February 22, 2008 ©Homer Kizer

Commentary — From the Margins

The Spirit of Man

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And I when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God in lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that you faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Co 2:1–5)

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The invisible things of God are revealed by the visible things of this world, with one of those visible things having been the Apostle Paul coming to the saints at Corinth in weakness and fear and much trembling to deliver a message about Christ Jesus through the demonstration of the Spirit and power of God. Yes, the visible things of this world include the ministry of Christ Jesus, of the first disciples, and of the early Church. So it should come as no surprise that delivery of the endtime good news [gospel] that all who endure to the end shall be saved (Matt 24:13) has been and is mostly invisible in this world. But (and here is the kicker) this invisible demonstration of the Spirit and power of God has placed before more of the world’s population the reason and logic for the good news being just that, good news, than has ever before been reached by Christendom. Whether a person will hear this message depends now not on its powerful delivery but upon what the Father and the Son do in the lives of those who are able to hear.

In order for a person to hear the things of God, the person must have received the Spirit or divine Breath of God [Pneuma ’AgionA<,Ø:" U(4@<], with pneuma [B<,Ø:"] being the Greek linguistic icon most often used to mimetically represent moving air as in wind or deep breath, the icon borrowed into English as the root of pneumatic tools and pneumonia, the first being air-powered tools and the latter being the illness that causes lungs to fill with fluids.

At Corinth, Paul spoke not in power and fury. He did not deliver fiery oratory, preaching sinners into the flames of hell and saints into heaven, but rather, he spoke in weakness and in fear, his voice trembling. It was the demonstration of the Spirit of God that persuaded Greeks and Romans then living in Corinth, a city that had two centuries earlier been sacked by Rome as Carthage was then repopulated by freed peoples from around the empire a century later, to accept Christ Jesus as the Son of God and Christianity as the only way to salvation.

The weakness and trembling with which visibly Paul spoke is today the shadow of the endtime good news being delivered by those disciples who are without strength in this world (Rev 3:8), with their lack of strength as much of an embarrassment to them as Paul’s physical weaknesses (especially his eyes) were to him. For those who deliver the endtime good news that all who endure shall be saved are often called upon to help genuinely needy disciples in impoverished areas of this world and are not able to do so for they are themselves the impoverished of this world. Nevertheless in an invisible demonstration of power, this message, within a few hours of being written, will be circulated around the world, and will have been read by someone on every continent but Antarctica.

But how can there be an invisible demonstration of anything? Isn’t an “invisible demonstration” an oxymoron like cold heat?

The Apostle Paul continues the introductory thought:

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for it they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear head,

nor the heart of man imagined,

What God has prepared for those who love him—”

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (1 Co 2:6–11)

If no one can know the thoughts of God except through possession of the Spirit of God, then a dichotomy exists that makes knowing the thoughts (the things) of God privileged knowledge, unobtainable by ordinary or extraordinary means, unknowable by scholarship or by casual reading. This makes translation an on-going problem, especially when the subject under discussion, by its context, declares that without being one of “those who love Him” (and all those who love God keep His commandments), the person cannot understand the things of God, revealed by the Breath of God.

Understand the above! Unless you are a person who loves God—and all who love God keep His commandments, not eight or nine of ten outward expressions of what it means to love God with heart and mind and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, but all of His commands—you cannot understand the things of God. And if you do not understand the things of God, how is it possible for you translate spiritual things and not lose spiritual understanding? You cannot! And you know you can’t. But you are willing to muddle through, hoping to correctly convey the sense of what you do not understand. And then, others come behind you and valiantly attempt to wrestle meaning from your words that come from your lack of understanding. It is a wonder that anything comes from studying Scripture—and truly, without having been born of Spirit as a son of God, nothing spiritual does come from a person’s daily Bible study.

The Psalmist wrote,

Understand, O dullest of the people!

      Fools, when will you be wise?

He who planted the ear, does he not hear?

He who formed the eye, does he not see?

He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke?

He who teaches man knowledge—

      The Lord [YHWH] knows the thoughts of man,

      that they are but a breath. (94:8–11)

The thoughts of a man are but a breath, a vapor or puff of wind, which in Greek is pneuma [B<,Ø:"] or in Latin is spiritus. A man knows the things of a man by the breath that is in man. This is what Paul wrote about who knows a person’s thought except the spirit of that person (1 Co 2:11). Only the life within the person allows the person to know his or her thoughts or even to have thoughts. Without life, there would be no thought, for the dead know nothing (Eccl 9:5). What Paul addresses is the reality that without life, there is no knowledge; for the thoughts of a man depend upon the breath of the man, what the Psalmist says. It is only the dullest of people who will have the dead as shades in Hades coming to the sacrifice of one like Odysseus (Book 11, Homer’s Odyssey).

The spirit of the person by which a man knows the things of a man is not an immortal soul, but an attribute of the person that comes with receipt of life. It is “human nature,” which is a received nature given by God to the first Adam when God gave life to this man of mud, with this physical life passed on to his biological descendants.

Note: two things are linked together, biological life and biological nature. A cat gives birth to another cat, which look somewhat like its parents and has somewhat the same nature. Every cat has the genetic traits that make the breathing creature [nephesh] a stereotypical cat, including walking on four legs, having claws, two eyes, two ears, and the proclivity of killing prey and preferring to eat fresh meat to cereal grains. Every cat has the nature of a “cat.” In other words, every cat is a biological killing machine. But the promise of Scripture when the Holy Spirit is poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28) is that the nature of cats, of all predators will change (Isa 11:6-9). The promise is not that the biological characteristics that produce a stereotypical cat will change, but that its nature will change because of the Messiah’s “recovery of Israel from the North Country,” a euphemistic expression for salvation or the deliverance of Israel from Death. The breath that has given all cats life will remain the same, but the nature of cats will change.

The nature of cats, of human beings, of oxen, of angels are given to each by God when life is given to each, whether through being a one-of creation, or whether through a biological process that is somewhat like a living assembly line. The scientific assumption has been that there is a hard link between the biological processes through which life comes and the “natures” of the living creatures. This assumption has even been taught within the churches of God through preaching that during Christ’s millennium reign human nature will remain as it presently is. This is not true. God has the ability to shuffle the natures of living creatures as He wills, with His power demonstrated when He took from King Nebuchadnezzar his human nature and gave to the king the nature of an ox for seven years (Dan chap 4). He will take the nature of an angel from the false prophet, the first beast of Daniel chapter seven, and give to this demonic king the mind of a man or the nature of a man (Dan 7:4). And King Nebuchadnezzar served as the shadow and type of Satan, the spiritual king of Babylon (Isa 14:4), who will also receive the mind or nature of a man when he is cast from heaven (Rev 12:7–10). He will come as a roaring lion to devour whomever he can; he will come with the predatory nature of a breathing creature, not the nature of the anointed cherub that once walked in the garden of God. God had to supernaturally harden the heart of Pharaoh so that Pharaoh could serve as a shadow and copy of Satan, for Pharaoh’s human nature was not as hard as Satan’s nature was or now is.

Human nature will change in a manner foreshadowed by the changed natures of the great predators when the Holy Spirit is poured out on all flesh—human nature is not biologically determined although it is received when life is received. It comes with the breath [pneuma or spiritus] of life, and it goes when the breath of life is lost. In an understandable analogy, it is the software operating system [in computer jargon] that makes a person a person, and a cat a cat.

The Apostle Paul could not have imagined a personal computer, or the Internet, or any of the technical developments of the past forty years. It would have been difficult for Paul to have imagined the great mechanical achievements of the last 500 years, but not impossible. However, the developments of electronic communication would not have been conceivable, so the use of computer terminology in its metaphoric application to explain the things of God was truly beyond Paul’s conception.

Computers work by the presence or absence of an electrical flow. Originally vacuum tubes served as open or shut switches that could be translated into a binary code that would, in a rudimentary explanation, have current flow and the absence of current equaling a “one” or a “zero.” But opening and closing a switch takes time, even if only a micro-second. However, the development of a semi-conductor (the silicon chip) allowed resistance to be used instead of a switch: the presence or absence of “resistance” could now be translated into ones and zeros.

But a computer does nothing but sit silently until there is a current flow—until it is “plugged-in.” Likewise, the first Adam was a lifeless corpse until Elohim [singular in usage] breathed the breath of life into the first man’s nostrils (Gen 2:7). Thus, in an analogy that would have a computer representing a person, electrical flow equates to physical breath; i.e., the breath of life.

In order for the computer to do anything other than to let current flow through open switches and not flow through closed switches, an operating system must be written for the computer that a language translator can convert into binary code that causes switches to open and close in a none-random pattern. This operating system can be likened to the “nature” of a living creature, which will be “code” written by God that causes a person to be a person and a cat to be a cat.

When Elohim breathed into the nostrils of the first Adam, thereby imparting physical life to what was not before living, there were no animals nor plants on this “day when the Lord God [YHWH Elohim] made the earth and the heavens” (Gen 2:4). There were no cats, or oxen, or even plankton. Genesis chapter one does not chronologically precede Genesis chapter two. Rather, in Genesis 1:1 is all of the physical creation. What has not been created in the declarative sentence, “In the beginning, God created [filled] the heavens and the earth”? Has the sun been created in the heavens? The sun is part of the heavens (plural) is it not? So the stars, the sun and the moon are all created in the first verse of Genesis chapter one. And it is on this day when, according to the account of the creation of Adam, that the first man received life, not after the type and likeness of God, but as a breathing creature, knowing the things of man by the breath or spirit of man.

If the first Adam had been created in the likeness of God, he would have been able to understand the things of God. His mind would have been like God’s. But if a person cannot know the things of God, cannot comprehend the thoughts of God except by having the Spirit or Breath of God in the person, then, truly, the first Adam really was not created in the image of God even though both have arms, a torso, and a head … all of the great apes also have arms, torso, and a head. Are they created in our image? Or are they created in the image of God? According to the Genesis chapter two creation account Adam preceded them in order of creation. Yes, he did! Thus, rather than the great apes being early relatives of man, they have been formed in the likeness of man, not by man, but by God to see if any helpmate could be found among them for Adam. And no helpmate could be found among all of the animals God created (Gen 2:20), for none were of Adam’s flesh and of his bone.

God is not flesh and bone, but a living Spirit, with Christ Jesus as the last Adam being a life-giving Spirit (1 Co 15:45); so a Helpmate for the Son of God will also have to be of living Spirit, created from the same Spirit as is the Son. No helpmate for God was found among the Sadducees and Pharisees of the temple, with the temple now equating to the Garden of God in Eden. Rather, Jesus named these animals: hypocrites, blind guides, hypocrites, hypocrites, vipers (Matt chap 23), and Pharisees have from that day forth been known to the world as hypocrites.

An idea is not physical, but comes from the mind of a man as the fruit of his or her mental landscape. It is the qualities and capabilities of the human “mind” that have caused a great wealth of speculation about the difference between human beings and beasts since before Plato wrestled with this distinction … ancient Greek philosophers could not accept that at death there was no difference between a man and his hunting dog, what King Solomon wrote (Eccl 3:18-20). These philosophers made a distinction between “mind” and “brain,” a distinction resurrected in the 20th-Century by the churches of God. And these philosophers created an afterlife and underworld that was truly bizarre:

The blind poet Homer wrote:

But I, the sharp sword drawn from beside my hip,

sat down on alert there and never let the ghosts

of the shambling, shiftless dead come near that blood

till I had questioned Tiresias myself. (Odyssey. 11. 53–56. trans. Robert Fagles)

At last he came. The shade of the famous Theben prophet,

holding a golden scepter, knew me at once and hailed me:

‘Royal son of Laertes, Odysseus, master of exploits,

man of pain, what now, what brings you here,

forsaking the light of day

to see this joyless kingdom of the dead?

Stand back from the trench—put up your sharp sword

so I can drink the blood and tell you all the truth.’ (11. 100–107)

If a sharp sword can dissuade a shade that cannot be held from drinking the blood of Odysseus’ sacrifice, then the entire construction of Hades and the underworld where immortal souls go was not well conceived, but existed in the 8th-century BCE as a storytelling construct that was accepted by later philosophers as factual. So it isn’t to those philosophers who accepted the words of a blind poet to whom Christians should look for spiritual guidance.

The adage to beware of Greeks bearing gifts was ignored by the early church of God: the gift borne by Hellenists was entrance into the 1st-Century CE world of the Near East. And with the logic that would have a sharp sword able to prevent a non-physical shade in Hades from drinking Odysseus’ blood sacrifice, Greek converts to Christendom transformed the gift of eternal life, given by the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, into a shade in hell, conceived in sin and forever punished by its separation from light.

But the strangest occurrence of all is the endtime acceptance of this distorted gospel message by many who were once part of the church of God. These are truly the dullest of people.

Returning to the most important concept for understanding the things of God: the visible things of this world reveal the invisible things of God (Rom 1:20).

The flesh or muscle structure of a man is different from the flesh or muscle structure of a bear, or of a chimpanzee. Pound for pound, a beast is stronger; yet a beast does not live as long when body sizes are compared. Although the same amount of human muscle mass (by any measure) should be as strong as the same quantity of muscle mass of a beast, this is not the case even between humans and chimpanzees, who share approximately 94 percent of the same DNA structure. An adult chimp is five times stronger than a human male even though the human male will outweigh the chimp by a third more. Plus, DNA research has shown that within human beings is a genetic redundancy that is not present in other breathing creatures—

The use of terms like inferior or superior carry with them the implication of a hierarchy existing that places greater value on one life-form than on another. No discussion of value is here being made. Rather, what is under discussion is the Genesis two creation account, the so-called “J” account, which has Adam being the first living creature, and the beasts of the fields being created after Adam … the co-called “P” creation of Genesis chapter one has the Breath of God being visibly seen in verse 2; thus, this account moves at that point to being the abstract of the spiritual creation, a creation that can only be described through the linguistic icons [sound or written/inscribed images] used for the things of this world being applied to the things of God. Hence, cereal grains and fruit bearing trees bring forth their harvest before the greater light is created, but these “trees” do not represent the trees of arborists, or grain planted in any dirt. Rather these cereal grains and fruit-bearing trees are human beings that will be part of the first harvest of God, gathered to God when Christ returns. Thus, the creation of the great light is not descriptive of the creation of the sun, but of the resurrection of firstfruits to be the glorified Body of the Son of Man. The creation of the lesser light will be the creation of the returned priesthood of Israel that rules over the darkness [lifelessness] of this world, with this lesser light reflecting the glory of the greater light as the moon reflects the light of the sun.

The breath that enlivens human beings uses the same air as enlivens chimpanzees, but the breath of a human being is not the breath of a chimpanzee. The thoughts of a human being are not the thoughts of a chimpanzee even though months have been spent to teach the chimp to use sign language. Yes, some thoughts are shared. The great apes can laugh, will feel sadness, and will use tools. But a man would not marry a great ape to bring forth offspring for himself. Nor could the first Adam find a helpmate for himself among the great apes, let alone among cattle or cats, also breathing creatures having life from the same biological processes.

As the breath of a human being is not the breath of a chimpanzee even though the same biological processes deliver the same oxygen molecules to the cells of both living creatures, the breath of Moses was not the breath of Aaron, his brother … the analogy becomes more complex: the same silicon in a central processing chip activated by the same source of electricity does not make a PC a Mac, or vise versa. The configuration of the chip and the operating system used to activate the chip causes a Mac not to be a PC, even though both are computers. In relative terms, the chips are similar though not identical as a human being’s DNA is similar to a chimpanzee’s but not identical. Spiritually, an angel is a spirit being as God is a spirit being, but an angel is not God even though Satan would have human beings worship angels as God (Rev 9:20).

Where the complexity becomes difficult to visualize is where both the body of an angel and its life force are described by the icon spirit.

The spirit that gives life to an angel is the divine Breath of the Father, but this “Spirit” is not the same Breath as either “the One who raised Christ from the dead” (Rom 8:11) or Christ has, even though this life force has come from the Father. Likewise, the divine Breath of the One who raised Christ from the dead is not the divine Breath of Christ (v. 9) as Moses’ breath was not Aaron’s breath even though both Moses and Aaron shared having the breath of life.

Everything in the heavenly realm can only be known through metaphor, or figurative language.

One Greek word or linguistic icon—pneuma [B<,Ø:"]—is being used for broader meanings than really desired, for Moses’ breath is like Aaron’s breath but is not the same, whereas a difference existed between Nebuchadnezzar’s breath, which caused Nebuchadnezzar to know the things of a man, and an ox’s breath even when Nebuchadnezzar had his “nature” changed to that of an ox for seven years. Nebuchadnezzar was never an ox even though he ceased to know the things of a man and knew only the things of an ox. But for seven years, he had the “spirit” of an ox, knowing the things of an ox even though he fully retained the flesh of a man.

How can Nebuchadnezzar not have the breath of an ox, but have the spirit of an ox when both breath and spirit are translated from the Greek icon pneuma? That makes no sense in human logic.

All of the apparent doublespeak exists to make apparent the invisible things of God, for no one can know the things of God unless the person has the Spirit of divine Breath of God.

In his epistle of the saints at Corinth, Paul continues:

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit [that] is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

The natural person does not accept the things of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Co 2:12–14)

Paul compares the “spirit of the world” to the “spirit of man,” with both giving respectfully, knowledge of the things of this world and knowledge of the things of man … what is the difference between knowing the things of this world and knowing the things of man? Are they not the same? In Paul’s usage of pneuma [B<,Ø:"], the “breath” that activates man is like the “breath” that activates other breathing creatures [nephesh]. The breath of a person is like the breath of a chimpanzee. The knowledge a person needs to survive is the same knowledge that the world needs to survive.

Returning now to the computer model: every Microsoft operating system identified by the name, Windows 98, was like every other operating system of the same name, but not like the operating system named, Vista, even though both operating systems make the computer do most of the same functions. If it can be said that Windows 98 is comparable to the nature of a chimpanzee in relation to Vista being like human nature, then it can also be said that Windows 311 is comparable to the nature of a baboon.

Again, metaphors claim one thing is something which it is not. Computer operating systems are not biological natures, but can visually model biological natures for discussion purposes.

Operating systems allow a computer to do work, and allow information to be stored on hard drives as memories are stored by both chimpanzees and human beings. But operating systems do not give “life” to, or activate lifeless silicon chips. Electricity does this. And though electricity is present within a person’s mind as well as within a chimp’s mind, it is the breath of life that activates both. So the analogy breaks down when analyzed closely. Nevertheless, as computers are usually purchased with an operating system already installed and a bundled software package included, living creatures are born with their respective biological natures. And as one operating system can be updated to another but not easily, God can change a living creature’s biological nature as happened to King Nebuchadnezzar.

Although Microsoft says it eats its own dog food [mistakes] whereas Mac eats applesauce, neither asks for its operating system back when a computer fails after its service life transpires. Likewise, it is the breath—the life sustaining force—that goes back to God when a living creature dies, not the biological nature of the living creature. This “breath” returns to the atmosphere as the electrical charges that caused the lungs to breath dissipate into the ground. However, because of the unique characteristic of timeless, God can return to the moment when a person dies whenever He wishes to take from the person knowledge stored in memory … heaven is a timeless dimension, for “time” and its passage can be written as mathematical functions of gravity, thereby making time dependent upon the existence of mass. And because heaven is timeless, one moment does not become the next moment. It is the same moment in heaven now as when the Logos created all that is, and the same moment now as when saints will be resurrected from death in the future: in heaven there is no past, present, and future, but only the present. Therefore, all that has life in heaven must function as one entity in the way cells in the human body function together to form one entity, with a genetic redundancy suggestive of the duality of Father and Son.

There is no need for a memory bank to exist in heaven where human memories are stored while the person awaits resurrection, for no time is lost until after the great White Throne Judgment when the tzimtzum closes as the fissure in the earth’s crust closed on Korah and his rebellious friends (Num chap 16). Until then, God can “retrieve” from within time whatever He desires whenever He desires: He can, because in the great White Throne Judgment a person will be born a second time (that is, born of Spirit), “transport” a person from whenever the person dies toward (by figuratively stepping outside of time then back in) to when the person is resurrected a millennium or more in the future.

The above introduces a new problem for those who have for decades been part of the churches of God: as mentioned earlier, human beings are not born with immortal souls, as ancient Greeks reasoned when they were trying to explain the apparent differing ability of human “minds” and animal “brains.” Human beings will not go instantly to heaven or hell when they die. But as time passes without a sleeping person being aware of its passage even though the person remains very much alive, time passes for a person who has died without the person being aware of its passage—Jesus referred to the person’s physical death as sleeping (Matt 9:24; John 11:11–15), for from the perspective of the heavenly realm, physical death is as sleep for the “spirit” or breath of the person can be returned at any time since every moment in the heavenly realm is the same moment.

The person without the Spirit of God will not understand the above: imagine heaven as a dimensionless point on a two-dimensional plane. The point is completely surrounded by the plane. Time and its passage is now a circle closely inscribed around the point—from the point, every place in time is an equal distance away. From this point, a living entity not confined to the two-dimensions of the plane can interact with the circle, then return to the point, then interact at some other portion of the circle, then return to the point at will. And because heaven is timeless, it can be likened to a dimensionless point. God and angelic beings can step into and out of time as they see fit; thus, God knows the beginning from the end, for He simultaneously sees both from heaven, as the entire arc of the circle would be observable from the dimensionless point.

If a person died in 1540 CE, the date of, say, Andreas Fischer’s death, and if a person died in 1986 CE, the date of Herbert Armstrong’s death, both will be resurrected when Christ returns, for both received God’s Spirit and a second life while they lived physically. And the amount of “time” both spend in the grave will differ by four plus centuries, but will seem to be of equal length: for both, no time will have seemed to have passed.

The problem now is, what happens to the second life both Fischer and Armstrong received while physically living. Does it sleep under the altar as suggested by the fifth seal (Rev 6:9-11)?

Because Herbert Armstrong could not answer this question without resorting to the false teaching of human beings receiving from birth immortal souls, he ducked it for years before finally determining there was a spirit of man that returned to God when human beings died … Armstrong tiptoed along the falsity of men being born with immortal souls without going there because he did not know how to explain a person being remembered from the beginning of time to the end of the world unless God kept some sort of a memory bank where the essence of the person was stored until the appropriate resurrection occurred. But he never understood heaven as a timeless dimension where all that is must co-exist with all that will be for the moment never changes. Since the presence of life and the absence of life cannot co-exist in the same moment, all that has life has everlasting life for the moment is everlasting. Since a person is born of Spirit through receiving the divine Breath of God, the person has everlasting life in the heavenly realm: the person has passed from death to life without coming under judgment (John 5:24) if the person hears the Son and believes the One who sent Him; who raised Him from the dead. This “life” or “spirit” still needs a spiritual body, which this spirit or breath will receive from the Son, who causes the mortal flesh to put on imperishability or become spirit.

Pneuma now represents the invisible body of a spirit being, and the equally invisible life force that empowers or enlivens this invisible body of the spirit being—and if this isn’t enough to twist a mind into convulsions, then perhaps there is hope for the person.

So what happens between from the person dies and the mortal flesh put on immortality? In the heavenly realm, the moment is the same—in the same moment that the person dies the person is resurrected from death, even though inside of time decades or centuries or even millennia pass. And this is a great mystery of God that cannot be understood by those who are physically minded; for those whose thoughts and logic remain confined to this world cannot even mentally enter a timeless dimension.

If a person dies at, say, 270 degrees into the circle of time, and if another person dies at 355 degrees into the circle of time, and if the spirit or breath of both goes back to God in the dimensionless point representing heaven, which takes longer to get to heaven? Both get there at exactly the same moment, correct? And this moment is when the resurrection occurs—disciples know this by where the shadow cast by heavenly events lays. Of course, if a person pays no attention to the interplay of shadows that reveal the things of God to Jesus’ disciples, then the person has no idea where the Father and Son stand.

Because the invisible attributes of God are revealed by the visible things of this world, light equates to life and to God. Shadows occur when something blocks or interrupts the passage of light. So the presence or absence of light—in a manner similar to the presence or absence of resistance in a computer’s central processor—reveals knowledge of God that cannot be otherwise ascertained, but to secure this knowledge, a person needs a second life, along with a second operating system: the person needs to be born of Spirit, and to have the mind of Christ (1 Co 2:16).

A person can be born of Spirit and have a second life, but never activate the operating system that comes with this second life. And this has been the historical tradition of the churches of God that have vigorously denied that disciples are born of Spirit, insisting instead that disciples are merely begotten by the Holy Spirit—and the amount of spiritual knowledge that these disciples have is comparable to the physical stature of Moses when he was adrift in the Nile.

As an example of the above, in his gospel Matthew showed that the man Jesus did spiritually what Moses did physically. To spiritually understand the necessity of the infant Jesus going to Egypt with His human father who served as an adopted parent, a disciple must understand that Moses also went to Egypt even though he was born as a slave in the nation: Moses went to Egypt when he ceased being raised as a Hebrew slave and was raised as the daughter of Pharaoh. Moses went nowhere geographically as an infant, but culturally, he journeyed far. So when he returned to his Hebrew roots, he slew an Egyptian. Jesus returned with His parents to Judea, where He reasoned with the teachers in the temple—what was physical moved to become spiritual. Moses fled to the land of Midian for forty years. Jesus disappeared and apparently left Judea, probably in the employment of Joseph of Arimathea, until time for His ministry to begin. And a strong case can be made that Israel’s exodus from Egypt under Moses is the lifeless shadow of Jesus’ earthly ministry, with His Sermon on the Mount being the spiritual reality of the Law being given from atop Mount Sinai.

A man knows the things of a man because he (or she) lives physically here on this earth. A disciple knows the things of God because the new creature born of Spirit that dwells in the tent of flesh of the old man lives spiritually in the heavenly realm. This new creature has real life in the heavenly realm, but can lose this life because he [it] remains domiciled in a tent of flesh confined within time, where what has life can lose that life as one moment becomes the next moment. Likewise, when Satan is cast into time (Rev 12:7–10), after the thousand years, he will lose his life by fire coming out from his belly (Ezek 28:18-19). He cannot lose his life while he remains in heaven, but once cast into time, death is inescapable. And the same applies to rebelling angels who have been cast into time, described by Peter as outer darkness, the outer most sphere of Hades. Unless a rebelling angel is allowed back into heaven, the angel/demon will perish because of its lawlessness.

When Paul wrote of the spirit of a man, he was not referencing a memory chip being given to the human being that produces greater intellect than apparently possessed by beasts or that returns to God to “store” in heaven the essence of the person. Rather, he was establishing the comparison that a person only has physical life coming from the person’s physical breath until the person is born of Spirit. As long as the person only has physical life, the person cannot know the things of God. Before the person can know the things of God, the person must be born of Spirit and have a different mind and nature given to the person.

Because the Greek linguistic icon pneuma is used for everything that is not readily visible in this world, it (like “law”) lends itself to misunderstanding and misinterpretation. It truly takes spiritual understanding to sort through the many meanings assigned to the icon. And no one who is still an infant in the faith can do this. Unfortunately, many spiritual infants have ventured forth to teach the church of God what they do not themselves understand.

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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."

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