Sabbath, December 5, 2015
An Open Letter
When a festival, a new moon, or a Sabbath is a shadow of things to come, with the substance of these things to come being Christ Jesus (Col 2:16–17), the meaning of high Sabbaths and their associated festivals will “change” as the authoritative position of Christ Jesus changes. In other words, as Christ moves beyond being the Beloved of the Most High (which He will always be) and the Creator of all things physical (which He will also always be); moves beyond being the God of Abraham, the Redeemer of Israel, the Firstborn Son of the Most High, to being the High Priest of a second Israel, to being King of kings and Lord of lords, the shadow that Christ casts in this world also changes, meaning that the symbolism represented by High Sabbaths and their attached festivals change—also meaning that the High Sabbaths themselves change from what Moses gave Israel before the children of Israel entered the Promised Land to what the Lord gave to Ezekiel before a second Israel enters the Millennium. And as High Sabbath symbolism changes, the traditions employed by God to aid the people in their remembrance and understanding of “a festival, a new moon, or a Sabbath” (their understanding of their relationship with Christ Jesus) will also change.
But it is changing High Sabbaths from their present times and seasons that will prove most difficult for Israel to accept … even in this present era, the Passover is not observed by rabbinical Judaism (descendants of the Pharisees) on the same day as Moses commanded Israel to keep the Passover when Israel was in Egypt, but on the day when Moses commanded the children of Israel to keep the Passover in the Promised Land. Compare:
Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD's Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. … Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you. You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. (Ex 12:3–14; 21–24 double emphasis added)
Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover to the LORD your God, for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night. And you shall offer the Passover sacrifice to the LORD your God, from the flock or the herd, at the place that the LORD will choose, to make his name dwell there. You shall eat no leavened bread with it. Seven days you shall eat it with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction—for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste—that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt. No leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the flesh that you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain all night until morning. You may not offer the Passover sacrifice within any of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, but at the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make His name dwell in it, there you shall offer the Passover sacrifice, in the evening at sunset, at the time you came out of Egypt. And you shall cook it and eat it at the place that the LORD your God will choose. And in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents. For six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD your God. You shall do no work on it. (Deut 16:1–8 emphasis and double emphasis added)
Before the Passover liberation of Israel, the Passover was to be eaten the evening before Israel left Egypt … in the Promised Land, the Passover was to be eaten the evening that Israel left Egypt—
The day on which the Passover was to be eaten under the Moab Covenant is different by a day from when the Passover was to be eaten under the Passover Covenant, the covenant made with Israel on the day when the Lord took the fathers of Israel by the hand to lead this people out from Egypt, with the Passover Covenant to be replaced by the New Covenant, not yet in effect for the Law hasn’t yet been written on hearts of all Israel so that all know the Lord. Again, compare:
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. (Ex12:42–51 emphasis added)
Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and 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, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, 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 law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, “Know the LORD,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jer 31:31–34 emphasis added)
On that day when the Lord led Israel out from the Egypt, with Israel journeying in the late afternoon and evening from Rameses to Succoth (Ex 12:37), not far physically but far psychologically, the Lord formally made the Passover Covenant with Israel, making a distinction between circumcised Israel and the uncircumcised people who left Egypt with Israel. For included with the Passover Covenant were the seven additional days of unleavened bread that will be continued in the Millennium: “‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall celebrate the Feast of the Passover, and for seven days unleavened bread shall be eaten’” (Ezek 45:21)
The children of Israel entering the Promised Land forms the shadow and type of a physical people filled with the spirit of God [pneuma Theou] entering into the Millennium … the Moab Covenant does not go into effect until Israel in a far land (in this far land because the Lord drove them out from the Promised Land as the Lord drove Adam and Eve out from the Garden of Eden) by faith turns to the Lord and believes the Lord in all that He commanded the children of Israel on the plains of Moab. Then the Lord will circumcise the hearts of this second nation of Israel as Moses commanded the children of Israel to circumcised themselves in the flesh after the children of Israel crossed the Jordan and entered into the Promised Land as the selected Passover lamb of God, this second nation of Israel penned in the Millennium as the children of Israel, crossing the Jordan on the 10th day of the first month (Josh 4:19) were penned in the Promised Land.
The symbolism is tight: the author of Hebrews links the Promised Land to the Sabbath, with the referent <rest> carrying three meanings: the seventh day of the week rest (the Sabbath), the millennial rest, and heaven itself. Thus, a Christian will weekly enter into the Promised Land by observing the Sabbath rest, and a second “second nation of Israel” will be figuratively given birth when the glorified Christ baptizes the world in the spirit of God when He receives dominion over the single kingdom of this world, with this second “second Israel” to be analogous to Matthew’s Jesus’ ten virgins (Matt 25:1–12), half of whom will be glorified at the Second Advent, half of whom enter into the Millennium as physical people filled with spirit and therefore without indwelling sin or death.
Greater Christendom representing today nearly a third of the world’s population will be collectively filled with spirit at the Second Passover liberation of this second Israel. But greater Christendom doesn’t listen to the Lord any more than ancient Israel in Egypt listened to the Lord:
Thus says the Lord GOD: On the day when I chose Israel, I swore to the offspring of the house of Jacob, making myself known to them in the land of Egypt; I swore to them, saying, I am the LORD your God. On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands. And I said to them, Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the LORD your God. But they rebelled against me and were not willing to listen to me. None of them cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. (Ezek 20:5–8 emphasis added)
If ancient Israel in Egypt serves as the shadow and copy of greater Christendom prior to the Second Passover liberation of this second nation of Israel, then the expectation is that greater Christendom is not willing to listen to God, nor cast away its detestable beliefs and traditions—and I have circled back to greater Christendom’s Easter tradition and belief that death was defeated with the resurrection of Christ Jesus at dawn on the first day of the week (not when He was resurrected but when the grave was found empty) …
The empty cross allegedly signifies that Jesus was resurrected; that He lives again. The dead Christ on the cross allegedly signifies that humanity’s Savior dies for all human persons. But both images emphasis physical death and as such fall within traditional iconography depicting human death. Neither icon hints at Jesus preaching to imprisoned spirits during the three days and three nights His earthly body was in the grave. And neither icon testifies about the defeat of Death that hasn’t yet occurred in this world; for nothing spiritual is established by the testimony of one witness, but by the testimony of two or three.
To what do the endtime two witnesses testify if not that Death has been defeated?
Yes, the two witnesses will testify that all who endure to the end shall be saved (from death), the good news that must to taken to all peoples and nations as a witness before the end can come (Matt 24:13–14), but these two will not be testifying from firsthand knowledge that all who endure will be saved until they, themselves, are saved from Death, the demonic king of the North, the fourth beast/king of Daniel’s vision in Belshazzar’s first year.
Until the two witnesses are returned to life after publicly laying dead for three days, these two cannot truly testify differently about Death than a person today can testify—
Throughout their 1260 day ministry, the two witnesses will do those things required of them to cause their death on a specific day, three days before dominion over the kingdom of this world is taken from the Adversary … their deaths followed three days later by their resurrections from death is their testimony that Death has been defeated. This will be the solid evidence needed to convince a skeptical world that everything has changed.
But greater Christendom doesn’t get the benefit of the testimony of the two witnesses.
By being filled with spirit at the Second Passover, Christians will figuratively sort themselves out, believing Christians as opposed to unbelieving Christians, with this sorting to occur based on the testimony of one witness, Christ Jesus.
No Christian today has firsthand knowledge about what happened following Calvary; for the Gospels do not agree about what happened … how many women went to the grave on the morning of the fourth day? One [John’s Gospel]? Two [Matthew’s Gospel]? Three [Mark’s Gospel]? Or many [Luke’s Gospel]?
Where did Jesus first appear to His disciples? What did He allegedly tell His disciples? And when was; when will be all authority in heaven and earth given to the glorified Jesus? Who is the present prince of this world, the present prince of the power of the air? … None of these questions can be answered conclusively when the New Testament is taken collectively, not as separate texts. So what is the testimony of Christ Jesus concerning the defeat of Death? The New Testament offers contradictory evidence if read literally, perhaps the principle reason the Roman Church did its best for centuries to prevent the Christian laity from reading Scripture.
If scientists were to seek evidence of intelligent life on this planet, they would not go to Washington, D.C., but would look on their desks for a paperclip … in nature with all of its complexity and with a 95% chance of molecules randomly forming into viable combinations, it isn’t complexity that discloses intelligent life, but the simpleness of bent wire serving as a clamp. Likewise, in looking for evidence of God and of God intervening in human affairs, it isn’t the rise of nations or of a particular nation that has significance, but the sudden and unexpected death of only firstborns, biological and legal, on a second Passover day.
Who but God could distinguish firstborns (all of whom belong to Him) from the remainder of the population? Birth-order isn’t information found on birth certificates; isn’t held by either Google or the NSA, but is held by God. Therefore, the sudden death of only firstborns around the world cannot be dismissed as merely coincidental. And this alone should be enough evidence for greater Christendom to conclude that the second nation of Israel has been poorly and falsely taught by its pastors and theologians.
As second-temple Pharisees could not distinguish between the Passover Covenant and the Moab Covenant but followed in the oral tradition of Israel’s priests in the days of David and Solomon, greater Christendom today cannot distinguish between the modified Passover Covenant and the New Covenant but follow the traditions of their Christian ancestors who long ago lost their way, thus climbing into bed with secular authorities where these early Christians were ravished and left pregnant with the traditions of Greek paganism.
Because of Israel’s oral traditions, the so-called oral Torah, that emerged among priests when the Book of the Covenant was first too sacred to be read then was lost in the temple, endtime disciples read the reforms of King Josiah differently from how second temple Parisees read these reforms:
Josiah removed all the shrines also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which kings of Israel had made, provoking the LORD to anger. He did to them according to all that he had done at Bethel. And he sacrificed all the priests of the high places who were there, on the altars, and burned human bones on them. Then he returned to Jerusalem. And the king commanded all the people, "Keep the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant." For no such Passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, or during all the days of the kings of Israel or of the kings of Judah. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah this Passover was kept to the LORD in Jerusalem. (2 Kings 23:19–23 emphasis added)
How did the Passover kept by Josiah on the eighteenth year of his reign differ from previous Passover kept by the kings of Israel? It is in the oral Torah where answers can be found; for second temple Pharisees kept the Passover according to the oral traditions, and they kept the Passover on the day when Israel left Egypt, the dark portion of the 15th day of Aviv, Israel leaving Egypt by the light of the full moon.
But Israel in Egypt had not killed, roasted, and eaten the Passover on the night when this nation left Egypt, but on the previous night. Thus the ancestors of rabbinical Judaism were not good readers of Scripture, but were sloppy readers, mistaking the Moab Covenant for the covenants they were then under [the Passover Covenant and the Second Sinai Covenant], not realizing that the Law was not written on their hearts and placed inside them by the Lord so that all would be taught by Him, thus knowing Him.
No Passover was kept in the temple by Israel until after the Book of the Covenant was found in the dilapidated temple built by Solomon centuries earlier. However, for ancient Israel to serve as the shadow and type of greater Christendom, this must be so; for today, greater Christendom will not take the Passover sacraments of blessed bread and drink on the Passover but only on another day, each fellowship doing what is right in its own eyes.
Before there can be reliable testimony in this endtime era about the seriousness of keeping the Passover, the Second Passover liberation of a second Israel will have to occur. Likewise, before there can be reliable testimony that Death has been defeated, the two witnesses will have to die, lay publicly dead for long enough that everyone is assured that these two are not in some sort of a coma, then be raised from death and called forth into the first heaven, disappearing into the sky.
The two witnesses will not have to utter a word: their resurrection and ascension will be enough testimony to convince even skeptics that Death has lost its sting. Then, and not really before then, their testimony that all who endure to the end shall be saved will be believed.
The work of prophesying that all who endure to the end shall be saved will be done before the ministry of the two witnesses begin: Philadelphia does this work of delivering the endtime good news that all who endure to the end shall be saved before the ministry of the two witnesses begin having done this work … this testimony given before the defeat of Death is actually prophecy and is principally the work of the one called to reread prophecy, not the firsthand testimony of witnesses,.
If the defeat of Death could be established by the testimony of one person—Christ Jesus—what would be the need for the testimony of the two witnesses? If death were truly defeated by the Father raising Jesus from the grave, why are there three ribs (representing three breaths of life) in the mouth of Abaddon, the bear, the prince of the Abyss?
Again with God, nothing is established by the testimony of one witness. It is by the testimony of two or three witnesses that a thing is established. And if Jesus is to be believed (His references to the sign of Jonah), He was gone from the grave at the end of the Sabbath; i.e., after three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (all day Thursday, the 15th day of the first month and the High Sabbath; all day Friday, the 16th day; all day Sabbath, the 17th day). So the question for greater Christendom to address is, what did Jesus do for approximately fifteen missing hours before He spoke to Mary Magdalene (John 20:17)? And how will these missing hours translate into John’s reckoning of the kingdom (Rev 1:9)?
The two witnesses “testify” to the defeat of Death, the fourth beast and the fourth horseman, by their public resurrection from death. It is the result of the testimony of these two that Daniel sees in vision:
As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took His seat; His clothing was white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool; His throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came out from before Him; a thousand thousands served Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. (Dan 7:9–14 emphasis added)
With the resurrection from death of the two witnesses, Death is dealt a mortal wound. Its cross-shaped body is burned with fire. But after the Son of Man receives dominion over the single kingdom of this world and the Adversary is cast into space-time, Death’s wound is healed …
And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?" (Rev 13:1–4 emphasis added)
Halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation, the whole world worships “Death,” the fourth horseman of John’s vision; the fourth king/beast of Daniel’s vision of Belshazzar’s first year.
A symbol, any symbol, takes its meaning from its context … a symbol apart from its context is meaningless. Thus, the cross takes its meaning from the context in which the cross is found. In the 1st-Century BCE, the Roman cross certainly didn’t represent Christ Jesus. It didn’t represent Christ when Jesus was crucified: it was an implement of death reserved for Rome’s political prisoners. It represented a degraded death, the death of someone who dared challenge Roman authority. As such, the crucified person was a political fatality. And this would have been the context for the cross at Calvary.
In actuality, the cross doesn’t signify resurrection from death in any context, but signifies death itself; for Jesus was resurrected from the grave, not from the cross. Nevertheless, within greater Christendom, the cross as a symbol has come to represent the resurrection of Christ Jesus, with this representation translating into the testimony of the two witnesses, not good news for these two.
When a festival, a new moon, a Sabbath is a shadow of the reality that is Christ Jesus, the reality is darkly seen by its shadow. The reality and its shadow do not walk separate paths in this world. Thus, the person in whom Christ Jesus dwells will also cast as his or her shadow the festival, the new moon, the Sabbath—and if the person casts as this son of God’s shadow a Sabbath, the person will be keeping the Sabbath.
The traditions of Philadelphia are those that the Lord, the Creator of all things physical, delivered to Israel. They are not those of greater Christendom.
The “pole” around which all High Sabbaths and festivals swing is the weekly Sabbath, the seventh day of a seven day week. And Moses’ list of the Sabbaths of the Lord begins with the weekly Sabbath:
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the LORD that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts: Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the LORD in all your dwelling places. (Lev 23:1–3)
The substance [the spiritual reality] of the weekly Sabbath is Christ as Creator; is Christ as the Beloved of God who rests/rested on a spiritual seventh day … in the timeless heavenly realm, there is no past nor future nor remembrance of past activity. There is only the present. All things happen in the present, with the existing present erasing what came before, a concept difficult to convey to human persons who remember yesterday and plan for tomorrow.
The concept of there being no heavenly remembrance of the past undergirds the New Covenant, the Second Passover Covenant:
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. (Heb 8:8–12 emphasis and double emphasis added)
For God to not remember sins as a term of a covenant, the covenant cannot be “physical,” but must necessarily be spiritual; i.e., of heaven, made in heaven with heavenly entities (sons of God). Nevertheless, the Law [Torah] will be written on hearts and placed in minds so that all are taught by God. No one shall teach neighbor and brother to know the Lord for all shall know the Lord through having the Law written on hearts.
The Sabbath Commandment is found in the Law; thus, the Sabbath is a facet of the New Covenant. So even for sons of God truly born of spirit, the Sabbath Commandment is central to knowing the Lord; for keeping the Sabbath by resting on the day when physical manna wasn’t given (Ex 16:4–5, 22–26) is evidence of believing God, evidence of having received spiritual bread from heaven … since the days of Moses and the giving of manna in the wilderness, the seven-day weekly cycle hasn’t been lost although the necessary creation of the International Date Line serves as a modification that caused, in Sitka, there to be two Fridays in the week when the United States took possession of Alaska from Russia.
Because, under the New Covenant, the Law will be written on hearts, a euphemism for the inner self [psuche], the Law itself is eternal, that is not of this world, a concept embedded in Paul saying that the law is holy (Rom 7:12). Therefore, the Sabbath is eternal, a representation of heaven itself. And this correspondence between heaven and the Sabbath produces the correspondence between the Promised Land [Canaan] and the Sabbath as previously discussed:
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said, "Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion." For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief. Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as He has said, "As I swore in my wrath, 'They shall not enter my rest,'" although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: "And God rested on the seventh day from all His works." And again in this passage He said, "They shall not enter my rest." Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again He appoints a certain day, "Today," saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, "Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts." For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. (Heb 3:13–4:11 emphasis added)
As a sign, a symbol, the weekly Sabbath represents both heaven and its type or shadow, the Promised Land. And as sons of God can only enter heaven through the indwelling of the spirit of Christ in their spirits, Christ also “represents” heaven in His body and personhood. So the death of the physical body of the man Jesus on the cross at Calvary serves as shadow of the “death” of heaven irself, death caused by the rebellion of an anointed cherub, death that causes the recreation or resurrection of heaven with New Jerusalem as its core.
But as a symbol, the weekly Sabbath also represents the creation of heaven and earth and their Creator … in the first Sinai Covenant, the Lord gives the following reason for keeping the Sabbath: “‘For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy’” (Ex 20:11).
The weekly Sabbath at Sinai serves as a memorial of the creation of all things physical—and before Israel left its camp around the base of Mount Sinai, the Lord tells Moses,
You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, “Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.” (Ex 31:13–17)
The Sabbath at Sinai was a sign or a symbol between the Lord and Israel—was His symbol, not Israel’s symbol—that He had sanctified Israel, and that in six days He had made heaven and earth and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed. Thus, laboring for six days and resting on the seventh day is the sign of the creation, with the identifying sign <day> within the larger symbol of weekly Sabbath observance here being undefined.
However, forty years later, on the plains of Moab Moses mediates a second covenant with a second Israel, the children of Israel, that also has Sabbath observance as a symbol, now not of the creation but of Israel’s liberation from slavery: “‘You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day’” (Deut 5:15).
Because few Christians know the Moab Covenant to be the second covenant from which the Book of Deuteronomy takes its name, and because you will most likely have to explain the Moab Covenant to someone, let it here be said that the Moab Covenant (Deut 29:1) is a covenant made in addition to the second Sinai Covenant … the first Sinai Covenant ended when Israel broke covenant with the Lord and Moses broke the stone tablets and the blood of Israel was shed by the sons of Levi (a covenant is the distance between one cutting or shedding of blood and the next cutting or shedding of blood). So the covenant at Sinai that was ratified by the blood of bulls (Ex 24:5–8) ended with the shedding of the blood of Israel (Ex 32:27–28). But a second Sinai Covenant was made between the Lord and Moses and between the Lord and the people of Israel [two covenantees], with this second Sinai Covenant being a spiritual contract ratified by the shining on Moses’ face from having entered into the presence of the glory of God (Ex 34:29–30).
The children of Israel entering the Promised Land served as a shadow of a second Israel entering heaven through the indwelling of the glory of the Lord in their glory.
This seems a reasonable place to end this third installment of this open letter … with the Second Passover of a second nation of Israel, Christ Jesus will fill every Christian with the spirit of God; for He will no longer serve as Christendom’s High Priest. Rather, He and the Father will watch to see what Christians do when the desires of their hearts and the thoughts of their minds can no longer be hidden even from themselves. For both the Father and the Son know that Christians in the Affliction will do what the nation of Israel that left Egypt did in the wilderness, meaning that almost all of greater Christendom will spiritually perish in the Affliction. Only a spiritual Joshua and a spiritual Caleb will enter heaven—and this is truly bad news for a people who should be spiritually first when it comes to entering heaven. It will, instead, be the third part of humankind (from Zech 13:9) that enters into God’s rest.
"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."