November 11, 2013 ©Homer Kizer
Commentary — From the Margins
An Infallible Text
Again returning to a concept already addressed: except for the period when He bore the sins of the Elect, Christ Jesus would have cast no shadow of Himself in this world—and then, because He had been born of spirit; because He had received a second breath of life [the breath/pneuma of God] when He rose from baptism with this second breath of life entering “into” [eis from Mark 1:10] Him in the bodily form of a dove, the “shadow” Christ cast in this world would have been oral narrations of His ministry and crucifixion, not inscribed records for reasons to be addressed … there should have been and apparently was an early “oral gospel tradition”—and that’s all there should have been. For an uttered “word,” by its ephemeral existence, neither blocks light nor leaves a shadow of itself in this world except as an inscribed record of the utterance. An uttered word can be deconstructed upon utterance by who, what, where questions, but an inscribed record of the utterance cannot be so easily deconstructed for inscription lies “dead” on whatever medium received the inscription. Whereas utterances come via modulations of life-sustaining breath, inscription is without life until read. And what’s seen is inscription forms the shadow and copy of utterance; therefore, because the man Jesus, once He received a second breath of life, the breath of God [again, pneuma Theou], “heard” with His inner ears the words and commands of the Father (commands that were eternal life because of them coming to Jesus via the breath of the Father), the man Jesus’ physical utterances formed the shadow and copy of the utterances of God the Father that Jesus received as modulated compressions of the holy spirit [pneuma ’agion]. And when Jesus breathed on ten of His disciples (John 20:22), His first disciples “received the holy spirit” through the Father’s breath being in the glorified Christ Jesus’ breath [pneuma Christou — from Rom 8:9]. Hence, the words spoken by the first disciples formed shadows and copies of heavenly words received as groaning of the spirit/breath of God. By extension, the entirety of the shadow Jesus cast of Himself in this world as well as the shadow of the ministries of His first disciples would have been orally presented to a second generation of disciples: their words would have been the source of an oral gospel tradition and would have been the Christian equivalent to Judaism’s “Oral Torah” that was redacted as the Mishnah [the Repetition] (ca 200–220 CE) when it seemed that persecution of Judaism and the passage of time would cause details of the oral traditions established by Pharisees (536 BCE to 70 CE) to be forgotten.
Note, the oral traditions of the Pharisees are said to have originated with oral instruction that the Lord gave to Moses at Sinai, with Maimonides (1135–1204 CE) naming those who transmitted these oral instructions generation by generation, his list beginning with Moses and extending to the rabbis who assembled the Babylonian Talmud. However, a problem exists: if what’s recorded in 2 Kings 23:21–23 is true (“And the king commanded all the people, "Keep the Passover to [YHWH] your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant." For no such Passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, or during all the days of the kings of Israel or of the kings of Judah. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah this Passover was kept to [YHWH] in Jerusalem”), then without the Book of the Covenant for reference—the Scroll had been lost in the dilapidated temple—the oral tradition, the Oral Torah, had mistaught the fundamental precepts of God. And if the Oral Torah couldn’t be relied upon to even get Passover correct during a span of four centuries, then it is most likely that the Oral Torah wasn’t in existence until after King Josiah’s reforms, despite what Maimonides wrote. It is most likely that the Oral Torah originated either just before or in the Babylonian captivity and was really, always the oral traditions of the Pharisees.
The Mishnah consists of six sedarim of seven to twelve masechtot [“webs” in English], sixty-three total, that are additionally divided in chapters, paragraphs or verses, with the linguistic identifier <Mishnah> pertaining to the entirety of the redacted Oral Torah, or to a single verse from the oral repetitions.
The repetitive recitation of Quran verses by students of Islam is probably the closest approximation an endtime Christian can come in visualizing how the Oral Torah was taught to rabbinical students prior to the redaction of the Mishnah … during President Bush’s expansion of his War on Terror in Afghanistan, numerous televised documentaries used stock file footage of what seemed to be mindless instruction of young Muslim men in Pakistan, instruction that consisted of nothing more than chanting Quran verses. Students in these “schools” didn’t study math and science, grammar and history—and as Al Gore would have it, environmental issues, but rather memorized Quran verses through chanting. These students were seemingly being brainwashed, transformed from children to jihadists.
Repetitive recitation of the Oral Torah transformed young Jews into Pharisees that by mid 1st-Century CE sculpted enthusiasm for theological purity into daggers that zealots used against Romans, Sadducees, and Christian converts … what separated these 1st-Century Pharisees from 21st-Century jihadists was the absence of AK47s and RPGs and a wall of time.
The existence of a 1st-Century oral gospel tradition analogous to the Oral Torah is of importance here; for the Torah—the Law, metonymically identified as “Moses”—serves both the Oral Torah and the oral gospel tradition: as the Oral Torah describes legal and interpretative traditions allegedly dating back to Mount Sinai, the oral gospel tradition would describe legal and interpretative traditions of the early Christian Church, traditions that dated to Jesus’ earthly ministry that began with His baptism. It is for the chiral comparison of the Oral Torah coming from Moses on Mount Sinai that the author of Matthew’s Gospel produced his account of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
Among Jews, only Pharisees gave theological significance to the “orality” of the oral transmissions of their traditions: the importance Pharisees gave to “oral transmission” of the Oral Torah would seem to have originated from a misidentification of the “spirit” King David asked not to be taken from him (“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me” — Ps 51:10–11). Apparently Pharisees anticipated receiving the “spirit of God” through theological purity after encountering the concept of an indwelling immortal soul [psuche] when in Babylon … the holy spirit David asked not to be taken from him was the divine breath of Yah, the God of Abraham, the God of living ones, not dead ones. The Pharisees knew nothing of the God of dead ones, God the Father, with the existence of the Father concealed by the singularity Pharisees assigned to both the regular plural <Elohim> and to the conjoined deities of the Tetragrammaton YHWH.
Whereas Pharisees assigned importance to the oral transmission of their traditions, 2nd-Century Christians—notably the proto-orthodox—gave no significance to the orality of the oral gospel tradition; hence, the oral gospel tradition through persecution and the passage of time was forgotten, what Judaism feared, the motivation for redacting and inscribing the Oral Torah.
The production of redacted Christian texts in the late 1st-Century and acceptance of these texts in the 2nd through 4th Centuries effectively erased the oral gospel tradition that was barely alive during Bishop Papias’ ministry in the first third of the 2nd-Century CE.
Whereas rabbis in the Talmudic era believed that the Oral Torah had been conveyed through speech and memorization generation after generation, with importance being placed on exact memorization as is the case with young jihadists, the rabbis additionally perceived the Oral Torah as an interpretative tradition, not merely as memorized traditions; for the inscribed Torah was believed to have shells of interpretation that were left by Moses to later generations to discover. Thus, the Oral Torah encompasses the Mishnah and the Gemara, which together form the Talmud, with interpretation becoming an open-ended canonization of discovery. And the open-endedness of discovery or revelation is equivalent to the office of “Prophet” among Latter Day Saints [Mormons], a top-down means of revelation that is fundamentally opposed to individual Christians growing in grace and knowledge, working out their own salvation with fear and trembling …
When the prince of this world is the Adversary, then all authority in this world comes from God but presently comes through the Adversary, and will continue to come through the Adversary until the single kingdom of this world is taken from that old serpent, Satan the devil, and given to Christ Jesus on the doubled day 1260 halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation. Therefore, top-down authority of any sort (in or out of the Christian Church) is an extension of the Adversary’s authority as the present prince of the power of the air … in ancient Israel, a prophet pronounced but did not have the authority to command. Kings commanded. But outside of Israel, not even God commanded good behavior. Likewise, in the Christian Church, prophets pronounce what is certain to occur, but the minister or pastor or pastor-general who commands obedience—demands adherence to Church decrees—derives his (or in some cases, her) authority to command from the present prince [or king, sar] of this world, not from Christ Jesus who doesn’t receive all authority in heaven and on earth until the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man, a one-time occurrence (cf. Dan 7:9–14; Rev 11:15–18) that has not yet happened here on earth.
Canonization of anything is a human act: canonization of Holy Writ was and remains a human act, a doubly human act, what biblical scholars recognize without having the spiritual insight to get past the humanness of canonized Christianity.
Long ago, greater Christendom substituted memorized traditions for an interpretative tradition based on Hebrew style. Long ago, Christendom had its chanted rituals, had its own jihadists: crusaders. Even today, a sizeable remnant remains of the old Church that spread Christianity with the sword and the rack. But the work of endtime Christians in this present era is to sift from redacted texts the oral gospel tradition that once existed (i.e., existed when the Church as the Body of Christ had spiritual life), and then, not chant this recovered tradition but to teach it orally to those who will be firstfruits in the harvest of this earth.
Recovery of a lost oral gospel tradition demands deconstructing canonized Scripture; demands that the Gospels be taken apart at their seams to ascertain what was used to stuff these texts that by their very nature [inscription] form the lifeless shadow and copy of a once vibrant Christian oral tradition. When I was called to reread prophecy in January 2002, I didn’t realize I would eventually shred—as a dog with a baseball—the synoptic Gospels.
In usage, “redaction” is editing a text by combining and slightly altering multiple source texts to make a single document that didn’t before exist. However, in 21st-Century usage, a redacted text is one that has been partially concealed through having words or lines or entire paragraphs and even pages blacked-out (covered with ink or black highlighter) so that information can be censored without being destroyed. And even in the earlier, broader usage of <redaction>, the sense of concealment is present through the person editing multiple texts to produce a single definitive text serving as the filter that selectively includes or excludes information found in the many documents consulted and compared.
The author of Luke’s Gospel acknowledges his redaction of proto-gospels and the oral gospel tradition:
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1–4 emphasis added)
Again, the word <redacted> is often used to describe a text produced from collecting writings or oral sayings on a theme, a work intended to be a definitive work. But <redaction> can be used for the process of removing obscure or sensitive [classified] information from a text before publication—and presently, the word is a euphemism for concealing or censoring but not destroying information in a text, such as the names of informants in trial documents.
According to Bishop Papias [ca 70–140 CE] who wrote, Interpretations of the Sayings [Logia] of the Lord in five volumes, a work that has not survived except in quotations by later writers, notably Irenaeus and Eusebius, John the Elder (presumably the Apostle John) said many times that, Mark, being the recorder of Peter, wrote accurately but not in order whatever he [Peter] remembered of the things said or done by the Lord, for he [Mark] had neither heard the Lord nor followed Him, but later, as I [John] said, Peter, who used to make teachings according to the cheias but not making as it were a systematic composition of the Lord’s sayings, so that Mark did not err at all when he wrote certain things as he had recalled. For he had but one intention, not to leave out anything he had head, nor to falsify anything in them.
The author of Mark’s Gospel, according to Bishop Papias, wrote a redaction of Peter’s sermons in a manner similar to Yehudah haNasi’s redaction of the Oral Torah at the beginning of the 3rd-Century CE. Thus, redaction as a euphemism for concealment or censoring a text reaches back at least as far as Mark’s Gospel; for in producing an inscribed Gospel from Peter’s sermons, the author of Mark’s Gospel—no matter how faithful he was not to leave anything out or to falsify anything—nevertheless becomes the filter through which hundreds of hours of Peter’s sermons are reduced to a short text that can be read in under an hour. And what Mark will have filtered out has at least as much importance as what he included; for the author of Mark’s Gospel will have biases originating in his carnality … he would not have written a redacted text/Gospel if he had truly been born of spirit. He would have continued the oral gospel tradition for another generation.
What becomes apparent from the perspective of the 21st-Century is that when the Body of Christ was alive through at least one person being truly born of spirit, the Body would have produced no written record of itself or of Christ Jesus: only an oral record would have existed as the shadow and copy of the spiritual Body. Thus, through the production of inscribed texts—with inscription forming the shadow and copy of speech, and with speech forming the reality that produced never-vocalized linguistic determinatives on Egyptian steles—the death of the Body of Christ can be chronologically plotted.
Spiritual birth comes from having indwelling eternal life, received in the form of the spirit/breath of God, with this breath of God that is the glory of God requiring a heavenly vessel to hold or contain it. A vessel of mortal flesh cannot hold indwelling eternal life, but because Christ Jesus had come from heaven and had within Him His breath or spirit [pneuma Christou], received from His Father, the Logos [’o Logos] who created all things physical (John 1:1, 3), the inner self of the man Jesus was not of this world and was therefore able to hold the glory of God when received in the bodily form of a dove. And from having a second and higher order breath of life than the first Adam received when Elohim [singular in usage] breathed “life” into his nostrils and the man of mud became a breathing creature [a nephesh], the man Jesus as the last Adam could speak with His earthly breath the shadow and copy of the Father’s words, again received as modulated compressions of the breath of God [pneuma Theou].
The preceding presents concepts rooted in the visible, physical things of this world revealing the invisible things of God (Rom 1:20): physical breath—the breath breathed through the nostrils—supplies life-sustaining oxygen molecules to a breathing creature, thereby continuing the breathing creature’s physical life through cellular oxidation of simple carbohydrates, the dark fire that forms the shadow and type of the bright fire that sustains heavenly life, this bright fire being identified by the prophet Ezekiel as the glory of God:
And there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads. When they stood still, they let down their wings. And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of [YHWH]. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (Ezek1:25–28)
A shadow of anything exists in one-less dimension than the thing that casts the shadow (you as a three-dimensional person cast a dark, two-dimensional shadow) … speech or utterance comes from modulation of physical breath, the same breath that sustains physical life. Therefore, the words you speak represent your life, the reality of the man Jesus being the personification of the “breath” of God. He isn’t the breath of God [pneuma Theou]; rather, He functions as the compression and relaxation of the breath/spirit of God in that He spoke with His earthly breath the words of the Father, with His words—the word [’o logos] He left with His disciples—representing His breath of life and eternal life for humanity.
Unless a human person speaks the words of God received as the words of Christ Jesus, the person has no indwelling eternal life. Likewise, unless a person walks in this world as Christ Jesus walked, the person has not heard the words of Christ and is without eternal life …
All judgment has been given to the man Jesus (John 5:22) who came into this world not to judge it but to save humanity (cf. John 3:16–17; 12:47–48), an odd juxtaposition … will unbelievers be judged? Yes, they will be for the word [’o logos] Jesus spoke will judge unbelievers, with the word Jesus spoke being detached from Him as He, the Word [’o Logos] of the God [ton Theon], was detached from the Father, meaning that as the breath of God [again, pneuma Theou] entered into the man Jesus when He was raised from the watery grave represented by baptism, the breath of Christ [pneuma Christou] will necessarily enter into His believing disciples. And believing disciples, having passed from death to life without coming under judgment, truly believe Jesus’ words to the point of obedience that looks like “salvation by works,” the words that the majority of Christendom fear most. For genuine faith/belief [pisteos] of Christ Jesus will have disciples voluntarily striving to keep the Law, whereas unbelievers that have heard Jesus’ words will never receive the indwelling of Christ Jesus via His breath and will therefore never receive indwelling eternal life. But these unbelieving Christians will sincerely believe that they are “saved” right up to when they are cast into the lake of fire.
My speech in this endtime era is not orally heard, but is written in the ephemeral medium of electronic bytes. Hence, my speech is semi-permanent: it lacks long-term permanence even though it is heard around the world, but only heard for as long as the Internet exists. And what makes the preceding interesting to me is that I have a speech impediment that causes me not to publicly read even my own writing … as Moses claimed a speech impediment, I likewise claim an impediment. As Aaron was Moses’ spokesman, the impersonal Net presently serves me in a similar way. So in Hebrew style, the orality of Jesus’ ministry and of the ministries of His first disciples post Calvary form the shadow and copy of quasi-inscribed endtime ministries that strive to speak the recovered words of Christ, the word of Jesus that He left with His disciples as the judge of unbelievers.
If this speech—my speech—came via the breath of God [again, pneuma Theou], then modulated physical breath could form the shadow and copy of Jesus’ words spoken by me; for again, modulation of physical breath does not form the shadow and copy of life-sustaining physical breath. Hence, the man Jesus, who only spoke the words of the Father during His ministry, produced the shadow and copy of the Father’s words when He spoke here on earth, but because of the indirectness of Christ speaking through me—not something I’m afraid to claim—my words are merely quasi-oral, quasi-inscribed. They are on the Net neither inscribed nor oral, but are ephemeral though they have a measure of permanency through existing as excited electrons on either a flat screen or a CRT screen.
Because my speech is neither permanent as inscription on a stone stele nor as ephemeral as oral utterances, my speech in this endtime era forms a “shade” of once-living speech in the 1st-Century, an unburied shade that the old church couldn’t conceal when it persecuted Radical Reformers.
Jesus told His disciples, “‘I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has Himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak’” (John 12:49).p style="text-align: justify; text-indent: 0.25in">Because Jesus spoke what the Father told Him to say, Jesus’ oral words formed the shadow and copy of the Father’s utterances that would have come via modulations of His breath, His spirit, the holy spirit [pneuma ’agion]; therefore, in Greek it would have been appropriate to identify Jesus as the personification of the Word [’o Logos] of God. This will now have Jesus’ disciples, receiving the words Jesus spoke [mou ’akouse ton ‘rematon], forming by setting beside Jesus the word [’o logos] He left with sons of light, who as secondary rainbows spoke the words of the Father that came to them via the hearing of their ears and the inner groaning of the Parakletos, the spirit of truth.
A rainbow is fractured light and is not a shadow, the production of something that blocks light. A rainbow is produced by bending light sharply enough that the visible spectrum separates into an array of its wave length. Therefore, the glory of God seen as the bright fire within the one who had the appearance of a man represents light and life—and entrance into this world of the one who had the appearance of a man would have left no shadow, no evidence of itself in this world other than what Ezekiel, a man without indwelling heavenly life, wrote.
Without indwelling eternal life, Moses [the son] was commanded to write (Ex 17:14) an inscribed record of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt—inscribed because outwardly circumcised Israel had no indwelling spiritual life but had only “life” sustained by physical breath, and again, modulated breath will not create a shadow of physical-life-sustaining breath. Utterances come from the same breath that sustains physical life. Therefore, the Church, spiritual Israel, brought to life through receipt of the spirit or breath of God [pneuma Theou] in the breath of Christ [pneuma Christou], should have only left an oral record or “shadow” of itself; should have only left a shadow created from physical breath, a dimension lower than the breath of God. And the death of the Church can be seen through when the shadow cast by the Church becomes inscribed. An early date means an early death of the Body of Christ; a later date means a later death, with the forty years post Calvary (31–71 CE) being long enough to complete the calling of the remnant chosen by the election of grace.
In the first decades after Calvary (used metonymically), the Church was the assembly of living inner selves brought to life by the spirit/breath of God. But the Church as the spiritual Body of Christ, the reality of Jesus’ earthly body, died—had to die—for want of the breath of God the Father, who simply ceased drawing individuals from this world once the remnant of Israel, again chosen by the election of grace, was complete:
God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? "Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life." But what is God's reply to him? "I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The Elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day." And David says, "Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever." So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! (Rom 11:2–12 emphasis added)
The “full inclusion” of Israel—sure to happen following the Second Passover liberation of Israel—will not be by the election of grace, how the remnant of Israel was chosen at the beginning of the Christian era [1st-Century], but will be by obedience based on faith in the 21st-Century … in Hebrew style, the end of a matter is the reality that casts as its shadow the beginning of the matter: “obedience based on faith” is the reality that cast as its shadow “election by grace.” And the Remnant of Christendom that keeps the Commandments and has the spirit of prophecy (cf. Rev 12:17; 19:10) is the reality that casts as its 1st-Century shadow the remnant of Israel chosen by grace.
This should not be quickly or lightly read: obedience based on faith—keeping the Commandments—is that frightful (to Christians) concept of salvation by works, not what Paul wrote to the holy ones in Rome or in Galatia or wherever 1st-Century converts dwell. Therefore, what I’m now writing in the ephemeral medium of electronic bytes doesn’t contradict what Paul wrote, but completes what Paul wrote in a manner analogous to James completing what Paul wrote about Abraham having his belief of God counted to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6).
For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin." Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. (Rom 4:2–14)
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 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. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (Jas 2:14–26)
Now returning to Genesis, we find concerning having an heir that Abraham did indeed believe God and had this belief counted to him as righteousness just as Paul said:
After these things the word of [YHWH] came to Abram in a vision: "Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great." But Abram said, "O Lord [YHWH], what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir." And behold, the word of [YHWH] came to him: "This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir." And He brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then He said to him, "So shall your offspring be." And he believed [YHWH], and He counted it to him as righteousness. (Gen 15:1–6)
But having his belief of God that his own son would be his heir counted to him as righteousness wasn’t the end of the story; for Abram took it upon himself to produce a son that the Apostle Paul links with natural Israel (Gal 4:22–31), then had the Lord appear to him again, telling Abram to walk uprightly and be blameless before Him so that He might make a covenant with him, with physical circumcision being the ratifying sign of this covenant that adds “breath” (aspiration) to both Abraham and Sarah’s names and through which Abraham is promised a son via the dead loins of his wife as the fulfillment of His earlier promise to Abraham.
But the story still doesn’t end with the birth of Isaac, the promised son:
After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you." And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, "My father!" And he said, "Here am I, my son." He said, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" Abraham said, "God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." So they went both of them together. When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." He said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. (Gen 22:1–13 double emphasis added)
Abraham by grace was already covered by righteousness from believing God about his heir coming from his loins; so why did the Lord test Abraham? James told us: faith is completed by works. Abraham’s faith that was counted to him as righteousness wasn’t complete until it was tested by works. The remnant of Israel’s faith that led to the selection of this remnant via the election of grace was not complete until it was tested by works … certainly a remnant of foreknown Israel was chosen by grace; certainly some Gentiles in the 1st-Century were foreknown and predestined, called, justified and glorified according to the election of grace; and certainly, some were martyred when their faith was tested. But for a Greek to figuratively kill his or her old self by living as a Judean, what Paul said Peter taught Gentile converts (Gal 2:14 in Greek), the convert was dead to his or her family and former friends: the convert had effectively martyred him or herself in a journey of faith analogous to Abraham’s journey from Ur of the Chaldeans [Babylon] to Haran [representing death of the old man] then to the Promised Land.
But it is in the chirality of Hebrew style where 1st-Century “grace” is tested and made complete by 21st-Century Christians producing the works analogous to Abraham binding Isaac and preparing to sacrifice him.
If a Gentile convert continued to live as a Gentile or attempted to live as an outwardly circumcised Israelite, the convert lacked spiritual understanding that only comes with receipt of the spirit/breath of God … a Gentile convert, male or female, was to live as an outwardly uncircumcised Judean: the circumcision that mattered was of the heart; was of the inner self that through receipt of the breath of God in the breath of Christ was a firstborn “son of God.” The outer, fleshly self wasn’t the son of God. The inner self or soul [psuche] through receipt of the bright fire [pneuma Theou] that is the glory of God in a vessel that had come from heaven [pneuma Christou] is the son of God.
Clay or mud isn’t flesh; yet the same elements compose both. The dead inner self is to the living son of God as red clay is to human flesh, the flesh of the first Adam. The receipt of breath changes everything except the elements composing either mud or flesh. The indwelling dark fire of cellular oxidation sustains these changes … when this dark fire goes out, flesh returns to being dust, to being mud. And so it is with the breath of God in the breath of Christ that enters the dead inner self of a humanly born person when this person is initially born of spirit: the dead inner self that animates the flesh is suddenly brought to life and changed as red mud was transformed into the fleshy first Adam.
The person truly born of spirit has experienced this inner change from death to life; from being interested in the things of this world to being interested in the things of God. Unfortunately, most Christian converts who have become interested in the things of God haven’t really been born of spirit but remain as pious Gentiles, engulfed in lawlessness [sin] because they sincerely believe they are numbered among the remnant of Israel chosen by the election of grace—and there is no telling them that they are not yet born of spirit. They simply refuse to believe the one telling them they’re not born of spirit; for they do not believe God. They will believe Paul as they read meaning into what Paul wrote [they practice eisegesis], but they do not hear the voice of Christ Jesus nor do they believe God the Father for they are not able to read meaning into the eternal words of life that the Father gave to Jesus. They can only take meaning [practice exegesis] from the commandment of the Father (John 12:49–50).
Presently, disciples genuinely born of spirit clothe or cover themselves daily by putting on Christ Jesus’ righteousness, the reality of the daily, ancient Israel’s morning and evening sacrifice known as the daily sacrifice. Because the Elect have already inwardly passed from death to life without coming under judgment (John 5:24) through the indwelling of the glorified Christ in whom is the bright fire that is the glory of God, the Elect choose to keep the commandments out of love for God, neighbor and brother. However, this choosing to keep the Law really isn’t voluntary, but is rather a daily testing that completes their faith as Abraham’s sacrifice in the land of Moriah completed his faith.
Again, faith without works is dead; is analogous to a corpse, the fleshly body without the breath of life. And the greater Christian Church today forms the Corpse of Christ, the dead Body of Christ—dead because this Body lost the breath of God [pneuma Theou] when a generation of converts did not complete their faith via voluntarily keeping the Commandments.
In Hebrew style, the end of a matter reveals the beginning of a matter through forming the reality that casts as its shadow the darkened or lifeless beginning; hence night precedes day rather than night following day. Spiritually, death precedes life whereas physically death follows life. Thus, the spiritually lifeless beginning of a matter is the mirror image of the spiritually living end of the matter, what David understood well enough that he know that Yah as the God of Abraham was the voice or face of a conjoined deity represented by the linguistic determiner, YHWH.
Selection of a remnant of Israel by the election of grace at the beginning of the Christian era—in the darkness of the one long night of waiting and watching that began at Calvary—is the mirror image of the selection of a Remnant of Israel by obedience to God; by works, that of keeping the Commandments (Rev 12:17), at the end of the Christian era when Light and day has returned.
What the Apostle Paul wrote pertained to the beginning of the Christian era, the entirety of which represents the Preparation Day that is the First Unleavened. What Paul wrote doesn’t seem to be in Hebrew style but is—and what Paul wrote pertained to the Elect in the 1st-Century, not to the Elect in the 21st-Century, the mirror image of 1st-Century Elect.
In English, meaning is produced through word order for words are not marked by gender or usage suffixes … in Hebrew style, word position matters. Note the reversal of word order in moving from physical [the first presentation of a thought] to spiritual, the second presentation of the same thought:
These are the generations
of the heavens and the earth when they were created, [physical]
in the day that [YHWH] God made the earth and the heavens [spiritual] (Gen 2:4).
Physically, the heavens [plural] were created first, followed by the earth, but spiritually, the earth as personified by man was created first, followed by the heavens personified by the glorified Son of God who dwells within all human firstborn sons of God … angelic sons of God, personifying the heavens in the physical creation preceded the physical creation of the man of mud, the man that was only mud until Elohim [singular in usage] breathed the breath of life into the sculpted mud on a day, the first day of the “P” creation account.
The reversal of word order “teaches” the reader how to read the Genesis account; informs the auditor that this creation account is written in Hebrew style, that invisibly present in the account of the creation of the first Adam is a second or last Adam; that invisibly present in the creation of Eve is a second or last Eve; that invisibly present in the account of the Temptation is a second serpent, that old serpent Satan the devil that deceived the Church.
The Church, when without sin, should have cast no greater shadow of itself in this world than its oral history. It should not—and did not—produce an inscribed record of itself: the Book of Acts is a Sophist novel based on the oral history of the Church, and not a believable novel.
However, the Apostle Paul wrote of himself, saying, “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Rom 7:14–15). And it was by doing those things he hated—those things that he knew came short of having love for neighbor and brother—that Paul left a record or shadow of himself in this world. The same pertains to the assemblies to which Paul addressed epistles. And the same pertains to the inscribed Ten Commandments: because they are inscribed as the shadow of the Ten Living Words heard by Israel at Sinai, words that Israel promised to live-by but soon forgot, they are the basis for a “ministry of condemnation” (2 Cor 3:9). The Ten Commandments are without inherent life. They come short of the fullness of love for God and for neighbor and brother that is the reasonable expectation of everyone in the household of God.
But the presence of the Ten Commandments inscribed on stone in narratives composed in Hebrew style will invisibly/spiritually include the presence of the Commandments inscribed on hearts and placed in minds.
If a person keeps the Commandments but does not go beyond what the Commandments require, the person has kept the lifeless shadow of the Law—and the person remains without indwelling spiritual life. This is where most of observant Judaism is today.
The Apostle Paul addressed the inadequacy of the Commandments:
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of spirit. For the letter kills, but spirit gives life. Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of spirit have even more glory? (2 Cor 3:1–8)
I baptized a young woman in the Bedford, Pennsylvania, area a decade ago. A local pastor in the Church of the Brethren asked where the young women would put her “letter” … I knew of baptismal letters, but issuing such letters of recommendation was not a practice of Philadelphia, what I told the pastor; for creation of a “letter” as an inscribed shadow of the baptism denies the spiritual nature of the baptism and turns baptism into a vain attempt to wash away sins.
Likewise, keeping the Commandments—what every Christian ought to do out of belief of God—is in itself a vain attempt to make oneself “right with God” when what God expects from a “son” is for the son to love his Father and love neighbor and brother, even to laying down the son’s life for his friends. And in manifesting love for God, neighbor, and brother, the Christian will keep the Commandments as they were intended to be kept. The Christian will not think about keeping the Commandments, asking him or herself what would Jesus do in a particular situation, but will do without thinking what Jesus would have done in the situation, the real difference between having the indwelling of Christ and with good intensions, faking being born of spirit.
The preceding needs to be emphasized: the person truly born of God and having grown in knowledge and faith past spiritual infancy will NOT ask him or herself what Jesus would do in a particular situation, but will do without thinking what Jesus would do. Thus, the Christian who asks, What would Jesus do, is at best a spiritual infant. The Christians who stands at a crossroad and prays about which way the Christian should go is at best a spiritual infant. This person either doesn’t have or is not exercising the mind of Christ.
The Sabbath Commandment serves as a test command of God … clearly the Commandment says,
Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to [YHWH] your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. (Ex 20:9–10)
Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to [YHWH] your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. (Deut 5:12–14)
So what is greater Christendom’s justification for working on the seventh day, the Sabbath, and then attempting to enter into God’s Rest on the day after the Sabbath? That Christ Jesus was resurrected from death on the day after the Sabbath? This is the reason most often given. But there is, from Moses, a command to observe “Resurrection Sunday”:
And [YHWH] spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest, and he shall wave the sheaf before [YHWH], so that you may be accepted. On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to [YHWH]. And the grain offering with it shall be two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, a food offering to [YHWH] with a pleasing aroma, and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, a fourth of a hin. And you shall eat neither bread nor grain parched or fresh until this same day, until you have brought the offering of your God: it is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. (Lev 23:9–14)
Christ Jesus is the reality of the offering to be made. He is also the First of the firstfruits: no person as “grain” could be harvested before He was “waved” before God on the day after the Sabbath, Resurrection Sunday. No person was born of spirit until Jesus breathed on ten of His disciples the afternoon of the Wave Sheaf Offering (as Sadducees reckoned when the Offering was to be observed) in the year 31 CE.
Compare the language pertaining to the Wave Sheaf Offering to that of pertaining to Pentecost:
You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to [YHWH]. You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven, as firstfruits to [YHWH]. And you shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, and one bull from the herd and two rams. They shall be a burnt offering to [YHWH], with their grain offering and their drink offerings, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to [YHWH]. And you shall offer one male goat for a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a sacrifice of peace offerings. And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before [YHWH], with the two lambs. They shall be holy to [YHWH] for the priest. And you shall make proclamation on the same day. You shall hold a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a statute forever in all your dwelling places throughout your generations. (Lev 23:1–21 emphasis added)
Christians won’t stop observing Pentecost because of what they read into the Bible [eisegesis], not because of what they take from the Bible [exegesis]. For Israel, this “day after the Sabbath”—fifty days after the Wave Sheaf Offering on an earlier “day after the Sabbath”—marks the end of the harvest of firstfruits through waving two loaves of leavened bread [leavening representing sin] made from finely beaten barley flour. The seven weeks between the Wave Sheaf Offering (Resurrection Sunday), and Pentecost represents the entirety of the Christian era; represents the period between Calvary (used metonymically) and the Second Advent, the coming of Christ Jesus as the Messiah; represents the early barley harvest in ancient Israel. These seven weeks are symbolically represented by the period during which circumcised-of-heart Israel eats bread of affliction (i.e., unleavened bread), beginning with the First Unleavened followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread, with the First Unleavened representing the period between Calvary (again used metonymically) and the Second Passover liberation of Israel, the phenomenon that begins the seven endtime years of tribulation. The seven endtime years are represented by the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the seven days that follow the night on which Jesus ate the Passover with His disciples; the seven days that followed when Israel in Egypt ate the Passover, unable to leave their houses until dawn.
The harvest of firstfruits includes the Elect that have already passed from death to life as well as those persons in the Affliction and in the Endurance of Jesus (together representing the seven endtime years) that will be saved by obedience; by “works,” the word that terrifies Christians who know that if their salvation were dependant upon obedience to God, they have long ago condemned themselves to the lake of fire.
But once all Christians are liberated from indwelling sin and death at the Second Passover, what these Christians did before their liberation doesn’t matter: they will spiritually be as ancient Israel was physically when this nation left Egypt. Their salvation will be dependent upon what they do once they are filled with spirit, with the Law written on hearts and placed in minds so that all, small and great, know the Lord.
Because of how Christians within the greater Church have “read meaning into” grace [charis] and have read Paul’s words about a remnant of Israel being saved by the election of grace [charitis], Christians within the greater Church WILL NOT strive to keep the Commandments following the Second Passover, when Christ Jesus will no longer bear the sins of Israel … once the Second Passover occurs, there is no reason for Christ to bear the sins of Israel, of Christians; for every Christian will be as He was before He took judgment upon Himself. There will be no indwelling sin or death in the Christian. If the Christian desires to keep the Law, the Christian can. If the Christian desires to transgress the Law and thereby commit blasphemy against the spirit of God, the Christian can.
Following the Second Passover liberation of Israel, no one can prevent the Christian from keeping the Law. Certainly other Christians as well as other agents of the Adversary can kill (martyr) the fleshly body of the Christian who chooses to obey God rather than the prince of this world, but this will be for the many who are martyred their first journey of faith for it took/takes no faith to transgress the Law. The transgressor simply does what the world tells the transgressor to do. It will take faith, belief of God for the liberated, spirit-filled Christian to walk in this world as Christ Jesus walked before His ministry began.
The Remnant of Revelation 12:17 are those spirit-filled Christians that cross from the Affliction into the Endurance of Jesus, with this crossing forming the mirror image of Jesus’ baptism, a type of Israel crossing the Sea of Reeds and a type of Noah passing from one world [kosmos or age] into the following world. Therefore, the Remnant in the Endurance will speak the words of Jesus as Jesus, during His earthly ministry, spoke the words of God the Father.
The Elect in this present era [age] are as the Remnant will be in the Endurance: the Elect are to speak the words of Jesus as Jesus spoke the words of the Father—and words written in the electronic media have about them similar ephemeral qualities as spoken words have. Words published on-line lack permanency: they really cannot be held in your hand and read later. They exist as pixels on a screen, pixels that must be renewed, refreshed many times during the examination of an inscribed utterance.
Words written on parchment, on vellum, on reed paper in the 1st-Century have been lost except as copies of copies were made. The seeming permanency of inscription proved not to be permanent. So the medium on which a shadow of a phenomenon lays determines how long the shadow exists, with this world to pass away before the coming of the new heavens and new earth.
* * *
"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."