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 “ euphemistic expressions for the inner self of the person.”
For the Sabbath of December 26, 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.
When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:1–10 emphasis added)
Paul asked the question, Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but he doesn’t answer his answer … yes, it can be that there is no one wise enough; no one with recognized authority to settle a dispute between brothers, that a brother wronged by another brother has to go to court to get redress for the wrong. Yes, this is the reality found within the endtime Sabbatarian churches of God.
When one presumed (and self-identified) brother in Christ conspires to swindle his fellow brother in Christ out of an ownership position in real property, the swindler leaving his victim homeless and out more than a $100,000, it would seem logical that the swindler would be ostracized within the Sabbatarian churches of God; that the swindler would be marked [he was marked] and shunned, which still won’t get the victim any financial redress. But that is not what happened a decade ago: the swindler seemed to be “somebody important” within the independent fellowships of the Sabbatarian churches; so other “somebodies” tacitly sided with the swindler and suppressed the incident, thereby taking upon themselves the guilt of the swindler—
Paul writes, Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
The person who secretly condones unrighteous behavior either in him or herself or in others will not enter the kingdom of the heavens, but will perish in the lake of fire.
The person who will not openly condemn sexual immorality in all of its manifestations (including homosexuality); who will not openly condemn misuse of transactions; who will not separate him or herself from party-goers will not inherit the kingdoms—and this would seem to take all of the “fun” out of Las Vegas where what happens there doesn’t stay there but is transported in the minds of the unrighteous all the way to the lake of fire.
The person who would seem to be somebody within the independent fellowships of the Sabbatarian churches of God has greater responsibility to condemn wrongdoing even in a former college classmate than has the laity that might not know the details of what happened on a former Air Force base at the tip of Michigan’s Thumb … what the laity knows is that a person who would seem to be somebody within independent fellowships has been marked as a person to be avoided, shunned. Yet even the laity participates in the unrighteousness of their leaders by quietly sitting-through Bible studies given by the swindler when he is invited as a guest speaker.
Why is there not anyone who can judge a matter between brothers?
Paul writes, You yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers … what Paul wrote nearly two millennia ago is true today. The general character of Christians hasn’t improved with the passage of time; for it isn’t just one person within the greater Christian Church that has defrauded his brother, but it is nearly the entirety of greater Christianity.
Matthew’s Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount said,
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matt 7:15–23 emphasis added)
Beware of pastors and teachers who come to the laity as “somebodies” within any division of the greater Christian Church, and yes, greater Christendom is divided ideologically and has been from the 1st-Century. Christianity does not consist of a unified body of believers, especially not at Christmas [Christ’s mass]; for who is the Christian pastor that doesn’t know Christ Jesus wasn’t born in December? Who is the Christian pastor who doesn’t know that the Magi located Jesus, as a child, in a house in Bethlehem (Matt 2:11)? So who is the Christian pastor who prevents his or her parishioners from erecting a manger scene in December that has shepherds and Magi coming together to worship the Madonna and child?
Christian pastors defraud their parishioners by preaching what their parishioners expect to hear from pulpits, not what these parishioners should be hearing … this is a different type of fraud being perpetrated by Christian brother against brother; for the truism disclosed when open fraud was committed by one brother against another brother at the tip of the Thumb a decade ago was there’s no authority imbedded by either virtue or righteousness inside the Sabbatarian churches of God. There was no person who could compel the one committing fraud to undo what he had done. There was no person who could order the one committing the fraud to return to his victim nearly $160,000. The only options open to the victim was to either walk away, letting others be harmed by a deceitful brother, or to take the person committing the fraud to civil court in hope of recovering of portion of what had been lost.
The person who committed the fraud quickly settled with his victim, agreeing to pay half of his victim’s losses, then filed bankruptcy, thereby ridding himself of his obligation to pay. This person now has a new ministry, and is again out begging for contributions from not just independent fellowships within the Sabbatarian churches of God, but from the greater Christian community for the “good work” he does. And he has again convinced others to support him, and to sponsor fund-raising events to further his ministry.
But the type of fraud committed against brothers in Christ by our local swindler is physical, and mostly effects his first three victims and those who don’t recognize him as a marked person to be avoided. The type of fraud that is spiritual and of more danger to Christians comes from pulpits and podiums, especially when parishioners have control over the messages that are delivered to them [congressional organization] through being able to hire and fire their pastors.
Did ancient Israel set out to be idolaters? Did the children of Israel, when entering the Promised Land, intend to be idolaters? If they didn’t, how is it that they became an idolatrous nation? How is it that unbelievers—thinking they were believers—triumph over believing Israelites? What did the people use as a club to lord it over Israelites that believed Moses?
The Roman Church prevented the Christian laity from reading Scripture for themselves for centuries … why? What did Church officials have to fear? That every Christian would do what is right in his or her own eyes (for the shadow, see Judges 17:6; 21:25)? Is that not the situation within the Sabbatarian churches of God? Every Sabbatarian does whatever the Sabbatarian believes is right in his or her own eyes; therefore, if the Sabbatarian and those who seem to be somebodies within the churches of God believe it is acceptable to overfile legal documents with new documents using a slightly altered name and thereby commit fraud against a brother in Christ, it is acceptable, with the ones committing the fraud contending that whatever those who seem to be somebodies bind on earth will be bound in heaven.
NO! Absolutely not! And the same applies to doctrines preached from podiums of the former Worldwide Church of God … when a false doctrine was preached by Herbert Armstrong or by one of his ministers as if the doctrine were true, the doctrine remained false! If it wasn’t true when it was preached, preaching it didn’t make it true. And any person who places Rome, the Roman Empire, the Roman Church, or the Roman vicar of Christ into the prophecies of Daniel is false, a false teacher, and by extension, a false prophet.
Matthew’s Jesus warns His disciples in the previously cited passage, Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits … is racism a good fruit? No it is not; for racism is a magnification of the physical. Racism is the antithesis of what Paul wrote in his corrective epistle to the holy ones in Galatia:
Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. (Gal 3:19–29 emphasis and double emphasis added)
In Christ, there is no room for either sexism or racism. In Christ, every living inner self—raised from death by God the Father—is a son of God … the fleshly body isn’t a son of God. And about the fleshly body, Paul said the holy ones at Corinth,
Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame. But someone will ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?" You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as He has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (1 Cor 15:34–50 emphasis added)
The person who has no knowledge of God will ask, what kind of a body do the dead have when they are raised from death? The person with no knowledge of God will think only in terms of the fleshly body that will not become imperishable spirit. The person with no knowledge of God will not realize that the fleshly body of the person is to the spiritually living inner self of the person as the whale’s body was to Jonah … the sign of Jonah in the physical pertains to Jesus being three days and three nights in the heart of the earth [the Garden Tomb], but in the spiritual, the sign of Jonah pertains to the resurrection of Jonah from death in the belly of the whale, with Jonah’s “life” apart from the whale’s life as the inner self [psuche] of a person has, when born of spirit, life apart from the life of the fleshly body.
Again, it is the person—the drunkard who teaches here a little, there a little, line upon line, precept upon precept (Isa 28:1–13)—who has no knowledge of God that asks what kind of a body will a person raised from death have. Matthew’s Jesus told Sadducees that they didn’t know Scripture or understand the power of God when they asked this question as if they were drunkards:
The same day Sadducees came to Him [Jesus], who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked Him a question, saying, "Teacher, Moses said, 'If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.' Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her." But Jesus answered them, "You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not God of the dead, but of the living." (Matt 22:23–32 emphasis and double emphasis added)
In the resurrection, human sons of God will be like angels that have a received “nature” that exists apart the glorious bodies that angels have.
In Daniel’s vision of the first year of Belshazzar, Daniel sees demonic kings rise out of the sea of humanity as beasts rising from water [as four Grumman G-21 Gooses motoring ashore]. And the first demonic king looked like a lion with eagle’s wings. And in Daniel’s vision, he saw the wings plucked off and the lion lifted up so as to stand on two feet as if he were a man, and this demonic king was given the mind of a man (Dan 7:4). This demonic king had the “mind,” the nature of an angel taken from it and was given the mind/nature of a man in lieu of its previous angelic mind/nature.
King Nebuchadnezzar himself had the mind of a man taken from him for the seven years when he was given the mind of a beast; the mind of an ox (Dan 4:16).
The prophet Isaiah wrote concerning the Root of Jesse:
Righteousness shall be the belt of His waist, and faithfulness the belt of His loins. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of Him shall the nations inquire, and His resting place shall be glorious. (Isa 11:5–10)
If wolves are to dwell with lambs, then the predatory natures of wolves, lions, bears will be changed without the physical bodies of these great predators being changed. A new spirit or new mind or new nature will be given to predators so that there is no harm in all of God’s holy mountain. And if new natures are given to bears that now prey on moose calves (because their noses are good enough to locate calves where cows have hidden them), then new natures will be to human predators, from child molesters to swindlers, with their new natures coming before either bears [that will never receive glorious bodies] or men receive non-fleshly bodies.
The “mind” of a person, like the “heart” of the person are euphemistic expressions for the inner self of the person, with this mind or heart when raised from death having life apart from the life of the fleshly body, again as Jonah had life inside the whale. And this Herbert Armstrong and his minions never understood: those who idolize Armstrong to this day cannot get past the concept that a “person” is the fleshly body that has been consigned to disobedience and death and that will not be glorified ever. It is the living inner self of a person that will receive a glorious new body when the person is resurrected a second time from death.
It is really not fair to pick on someone—Herbert Armstrong—who died thirty years ago: January 16, 1986. Who died as an old man that had exposed his overt racism in the last book he wrote, Mystery of the Ages (1985). But Armstrong is able to defend himself through the many articles, booklets, and books he wrote that have been placed on the Internet by his idolaters … the idolization of Herbert Armstrong as God’s essential endtime man persists to this day, when in reality Armstrong understood nothing about biblical prophecy, nothing about spiritual birth, nothing about the movement of Israel from being a physical people to being the nation of living inner selves, raised from death by God the Father (John 5:21). And it is these subjects that will be explored and discussed in January’s Sabbath Readings.
The swindler who defrauded his brother in Christ here in Michigan graduated from Armstrong’s Ambassador College, but he was never ordained. His instructors once asked him if he could explain Zechariah chapter 5. He couldn’t. And he didn’t know why his instructors were asking him about a flying scroll or about a woman in a basket. They didn’t ask anyone else in the class about Zechariah 5 … his instructors knew him better than he knew himself.
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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."