October 28, 2006 ©Homer
Commentary — From the Margins
The God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob
The televised images of the Amish families forgiving the killer of five schoolgirls reinforced the otherness of the Amish made evident daily by their plain dress, covered head, and broad-brim hats. This reinforcement has caused at least one Mennonite commentator to suggest that Mennonites are in a unique position to capture those who idealize the Christianity of the Amish but who are not receptive to Amish separation. But the suggestion is based upon several assumptions that are not true, the foremost being that salvation as part of the harvest of firstfruits is today available to everyone, that any person can compel God to give the person spiritual birth, that God is nothing more than an invisible servant of human imagination.
If a person could by words or deeds cause the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob today to raise the person from being spiritually dead [the status of being without spiritual life] to being spiritually living, no higher power exists than human will: men would have truly created God in their image through their imaginations. Worship of this humanly manipulated god would ultimately be of no value. Thus, the suggestion that Mennonites, by relating to both Christian nonconformity and Christian engagement, could attract those individuals who are today unchurched, thereby making them tomorrow’s disciples, presupposes that God has already made those individuals spiritually alive; presupposes the inherently Greek social construct that human beings are born with immortal souls; and worse, presupposes that unless these unchurched individuals are brought into Christian fellowship the spiritual life they acquired through human birth in the form of an immortal soul will fry forever in the flames of a hell that is not quite hot enough to consume it. And the evident hate and ugliness of this latter supposition is the most unchristian aspect of both Anabaptist and Reformed theology.
Christianity is not today an all inclusive religion, nor can it be since inclusion depends upon a second birth; i.e., being born of Spirit. As such, Christianity is undemocratic and contrary to the underlying social constructs of Western culture, ruled by the spiritual king of Greece, who is himself part of the presently defeated but still reigning hierarchy of spiritual Babylon, the image ancient King Nebuchadnezzar saw in vision. These social constructs have Western cultures being controlled by the appetites of the belly and the groin—and by the equality of individuals, the informing principle supporting democracy as well as the rebellion of angelic beings in the supra-dimensional heavenly realm against the alleged tyranny of an all-powerful deity. Thus, when Christianity first entered Greek regions of Asia Minor in the 1st-Century CE, Christianity was the brilliant solution to the underlying fault of pagan philosophies (how good is good enough to escape hell) that could itself be corrected of its Hebrew exclusiveness through insertion of the ideological construct of every person having an immortal soul in its foundational paradigms. The idea that people were not born with immortal souls was too alien to even be entertained in Hellenistic thought. A person’s ability to reason was self-evident proof of human beings having souls. Thus, after Romans sacked Jerusalem in 70 CE, Jewish influence declined within the region, and Christianity became a Greek philosophy that attempted to bridge the gulf between Apollonian and Dionysian constructs. And because of the lawlessness [the transgressions of the laws of God] that entered Christianity in the 1st and 2nd Centuries CE, God, who really isn’t the production of fertile imaginations, first delivered to the Church concepts that were the spiritual equivalents to statutes and rules He gave ancient Israel by which the Church could not live but would burn their infants in the lake of fire (Ezek 20:25-26); then because the Church did not abhor its sinfulness, God delivered the Church into the hand of the spiritual king of Babylon (Isa 14:4-21) for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit might be saved in the day of judgment (1 Cor 5:5). The concepts included Sunday worship and belief in human beings having immortal souls, and the Council of Nicea (ca 325 CE) signified the formal capture of the Church by the king of Babylon. Temporarily, Apollo and Dionysus were in spectacles of blood as the faith of Christian martyrs gave to disciples the righteousness denied to them by their lawless teachers.
Stepping forward 1200 years, not an insignificant number, a remnant of the Church in Babylonian captivity left the old Church of Rome to rebuild the spiritual house of God in heavenly Jerusalem. The Protestant Reformers did not want to start over, but wanted to repair the faults of the Roman Church by applying Sola Scriptura as splints and bandages to the severed excesses of Rome. The Anabaptists, more noble and on better theological ground, wanted to step behind the Council of Nicea and rebuild the Church using only the Scriptures; thus, it was actually the Radical Reformers [the Anabaptists] that constitutes the remnant that left spiritual Babylon in a mental trek across the sands of Iraq. And with each generation of this spiritual seventy-week journey, a remnant of this remnant left their fellow Anabaptists to journey closer to the heavenly city while most of the remnant built theological fellowships in the desert of Babylon, thereby scattering settlements across western Iraq, Syria, and Jordan. Only when a remnant of a remnant crossed the Jordan and entered spiritual Judea did Anabaptists return to keeping the weekly 7th-day Sabbath. Only when a remnant of a remnant of a remnant returned to keeping the annual Sabbaths of God did Anabaptists enter the heavenly city of Jerusalem to bring their offerings to God. Now, when another remnant of a remnant has finally cleared away the charred debris concealing the foundation of the house of God Paul laid has the work of building his heavenly house resumed—and part of locating the foundation and clearing the debris was expunging the concept of human beings having immortal souls from Christian thought …
Visible Christianity as seen by the unchurched is a hate-filled, hateful religion that condemns the Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, or non-Believer of any type to eternal damnation in an ever-burning hell. In this theological schema, the child conceived through fornication in the backseat of Chevy is from the moment of birth condemned to the flames of hell unless this child says the magic words of the sinners’ prayer, making visible Christianity nothing more than witchcraft, with the sinners’ prayer being the magical chant that redirects the soul and opens the gates of heaven. The sinners’ prayer is white witchery’s chant to unlock the doors of imprisoning darkness so that which sin produced can escape into the Church where the high priests and priestess of white witchery, serving as faithful servants to their master who has disguised himself as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14-15), condemn the true otherness of disciples who love the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; who love their neighbors as themselves; who keep the precepts of the law; who are today of Isaac, living while still in the womb of Isaac [Rebekah’s womb is Isaac’s womb] as if they are of Jacob. Their hated and hate-filled brother, a spiritual Esau, does not today value the birthright of salvation enough to spurn the witchery of magic words, ritualistic procession, and the burning of ceremonial incense. Prayer wheels, rosary beads, swinging incense burners, Bibles in gilded cages—these too are the trappings of white witchcraft.
The Christian God—the deity every Christian should worship—is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the selected human cultivars bred by this deity. Christians are today of Isaac, the firstborn son of promise; the second born son of the patriarch Abraham, whose firstborn natural son Ishmael came from bondage, not love. Hagar, the Egyptian, as Sarah’s slave and handmaid was given by Sarah to Abraham as a womb, not as a wife. Ishmael was conceived in physical bondage, and born into the bondage of sin. Thus, having Abraham as Ishmael’s father, regardless of how much the patriarch loved this son, was not enough to liberate this son of physical bondage that represents the natural born [and physically circumcised] descendants of the patriarch (Gal 4:21-31).
Understand well the above concept that the Apostle Paul introduces: Ishmael, whose birth preceded Isaac’s, was the physical type or shadow of the physically circumcised nation of Israel, whose circumcision made with hands preceded the circumcision by Spirit of spiritual Isaac, the Christian Church. Thus, the following correspondences are established:
· Ishmael::Isaac as Judaism::Christianity
· Isaac::Israel as born again disciples::spiritually empowered disciples
· Esau::Jacob as synagogue of Satan::the seven named churches, which is as spiritually empowered disciples who rebel against God correspond to spiritually empowered disciples who keep the commandments of God.
The God of Abraham has Abraham spiritually representing the portion of humankind that journeys by faith from the mental landscape of the portion’s nativity to the Promised Land of Judea—and there in the Promised Land waits for a city whose designer and builder is God. This portion includes the patriarchs and the righteous men of old, and in the future will include the natural branches of Israel who will be grafted onto the root of righteousness during the seven endtime years.
The God of Isaac has Isaac representing the portion of humankind that has been born of Spirit by promise, beginning with Jesus’ first disciples and continuing to the liberation from indwelling sin through empowerment of endtime disciples at the beginning of the seven endtime years of tribulation. This portion is today’s and yesterday’s Christian Church.
The God of Jacob has Jacob being the beloved but deceitful son of Isaac, hence twiceborn of promise, making those who are of Jacob disciples who have been liberated from indwelling sin and death through being empowered by, or filled with the Holy Spirit. This liberation through empowerment begins at the Second Passover and continues forward through Satan being released for a short while after the thousand years. This liberation and empowerment continues until no son of God will any longer dwell in a mortal tent of flesh.
Thus, contained in the expression the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the entirety of the human cultivar Israel, including the inclusiveness and exclusiveness of salvation; for the expression excludes Esau, who is and has been the major portion of the Christian Church. But even in the womb and covered by Grace, Esau is hated, for Esau doesn’t value his birthright enough to, by faith, keep the precepts of the law. Rather, Esau is the lawless Church that attempts to enter God’s rest on the following day; Esau consists of disciples who present their members to sin as obedient servants, thereby giving to sin dominion over that which sin has no dominion.
Again, only the son who was of the promise was born free; only Abraham’s spiritual sons who are born of promise are born liberated from mental bondage to sin. But of these many spiritual sons, most have presented themselves as obedient servants to sin, giving to sin dominion over Christians that sin should not have; thus, many are called but few will be chosen (Matt 22:14), for being made alive by the Father through being born of Spirit creates the pool of sons of God from which the glorified Jesus gives life [in the form of the mortal putting on immortality] to whom He will (John 5:21) when judgments are revealed upon Christ’s return (1 Cor 4:5). Said more simply: most of humanity does not today have spiritual life, but awaits being raised from death in the great White Throne Judgment. The Church consists of human beings whom the Father has raised from the dead before they physically died, meaning that no human being is born with an immortal soul, but must receive spiritual life through a second birth. Human beings do not have immortal souls that need regenerated, or renewed, or recovered; rather, they are born as beasts are, with the only life they have coming from physical breath and the cellular oxidation of sugars. They receive spiritual life when raised from the dead as part of one or the other symbolic harvests of God: the barley harvest or the wheat harvest.
Every person who has been born of Spirit has been made spiritually alive through receiving the divine Breath of the Father [Pneuma ’Agion], which transforms a physically mature human being into an infant spiritual son of God. These children are the children that disciples are not to hinder from coming to God. Their spiritual infancy and adolescence was foreshadowed by their human infancy and childhood—baptism is not for infants and children, but for adults after they have been born of Spirit. No one would leave the world [would cease being hostile to God — Rom 8:7] if God the Father did not draw the person from the world by giving the person spiritual life through receipt of His divine Breath. Therefore, those who would teach disciples to be lawless (Matt 7:21-23) hinder children from coming to God. They are worthy of damnation. They are vessels of wrath that the Father and Son either now endure, or have endured for a season. And these teachers of lawlessness fitted themselves for millstone collars the very first time they preached from the pulpit that disciples who present their members to sin as instruments of unrighteousness are not under the Law but under Grace—only disciples who present their members to God as instruments of righteousness (meaning that they keep the law by faith) are under Grace. Every other disciple remains condemned by the Law.
Today, in the womb of spiritual Isaac is both Esau and Jacob, the first hated, the second loved before sin is imputed to either. The first mocks those who keep the laws of God, calling them legalists. The second deceives by teaching that endtime Israel is a physical nation. Thus, when both are born [by liberation from indwelling sin and death] in a day, Esau will die spiritually by continuing to attempt entering God’s rest on the following day, and all but a remnant of Jacob will die physically so as not to miss-teach the third part of humanity that will be born of Spirit halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation.
The Church consists of the firstfruits of the harvest of the earth, with Christ Jesus being the first of the firstfruits. The remainder of humanity forms the main crop harvest of the earth, with this harvest to be literally raised from the dead in the great White Throne Judgment that follows the thousand year long reign of the Messiah. And the Church is today plagued by teachers who have not been called to teach, but have come on their own, teaching falsely by their own authority, teaching damnable lies and half-truths.
Visible Christianity does not represent belief paradigms to which any Christian should adhere; so it isn’t Amish otherness that should be emulated or Mennonite nonconformity, for both would have disciples attempt to enter God’s rest on the following day, an action that makes both fellowships of the hated son of promise. Rather, the presently invisible Christianity of Sabbatarian Anabaptists, building upwardly from where Andreas Fischer left off his journey in spiritual Judea, best represents the belief paradigms of the pillars of the house of God, pillars that rest on the foundation Paul laid and reach upward to support the great harvest of firstfruits to occur when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all flesh. These pillars will always be few in number as they are today. They cannot be “the many.” They are all Philadelphians.
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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."