August 25, 2009 ©Homer
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Commentary — From the Margins
“Everyone Who Calls on the Name of the Lord Will be Saved”
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for
“Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.”
But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,
“I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation;
with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”
Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,
“I have been found by those who did not seek me;
I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”
But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.” (Rom 10:14–21)
The question Paul asks remains as valid in the 21st-Century as it was in the 1st-Century: how can “Christians” call on a Jesus “in whom they have not believed”? How can Christians hear and believe the words of Jesus when they refuse to believe the writings of Moses (John 5:46–47)? How can Christians who make a practice of sinning expect that their faith will save them … because of their practice of sinning, their faith is not sufficient to cleanse their hearts so that they can be inwardly circumcised. It should, therefore, come as no surprise to them that the Father will deliver them into the hand of the man of perdition for the destruction of the flesh when they are finally liberated from indwelling sin and death following a second Passover.
In saying, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel” (Rom 10:16), Paul acknowledges that in the 1st-Century there are false teachers, false prophets that “proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely” (Phil 1:17), a reality that both Peter and John address … what happened to those false teachers? As super-apostles, did they not prosper? The good news that Jesus delivered is, really, an anti-family message that was not well received in the family-focused Greek world. The message that Jesus came “‘to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law,’” that “‘a person’s enemies will be those of his own household’” (Matt 10:35–36) was not a message that could be sold in the Hellenistic world; so a different message, a family friendly message, and a different Christ was proclaimed by those super-apostles that set the world on fire.
Paul writes, “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready” (1 Cor 3:1–2) … when were the saints at Corinth ever ready for solid food? In his second recorded epistle to these saints, Paul says, “I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough” (2 Cor 11:2–4 emphasis added).
The saints at Corinth were, within the context of Paul’s epistles, never spiritual people, never able to ingest anything more than the milk of the word. They were infants in need of a guardian, but they were without one for they thought of themselves as being spiritual. Thus, sometime outside of Paul’s second epistle, these saints accepted “another Jesus” other than the one Paul proclaimed; they accepted a Jesus who came to bring peace to this world whereas Jesus said, “‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword’” (Matt 10:34). Hence, they died spiritually, as did the Church, which is why God does not say of the second day that it was good (Gen 1:6–8). The death of the Body of Christ from loss of the spirit of God [pneuma Theon] was not good, but that is what happened.
On the second day, the waters of humanity were divided vertically, with “heaven” separating those human beings born of God from the mass of humankind that remained sons of disobedience … the Genesis “P” creation account is the abstract for the spiritual creation of the Father, for what portion of the heavens and earth is not completed in the declaration, “In the beginning, God created [filled] the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). What is left undone? Are not heaven and the heavens created, what is said to be created on the second day? Has not the sun and moon as orbs in heaven been created? Has not the earth been created, all before light in the form of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:6) shines out of darkness on day one? Once the divine breath of God, an invisible force, is seen in Genesis 1:2, this “P” creation account is about the spiritual creation of the Father, a creation foreshadowed by the Logos [Ò Logos] being the Creator of all visible things, with the invisible creation of the Father being the reality that casts backwards its shadow in the things that have been made by the Logos.
Jesus walked on water as did Peter for as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus and did not doubt. Peter healed the lame beggar (Acts 3:6–8), but when Peter was buffeted by the strong winds of this world, he apparently became afraid as he became afraid when walking out to Jesus (Matt 14:29–31) and when he denied Jesus three times. Peter sought to keep peace with the Circumcision Faction, separating himself from outwardly uncircumcised converts whom he taught to live as Judeans when those of the Circumcision Faction came from Jerusalem (Gal 2:11–14). And in Peter, endtime disciples see what happened on the second day about which God does not say that it is good.
But as Jesus walked on water, Moses walked on dry land; for the Lord parted the waters for Moses. And endtime disciples as trees that bear fruit sprout forth from the dry land of the third day, a day about which God twice says that is it good. But attempting to grasp that the third day of the “P” creation account is about endtime disciples will give spiritual infants indigestion, if not outright choke them; for this understanding is not milk, and is not for those who are not yet weaned. This understanding comes from believing the writings of Moses, the prerequisite for hearing the voice of Jesus (John 5:46–47), then actually listening to the words of Jesus.
Jews in Judea sought Paul’s life, whereas saints in Achaea questioned whether Paul was of God and all of the saints in Asia left Paul (2 Tim 1:15), who laid the foundation for the house of God in heavenly Jerusalem: “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 3:10–11) … what is being built here today stands on the foundation Paul laid, not on the foundation of that other Jesus, the one proclaimed by those super-apostles who say that Jesus came to bring peace before its time.
The saints at Corinth were willing to receive anyone proclaiming Jesus, even if the “Jesus” proclaimed was another Jesus and not the one Paul proclaimed. But another Jesus means that another foundation was laid, not that there could be another foundation for the house of God. Another Jesus means that those who built on this foundation were not of God, but were of the Adversary. They were not “attacking” the Adversary, but were ministers of Satan the devil, who comes disguised as an angel of light. So while a person can argue that the 1st-Century Church was larger than Paul, who was not one of the first disciples, what the person will find is that when John, the last of the first disciples, died (ca 100–102 CE), so did the Church. But Jesus’ words hold: as the gates of Hades could not prevail over His physical body, the gates of Hades will not prevail over His Body. As His physical body was resurrected and ascended to the Father after the third day, His spiritual Body will be resurrected and will ascend after the third day of the “P” creation account, with, again, this account being about the creation of the Father, not of the Logos who made all things physical in the dark portion of day one then entered His creation as His only Son as the light of day one.
Paul warned the saints at Corinth that they were infants needing milk; that they were far too ready to accept another Jesus other than the one he proclaimed; that he was in no way inferior to those super-apostles whose names have disappeared from history but whose Jesus remains firmly imbedded in endtime Christianity. Paul wrote, “Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith” (Gal 3:23–26). … There is a problem concealed within Paul’s epistles that produces the Rebellion, or great falling away, about which Paul writes (2 Thess 2:3). And this problem is that the new covenant that would have the law [Torah] written on the hearts of disciples and placed in their minds was not then in effect, and is not now in effect, and will not go into effect until the first covenant ends with the Father shedding blood on the second Passover. The writer of Hebrews says, “In speaking of a new covenant, he [Christ] makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away” (8:13). But what is ready to vanish away has not yet vanished away, and if the first covenant, a quarter century after Calvary, had not yet vanished away, when since then has it vanished away? It hasn’t. The first covenant is today as it was when Hebrews was written: it is old and ready to vanish away, but remains in effect until death angels pass over the land, slaying firstborns not covered by the blood of the Lamb of God. And it is for this reason that disciples continue to take the Passover sacraments of bread and wine on the night that Jesus was betrayed.
If the saints at Corinth were infants and not spiritual people, then were they not in need of a guardian, a regent, a schoolmaster to teach them the fundamentals of God? Did they not need the law to be their guardian? Was faith alone sufficient for salvation, the question that Augustine wrongly answered?
Paul cites Genesis 15:6, saying, “just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’” (Gal 3:6), and, “For what does Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’” (Rom 4:3). But James the Just adds,
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. (2:21–24 emphasis added)
Why was Abraham asked to sacrifice Isaac? If (then) Abram believed God and had his belief counted to him as righteousness, with the matter about which Abram believed God being that his seed would be as the stars of heaven, was his belief, his faith not sufficient? It was not, was it? His belief, his faith had to be made complete through testing. Of itself, Abraham’s faith was not sufficient. And the faith about which Paul writes is not of itself sufficient for salvation. This faith must be “made complete” through this faith being applied in works; for Paul, himself, writes,
For 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, by the Spirit, not by the letter. (Rom 2:25–29)
It isn’t the faith of the man (or woman) who is uncircumcised that will condemn the one who is outwardly circumcised, but it is the uncircumcised person keeping of the precepts of the law that condemns the one who has the law but doesn’t keep it. Now, why would the person who is uncircumcised keep the law? He or she would only do so by faith, for this person is under no cultural obligation to keep the law. So the faith of the uncircumcised person that is made complete by keeping the law will condemn the natural Israelite who breaks the law.
Again, it isn’t the faith of the uncircumcised person that makes the person a Jew, but the keeping of the precepts of the law when the person is under no outside obligation to keep the commandments. Faith that has not been made complete will not save the person; thus, the Tribulation is about making complete the faith of those who will be filled with spirit following the second Passover.
The fifth seal of the Scroll (Rev 6:9–11) will be removed when the man of perdition is revealed and the Rebellion of the Church occurs. Then those disciples who are to be killed as their 1st-Century brothers were killed will have their chance to make their faith complete … Jesus repeatedly said some variation of, “‘Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life’” (John 12:25). Because endtime Christians with very few exceptions are not now willing to buck the world and walk as Jesus, an observant Jew, walked, these Christians with equally few exception will lose their lives between day 220 and 580 of the Tribulation. If the second Passover were to occur in, say, 2011, then the Rebellion or great falling away would occur 220 days later, on Christmas 2011, and the wrath of the Lamb of God (Rev 6:12–17) would begin a year [360 days] after that, or on the December solstice 2012. Satan would be cast from heaven on Halloween 2014. And in that year between Christmas 2011 and the following December solstice, Christians will kill Christians as Cain killed righteous Abel. Only a remnant of the righteous—those saints who keep the commandments and have the testimony of Jesus (Rev 12:17)—will remain physically alive.
All of the above is seen in the Genesis “P” creation account when this account is read by a son of God spiritually old enough to dress himself; for Jesus [in Greek: Iēsous — from Acts 4:10] walked on water, but Moses crossed over on dry land with the waters dividing for him as they did for Joshua [in Greek: Iēsous — from Acts 7:45]. Endtime disciples must first believe the writings of Moses before they are able to hear the voice of Jesus (again, John 5:46–47). These disciples are infants under a guardian that divides the waters so that dry land appears (Gen 1:9) … in his allegorical novel, Lord of the Flies, William Golding explores the descent of unsupervised children into the psychological abyss where Beelzebub [בעל זבוב] is popularly thought to reign (with Beelzebub being Lord of the Flies), but the better story is what happened to 1st-Century children of God when they threw off their guardian (the law) and went it alone in Satan’s world. They descended into the abyss and made Christianity a hissing and a curse in this world; for the law of God was not written on their hearts or placed in their minds. They were not yet under the new covenant, a mistake Paul makes and probably realizes when he writes that all in Asia had left him.
Paul, a Pharisee convert, knew the law well enough that it was part of him, but Greek converts knew neither the law nor Jesus. They knew Plato and other Greek philosophers, but how were they to call on Him whom they did not know and in whom they had not previously believed?
Greek converts in the 1st-Century differed considerably from 21st-Century Christians; for the Greek who ceased living as a Greek—the Greek who abstained from things offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from meats strangled, from eating blood—made a mental journey of faith of comparable length to Abraham’s physical journey of faith. They needed only to make their faith complete by living as a Judean in a Hellenistic world, and this is what Peter taught these Greek converts to do (read Gal 2:14 in Greek). This is what Paul apparently assumed that Greek converts would do by faith once hearts were cleansed … the fruit of the spirit doesn’t involve keeping the commandments that are, really, only a schoolmaster or guardian that keeps spiritual infants from descending into the abyss where darkness fills their hearts. Once these sons of God are able to walk uprightly before God as spiritual bipeds, the guardian is less useful and will eventually not be needed, as Paul knew from seeing his own growth. But history discloses that without a guardian, a schoolmaster, 1st-Century disciples anticipated in their behavior toward God the descent into the abyss about which Golding wrote a half century ago. They left Paul, left God, and became children of the devil through the practice of sinning.
A 21st-Century Christian makes no journey of faith when this person continues in the beliefs of his or her parents … Jesus anticipated this problem! Yes, He did; for when the Body died from loss of the spirit of God at the end of the 1st-Century, the stage was set for the endtime generation of disciples to make a journey of faith that will cleanse hearts so they can be circumcised. But this last generation of saints that will be firstfruits must come under a guardian prior to the second Passover. Only after the second Passover will the law be written on their hearts and placed in their minds—and after the second Passover, Christians must leave behind the “other Jesus” [the one all of Asia accepted while Paul still lived] that has been preached for the past 1900 years. They must return to the foundation Paul laid in heavenly Jerusalem so long ago.
In the 16th-Century, Radical Reformers abandoned attempts to reform the old Church (i.e., the Roman Church) and sought to rebuild the Church from Scripture. They made strides towards returning the Church to life, but they stopped short of getting the job done, and they became spiritual fossils … the generation of Anabaptists alive today need only to metaphorically cross the River Jordan and enter into Sabbath observance for this generation to cleanse its hearts so that the generation can be spiritually circumcised. The question is, will those who are today’s old Church (Hutterites, Amish, Old German Baptists, others) pick up the stake that tethers them to 16th and 17th Centuries teachers and follow Jesus? Perhaps they will follow Jesus after the second Passover. It is, therefore, a shame that their firstborns will have to die physically before they will unstop their ears and hear the voice of Christ.
When the man of perdition is revealed, Christian leaders will be divided, disputing among themselves as to whether to embrace him or resist him, for he will preach another Jesus, one most of Christianity now rejects. The man of perdition will be spiritually analogous to ancient King Saul, in that he will come from a small tribe, a seemingly fringe denomination, but more of this another time.
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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."