October 12, 2004 ©Homer
Commentary — From the Margins
Created for Glory
The prophet Isaiah writes, ‘"You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he"’ (43:10 — English Standard Version, used throughout) who has declared what will be from the beginning, who has set his hand to recover ‘"everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made’" (v. 7).
The holy day season has concluded for another year—these seasonal harvest celebrations reveal the plan God set in place to recover everyone called by His name, whom He created for His glory. Since Eden, all of humanity has been consigned to sin (Rom 11:32), the wages of which is death, so that God could have mercy on those called by His name. He ransomed his firstborn son (Exod 4:22) by giving the lives of the firstborn of Egypt (Isa 43:3). But this firstborn son did not enter His rest because of his unbelief (Heb 3:19 & Ps 95:10–11). Rather, it was the uncircumcised children of this firstborn son who crossed the Jordan and entered the land of promise on the day when the paschal lamb was selected and penned, pending sacrifice (Josh 4:19). The children of the nation that left Egyptian bondage were circumcised before Passover (Josh 5:2–10), and they were sacrificed under the law as the paschal offering for the sins of humanity. They were figuratively the children of bondage, children of the earthly Jerusalem (Gal 4:21–31). They had become as their ancestors were who had left Egyptian bondage: because of their unbelief, they were replaced by their uncircumcised, born-from-above children.
But spiritual birth is unlike physical birth. It is analogous to the birth of a butterfly. A son of the first Adam is as the egg; this son of the first Adam is a spiritual corpse awaiting the Breath of God in the same way that Adam was created as a corpse awaiting the breath of life, breathed into his nostrils by Elohim (Gen 2:7). Jesus as the second Adam, in fulfilling all righteousness (Matt 3:15), came as a son of the first Adam (1 John 4:2) and received the Breath of the Father (Matt 3:16), thereby establishing the model for spiritual birth. And once born-from-above through receiving the Holy Spirit, the child of God spiritually grows as a worm that will not die—the second death can come only when the child’s judgment is revealed upon Christ’s return (1 Cor 4:5). But this child of God resides in a tabernacle of flesh, which will die, analogous to the worm spinning a cocoon in which it dies but lives. Then upon Christ’s return, the book of life opens as a cocoon does, and the new creature emerges, its change as spectacular as that of a worm into a butterfly.
The copies of heavenly things were necessarily purified by the blood of calves and goats, but the heavenly things by the better sacrifice of the Son of Man (Heb 9:23). The copies of heavenly things includes the entirety of humankind, for God [Elohim, plural usage] said, ‘"Let us make man in our image, in our likeness’" (Gen 1:26). Therefore, this copy of a heavenly thing must also be purified by blood—and God gave the life of His firstborn Son as the ransom for humankind. However, since spiritual birth is not a simple process, not a manner of entering the womb a second time (John 3:5–8), but birth both by water [of the womb] and by spirit, God also gave the life of his firstborn son after the flesh as the ransom for humankind.
But the Israel for which the lives of peoples (i.e., the lives of the firstborn of Egypt) served as the nation’s ransom (Isa 43:3–4) did not enter the promised land because of unbelief, but died in the wilderness of sin. Likewise, their descendants did not receive spiritual birth because of their unbelief even though this birth was offered to them under the second covenant mediated by Moses (Deu chptrs 29–31); none of them kept the law (John 7:19). So God made another people for whom no physical ransom had been paid his holy nation, but a holy nation in bondage to the law of sin and death that dwelt in the members of the nation (Rom 7:25). And just as fleshly Israel was ransomed with the lives of peoples, spiritual Israel will be ransomed with the lives of peoples when this nation is liberated from bondage.
The logic for a second Passover slaughter of firstborns not covered by the blood of paschal Lamb of God is in the two-part nature of spiritual birth. Jesus will not be crucified a second time. He died once to redeem spiritual Israel, or to pay the ransom price for spiritual birth—to reconcile humankind to God so that the worm that will not die could be born-from-above. But an additional ransom must be paid before the worm is liberated from bondage to the law of sin and death, that bondage the equivalent of bondage to Pharaoh in Egypt. This ransom will be the death of all firstborns of spiritual Babylon not covered by the blood of the Lamb. This includes the firstborn son—the single great horn—of the angelic spiritual king of Greece to whom dominion over human beings was given (Dan 2:39 & 8:8, 21 & 10:20).
The ransom price for the liberation of spiritual Israel will be the death of all uncovered firstborns in spiritual Babylon, just as the ransom prince for the liberation of fleshy Israel from bondage to Pharaoh was the death of all firstborns in Egypt. And Israel’s liberation is in the near future, not centuries or even decades away. The payment of this ransom will usher in the seven years of tribulation that are the hard labor pains of the last Eve bringing many sons of God to glory.
We are witnesses who testify in advance to God’s intention to recover everyone called by His name. The evidence of our election to deliver the endtime gospel of patient endurance comes from our announcing of the ransom that will be paid when Israel is liberated, when the last Eve gives birth to first a spiritual Cain, then to a spiritual Abel. False witnesses will declare that the payment of this ransom is the sixth trumpet plague, but they will be three years off in their reckoning. Indeed, there will be a second slaughter of a third of humanity before Christ returns. This slaughter will be the ransom for when the last Eve gives birth to a spiritual Seth, who only has to endure to the end to be saved (Matt 24:13). Therefore, everyone who waits and arrives at the 1335 days will be blessed (Dan 12:12) although the thirty day period between 1290 and 1260 will try the patience of the saints. These are the days that if not cut short would leave no human being alive (Matt 24:22).
The months between now and the Passover will slip by all too quickly. Disciples need to plan now to eat the Bread and drink from the Cup as Jesus established the example. They cover their sins through taking these Passover sacraments, not by drinking from Babylon’s cup whenever and however they wish.
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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."