second time when he tried to stand up for them. Apparently Moses was so disenchanted with Israel that he had not circumcised his sons, with Zipporah having to circumcise them in a mangled story told in Exodus 4:24–26.

As in the conflicting stories of Hagar told in Genesis chapters 16 and 21, the story of Zipporah circumcising her sons hasn’t been faithfully repeated from generation to generation … when the Lord in the burning bush appeared to Moses, The Lord would have known that Moses’ sons were not circumcised.

Zipporah’s father as a priest of Midian, who would have known to circumcise on the eighth day [Midian was of Ishmael]. So apparently Moses had intervened to prevent his sons from being circumcised, but such an intervention would have demeaned Moses in the eyes in Israel, especially Hebrew scribes in Babylon, so such an intervention would not have been mentioned; would have been omitted to maintain the glory of Israel in their own eyes. And future audiences were left to wonder about why Zipporah called Moses a bridegroom of blood. … The reference is obviously to circumcision which if done on the eighth day of the infant’s life results in the shedding of very little blood, but if done on a later date can cause the boy or man to bleed to death.

What’s missing from the Zipporah story is the logic for, “At a lodging place on the way the LORD [YHWH] met him and sought to put him to death” (Ex 4:24).

Use of the Tetragrammaton YHWH as a naming noun rather than as a linguistic determinative in Exodus 4:24 discloses that the passage has been redacted by Imperial Hebrew scribes tampering without authorization with Scripture, this tampering coming after the lost Book of the Covenant was found in the dilapidated temple in the days of King Josiah (see 2 Kings 22:8–11, then on through 23:23).

In Josiah’s zealousness to get Israel right with the Lord and to eliminate idolatry from the land, the apparently illiterate king would have given to scribes the task of making new copies of the Book of the Covenant that hadn’t been read or read carefully and relied upon for centuries. Why else would no Passover have been kept as Moses commanded since the days of the judges?

But Josiah didn’t reign long after finding the Book of the Covenant. And with his untimely death, Jerusalem and the House of Judah returned to the idolatry of Josiah’s fathers. Thus, making many new copies of the Book of the Law had to wait until the people were taken as captives to Babylon, a wake-up call that most likely caused scribes, not really understanding the evolution of the language, in making copies of the Book of the Covenant to have eliminated the use of linguistic determinatives. Scribes would not have been familiar with determinatives that were no longer being regularly used; they wouldn’t have known what they were when encountering them. And the most logical thing to do with them wasn’t to delete them (Moses’ writings were considered sacred, and a scribe on his own authority wouldn’t have eliminated words from a sacred text), but was to transform determinatives into naming nouns …

Deconstructing translated passages presents complications not in evidence when deconstructing a text written in its original language such as this Sabbath Reading; for in working with a translation or a translation of a translation, the biases of the translators stand between the received text and the autograph [original text]. These biases can be located and identified when the text is deconstructed, but to whom should these biases be assigned becomes problematic. Do they belong to the autograph or to the translated text? Are they the author’s or the translators’? Usually there is no way to know. But with Scripture, and with the indwelling of the Parakletos, the spirit of truth, a twice-born disciple should know what should be present in the text; for the maturing twice-born disciple has the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16). The more mature the disciple, the more this twice-born disciple will think the thoughts of Christ Jesus. And with the mind of Christ, the twice-born disciple will know what is Scripture even when the text emerges from translators and redactors in a garbled form.

For a good many decades, the Bible was America’s best selling book. There was one in almost every home. But it was the one book that was almost never read as books are read, beginning at the beginning and reading straight through to the end in a relatively short period of time: the Bible takes about two weeks to read, cover to cover. And once read, a person can go back and reread specific passages, knowing where these passages fit into the overall story flow.

Instead of reading the Bible as a person would read any other book, Christians, especially, shop around in the Bible, searching for passages that support preexisting ideas about what the Bible says … Jesus tells observing Jews that none of them keeps the Law. If He could say this inside the temple and halfway through Tabernacles, then could He not also say that no Christian has faith as expressed in belief of God? That no Christian truly believes God?

The Jews present when Jesus said that none kept the Law protested mightily:

The crowd answered, "You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?" Jesus answered them, "I did one work, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man's whole body well? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment." (John 7:20–24)

Observant Jews suspended their Sabbath no-work creed in order for a male infant to be circumcised on the 8th-day, thereby tacitly acknowledging that the covenant given to Abraham that predated the Law by four plus centuries took priority over the Law, with its Sabbath Commandment. By extension, Abraham’s belief of God that was counted to him as righteousness would also take precedence over the Law, which is the argument Paul makes in several places. But this doesn’t mean that the believing Christian doesn’t keep the Law. It means that the believing Christian’s isn’t under the Law but is under grace, a euphemistic expression for the righteousness of Christ Jesus …

Christ Jesus kept the Law. There really is no dispute about this; for He was without sin, without either unbelief of God or transgression of the Law. And if Christ dwells inside the person, then the person will keep the Law for two cannot walk together by taking separate paths to separate destinations.

In his gospel, Paul states that the person not under the Law who sins [transgresses the Law] will perish without the Law (Rom 2:12). So what advantage does the Law-keeper have over the person not under the Law? The Law-keeper knows the standard by which he or she will be judged. The person not under the Law lives without an observable standard, thereby not really knowing how far afield the person can go and still live spiritually. As a result, the person not under the Law has no wiggle room: the person not under the Law has to manifest love for neighbor and brother in every situation. And Christians are not under the Law, but out of love for God, Father and Son, Christians will keep the Law; for again, by not being under the Law the person’s only boundaries are the Christian’s application of the Christian’s love for God, brother, and neighbor.

That is enough to think about: you, as a Christian, are not under the Law but you are not free to transgress the Law. How do you not transgress the Law without keeping the Law? It cannot be done. Therefore, you, as a Christian, will voluntarily keep the Law when you have no obligation culturally or socially to do so. You will keep the Law out of your love for God. And without the parameters of the Law as a social contract, you will not walk on the edge of cliffs. You will stay as close to Christ Jesus as you can get. And you will do well. For the person under the Law will inevitably walk right next to the line between right and wrong, and in doing so will end up not keeping the Law, what Jesus told observant Jews mid-week of Tabernacles.

We should not seek glory for ourselves or for greater Christendom as apparently unbelieving Hebrew scribes in Babylon did—and why were they unbelieving? Because they sought to feel their way along the parameter of righteousness in hopes of finding a lacunae through which they could slip away from God for just a little while, thereby experiencing freedom from the Law, freedom enjoyed by sons of disobedience.

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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."