April 5, 2005 ©Homer
Commentary — From the Margins
The Passing of an Era
With the passing of John Paul II, the closing of an era begins as the annals of history turn inward upon themselves. This head of the Roman Church publicly stood for the received morality of an earlier age. He will be lauded by international dignitaries and by even detractors. He proved himself to be an unusual man, but neither he, nor his administration of the Roman Church, nor that centuries-long earlier age will be long remembered. For his successor will lead the largest sect of Christendom in a war against itself that will ultimately be won through the defeat of Death, the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse. His successor will, for a while, be remembered, but even he will slip into the fires of oblivion. The Book of Genesis records the birth (or creation) and early history of the first Adam, the first Eve, and their first three sons. The Gospels and the unfinished Book of Acts record the birth and early history of the last Adam and the last Eve. The remainder of the unfinished Acts of the Apostles will record the birth of three spiritually circumcised sons: a firstborn spiritual Cain, a righteous spiritual Abel who will be slain by his other brother, and a spiritual Seth, who will be saved by enduring to the end. It will be the yet unlived story of these three spiritual sons that will be remembered by future generations, for Holy Writ records beginnings and endings, the first and the last. And a millennium from today, it will only be Holy Writ that survives this era of running to and fro, an era powered by the computer chip and cheap fuel.
By every discernable measure of a man, John Paul II was a great man, but greatness is thrust upon men. The ego of those who set out to be great inevitably lead to their demise. Within the last decade, the world witnessed a soiled blue dress undoing an American President who sought greatness from his youth, for greatness tests the character of those upon whom it is thrust. And when the character fails, history records that failure.
In the foreseeable future, the opportunity for greatness will be thrust upon the entirety of the Christian Church. Many, many saints will rise to greatness, and some will be killed as their spiritual brethren were killed in the 1st-Century CE. They will be martyred because they will not compromise with principle; they will not eat those practices they vomited out when the Holy Spirit liberated them from lawlessness. They will not rebel against the Father and the Son, and commit blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. And their acts of faith and defiance will be long remembered, as is Stephen's.
But the character of the majority of the Christian Church will fail. This majority will rebel (2 Thess 2:3) when the lawless one is revealed, and those who rebel will blaspheme the Holy Spirit, which will not be forgiven them. A great delusion will be sent over them so that they will not want to repent, and indeed, cannot. And this rebellion will be nothing more than them practicing Christianity as they presently do, the reason why so many will rebel and will not repent.
Those saints who rebel will practice the Christianity of John Paul II…and the Christianity of Brigham Young—for the rebelling saints will try to enter God's rest on the following day.
Today, the most visible proof that spiritually circumcised saints (i.e., all who have the Holy Spirit, or all who have been born-from-above) need liberated from sin is the weekly assembling of Christendom to worship Father and Son. Greater Christendom conducts its business and takes its pleasure on the Sabbath, then like the nation that left Egypt, turns its unbelief into disobedience when it attempts to enter God's rest on the following day.
The Sabbath commandment isn't about another day. Under the second covenant mediated by Christ Jesus, murder goes from being what the body does to anger and hatred, goes from hand to the heart and the thoughts of the mind. The commandment against adultery goes from being what the body does to being lust, or the desires of the heart and mind. Keeping the Sabbath commandment goes from being what the body does on the seventh day to being what the mind thinks, and the heart desires on the seventh day. Under the spiritual second covenant, the commandments of God are no longer outside of the disciple, written in a book or on tablets of stone; rather, they are inside the disciple, written on heart and mind. The body of the disciple is no longer under an external law, but is (or should be) governed by the law of God in the mind and heart of the new creature, a son of God, that dwells in the same tabernacle of flesh as the crucified old man dwells or dwelt. Thus, John Paul II needed liberated from spiritual bondage to lawlessness just as much as the Israelite overseers under Pharaoh needed liberated from physical slavery—those Israelite overseers were beaten when Israel didn't produce enough bricks. They, too, felt the lash of Pharaoh.
However, until the fullness of iniquity is reached, greater Christendom's weekly lawlessness is covered by Grace, just as was physically circumcised Israel's lawlessness not counted against the nation until the law was given from atop Mt. Sinai. All of Christendom, the spiritually holy nation of God (1 Pet 2:9), is in bondage to the spiritual king of Babylon (Isa 14:4-21), just as the physically circumcised nation of Israel, due to its lawlessness, was sent into Babylonian captivity. Two analogies are in play: Egypt and Babylon. From Babylon, a remnant returned to the geographical holy land and to Jerusalem to rebuild a scaled down temple; from spiritual Babylon, a remnant of the spiritually circumcised nation have returned to the mental holy land of obedience to rebuilt temples of God. And like the physical remnant that became the Sadducees and Pharisees (and other sects) of Jesus' day, the spiritual remnant has sought righteousness through the law that if kept will lead to righteousness. But this spiritual remnant has sought righteousness without practicing love just as the physical remnant sought righteousness without practicing faith. This spiritual remnant that keeps the Sabbaths of God has displayed so little love toward their spiritually circumcised brethren still in Babylon that this remnant is as far from salvation as are their enslaved brethren.
The physically firstborn son of God (Exod 4:22) was in physical bondage to Pharaoh. The spiritually firstborn son of God is in bondage to sin and death (Rom 7:25). As the physically firstborn son was liberated, so will be the spiritually firstborn son when the last Eve as Zion gives birth before she is in labor (Isa 66:7)—liberation will occur at the beginning of seven endtime years of tribulation. And just as the physical nation had to be shown the Sabbath through the manna coming six days of the week, the true Bread from Heaven will show the newly liberated spiritually firstborn son of God the Sabbath. Additionally, as the physically circumcised nation continually complained about manna, calling it a worthless food, the spiritually circumcised nation will complain about Christ, even to calling Him worthless. Again, this spiritually circumcised nation, as a last Cain, will murder its righteous younger brother, composed of those saints who keep the commandments of God when the man of perdition attempts to change times and the law. The man of perdition, accompanied by ten witnesses, will take the spiritually circumcised nation back into sin at a time when the nation has no covering for sin but its obedience to God. The two witnesses, like Joshua and Caleb, will stand against the ten, and against the spiritual nation's return to sin through the nation attempting to enter God's rest on the following day. These two witnesses will mentally lead a spiritual Seth to victory over Death through delivering the good news that all who endure to the end shall be saved (Matt 24:13). Death, that fourth horseman, will be publicly defeated when the two witnesses are raised from death as Christ Jesus was. This will be the testimony that the spiritual Seth, born from above when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all flesh, has that will sustain that third of humanity (Zech 13:9) through its endurance to the end.
Despite his greatness as a man, John Paul II is not who Christendom is to follow. Rather, Christians are to follow Jesus of Nazareth, who lived as a Judean, keeping the Commandments, keeping the Sabbaths, living spiritually under an external law that could not be broken by Him. His disciples, when liberated from sin, will also live as Judeans, keeping the Commandments, especially the Sabbaths, living spiritually by an inner law that will cause disciples to outwardly keep the external commandments. Disciples will form the Body of the Son of Man, revealed at the end of the age (Luke 17:26-30), naked before God when the righteousness of Christ is removed, the Body's only covering for sin then being its obedience to the laws of God. At Christ's return, glorified disciples will have lived seven years without sin, or they will have been faithful unto death. The seven days of Unleavened Bread represent these seven years—and the first Sabbath of Unleavened Bread commemorates the night when Israel was liberated from bondage, when the death angels passed through all of Egypt, slaying firstborns not covered by the blood of the Passover lamb.
The spiritually circumcised nation of Israel covers its sins by taking the sacraments representing the paschal Lamb of God as it waits for liberation during this long spiritual night of watching that began at Calvary.
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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."