April 23, 2008 ©Homer Kizer
Commentary — From the Margins
The Offspring of Truth
In an unpublished paper, John S. Robertson of BYU’s Linguistics Department wrote, “We are offspring of Truth” … Robertson also wrote, “I suppose that in the late 20th Century one could be standing on shaky metaphysical grounds in suggesting that truth is real, let alone discoverable.”
Yes, a person would be standing in quicksand if the person were so brazen as to say, “‘Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice’” (John 18:37); for Jesus of Nazareth’s assertion was that truth existed and was knowable but only through His voice. His statement excludes, though, easy discovery of truth.
In an era when intellectual cowardice dominates philosophical thought—in an era when adherence to a politicized morality is directly linked to employment and economic prosperity—literary criticism has become political activism, and biblical criticism as a subset to literary criticism has become the domain of theological wolves intent upon devouring as many sheep as they can and slaying the remainder of the flock. Long ago the biblically courageous were transformed into the “quiet people” through persecution and physical displacement. The many voices that are heard from within Christendom hide behind the skirts of civil authority, peeking out occasionally to support this political candidate or that one, using pulpits as crutches in visionquests to make this world spiritually green.
Robertson expressed his concern that “when some person or worse, a group of people, take a moral position—at least that bifurcating moral position which cleaves the universe into two parts: good and evil—, then they are no longer able to surrender themselves to the real purpose of inquiry, which is discovery of laws which the collective good reason of any number of other, well informed investigators cannot deny.”
Question: is the purpose of Bible study the discovery of laws which the collective
good reason of any number of other, well informed investigators cannot deny?
This would be contrary to the foundational constructs of
Revelation occurs or doesn’t occur. Proof testing whether a revelation has occurred through fulfilled prophecy still doesn’t determine the source of the revelation, for the spirits themselves must be tested.
Scriptural revelation coming from whatever means lays outside the domain of scientific inquiry, and scriptural revelation produces a bifurcating moral position: those who believe the revelation occurred—regardless of whether that revelation came to Paul, Mohammed, or Joseph Smith—are in the inner sanctum of knowledge [the “good” position]; whereas those who do not believe are confined to the outer court and are excluded from the presence of God. And what test exists by which the collective good reason of any number of other, well informed investigators can even comment intelligently upon whether revelation has occurred?
When I first read Robertson’s unpublished paper in the spring of 1992—a paper that was philosophical dynamite with the fuse lit (perhaps the reason it remains unpublished)—I gained the argument I needed to refute theoretical Marxism, and I made this argument against several bipolar schema in several graduate papers. Finally, coming at midlife from the cultural margins and the economic fringe of America, I could express in the language of academia what I had observed with wrenches or gouges in hand; I could speak and for this I will owe BYU’s Linguistic Department an unpayable debt [unpayable in the sense that I reject Joseph Smith’s visions being of the Father and His Son]. Nevertheless, the essence of Christianity is that understanding has not been given to the sons of disobedience so that they cannot turn to God and be healed (Matt 13:15) before it is time; before the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man. Literally, Jesus’ citation of the prophet Isaiah projects the truism that it is not God’s intention to now give spiritual understanding to humankind or to save humanity, with the exception of the firstfruits. Revelation by its bifurcating nature introduces the concept of an early and a latter harvest of God, not the concept of an elect and a damned; for the essence of revelation is not prohibition of knowledge but the delayed delivery of this knowledge. The responsibility of the one receiving the revelation becomes the distribution of what has been received, thereby making the one who received the revelation the helper or helpmate of the one who gave the revelation—and this has tremendous theological implications for ancient Israel, a nation that did not well-disseminate the revelations Moses received but horded these revelations.
In a simplified expression of fact, every person receives spiritual understanding through revelation. There is no other way for a person to understand the things of God even though these things are knowable from the beginning through the things that have been made … all spiritual understanding comes via revelation from the Father. Flesh and blood could not reveal to Peter that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, even though Peter had been with the man Jesus for three years (Matt 16:17). Jesus walking on water wasn’t enough to reveal to Peter that Jesus was the Christ, not if Jesus’ words are to be believed. Of course, most say that they cannot really be believed: they can be challenged on any number of points. This is the work of higher criticism, the work of well-informed investigators, the work of flesh and blood men and women … modern biblical criticism seems more about proving that historically accepted revelation did not occur than about the discovery of laws which the collective good reason of any number of other, well informed investigators cannot deny.
There is no direct means to proof test revelation apart from what Moses outlined in Deuteronomy:
If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, “Let us go after other gods,” which you have not known, “and let us serve them,” you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord [YHWH] your God [Elohim] is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your [nephesh—mind]. … But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he taught you rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. (Deut 13:1–5 emphasis added)
Under the eternal
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover to
the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out
In addition, the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
Speak to the people of
The prophet—even the prophet whose prophecies
come to pass—and the dreamer of dreams who does not teach Israel,
now a nation circumcised of heart, to keep the Sabbath (1) weekly, (2) in the
spring of the year and (3) at harvest season is not to be followed. It is not
enough to prophesy and have what has been prophesied occur; it is not enough to
In his defense before Festus, Paul argued,
“‘Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor
against Caesar have I committed any offense’” (Acts 25:8). And
either Paul’s testimony is trustworthy or it is not … what were the
accusations made against Paul? Terullas laid out Paul’s offense:
“‘For we [elders of
When Jesus was on trial, the only agreed upon testimony against Him was that He said He was able to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days (Matt 26:61). This was not enough to condemn Him; however, temple officials judged Jesus worthy of death because He said, “‘But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven’” (v. 64). That implication that He was the Messiah justified to temple officials their condemnation of Him.
The detractors or accusers of both Paul and Jesus
did not charge them with teaching
And when all of these things come upon you [Israel], the blessing and the curse, which I [Yah] have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and you return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your [nephesh–mind], then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. … And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your [mind], that you may live. (Deut 30:1–3, 6)
It takes faith to turn to God when God has
delivered the nation into the hand of the Adversary for the destruction of the
flesh so that the spirit might be saved when judgments are revealed (1 Cor
5:5). It takes faith to return to God when in a foreign land and among foreign
gods. It takes faith to believe that the Most High is more powerful than the
gods of the people who took
Paul wrote, “What can we say, then? That
Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a
righteousness that is by faith; but that
Only by faith will a Gentile begin worshiping the God of Israel … and we see this today: only by faith will a Christian turn from the lawlessness of the visible Christian Church and begin to walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6); begin to imitate Paul as he imitated Jesus (1 Cor 11:1; Phil 3:17). A Christian is the reality of an Israelite circumcised in the flesh; so when a Christian in a mental landscape far from God—any of the commonly known denominations will serve as an example, for all are foreign mindsets—turns away from disobedience and returns to God, keeping the precepts of the law by faith, this person will receive a circumcised heart (Rom 2:26), for Israel is no longer a nation circumcised in the flesh but the nation circumcised of heart (Rom 2:28–29; Col 2:11). And the visible Christian Church is today farther from God than are Observant Jews, a subset of Judaism that has used its deliverance into the hands of the Adversary to return to God that it might be saved when judgments are revealed.
Mohammad was a dreamer of dreams who taught his followers to leave the way in which the Lord Israel’s God commanded Israel to walk—although many of Mohammad’s followers descended from Ishmael, Abraham’s natural son from the Egyptian slave woman, Mohammad never taught Israel anything but was a rejected dreamer from the beginning. Muslims claim to be of the Book, but Mohammad’s followers wrote a different book, one more to their liking, one more suited to making Abraham’s firstborn son the heir to his promises.
Joseph Smith, however, is a different story: he has taught those who have been drawn from this world by the Father (John 6:44) to transgress the laws of God. He and those who followed after him have taught disciples to mock Christ and His sacrifice through how and when these false teachers would have disciples take the Passover sacraments. And whereas one alternate book was enough for Mohammad, Joseph Smith needed three additional books to drag disciples away from Moses.
What about Joseph Smith’s claims to have seen
the Father and Christ? Did He see them? He apparently saw some spiritual
beings, angelic or divine … I’m willing to concede that Joseph
Smith saw either in or out of visions non-physical living creatures, just as
I’m willing to concede that an ex-Adventist minister now in New Mexico
with a miniscule cult following was pinned to the floor by a spiritual being. I
have been pinned down by a spiritual force, an angel—and I fought it and
rolled out from under it only to look up and see a red fir snag three feet in
diameter and a 120 or so feet high falling directly on top of me. This snag
fell across me, bounced up in the air twenty feet and fell across the top of me
a second time. It was then thrown two hundred yards or more out over a
canyon. The Cat skinner witnessed what happened. While I was excited, he was
ashen. And he said, “You got somebody looking out for you.” I
agreed: I do. I know with a certainty that cannot be conveyed to informed investigators that there are
living entities in a conjoined realm not defined by unfurled dimensions. So I’m
not one to say that Joseph Smith did not see spiritual beings. However, I will
say with absolute certainty that he did not see the God of Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob; that he did not see the Most High and His Christ; that he did not see
the Ancient of Days. He saw a fraud, lying spirits, and because he was not
living as Moses commanded, he was unable to recognize these lying spirits for
who they were. It becomes less that Joseph Smith has conned many than it is that
he was conned by lying spirits, just as Mohammad was conned, and just as
Christendom has been conned. It is no wonder that Observant Judaism is
skeptical about Jesus being the Christ, a problem that God will address through
the second Passover liberation of
If I hadn’t rolled quickly and violently into the path of the falling tree, I would never have seen the snag hurled in a manner similar to me throwing sidearm a push broom handle—an unmaterialistic movement that cannot be replicated by time and chance. There would not have been a need for the angelic being to reveal its presence. But in trying to get away from whatever was holding me down after the Cat skinner yelled, “Look Out!” I apparently made an unanticipated move, a move directly into harm’s way. If I hadn’t moved, the snag would have fallen beside me. It would have been a close call. The Cat skinner and I would have talked about how close I came to getting killed, and we would never have known that a spiritual being was present, one apparently there to provide protection. But as it turned out, both the Cat skinner and I knew/know that I should have been dead and that another presence, invisible to eyes but with the ability to hurl a tree as a person would hurl a broom handle, was there and was looking out for me.
The irony of this is that I had grown comfortable falling timber three, four, five, six feet in diameter—I was cutting white pine for Vowel’s Logging in Idaho’s Bitterroot Mountains—and I had become complacent about praying daily for protection, but that morning for some reason, I felt compelled to pray for protection. I had, before cutting my first tree that morning, knelt on the dirt skid road (the job was being Cat logged) and somewhat hastily asked for the protection that I received … in retrospect, it was the feeling that I needed to pray for protection that amazes me as much as the tree hurled out over the canyon.
Where is all of this going? In a claim I have made
many times, with it most easily found in A
Philadelphia Apologetic, chapters one and two, I say that I heard a voice
tell me, “It’s time to reread prophecy.” I saw nothing: I was
turning into the parking lot for
To claim to have heard a voice makes a person
subject to ridicule, justifiably so. It would have been much easier to have
heard a, Thus says the Lord. For what
does it mean to reread prophecy? Scholars and pundits have been reading and
rereading biblical prophecies for centuries, certainly for the past five
centuries. So what did it mean to reread
prophecy … and how was I to reread prophecy? I was a gunmaker, a
logger, a commercial fisherman, a writer, a poet, an artist carving totemic
sculpture in the
Faith had not come from hearing a good argument, or from fear of what would happen, or from searching for spiritually and deep meaning in life. I was having far too much fun shooting, hunting, building guns when, in 1972, I was drafted into belief. So when in January 2002, on Thursday of the second full week, about 10:12 CST—exactly forty years to the day and to the hour after the most visible administration of the Church of God had rejected revelation—nearly thirty years after I was drafted into belief, I had no doubts that God existed, that a coexisting realm or dimension existed, that there were living entities in this coexisting realm, and that these living entities were divided, one from another through lawlessness. Faith had come from seeing many non-materialistic interventions in the flow of natural patterns.
In 2002, none of what I believed was unique even if
it wasn’t part of the academic community I left after a year at
After hearing that call to reread prophecy, then teaching those two sections of Comp, I began writing what I knew about biblical prophecy—or thought I knew. Within three hours I was leagues away from what I had been taught. It was as if blinders had been removed. I could not only “see” forward, but to each side, and what I saw was the resurrection of the now dead Body of Christ at a second Passover liberation of Israel, a nation circumcised of heart.
If a person must be born of spirit to understand the things of God (1 Cor 2:11), then these things of God cannot be discovered through laws which the collective good reason of any number of other, well informed investigators cannot deny. However, if these things are discernable through a recognizable reading strategy—i.e., typology and typological exegesis—then these things should be understandable even if not believed.
I was called to reread prophecy not to produce more
text about the nations of this world … Jesus said His kingdom was not of
this world or from this world (John 18:36). The
The following correspondences exist:
· The first Adam is the shadow and type of the last Adam, Christ Jesus (Rom 5:14; 1 Cor 15:45).
· The first Adam becoming a physical breathing creature, a nephesh, when Elohim breathed into his nostrils (Gen 2:7) is the shadow and type of the last Adam being born by the divine breath of God [B<,Ø:" 2,@Ø] when the Holy Spirit [B<,Ø:" (4@<] descended as a dove, lit and remained on Him (Matt 3:16).
· The Garden of Eden is the shadow and type of the temple.
· The animals Adam named in the Garden form the shadow and type of the religious sects in the temple, with Pharisees being named and forever remembered as hypocrites.
of the first Eve is the shadow and type of the events between
· The deep sleep that came over Adam is the shadow and type of the three days and three nights Jesus was in the Garden Tomb.
· As the serpent deceived the first Eve with his lie, “You will not surely die” (Gen 3:4), the old serpent, Satan the devil, deceived the last Eve with his lie, “Neither you nor the Church will surely die, for you have an immortal soul.”
· As the first Eve sinned when she ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the last Eve sinned when she determined for herself what was sound doctrine instead of believing the writings of Moses and the words of Jesus.
· The curse of the first Eve (that she shall have pain in childbearing and that she shall desire her husband and he shall rule over her) is the shadow and type of the curse of the Church: the Tribulation is the pain of the last Eve’s childbirth, with this pain to follow childbirth rather than precede it (Isa 66:7–8).
· Paul identifies the Church as spiritual Isaac—this will make Jesus the spiritual Abraham, and Esau and Jacob types of Cain and Abel, with Jacob being the shadow and type of empowered disciples who keep the commandments and hold the testimony of Jesus (Rev 12:17).
circumcised nation of
These correspondences continue to such a length that listing them would produce a text tedious to read. But listing them will produce a text that can be read and possibly understood by any number of other, well informed investigators. Therefore, the calling I received wasn’t like that of the numerous messiahs & witnesses for God. The calling I received can be proof tested by both Moses and by any number of other, well informed investigators. I invite such testing.
Again, relaying a, Thus says the Lord, has physical peril but might well be easier than rereading Scripture without being told how to go about doing so, or told what should be found. Mistakes are possible. Growth is unavoidable. Knowledge is compounded. And finally, after six plus years, the 1335 days is understandable. But that is the subject for another text.
"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."
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