February 25, 2008 ©Homer
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Commentary — From the Margins
Filled with the Spirit
But when the Helper comes, [that] I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, [it] will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. (John 15:26–16:3)
The promise of Christ is that those of the synagogue of Satan will kill genuine disciples and think they do God a favor. But the question needs to be asked: does God need anyone to do His killing for Him?
Yes, God used the prophet Elijah to slay the 450 prophets of Baal, and yes, the Lord commissioned Elijah to anoint Hazael to be king over Syria, and Jehu to be king over Israel, and Elisha to be prophet in his place, with Hazael, Jehu, and Elisha to kill all who bow knees to Baal (1 Kings 19:15–18). So it isn’t that God has always done His own killing, but Israel was then a nation circumcised in the flesh, not a nation born of Spirit and circumcised of heart as Israel is now … can any human being kill that which is spiritual, or composed of Spirit? What weapon has been forged by men that will slay life in the supra-dimensional heavenly realm?
Disciples are to fear the One who can slay both the physical body and the spiritual life that has come from God. Disciples have no reason to fear those who cannot slay life in the heavenly realm—and if a person cannot kill angels or God, then a person cannot kill a son of God born of Spirit. All that will die is the breathing tent of flesh in which the son of God is temporarily domiciled.
To keep peace in
One of the great schisms within Christendom began with disputes over the fate of the dead: 1st-Century Christianity divided along Greek and Hebrew lines, with Greek converts clinging to the pagan concept of human beings possessing immortal souls, received from (or before) birth. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23). Death is the corollary to righteousness (v. 16). The fate of the unrighteous is death, with this “death” being not merely separation from God, but denial of entrance into the timeless heavenly realm where all that has life has everlasting life for the moment is everlasting. Death is remaining here on earth when this earth passes away (1 John 2:17), consumed in fire with the coming of the new heavens and new earth (Rev 21:1). Whatever remains on this first earth when it passes away will utterly perish and be no more forever; for all of the former things will pass away, including angels cast into time as Satan will be (Rev 12:7–10; Ezek 28:18–19; Rev 20:10).
Yes, rebelling angels cast into outer darkness—this creation is in darkness—will perish in fire and be ashes under the feet of glorified saints … life cannot be lost in the timeless heavenly realm where “what is” must coexist with “what will be” for the moment never changes. The presence of life cannot coexist with the absence of life, so while war can be fought in the heavenly realm, this war is not like war fought in this world. Rather, contrary values produce gridlock and the inability to move until those contrary values are cast from heaven. The creation exists inside a bottomless pit as somewhere to cast away heavenly debris, once loyal angels that are now condemned to death because they believed the Adversary, an anointed cherub in whom lawlessness was found.
The above is a cold choice of terminology: heavenly debris. Rebelling angels are not debris as human beings usually associate meaning to the word, but they are heavenly rejects that will be “judged” by glorified saints who have also been subjected to Satan’s broadcast of disobedience. As these saints received mercy from the Father and the Son, they will or they will not extend mercy to angels whom God loved dearly when He created them. But as the Father has given all judgment of disciples to the Son, the Father and the Son have given judgment of angels cast from heaven to glorified saints (angels who have not rebelled are not under judgment or under condemnation to death). All of the angels to be “judged” are currently under sentence of death as is every human being consigned to disobedience as its son. So the issue to be decided is whether mercy should be extended to these angels, with this decision to be made on a case-by-case basis.
The Father automatically extends mercy to every human being by giving the person a second birth, a birth by Spirit either now as one of the firstfruits or later in the great White Throne Judgment. This second life is not consigned to disobedience, but because its father is God, not the first Adam, it is born free; it is not born under condemnation, but born with sin having no dominion over it. Thus, this son of God can keep the commandments of God which the old nature could never do because of the old creature or self having been born consigned to disobedience. And herein is the difference between a man and a fallen angel who was also “born” of spirit and born or created free to keep the commandments, the outward, physical expression of the laws of God. The fallen angel chose disobedience when choice became available. Even though this angel might well have been thoroughly deceived by the Adversary, this angel was not born a rebel; whereas every human being is physically born as a rebel, and a person must choose obedience when mercy is extended to the person, with grace covering the person’s transgressions of the law as the person practices walking uprightly before God.
Think about the scenario: the person who hears the
words of Jesus and believes the one who sent Him will pass from death to life
without coming under judgment (John 5:24). This person, when born of Spirit,
has faith in God and exercises this faith by believing God and keeping the
commandments of God, the visible outward expression of love for God and love
for neighbor. The person who has also been born of God but who does not believe
God will not keep the commandments and will come under judgment and probably
condemnation to the second death, for many are called but few will be chosen
(Matt 22:14). Few will actually believe God and by faith exercise this belief,
albeit imperfectly but willingly, when the person hears the voice of Christ.
Most who have been born of Spirit will believe demons and will make excuses for
not keeping the commandments and will go on to teach others to rebel against
God. Most will be like the new Worldwide Church of God’s Mike Feazell and
Joseph Tkach Jr., spiritual pipsqueaks who pridefully take credit for the
slaughter of tens of thousands of sons of God. Most are spiritual debris, the
garbage of two generations of physical-mindedness by the
The new creature born within every disciple is like an angel, but is not an angel, contrary to what Latter Day Saints teach. This new creature can only grow (as in spiritual maturation) while constrained in this physical realm where one moment becomes the next moment. And here is where a similarity exists between sons of God and angels: because one moment changes to become the next moment, repentance is only possible here, in this physical realm. The life that once rebelled against God can turn to obedience and repent of its lawlessness and can bring forth fruit worthy of repentance. Thus, the rebelling angel condemned to death and cast into outer darkness—and who needs mercy extended to it or it will surely perish—will be judged by glorified saints before this creation passes away. And this judgment will be a simple “thumbs up,” or “thumbs down.” Mercy will or will not be extended. It may well be that as it will be with saints, where many are called but few are chosen, extending mercy will be a rare occurrence. But because God is love, the possibility of mercy being extended exists though only upon real repentance and its demonstration.
As long as a living entity remains inside this creation, it is subject to death and will eventually die; for this creation is passing away in a manner analogous to how the fissure in the earth’s crust opened to swallow Korah and his rebelling friends, then closed to be no more. The coming of the new heaven and new earth will see these four presently unfurled physical dimensions close and be no more forever. So God needs no one to do His killing for Him: by casting or consigning life to the inside of time (or better, space-time), He has delivered the living entity into inescapable death. Only someone outside of time (this creation) can be given the authority to retrieve a living entity from inside time. Jesus has been given that authority when it comes to every son of God domiciled in a tent of flesh, and glorified saints have been given that authority over angels. Today, though, from the perspective of being inside of time, no saint has been glorified except the Son of Man who entered His creation as His only Son. Everything awaits the coming of the Messiah.
Jesus was baptized by John to fulfill all righteousness (Matt 3:15), but John did not want to baptize Christ, for baptism is unto repentance which signifies the death of the old self or old nature. Baptism represents death, and Jesus was without sin and not in need of repentance. Death had no claim against Jesus. Nevertheless, Jesus insisted upon John baptizing Him so that the pattern would be established by which His disciples could receive everlasting life in the form of receiving the Holy Spirit.
But Christendom teaches that a person is physically born with spiritual life—with an immortal soul—does it not? Augustine of Hippo wrote, “This faith 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. Trans. D.W. Robertson, Jr.). However, again, the Apostle Paul wrote, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23).
Augustine’s teaching and the Apostle Paul’s teaching are really irreconcilable. Much effort and far too many words have been used in an attempt to reconcile the two teachings, but these words have been wasted.
If the human body is composed of the dust of the earth (of base elements) as are the bodies of beasts (Eccl 3:18–20), then do the bodies of beasts not suffer complete annihilation, the logical extension of what Augustine taught? That would be his argument, except that Augustine also wrote, “A great thing is man, made in the image and likeness of God, not in that he is encased in a mortal body, but in that he excels the beasts in the dignity of a rational soul” (Bk. 1, XXII). So for Augustine it is the presence of an immortal soul that separates human beings from other breathing creatures. And because what Augustine writes is contrary to what both Paul and Solomon wrote, Augustine and his borrowed teaching about humankind having immortal souls must be rejected. It is Augustine who is out of sync with God.
A man is not encased in a mortal body, but is this mortal body until he is born of Spirit. The prophet Ezekiel wrote,
The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you
mean by repeating the proverb concerning the
“Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” (18:19–20 emphasis added)
A person is a soul that can die, but is a soul that
shall not suffer condemnation because of the sin and sinfulness of father or
mother, nor enter into God’s rest because of the righteousness of father
or mother. Rather, every person will stand or fall by what he or she has done;
for “all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the
law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law”
(Rom 2:12). Not being a part of
That above also applies to those who spiritually kill infant sons of God by teaching these babes to commit acts of lawlessness: every teacher of lawlessness, regardless of the good works done by the person in the name of God, will be denied by Christ when judgments are revealed (Matt 7:21–23) … what is it, Mike, you don’t believe that a loving God will kill those who teach disciples to love Him by practicing sin? Is that not what you teach? You say, No, huh? You say you teach disciples to love God, but, Mike, what is your definition of ‘love’? Is it not rebellion against God in the same way that angels rebelled? And do you think God will allow you to judge a rebelling angel when you share their mindset? … Save your arguments. You’ll need them, but it is doubtful you’ll get to say more than, “Lord, Lord,” before faithful angels cast you into the flames.
As the end of this age rapidly approaches—as the days hurry toward when those of the synagogue of Satan will kill genuine disciples and sincerely believe they do God service, disciples who keep Jesus’ words about patient endurance must confront what causes and has caused disciples to fall away … what causes the righteous to forsake righteousness, or the wicked to forsake their wickedness? Sin and sinfulness are not biologically inherited, nor is righteousness inherited from the flesh. Love is not an inheritance of the flesh. Nor is an immortal soul: no one receives eternal life through fornication is the backseat of a Chevrolet.
The problem is that of knowing the Father and the Son. Under the new covenant, all will know God. No longer will there be the need to teach brother and neighbor to Know the Lord (Heb 8:11). And because all do not today know the Lord, it can be said with certainty that the new covenant has not yet been implemented.
To know the Lord, to know the things of God, the thoughts of God, a person must necessarily be born of Spirit as a son of God; whereas a man can know his thoughts, and the thoughts of other men through the life or breath [pneuma] of the man (1 Co 2:11). So a curious condition exists today that is unlike that experienced by the church of God in the 1st-Century: the Body of Christ is dead, and can only be returned to life through the return of the divine Breath of God—but the Body of Christ is also defined or determined by receipt of the Holy Spirit, the divine Breath of God.
Pause for a moment to mentally digest the physical
impossibility of the spiritual reality: in this world, the spiritual Body of Christ
consists of all who have been born of Spirit. Presence of the Spirit gives life
to that which was dead. Before the Father began to draw individuals from this
world and give to those individuals the earnest of His spirit, no Body of
Christ existed. There was no nation of spiritually circumcised
But if life through possessing the earnest of the Spirit defines the Body of Christ, then absence of the Holy Spirit discloses that the Body is dead—but if the physically formless Body of Christ is defined by the presence of the Holy Spirit, the absence of the Spirit will allow this Body to dissipate into nothingness, thereby producing the situation in which there is nothing to resurrect from death. Thus, the Body of Christ that will be resurrected from death (from indwelling sin and its wages) when empowered by the Holy Spirit at the second Passover must have another “binding” agent besides the Holy Spirit as received by Jesus when the divine Breath of God [again, pneuma Theon] descended as a dove on the man Jesus.
The visible reveals the invisible, and the physical precedes the spiritual (Rom 1:20 & 1 Co 15:46). Jesus had a physical body before He received the divine Breath of the Father in the form of a dove. This physical body forms the type and shadow of His spiritual Body, and this physical body “held together” while He was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Likewise, His spiritual Body will “hold together” until it, too, is resurrected from death after the third day, with this third day being the third day of the “P” creation account.
The “binding” agent is the Comforter, the parakletos, the spirit of truth that Jesus had the Father send to be with all who have been called forever (John 14:16–17). This Comforter or parakletos is the second witness about Jesus, and also the second witness against those who are lawless … Moses stands as the accuser of every Israelite, physically or spiritually circumcised (John 5:45–47; Deut 31:24–27), and upon the testimony of two or three witnesses, every transgressor is convicted of sin. The disciples of Jesus, who were with Him from the beginning of His ministry, form one witness; the Comforter or parakletos is the other witness. Therefore, Holy Writ consists of the testimony of every disciple’s accuser and of one witness against the disciple. The other witness is received when the person is born of Spirit. This witness, the Comforter or parakletos, has been with the disciple from the disciple’s spiritual birth and can testify to the disciple’s love for Christ by whether the disciple kept His commandments (John 14:15).
Even though the Body of Christ is spiritually dead
because of its lawlessness, it has not dissipated into nothingness as
Some disciples, one in particular, has looked forward to receiving the parakletos, which Christ promised to send—and did send. Everyone born of Spirit receives, after spiritual birth, the Comforter which remains with the person until the person’s judgment is revealed, which now makes for even more interesting dynamics, for the Comforter or parakletos is a spirit from God, but not the divine Breath of God by which a son of God receives life … the linguistic icon /spirit/, translated from the Greek icon /pneuma/, does not narrowly enough describe the invisible things of God; thus, the parakletos becomes a metonymical referent for the spirit of truth, not the life-giving Holy Spirit [pneuma hagion, from John 20:22].
Every “Christian” who has been born of Spirit has the parakletos present within the person as a witness for or against the person. The disciple who “loves” Christ will keep His commandments, but as will be seen during the first 1260 days of the Tribulation, because of lawlessness [i.e., sin] the love of many will grow cold (Matt 24:12). The parakletos will no longer be needed once the rebellion occurs because God will send a great delusion over lawless disciples who will not be allowed to repent—these disciples will no longer be part of the liberated Body of Christ, nor will these disciples be any longer spiritually alive. They will form spiritual Cain, the one who slays his righteous brother Abel. They will be marked for death by them taking upon themselves the tattoo of the cross, the weapon by which the prince of this world slew the physical body of Christ Jesus. The cross is the weapon by which Satan will also slay the spiritual Body of the Son of Man.
There is one weapon that disciples have available to them that they can use to defeat Satan: this “weapon” is obedience, is by faith keeping the commandments of God, thereby showing to Christ that the disciple loves Him. The disciple has no other weapon that can be effectively used against Satan and his rebelling angels.
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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."