The following Scripture passages are offered to aid beginning fellowships. The readings and commentary are offered as openings into dialogue about the subject or concept. And the concept behind the readings for this Sabbath is rebellion against God.
For the weekly Sabbath of December 31, 2005
The person conducting the Sabbath service should open services with two or three hymns, or psalms, followed by an opening prayer acknowledging that two or three (or more) are gathered together in Christ Jesus’ name, and inviting the Lord to be with them.
The person conducting the services should read or assign to be read Numbers chapters 13 & 14.
Commentary: The setting for sending the twelve spies into the Promised Land is the wilderness of Paran, the ancestral home of Ishmael, the firstborn natural son of Abraham, the father of the faithful. The greater Christian Church is, today, the firstborn spiritual son of God the Father, and of Christ Jesus, first of the firstfruits. And as the liberated (from servitude to Pharaoh) nation of physically circumcised Israel sent the heads of the clans into God’s rest (referencing Ps 95:10-11 & Heb 3:19) to spy out the land, so too will the liberated (from the law of sin & death presently dwelling in the flesh of every disciple — Rom 7:25) spiritually circumcised nation send the heads of denominations into the Sabbath rest to spy out and explore this promised mental landscape.
Moses sent the twelve heads or representatives of the twelve clans into Canaan with instructions to see what the land is, and whether the people who dwell in the land are weak or strong, few or many, and whether the land is rich or poor, timbered or not. Moses also told the twelve representatives and soon-to-be spies to bring back some of the fruit of the land, for it was the season of the first ripe grapes, the firstfruits of that year’s wine harvest.
The spies didn’t return immediately, but forty days later, a number representing the conclusion [or death] of a matter. And they brought with them a single cluster of grapes large enough that it was carried on a pole by two of the spies. This cluster, however, was a representation—a month or more after the first of the grape crop had ripened (Num )—of the main crop. The firstfruits would have already been harvested.
reported that God’s rest was, indeed, a good land, flowing with milk and honey.
It was everything God had promised, but…and here is where the faith of ten
spies fail: there were giants in the land. These
giants, according to Caleb, could be defeated;
Two hundred and twenty days into the seven endtime years of tribulation, ten [or more] representatives of Christianity will bring to the spiritually circumcised holy nation of God an evil report concerning God’s rest. About this time of that calendar year in which the Tribulation begins, the representatives of the greater Church will formalize Christianity’s rebellion against God by declaring that keeping the Sabbaths of God would, indeed, be a good thing to do, but obedience to the laws of God is not necessary, and would actually be a negation of Jesus’ sacrifice. Therefore, these representatives will declare that obedience to God is too large of a giant to defeat even though disciples have been empowered by the Holy Spirit. Because of their empowerment, these representatives will commit blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and they will cause the vast majority of Christians worldwide to commit unforgivable blasphemy. This will be the great falling away (2 Thess 2:3) when the lawless one or man of perdition is revealed—and this great falling away is absolutely needless, but prophetically certain.
from the physical preceding the spiritual, and from the visible revealing the
invisible, the physically circumcised nation forms the spiritually lifeless
shadow of the spiritually circumcised holy nation of God. The physically
circumcised nation yet remains loved by God because of its forefathers, but
today the holy nation of God consists of disciples of
Christ Jesus who have received actual spiritual birth through receipt of the
Holy Spirit. These disciples are not in one denomination, nor are they unified
by dogma. Rather, they are as divided as were the twelve clans of the natural
circumcision could not be detected on a clothed or robed Israelite male except
by the actions of this natural firstborn son of God (Exod ). Likewise, within the greater Christian Church,
spiritual circumcision is not detectable except by the actions of the son of
God. All “Christians” are presently robed in the righteousness of Christ Jesus.
This garment of grace cloaks the flesh of both genuine spiritual Israelites,
upon whom judgment presently resides, and pretenders, self-identified
Christians through physical birth or infant baptism or the acceptance of clever
arguments. And herein lies an aspect of Christianity that has escaped
apologists and skeptics: as a mixed multitude left
The reader should now read Exodus chapter 12, verses 29 through 49.
Commentary: The institution of the Passover separated the natural
The reader should now read Ephesians chapter 2.
Commentary: Every disciple, though physically living, was spiritually dead, a son of disobedience, prior to when the disciple was called or drawn by the Father (John , 65). The person, literally, had no spiritual life, or life that did not come from the oxidation of sugars within the person’s body. The person was as a beast, what Solomon writes: Eccl 3:18-21. Yes, God has been testing humanity. The lie the first Eve swallowed before she sampled forbidden fruit was that she would surely not die (Gen 3:4). The last Eve, the Church, swallowed in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th centuries CE, the Hellenistic version of this same lie. Human beings are not born with immortal souls that are in need of regeneration. Rather, human beings are like beasts, with no life but that which comes from their physical breath until they are born anew or born-from-above or born again through receipt of divine breath [Pneuma ’Agion], the Holy Spirit. Human beings go from consisting of psuche and soma, the Greek words for the components of the twelve disciples when Jesus sent them forth (Matt ), to being pneuma, psuche, and soma when the Apostle Paul wishes the born anew Thessalonian disciples good health (1 Thess ).
The lie the last Eve believed has effectively concealed from humanity the nature of spiritual birth. Divisions of humanity according to the flesh are only physical divisions, which foreshadow the spiritual division that was to come with the Logos being born as the man Jesus (John 1:1-2, 14). Circumcision of the foreskin formed a separation that was not based upon skin color or ethnic lineage although ancestry certainly entered into the decision of whether to circumcise an infant. Rather, circumcision formed a division of who was of God, and who could care less about the God of Abraham. Likewise, circumcision of the heart (i.e., birth from receipt of the Holy Spirit) forms a physically invisible division of humanity between those who are today the spiritual children of God the Father, and those who have not yet received spiritual life. All will receive such birth, for God is not a respecter of persons. But most of humanity will receive this second birth when resurrected from death—the essence of resurrection from death to life is a second birth. But those disciples who have been born ahead of time, or in this era as early figs, presently have judgment upon them (1 Pet ). They will, if they hear the words of Jesus and believe the One who sent Him, pass from death to life (John ); for they already have spiritual life. They are today working out their salvation by doing those things that they know, from the law of God being written on their hearts and placed in their minds, are right. They are not hypocrites, knowing to keep the law of God which is neither too difficult to keep nor far from them (Rom 10:5-8 coupled with Deu 30:11-14) but not doing so. If they are hypocrites, their righteousness does not exceed that of the Pharisees and they will in no way enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt ). However, if they have not yet been born from above, they are not presently under judgment. Their judgment will come in the great White Throne Judgment following a thousand years of Jesus’ reign over humanity.
As the twelve
spies could enter the Promised Land of God’s rest and pass throughout the land
for forty days without their physical circumcision being observed by any
Canaanite, so too can Christians
enter into keeping God’s laws and pass through keeping the Sabbaths of God
without their spiritual circumcision being observed, sad as that is to say.
When these Christians return to a
mental wilderness of Paran, the
The prophesied great falling away that is certain to occur will be spiritually circumcised disciples, 220 days into the seven endtime years of tribulation, determining that they will keep their traditions and will not enter into God’s rest on the Sabbath, but on the following 8th-day. This determination to reject keeping the laws of God, and especially the Sabbaths of God, will occur seven plus months after the second Passover. And instead of Christians being raptured from the evil of the Tribulation, they will be humanly responsible—as Cain was for slaying righteous Abel—for the persecution and martyrdom of those individuals who keep the laws of God, especially the weekly Sabbath.
against God will not look like rebellion to those who come under the delusion
God will send over disciples who do not love the truth (2 Thess
-12). Rebellion didn’t look like
rebellion in the wilderness of Paran when the natural
The reader should now read 1 Samuel chapter 8.
Commentary: There were plenty of reasons for Israel not to want
Samuel’s sons as their judges, but the natural nation’s desire to be like other
nations was absolute rebellion against God—rebellion that seemed logical,
rebellion that seemed reasonable. So too will the spiritual nation of
against God will seem innocent enough to those disciples who have never
attempted to live by the laws of God written on their hearts and minds.
Additionally, every fellowship, every sect, every denomination has tares that
have been sown among the wheat—these tares look like wheat, grow faster than
wheat, and produce no useable crop. But because the spiritual nation of
The history of
Christianity is that which John records in his third epistle: the behavior of Diotrephes (v.
9), unfortunately, has occurred over and over again. The name changes, but the
tare putting himself first and excluding genuine disciples is what brings
greater Christianity to where the great falling away is certain. It has also
brought the remnant that left spiritual
How many Christians are actually spiritually
circumcised (i.e., born from above) cannot be determined from a distance. How
many are willing to live by the laws of God cannot be determined. For the
spiritual nation remains in Egypt/Babylon, remains living through the long
spiritual night of watching that began when the Lamb of God was sacrificed at
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."