May 12, 2010 ©Homer Kizer
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Commentary — From the Margins
The Endtime Gospel: The Good News to be Proclaimed Part II
Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” / As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. / Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this [touto] gospel [euaggelion — the good news] of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt 24:1–14 emphasis added)
Of all descendants of Adam, Noah and his family were selected to represent human beings because Noah was a preacher of righteousness: a distinction based on righteousness separated Noah from every other family then alive … there is very little recorded about the antediluvian world. Endtime disciples know that Enoch, the son of Jared, fathered Methuselah, and that Enoch walked with God and had other sons and daughters for 300 years after fathering Methuselah before he was no longer to be found for God took him (Gen 5:21–24). The usual assumption is that Enoch was caught up to heaven as Elijah was caught up to heaven, but there is a problem with this assumption that underlies presumptions of a pre-Tribulation rapture of Christians based on righteousness: how much is actually known about Enoch that doesn’t come from the spurious Book of Enoch?
Jude quotes Enoch, saying, “‘Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him’” (vv. 14–15). But when did the Lord come with ten thousands of his holy ones? The Lord had not given rest or relief to the descendents of Adam when Lamech fathered Noah, saying in naming Noah, “‘Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands’” (Gen 5:29) … the ground that was cursed because Adam had listened to his wife (Gen 3:17) was still cursed without any rest being given when Noah boarded the Ark. No execution of judgment on the ungodly had yet occurred—the gospel of Paul (Rom 2:12–16) is a message about judgment. The gospel of God, according to Peter, is a message about judgment. The good news that Jesus proclaimed to the Jews seeking to kill Him after He healed the invalid of 38 years was that the Son does what He sees the Father doing, that as the Father raises the dead the Son will give life to those whom the Father has raised as the Son wills for the Father has given all judgment to the Son.
The Father raises the dead without judging the dead. Just as Adam was given life without judgment being upon him while he remained outside the Garden of Eden, the sons of Adam are given a second breath of life without judgment being upon them. And just as Adam was given one command when he was placed in the Garden, sons of God are given one law when they are placed in Eden, the garden of God. And just as Adam listened to his wife who had listened to the serpent and just as Adam ceased to believe God when Eve ate forbidden fruit and did not die, human and angelic sons of God cease to believe when they listen to that old serpent, Satan the devil, and rebel against God by mingling the sacred with the profane, thereby causing the holy to become the accursed.
In quoting the Book of Enoch, Jude mingled the sacred with the profane, with this mingling nearly causing Jude’s epistle to be rejected, for the Lord does not come with His holy ones to execute judgment upon the ungodly until the end of the age: He doesn’t come to execute judgment until human beings are raised from the dead through receipt of a second breath of life, the breath of God [pneuma Theon]. What Lamech said is true: no rest was given to the descendants of Adam except through Noah. Rest comes through righteousness and the preaching of righteousness—and for men, righteousness comes through faith [belief of God — Gen 15:6] and the implementation of that faith in the acts of the person (James 2:18–24) for even demons believe that God is one (v. 19).
The short epistle of Jude gives an example fully incorporated in Scripture of how easy it is to mingle the sacred with the profane, as Christendom does in celebrating Christmas as the birth of Christ Jesus on the day of the invincible sun. The epistle of Jude by example does something that Sabbatarian Christendom has firmly rejected, but a thing that is seen in the Noah narrative in which both clean and unclean [common] animals have spiritual innocence and are boarded on the Ark—Noah’s righteousness gave to him and his family similar innocence.
Grace gives spiritual innocence to all sons of God, with these sons of God then being divided between clean and common, or born of God in this present era versus born of God following the liberation of Israel from indwelling sin and death … the “common” Christian will receive indwelling eternal life when the spirit is given en masse either at the Second Passover or when the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man. The common Christian is not today born of God although with only a few exceptions, the common Christian will insist that he or she has already been born from above. But how would a common Christian know whether he or she was born of God? What standard will the person use to establish whether he or she has been born again? A person can invite Jesus into the person’s heart, but if Jesus doesn’t come how is the person to know for the “‘heart is deceitful above all things’” (Jer 17:9). The person can want Jesus to come, can want to be a disciple, but unless the person practices righteousness (which means keeping the law) the person remains a servant or child of the Adversary (1 John 3:4–10). This person will remain hostile to God and unable (or unwilling) to submit to God’s law (Rom 8:7). And this is the criterion by which a Christian can know for certain whether he or she has been truly born of God: does the person decide to do those things that are pleasing to God, with keeping the commandments the outwardly visible manifestation of what is in the heart of the son of God? If not, the person can only be a common Christian, one who awaits spiritual birth at the Second Passover.
Neither clean nor common animals sin (transgress the commandments) for they are not capable of understanding the commandments. God has not given animals the inner self-awareness necessary to comprehend what it means to covet, for example. Thus, when there is no inherent spiritual distinction between animals, God makes a distinction between clean and common animals, choosing to save seven pairs of clean animals and a single pair of common animals as representations of their types. This distinction is made long before a listing of clean versus common animals is given to Israel.
What separates uncommon from common Christians is God foreknowing uncommon Christians and predestining them for salvation, then calling them out of season, justifying them by them being doers of the law (again, see Rom 2:13, part of Paul’s gospel), and glorifying them when Christ Jesus again comes. If God did not know that these uncommon Christians would be doers of the law, He would not have called them as ones born out of season to bear fruit when it isn’t the season for fruit.
Uncommon Christians aren’t born of God with the law written on hearts and placed in minds as will occur when common Christians are born of God under the new covenant. Rather, uncommon Christians grow in grace and knowledge, maturing in the faith as a human infant matures physically; whereas a common Christian will be spiritually born of God as the first Adam was physically born [created] as an adult human being. Uncommon Christians in their minds will begin to keep the commandments as they are exposed to them, but they will not necessarily be able to rule their fleshly bodies that remain in rebellion against God thereby creating within themselves the battlefield for a war that must be fought and won. Grace covers their losses along the way.
Uncommon Christians live in a solitary world; they are mostly loners. Salvation is between them and God. What other people do doesn’t matter. Thus, wherever two or three of these uncommon Christians are gathered in Jesus’ name, He is there among them (Matt 18:20).
But common Christians enact things in common: when filled with spirit, they will rebel en masse, either against God in the Affliction or against the Antichrist in the Endurance. In this era, common Christians seek large fellowships and the approval of others. They are reluctant to do things that cause them to stand out in a crowd. They are fearful; they are intellectual cowards. But their fear comes from not yet being born of God, from not truly believing God.
What the inclusion of Jude’s epistle in Scripture does is provide an example of not getting everything right yet being included in the household of God … Paul’s epistles certainly carry more weight than does the epistle of Jude, but Jude is with Paul in Scripture. And Enoch is not forgotten even if the Book of Enoch is a false document. Jude’s citation of it remains problematic as does the sins of every disciple.
If Jude made a mistake in citing Enoch—he either did or didn’t make a mistake—and if Paul makes a mistake when he writes,
For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. (1 Thess 4:14–17 emphasis added)
And if Peter on Pentecost makes a mistake when he explains,
But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes,
the great and magnificent day.
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the
Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:16–21 emphasis added)
What Peter mistook for the fulfilling of Joel’s prophecy—there were no wonders in heaven seen on this day of Pentecost—was a type or shadow of what would happen when the spirit would be truly poured out on all flesh when the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation. And there is no way to put this more tactfully: Peter made a mistake. He misread a sign, mistaking the shadow for the reality, the type for the fulfillment.
Likewise, Paul made a mistake: he wouldn’t be alive when the Lord descends from heaven although what Paul writes is true in that the living will not precede the dead into glory.
Concerning what Paul writes about the resurrection, consider what is found in 2 Timothy 2:8 — “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel [mou euaggelion — the good news of me], for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal” (vv. 8–9). And again, what is Paul’s gospel?
For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men [through] Christ Jesus. (Rom 2:12–16 emphasis added)
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. / For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Cor 15:1–4).
If disciples will hold fast to the gospel that Paul proclaimed, disciples will be doers of the law, showing that the work of the law [i.e., love of God and love of neighbor] is written on their hearts; for the Christian who is not a doer of the law believes in vain. This is what Paul says. It is, according to Peter, the ignorant and unstable who twist Paul’s epistles to their own destruction: Peter warns disciples, “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability” (2 Pet 3:17).
It isn’t lawless people who would have disciples be doers of the law, but rather, the lawless would have disciples spurn Moses and not listen to the voice of Jesus.
What Paul addressed in his epistle to the saints at Corinth when he referred the good news that he had proclaimed among them is their denial of the resurrection:
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Cor 15:12–19)
The good news of God, of Paul, of Peter, or Christ is that death has been overcome. Death has been defeated. But a thing is not established by the testimony of a single person. All of the witnesses whom Paul cites—Cephas, the twelve, more than 500 brothers, James and all of the apostles, then Paul himself (1 Cor 15:5–8)—cannot speak with the authority necessary to effectively establish the defeat of Death. They are too far away in time; their words have to be accepted by faith. But the resurrection of the two witnesses (Rev 11:11) when the kingdom of this world is taken from the four demonic kings and the little horn and given to the Son of Man (Dan 7:9–14) will establish the defeat of Death for endtime saints. These saints will see two men who were alive killed and lay unburied for three and a half days, then resurrected from death and called up into heaven.
A thing is established by the testimony of two or three—
If the hope of Christians is in vain, Christians are the most miserable of all people for they have given up the world for a lie. But their hope is not in vain. Only the worship of common Christians is in vain.
After citing Enoch, Jude says,
But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. (vv. 17–23)
Save others by snatching them out of the fire—Jude directly addresses a problem that is present but mostly concealed in Luke’s gospel: when Jesus opened the disciples’ minds to understand the Scriptures, Jesus said, “‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:46–49 emphasis added). Disciples are of the Jerusalem above (Gal 4:26), and until they are clothed in power from on high, they are to remain in Jerusalem. They are not to go to spiritual Gentiles or to spiritual Samaritans, but they are to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 10:5–6); they are to go to common Christians who worship God in vain, and if possible, they are to snatch them out of the fire that is sure to consume them if they continue in their lawless ways.
As Paul wrote, I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God to circumcised hearts that have been cleansed by faith; for according to Paul’s gospel, “circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart” (Rom 2:25–29).
Salvation does not come to the person who remains uncircumcised of heart. When Paul refutes Corinthians who claimed that there was no resurrection of the dead, he reminded these erring saints of the good news that he had preached to them and said that they were being saved if they held fast to what he had preached, with the word he preached holding that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 15:50), that the natural body is raised from death at Jesus’ coming as a spiritual body (v. 44), that the natural precedes the spiritual (v. 46), that the visible things of this world reveal the invisible things of God (Rom 1:20), that the judgment of saints will be revealed (not made) when Christ comes (1 Cor 4:5) to give life to whom He will by causing the mortal, perishable body to become immortal and imperishable (1 Cor 15:53–55). Paul adds, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law” (v. 56); for the law has no power over the person who does not transgress the law. The law only has power over sinners. Thus, the Christian over whom sin should have no dominion because the Christian is under grace removes him or herself from under grace and places him or herself under the law when this Christian presents him or herself as obedient bondservants to sin, a voluntary act that always leads to death (Rom 6:14, 16).
The Christian who knows that the Sabbath is the seventh day, and who voluntarily transgresses the commandments by attempting to enter into God’s rest on the following day [Sunday] is under the law even if the Christian wasn’t under the law before professing the Jesus is Lord. According to Paul’s gospel, all who sin without the law will also perish without the law for the lethal sting of death is sin that was made alive when the law was given at Sinai (Rom 7:8–9).
Where there is no law, sin is not counted as sin (Rom 5:13) for sin remains dead. The person is under “natural grace,” for the person remains numbered among the dead [i.e., the spiritually lifeless]. The person is not under judgment; hence there is no reason to count sin as sin. The person has no life in the heavenly realm to be lost.
The good news that Jude proclaims is the same good news that Paul proclaims in many more words and in greater detail. Jude said that certain people had crept unnoticed into Christian fellowships (v. 4) and had perverted the grace of God. About these people, Paul told the saints at Corinth, “I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized” (1 Cor 11:18–19) … the common Christian in this era can be recognized by his or her lawlessness, but the separation of uncommon versus common Christians will end as the separation between clean and unclean animals ended when all animals on the Ark were deemed righteous and fit food for the descendants of Noah.
It is God who tells Noah, “‘Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood’” (Gen 9:3–4) … if Noah would have eaten one of the single pair of common animals that were aboard the Ark, that species would not be with us today. Because Noah had been given permission to eat any animal doesn’t mean that Noah immediately does (or ever does). It would have taken longer for a self-sustaining breeding population of common animals to develop than it took for sin to enter the post-Flood world.
To say more about Enoch than that he was taken by God is problematic. Jude, the brother of James and by extension the half-brother of Jesus, was unable to separate what was written in the very popular (in the 1st-Century BCE & CE) Book of Enoch from what Moses wrote, and apparently saw the Book of Enoch as a valid addition to canonical Scripture. In the mirror image of what Jude did, Christians today subtract the writings of Moses from Scripture by their unbelief.
Upon entering the Ark, clean animals were food for the descendants of Adam and Eve: when Cain brought an offering from the ground to the Lord that was not accepted, his brother Abel also brought an offering, but an offering “of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions” (Gen 4:4). Abel didn’t offer the entirety of the firstborn lambs to the Lord, but offered their fat portions, with the implication that the remainder of the lambs [the non-fat portions] was eaten by the family just as the remainder of Cain’s harvest of the ground was eaten by the family. And Abel’s offering was accepted; for those things of this earth—that are of dust—are not pleasing to God for they represent death as opposed to life. And this includes the fleshly bodies of the saints, bodies in which no good dwells until the inner creature receives a second breath of life, the breath of God [pneuma Theon] … if Abel had offered just any sheep in his flock to the Lord, his offering would also not have been accepted. But by offering the firstborn, Abel made a distinction based upon the receipt of life that actually favored Cain over himself.
But coming off the Ark, the Lord told Noah, “‘Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you’” (Gen 9:3). As the Lord gave to human beings the green plants as food before the Deluge, the Lord gave to Noah and his offspring all flesh as food, but flesh without life.
To God, life is precious, for life came from Him and will return to Him. What separates a lump of clay from a human being is “life” that came to the first Adam when Elohim [singular in usage] breathed into the nostrils of the man of mud. And the first Adam became a nephesh, a breathing creature akin to other breathing creatures, with the gambit of breathing creatures running from antelope to zebras, each with its own inner nature that has been given it so that a cat behaves like cats and a person behaves as people do; yet all share a common means of sustaining life through cellular oxidation of simple carbohydrates.
God gave all flesh as food for all of humanity when the descendants of Noah were descendants of righteousness, but this righteousness did not outlast Noah; so God would again make a distinction among peoples, this selection based upon faith beginning with Abraham.
Of the descendants of the first Adam, the Lord twice selected one family from all of humankind, with the first selection based upon righteousness [Noah] and the second selection based upon faith [Abraham]. Of the descendants of the second or last Adam (Rom 5:14; 1 Cor 15:45), God, in the mirror image of what the Lord did, will twice select one Body from all of humankind, with the first selection based upon faith [the Church in the 1st-Century], and with the second selection based upon righteousness [the Church in the 21st-Century].
The Lord brought forth from barren wombs two generations [Isaac, then Esau and Jacob] by faith as if God were a husbandman selecting a wild tree sport that bore desirable fruit, then breeding two additional generations of the selected cultivar before delivering the cultivar to the prince of this world for further fruiting trials—and the faith of Israel in Egypt was severely tested before Moses led the people of Israel out from slavery. But this testing was not enough to produce a cultivar that lived by faith so the testing continued until the Lord directly intervened by changing the promise of inheriting eternal life to actual receipt of indwelling heavenly life when the spirit [pneuma Theon — breath of God] was given.
Of all humankind, the eight (Noah, his three sons, and their wives) were selected because of Noah’s righteousness, and that of his three sons who worked with him building the Ark. Then of all of Noah’s descendants, in the days of Terah, son of Nabor, God selected Abraham, who by faith journeyed away from his father’s house and traveled to the land the Lord would show him.
As the sons of Noah had many sons and daughters so that Noah became a type of Adam and by extension a type of Christ Jesus, Abraham became a type of Noah and again by extension a type of Christ Jesus, a relationship Paul acknowledges: “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Gal 3:29). Disciples are both Christ’s descendants and younger brothers … Abraham’s descendants were reckoned through his one promised son, Isaac, who functions as a type of the greater Christian Church in this present era. But the greater Christian Church as the last Eve will be saved in childbirth—and as spiritual Zion, the greater Church will give birth to two sons, a spiritual Esau and a spiritual Jacob, before her labor pains come upon her (Isa 66:7–8). She will give birth to her children at the beginning of the seven endtime years of tribulation, giving birth to a spiritual Abel at the Second Passover then giving birth to a spiritual Cain 220 days later.
Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob—these four are of two sets of shadows that when placed together as if viewed with 3-D glasses give depth to Scripture so that the good news of God, a gospel of judgment coming upon the household of God, can be seen by those disciples whose eyes have been opened by Christ Jesus. This gospel of judgment makes clear that judgment is not presently on human beings not born of God; i.e., human beings who remain as godly ovum awaiting a second breath of life. As animals are not under judgment even though God made a distinction between clean and unclean animals prior to the Flood of Noah’s day, human beings not born of God are not under judgment even though God made a distinction between Israel and the nations: since the day when the Lord drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, all of humankind has been consigned to disobedience (Rom 11:32) so that God could have mercy on all.
When the Lord came to Noah, “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence” (Gen 6:11) as it will be [is] when the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17:26–30). Noah was a righteous man (Gen 6:9). And God told Noah that He had decided to make an end of all flesh “‘for the earth is filled with violence through them’” (v. 13). So for Noah, construction of the Ark was not a matter of faith but a matter of obedience: would Noah do what God personally told him to do? Of course he would. Was Paul’s preaching a matter of faith? No, it was not … when a light from heaven suddenly flashed around Saul of Tarsus and a voice is heard saying, “‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me … I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting’” (Acts 9:4–5), and Saul/Paul rises but is unable to see, there is no question of faith remaining to be answered. Paul has spoken to the Lord, and has heard the voice of the Lord just as Noah heard the voice of the Lord. The only question that remained was one of obedience, and because both men were inwardly righteous even though Saul was persecuting Christians, the question of obedience had been addressed before the Lord spoke to either man. Both were foreknown and predestined for glory. And at the end of the age, when the Lord strikes down uncovered firstborns of man and God as the Lord struck down firstborns of men and beasts in Egypt, faith will cease being a criterion for the selection of Christians: it will take no faith to believe God when the law is written on hearts and placed in minds so that all Christians Know the Lord—and this after a third of humankind, all firstborns, perishes in a day.
As Noah was selected because he was a righteous man, following the Second Passover liberation of Israel Christians will be saved because of their righteousness, not that of Christ Jesus. For grace—the garment of Christ’s righteousness—will end when the Son of Man is revealed or disrobed. Christians as the Body of Christ will stand naked before God. Their only covering will then be their righteousness, which must exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees (Matt 5:20).
Because the New Covenant will have been implemented with the Second Passover liberation of Israel, God will be merciful toward the iniquities of Christians and will remember their sins no more (Heb 8:12) — and where there is forgiveness of sins, there is no longer any offering for sin (Heb 10:18). Christ Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary will no longer cover the Church which will have been suddenly resurrected from indwelling death caused by sin.
When a Christian must believe the written record of Cephas, then the twelve, the five hundred, James, and Paul that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and was raised from the dead on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, faith is paramount to belief; for in this endtime era neither the Jew nor a person from the nations comes to God except by faith. It is far too easy and too logical to believe that the Jesus narrative is a fable; it is far too easy to believe that simply professing with the mouth that Jesus is Lord will save a person from damnation. To actually believe that Jesus died at Calvary so that Israel would be free to keep the commandments and thereby slip out from under the law and its condemnation of everyone who is under the law requires uncommon faith—
Uncommon faith produces an uncommon Christian, one who strives for righteousness, who strives to walk uprightly before God, and one who knows that he or she will come up short and thereby need the covering of grace that is Christ Jesus’ righteousness.
The good news that was proclaimed by Paul and that is here proclaimed is that when a person is born of God through receiving a second breath of life, the inner new self [person] is under no condemnation but is free from the law of sin and death so that this inner new self can fulfill the righteous requirement of the law of life that will have every son of God walking according to the spirit, imitating Jesus, with the mind set on the things of God and not on the things of this world. The person who walks as Jesus walked is uncommon in this world that remains ruled by the Adversary, but this person will become common after dominion is taken from the four kings and the little horn and given to the Son of Man (Dan 7:9–14; Rev 11:15–18) halfway through the seven endtime years.
The gospel of Paul is good news concerning the judgment of humankind: the distinction made between common and uncommon Christians—a distinction based on enacted faith—will end when the breath of God, a second breath of life, is poured out on all men as the Flood of Noah’s day temporarily ended the distinction between clean and unclean animals.
Consider that in the immediate post-Flood world when there was no distinction among human beings; when all of humankind was of Noah and by extension, was of righteousness, there was no distinction made between the animals as to which could be eaten. All were food. Animals were as green plants were before the Deluge: as there was no distinction made between the green plants before the Flood, there was no distinction made among animals immediately after the Flood, a redundant declaration because its significance is too easily missed … today, in this post-Flood era, will human beings eat members of the nightshade family? Black nightshade is poisonous.
For decades after Spanish explorers returned from the Americas, Europeans would not eat potatoes or tomatoes because they are of the nightshade family (potato foliage and sprouts are toxic). Yet members of the nightshade family are “green plants” that God gave to humankind as food in the antediluvian world. So either something is missing from what God told Noah—“‘And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything’” (again, Gen 9:3)—or something changed when green plants again covered the surface of the earth from when they were initially given to humankind as food. Something changed with the Flood; something changed when the world was baptized into death.
The end of the antediluvian age introduced change of a sort that hasn’t been appreciated by disciples; for submersion in water equates to death, whether of the old self (as in “baptism”), or of men (as in the case of Noah’s neighbors), or of air-breathing animals. In the post-deluge world, death even resided/resides in the green plants that had been previously given as food—and so the world changed/changes for disciples when they received a second breath of life. Not all animals are food for Israel. Some flesh will kill spiritually (not physically) as the green foliage of nightshades will kill physically. And the flesh that will kill spiritually is that of those meats that are “common” or unclean.
As Abel made a distinction between firstborn lambs and the remainder of his flock, Christians are to make a distinction between cleans meats and all meats; for what is being tested is faith: will a person believe God, who in this present era isn’t going to strike a person dead because of the person’s unbelief. In a little thing—a thing of no real physical significance for all food leaves a person in a bowel movement—will a Christian, by faith, seek to be holy as God is holy (1 Pet 1:14–6) … again, it is faith that is being tested, and it is unbelief (the lack of faith) that spiritually kills a Christian.
Hogs are spiritually to born-from-above saints as the red berries of black nightshade are physically to all descendants of righteousness (i.e., descendants of Noah). Whereas in the antediluvian world all green herbs were food for the sons of Adam, in the post-Flood world some green herbs are poisonous and will physically kill a person. Whereas in the post-Flood world all flesh was given as food for the sons of Noah, in the post-Exodus world some meats are spiritually poisonous and will kill by aborting a future son of God (as is the case with the physically circumcised nation of Israel) or will outright kill a human son of God born of spirit and circumcised of heart.
Again, the Christian who eats pork or shellfish should consider that the uncleanness of these meats will not kill the fleshly body of the person, but lusting for what has not been given to Israel as food will kill the inner new creature that is a son of God. So for Israel, one era ended when Moses led the nation out from Egypt (see Rom 5:14), but a new era didn’t begin until the spirit [pneuma Theon] was given when the glorified Jesus breathed on ten of His disciples and said, “‘Receive the Holy Spirit [pneuma hagion]’” (John 20:22). However, that new era will not fully arrive—analogous to Noah getting off the Ark—until the world is baptized into life when the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man. Thus, Israel’s boat ride in the ark of the covenant lasts for roughly three and a half millennia, or for a time, times, and half a time.
When all animal flesh ceased being food for the sons of Abraham as all green herbs ceased being food for the sons of Noah, the era of death ended for those who were both of faith and of righteousness. For Israel, faith doesn’t exist apart from righteousness. If an Israelite believes it does; if an Israelite believes that faith alone is sufficient for salvation, then let him or her feast on baneberries and crab legs—NO! let the Christian not feast on what is poisonous to the flesh and to the spirit.
Part #3 of this serialized commentary will continue the concluding thought of section #3.
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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."