The Philadelphia Church

And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matt 4:19)"

September 15, 2003 ©Homer Kizer

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The Sabbath as Christ’s Rest

The spiritual Church in Philadelphia teaches disciples to live within the laws of God that have been written on hearts and minds as a condition of the new covenant (Jer 31:33; Heb 8:10 & 10:16) when disciples were drawn from the world (John 6:44, 65). Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:2 through 7:27), shows the relationship between the old written code (Rom 7:6) and the spiritual laws of God. Under the Sinai Covenant, murder was a transgression of the visible, physical commandments; i.e., the Ten Commandments. The invisible, spiritual equivalent of murder is anger or hate (Matt 5:21-22). Under the Sinai Covenant, adultery was a transgression of the physical law. Its spiritual equivalent is looking upon someone other than one’s spouse with lustful intent (vv. 27-28). Under the eternal covenant, the laws of God are no longer outside the disciple; a disciple is not under the law (Rom 6:14). Rather, the laws of God have been internalized. Transgressions of the law are what the disciple does in his or her mind. Anger is mental, as are lustful intentions. The new covenant doesn’t magnify the laws of God in the sense that the laws are enlarged. What the new covenant does is relocate the laws of God from what a person does with his or her body to what a person does with his or her mind.

In all things pertaining to the Bible, the physical precedes the spiritual (1 Cor 15:46), and the visible reveals the invisible (Rom 1:20). Therefore, The Philadelphia Church recognizes that Jesus teaching His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount is the spiritual equivalent of YHWH speaking to Moses from atop Mount Sinai – "the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever’" (Exod 19:9). From atop Sinai, YHWH doesn’t speak to assembled Israelites, but to Moses. The assemble Israelites overheard what YHWH said to Moses just as spiritual Israelites today overhear through reading what Jesus said to His disciples from atop the Mount.

The terms of the agreement by which circumcised Israel became the holy nation of God (Exod 19:5-6) were twofold: (1) obey YHWH’s voice, and (2) keep YHWH’s covenant. Circumcised Israel heard YHWH’s voice when YHWH spoke to Moses (20:1-17). The second part of what they were to is keep YHWH’s covenant (Exod 20:22 through 23:33), with the obligations of both Covenantor and covenantee clearly delineated. And this visible, physical giving of the laws and covenant of YHWH to physical Israel forms the shadow of God the Father giving the invisible, spiritual laws of God to spiritual Israel. God’s holy nation is now spiritual Israel (1 Pet 2:9). The Sinai covenant has been abolished (Eph 2:15). Circumcised Israel no longer has any covenant relationship with God: they killed the Covenantor (John 1:14) on Calvary. They permanently broke the covenant – God doesn’t cut a person or a nation off from Himself. He allows the person or the nation to cut themselves off, whether through having the person cut the link by which He was feeding the person, or, as in the case of physical Israel, by the nation crucifying the Logos (John 1:1-2), the one who spoke to Moses from atop Sinai.

The Apostles heard Jesus utter the spiritual laws of God that have been written on the hearts and minds of disciples when drawn from the world. Spiritual Israelites ever since have overheard Jesus speak to His disciples through reading His recorded words in the Gospels. The second covenant which spiritual Israelites is to keep is the Apostle Paul’s law of faith (Rom 3:27), which becomes his "the righteousness based on faith" (Rom 10:6) – and Paul cites the second covenant mediated by Moses (Deu 30:11-14). This second covenant is the Moab covenant (Deu 29:1), an additional covenant made with uncircumcised Israelites (Jos 5:2-7). This is the visible, physical second covenant. When the mediator changes from Moses to the glorified Christ Jesus (Heb 9:15), better promises are added. Physical life becomes everlasting spiritual life. And circumcision of the heart and mind [naphesh should here be translated as mind rather than soul], a euphemistic expression for the receiving the Holy Spirit, now precedes obedience rather than follows obedience (Deu 30:6) to the laws of God.

Therefore, spiritual Israelites spiritually hear the voice of Jesus through reading the Sermon on the Mount, and they spiritually keep the second or eternal covenant by doing what is written in the Book of Deuteronomy (Deu 30:10), applying what has been written spiritually rather than physically in the same relationship as murder is to anger, and adultery is to lustful intentions. Grace is Christ as the reality of the Azazel goat bearing the sins of spiritual Israelites in the heavenly realm. No sin will ever be imputed to a spiritual Israelite as long as the disciple mentally remains a willing party to the eternal covenant. However, if a disciple leaves the covenant, or erases the laws of God written on his or her heart and mind (another euphemistic expression for receiving the Holy Spirit), the disciple has committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This disciple will be resurrected to condemnation (John 5:29).

When circumcised Israel heard YHWH’s voice, the holy nation heard the Lord tell Moses to remember the Sabbath day and to keep the Sabbath holy (Exod 20:8-11). Circumcised Israel then agreed to keep YHWH’s covenant, which includes laws about the Sabbath and the festivals (i.e., annual Sabbaths) of God (Exod 23:12-17). So the command to keep the weekly Sabbath was in both the spoken words of YHWH, and in His covenant. Spiritual Israel should, thus, expect to find the spiritual equivalent in both the second covenant, and in the words of Jesus delivered in the Sermon on the Mount. Of course, the Ten Commandments are repeated in the Book of Deuteronomy (Deu 5:1-21). Jesus addressing the Sabbath in the Sermon on the Mount is more difficult to recognize.

Under the Sinai Covenant, murder is a physical act done with one’s body. So too is stealing, bearing false witness, committing adultery, creating graven images, resting on the seventh day. Jesus addressed the mental or spiritual application of murder and adultery – and He addressed every other commandment in His statement, ‘"Therefore, whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments [of the Law – from v. 17] and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven’" (Matt 5:19). Regardless of which commandment of the Law a person thinks is least important, the person is to do and to teach that commandment. Jesus as the Logos (John 1:1-2, 14) didn’t negate the commandments He, from atop Sinai, spoke to Moses loud enough for all Israel to hear. Rather, He moved what had been outside a physical Israelite to inside a spiritual Israelite. The verbally spoken Law, given at Sinai, was for the visible, physical body of an Israelite. The verbally spoken law, given in the Sermon on the Mount, is for the invisible mind of a spiritual Israelite. And a person’s mind should rule the person’s body, the problem Paul addresses in the 7th chapter of his epistle to the Romans. Grace covers a disciple’s failures as long as the disciple’s state of mind causes the disciple to strive to keep even the least of the commandments. A person cannot aspire to "the works of the flesh" (Gal 3:19-21) and expect to be glorified, for "the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh…to keep [a born-again disciple] from doing the things [this disciple] wants to do" (v. 17). If the disciple is lead by the Spirit, the disciple is not under the law (v. 18); for the invisible mind of this disciple hears the words of Jesus and keeps covenant with Him, thereby ruling over the visible body of this disciple.

The Sabbath commandment was given to physical Israel because ‘"in six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy’" (Exod 20:11).

When the Logos created the heaven and the earth, He also created time, or rather, space-time. Thus, time is a created fluid much like water, with the same sort of fluid dynamics. All air-breathing creatures [naphesh] live inside time as fish live in water. And a specific portion or quantity of time has been made holy by its Creator. No one else has the authority to make time holy. A fish cannot effectively declared part of a farm pond a no-fishing zone. Nor can human beings declare part of the body of fluid in which they live holy. The idea that human beings can is so nonsensical as to be ludicrous.

But the physically uttered Sabbath commandment referenced the physical creation of the heavens and the earth. However, the creation account – Genesis 1:1 through 2:3 – is also the synopsis for the invisible, spiritual plan of God for the creation of many sons, of whom Christ Jesus is "the firstborn among many brothers" (Rom 8:29). These many brothers are the human beings whom God the Father foreknew, predestined, justified and glorified (vv. 29-30). They have, outside of time, entered into Christ’s Sabbath day rest; for Christ Jesus returns to earth to reign as the Lord of lords and King of kings at the end of the sixth day of the invisible week of the spiritual creation. He rests from bearing the sins of disciples by giving those sins back to their rightful owners. As the last Adam, a life-giving spirit (1 Cor 15:45), He has spiritually labored just as the first Adam labored once Eve believed the serpent’s lie that she would not die. He has tilled the stony hearts and minds of the mental landscapes of disciples, thereby changing what had been stone to flesh. Outside of time, there has been no weekly Sabbath rest for Christ Jesus, who has labored continuously for the entirety of the physical creation to produce the harvest of the earth (Rev 14:15). He will rest, though, once the early harvest (or barley harvest) is in the barn. This harvest is of the firstfruits of the earth, of whom He was first. And this harvest is brought into the barn when He returns as the Messiah. Outside of time, this harvest has already been gathered – foreknown saints were predestined, and have been justified and glorified upon His return in the beginning hours of the Lord’s day, seventh day Sabbath of the invisible, spiritual creation week. Unfortunately, humanity cannot move around in time, nor escape time. Those same glorified sons of God and younger brothers of Christ Jesus can watch themselves work out their own salvation as if they were watching home movies of their own physical childhood. The end of a matter is known from the beginning, for outside of time, both the conclusion and the beginning of a matter can be observed simultaneously. Not so, however, from within time.

Until the dynamics of space-time became common knowledge in the 20th-Century, the dynamics of predestination could not be understood. The Book of Revelation describes in some detail the events immediately preceding the spiritual Lord’s day, or Sabbath day. It vaguely describes the main harvest of humanity that is the great White Throne Judgment that follows Christ’s Millennium rest. This main harvest of everyone who has never had the Holy Spirit occurs on a spiritual eighth day, a work day when the many glorified brothers of Christ Jesus will help Him gather in this harvest. All glorified saints will work on the eighth day.

If glorified saints enter into Christ’s rest on the spiritual seventh day of the spiritual creation week, and if the physical Sabbath commandment commemorates the physical creation, then the spiritual Sabbath commandment becomes a commemoration of the spiritual seventh day rest of Christ. The spiritual Sabbath commandment commemorates Christ resting from bearing the sins of humanity. Human beings will then no longer have their present evil nature.

All Christians should keep the seventh day Sabbath as a memorial to their future entry into Christ’s rest when He returns as Lord of lords and King of kings.. When drawn from the world, born-again disciples know they should be keeping the Sabbath. They have to be taught to keep the eighth day rather than the seventh day, as would seem reasonable if a person merely read the words of Jesus. A disciple cannot, from the words of Jesus, find any change made to the Sabbath commandment. Disciples aren’t to look to how Pharisees or any other carnally minded collection of individuals kept the Sabbath – yes, the Pharisees made the Sabbath a burden has they successfully figured out to create an idol from an intangible object. Disciples are, rather, to hear the words of Jesus and to hold to His testimony.

When Satan is cast from heaven (Rev 12:9) and comes as the true antiChrist, he goes after disciples who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus (Rev 12:17). All of the world will have become the kingdom of the Most High and of His Christ (Rev 11:15); all of the world will have become the holy nation Israel through having baptism by the Holy Spirit (Matt 3:11 & Joel 2:28). All of the world will be Christian. But Satan doesn’t need to go after Christians who don’t keep the commandments. He already reigns over them, and he has been reigning over them as the prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2), for these individuals are the sons of disobedience. They have been taught lawlessness from teachers whom Christ will deny knowing during their judgment (Matt 7:21-23). Doing mighty works in Christ’s name means nothing if the person teaches disciples to commit spiritual suicide through the person’s teaching of lawlessness. This teacher of iniquity has heard the words of Jesus, and has chosen to ignore them. This person will not be watching him or herself work out the person’s salvation; this person will have been burned to ashes in the lake of fire upon Christ’s return.

All saints who have entered into Christ’s spiritual rest by being glorified upon His return can, sometime during the Lord’s day, watch themselves as spiritual children grow in grace and knowledge. If the saint knows to keep the seventh day Sabbath, the saint must. If this siant doesn’t, this saint is a hypocrite; this saint’s righteousness didn’t exceed that of the Pharisees (Matt 5:20).

As disciples, there is nothing we can do to speed up the passage of time. We must live through the quantity of time between now and the end, ours or of the age. Entering the spiritual promised land is glorification. Saints will then rest with Christ. Satan will be bound for a thousand years. All of humanity becomes the holy nation of Israel three and a half years before Christ returns. Again, all of humanity then receives the Holy Spirit. Those individuals who voluntarily return to bondage to Satan by accepting the mark of the beast (Chi xi stigma – or the tattoo of the Cross) will be killed. Those individuals who were baptized into Christ and who endured in faith to the end will be glorified. Everyone else will physically begin Christ’s Millennium reign over humanity by having the Holy Spirit and by having refused the mark of the beast. Their "human nature" will literally have been changed (yes, human nature can be changed!). Satan will not reign over their mental topography. They will have a different mindset than human beings have today. They will willingly keep the commandments, especially the Sabbath commandment. And Christ won’t need to bear their sins – they will bear their own death penalty if they sin, for Satan won’t be responsible for their rebellion against Christ. They will not hate, or have lustful intentions for their neighbor’s spouse. They will, in their minds, hear the words of Jesus and willingly keep covenant with Him. Human nature will become the nature of Christ Jesus as Lord of lords and King of kings. Presently, human nature is the nature of Satan as the spiritual king of Babylon (Isa 14:4-21).

The ramifications of human nature changing are mind-boggling. Humanity has no yardstick other than Christ Jesus by which it can contemplate its changed nature. The continuation of rebellion, of anger, of lustful intentions, of profaning the Sabbath can be easily imagined. These mindsets are the actual projection of Satan’s reign over humanity into an individual’s mind. They will cease to exist when Christ projects His reign over humanity into human mindsets.

The tendency has been only to think of Christ’s Millennium reign in physical terms – to think of Christ as only Lord of lords rather than as both Lord and King. In spiritual parlance, lords reign over the visible, physical creation, and kings reign over the invisible, spiritual creation. Within the Sabbath-keeping churches, there has not been agreed over even where saints will spend the Millennium. There has, however, been agreement that there will be a Millennium reign by Christ – keeping the weekly Sabbath is their reminder of Christ’s Millennium reign, of His rest that saints will enter when glorified. Forgetting the weekly Sabbath goes hand in hand with believing that saints can enter heaven to lounge around while awaiting their resurrection, or believing that human beings receive eternal life apart from that life being a gift of God given only to His servants (Rom 6:22-23).

Imagine receiving the Holy Spirit, then telling the one who gave you life in the spiritual realm that you will enter His rest on the eighth day rather than the seventh, that you don’t want to be in the harvest of firstfruits, but would rather be in the great White Throne Judgment. As a pot, you just have told the potter that He made a mistake in creating you as a vessel for special use, that you are really just a chamber pot. You might be, but God doesn’t think so. You would not have interest in spiritual matters if you were not foreknown and predestined by God (Rom 8:7); you would remain hostile to Him. To be reading this, you have been designated as a vessel created for special use. Why then would you want to enter Christ’s rest on any day other than the day that He rests? Why would you attempt to keep holy any day but the one Christ made holy? Why will you ignore the pricks?

As articles more fully describing the Sabbath are created, they will be listed below.

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The Philadelphia Church

The Sabbath - A Christian Marker