February 28, 2006 ÓHomer Kizer
Commentary — From the Margins
The Recovery of Israel, a Literal Kingdom?
Greatly influenced by the human intellect of Plato and other Greeks philosophers, theologians at Alexandria—Origen and his contemporaries—at the end of the 2nd and through the 3rd Centuries CE developed an allegorical system of Biblical interpretation that was able to do away with a literal return of Christ Jesus to recover the nation of Israel from the far counters of the world, a recovery that would make Israel forget the Exodus from Egypt (Jer 16:14-15). Jesus’ literal return had been expected by His Disciples within their lifetimes. Plus, John’s vision on Patmos had Jesus saying that He would soon return (Rev 22:7, et al). But “soon” didn’t mean a century later to 1st or 2nd Century disciples. It shouldn’t mean nearly two millennia later to 21st-Century disciples. The authenticity of John’s vision was questioned, and even challenged. These questions still plague scholars. One major Protestant denomination (Lutherans) discounts Revelation, and teaches around a literal thousand year reign by Jesus over Israel. The Roman Church apparently teaches that Revelation is about the Liturgy. But the problem concerning John’s vision wasn’t with soon; it was with the Lord’s day (Rev 1:10), which dated the vision to when soon would be.
Because of the era’s strong regional bias against Judaism and all things Jewish, because the roots of modern anti-Semitism extend back to Calvary and to the exclusivity of natural Israel’s claim of being God’s chosen nation, Hellenistic converts fled keeping the Sabbath as fast as synagogues could expel them. The first day of the week became identified as the Lord’s day, thereby freeing Christian converts from having to walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:4-6), for Jesus walked as a Judean that kept the Sabbath, albeit not as the Pharisees kept it.
The basis for covering [as in a major recording label covering a hit by a minor label by having one of the major label’s artists record the same song] observance of the Sabbath with observance of the following day had solid political reasoning—the Greco-Roman world observed the day of the sun. Plus, covering the 7th day with observance of the 8th day had the desirable effect of divorcing Christianity from the prejudices that pointed worship back to Jerusalem and to the crushed revolt of Jews in 70 CE. Throughout Asia Minor, Jews had been sold as slaves: Judaism was a slaves’ religion. And certainly, with Jesus’ resurrection Sunday morning, adequate justification existed for the changing of times and the law.
Also, the basis for Dispensationalism was in the very allegorical system of Greek interpretation that dispensationalists now reject. The Lord’s day ceased being that “day” of a spiritual creation week when Jesus returns to rule; it ceased being that day when the court of the Ancient of Days took dominion over the saints from the four beasts and gave that dominion to one like a son of man (Dan 7:9-14). It became that day when the garden tomb was found empty, the garden tomb now representing in a one-to-one correspondence the garden of God into which the first Adam was placed. Thus, Jesus’ reign over Israel could allegorically be said to begin when He arose from the dead. No physical kingdom was needed to fulfill prophecy, and no literal return was needed. The spiritually circumcised Church replaced naturally circumcised Israel as the holy nation of God, and messages were delivered to the “angels” [elders] of the seven named churches in Revelation. The vision of John could be fully accepted as canonical literature without needing any restoration of a geographical nation of Israel.
The above two mixtures of honey and gall are guaranteed compatible with everything Augustine of Hippo taught, but it will make Christ Jesus puke out disciples who teach this means of relaxing the least of the commandments (Matt 5:19 with Matt 7:21-23), the Sabbath commandment. The Lord’s Day is not the first day of the week; however, it is not the seventh day either as some Christian Sabbatarians teach. It begins the fourth day of the seven day spiritual creation week, as Jesus’ resurrection was on the fourth day of Unleavened Bread in the year 31 CE…Jesus died as the Passover Lamb of God, a Lamb appropriate to the size of the household of God. He died between the evenings as the Pharisees then reckoned when paschal lambs were to be killed. He died on the 14th day of the first month, the Preparation Day (John 19:31), and He was placed in the tomb before dark, before the 15th day (the High Sabbath) began.
There should be no dispute about the recorded details so far.
Jesus said that the only sign He would give of who He was would be the sign of Jonah (Matt 12:39-40). There is no ambiguity in the book of Jonah: the man who fled God was three days [the hot portion of a twenty-four hour period] and three nights [the twisting or turning away portion of a twenty-four hour period] in the belly of a great fish before being spewed out of that fish to come to the men of Nineveh. These men of Nineveh worshiped Dagon, their fish god. And whether these men saw Jonah being spit out of the mouth of the fish they took to be Dagon, or whether they only knew of the story, they listened to Jonah and repented. The men of Nineveh recognized Jonah as being sent by God, but not so with the men of natural Israel who had one of their own raised from the grave. The majority of the natural nation did not in the 1st Century recognize Jesus as being of God, nor does the majority of the natural nation now recognize Jesus as the Logos, who was Theos, and was with Theon (John 1:1-2).
If Jesus was not in the grave for three days and three nights, He doesn’t qualify as the Son of Man as He established the basis for condemning the generation that would kill Him.
But Jesus was in the grave three days and three nights:
Jesus entered Jerusalem on a not-before-ridden colt of an ass in the manner that the high priest would enter with the selected Passover lamb: Jesus entered on the 10th of the first month, the day when the Passover lamb was to be selected (Exod 12:3).
Counting backwards from the Passover, the 15th, disciples find that six days earlier, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus whom He had raised from the dead was (John 12:1). One day before the Passover would be the Preparation Day, the 14th. Two days, the 13th. Three days, the 12th. Four days, the 11th. Five days, the 10th. Six days, the 9th. Thus, “the next day” (John 12:12) after Jesus came to Bethany, Jesus entered Jerusalem as High Priest, and as Passover Lamb. This entrance was on the Sabbath, the reason for the crowds being there to await the High Priest’s coming with the paschal lamb. To fulfill prophecy, Jesus preempts or usurps the celebration that would have been accorded the High Priest on this particular year.
If the 10th was the Sabbath, then the 14th would have been Wednesday, the 15th Thursday.
If the 10th were Palm Sunday, as Catholic tradition teaches, then the 15th would be Friday, thereby producing back-to-back Sabbath days [one the High Sabbath, one the weekly Sabbath], a situation that post-temple calendar manipulation excludes, and a situation making the post-death purchase of spices impossible, and Luke’s account (23:53-56) inaccurate.
Jesus was cut off midweek, halfway through seven years of ministry (Dan 9:27). He was also cut off mid-calendar week, on Wednesday. Therefore, one day and one night in the heart of the earth would begin with Wednesday evening and extend through Thursday evening (the 15th). The second day and night would end Friday evening. The third day and night would end Saturday evening. So three days and three nights begin with Joseph and Nicodemus placing the body of Jesus in the garden tomb, and conclude with the closing of the weekly Sabbath during Unleavened Bread. There are now twelve hours for which there is no accounting, for Jesus was gone from the tomb before daylight Sunday morning (John 20:1). When Mary Magdalene came to the tomb, it was still dark. The stone over the entrance to the tomb was rolled away, and Jesus had already risen.
Those three and a half days [the three days and three nights, plus the unaccounted for twelve hours] of that week of Unleavened Bread are analogous to the first three and a half years of the seven endtime years of tribulation. The day of the Lord begins midweek, begins when the kingdom of the world [singular: one kingdom] becomes the kingdom of the Most High and of His Christ (Rev 11:15), begins when Jesus resumes his personal ministry of disciples (Rev 14:1-5).
On one particular day halfway through seven endtime years of tribulation, Jesus will on earth fight as on a day of battle (Zech 14:3). He will split the Mount of Olives, the stone cut without human hands (Dan 2:34, 45), that will swallow the armies of the man of perdition (Rev 12:16 & Dan 9:26) as the Sea of Reeds swallowed Pharaoh’s armies (Exod 15:12 & Zech 14:4-5), thereby breaking spiritual Babylon when Michael casts Satan from heaven (Rev 12:7-10). The spiritual hierarchy of Babylon will be taken, with the fourth king, Death, being dealt a mortal wound when the two witnesses are publicly resurrected (Rev 11:11-12). The fourth king or beast will have his cross-shaped body given over to be burned. And the Holy Breath [Pneuma ’Agion] will be poured out upon all flesh (Joel 2:28) — and all of this will occur on day 1260, when everything written in Revelation has occurred very recently, or is soon to occur. None of this, though, could be understood until all of the events described in Revelation would soon occur, for John used the Lord’s Day as a literary trope to preclude understanding an unsealed vision by any disciple earlier than the time of the end. And to further ensure that this vision would not be understood before its time, the descriptions of entities in the vision are how those entities function in the plan of God; thus, visual attributes correspond to invisible functions, for the glorified Jesus doesn’t look like a lamb, but functions as the sacrificed paschal Lamb of God. Spirits (the messengers to the seven churches) do not look like eyes (Rev 5:6), but function as eyes.
The problem faced by dispensationalists is the one that will send them into the lake of fire: Jesus returns after seven years of tribulation, after the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of the Father and of the Son for three and a half years—after the Son of Man has been revealed (i.e., made naked) for seven years (Luke 17:30). Disciples go nowhere other than to the grave as Jesus went to the grave. If disciples are not willing to go to the grave, meaning that they value their physical lives more than obedience to God, they will lose both their physical lives and their spiritual lives.
All of biblical prophecy is ultimately about two humanoid-described hierarchical governments that presently reign and will in the future rule over the single kingdom of the earth. Neither of these hierarchies is “of the earth”; both are of heavenly realm. One is Babylon, portrayed by the humanoid image King Nebuchadnezzar saw in vision. The other is the Son of Man, which presently has Christ Jesus as its uncovered head, and born of Spirit disciples as its covered [with the mantel of Jesus’ righteousness, the garment of Grace] Body.
· Babylon will fall (Rev 18:2); will be toppled when the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of the Most High and of His Christ.
Satan, as king of spiritual Babylon (Isa 14:4-23), remains the present ruler of this world, even though judgment has come on this world (John 12:31). Satan as ruler of this world will be cast out of office and out of the heavenly realm (same verse, plus Rev 12:9-10), but Satan hasn’t yet been cast out from the perspective of being inside time. He remains the prince of the power of the air, the spiritual entity that is “now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Eph 2:2).
So what kind of a kingdom does Satan rule? Certainly not a unified kingdom that operates under one human authority—rather, Satan reigns over a mindset of disobedience, an attitude of rebellion; he reigns over the mental topography of human beings, thereby causing all over whom he reigns to be sons of disobedience. And he reigns at the pleasure of God, who has consigned all of humanity to disobedience so that He might have mercy upon all (Rom 11:32).
God has installed Satan in power, a statement sure to cause debate. But the relative relationship between Satan and God is seen in their interplay recorded in Job, where Satan must ask permission to approach Job, and can go no farther than permitted by God (Job 1:6-12 & 2:1-6). Satan is no match for God, and Christ Jesus is not now wrestling with Satan for the souls of human beings as is too often suggested by false teachers of Israel. No Great Controversy exists.
Satan reigns over the world through attitudes, through controlling the mental landscape from which the thoughts of humankind sprout and grow as wheat and weeds do in the geographical soils of the earth. He rules his kingdom not through one person, but through influencing—controlling—the thoughts of all but those in whom God has begun a civil war by placing His laws in their minds and hearts. And even among those who have been born of Spirit, Satan retains some control, for the greater portion of the Christian Church remains mentally dwelling in spiritual Babylon, and will remain there until liberated from sin and death at the beginning of the seven endtime years of tribulation.
When asked by Pilate if He was the King of the Jews, Jesus asked if Pilate inquired of his own accord or because others were bringing this charge against Him (John 18:33). Pilate asked if he were a Jew, then asked what had Jesus done to so incite the chief priests. Jesus, then, answered, saying that if His kingdom were of this world, then His servants would have resisted Him being taken (v. 36). And herein is the problem all teachers of Israel must address: Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world. It is not a human kingdom. It is not like the Roman Empire, Great Britain, or the United States. It is not like the League of Nations, or the United Nations, or any government of men and women that has yet been imagined. It will rule over the same territory that Satan presently rules, and it will rule the geography of the earth by the same means. For after the Son of Man replaces Babylon as the world ruling hierarchy, the family of Egypt might not want to go up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord of hosts (Zech 14:18), meaning that more than one human nation, or division will exist. And Israel will not forcibly march on Egypt to compel observance of the Sabbaths of God. Rather, no rain will fall on Egypt until this family or nation decides that going up to Jerusalem is in this nation’s best interest.
Herbert Armstrong borrowed dispensationalists’ anticipation of Christ Jesus reigning over a physical kingdom to such an extent he taught that upon His return, the glorified Jesus would sit on the particular piece of stone that currently resides under the throne of the English crown. For decades, Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God [WCG] taught that Jesus would return to rule over a kingdom with geographical borders, and with human beings [with unaltered human natures] as subjects. Armstrong’s WCG taught the tantalizing doctrine that its disciples would, during the Millennium, be kings and priests (or kingly priests) over human subjects as human kings are over peasants. And the elitism fostered by this teaching has intellectually hamstrung Armstrong’s disciples [he made disciples for himself although professing to make them for Christ], thereby leaving them mentally lame and spiritually crippled. With very few exceptions, these disciples are not able to move past the physicality of Armstrong’s teachings to grasp spiritual concepts.
But it is fellowships that have embraced Dispensationalism in its many flavors that suffer most from believing the returned Christ Jesus will rule over a geographical kingdom: disciples in these fellowships are spiritually hamstrung by the concept of a bodily rapture to heaven prior to, or at the beginning of the seven endtime years of tribulation. In fact, this teaching makes Armstrong’s teaching about his disciples going to a physical place of safety almost appear sane.
When spiritually circumcised Israelites are liberated from bondage to the law of sin and death that still dwells in their flesh—why it still dwells in the flesh was a mystery the Apostle Paul acknowledges that he didn’t understand—they will be empowered by being filled with the Holy Breath [Pneuma ’Agion] of God. They will no longer have any sin or lawlessness within them; they will be sinless, or sinfree without wearing the mantle of Christ Jesus’ righteousness. They will each be an acceptable sacrifice to God, which, because of the lawlessness still dwelling in the flesh of each, they are not right now. And when liberated, they, as the revealed Body of the Son of Man, will then be naked before God. Their only covering for sin will be their obedience to God—and obedience by faith should not be a problem if disciples have practiced walking unrightly before God under the garment of Grace that presently conceals their lawlessness. Satan will not then have any direct imput into the mind and heart of a disciple.
· But the majority of Christians in every fellowship will rebel against God, and will take sin back inside themselves 220 days into the seven endtime years.
· The rebellion of the Church is foreshadowed by the rebellion of the natural nation of Israel in the wilderness of Paran.
· Israel’s rebellion caused the natural nation to attempt to enter God’s rest (Ps 95:10-11) on the following day.
· The spiritual equivalent of the geography of the Promised Land is the weekly Sabbath, which cannot be entered on the following day.
The great falling away about which the Apostle Paul reminded Thessalonian saints cannot occur while disciples are under Grace. Certainly error and errant doctrines can be and have been introduced into the Church by false teachers, but as no sin was reckoned to human beings before the law was given at Sinai (Ron 5:12-14)—this is the natural form or shadow or type of Grace—no sin is reckoned to disciples under Grace, with the sole exception of hypocrisy…if a disciple does what the disciple knows is wrong, the disciple’s righteousness does not exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, who were hypocrites (Matt chap 23). And Jesus said that if a disciple’s righteousness doesn’t exceed that of the Pharisees, the disciple would not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:20).
Jesus is the reality of Israel’s sin offering on Yom Kippur: He is represented by both goats (Lev 16:5, 7-8), with His death at Calvary representing the goat sacrificed on the altar as Israel’s sin offering (v. 15), and with Him bearing spiritually circumcised Israel’s sins in the heavenly realm representing the Azazel goat, over which was read the sins of the natural nation (v. 21). Jesus’ death at Calvary paid the death penalty for every sin that has been or will be committed in the natural realm. But He will not be crucified again; He will not die in the heavenly realm for the sins of disciples. Rather, He presently bears those sins, for which the death penalty still must be paid.
· Without being born anew, or born again, or born from above, or born of Spirit—each expression representing receipt of life in the heavenly realm through the Holy Breath [Pneuma ’Agion] of God—a person only has life from his or her physical breath [psuche].
· Before receiving the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ disciples only had life from their physical breath; they were soma and psuche (Matt 10:28).
· But upon receiving the Holy Spirit, disciples have life from a second breath; they are soma [flesh], psuche [shallow breath], and pneuma [deep breath] (1 Thess 5:23). They have dwelling in the same fleshly body a second life that is not of this world; they have been born a second time, what Nicodemus didn’t understand.
The person who has only been born of the water of the womb cannot commit sin in the heavenly realm, for this person has no life in that realm. This person is as a beast. King Solomon wrote, For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from dust, and to dust all return (Eccl 3:19-20). God tests human beings to see what they will believe about life (v. 18), and what He has found is that they are as quick to believe the lie of the Old Serpent as was the the first Eve when told that she would not die (Gen 3:4). The vanity of humans doesn’t want people to be like sheep, bleeting animals that die from fright when chased by wolves that promise they will fry in hell if they don’t take the sacraments in a truly unworthy manner. It better soothes the vanity of humans to believe that some part of them will not ever die, but is immortal. Even Augustine said, “This faith [Christianity] maintains, and it must be believed: neither the soul nor the human body may suffer complete annihilation, but the impious shall rise again into everlasting punishment, and the just into life everlasting” (On Christian Doctrine, Bk 1, XXI, Robertson trans). But in making the above statement, which contradicts what Solomon wrote, Augustine merely reveals the extent to which he has been deceived by the Adversary.
· The person who teaches that being born of Spirit is anything other than acquiring actual life in the heavenly realm is a false apostle, a deceitful workman, a servant of Satan (2 Cor 11:13-15).
· The new creature, born of Spirit, matures in a manner analogous to how a human infant physically matures—and as a maturing human infant does that which the child should not do, so too do maturing sons of God while dwelling in fleshly tents.
· The garment of Christ’s righteousness [Grace] covers the lawlessness of maturing sons of God, but does not pay the penalty for that lawlessness in the heavenly realm.
· When sons of God are “revealed,” whether at their judgment or when liberated from the law of sin and death that still dwells in their tent of flesh, the sins of each son of God will either be given to Satan, their rightful owner, or returned to the son.
· Jesus said not to be surprised when some sons of God are resurrected to life, and some to condemation (John 5:29). The ones who have done good chose life, for the choice of both life and death is before every Israelite (Deu 30:15).
· Choosing life means obeying the commandments of God, loving God, walking in His ways, and living by His statutes and rules (Deu 30:16 & 1 John 2:4-6).
Grace is the mantle of Christ Jesus’ righteousness; it is the garment of Christ (Gal 3:27). It is not parden in the heavenly realm for sins committed there. Satan will, for every sin committed in the heavenly realm by the person who strives to walk as Jesus walked, pay with his life—as Jesus paid with His life for every sin committed in the physical realm. Satan will have fire come out from his belly and utterly consume him (Ezek 28:18-19). No son of God should experience the second death.
But many will—
Many are called, but few are chosen (Matt 22:14)…those human beings who are not [yet] born of Spirit are not counted among the called. Those humans who are called have been drawn by the Father (John 6:44, 65) and made alive in the heavenly realm through an actual birth analogous to the “birth” of the first Adam, who was made from red clay into the lifeless image of God prior to Elohim [singular in usage] breathing into his nostrils, thereby transforming that human corpse of lifeless clay (as if in a wax museum) into a breathing creature, a naphesh, alike the other breathing creatures identified as beasts. Living, breathing human beings are spiritual corpses until they receive life in the heavenly realm through receipt of the Holy Breath [Pneuma ’Agion] of God. They are not “regenerated” by the Holy Spirit, for there was no previous life to renew. Adam and Eve were driven from the garden of God before they could eat of the Tree of Life (Gen 3:22-23).
It is always a grevious mistake to gaze over humanity and consign all who have not called upon Christ Jesus to eternity in the flames of hell. This is the most loveless position any Christian can take, and a position that cannot be supported from Scripture. The second death (the lake of fire — Rev 20:14) only applies to those human beings who have been born a second time—and all of humanity not called as part of the firstfruits will receive a second birth in the resurrection to life in the great White Throne Judgment on the sixth day of the spiritual creation week. Every person who has ever drawn breath will be born a second time. God is not a respecter of persons, offering salvation to this one and not to that one. Rather, God calls some human beings ahead of the general harvest of humanity; these are the laborers for whom disciples are to pray. And these laborers must overcome Satan while they physically live. Unlike the vast majority of humanity that will receive life again when resurrected—this is the mystery of God that most Christians fail to grasp—the firstfruits, of which Jesus is first, are called to be special vessels, in that they are called to do a job while Satan still reigns as prince of this world. They are called as the Body of the Son of Man, the soon world ruling hierarchy that replaces Babylon. But their reward is appropriate to the task before them: the firstfruits are to be the acceptable sacrifices to God (Rom 12:1-2), for when their bodies are also liberated from sin and death as their minds have been (Rom 8:2), they will be sacrificed as their Teacher and Master was. It is enough for the student to be like his or her Teacher, and the servant to be like his or her Master (Matt 10:24-25). Nothing is covered that will not be revealed (v. 26). This includes the Body of the Son of Man (Luke 17:30); for the liberation from sin and death of the fleshly bodies of sons of God will not send these disciples to heaven, but will allow both men and angels to see disciples as they are inside. The person who has not cleansed the inside of the cup (i.e., the disciple’s heart and mind) will appear dirty all over (Matt 15:17-20 & 23:25-26). And this person will rebel against God when the person has no covering for sin but his or her obedience.
· No person is now in hell, writhing in fiery torment, for the judgment of firstfruits will not be revealed until Jesus returns (1 Cor 4:5).
· All who have died entered timelessness when the person died (Eccl 9:10)—the breath [psuche, or pneuma & psuche] returned to God with the cessation of breathing.
· The person born of water [psuche] and born of Spirit [pneuma] will consciously live again when that person’s judgment is revealed upon Christ Jesus’ return. This person will then receive life or condemnation. This is the first resurrection, the harvest of firstfruits.
· The person only born of water [psuche] prior to death will be born of Spirit [pneuma] when resurrected from death in the great White Throne Judgment, which occurs after Jesus reigns a 1000 years as Lord of lords, and King of kings—and after Satan is loosed for a short while. This is the second resurrection, the maincrop wheat harvest.
· In the great White Throne Judgment, every person will be like one of the two lawbreakers crucified with Jesus on Calvary, receiving in his or her second birth the reward for those things done prior to death.
· Judgment follows death (Heb 9:27), but judgment is presently upon the household of God (1 Pet 4:17), making baptism the representation of death and the inclusionary rite by which a born of Spirit disciple becomes part of the household of God.
The heavenly realm is timeless. One moment does not become the next moment. And when a person dies, the person unconsciously enters timelessness. Eternal life, now, is consciousness in this timeless realm, where consciousness and unconsciousness cannot coexist within the same entity in the same unchanging moment, just as life and death cannot coesist.
A person only born of water [psuche] has no conscious awareness of the heavenly realm—God is not real for this person (Rom 8:7), even if the person is a self-professed Christian who sincerely believes that he or she is “saved.” A person born of water [pscuhe] and of Spirit [pneuma] will, in a manner analogous to a human infant between one and eight days of age, know God and have an awareness of the heavenly realm. But until this person is baptized and takes judgment upon him or herself, the person remains spiritually as a physically unscircumcised Hebrew male was prior to the 8th day.
In teaching a doctrine that has two-tiered salvation, one physical (i.e., the recovery of the physical nation of Israel), one spiritual (the salvation of the Church under Grace), dispensationalists disclose how little they understand the plan of God, foreshadowed in the dual grain harvests of Judea, the landscape that the psalmist identifies as God’s rest (Ps 95:10-11). The first crop gathered into barns is the barley harvest that begins with the Wave Sheaf Offering, the first ripe grain sheaf that the high pirest waved before God on the morrow after the Sabbath during Unleavened Bread (Lev 23:10-11). Sunday morning. Jesus is the reality of the Wave Sheaf, accepted by God on the day after the Sabbath during Unleavened Bread. His resurrection is commanded to be celebrated through observing of the Wave Sheaf Offering. And after the Wave Sheaf is accepted, the barley crop is harvested for seven weeks; after Jesus breathed on ten of His disciples and said, Receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22), the newly created Church begins to bring forth disciples, the firstfruits of God.
The weekly Sabbath is the mental equivalent of geographical Judean hillsides. Whereas the physically circumcised Israelite left physical bondage in physical Egypt to physically journey through the physical Wilderness of Sin to reach Sinai, the spiritually circumcised Israelite (i.e., Overcomer or Prevailer with God) mentally leaves spiritual bondage to sin and death to spiritually jouney through a spiritual wilderness of disobedience and lawlessness to reach obedience to God, which will have the Israelite keeping the laws of God that have been written on the heart and placed in the mind. Thus, as Sinai was still far from the Jordan, and as the liberated natural nation rebelled in the Wilderness of Paran through disbelief and by attempting to enter the rest of God on the following day, the mentally liberated spiritual nation has rebelled through disbelief and by attempting to enter God’s rest on the following day, the 8th day. And as the liberated natural nation could not enter God’s rest but died in the wilderness, the mentally liberated spiritual nation will likewise be denied entrance into the ultimate rest of God [heaven] that the 7th-day Sabbath foreshadows. Rebelling disciples will experience the second death for their lawlessness.
How can all of Christianity be wrong?
Not all of Christianity is wrong: ten million Christians observe the Sabbath every week…many are called, but few are chosen. And saying this is not fair to those disciples who diligently observe the 8th day as the Sabbath should be observed; for no sin is today imputed to them. They are, in all of their activities, under the mantle of Christ Jesus’ righteousness. However, if they know to keep the Sabbath and do not, they are hypocrites, and their righteousness does not exceed that of the Pharisees.
And not all of those disciples who observe the Sabbath will be among the chosen, for many of them are also hypocrites, without even natural affection for their neighbors.
The mantle of righteousness will be removed when the Son of Man is revealed. Then, the disciple—regardless of how well intentioned—who transgresses the law of God in even one point breaks the law and takes upon him or herself the second death. The Sabbath will then be the test commandment, for the great falling away occurs when the lawless one is revealed. And this lawless one, this man of perdition will attempt to changes times and the law (Dan 7:25).
God will deliver the saints into the hand of the lawless one for the purging of the Body. This will be a most difficult period for the last Eve, who will see her firstborn son slay his righteous brother.
Dispensationalists who today practice lawlessness—and who justify their lawlessness with cleaver arguments—will then prove as false [and as deadly] as they now appear to Sabbatarian Christians. May they repent of their disobedience; may God grant them that repentance in His Son’s name.
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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."