July 7, 2007 ©Homer Kizer
Commentary — From the Margins
The Imprecise Linguistic Referent:
The Law of Moses (3rd part)
On the third new
moon after the people of
When war arises in heaven and Michael and his angels fight against Satan and his angels and Satan is cast into time (Rev 12:7-9), that old dragon will pursue the woman who had given birth to the male child (v. 13) who will rule all nations with a rod of iron (v. 5). “But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time” (v. 14) … God said that He brought Israel to Him on eagles’ wings under Moses, and in John’s endtime vision God will again bring Israel, the woman, to Himself on two eagle wings. The first forms the shadow and type of the latter.
· If Israel’s journey to Sinai corresponds to (or forms the copy and type of) endtime Israel’s flight from the fallen prince of this world to the rest or refuge of God, then this flight on eagle wings will be unlike anything most prophecy pundits have prophesied.
importantly, the Sinai covenant by which
Of the many covenants of promise made in the law of Moses, the Sinai covenant
occupies a unique position; for the Sinai covenant offers to the firstborn
natural son of God (Ex 4:22) the promise of becoming the holy nation of God (Ex
19:5-6) if this “son” would keep everything God tells Moses. This
covenant offered “holiness,” but offered it on the condition of
obedience … the Sinai covenant ends natural grace (Rom 5:13). Although
sin [the transgression of the laws of God – 1 John 3:4] entered the world
through the disobedience of one man, and death through sin (Rom 5:12), this sin
or disobedience was not counted against humankind where there was no law. Why?
Because Adam was driven from the
Adam had no life but that received when he became a nephesh (Gen 2:7), a breathing creature like other breathing creatures [i.e., the beasts of the field]. King Solomon writes,
I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are the dust, and to dust all return. (Eccl 3:18-20).
The Apostle Paul says that the wages of sin is death, “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23). Jesus said of the twelve He sent out that they were psuche and soma, breath and body (Matt 10:28). These first disciples had not, when sent out, received birth-from-above in the form of receipt of the Holy Spirit [Pneuma ’Agion]; they did not have the Holy Spirit. Hence, they were not of tripart composition: pneuma, psuche, and soma (1 Thess 5:23). They lacked having the Spirit [Pneuma] of God.
The lawyer who sought to test Jesus asked, “‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life’” (Luke 10:25). This lawyer knew that he did not have eternal life dwelling within him in the form of an immortal soul that must be redeemed. Rather, this lawyer, who correctly answered Jesus’ response of how did he read the law, understood that the law of Moses held covenants that promised eternal life.
Likewise, the rich young ruler asked Jesus, “‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life’” (Luke 18:18).
The covenants of promise in the law of Moses were made with the fleshly descendants of the first Adam; they were made with living dust. These covenants promised everlasting life, but on the condition of obedience … when the first Adam was placed in the garden of God, he was given only one command: “‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die’” (Gen 2:16-17). Adam was not told to keep the Sabbath; he wasn’t told not to murder or commit adultery or lie or steal; he was not prohibited from worshiping idols. These “details” were not issues, for he was placed in the garden [or rest] of God. There was no woman with which to commit adultery, or any other human being to murder. There was nothing to steal except the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Thus, one commandment was sufficient.
Obedience is a test that is “passed”
when the person being tested submits by faith to the test. Thus, God tests
This faith [Christianity] maintains, and it must be believed: neither the soul nor the human body may suffer complete annihilation, but the impious shall rise again into everlasting punishment, and the just into life everlasting. (On Christian Doctrine. Book 1: XXI. Trans. D.W. Robertson, Jr.)
Augustine was wrong. The body is dust, the base elements of the earth. At death it returns to dust that is blown about by the winds of this earth. It is stone ground into fine flour; thus, the law of God written by the finger of God on two tablets of stone is directly analogous to the law of God written by Spirit on the heart and mind of the person born of Spirit … until born of Spirit, a person has no everlasting life dwelling within the person.
If eternal life is the gift of God, and if God must “raise” the dead who were then audibly hearing the words of Jesus (John 5:18-19, 21), and if the dead hearing Jesus’ words would believe the One who sent Him and thereby pass from death to life (v. 24), then Pharisees in the 1st-Century CE had no immortal soul but were numbered among the dead of this world even though they were physically breathing. Thus, the person who claims to have everlasting life apart from actually being born of Spirit is a liar! This person believes and propagates the lie of that old serpent, Satan the devil, and as such is of Satan. So it can be said with certainty that the person who claims to be born of Spirit, but who continues to believe that human beings are physically born with an immortal soul has not actually experienced spiritual birth—if this person were truly born of Spirit, he or she would know the difference between a “feeling of faith” or a “religious experience” or last night’s indigestion and what it truly means to be born anew; for the person would cease his or her hostility to God and would earnestly desire to keep the commandments of God, all of them, not eight or nine of them. Every person born of Spirit and circumcised of heart will, in this era, keep the commandments by faith. There will be no exceptions! Evidence of having a circumcised heart is the journey of faith that will have the person keeping the commandments of God.
Circular reasoning? Yes and no. The Moab covenant
by which circumcision of the heart is promised (Deu 30:6) requires that while
in a far land (vv. 1-2), Israel turns
to God and begins to love God with all its heart and mind, thereby keeping the
commandments and all that is written in the book of Deuteronomy (v. 10). The Apostle Paul calls this
· The Passover covenant promises deliverance from bondage for the simple condition of selecting, sacrificing, roasting and eating the paschal lamb.
The giving of
the Law ends natural grace and makes
When the Sinai
covenant is made with
· After Israel is delivered from bondage and made holy before God through faith that leads to demonstrated obedience, the Moab covenant promises circumcision of the heart and return to God’s rest (cf. Ps 95:10-11; Heb 3:16-4:11).
Again, all of these covenants are initially made
with the flesh in the law of Moses,
but when better promises are added to this “law” and its mediator
becomes Christ Jesus, the covenants of promise made with the flesh are
abolished, but the covenants of promise do not end as they continue in force as
Israel continues as the holy nation of God (1 Pet 2:9). But this endtime
The Passover covenant continues to promise
liberation from bondage. The Sinai covenant continues to promise holiness. And
stated previously, when the Lord led the fathers of
Three major covenants of promise mediated by Moses, two of which were ratified by blood and will end when blood is again shed, these two being copies of heavenly things that pertain to the forgiveness of sins (Heb 9:22)—and humankind is divided into three parts, with God turning His hand against two parts (Zech 13:7-9) … a third part of humankind will perish when the lives of men are again given as ransom for Israel, now a spiritually circumcised nation. Another third part will perish during the seven endtime years of tribulation because this third part will not cover its sins with obedience. And the third third-part will be refined as silver is refined and tested as gold is tested and will be God’s people, the great endtime harvest of firstfruits. This third third-part constitutes “all who endure to the end” (Matt 24:13; 10:22), those who shall be saved through merely living by faith day by day although “enduring” in faith will be more difficult than anyone can today imagine.
The first third-part perishes under the Passover
covenant by being firstborns not covered by the blood of the Lamb of God. The
second third-part perishes as a result of liberating
Yes, the person who will not, by faith, keep the precepts of God’s law shows to man and angels how much this person despises God and all that God represents.
The new covenant that the prophet Jeremiah
disclosed would replace the covenant of promise made on the day God led
It is still necessary to teach neighbor and brother to “Know the Lord.”
Either there is, today, no Israel, a nation circumcised of heart—or at least no Israel of any consequence—or Israel is a divided house that needs to be taught to keep the precepts of the law … the Body of Christ is not divided, but one.
The Apostle Paul wrote,
So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit [that] is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. (1 Co 2:11-13)
With pedagogical redundancy, since
As the physically circumcised Israelites in Egypt
ate their slain Passover lambs before the nation was liberated from bondage to
Pharaoh, so too has spiritually circumcised
Evangelical Christendom contends that Satan’s sin was wanting to be like God, or to be God; therefore, Evangelicals hold that Sabbatarian disciples who teach what the Apostle Paul wrote, “For those whom he [God] foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom 8:29), teach heresy when they say that glorified firstfruits will be younger siblings of Christ Jesus, and will be like Christ in mind and substance. Evangelicals are wrong. Disciples are “born” as sons of God, not created as servants as Lucifer/Satan was. Thus, it is not blasphemy for a son to declare himself a son (John 10:33-36), whereas it is blasphemy for a servant to declare himself the son.
Only the one persistent problem remains: very few
self-identified disciples of Christ Jesus keep the Passover, or take the
sacraments of bread and wine on the night that Jesus was betrayed [i.e., the 14th
of Abib]. So there are either very few disciples truly born of Spirit, or too
many sons of God do not cover their sin with the shed blood of Christ. Either
situation leaves most of Christendom and all of the remainder of the world with
uncovered sin when the lives of men are again given as ransom for the
A two millennia delay between the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb of God and the giving of lives as ransom for the liberation of spiritually circumcised Israel—yes, forty jubilees is time enough for those who would liberate the captives to restore what has been taken, specifically knowledge of God; for the geographical territory of Israel formed a visible shadow and copy of Israel’s knowledge of God and obedience to Him.
Throughout all of natural Israel’s
generations, this physically circumcised nation was to remember the day when
God took Israel by the hand and brought the nation out of Egypt, but this
remembrance will end when the lives of men are again given for the ransom of
Israel and God takes His spiritual sons by their hands to bring them from the
north country and from the far corners of the earth (Jer 16:14-15; 23:7-8). The
two millennia delay between the sacrifice of the Lamb of God and the giving of
the lives of men as ransom will cause Egypt to be forgotten and liberation from
death to be remembered; for a third of humankind (approximately 2.3 billion
human beings) is today a firstborn who belongs to God, and a firstborn who does
not cover his or her sins with the blood of the Lamb. These firstborns are
presently as Egyptians and their beasts were when Moses confronted Pharaoh. And
their deaths will cause all of humankind to hate death, especially as another
third perishes over seven years. This is catastrophe of an order and magnitude
that is truly unimaginable, but this catastrophe will also be the result of
As an aside, the dispute over whether the blessed
bread becomes the actual flesh of Christ or only represents the flesh is a
non-sensical argument that distracts from the significance of the lives of men
again being given as ransom for
Throughout Scripture, false shepherds, false prophets, false teachers are condemned for they are ever present. God made a covenant with the sons of Levi Israel that they should stand before Him … when Israel told Aaron to make for them gods—the gold calf or calves—and Moses, coming down from the mountain, cast down and broke the two tablets of stones, God through Moses established an additional covenant ratified by blood, but not a covenant with all of Israel. Rather, this covenant was with “all the sons of Levi” (Ex 32:26), and it was for ordination to serve God. This covenant was ratified by the sons of Levi killing “‘his brother and his companion and his neighbor’” (v. 27), about three thousand men of the people (v. 28). Moses then said to these sons of Levi, “‘Today you have been ordained for the service of the Lord, each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day’” (v. 29).
Disciples are today the royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9); they are the reality for which the sons of Levi served as copy and type. And if disciples do not love God more than they do mothers and father, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, they are not worthy of Christ (Matt 10:37). Jesus did not come to bring peace to the earth (v. 34), and His disciples are not here to bring peace. Rather, they are to do spiritually what the sons of Levi did physically. They must slay their “natural love” for their kin if they are to follow Christ. They must understand that they cannot physically or spiritually save their firstborn son or daughter, father or mother. And while a disciple’s human love reaches out to those who will not cover themselves through obedience to God, especially when the disciple understands the consequences of the Passover covenant, the disciple is a spiritual Levite, a person without inheritance in this world.
[The above represents the third part of this Commentary that was too lengthy to be published as one piece. These three installments, however, will be e-published as one article at a latter date.]
* * *
"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."
* * * * *