March 4, 2011 ©Homer Kizer
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Commentary — From the Margins
A Disciple’s Righteousness
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. (Rom 4:1–12)
Was Abram’s belief of God—Abram’s faith—that was counted to him as righteousness sufficient for the Lord to make good on His covenant with Abram, the covenant that would give to his descendants all the lands from the Nile to the Euphrates (see Gen 15:18–21)?
Abraham’s descendants through Isaac have yet to receive the lands from the Nile to the Euphrates; so something isn’t as it should be if the covenants of the Lord are read literally. Nor is everything as it should be if Paul’s epistle is read literally. But in what Paul writes is evidence of greater Christendom’s falseness; for in what Paul writes about the one who does not work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, Paul lays the foundation for righteousness alone not being sufficient for salvation. Concerning Abraham, Paul writes, “He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised” (Rom 4:11); thus, when Abraham received the sign of circumcision, he already possessed righteousness based on his belief of God, but the sign of circumcision was for a covenant that required Abraham to walk uprightly and be blameless before the Lord (Gen 17:1). Hence, to the righteousness that Abraham had counted to him because of his belief of God, Abraham had to add works, the works of walking uprightly and being blameless before God.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Rom 3:21–26)
Christ Jesus is the righteousness of God. In turn, grace is the covering [as in a garment] of Christ Jesus’ righteousness; i.e., of His belief of God that His disciples put on daily. But over this covering of Christ Jesus’ righteousness, His disciples walk as He walked—
The disciple Jesus loved wrote, “Whoever says he [Jesus] abides in him ought to walk in the same way as he [Jesus] walked” (1 John 2:6). And Paul expresses the concept that those who say they are of Christ ought to walk as Jesus walked when he says,
· “I urge you, then, be imitators of me” (1 Cor 4:16);
· “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1);
· “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Eph 5:1);
· “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us” (Phil 3:17);
· “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord” (1 Thess 1:6);
· “For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea” (1 Thess 2:14);
· “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb 13:7–8);
· “‘Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I [Paul] committed any offense’” (Acts 25:8).
Over the top of the garment of Christ Jesus’ righteousness—over the top of grace—the disciple is to walk as Jesus walked; i.e., walk uprightly and without blame as Abraham walked according to the covenant ratified by circumcision. Unless a Christian covers grace with his or her belief of God that will be counted to the person as righteousness, with the person’s belief causing the person to walk as Jesus walked in obedience to God, which is works, the person will walk as naked before God as Adam and Eve were after they ate forbidden fruit; for no one is truly righteous before God. No one’s belief is perfect. All need to wear the garment of Christ’s righteousness as an undergarment, as a foundational garment so that the person will not be naked when exposed to the elements of this world. But as a T-shirt and shorts are not adequate garments to prevent a person from dying of exposure in winter darkness, the Christian needs to cover the righteousness of Christ Jesus with his or her own walk of obedience, imitating Paul as he imitated Jesus.
When Abram was still with his father in the land of Haran, “the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed’” (Gen 12:1–3). And Abram, with Sarai and Lot and people who they had acquired in Haran in tow (v. 5), set out for the land of Canaan.
The writer of Hebrews says, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going” (11:8). Yes, Abram left the land of Haran and journeyed south into the land of Canaan, then continued on south to Egypt where a half truth—she is my sister—that was a full lie resulted in him physically prospering, because for Sarai’s sake Pharaoh “dealt well with Abram” (Gen 12:16), before Pharaoh threw Abram and all that was his out of Egypt (vv. 17–20).
Metaphorically, Egypt represents Sin as Assyria [the land of Haran] represents Death. And in this present world that is ruled by the prince of the power of the air, the angelic being that is at work in all sons of disobedience (Eph 2:2), a Christian prospers in a way analogous to how Abram prospered in Egypt; for the prince of this world doesn’t bless those who are not his own. The history of Christendom discloses that God provides for those who are His, but history also discloses that the holy ones who walk as Jesus, an observant Jew, walked do not prosper in this world. They merely survive. It is those whether inside or outside of greater Christendom that through embracing this world and its prince that prosper … in history and even in this present age, there have been and there are pious men and women who identify themselves as Christians that have economically prospered, but when their spiritual walk is plotted, they have not walked as Jesus walked, but have walked in the ways of this world, inevitably neglecting the Sabbath commandment—and to break one commandment is to break the commandments (Jas 2:10). To break one law makes the person a lawbreaker; to break one commandment makes the person a sinner. And the wage earned for every sin is death. For breaking a commandment comes from unbelief; i.e., from not believing God.
As it isn’t the works of the law that justify a person (Gal 2:16) but rather it is being a doer of the law that justifies a person (Rom 2:13), it isn’t the breaking of a commandment that condemns a person but rather it is the unbelief that caused the person to break the commandment that condemns the person. The actual work of a person’s hands and body neither condemns nor justifies. It is, rather, the thoughts of the mind and the desires of the heart that condemns or justifies: belief of God justifies whereas unbelief condemns.
Over the last three decades of the 20th-Century, many sermons were given in the Sabbatarian churches of God in which Abraham was used as an example of how God prospers a person who believes God and is faithful: the sermons were Calvinistic in that their argumentative claim was that a one-to-one correspondence existed between personal righteousness and personal prosperity in this world. If this claim would have been true, then a serious problem exists in Paul’s epistles:
For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. (1 Cor 4:9–12 emphasis added)
And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. / And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised … (Heb 11:32–39 emphasis added)
Christians prosper in this world when they engage in commerce in this world as Abram made Sarai an object of commerce when Pharaoh took her into his household. Abram’s prosperity came while he was in Egypt and Sarai was with Pharaoh, and so it will be for everyone who is Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise (Gal 3:29). There is no visible correspondence between the physical prosperity of a holy one and the holy one’s righteousness before God. If any such correspondence were to exist—and again, none does—then it would have the lack of prosperity, the absence of the good things of this world revealing the pillars of righteousness.
Abram obtained people to serve him [slaves] when he was in the land of Haran. He did not obtain either people or greater flocks as he passed through Canaan on his way to Egypt. However when he was in Egypt, he became increased with sheep, oxen, donkeys, camels, and servants that are listed with his flocks as if his servants were also possessions, which they were. It was in the geographical lands that represent Sin and Death where Abram acquired his flocks and his slaves, an awareness that must be remembered when Paul equates Christ Jesus to Abraham (Gal 3:29) and Christians to Isaac (Gal 4:21–31).
Once Abram was back in Canaan after being forcibly expelled from Egypt, Abram and Lot parted company, but years passed without Abram fathering an heir through whom the Lord’s promise to make from Abram a great nation could come. From Abram’s perspective, the Lord’s promise of making of him a great nation was prevented by Sarai’s infertility. This would make the Lord subject to human will in a modified form of semi-pelagianism that places a human person in the position of having power over God, and this is never correct … in this present era and until the Second Passover liberation of Israel, no human person can compel God to call the person and give to the person indwelling eternal life. Free will has no part in God calling a person. Free will only comes into place when the person, as clay on a potter’s wheel, tells God what sort of vessel can be made from the person: from workable clay, a vessel for honorable use can be made. From stiff and unyielding clay, a vessel for dishonorable use will be made. And by whether the person of his or her own free will submits to God as workable clay or doesn’t submit is the extent to which the person exercises influence in his or her salvation prior to the Second Passover.
Abram was 75 years old when Abram separated from his father, Terah (Gen 12:4) … a decade passed and Sarai had still not borne Abram an heir when the Lord appeared to Abram in a vision and said, “‘Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great’” (Gen 15:1).
Apparently Abram had been thinking about the problem of how he would be the father of a great nation without having an heir; so when the Lord appeared to Abram in vision, the man of faith had a retort that revealed his concerns: “‘O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus? … Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir’” (Gen 15:2–3).
Eliezar was a servant that Abram had acquired in Haran before he went to Egypt, and Eliezar was to Abram as Joseph was to Pharaoh when Joseph, still a slave, was the number two man in all of Egypt. Eliezar was second only to Abram, but he wasn’t of Abram. He wasn’t Abram’s seed as Joseph wasn’t Pharaoh’s seed: in Egypt, Joseph was always a circumcised Hebrew, meaning that to Egyptians, Joseph was a mutilated person with whom they could not eat.
A decade is not long in the course of human affairs, but even when Abram lived, very few decades of reproduction remained with a person when the person was 75 years old and is now about 85 years old: Abram was running out of time, and he knew it, and he wasn’t happy about the reality that a servant stood to inherit his herds and flocks, let alone the promise of being a great nation. Regardless of how this narrative is translated and spun, the reality is that Abram was deeply concerned about not having an heir.
And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he [the Lord] brought him [Abram] outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he [the Lord] said to him [Abram], “So shall your offspring be.” And he [Abram] believed the Lord, and he [the Lord] counted it to him [Abram] as righteousness. (Gen 15:4–6)
The imprecision of the pronouns is intentional; for every human being who believes the Lord will have his or her belief counted to the person as righteousness. But belief/faith is not a simple thing. Rather, belief comes with doubts as a human being’s skin comes with zits, and that is what belief is: a dynamic covering of the inner self over which the inner self puts on obedience as an outer garment. Two coverings (belief and obedience) work as one covering in a way analogous to the flesh of a person receiving at birth a covering of skin over which first swaddling clothing then later a tunic functions as a portable tent; for the hair of a person’s body is not adequate protection against the elements of this earth whereas the hair of the body of a beast [animal, wild or domestic] does protect the beast.
But perhaps what is now of greatest interest is Paul’s linking of Jesus to Abraham: how long did the glorified Jesus have to wait for offspring? After three and a half years of ministry, during which His disciples were with Him, and after laying dead in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights, then after ascending to His Father and returning on the day of the Wave Sheaf Offering, Jesus breathed on ten of His first disciples (John 20:22) and He had His Bride, the last Eve, who would be to Him (as the last Adam) as Eve was to the first Adam … the Church is the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27), and at the Wedding Supper that follows Christ Jesus’ return as the Messiah, the Church will be the glorified Bride of Christ Jesus. But between being the Body of Christ which is one with its Head, the glorified Jesus, and the Church being the glorified Bride that will become one with the glorified Jesus at the Wedding Supper is a long period during which there is a transition that takes the Body into a spiritual status/state analogous to that of which Eliezar of Damascus had physically. The Body that was set “free” from Sin through Sin no longer having dominion over Christians (Rom 6:14) returned to bondage to Sin, which led to Death (v. 16), by willfully transgressing the commandments of God, with this willful transgression most apparent in greater Christendom’s mingling of the sacred [Christ] with the profane [the day of the invincible sun; the birthday of the invincible sun], which is the same sort of mingled fruit as seen in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. For the Christian Church to worship God on Sunday or to celebrate Christmas is analogous to the first Eve eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. What should never have been done was done and cannot be undone. All a Christian can do is individually repent-of (i.e., rethink, reconsider) how the Christian worships God; for if the Christian doesn’t repent, the Christian’s unbelief will condemn the Christian to the lake of fire.
At the core of every discussion of Christian righteousness lays the well formed question of whether grace alone is sufficient for salvation. The landscape of Christendom was long ago plowed and planted by those who hold that, indeed, grace is sufficient. But from that seed, planted in many fields, has grown a harvest of semi-pelagianism, which will have man responsible through free will for his own salvation as if man were responsible for the hair on his head.
Hair, fur is a natural covering that most mammals receive genetically. A hairless dog or a hairless cat descends from a biological anomaly that is then selected and bred by human beings. And human beings are covered with hair, but not hair of adequate length to afford the person sufficient protection from the elements of this world to survive. In an example of the type of linguistic equivocation that Greeks liked and that Romans hated, a human person without outer garments—an exposed man or woman—will soon die from exposure when subjected to winter weather.
When in the Garden of God, Adam and Eve were both naked but unaware of their nakedness for both were covered by obedience to the Lord: Adam believed the Lord, and Eve believed her husband concerning what the Lord said. Because Adam believed the Lord, Adam covered his nakedness with his obedience that resulted as the natural outgrowth of his belief of God—and because Eve was one flesh with him, Adam’s obedience also covered his wife.
Because Eve believed her husband, Eve covered her nakedness with her obedience to her husband. Thus, Eve’s nakedness was twice covered by obedience, hers and her husband’s.
Adam’s and Eve’s nakedness was covered by their obedience, a garment they put on over the top of their belief. And all was well until the serpent said to the Woman, Did God actually tell you that you couldn’t eat the fruit of the trees here? And the Woman had to correct the apparent mistake of the serpent: “‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die”’” (Gen 3:2–3) … but that wasn’t what God said:
The Lord God took the man [He had made] and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day [when] you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen 2:15–17)
The Lord said nothing to Adam about touching the tree. It was in Adam wanting to make sure there was no possibility of the Woman coming near the tree that Adam added to what the Lord said. And the serpent heard the addition and knew how to exploit it … if a parent tells his or her child that smoking pot will cause the child to become addicted to heroin [the gateway drug argument], and if the child sees his or her friends smoke pot and not become addicted to anything other than smoking pot, the child will no longer believe the parent. The parent has virtually guaranteed that his or her child will smoke pot, or at least try smoking pot, because of what the parent said to the child in trying to prevent the child from smoking dope. It would have been better to give to the child statistics than scare arguments.
A Christian needs to remember that for Christians, the Greek word that is translated into English as truth through the negation of being concealed, or what’s been concealed has a very pronounced agenda, the deliberate revelation of what has been naturally concealed. The truth for Christians always has an agenda, with this agenda being to reveal or strip naked—as seen in the Greek word [apokalupto]—what has been covered or hidden. In the Greek linguistic icon of being covered or hidden. When the Son of Man is no longer covered, the Son of Man will be revealed.
Any Christian who contends that the truth [alethos] has no agenda is either deliberately dishonest, or is a theological moron. And assuming that the latter isn’t true, it is then reasonable to put forth the statement that the Christian who claims that alethos [truth] has no agenda would deliberately mingle the sacred with the profane in an unholy marriage that is certain to condemn the Christian to the lake of fire.
The serpent stripped naked what Adam had concealed from Eve, that she could touch the tree and not die. The serpent revealed to Eve that she would not surely die if she ate of the mingled fruit of Good and Evil—and she ate and she didn’t die. Sin didn’t enter the world when Eve ate forbidden fruit. So what did the serpent say that was false? Yes, God knew that when man ate the mingled fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, man would be like God, knowing good and evil. Hence again, what did the serpent say to Eve that was false—and certainly the serpent had an agenda in telling Eve what Adam had concealed from her.
The serpent used truth to destroy Adam’s belief of God: the serpent told Eve the truth, and used the truth to destroy Adam, with whom the serpent never spoke. For once the serpent heard Eve say touch, the serpent knew what Adam had concealed … again, sin didn’t enter the world via Eve’s unbelief for Eve was still covered by her husband’s obedience, something neither Adam nor Eve understood. Thus, Eve “wore” two coverings of obedience over her nakedness, hers and her husband’s, whereas Adam only wore one.
The wife wears two coverings on her head, the first being her hair which is analogous to Adam’s obedience covering Eve’s belief or unbelief, and the second being a covering of fabric that she has made with her own hands that is analogous to Eve’s belief of her husband. Moving from physical to spiritual, a Christian woman wears one natural covering, her hair, that represents the righteousness of Christ Jesus, grace, and she wears over her hair a fabric covering she has made with her own hands that represents her belief of Christ Jesus. But a man, the husband, representing Christ Jesus in the marriage, wears only one covering, the natural covering of his hair that is cut short to represent that although he, too, is under grace, he is the head of his wife.
When Eve’s outer covering of obedience was stripped away through her no longer believing her husband—perhaps Eve accidently touched the tree, tentatively reaching out and accidently on purpose bushing her fingertips against a leaf, a limb, a piece of fruit, with nothing happening—Eve was ripe for plucking. At some point she touches and picks the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and she doesn’t die. In her eyes, Adam’s words are no longer credible. The serpent has told her the truth, but the serpent has an agenda for telling her what Adam had concealed, with that agenda being to get Adam to eat forbidden fruit.
The truth always has an agenda! The serpent didn’t lie to Eve. The serpent told Eve the truth just as that old serpent, Satan the devil, told the early Christian Church the truth when he said, You shall not surely die, when the early Church was already dead; for that old serpent knew that Christ Jesus as the last Adam would continue to cover the Church with the garment of His righteousness even when there was no breath [pneuma] no Holy Spirit [pneuma hagion] left in the Body of Christ.
When Eve touched the tree and picked forbidden fruit, with nothing happening to her, she ceased to believe her husband, and she believed the serpent, who told her the truth. She ate and she didn’t die for she was still covered by Adam’s obedience. However, when Adam ate forbidden fruit, no covering of obedience remained. They were naked, and they knew it.
With pedagogical redundancy, let it here be repeated: Eve’s belief of her husband was sufficient to cover Eve’s nakedness, but under Eve’s belief of her husband was another covering, the belief of her husband. However, when the serpent deceived Eve—as soon as the serpent heard Eve say, touch, the serpent knew how to destroy Eve’s belief of her husband for the Lord had said nothing to Adam about not touching the tree—and she believed the serpent rather than her husband, sin did not enter the world; for Eve was still covered by her husband’s obedience. Eve was still covered by her husband’s belief of the Lord. But when Adam saw Eve eat forbidden fruit and not die, Adam ceased to believe the Lord … put yourself in Adam’s place: the Lord had said to Adam, “‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die’” (Gen 2:16–17). Adam believed the Lord, and believed the Lord to such an extent that he went out of his way to make sure that Eve didn’t even touch the tree. He added to the Lord’s words. Yet here he is, watching Eve eat fruit from the tree with nothing happening to her. What is he to think? If what the Lord told him was factual, Eve should be dead. Yet obviously she is not dead. Instead, she is offering him fruit.
The serpent was more subtle than other beasts … as a chess player offers his or her opponent a gambit pawn to entice the opponent to overreach, to suspend the orderly development of the opponent’s pieces, the serpent understood that Eve was covered by Adam’s belief of God, that if the serpent could get Eve to eat forbidden fruit, Adam would see her eat and would no longer believe the Lord. Adam didn’t know that Eve was covered by his belief, with his belief being covered by his obedience. So when Eve ate and didn’t die, Adam ceased to believe. The serpent checkmated Adam without ever directly attacking him.
The truth has an agenda, to reveal what has been concealed by natural appearance of life; for when the Christian realizes that he or she dwells in a glorious death chamber, a spiritual black hole [Abyss or bottomless pit] from which there is no escape other than to walk as Jesus walked, living physical life as a Judean regardless of whether the flesh is circumcised as Hebrew males were circumcised or uncircumcised as Hebrew females were uncircumcised, the Christian must make a decision with life or death consequences. The Christian must make the decision that Moses placed before the children of Israel on the plains of Moab:
For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. / See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. (Deut 30:11–20 emphasis added)
The Apostle Paul identifies this commandment that will have the Israelite far from the Lord, by faith, choosing to keep the commandments of God as “the righteousness based on faith” (Rom 10:6). It is this Israelite who only needs to profess that Jesus is Lord and to believe that the Father raised Jesus from death (v. 9) to be saved. Paul writes, “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (v. 10).
Justification is always through belief, but to this belief must be added works, with the works of the natural Israelite who keeps the commandments by faith being professing with his or her mouth that Jesus is Lord. However, for the Gentile who is far from God by birth and by culture but who comes close to God by believing that the Father raised Jesus from death, the needful addition that corresponds to a natural Israelite professing that Jesus-is-Lord is keeping the commandments by faith, with keeping the commandments causing the Gentile’s uncircumcision to be counted as circumcision (Rom 2:26–29).
Truth has an agenda, with my agenda being to reveal what’s been concealed by the encrustation of lawlessness that, as underwater concretation cements lost silver coins into a single mass, has bound Arian Christians to Trinitarians in a chain gang slouching toward the flames of the second death.
Truth has an agenda, with the serpent using truth as the lever that caused Adam to quit believing God. It takes no subtlety to lie to a person and to destroy the person through the lie—there is nothing subtle about a lie, or about liars. But to use the truth—i.e., to reveal what has been concealed—as the means through which to bring destruction upon the Christian does not come via the carnal mind, but comes from the supra-dimensional heavenly realm … the Lord did not let Moses enter the Promise Land of God’s rest (Deut 34:4) even though the Lord gave to Moses His rest (Ex 33:14) because Moses had rebelled against the Lord’s command at the waters of Meribah:
Now there was no water for the congregation. And they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Would that we had perished when our brothers perished before the Lord! Why have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, that we should die here, both we and our cattle? And why have you made us come up out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, and there is no water to drink.” Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting and fell on their faces. And the glory of the Lord appeared to them, and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” And Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he commanded him. / Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and through them he showed himself holy. (Num 20:2–13 emphasis added)
What Moses never suspected was that under no circumstances would the Lord have allowed him to cross the River Jordan and lead the children of Israel into the Promise Land of God’s rest. That job had belonged to Joshua [in Greek, Iesous— Jesus, from Acts 7:45] since the foundations of the earth were laid. Thus, if Moses hadn’t struck the rock at Kadesh where the people of Israel quarreled with Moses as they had at Rephidim [Masseh] (Ex 17:2–7) when the Lord had commanded Moses to strike the rock to bring forth water—“‘Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink’” (v. 6)—another water-related-occasion would have developed in which cause would be found to prevent Moses from entering the Promised Land. For Moses and Aaron are the shadow and type [the left hand enantiomer] of the two witnesses in the Affliction, who are killed by the king of the Abyss and resurrected from death to be the hammer with which the Lord delivers a deadly wound to Death, himself, the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse.
The two witnesses will be killed because they have told the truth; thus, again, truth has an agenda, with that agenda in the Affliction being to get the two witnesses killed.
The two witnesses will tell Christians the truth; i.e., they will tell Christians what their pastors and priests will not tell them, that because they have mingled the sacred with the profane, they are condemned to the lake of fire.
Belief of God will be counted to everyone as righteousness. But for Christians, belief of God equates to the observant Jew believing in his or her heart that God raised Jesus from death (again, Rom 10:10). Belief remains concealed. The righteousness that comes from belief-of-God remains concealed until, for the observant Jew, this belief causes the observant Jew to openly and publicly confess that Jesus is Lord. The righteousness that comes from belief-of-God remains concealed in the Christian’s heart until the Christian openly and publicly begins to keep the commandments of God, especially the Sabbath commandment … for the Gentile convert to Christianity, openly keeping the Sabbath closely equates to, for the observant convert from Judaism, professing with his or her mouth that Jesus is Lord.
The Christian who began as a Gentile covers his or her belief-of-God with the garment of keeping the commandments by faith. The Christian who began as an observant Hebrew covers his or her belief-of-God with a profession of faith that will have the convert acknowledging that Jesus is Lord … before driving Adam and Eve from the Garden of God, the Lord made for them garments of animal skins that covered their nakedness as obedience previously had.
The above is perhaps the most important principle that a holy one needs to understand when it comes to coverings, and the day of coverings [plural], Yom Kipporim. The man covers his belief of God through his obedience to God, but the man’s obedience also covers his wife and all of his household. The authority of the believing husband over his believing wife is analogous to the authority Christ Jesus has over the Church—and Christ Jesus is not abusive, is not heavy handed, is long suffering, and on goes the list. And this is how a man is to rule over his wife. So a man having authority over his wife should be a blessing to his wife, not a curse. If the man abuses the authority given him, then he can expect the Lord to be abusive to him, something he really doesn’t want, especially when his judgment resides with the Lord.
Christ Jesus covers every disciple with His righteousness; with His belief of God. Thus, spiritually, the Christian man as well as the Christian woman is covered by Christ Jesus’ obedience to God as Eve was covered by Adam’s obedience even after she ate forbidden fruit. Paul expresses this concept as follows: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:27–28). To put on Christ is to wear Christ as a garment. And because the Christian Church is to Christ Jesus, the last Adam, as Eve was to Adam, the Church is to believe Christ about what it is that God has said as Eve was to believe Adam about what the Lord told Adam, a reoccurring subject in this commentary.
After the Lord pronounced His judgment on the serpent, upon Eve, and upon Adam (Gen 3:14–19), the Lord made for the man and the woman “garments of skins and clothed them” (v. 21) … an outer garment of animal skins or fabric covers the skin of a person as hair [fur], the pelt of an animal covers the skin of an animal—and here, in the concept of coverings, lays the reason why Esau was hated before birth (Mal 1:3); for Esau was born a hairy man (Gen 25:25) through no fault of his own. He needed no other covering than that with which he was born; so even though he wore clothing (Gen 27:15), as a man of the fields he was as a predatory beast that had no apparent need to protect himself from the elements of the earth. He would have worn clothing for social reasons, not for need. By natural he had no need for a second covering, an outer covering.
Whereas hair grows naturally on the head of all peoples (male and female) and naturally on the chins of men, Esau’s hairy torso would have been an unnatural covering of hair analogous to spiritual Esau falsely believing that he has no need to cover his belief with obedience—an eisegesic reading of Esau that is valid for the same reason that Paul’s reading of Christians as Isaac (Gal 4:21–31) is valid.
Whereas hair on the head serves as a natural covering of the head of a person, substantial hair on the backs of hands is an unnatural covering (see Gen 27:16). Even though the number of hairs per square inch of a human being’s skin is greater than the number per square inch on some other beasts, human body hairs are diminutive in size and are not an effective covering. Without an additional covering, the human person is exposed and subject to exposure.
In the cold rain forests of Southeast Alaska, prior to European contact through Siberia, Tlingit peoples lacked a readily available source of durable fiber from which cloth could be spun: their clothing was made from dog hair which is slick and difficult to spin into yarn, or from mountain goat wool which was difficult to obtain, or from the inner fibers of cedar bark which were plentiful and easily obtained but which were fragile, especially when wet. And the climate was simply too wet to use animal skins as outdoor clothing. Thus, Tlingit peoples tended to work outside in the cold, hard rain with little or no clothing on, reserving their clothing for when they were indoors and dry. To keep themselves warm outside, they ate a diet high in fish oil or seal oil, consuming 35,000 to 40,000 calories a day and literally heating themselves from inside out. Without being covered with hair as their dogs were—and as Esau was—and without modern raingear, Tlingit peoples survived outdoors by stoking the dark fire of cellular oxidation that sustains human life to heat levels that are not usually obtainable.
When the invisible things of God are revealed by the visible things of this world (Rom 1:20), the over-stoked dark fire of cellular oxidation in early Tlingit peoples sheds light on the question of whether Christ Jesus’ righteousness alone is sufficient for salvation—
Pre-contact Tlingit peoples would not have survived outdoors without using oil as a condiment, dipping dried meats and berries in communal oil dishes before consuming them. For Tlingit peoples to survive and prosper in the cold rain forests of the Pacific Northwest—and prosper they did: they developed a culture that was not technologically far behind that of Europeans (Tlingit metal smiths could forge copper without having their forgings contaminated by firescale, a problem Anglo-European metal smiths have never really overcome)—they needed a biological adaptation specific to the lands they occupied.
The metabolism of a normal human person who suddenly begins to consume 40,000 calories a day will not internally burn these calories to provide heat for the body, but will store these calories as quickly-acquired fat; thus, the normal person cannot do what pre-contact Tlingit peoples did. Over time, yes, a person with a normal metabolism can modify his or her metabolism so that the person is less effected by cold weather, with the body temperatures of longtime Alaskans averaging between two and four degrees lower than residents of the Lower 48. The human body is extremely adaptable. But sudden changes do not occur: the exposed person dies of exposure long before his or her metabolism changes enough that he or she can internally warm the person.
A Christian who has the earnest of spirit is analogous a human person with a normal metabolism. The Christian who is as Peter and John were when their shadow falling across the infirm would heal the person, or who is as Paul was when even delivery of a cloth that had touched him was sufficient to heal—this Christian is filled-with and empowered by the breath of God [pneuma Theon] in a manner analogous to the metabolism of a pre-contact Tlingit. And only when a Christian is empowered by spirit from on high is the covering of Christ Jesus’ righteousness truly sufficient for salvation.
Again, unless a Christian is “‘clothed with power from on high’” (Luke 24:49), with this covering of power from on high being linguistically represented as being filled-with and empowered by the spirit of God, the exposed Christian will quickly die from exposure even though the Christian is covered with the righteousness of Christ Jesus as the human person is covered by diminutive body hairs. Over Christ Jesus’ righteousness, the Christian who is not yet clothed with power from on high needs to wear the garment of his or her own obedience. Plus, the Christian is to remain in Jerusalem throughout the days of the early barley harvest: from the Wave Sheaf Offering to the Feast of Weeks, Pentecost, when the last of the harvest of firstfruits has been gathered into barns. The Christian is not to leave Jerusalem under any circumstances; for outside of Jerusalem, the Christians will be stripped of his or her garment of obedience, robbed, and left for dead.
Being clothed with power from on high raises the internal righteousness of the inner self; for no longer is there indwelling sin in the person. There was, during the course of Paul’s ministry, a change from where he was when he wrote his treatise to the Romans (especially chap 7) and where he was in his ministry when he baptized the twelve at Ephesus (Acts chap 19). This change was one that Paul did not well understand; for he expected that once Sin had no dominion over him, he could rule over his body, causing his body to do those things which he wanted to do. He didn’t understand why, when he had the desire to do right, he couldn’t do what he desired. He didn’t understand that even though he was filled with spirit, he was not yet liberated from indwelling sin and death. And this created a dilemma for which he had no explanation.
Yet, Paul, in equating Christ Jesus with Abraham, had the answer to why when he desired to do right he couldn’t: he only needed to extend his tour de force allegory one more generation. He needed to understand that to spiritual Isaac will be born two sons, a spiritual Esau and a spiritual Jacob, with these two sons being Isaac’s seed and by extension, Christ Jesus’ seed, with Christ’s seed being the children produced from the union of the last Adam and the last Eve [the Christian Church]. To Esau, not to Jacob, will be born a spiritual Cain, Abel, and Seth in the harvest of firstfruits when Christ comes as King of kings and Lord of lords. The harvest of the offspring of Jacob comes after the Thousand Years in the great White Throne Judgment. And the preceding comes as knowledge to Israel in the course of its kings searching out the concealed things of God (see Proverbs 25:2) —
The harvest of firstfruits that represents the first harvest of this earth—the harvest of the Esau, the man of the fields, the wild man that was hated before birth because he didn’t value his birthright enough to fight to keep it, the hairy man—this harvest comes when the last Eve, the Christian Church of the 1st-Century, metaphorically gives birth to three sons: a spiritual Abel when all Christians, regardless of sect or creed, are filled-with and empowered by the spirit of God at the Second Passover liberation of Israel. There will be no more indwelling Sin and Death in the fleshly bodies of all Christians. All will be as righteous Abel was; as Jesus the Nazarene was. And these Christians, to be saved—again, regardless of sect or creed—need only to endure in faith to the end (Matt 24:13), for in being filled-with and empowered by the breath of God they become as Esau was: at birth (when coming out from the womb of grace), they are unnaturally covered with a “covering” over which no additional covering is needed. This covering is represented in the first Esau as hair of a type that beasts have. In my use of the early Tlingit peoples as an example of needing no additional covering, it is represented by the over-stoked internal dark fire of cellular oxidation coming from high oil intake, with oil representing the spirit of God. And spiritual Esau is hated from before birth for this firstborn son of Isaac will not value being filled with spirit; for 220 days after righteous Abel is born, the majority of Christendom will rebel against God when the Fifth Seal is opened, thereby giving birth to a spiritual Cain that kills his righteous brother both outwardly through martyrdom and inwardly through rebellion against God, for those Christians who become Cain were first of righteous Abel.
Because Cain kills Abel, Esau gives birth to a third son, a spiritual Seth, when the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man on the doubled day 1260 of the Affliction and Endurance; i.e., when the spirit is poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28), and the third part of humankind (from Zech 13:9) is born filled with spirit as Abel was 1261 days earlier. As with Abel, this third part of humankind—this spiritual Seth—only has to endure to the end to be saved. He is born with an unnatural covering of righteousness to which he needs only to add doing what he knows is right for the 1260 days of the Endurance.
The hair with which the first Esau was born metaphorically represents the harvest of firstfruits being unnaturally covered through being filled-with and empowered by the spirit of God during the Affliction and Kingdom and Endurance. No additional covering—garment—will be needed. Nevertheless, the difference between Cain and Abel comes from righteous Abel doing what these Christians know is right through being filled with spirit. So as with the first Esau, they cover their unnatural covering with the addition of a covering made with their own hands.
In Abram believing the Lord when a decade had passed without Abram fathering a son, Abram represents everyman who believes the Lord, with the belief of everyman being counted to everyman as righteousness. Abram represents every Christian man or woman, every Jew or Muslim or Buddhist—and here a problem enters, for no one can be a Muslim or Buddhist or an atheist and believe the Lord. In reality, no one can be of rabbinical Judaism and believe the Lord. And no Christian who worships on Sunday believes the Lord. So the number of human beings who, today, can have their belief of the Lord counted to them as righteousness is necessarily small, and in reality, is extremely small. And even of those few whose belief of God can be counted to them as righteousness, their belief will naturally come with zits, and when their belief is tried by the Adversary, their belief will be covered by boils as Job’s skin was covered with boils when Satan afflicted him.
To believe the Lord will have the person walking as Jesus, an observant Jew, walked regardless of whether the person is or isn’t outwardly circumcised. For a person to not walk as an observant Jew reveals either open or concealed hostility to God dwelling within the person. And no person who remains hostile to God has been born of God; i.e., no person who remains hostile to God truly has indwelling eternal life through receipt of a second breath of life. And without receipt of a second breath of life, the righteousness of Christ Jesus is to the Christian as exposed skin on a cold winter day. The exposed person will soon die of exposure, hypothermia.
So there is no misunderstanding: the above for Christians changes at the Second Passover liberation of Israel, and for today’s Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu changes when the kingdom is given to the Son of Man and He baptizes the world in spirit.
Although Abram believed the Lord that his heir would be of him and had his belief counted to him as righteousness, his belief isn’t as a Christian would expect it to be:
And he [the Lord] said to him [Abram], “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” But he [Abram] said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. / As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.” (Gen 15:7–21 emphasis added)
In the narrative’s chronology, Abram has his belief of the Lord counted to him as righteousness before Abram asks, O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess the land of Canaan? The question discloses a lack of faith. So the faith that Abram had was not complete; it was not perfect. And in reality, it wasn’t what endtime Christendom has claimed it was.
Abram had legitimate doubts about the Lord supplying him with an heir, doubts that become evident in the Hagar narrative:
Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. (Gen 16:1–6)
The story isn’t quite as simple as Christians have believed; for the covenant the Lord made with Abram would give to his heirs the land from the Nile to the Euphrates, a geographical territory larger than even what King David ruled—and without the offspring of Hagar being too many to be numbered (Gen 16:10), the promise made to Abram remains to be fulfilled even though the sons of Jacob spent 400 years in Egypt where they were afflicted, only returning to Canaan when the iniquity of the Amorites was complete.
The biological descendants of Abram through Hagar have ruled the territory from the Nile to the Euphrates for many of the centuries between when Abram lived and this present era. But Hagar only represents the period before Abram received the seal of circumcision as the ratifying sign of yet another covenant:
When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.” (Gen 17:1–8)
Abraham now has a son via Hagar, Ishmael, so for Abraham, the issue of having a son is not foremost on his mind. Unlike 14 years earlier, the man of faith is silent as the Lord speaks to him—so in Abraham’s silence when this covenant is made with Abraham, the Christian can see how troubled Abram was fourteen years earlier when he had his belief of God counted to him as righteousness. And the Christian should be able to translate the difficulty Abram was having in believing the Lord into his or her own life, and his or her own struggle against doubt. Obedience from belief of God even when accompanied by doubt will be counted to the person as righteousness.
Paul addressed Abram’s faith before he was circumcised; i.e., when the Lord appeared to Abram in vision and said, “‘Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great’” (Gen 15:1). And Paul addressed Abram’s faith after the Lord appeared to him and said, “‘I am El Shaddai; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiple you greatly’” (Gen 17:1–2), with circumcision of the flesh given as the ratifying sign of this covenant. Yet, this isn’t where Paul ends his analogy; for elsewhere Paul writes, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring [seed], heirs according to the promise” (Gal 3:29).
In a physical application of what the Lord told Abram about his seed being as the stars of heaven, all of Abram’s seed that came through Hagar and through Keturah must be added to the “countable” remnant of Abraham’s heirs through Sarah before a second billion heirs are reached, a number large enough to be compared to the number of visible stars. Even with the addition of all self-identified Christians to all of Islam, the ideology in which most of Abram’s offspring through Hagar resides, the combined count of Abram’s heirs would be half of the world’s population. To leave out Abram’s heirs that descend through Hagar or Abraham’s spiritual heirs that descend through Christ Jesus leaves Abraham where, as Abram, he complained to the Lord about a lack of offspring—and leaves Abram wondering where his heirs would come if they were to be a great nation. But of primary importance, if Christ Jesus equates to Abraham, then Christ Jesus must have the same sort of concerns about His seed as Abram had about his, meaning that the Christian Church has yet to give birth to the promised heirs, and there is concern about them for Abel dies physically and Cain dies spiritually so it is from the natural descendants of Hagar and from the allegorical descendants of Hagar that the majority of Seth comes.
To erase narrative doubts about Abraham having heirs, Paul writes his tour de force allegory in which he identifies natural Israelites as the descendants of Hagar (and being of earthly Jerusalem) and identifies Christians as Isaac and being of heavenly Jerusalem (Gal 4:21–31). Paul’s allegory requires the reader to suspend disbelief and accept the otherwise illogical premise that the natural descendants of Abraham through Sarah are really the descendants of Hagar, a premise that welds Judaism to Islam in a slag filled puddle of molten metal that will not hold together when cooled. But to believe Paul’s allegory, the Christian must not only suspend disbelief and accept what is technically not true, but suspend disbelief to see what Paul sees; for in the continuation of Paul’s allegory lies revelation that destroys the theological premise of modern Christendom.
The Christian dogma that by free will a person initially becomes a Christian—that a person of this world makes a decision for Christ—is bogus: if the Father doesn’t draw the person from this world in this present era, that person can profess that Jesus is Lord until hoarse and still not be born of spirit until Isaac (through Rebekah) gives birth to Esau, from whom will come a spiritual Cain, Abel, and Seth. And then, the person who has made a decision for Christ will almost inevitably rebel against God and be condemned to the lake of fire. So the Muslim woman who today covers her hair and who is in subjection to her husband stands a far better chance of being in the harvest of firstfruits than does the Southern Baptist woman who shops for her weekly groceries on the Sabbath with her hair uncovered as if she were a public woman. Both are far from God.
Again, to Paul’s Isaac will be born two sons of promise; for Rebekah, like Sarah her mother-in-law, was barren (Gen 25:21) until Isaac prayed for offspring, and his prayer was granted.
The promised seed was not to come through natural reproduction, but through unnatural. And the firstborn of these twin sons of promise born to Isaac is Esau, a hairy man hated by God from before birth, a man of the field who is unnaturally covered with hair … an unnatural birth produces an unnatural son of promise that for sound reasons, but scripturally undisclosed reasons, is hated by God while he is still in the womb … Esau was hated because the majority of spiritual Esau will rebel against God, rejecting the birthright that is his by birth order, for all firstborns belong to God.
But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (Rom 9:6–13 emphasis added)
It is not the children of Hagar that are today of God—Muslims are not of God despite who they claim. Rabbinical Judaism is not of God despite what the faith claims. Even greater Christendom is not of God despite what Christians claim. To be of God, the Christian must be of Christ Jesus, meaning that the Christian must walk as Jesus walked so that the Christian is a fractal image of the man Jesus.
Esau is not the fractal of Jacob even though they are twins, and it is through Jacob that the man Jesus the Nazarene humanly descends. Spiritual Esau is hated before birth because he doesn’t look like Christ Jesus, doesn’t walk as Jesus walked, doesn’t cover himself with righteousness through believing God as Jesus covered Himself and as the people of Israel will cover themselves in the Millennium.
Traditionally, the focus of Christendom has been on Jacob and on his descendants, not realizing that to focus on Jacob is to focus on the millennial reign of Christ Jesus, not on this present world. Even within Sabbatarian Christendom, the focus has been on Jacob, the twelve tribes of Israel, their Passover exodus from Egypt, their construction of the temple in earthly Jerusalem, their rebellions against God, and upon one particular Israelite, Jesus the Nazarene. But there were two sons born to Isaac, one of whom was a natural man as Ishmael was born to Abram as a natural son. Without fully explaining his logic for identifying his people Israel with Hagar, it is through natural versus unnatural that Paul supports his claim,
For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. (Gal 4:21–26)
It is fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to Hagar/Hagar that is seen in the harvest of firstfruits, with the spirit coming to the descendants of Hagar/Hagar when the spirit is poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28) —
The Jerusalem above is not a natural city, but is the city of God for which Abraham waited (Heb 11:10). The covenant initially made at Mount Sinai is a natural covenant, ratified by blood. The second covenant made at Sinai, the covenant that the biological descendants of Israel do not recognize as a second covenant but merely as a reaffirming of the covenant initially given, is not a natural covenant for it was ratified by the glory that shone from Moses’ face from Moses having seen the backside of the Lord.
Paul doesn’t identify the covenant that spiritually or unnaturally corresponds to the covenant he links to Hagar being Mount Sinai in Arabia; for Paul was a product of his culture as everyman is the product of his culture. Paul doesn’t realize that when Moses cast down and broke the two tablets of stone for which Moses had done no work, Moses ended the first Sinai covenant, with this end ratified through the sons of Levi shedding the blood of their companions (see Ex 32:26–29) … as the first Sinai covenant was ratified with the shedding of the blood of bulls (Ex 24:5–8) as an earthly thing (Heb 9:22–23), the first Sinai covenant ended with the shedding of Levitical blood; for the shedding of blood necessary to end an earthly covenant must be of greater worth than the blood that initiated the covenant. The second Sinai covenant—the covenant that Paul apparently doesn’t recognize as a separate covenant just as rabbinical Judaism today doesn’t recognize it as a separate covenant—was not ratified with blood, but with glory shining from face of Moses. This second Sinai covenant will end with the inner selves of Christians receiving glorified bodies. It doesn’t end when the invisible dead inner self of a person is raised to life through receipt of a second breath of life, the breath of God [pneuma Theon], the assumption of Christians ever since Paul wrote his epistle to the Galatians.
The second Sinai covenant was made with Moses and with Israel (Ex 34:27), not with just Israel and the children of Israel. Moses was born a Hebrew, but he was not reared as a slave but as a member of Pharaoh’s household. And when he identified himself with the Hebrews, he wasn’t a slave but was a free man albeit a fugitive after killing the Egyptian he found beating the Hebrew (Ex 2:11–12). Therefore, it would not have been accurate to include Moses in any grouping of slaves, in Egypt or in the wilderness where Moses was as God to Aaron and to Israel. The Lord is not a slave; Moses was not a slave; and those Christians who are of Moses are not slaves even though they remain under the second Sinai covenant until they are glorified; i.e., receive glorified bodies.
As with Paul using Abraham’s belief of God as a model that Paul doesn’t closely examine in his epistles, Paul’s linking of Hagar with Mount Sinai works best when not closely examined; however, it holds up when closely examined. But when closely examined it also reveals details that destroys the ideological basis for greater Christendom.
The first covenant is the natural Passover covenant that was ratified by the natural sacrifice of paschal lambs on the part of Israel and the unnatural shedding of blood on the part of the Lord. This first covenant was not made at Mount Sinai, but was made in Egypt. The covenant initially made at Mount Sinai brought Sin to life (see Rom 7:8–11 as an example text), and once Sin was brought to life by the commandments, Sin slew Israel while Moses was with the Lord and Joshua was halfway up the mountain. But this initial Sinai covenant was not the covenant made with Israel on the night that the Lord took the fathers of Israel by the hand to lead the nation out from Egypt (see Ex 12:43–13:16). And the New Covenant promised through Jeremiah (31:31–34) and cited by the writer of Hebrews (8:8–12) replaces the covenant made on that particular night. Thus, the first covenant remains in effect until it is ended by the natural sacrifice of the unnatural Passover Lamb of God, Christ Jesus, followed by the unnatural shedding of the blood of natural firstborns. And as the sacrifice of paschal lambs in Egypt was separated from the death of the firstborns of Egypt by six hours, the natural sacrifice of the Passover Lamb of God in the 1st-Century is separated by almost two millennia from the unnatural sacrifice of firstborns in the 21st-Century. The first covenant remains in effect until it is ended by the Lord taking the lives of uncovered firstborns in heaven and on earth. Only then can the New Covenant be implemented.
This commentary continues for enough additional sections that it needs to be split into two commentaries. Thus, here, in a very much unfinished manner, this commentary will conclude.
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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."