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 today, keeping the Law is easy.
For the Sabbath of December 12, 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.
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
"Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin."
Paul does not cite the most important line in David’s squared couplet, the line that is in the spiritual position of the couplet in the spiritual position of the squared couplet:
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
(Ps 32:1-2 doubled emphasis added).
Indented lines are spiritual portions of couplets.
Paul uses the first verses of Psalm 32 to support his argument that disciples are not under the Law and do not have to offer sacrifice at the temple … this is important; for being under the Law has a different meaning to Paul than “being under the Law” has for greater Christendom.
As has been often said in pieces posted on this website, words do not come with little backpacks that carry the meaning of the “word” … words are signs or symbols that have their meanings assigned to them by auditors [readers or hearers]; words are linguistic signifiers or linguistic icons that, depending upon their context and upon the reading community of auditors, have linguistic signifieds or linguistic objects assigned to them. Therefore, since endtime Christians within the greater Christian Church are not of the same reading community as Paul (a Pharisee called by Christ Jesus) was, endtime Christians are unlikely to assign even similar meanings to Paul’s words as Paul did when he wrote in Koine Greek more than 1900 years ago. It is the business of translators to convert Paul’s Greek signifieds [meanings] into first English signifieds, then into English signifiers [words] to which each Christian reading community further attaches differing meanings. So from a carnal perspective, communication doesn’t really occur. Only by endtime disciples having the mind of Christ can any communication occur. And then, what it means to “have the mind of Christ” (from 1 Cor 2:16) becomes subject to Christian dialogue.
The Sabbatarian Christian who uses bastardized Hebraic pronunciations for the name of Jesus the Christ, and for the linguistic determinative YHWH, places emphasis on what it physical, not spiritual; places emphasis on sound waves made by the position of tongue, teeth, lips as the person’s vocal cords push a vowel stream of air through these barriers. Therefore, the Christian who has succumbed to the Sacred Names Heresy does not and cannot have the mind of Christ; for Christ Jesus is not today a physical man, concerned about physical things such as whether Iran will obtain a nuclear weapon, or whether a person used a bastardize Hebraic pronunciation of His name … even before Christ Jesus leads a second Israel into the Promised Land of heaven, He will have a new name that no one today knows (Rev 19:12); for names spiritually are as they were to First Nation peoples in North America: names describe the person and tells of what the person does or has done. Thus, when Christ Jesus goes from being the High Priest of a second nation of Israel to being the One whom this second nation of Israel will follow into heaven as the children of Israel followed Joshua into the earthly Promised Land, the name of “Jesus” [Joshua, as pronounced by Indo-European speakers] will no longer describe Christ, the Messiah. He will have a new name that reflects Him being King of kings and Lord of lords, reigning over heaven and earth. And that name is today unknown by even His disciples.
Returning to Psalm 32: in the physical position in the physical couplet of the squared paring of couplets, David says that blessed is the person whose transgression [violation of the Law] is forgiven … the essence of Christianity is that in Christ Jesus, sins are forgiven in the flesh and “covered” by the righteousness of Christ [aka grace] in the heavenly realm where born-of-spirit sons of God have life—and all of this can be understood by anyone, including the most carnally minded person alive.
The focus shifts from the person to the Lord in the physical portion of the spiritual couplet in this squared pairing of couplets: now, blessed is the person against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, an elevation from transgressions of the Law being forgiven. For to count no iniquity against the person regardless of what the person has done or didn’t do is the prerogative of the Lord. To count no iniquity goes beyond forgiving transgressions of the Law to a state where the Law doesn’t exist; where what exists is right or wrong, good or evil, belief of God or unbelief.
When attending high school. promotion is automatic if prescribed courses are satisfactorily completed. When seeking an undergraduate degree from a university, a Bachelors degree is automatically awarded if required courses along with a predetermined number of credit hours are completed. But in seeking a doctorate, awarding the degree is not automatic even when enough graduate hours have been complete, and a dissertation has been written. A graduate committee will decide when they think the degree should be awarded—and so it is with salvation, which is never automatic but always up to the Lord, with the Father having given all judgment to the Son (John 5:22). Therefore, if the Son chooses not to count a person’s transgressions of the Law against the person, the Son has the prerogative to grant eternal life to the person. By the same prerogative, the Son can choose not to grant eternal life to someone who outwardly kept the Law perfectly, never committing any transgression. And it is in the spiritual portion of the spiritual couplet in this square paring where the criteria for the Son’s judgment is found: Blessed is the man in whose spirit is no deceit.
There was deceit in the Adversary. There is deceit in the Christian pastor or teacher who knows the textual problems within canonical Scripture but says nothing from the pulpit about them. There is deceit within the spirit of the Sabbatarian pastor who has his congregation keeping the Passover at harvest season.
The person under the Law or not under the Law in whose spirit is no deceit will be blessed, and will inherit the kingdom of God; for the person in whose spirit is no deceit will keep the Commandments of God when the person has been exposed to them. If this person hasn’t been exposed to them but believes God as Abraham believed God about his own son being his heir, this person will have his or her belief of God counted to the person as righteousness—and it is here where greater Christendom fails to understand the nature of grace.
Grace is never license to openly practice the Christian’s unbelief.
It is difficult for any Christian to justify the Christian’s willful transgression of the Law … there is no covering for willful transgressions that can only come from embedded deceit in the spirit of the person who outwardly professes that Jesus is Lord then intentionally lives as a Gentile. Does this person think that he or she can mock Christ and be found without guilt? Does this person think that this Christian can profess that Jesus is the person’s Lord and Master, then live as an unrepentant son of disobedience without consequences? What goes on in this person’s mind? In the heart of this person?
In Paul’s gospel, Paul says, “All who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law” (Rom 2:12) … for Paul, sin is unbelief, not believing God (Rom 14:23).
Where in Scripture does the Lord tell Israel to observe the day after the Sabbath as a Sabbath? There are two places:
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest, and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, so that you may be accepted. On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. (Lev 23:9–11)
You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to the LORD. You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven, as firstfruits to the LORD. (Lev 23:15–17)
The harvest of firstfruits begins with the Wave Sheaf Offering made on the day after the Sabbath, and the harvest of firstfruits concludes on Pentecost, the Feast of Weeks, with the waving of two loaves of bread baked with leavening—and because these two loaves are baked with leavening [yeast, killed in baking], with leavening representing sin during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the harvest of firstfruits will not have transgressions of the Law counted against the firstfruits.
Can anything really be more simple? Why would two loaves of bread made from new grain [this year’s barley harvest] be baked with leavening and then waved before the Lord if sin—transgression of the Law—mattered to the Lord? In the harvest of firstfruits, unintentional transgressions of the Law do not matter. Willful transgressions, however, do matter for willful transgressions are openly expressed unbelief of God. And it is unbelief that matters; for the spirit [heart] of the person in which no deceit is found will also have no unbelief found. The person will do what the person believes is pleasing to God; the person will believe God with all of the person’s heart and mind.
This is the core of Paul’s gospel: unbelief is sin. Thus if you, Christian, have a copy of the Bible, you know that the Sabbath is the seventh day of an unbroken seven day weekly cycle that goes back to the giving of manna. You, Christian, are without excuse if you do not keep the Sabbath. Nevertheless, if there is no deceit in your spirit, you shall be blessed. If your worship on the day after the Sabbath is undertaken in absolute sincerity—meaning that you really know nothing about the Bible—then your transgression of the Law shall not be counted against you. But you deceive yourself and there is deceit in your spirit if you say you don’t know that the seventh day is the Sabbath. You’re not that stupid! No Christian truly is.
How can any Christian be so uninformed, especially a Christian who claims that he or she is under the New Covenant, to not know that the seventh day is the Sabbath? Have you, Christian, not read the terms of the New Covenant?
Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, "See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain." But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant He mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. For He finds fault with them when He says: "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more." In speaking of a new covenant, He makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (Heb 8:1–13 emphasis added)
The epistle to the Hebrews was written early in the second half of the 1st-Century … the first covenant, made on “the day when the Lord took the fathers of Israel by the hand to lead them out of Egypt” was the Passover Covenant, not the first Sinai Covenant that lasted only forty days before blood was again shed, ending this covenant:
The time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. It was a night of watching by the LORD, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the LORD by all the people of Israel throughout their generations. And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "This is the statute of the Passover: no foreigner shall eat of it, but every slave that is bought for money may eat of it after you have circumcised him. No foreigner or hired worker may eat of it. It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it. There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you." All the people of Israel did just as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron. And on that very day the LORD brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts. (Ex 12:40–51 emphasis added)
The New Covenant will be the Second Passover Covenant, but this New Covenant will not be implemented until the Second Passover …
In the 1st-Century, the Passover Covenant, made on the day when Israel left Egypt, was becoming obsolete and growing old, ready to vanish away, but was still in effect a quarter century after Calvary. So when, Christian, did the Passover Covenant that was old and obsolete vanish away? Not at Calvary. Not at Rome’s razing of Herod’s Temple. Not at the death of John the Elder. Not at the Council of Nicea. Not when Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of All-Saints Church in Wittenburg in 1517 CE. Not today—the First Passover Covenant, with a modification (the substitution of broken unleavened bread and the Cup for the body and blood of the Passover lamb), is still in effect. Yet how many Christians take the Passover sacraments on the night of the Passover, the dark portion of the 14th day of the first month, with the Sacred Year beginning with the first sighted new moon crescent following the spring equinox wherever the Christian lives.
The taking of the Passover sacrifice in the spring of the year is central to the First Covenant. Taking the Passover sacraments at harvest time rather than at planting time mocks Christ and is akin to Christians trying to enter into God’s presence on the day after the Sabbath … the Christian who would attempt to enter into God’s presence on the day after the Sabbath obviously doesn’t understand what happened when Christ Jesus had the glory He had before the world existed (John 17:5) returned to Him by God the Father.
Christians that try to enter into God’s presence on the day after the Sabbath testify by their deeds that they believe they are without sin as Jesus was without sin; that they do not need the seven weeks of the barley harvest to be refined, beaten into fine flour and baked with leavening (representing their sins); that they will be accepted by God just as they are. No, not true—and we return to where we began: Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven / whose sin is covered [by the blood of Christ Jesus]. And when are transgressions forgiven and sins covered?
Matthew’s Jesus told His disciples,
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." (Matt 26:26–29 emphasis added)
If you, Christian, do not take the Passover sacraments on the Passover [again, the dark portion of the 14th day of the first month following the spring equinox], you exclude yourself from having your sins covered by the blood of Christ Jesus. You are a spiritual bastard, claiming God as your Father but remaining a son of disobedience, your father being the Adversary.
There is hope for you, Christian, as there was hope for Cain until Cain murdered his brother:
The LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." (Gen 4:6–7)
For a Christian, doing well would be living without sin … on every day of the year but for one night, bread and wine (fruits of the ground) are Cain’s offering made to the Lord. But on Passover, unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine represent the body and blood of Christ Jesus. Only on this night. On no other night. Never on the day portion of “a day” do bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ Jesus.
The sins, the unbelief of greater Christendom are today covered by the absence of spiritual life; by the reality that they have dead inner selves. Greater Christendom is not under the Law. Greater Christianity is without the spirit of God, the indwelling of the spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou] in the spirit of the person [to pneuma tou ’anthropou]. Therefore, Christians within the greater Church will not be judged by whether they kept the Law, kept the Sabbath, covered their sins by taking the Passover sacraments, but by whether they have manifested love for neighbor and brother. However, all of this will change with the Second Passover liberation of this second nation of Israel; for liberation from indwelling Sin and Death will come via being filled with the spirit of God [pneuma Theou]. To take sin back inside the Christian after being liberated from Sin and Death will be to commit unforgivable blasphemy against the spirit.
It would behoove all Christians to begin practicing keeping the Law now, today, while keeping the Law is easy; when being out of sync with the world is almost a badge of honor … if a person wants to be different, instead of getting a tattoo or piercing a nostril, keep the Sabbath, keep the Passover and discover what really being different means.
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