May 13, 2010 ©Homer Kizer
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Commentary — From the Margins
The Endtime Gospel: The Good News to be Proclaimed Part III
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)
When asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom would come, Jesus said, “‘The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or “There!” for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you’” (Luke 17:20–21) … if the kingdom is not coming by signs to be observed—and if Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world or from this world (John 18:36)—then the sign of His coming and of the end of the age for which Jesus’ disciples asked is not something that can be observed …
When Jesus told His disciples,
Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matt 24:23–31 emphasis added)
In His Olivet Discourse, Jesus did not say that He would come before the sun is darkened and the moon does not give off its light; rather, Jesus compressed events for He was answering His disciples’ questions about the sign of His coming and of the end of the age. And it is in John’s vision where disciples see the moon not giving off its light—and see that the entirety of the Endurance still is to occur after the signs in the heaven about which the prophet Joel spoke appear.
The age of human enslavement to death ended with Moses—Paul writes, “Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses” (Rom 5:14)—and ended without worldwide fanfare. Only in Jerusalem were there visible signs: the curtain [veil] into the holy of holies was rent, the earth shook, the dead left their tombs and appeared to many in the city (Matt 27:51–3). Nowhere were there cataclysmic events of the type that occurred in Noah’s day, or even when fire fell from heaven on Sodom.
When the reign of death ended with Moses, Egypt was a devastated nation, but China was largely unaffected (there is some slim evidence that the three days of darkness, the ninth plague, resulted in three days of the sun not setting over the Americas). There was even less immediate worldwide impact when the glorified Jesus breathed on ten of His disciples and said, “‘Receive the Holy Spirit [hagios pneuma]’” (John 20:22). But from that giving of the spirit, the Jesus Movement began, a movement that has been hampered by the death of the Body of Christ, but a movement that cannot be stopped even when it was spiritually without life; a movement that will burst to life when Israel is liberated from indwelling sin and death at the Second Passover.
As Israel’s exodus from Egypt was preceded by the death of the firstborn of Egypt, both of men and of beasts, circumcised-of-heart Israel’s liberation from indwelling sin and death will be preceded by the death of uncovered firstborn in the Abyss and on earth … the Lord will again give the lives of men for the liberation of the firstborn son of God (Isa 43:3–4), and He will give these lives on or about the second Passover as the lives of nephesh were given in the days of Noah.
As the end of the antediluvian era came with massive loss of life, the end of this present era will come with massive loss of life: three times a third part of humankind will be killed, with the first time separated from the third time by 2520 days, seven prophetic years. As Noah and his descendants were physically saved because of Noah’s righteousness, obedient Christians in this present era will be spiritually saved because of Christ Jesus’ righteousness, with their faith equating to righteousness. But faith is not simple belief, but is always manifested by what a person does. Paul writes, “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves [bondservants], you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness” (Rom 6:16). The Christian over whom sin has no dominion and who is not under the law but under grace (v. 14) takes him or herself out from under grace by returning to sin and to being the slave of sin.
Christians should expect to see this present world destroyed as those who were of righteousness in Noah’s day expected to see that world destroyed. The Millennium will begin with all people being of one mind and of one speech; with all people being born of God and filled with spirit as the post-Flood nations began in righteousness.
Noah became a man of the soil (Gen 9:20). Noah was not a hunter/gatherer.
Since the Flood would have destroyed cities, warring armies, and the plants and wildlife upon which hunter/gatherers would have depended Noah really had no choice about becoming a man of the soil. If he and his descendants were to eat, they would have to eat the offspring of those animals that were on the Ark with them as well as the plants that grew from whatever seeds were with them. But apparently, Noah was surprised by the intoxicating effect of the wine he made. Perhaps in the antediluvian world, there were no yeast spores floating in the air to cause sugars to ferment and bread dough to raise; for in this present world in which all of humankind is by birth consigned to disobedience (Rom 11:32), yeast spores serve as the representation of sin from which the flesh can not fully escape. In this world that has been baptized into death, yeast represents the invisible (or barely visible) means by which death comes to a person via sin; for sin functions as a living thing. In Scripture, Sin is a demonic king to whom dominion over humankind has been given, with the workings of this king being like yeast that transforms what is “sweet” into alcohol that in small amounts lightens hearts but in any appreciable quantity transforms men into beasts. Sin in small amounts adds sparks to the mundane [as the advertising slogan goes, What happens in Vegas stays in Las Vegas], but in any amount, sin kills righteousness, as Noah discovered when he became drunk and lay uncovered … alcohol, unlike sin, has a purpose for it kills what cannot be seen, from pain to microbes to righteousness, with the quantity necessary to kill varying from a little to a lot.
If Jesus’ kingdom in the age to come is not like the kingdoms of this world, and if the sign of the end of the age cannot be observed, then neither His kingdom nor the sign of His coming is a thing or an event such as a nuclear armed Iran or a United Nations type of one-world governance. An unseen sign does not warn of impending physical doom: it cannot warn of impending doom for it is not seen until after the fact.
The sign of Jesus’ coming—like all signs—will be open to interpretation until after the fact, but no sign will support every interpretation. This sign will be recognized as being of God after it is fulfilled just as Jesus’ kingdom will be recognized after He comes, not when it is given to Him at the beginning of the Endurance. Only through righteousness will His kingdom be recognized during the three and a half years when a person must bear the mark of the beast to buy and sell.
Pause for a moment: if the coming of Jesus’ kingdom (not of Jesus’ return) is not by a sign like lightning flashing across the sky, yet if His coming is by a bright light being seen by every eye, then His kingdom comes before He does—and this is true. The kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man three and a half years before Jesus comes as the Messiah. And this is what infantile teachers of Israel have not understood.
As all green herbs were food for humankind in the antediluvian age and as all meats were food for humankind in the post-Flood age, buying and selling is the normal course of affairs for all of humankind in this present era, but change comes when the kingdom is given to the Son of Man. Then, faithful sons of God will live without buying and selling as they form the shadow and copy of how humankind will live in the Millennium. A different type of economy and economic system—one not based on buying and selling—will be employed during the thousand years … just as not all green herbs are today food, and just as not all meats are today food for Israel, not all forms of buying and selling are today or will be in the Millennium appropriate activities for human sons of God.
Intuitively, disciples have known that certain business activities and practices are not “things” in which Christians should be involved … if the saints can live for three and a half years by faith, without buying and selling, saints can live without buying and selling in money markets or futures markets or on stock exchanges throughout the Millennium, a subject that will be ripe for exploration during the Endurance as the world under Christ Jesus organizes itself along differing principles from those that presently govern it. There will be no more selling of toxic paper: the financial institutions that caused the near meltdown of markets in 2008 are for saints as poisonous as the fruit of black nightshade is to man and beasts, or as shellfish is spiritually to Israel.
The end of an age brings changes that were not anticipated in the age.
Noah’s construction of a vessel as large as the Ark was certainly a thing to be seen, but the reason for building the Ark couldn’t be seen: there were no rain clouds on the horizon or indications that the fountains of the earth would erupt. Life was continuing as it had been going. In this present age, Recovery from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression is proceeding as the Stimulus Plan creates green jobs in an emerging green industry—that is what Americans are being told, is it not? The “TARP” band-aid covering the fiscal crisis that took the United States of America and by extension, the world to the brink of a financial meltdown in 2008 prevents toxic paper from poisoning the fountains of the deep as oil leaking from a broken wellhead poisons the Gulf of Mexico.
The leaking oil seems emblematic of America’s on-going economic crisis—
Economic recovery is not certain. If anything, economic and political doom seems unavoidable: this age will not end with a whimper, but with a loud bang that can be heard throughout the Abyss, where the first king of the spiritual king of Greece will himself perish when the Second Passover occurs.
The invisible sign of the end of the age—that of Christ Jesus being in His disciples—is not a sign to be seen even though this sign is preceded by the death of uncovered firstborns in the Abyss and on earth. The liberation of Israel from indwelling sin and death cannot be outwardly determined by the darkening of the sun or by the moon turning blood red, signs that can be seen. The liberation of Israel is not a sign like the dark economic and political clouds that continue to threaten the world … the rhetoric of a president hasn’t caused those clouds to go away, but the rain is mostly holding off as the wealth of the world is being absorbed by successive and now concurrent ecological crises, from earthquakes to volcanoes to tornadoes to floods to oil spills. But none of these things that can be seen is the sign that the kingdom of God is at hand or is in the saints; for in their time and in type all of these physical things have occurred and reoccurred since the 1st-Century CE. All of these physical things, including wars and rumors of wars, must take place. They are not things that should alarm the saints (Matt 24:6).
In answering His disciples’ question about the sign of the end of the age, Jesus cited “real” things … how can delivering disciples into tribulation (Matt 24:9) not be observed? How can being hated by all nations not be observed? How can many disciples falling away (v. 10) not be seen by others? Or disciples betraying one another, or hating one another not be noticed? The rise of many false prophets (v. 11) cannot escape being noticed, unless of course, these false prophets are accepted as genuine prophets of God, which now loops back to those disciples delivered into tribulation not being recognized as “genuine” but as apostates, with those who fall away not being seen as falling away but seen as holding to the faith once delivered. Only if the Rebellion [apostasia—the apostasy] against God (2 Thess 2:3) is not seen as rebellion can the very obvious attributes of the sign Jesus gives his disciples about “‘a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time’” (Dan 12:1) escape being seen as a sign observed by all nations, especially Israel, the nation circumcised of heart.
A sign or miracle or even a mark not explicitly mentioned in Scripture can be unobserved and unrecognized; e.g., the Sabbath is a sign (Ex 31:13, 17) that functions as a sacrament, in that by observing the Sabbath a person mentally enters into God’s presence in heaven, an entrance not seen by human eyes. Thus neglect of the Sabbath isn’t seen as rebellion against God, especially by spiritual infants. But once the Tribulation begins, Sabbath observance will “mark” all saints who are of God as opposed to those who are of the devil—Scripture is mostly silent about the saints being “marked” during the 1260 days of the Tribulation whereas Revelation specifically mentions that those who are of the Antichrist in the Endurance, the last 1260 days before Jesus returns, will be marked by chi xi stigma, (Rev 13:18), the tattoo of the cross. Hence while this world still belongs to its present prince during the Tribulation or Affliction (the first 1260 days of seven long years of tribulation), those Christians who do not belong to the Adversary will be marked by God with Sabbath observance; whereas when the kingdom is given to the Son of Man on the doubled day 1260, those Christians who do not belong to God will be marked by acceptance of the cross’ authority, and by the tattoo of the cross.
Common and uncommon Christians in this present era will see an end to the distinction separating them at the Second Passover liberation of Israel just as the distinction between clean and unclean animals was abolished in Noah’s day when all of remaining humankind was of righteousness. But as the distinction between clean and unclean animals returned with Moses, the distinction between common and uncommon Christians will return with the Rebellion of Israel on day 220 of the Affliction when the lawless one is revealed … the mirror image of an unclean animal getting onto the Ark is that of a common Christian in this present era, and as only one pair of unclean animals entered the Ark, only one fellowship or sect [unit not yet revealed] of every species of common Christendom is foreknown and predestined for salvation.
The implication of Scripture is that Noah did not have to gather the animals that entered the Ark, then pen and hold them until it was time to enter, but that God brought the animals to Noah who only had to board them and the food for them. Construction of the Ark was enough; for God established a covenant with Noah, a covenant of life. And so will it be at the end of the age when common and uncommon Christians are brought by God to the Second Passover and both will be filled-with and empowered by the divine breath of God.
If a common Christian in this era listens to, especially, a Catholic elegantly explain the significance of the cross to Christians, and how Christ is in the cross, how His death at Calvary is in every person who takes the sacraments, if it were possible even the Elect, the uncommon Christian, would be led astray and would take to themselves the tattoo of the cross … whereas it is Christ on the cross that has significance for Catholics, it is the empty cross that has significance for Lutherans. For Lutherans, the bread of the sacraments doesn’t literally become Christ’s flesh as it does for Catholics, but the bread “represents” the flesh of Jesus—for Lutherans and other Protestant sects, it is the empty cross that represents the resurrection of Jesus, and it is the resurrection that is to be celebrated. It is the empty cross that represents Protestants’ reason for transgressing the Sabbath and attempting, instead, to enter into God’s rest on the following day, the first day of the week, the day when the Logos entered into death as the light of Day One.
Today, the cross stands as the antithesis of the Sabbath: to the greater Christian Church, the cross represents the resurrection of Christ Jesus whereas logically it should represent the death of Jesus, not the resurrection. If Jesus had been killed with an AK47, would the assault rifle be celebrated as the “sign” or sacrament of His resurrection from death? Would Christians hang miniatures of the assault rifle from their ears or around their necks? Would Christians kneel before the assault rifle? Or would Christians consider the assault rifle a loathed thing, something to be spurned?
Scripture is seemingly silent about genuine Christians being marked by Sabbath observance for the 1260 days preceding the kingdom of this world being given to the Son of Man, but not entirely silent for when Satan and his angels are cast from heaven, the Adversary makes war against the remainder of the Woman’s offspring, those who keep the commandments and hold the testimony of Jesus (Rev 12:17). No one can keep the commandments without keeping the Sabbath.
From one who doesn’t need a stepladder to look the future man of perdition in the eye, the Sabbath is not the first day of the week but the seventh day. The Law is not the U.S. Constitution, but the commandments the Lord gave to Moses. The founding fathers are Enoch, Noah, Job, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Aaron, Joshua and Caleb—the founding fathers include all of the righteous men and women of old, from Samuel to David to the prophets, with all of these men and women flawed but seekers of righteousness, not of liberty. For liberty without first obtaining righteousness will always result in unrestrained lawlessness as is presently occurring throughout America, beginning in the Church with common Christians’ attempting to take the kingdom of heaven by force (Matt 11:12) … your attempt to enter into the presence of God on the first day of the week is presumptuous!
Attempting to enter into God’s rest on the day after the Sabbath is a usurpation of Christ Jesus’ position as the First of the firstfruits.
It is the Sabbath and Sabbath observance that marks those Christians who are lights in the predawn darkness of the Affliction while the cross marks those Christians who are inwardly dead in the dawning hours of a new age.
The night is always darkest right after sunset and just before dawn, with these two periods forming mirror images of each other. The one long spiritual night that began at Calvary is metaphorically darkest during the three days that Jesus was in the grave—and during the three years that begin with the rebellion of Israel in the great falling away and end when the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man, with the midnight hour of this night occurring when humankind can get no farther from God than it is.
If the Second Passover is to occur in a year like 2011, a near year used as an example, then this darkest pre-dawn portion of the night would run from Christmas 2011 (220 days after the Second Passover) to Halloween 2014 (1261 days after the Second Passover, with the doubled day 1260 accounting for the extra day) when Satan and his angels come as long expected wicked spirits.
Again, if Jesus was among Pharisees when He told them that “‘the kingdom of God is in the midst of”’ them (Luke 17:21), then the midnight hour of the long night of waiting and watching that began at Calvary comes when Christians, themselves, can get no farther from Jesus than they are—
A sign that requires possession of the testimony of Jesus (Rev 12:17), which is the spirit of prophecy (Rev 19:10), can escape notice or escape being seen by endtime Pharisees; i.e., Christians who seek purity but who are condemned by their unbelief. For a sign is a sacrament—and a sacrament, such as the Passover, that is not kept by a Christian is not understood by this same Christian. If it were genuinely understood, it would be kept if it is of God and it would be rejected if it were of the Adversary.
Christendom would never have rejected the Passover and begun to keep Easter [Resurrection Sunday] if the Passover, the Wave Sheaf Offering, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread would have been understood, but when the Christian Church became the refuge for pagan philosophers haunted by doubts about whether they were good enough to enter heaven after death, understanding of the commandments as sacraments was lost and those Christians who kept the commandments were mocked, ridiculed, persecuted, and hunted into temporary extinction. What prevailed within Christendom was the animism of pagan philosophy welded to the reality that the Logos spoke all that-is into existence thereby producing morphed sacraments that had Jesus bodily being in the unleavened bread taken weekly at communion.
Words do not have meanings but have their meanings assigned to them by readers [auditors]; thus, when pagan animism wed Judaism’s sky-god in an arranged marriage attended by the great and the weak of this world, what it meant to be Christian ceased being someone who was a fractal image of Christ Jesus; the fractal of someone who walked as an observant Jew walked. Rather, a Christian began to look more like Plato than like Paul, who imitated Jesus … Christians today, with few exceptions, mingle the sacred with the profane in morphed sacraments that have just enough truth in them that these worshipers of God will never repent and worship the Father in spirit and in truth. They will not repent in this present age, and they will not repent when they are baptized in spirit and by extension, into life. With very few exceptions, they will not turn from the cross and begin to embrace the Sabbath.
When Jesus answered the Pharisees’ question about when the kingdom of God would come, who or what was then in the midst of the Pharisees? Jesus was! But Pharisees did not “see” Jesus as the Christ even as Jesus spoke to these Pharisees. The Christ—the one for whom they waited—stood in their midst, but He stood unobserved for the Pharisees could only see Jesus’ fleshly body and His questionable birth (John 8:41). They could not see the one who had come down from heaven (John 1:14), nor could they see the second breath of life that had descended upon Him as a dove (Matt 3:16). John the Baptist saw the breath of God [pneuma Theon] descend as a dove, light, and remain on Jesus, but what John saw was for him to see, not for everyone.
Endtime Sabbatarian Christians function as modern Pharisees whereas those Christians of the greater Church (i.e., common Christians) function as Greeks in Judea, a juxtaposition that has significance when Sabbatarian disciples reject revelation that is accepted by common Christians once all of Christendom is baptized in the breath of God … because first-generation Sabbatarian converts were given heavenly life, they cast shadows on the mental landscapes of earlier generations of Israel (i.e., when Israel was without indwelling eternal life). These Sabbatarian disciples were called by the Father to fulfill Scripture, and what must be fulfilled is the reality of Isaiah’s words about Israel seeing but not seeing. In the personhood of the Sadducees and Pharisees, about whom Jesus said the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled (Matt 13:14), understanding the things of God was never possible for they were not born of God. They could not turn to God and be healed; they could not “see” the invisible things of God. They had no more life before God than the fig tree had that Jesus cursed for not bearing figs when it was not the season for figs (Matt 21:18–19).
The animism of the Catholic Church will have Jesus being in the fig tree He cursed, which doesn’t make sense even as a mystery of God accepted by faith, but when that fig tree represents individual Christians with the original fig tree representing Jesus, the cursing does make sense … preterists hold that when Jesus cursed a fig tree for not bearing fruit when it wasn’t the season for fruit, Jesus simply wanted to taste a fig one more time before He was crucified; that there was nothing more to the incident. Preterists will also hold that because Jesus said the prophecy of Isaiah about Israel not seeing was fulfilled in the Sadducees and Pharisees there will not again be a fulfilling of this prophecy—they thereby blind themselves, putting their own eyes out with sharpened stakes as Odysseus blinded the Cyclops; for God is not a respecter of persons, giving knowledge of salvation to the Israelite born of God but forever withholding it from the one to whom the spirit has not been given. Rather, for the Sadducees and Pharisees, “seeing” remains ahead of them when they are resurrected in the great White Throne Judgment: they can then turn to the Lord and be healed of “death.”
There is a heinous apostasy taught by dispensationalists about no one being saved in the great White Throne Judgment: every person will be judged after the death (Heb 9:27) of the inner self, with this inner self representing the personhood of the individual. Presently, no person not first born of God is under judgment. That is, no person who has not been born again, or born from above, or born through receiving a second breath of life is under judgment. All not born of God wait judging until they are resurrected from death in the great White Throne Judgment; whereas, disciples as sons of God are today under judgment and will have their judgments revealed (not made) when Christ returns (1 Cor 4:5).
Peter wrote, “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God [euaggelion to Theon]” (1 Pet 4:17) … if it begins with us—it didn’t begin with those who came before. It didn’t begin with Moses. It didn’t begin with Israel in Egypt, or with Israel in the wilderness.
Yes, righteous men of old were promised eternal life. Judgments were made. For men such as Noah, Daniel, and Job—none of whom could enter into the congregation of Israel [Daniel, because he was a eunuch]—their judgments were declared to them while they still lived, but they would not inherit what was promised to them until Christ Jesus returns. The majority of humankind, however, falls under Paul’s gospel [—the good news of me]:
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 and even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (Rom 2:12–16)
Is the gospel of God about which Peter writes also the gospel of Paul that has all who sin without the law perishing without the law, but also has all who are without the law being justified by the works of the law if these works are written on their hearts? That is Paul’s gospel. Judgment doesn’t come to the person without the law during this lifetime, but comes in the great White Throne Judgment when the books are opened. Then the Gentile who has the works of the law written on his or her heart will be justified while the Gentile who remains a sinner will be condemned.
Jesus cursing a fig tree for not bearing fruit when it isn’t the season for fruit is an unreasonable act if that tree does not represent disciples in this era, with the expected fruit being that of the spirit (Gal 5:22); for a fig tree is not propagated by its fruit but by cuttings (specifically, root cuttings) so that every tree is a clone of its parent. This would make the fruit of disciples the same fruit that Jesus bore. And if disciples do not bear fruit in this era before the spirit is poured out on all flesh, then these disciples are as that cursed fig tree—and now, Jesus’ cursing of the fig tree is not an unreasonable act but enacted prophecy that challenges the theological foundation upon which preterists and even historicists stand.
When Jesus’ disciples came to Him and asked why He spoke in parables, Jesus said, “‘To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given’” (Matt 13:11) … the ability to understand the mysteries of God was never given to the Sadducees and Pharisees, but was given to Jesus’ disciples through receipt of a second breath of life. But when the Body of Christ as the reality of Jesus’ earthly body lost the breath of life (i.e., pneuma Theon, the breath of God) as the earthly body of Jesus lost its natural breath of life [metonymically, psuche], the Body became as spiritually lifeless as the Sadducees and Pharisees were. When Christians and the greater Christian Church lost indwelling eternal life, they lost the ability to understand the mysteries of God, and they lost the dubious ability to block the light that is God for they no longer had life in the heavenly realm: Christians only cast shadows onto the mental topography of humankind when they have been born of God but continue in sin, for it is sin that blocks the light. When Christians are filled with spirit so that they have no indwelling sin they will no longer block light; they are light, and they “disappear” from Scripture. They become invisible in the narrative of Scripture. As little lights, they become invisible in daylight.
The spirit is not given to anyone in this era who is not first foreknown by the Father, and then called by the Father (Rom 8:29–30; John 6:44, 65). This will not be the case when the spirit is poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28). Then, everyone will be called by God without being foreknown and predestined. All of humankind will be His people (Rev 18:4). But in this present era, the spirit is given to fulfill Scripture, all of Scripture, including Isaiah’s prophecies about Israel, a nation circumcised of heart, not seeing and hearing and therefore not turning to God to be healed. But because Israel says that it can see and hear when they refuse to do so, their sins remain (John 9:41) as evidenced by when most of Sabbatarian Christendom took the Passover sacraments this year  … it does no more spiritual good to take the Passover with rabbinical Judaism than it does to keep Resurrection Sunday, and keeping the Passover one day before Judaism does when Judaism keeps the Passover a month early is a mocking of Christ Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary.
The Christian Church can get no farther from God than it is this year, when the greater Church [common Christendom] ignored the Passover, keeping Easter instead, and when almost all Sabbatarians [uncommon Christians] kept the Passover before the month of Abib began … there is only one example for when to keep the Passover, and that is the example Jesus established when He was crucified on the 14th day of Abib, with the month of Abib beginning with the first sighted new moon crescent following the spring equinox.
In answering His disciples’ question about why He spoke in parables, Jesus, after saying that it was given to them to know the mysteries of God, added, “‘But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it’” (Matt 13:16–17). Once Christians and the greater Christian Church lost indwelling eternal life, many Christians have longed to hear and to see what the end of the age brings, but they didn’t hear or see the return of Christ Jesus. They continually looked for signs they could see. Even today, they look for signs they can see: the threat of nuclear Islam, the rise of a European Union, of China and India. They look for ten nation alliances, and historicists look for the Roman Church to return to political dominance in a world appalled by accusations of pedophilia made against priests … as an institution, the Roman Church is as frail as is its leader. Its rhetoric “sounds” stronger than either it or the institution is.
The Greek and Roman Churches have been spiritually dead for so long that “life” is no longer remembered. The Protestant Reformers of the 16th-Century CE who sought to reform the Old Church understood that if the Universal Church was dead, there were no spiritually living “Christians”; so they rejected the Radical Reformers who wanted to return to the faith delivered to the disciples in the 1st-Century. … Beginning with the Radical Reformers of the 16th-Century, the last Elijah laid over the dead Body of Christ and breathed life into its nostrils as the first Elijah laid over the dead son of the widow of Zarephath—and with temporary life breathed into these Christians, the Radical Reformer Andreas Fischer and his Sabbatarian descendants began to again cast shadows that could be seen in the activities of Pharisees, who sought purity in their worship of God, but purity without being able to see “Christ” when He is in their midst. The Radical Reformers were given the Holy Spirit [pneuma hagion] to fulfill all Scripture, including the prophecies of Isaiah.
Because Jesus stood as the unseen Christ in the midst of the Pharisees when He answered their question about when the kingdom would come, the kingdom has been among men for as long as disciples were/are the fractal image of Christ Jesus, with Christ being the fractal of all who walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6) or follow Paul as he followed Jesus (1 Cor 11:1 et al). This would make the kingdom of God the living Christ, the fractal … so there is no misunderstanding, Christ Jesus is the “type” or model for the fractal image that is the composite Christ, with all who are the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27) also being “Christ” because the breath of Christ [pneuma Christos] dwells within the person (Rom 8:9), with the breath of God [pneuma Theon] residing in Christ so as to fulfill what Jesus declared: “‘The glory that you [Father] have given me I have given them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me’” (John 17:22–23).
Without the indwelling of Christ Jesus in a person to function as a vessel to contain the life that comes down from heaven as the invisible bright fire called “the glory of God”—fire that would consume a person without the indwelling of Christ—no human being can have indwelling eternal life, the gift of God in Christ Jesus (Rom 6:23). Human life is sustained by the dark fire of cellular oxidation, with this fire kindled when Elohim [singular in usage] breathed into the nostrils of the man of mud, and with this fire sustained in the generations since the first Adam through biological reproduction. But life received from the Father is not sustained by biological reproduction but (again stated for pedagogical reasons) is individually given in this era when the Father draws a foreknown person from this world (John 6:44, 65) and gives to the person His breath [pneuma Theon]. However, in the age to come, the spirit [pneuma] of God will be poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28) when the world is baptized in spirit. In this age to come—not today—every person will have indwelling eternal life from birth.
Jesus’ use of the fig tree was as close to 1st-Century understanding of a fractal as He could make an analogy: He is the Root of Righteousness. While fig trees can be propagated by layering or from root suckers, the usual means is by root cuttings. This is unlike propagation of an apple or of a cultivated olive that has scion wood of the desired variety grafted to wild rootstock (or now, to stool-bedded dwarfing rootstock), or by analogy, has disciples grafted to the Root of Righteousness with the expectation that these disciples go against nature and not bear wild fruit but bear the fruit of the Root of Righteousness, with grace covering those things that occur as the natural fruit borne by the scion wood morphs into the fruit of the Root. It is for this reason—the necessity of the natural morphing into the spiritual—that only those who are foreknown and predestined by the Father to be younger brothers of Christ Jesus are called in this era. It is not reasonable to expect a Red Delicious apple tree to bear red-fleshed apples (the red flesh not observable to the eye until the apple is “processed”), but occasionally a Red Delicious apple will produce a branch sport that differs from its parent, with the branch sport ripening earlier or being better colored or perhaps better tasting. But what the Father foreknows is that from the disciple He chooses, the insides of the person will conform to the image and likeness of Christ Jesus, and not remain a son of disobedience: the Christian will look like Christ inwardly and outwardly.
After telling the Pharisees that the kingdom was in the midst of them, Jesus said to His disciples,
The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, “Look, there!” or “Look, here!” Do not go out or follow them. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the oher, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all—so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. (Luke 17:22–30 emphasis added)
When Jesus spoke about the Son of Man being revealed or disrobed as in being stripped of the garment of grace, He actually dated the Second Passover liberation of Israel to the second Passover, with Noah and the seven being selected and penned in the Ark on the 10th day of the second month (Gen 7:4, 11) … the antediluvian age ended in the days of Noah when the world was “baptized” into death. The long lives of the first patriarchs were no more. And Noah and the seven with him form the shadow and type of the glorified Jesus and the angels to the seven churches; i.e., the seven eyes of the Lamb (Rev 5:6) with the seven horns being the seven churches. The long lives of the antediluvian patriarchs was the physical representation of ever-lasting spiritual life as presently possessed by angelic sons of God in the Abyss.
A physical age ended when the Flood covered the earth; a spiritual age will end when dominion is taken from the present prince of this world and given to the Son of Man. As the Lord baptized the earth in water in the days of Noah, the Lord will baptize the world in spirit (i.e., the life-giving breath of God) when the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man. The Lord will then baptize this world in fire, ending that age, with the coming of the new heaven and new earth (Rev 21:1).
Three baptisms of this world; three ages end with baptism—the first age ended in the days of Noah when the world was baptized by water into death, the physical equivalent to the old nature or self of a disciple being buried in baptism. The second age ends when the world is baptized in spirit (i.e., the breath of God) and into life, with the physical equivalent being the Second Passover liberation of the Christian Church from indwelling sin and death at the beginning of the Tribulation. Disciples receiving the Holy Spirit [pneuma hagion] while sin and death continues to dwell in their fleshly members in this present era form a weak shadow and type of the liberation of the greater Church at the Second Passover.
The third age begins when the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man and ends when the world is baptized in fire prior to the coming of a new heaven and a new earth. With the coming of the new earth, there will no longer be a physical world or physically living beings: this world and all that is in it, including its desires, will have passed away (1 John 2:17). So what John the Baptist declared—“‘I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me … will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire’” (Matt 3:11)—will denote the collective end of two separate eras, this present era and the era during which the Son of Man reigns over the earth.
Individually, baptism by water returns a person to the beginning of this present era (to the days of Noah) when sin has no dominion over the person who is under no condemnation: the person is deemed righteous, and is clothed in the garment of Christ Jesus’ righteousness. However, the person who is baptized still needs to make a spiritual journey of faith equivalent in length to Abraham’s physical journey of faith to cleanse the heart so that it can be circumcised as Abraham was physically circumcised after having his belief of God counted to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6).
The age in which Abraham lived did not end when fire rained down from heaven on the four cities of the plains (valley). Rather, on the day when Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim were destroyed, Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord when the Lord, with the two, asked, “‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have chosen [known] him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice’” (Gen 18:17–19). And from his vantage point, Abraham beheld the smoke of the land that went up like the smoke of a furnace (Gen 19:27–28). The distance that separated Abraham from the cities of the plains is suggestive of the distance that separated father Abraham from the rich man in the Cynic narrative Jesus told mocking Pharisees when he turned their mocking back upon them (see Luke 16:19–31). This distance represents the gulf between heaven and earth.
Two models of destruction are in play: in the first, Noah was sealed in the Ark and passed from one age into the next age after having worked for years building the Ark because he believed the Lord. In the other model, Abraham witnessed from afar—and Lot with his daughters escaped from—the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as the world continued as before, minus the four cities of the plains. The common attribute shared by Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and Abraham was “righteousness.”
But before further addressing righteousness, consider the two models of destruction Jesus references: water and fire, both used by the prophet Isaiah (43:2) when he wrote about the Passover and Second Passover redemption of Israel (vv. 3–4). “When you pass through the waters, I [the Lord] will be with you” as the Lord was with Noah for all of the years when the Lord withheld the destruction of the earth until Noah completed the Ark … “when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, / and the flame shall not consume you” as it consumed the people of the plains, except for Lot and his daughters. The sign of Noah and the sign of Lot is a message about “life” amidst death, with Jesus as the Christ representing this life when He was in the midst of the Pharisees.
Life amidst death—this is not a sign seen by the dead … the physically dead know nothing physically (Eccl 9:5), and the spiritually dead know nothing spiritually.
Heavenly life cannot be seen; the inner self, natural or new, cannot be directly observed. So the crucifixion, death, and burial in baptism of the inner natural self cannot be seen by men—yes, a person’s baptism can be seen, but the evidence of history is that most Christian baptisms merely result in the person getting wet. Receipt of a second breath of life, the breath of God [pneuma Theon], cannot be seen. True crucifixion of the inner old self cannot be seen; nor can the resurrection of the inner self through receipt of this second breath of life be seen by carnal men. So none of what occurs inwardly can be seen until a newly born son of God undertakes a journey of faith that causes this Christian to live as an observant Judean.
Escape from destruction either in this world or at the end of the age comes via doing what is right; for in John’s vision, the angel tells John, “‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy’” (Rev 22:10–11 emphasis added).
In vision, John was transported forward in time—he left the 1st-Century behind and journeyed to when the events described in his vision were soon to occur. For our purposes, let us say that John journeyed forward from the 1st-Century to the 21st-Century … although preterism holds that scripturally referenced endtime events were all fulfilled in the 1st-Century whereas historicism as a school finds literal earthly fulfillments of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation throughout the history of the Christian era [this is the eschatology of Seventh Day Adventists and of most in the Sabbatarian churches of God], both exegesis strategies originate in eras prior to when the visions of Daniel were unsealed; thus, they lack validity. Futurism as employed by dispensationalists places the fulfillment of Daniel’s visions, John’s vision, and the Olivet Discourse at the end of the age, but does so without its proponents realizing that the New Covenant, which had not been implemented a quarter century after Calvary (see Heb 8:13), has not yet been implemented nearly two millennia after the spirit was given. Therefore, the futurism of, say, Hal Lindsey misses the most important element in the end of the age timeline, the Second Passover liberation of the Christian Church from indwelling sin and death, with this liberation of Israel coming via filling every Christian regardless of denomination with spirit when the lives of firstborns on earth and in the Abyss are given for Israel as lives of men and beasts were given in Egypt.
Dispensationalists’ two-salvational-track understanding makes God a respecter of persons when that is not the case … there is a salvational distinction between this present era and the era–to-come when dominion over the single kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man. In this era, only those individuals whom the Father foreknew are called by God. And those whom He foreknew He predestined to be conformed to the image of the Son, in order that Jesus “might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified” (Rom 8:29–30) even though some of those whom the Father has glorified He has not yet called, an entangling of verb tenses that trips those Christians who have not yet been born of God.
From the perspective of the Most High in heaven, those things here on earth that will be already are, including fire coming out from the belly of the Adversary (Ezek 28:18–19) even though the Adversary, used metonymically, has not yet been cast into time.
Those Christians who are truly born of God in this present era were foreknown by the Father before a single one of them was called by God; each was predestined to be called, justified, and glorified through being foreknown by the Father. But very few Christians have truly been born of God in this present era. Almost without exception, the person who claims or claimed in this era to be born of God hasn’t been; for John writes,
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he [Jesus] appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:4–10)
In this world, sin is lawlessness, or the transgression of the commandments of God. The person who continues to transgress the commandments, with the Sabbath being the sign between man and God that man knows God and that the Lord sanctifies none other (Ex 31:12–17), is not of God, but is of the Adversary. The preacher or pastor or fiery patriot who does great and mighty works in the name of Jesus—and there have been many, including America’s founder, Samuel Adams—but who does not keep the commandments, especially the Sabbath, are of the Adversary … they are the enemy of every true son of God. To them, when their judgments are revealed, Jesus will say, “‘“I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness [anomian]”’” (Matt 7:23). Yes, to the great religious leaders of the catholic or universal church that taught Christians to transgress the commandments; to the great Protestant Reformers who taught disciples to continue transgressing the Sabbath commandment as the Catholic Church taught disciples to transgress the Sabbath; to the Christian theologians of this present day who teach Christians to ignore the law, Jesus will say, based on the authority of Scripture, Depart from me, you workers of iniquity! I never knew you.
The man of perdition—the lawless one, a human being possessed by Satan—before he is revealed will hold up seemingly-righteous-but-spiritually-lawless men of old (like America’s founding fathers) as Christian models to be emulated. But Christians are to emulate Christ Jesus, not another son of the first Adam, especially a man like Samuel Adams who used Scripture to support rebellion in the cause of freedom … it is not the duty of Christians to actively oppose secular tyranny. Doing so always involves a presumptive attempt to hasten the coming of God’s kingdom as Moses was presumptive when he struck down the Egyptian and then sought to make peace between the two struggling Hebrews (Ex 2:11–14); for apparently Moses then, at age forty, knew that as a baby his life was spared for a reason.
The above is a difficult concept for Christians to accept: in a time like the present (2010) when the freedom and liberty of Americans are being deliberately undermined by men and women serving as agents for the demonic princes of Persia, doing nothing to stop the collapse of the United States is as hard for a Christian as it was for Moses to watch an Egyptian beat a Hebrew—and as Moses couldn’t resist intervening, Christians really cannot resist intervening to save a nation they sincerely believe is of God. They act because they don’t think that God acts fast enough; they judge God, and find Him a sluggard when that is not the case. So they, with righteous indignation in their mouths, charge into politics and the democratic election process, not realizing that stopping progressive fascism will necessarily result in armed rebellion against the usurpers. Just as Samuel Adams initially advocated peaceful resistance to British oppression of colonials, non-violence will not stop the usurpers … non-violence will lead to violence as the entire American experiment in representational democracy ends in failure—it has to end in failure; for any kingdom that emerges here on earth before the single kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man (cf. Dan 7:9–14; Rev 11:15–18) is of the Adversary. The United States of America has been the Adversary’s best hope to make a government stemming from rebellion against God work, for with God there is no tolerance of religious diversity. Sons of God will either believe Him or face destruction in the lake of fire; for the timelessness of heaven doesn’t permit many conflicting ideas. In the timelessness of one unchanging moment, every living entity must function as one entity in a dance of oneness. Diversity of thought in a dimension without mass produces gridlock that must be eliminated. It is the Adversary who advocates for diversity in its many forms.
The Radical Reformers of the 16th-Century understood that Christians had to separate themselves from the governing entities of this world; they understood that non-violent resistance to evil required Christians to become pacifists who participated as little as possible in the governance and economics of this world. And for three-plus centuries, most of the theological descendants of the Radical Reformers lived as subsistence farmers. Their loyalty to the American cause during the Insurrection was always open to question, as well it should have been; for their loyalty was to God, not to a government of men who openly displayed their lawlessness every Sunday.
Unfortunately, too many of the Radical Reformers did not follow in the footsteps of Andreas Fischer, but followed men other than the Apostle Paul who followed Christ Jesus.
It is from Protestant Reformers who sought to “reform” the old Church rather than scrap the old Church and return to theology of the 1st-Century sect of Judaism called the Nazarenes, and it is from the slightly overhauled old Church that today’s common Christendom comes.
For a very long time—since early in the 16th-Century—Christian pacifists have been as Moses was in the land of Midian when he tended the flocks of his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. They have lived without an inheritance in this world that continues to belong the spiritual king of Babylon; they have lived quietly on the west side of the mountain of the God; they have not been beyond the reach of the present prince of this world, but by being quiet and keeping their heads down, they have escaped notice as they grew through familial association. Although their predecessors were Christian enthusiasts, they do nothing more to attract attention to themselves than dress oddly and print a few short tracts that mysteriously appear in Laundromats and waiting rooms. They are a people beaten by persecution into submission to the prince of this world, and today, they are as hesitant to do a work for God as Moses was.
When Moses served the priest of Midian, did Moses keep the commandments of God? No, he didn’t. The law had not yet been given. Sin remained dead. And so it is with the theological descendants of the Radical Reformers, who today, burned by the presumptuousness of their ancestors, are reluctant to make a journey of faith, even a short journey represented by the trek from the land of Midian to Egypt where the people of God cry out for rescue from the slavery that has come upon them. It is the theological descendants of the Radical Reformers that should be the harvesters of God, but almost without exception, these Christian pacifists are cowards. They are not simply pacifists because they choose to lay down their lives for Christ Jesus; they are pacifists because they have no spine, no zeal for non-violent confrontation, no enthusiasm. They are no longer foreknown by God and predestined for glorification. Rather, they have made themselves into Christian fodder destined for destruction in the flames that separate the dimensions.
Since the early 16th-Century when Swiss Reformers divided themselves into Protestants and Radicals, the Protestants who clung to sin were not the ones foreknown by God and predestined to be glorified … unbelief kept the nation of Israel numbered in the census of the second year from entering into God’s rest (Heb 3:19), and unbelief will keep Christians of the old Church and of the Protestant Reformation and of every generation from entering into God’s presence. Unbelief creates diversity: diverse opinions about whether Israel should return to Egypt or journey forward into the Promised Land; diverse religions that had Israelites in Egypt defiling themselves with the idols of Egypt, and the children of Israel in the Promised Land defiling themselves with both the idols of Egypt that their fathers worshiped and the idols of the people of Canaan they dispossessed. And when the spirit of God is poured out on a people so that all have the Torah written on hearts and placed in minds and all Know the Lord, unbelief will cause God to send a strong delusion over this people because they refused to love the truth. Rather, they choose to believe what is false and to take pleasure in unrighteousness; thus, this people will be condemned as the nation numbered in the census of the second year was condemned to death in the wilderness of Sin.
Two models of salvation: predestination for those who are foreknown in this age, and enduring to the end for those who are baptized into life when the spirit of God is poured out on all flesh and no distinction is made from person to person. The greater Christian Church forms the bridge or transition between these two models, with the greater Christian Church known to God before the spirit is poured out on every Christian, with no distinction made between Christians at the Second Passover liberation of Israel.
As all twelve (thirteen) tribes of Israel were liberated from slavery following the death of uncovered Egyptian firstborns of men and beasts, all of Christendom will be liberated from indwelling sin and death following the death of uncovered firstborns in the Abyss and on earth at the Second Passover. Then, every Christian, once filled with spirit, must endure in faith to the end to be saved. They have to do nothing more than endure in faith. But with exceptions, they will not endure to the end. Rather, they will defile themselves by mingling the sacred with the profane.
The man of perdition is a likeable fellow. He is a patriot, an advocate for freedom and liberty. He is not some dark, sinister individual that would have Christians do what they are not presently doing—and that is the key to revealing his identity. When the greater Christian Church is liberated from indwelling sin and death, Christians cannot return to sin without committing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Christians cannot defile themselves by mingling the sacred and the profane as is routinely done, for example, in observing Christmas, when Christ [the sacred] is mingled with the profane [the day of the invincible sun]. Yes, the man of perdition will cause Christians everywhere to defile themselves with his advocacy of Christmas. And it is the observance of Christmas following the liberation of Israel, then a nation circumcised of heart, that will constitute the Rebellion of day 220, the Rebellion that is the great falling away about which Paul writes (2 Thess 2:3). And this rebellion against God will not be seen as rebellion; this rebellion will be an outwardly invisible rebellion for keeping Christmas by spirit-filled and empowered Christians will seem like the right thing to do, especially when keeping Christmas is enthusiastically supported by the man of perdition, a blonde cherub-appearing fellow known as a Christian zealot.
What were Moses’ thoughts for the forty years he tended the flocks of this father-in-law in the land of Midian? Did he wonder why he lived when other male Hebrews, his peers, perished at birth? Did he feel as if he had been falsely chosen to free his people? Apparently he had been a military leader of some renown—could he have led an armed insurrection against Pharaoh if the people had rallied around him? Were the Hebrews, his people, even worth saving? … Moses did not become meek or humble in the household of Pharaoh, but became meek while tending the flocks of his father-in-law. Moses had to learn to wait on the Lord.
Part four will continue with section #7.
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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."