November 25, 2006 ©Homer Kizer
Commentary — From the Margins
Cleansing the Heart: Prelude to Spiritual Circumcision
In America, physical dislocation serves as a symbol of social and psychological movement. When our immigrant ancestors arrived on America’s shores they hit the ground running, some to homestead on the Great Plains, others to claw their way up the socioeconomic ladder in coastal ghettos. Upward mobility, westward migration, Sunbelt relocation—the wisdom in America is that people don’t, can’t, mustn’t end up where they begin. This belief has the moral force of religious doctrine. Thus the American identity is ordered around the psychological experience of forsaking or losing the past for the opportunity of reinventing oneself in the future. This makes the orphan a potent symbol of the American character. Orphans aren’t merely free to reinvent themselves. They are obliged to do.
— Gary Engle (in “What Makes Superman so Darned American”)
British and German colonial settlement in 17th-Century North America was primarily for religious reasons. My ancestors on both my mother’s and father’s side came during that century of physical dislocation for that reason. My mother was a Howland, a direct descendant of John Howland of the Mayflower. My father descended from Dirck Keyser, a Menist who came to Germantown in 1683. Both ancestors physically journeyed by faith to a land where they wouldn’t, couldn’t end up where they began. But it was their mental journey as Dissenters that made them orphans in a world ordered by religion—and it is the continuation of their mental journey that separates me from the culture that absorbed Christianity and made it a part of the world that should have been left in Amsterdam.
In an Internet biography, I learned that my brother, Dr. Ken Kizer, is an orphan. That is true, but I never thought in terms of either myself or my younger siblings being orphans. After all, I was sixteen and in college when Mom committed suicide (Dad had died of a heart attack five years earlier). The court (Marion County, Oregon) formalized what I already knew: I was on my own, legally an emancipated minor. And I began a geographical and psychological journey away from the expectations of culture and place for reasons I could not then explain. With a sorry-excuse of a car, a box of books, a box of clothes, a few rifles, I journeyed backward in time to become a historical gunmaker before bolting for Alaska after the gas shortage following the Yom Kippur war. I spent five years on the Kenai Peninsula before resuming the geographical journey that would take me into the Aleutians and into becoming a writer and eventually into the graduate writing program at University of Alaska Fairbanks without an undergraduate degree. But then, I did sixth, seventh, and eighth grades in one year and started high school when twelve; so entering a graduate English program with only second semester Comp to my credit was merely the adult version of what I had already done as an adolescent.
Throughout childhood, the idea that people should not end up where they begin was instilled in me and in my siblings, with my mother expecting the journey made to be a socio-economic trek away from the farm roots of my father, roots that were for his father a continuation of early Anabaptist separation from the world. My grandfather’s farm in northern Indiana was as self-sufficient, self-sustaining as he could make it. A little wheat was raised and traded for flour; sugar beets for sugar; apples for cider. Flour sacks were made into underwear. He milked a dozen or so cows and sold the cream, one of his major sources of cash. He fed his corn to hogs, and sold the hogs; fed his corn to chickens and turkeys. He collected scion wood wherever he went; grafted fruit trees of all varieties; even grew a little tobacco to worm his livestock. He didn’t trust banks. He made the most money of his life during the Depression, for he had a little cash on hand and no debt when Dad graduated from high school in 1932. He wanted Dad to settle on a nearby farm—I was born on a nearby farm—but none of Grandpa’s seven children wanted to continue subsistence farming. All journeyed to small towns or cities where they worked for wages that were put into pockets that seemed to have holes. Not understanding their psychological need to migrate, my aunts and uncles journeyed in a wrong direction when they left the farm. They returned to the world where my twenty-some first cousins collected many Master degrees but little self-satisfaction of the type that Grandpa knew.
Mom’s paternal grandfather had left New York State for Michigan probably because his mother wasn’t his legal mother, but the older Native American woman who journeyed westward with him … the Dissenters of the Plymouth Colony were by then fully incorporated into the world, incorporated to the degree that during my grandfather’s lifetime two Roosevelts would be elected President. There was no place in New York blueblood society for a mixed-blood. Only on the frontier could differences be overlooked so that a person could reinvent him or herself.
Exactly how much family history Mom knew will not be known, but she disliked her middle name and legally changed it to Hope when she was nineteen: she became Ellen Hope Howland, which has Plymouth reverberations. It was as if she were determined to return even if only through her children to the social status retained by Howland descendants who hadn’t geographically journeyed far from where the Mayflower had landed. What she could not know was that the journey to be made by her children would be theological rather than sociological.
It is here where the only journey that matters begins, a journey for which Americans are uniquely prepared, a journey away from this world and toward the things of God. But to make this journey, a person has to become a psychological orphan, giving up servitude to sin and society. The person who leaves this world cannot return without losing those things gained when leaving; for this world is endtime Babylon, a world-reigning hierarchy that will be toppled and replaced by the Son of Man during seven years of transition, seven years of tribulation, seven years unlike any others known to humankind, including the years of famine that saw the patriarch Israel go down to Egypt.
When I was seventeen and on my own, eating what I shot or from grocery store dumpsters—the year was 1964—I never felt like an orphan; never even thought much about how I lived or from where the next meal was coming. I was visibly invisible, someone whose ordinariness was interrupted only by my physical size. I was the clean-cut student who was working my way through college that year; I was also the poacher who could kill, gut, skin, and quarter a deer in ten minutes alongside the rural roads of Oregon’s Klamath County. I have held still beating hearts of deer in my hand, feeling the warmth and the power of life that was already gone, not then realizing how much I would come to hate death though knowing that I’ll continue to take life for my continued life … this world is a glorified death chamber, in which all life that resides here must die. Only by leaving this world can any living entity escape death, and the only way out is the journey to the heavenly city of Jerusalem, a claim that negates multiculturalism’s justification, a claim made without apology, and a claim that will prove all too true when Babylon is soon dealt a below-the-belt blow that doubles over and sends reeling the demonic hierarchy.
When seventeen, eighteen, even nineteen, I tried to enlist in the military; the Army also tried to draft me. I thought I’d make a good sniper—I could both build very accurate rifles and I could shoot them, hitting small targets at long distances. But even in the era of Vietnam, the military wouldn’t have me. Too big. I was lucky, or God didn’t want me to become colder inside than I already was, the probability I couldn’t then appreciate. Actually, God intended to draft me: He did in 1972. And in a somewhat literal sense, He put me in cold storage in rural Alaska for most of two decades. I returned to the Lower Forty-Eight in 1991 to accept a Doctor of Arts fellowship at Idaho State University. I spent one more year in Alaska (1992-1993) before remaining Outside, journeying eastward to Little Egypt [southern Illinois] in 2000. Then in 2002, by means a little less dramatic than how Paul was called but by means certainly as impressive to me, I was called me to do a work of rereading prophecy.
Why is it that so many claim to be called by God to do a work, but they make disciples for themselves, or they build houses for themselves, or they are so deeply invested in the world they couldn’t leave Babylon if they wanted. They strive to make this world better, more God-like, not remembering that Jesus said His kingdom was not of the world or from this world (John 18:36); not realizing that until the kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of the Father and His Son, God’s will and purpose will not be done on earth as it is in heaven (cf. Rev 11:15; Matt 6:10); not recognizing that by participating in the governance of this world they help the demonic prince of this world solve his problems … the Anabaptists of the 16th and 17th Centuries better understood that coming out of this world means non-participation in the governance of this world than do the Evangelical Christians forming the Religious Right. Leaving spiritual Babylon, the city and the hierarchy that presently reigns over the mental topography of all living things, means ceasing to participate in the political and social orders that rule over kingdoms and peoples wherever they dwell. To spiritually leave Babylon as a remnant of Israel physically left Babylon in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah requires the spiritually circumcised Israelite to keep out of politics, to cease striving to climb social ladders, to cease striving to acquire the goods and services of this world, to return to lifestyles more in-tune with how my Grandpa Kizer lived than how Eastern Howland descendants that Mom apparently envied live. To spiritually leave Babylon, a disciple must make a mental journey by faith as far as Abraham journeyed physically from Ur of the Chaldeas to Canaan while still uncircumcised (Rom 4:11-12)—and for every disciple this mental journey begins in spiritual Babylon and continues until the disciple enters into God’s rest, the Land Beyond the River.
Of each generation since a remnant of the Church left spiritual Babylon in the 16th-Century (ca 1525 CE)—this remnant determined through its practice of adult or Believer baptism—only a remnant of the remnant continued the spiritual or mental journey on toward the heavenly city of Jerusalem into its succeeding generation. Most of the early remnant journeyed only far enough to cleanse hearts before settling down to build for themselves spiritual houses. These spiritual houses remain with disciples to this day: e.g., the house of Menno Simons, the denomination now known as Mennonites. Thus, the generations born into these spiritual houses, once physical journeys of faith were no longer undertaken, have journeyed nowhere for two and three and four hundred years. And unless a journey by faith equivalent of Abraham’s journey from Ur to the Promised Land of Canaan is undertaken, hearts are not cleansed and not circumcised. For the young person who has grown to physical maturity in a household of Believers, no amount of professing that Jesus is Lord and believing that the Father raised Jesus from the dead constitutes a journey of faith comparable to the journey Abraham made.
Understand what the writer of Hebrews says: disciples must pay close attention to what the original Apostles heard from Christ Jesus Himself (Heb 2:1), not close attention to what some Church theologian said centuries afterward. The message declared by angels proved reliable. Every transgression of the law of God will receive a just retribution (v. 2), and this just retribution is death: the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23). And sin is the transgression of the law, or in modern phrasing, lawlessness (1 John 3:4). Thus, for every sin committed, a life must be given—and not any life, but the life of the one responsible for the sin. So the old self within every disciple must die for its disobedience to which it was unwillingly consigned (Rom 11:32). Likewise, the tent of flesh in which this old self dwells or dwelt must also die because of the disobedience that resides in its members (Rom 7:23-25).
Grace does not protect the old self or the tent of flesh in which this old self dwells.
There is a mistaken idea rampant within Christianity that has Grace being unmerited pardon for the lawlessness committed by the disciple, but when better understood, Grace is the mantle of Christ Jesus’ righteousness that covers the transgressions of the law committed by firstfruits. The old self that gives consciousness and self-awareness to every descendant of the first Adam is a bondservant to disobedience, sin. It is not free to keep the laws of God; indeed, it cannot keep the laws of God and is actually hostile to God (Rom 8:7). So sin has dominion over the old self (cf. Eph 2:2-3; Rom 6:14), thereby making every person into a son of disobedience, a bondservant to lawlessness, the property of the Adversary from birth. And Grace does not save this old self that must be crucified with Christ … if Grace were unmerited pardon this old self need not die for its lawlessness, but could continue on as a pardoned son of disobedience.
The old self within every descendant of the first Adam is not an immortal soul—and here is where Christianity has set itself up to rebel against God. If the old self were an immortal soul in need of regeneration, then it needs pardoned, not crucified. But in Hebrew theology, human beings do not have immortal souls, but must inherit everlasting life (Luke 10:25, 18:18), making this everlasting life a gift from God (Rom 6:23) given after human birth and maturity, a gift received after judgment comes upon the person. And since human beings are not born with immortal souls, the old self is spiritually lifeless. It must and will die when an infant son of God is born of Spirit into the same tent of flesh as housed the old self.
The visible things of this world reveal the invisible things of God (Rom 1:20), and the physical things of this world precede the spiritual things that happen in this world (1 Cor 15:46). Visible, physical birth must therefore precede invisible spiritual birth, with this visible physical birth coming from breath received by the first Adam, thus making the infant human being of two part construction: flesh and natural or shallow breath [soma & psuche] (cf. Matt 10:28; Gen 2:7; 3:22-24). A disciple of Christ Jesus, the last Adam, when born of Spirit becomes tri-part in composition: flesh, swallow or human breath, and deep or spiritual breath [soma, psuche, pneuma] (1 Thess 5:23). Thus, a disciple has physical life as he or she had physical life before being born anew, with this physical life coming from the first Adam. In addition, this disciple has spiritual life as Jesus received spiritual life from the Father when the divine Breath of the Father [Pneuma ’Agion] descended as a dove and lit on Jesus, this divine breath first directly transferred to ten of Jesus’ disciples when He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit [Pneuma ’Agion or Breath Holy]” (John 20:22).
Everlasting life is the gift of God given when a person is born from above, or born of Spirit. Until then, no person has any eternal or immortal life—and to teach otherwise is to deceive infants sons of God who must figuratively break the legs of the crucified old self who would have this son of God journey back to sin rather than forward to God’s rest.
A human infant is born as a descendant of the first Adam without being consulted by his or her father—the egg of the mother will not produce a child without an action taken by the infant’s father; therefore, life is bestowed by the human father as a type of the heavenly Father giving spiritual life to human beings. Every living person is as an ovum [egg] in the ovaries of a woman. The person is spiritually lifeless until age-lasting life is given by God the Father through a second birth, a real birth in the invisible supra-dimensional heavenly realm to the spiritual ovum … metaphors and analogies ultimately breakdown because one thing is not another thing, and indeed, cannot be the other thing. The spiritual birth process strains the metaphor of human birth through the woman being the Church. The analogy of spiritual birth being like human birth does not, at the individual level, reach into the womb of the Church to begin with the union of sperm and egg in the uterus, because both the Father and the Son must give life (John 5:21) to the disciple before this son of God crosses dimensions. Collectively, the Church is the last Eve. But individual sons of God do not develop spiritual maturity within the womb of a divided Church.
The Christian Church that constitutes the last Eve is not any one denomination, or even one collective of denominations. It isn’t the Roman Church and her errant daughters; nor is it the Arian Church in its many forms. The last Eve includes all denominations, with one division that forms two sons occurring within her womb, this division being between disciples who keep the commandments by faith [the beloved son] and disciples who continue in their lawlessness after being born of Spirit. Thus, being inside the womb of the last Eve places a born anew disciple living his or her life as a “Christian” here on earth. The earth becomes the womb of the last Eve, which again is not a human organization but a spiritual woman that presently exists in the supra-dimensional heavenly realm as the Body of Christ Jesus. And when this last Eve delivers these two sons [one loved, one hated] that presently struggle within her womb, these two sons will be separated from this last Eve through spiritual liberation; through being empowered by, or filled with the Holy Spirit. The Lord of Hosts who struck the Shepherd (cf. Zech 13:7; Matt 26:31) will turn His hand against these two sons of the last Eve; He will deliver them into the hand of the man of perdition (cf. Zech 13:8; Dan 7:25; 2 Thess 2:3-12). But Christ Jesus will send the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, 26) in full measure so that when disciples are separated from the last Eve and are no longer under the mantle of Grace, they will be liberated from indwelling sin and death that presently resides in their fleshly members as natural Israel was liberated from physical bondage to Pharaoh.
The last Eve gives birth—separation—to the two sons that are presently in her womb when the seven endtime years of tribulation begin. The Son of Man will then be revealed, both Head and Body (Luke 17:30). The Body of this Son of Man will no longer be covered by the garment of Christ Jesus’ righteousness—there will be no more Grace, for it will not be needed once disciples are empowered by the Holy Spirit. The disciple who desires to walk uprightly before God will be able to do when empowered by the divine Breath of God. The disciple who returns to sin will have committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and this blasphemy will not be forgiven … there will be no reason for a disciple to sin other than the disciple loves this world and the things of the flesh more than he or she loves God. Thus, Zion or the last Eve gives birth to two sons—a spiritual Cain and a spiritual Abel; an Esau and a Jacob—when disciples are liberated from indwelling disobedience through being filled by Spirit. Until then, because of the indwelling of sin in the members of the tents of flesh in which born of Spirit sons of God dwell, disciples are “covered” by Grace. The mantle of Grace, now, functions as the womb of the last Eve. Thus, the woman that is the Christian Church doesn’t conceive sons of God, but nurtures these sons under the mantle of Christ Jesus’ righteousness until such time as she unwillingly gives “birth” or separation to these sons. So the metaphor of human birth functions at two, and three levels: first, the Father gives “birth” to His sons by giving them the earnest of the Holy Spirit while these sons dwell in tents of flesh. This is real birth and life in the heavenly realm just as the giving of earnest money when purchasing real estate is the giving of real money that is counted toward the purchase price. Then the last Eve gives “birth” to these sons of God when these sons are empowered by the Holy Spirit, thereby filling the disciples with Spirit so that there is no room for sin within the tents of flesh in which sons of God dwell. Finally, Christ Jesus gives “birth” to these already alive sons of God when He gives life to whom He will (John 5:21) through the tent of perishable flesh putting on immortality or imperishability.
The Father began the process of giving “birth” to the descendants of the first Adam when He drew whom He wanted as disciples for Christ Jesus from the world (John 6:44, 65) prior to Calvary: these original disciples received the Holy Spirit or birth from above when Jesus breathed on ten of them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Since then, the Father has drawn from the kingdom of this world or spiritual Babylon those whom He would have as part of the harvest of firstfruits. He will continue to draw from this world those whom He wants as firstfruits until the last Eve gives “birth” to the two sons presently in her womb; i.e., presently covered by Grace.
The last Eve or spiritual Zion (Isa 66:7-8) gives “birth” when the seven endtime years of tribulation begin. In this initial birth, she will bring forth two sons, one hated even while covered by Grace, one loved though deceitful because of the indwelling of sin. And except for a remnant (Rev 12:17), both of these sons will die during the first three and a half years of the seven endtime years. The hated son will die spiritually by committing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit—the death of this firstborn son, a spiritual Esau, will be the great falling away (2 Thess 2:3) when, on a specific day, this son rebels against God through unbelief, manifest by this son attempting to enter God’s rest on the following day, the 8th-day. (During the first half of the seven endtime years, observance of the Sabbath will “mark” who is of God as the tattoo of the Cross [Chi xi stigma] will “mark” those who are of the Antichrist during the last three and a half years.)
Except for the remnant that keep the commandments and have the spirit of prophecy (cf. Rev 12:17; Rev 19:10), all of the beloved son now in the womb of the last Eve will die physically during the first three and a half years of the Tribulation as righteous Abel died long ago. Thus, halfway through the seven endtime years, the hated son will be physically alive but spiritually dead, and the beloved son will be physically dead but spiritually alive; so the last Eve will bring forth another son, a spiritual Seth, who only has to endure to the end to be saved (Matt 24:13). And the birth announcement of this third son is the good news [gospel] that must be proclaimed to the world as a witness to all nations before the end of the age comes (v. 14) … the gospel that must be proclaimed to all nations isn’t the third angel’s message (Rev 14:9-11) as Seventh Day Adventists contend, nor it is the good news of the soon coming kingdom of God as Herbert Armstrong and his splintered fellowships contend. The gospel that must be proclaimed is, All who endure to the end shall be saved. This is a plain, unadorned message that will be delivered to the third part of humanity (Zech 13:9) that today doesn’t have any interest in Christianity, but that will be born empowered by the Holy Spirit when the Spirit of God is poured out upon all flesh (Joel 2:28). When the kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of the Father and His Christ (cf. Rev 11:15; Dan 7:9-14), Christ Jesus will baptize this world in Spirit (Matt 3:11), thereby changing even the predatory natures of lions, bears, and wolves (Isa 11:6-9). Human nature will change for the better. Instead the prince of this world broadcasting disobedience, the Son of Man will place His mind and nature into this third part of humanity just as quickly as King Nebuchadnezzar’s nature changed from that of a man to that of a beast in a moment. But this third part of humanity will not be under Grace, so any sin that this third part takes into itself will cause the spiritual death of the infant son of God, the reason for the essential proclamation of this good news to all nations.
Spiritual birth from the Father imparts real spiritual life into a tent of flesh. This life must war against indwelling sin, the reason why Grace is necessary, for the infant son of God will lose some battles to sin. Spiritual birth through empowerment by the Holy Spirit removes the mantle of Christ Jesus’ righteousness, thereby revealing the Body of the Son of Man as the Head is now revealed. This spiritual birth was foreshadowed by ancient Israel’s liberation from physical bondage to Pharaoh; this spiritual birth is liberation from indwelling sin and death, liberation that comes at a Second Passover when the lives of men are again given for the ransom of Israel (Isa 43:3-4).
Spiritual birth from the Son is the glorified Jesus giving life to who He will (again, John 5:21) at His return. This spiritual birth causes the mortal flesh to put on immortality. The now-glorified disciple will be able to walk through the fire separating the dimensions without perishing—the flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life (Gen 3:24) was a type of the fire separating the dimensions. Jesus, however, has already said that He will not give life to teachers of lawlessness, regardless of the mighty works they have done in His name (Matt 7:21-23). Thus, the teachers of the hated son, spiritual Esau, are condemned by their lawlessness to the lake of fire before their judgments are revealed upon Christ Jesus’ return (1 Cor 4:5).
Therefore, spiritual birth comes from the Father in Him making alive that which was dead, with this “life” domiciled in mortal flesh, and spiritual birth comes from the Son through the Son giving immortality to those tents of flesh in which “life” given by the Father dwells. The Father will eventually give birth through resurrection from death to all of humanity, to the firstfruits first [represented by the early barley harvest of Judea], then to everyone else in the great White Throne Judgment [represented by the fall wheat harvest of Judea]. But the Son to whom all judgment has been given will only give immortality to the tents of flesh that He knows both when He returns (Matt 25:11-13), and in the great White Throne Judgment, He will give immortality to those who gave food and drink to him through giving to the least of those He created (vv. 41-46). So while the Father will make everyone spiritually alive through a second birth, the Son will only give immortality to those whom He knows. Again, the Son has already said that He does not know teachers of lawlessness; the Son has already said that He does not know most “Christian” ministers … why would anyone teach disciples to be lawless when such teachers already have their judgments revealed while they still live?
The last Eve giving birth is qualitatively different from the Father and the Son giving birth; for this birth is the liberation of the tent of flesh from indwelling sin and death through empowerment by the Holy Spirit. This birth is necessary to cause a separation between lawless disciples and those disciples who will be called great in the kingdom of heaven through their keeping the commandments and teaching others to do likewise (Matt 5:19), this separation being necessary for the endtime harvest of firstfruits that will be gathered to God when the Son returns as the Messiah.
When the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all flesh halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation—poured out when Satan is cast from heaven and can no longer be the prince of the power of the air—all of humanity will be born of Spirit and born empowered, liberated from indwelling sin and death; born with the mind and nature of Christ Jesus. Neither the Father nor the Son will willingly have this harvest corrupted by false prophets and false teachers; thus, the widespread falseness reigning over Christianity today, Sabbatarian and 8th-day, will have to be eliminated prior to when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all flesh, liberating all. And the means by which the Father and the Son will eliminate falseness has been revealed—the revelation isn’t what most Christians want to hear. Sabbatarian Christians, with a few exceptions, will be slain physically and will rest in the grave until Christ returns. Observant Judaism will be sacrificed as a paschal lamb of God, this lamb selected when Joshua led Israel across the Jordan on the 10th day of the first month (Josh 4:19). Only the 144,000 who will follow Christ Jesus wherever He leads escape through the split Mount of Olives from the first half of the seven endtime years into the last half. And nearly all of the 8-th day Christian Church will rebel against God and will spiritually perish from God sending a strong delusion over them in the first half of the seven years, and physically perish through accepting the tattoo of the Cross, the mark of death, during the second half.
Of the two sons to whom the last Eve gives birth at the beginning of the seven endtime years, only a remnant will escape into the second half of these endtime years. The 144,000 virgins come from Observant Judaism. They are those Observant Jews who, when the man of perdition has been revealed, by faith continue to keep the commandments—and who profess that Jesus is Lord and believe that the Father raised Him from death (Rom 10:6-9). Under the terms of the second covenant mediated by Moses, these Observant Jews will receive circumcised hearts and empowerment by the Holy Spirit. Because they have not previously had any spiritual life prior to being born empowered, they will have no sin in the heavenly realm. They will truly be virgins.
None of today’s disciples are spiritual virgins. All have sinned. All require Christ Jesus to cover these sins with His righteousness. However, in Jesus’ Olivet Discourse ten virgins are introduced as a type of the kingdom of heaven … the third part of humanity that will be born empowered of and by the Holy Spirit when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all flesh will have no prior sin in the heavenly realm, for this third part will not previously have had any life in the heavenly realm. Thus, halfway through the seven endtime years, this third part (again, Zech 13:9) will be born as spiritual virgins, of whom only half will enter into the kingdom of God. This should sober those who deliver the good news that all who endure to the end shall be saved (Matt 24:13), for enduring will mean more than not taking the mark of the beast, the mark of death. Enduring will mean growing in the attributes of God, not merely just hanging on until the Bridegroom returns. Enduring will mean multiplying the “oil” each has been given through doing the work of God. This third part will be refined by fire as silver is refined, and tested under pressure as gold is tested—and the half that acquires wisdom when being refined and tested will enter into the kingdom of heaven when the Bridegroom comes.
The disciple who today contends that he or she is a spiritual virgin would have no need for Grace if the person were not a liar. Likewise, the pastor who uses the parable of the ten virgins for purposes other than discussing the third part of humankind that will be born of Spirit halfway through the Tribulation is too immature to shepherd a flock. For too long the Body of Christ has suffered from uninspired teaching and explication of Scripture—the blind have led the blind into theological quicksand in which most of the Body will perish forever.
Every disciple can know in a moment of introspection whether he or she has been spiritually circumcised. If the disciple yearns to keep the laws of God [to keep the commandments], all of them, the disciple has assurance of having been born of Spirit and spiritually circumcised; for the old self hates, yes, hates because it is the servant of lawlessness, the commandments of God. And if you feel an urge to argue against keeping the commandments, you are hearing your old self speak—and understand that if you do not silence your old self you will be cast into the lake of fire. No quarter will be given that hasn’t already been granted.
Godly love is expressed by the desire to keep the commandments and to do those things that are pleasing to God. This is not touchy-feely love, but the conscious heartfelt desire to keep the commandments that describe how to love God and to love neighbor. Thus, the person, physically circumcised or uncircumcised, who by faith keeps the precepts of the law demonstrates his or her spiritual circumcision regardless of whether the disciple has or has not been baptized into judgment.
The pattern for human circumcision forms the reality for the spiritual circumcision of the sons of God. Spiritual birth does not equate to spiritual circumcision although I have at times in articles compressed the process by which the laws of God are written on the hearts and minds of disciples into one continuous action of short duration. What has become apparent is this compressed process for vessels created for honored usage is interrupted in vessels created for destruction. Thus, the time has come to elaborate upon what it means to have the laws of God written on hearts and minds of disciples, and address more fully the mental journey that must be taken, a journey that will leave every disciple a spiritual orphan until Christ Jesus sends the Comforter in full measure, thereby liberating the disciple from indwelling sin and death.
Whereas I have previously written that receipt of the Holy Spirit [Pneuma ’Agion] constituted both being born of Spirit and spiritual circumcision, these two actions of God are not one action, but two actions often separated by an extended length of time—in the timeless heavenly realm only are these two actions compressed into one continuous action. Thus, when viewing them from above they appear to occur simultaneously, but from viewing them from below the mental journey that must be made by faith seems as long as the four days and four nights were between when Jesus left His disciples through His death at Calvary and when He breathed on ten of His disciples, thereby giving them the Holy Spirit [He died in the late afternoon of the 14th of the first month, a Wednesday, and He breathed on His disciples in the late afternoon of the 18th, a Sunday]. These four days saw the disciples without either Christ or possession of the Holy Spirit, and these four days saw Thomas lose faith. So Thomas becomes a representation of disciples who today have not made the mental journey of faith from Babylon to Judea, but who will make this journey once they see the physical evidence of God’s intervention in human affairs.
Spiritual birth from the Father—being drawn from the world through receipt of the Holy Spirit—comes without permission to those who are born of Spirit. The person, one day a son of disobedience and perfectly content being a part of this world and the bondservant of the prince of this world, receives without notice or warning a second birth that requires this son of disobedience to inwardly kill who he or she is and to become this new creature that is a son of God. Frankly, this is actually asking quite a lot of the person, but what is being offered is so much greater than what’s being asked is nothing.
To make it possible for the infant son of God to dwell in the tent of flesh, the old self is suddenly spiritually crucified as Christ was physically crucified, but crucifixion doesn’t kill instantly. Rather, crucifixion kills slowly through suffocation. So the crucified old self, if a strong man, can live for a long while after the spiritual son of God is born into the same tent of flesh. And the longer the old self lives, the more likely he or she is to corrupt the infant son of God, especially when this corruption is assisted by a teacher of lawlessness.
Of all peoples on earth, God choose the patriarch Abraham to begin a cultivated variety of human beings, and He gave to Abraham a son of promise as He began to propagate His human cultivar. And here understanding is required: Abraham had walked by faith with God for a quarter of a century before the Lord made a covenant with Abraham that would be ratified by physical circumcision. This covenant would have Abraham to walk upright before God and to be blameless (Gen 17:1); so circumcision is the sign of ratification of the covenant requiring Abraham to walk upright and be blameless. Circumcision makes a man naked before God, leaving the man covered only by his obedience to God. Abraham had demonstrated obedience by faith prior to when the covenant was made. But by making the covenant, Abraham committed his descendants whom the Lord would give him to also walk upright by faith before God and to be blameless before God.
Ishmael was not a descendant the Lord had given to Abraham; Ishmael was not part of the human cultivar God was propagating, this cultivar selected for its faith, not other traits. In fact, Ishmael’s birth was evidence of a failure of faith. So Ishmael’s circumcision when thirteen commits Ishmael to walk blameless before God, for which Ishmael will be blessed by being the father of twelve princes, but Ishmael and his circumcision does not form the pattern for the spiritual circumcision of infant sons of God. Isaac’s birth and circumcision does, for disciples are of Isaac (Gal 4:21-31).
God’s human cultivar Isaac was physically circumcised on the 8th-day following birth. The sons of this promised son, Esau and Jacob, also born of promise (Gen 25:21), were circumcised on the 8th-day following birth. The command is to circumcise on the 8th-day following birth. The command and the practice of applying this command establish the pattern for, or shadow of spiritual circumcision. Thus, spiritual circumcision follows being born of Spirit by a period equivalent to eight physical days in the life and maturation of a human being.
In the second covenant mediated by Moses (Deu 29-31), spiritual circumcision was promised to natural Israel if the nation turned to God and by faith began to keep His commandments while exiled in a far land. This would be faith equivalent to the faith Abraham displayed while still uncircumcised, and the faith Abraham displayed while uncircumcised is the benchmark for the faith required for circumcision. God is not a respecter of persons: the Apostle Paul says that the uncircumcised person who keeps the precepts of the law will have his or her uncircumcision counted as circumcision (Rom 2:26). Thus, the action by Israel that precedes spiritual circumcision is keeping the precepts of the law by faith. Therefore, when a person who has been born of Spirit begins to keep the precepts of the law, the person is spiritually as a Hebrew infant was when eight days old: this person will be spiritually circumcised.
Note, an Israelite male was not circumcised when mature, but when eight days old. Likewise, a person whom the Father draws from this world and to whom the Father gives His divine Breath, thereby making this person a newly born son of God, is as a Hebrew infant was on the day of his birth. And because this son of God is born in the timeless heavenly realm, his maturation is not time-linked. This son of God is in human terms less than eight days old until this son of God mentally journeys from the land of his nativity to spiritual Judea where he will begin to keep the precepts of the law of God. This is the journey that cleanses the heart so that the heart can be spiritually circumcised. Hence, when the heart has been cleansed, the person will be keeping the commandments. God promises to this person, under the terms of the second covenant, spiritual circumcision (Deu 30:6) and life in Judea. And the person born of Spirit who when initially keeping the commandments is spiritually as a human infant is physically when eight days old.
The above should humble every teacher of Israel.
Consider how mature an eight day old human infant is … you are spiritually like this infant when you begin to keep the commandments, all of them, because the laws of God are written on your heart and mind. Do you think this infant is ready to teach the precepts of God to anyone? Yet it is from such spiritual infants that most of Sabbatarian Christianity takes its doctrines.
Disciples who have not yet begun to keep the precepts of the law are either not born of Spirit or are of less than eight days in age. Either way, they have no business teaching anybody anything about God; for they are either too immature, or they are not a Believer … unfortunately, there is one more category into which Christ places disciples born of Spirit: sons of destruction who have been called as Judas Iscariot was drawn from this world by the Father for the expressed purpose of betraying Christ (John 17:12). These disciples will betray their brethren.
Spiritually righteous Abel will be slain by his brother. Disciples, born of Spirit, will be made into vessels of wrath intended for destruction, vessels who will slay their righteous brother. Yes, these disciples have been born of Spirit and profess to be Christians.
If a person has been born of Spirit, the person will be made by Christ Jesus into a vessel for honored used in the house of God, or a vessel of wrath to be endured for a season. No other category exists for someone drawn from this world as part of the harvest of firstfruits. And every vessel intended for honored use will keep the precepts of the law. The person who disagrees marks him or herself as a teacher of lawlessness, unknown to Christ Jesus regardless of the works he or she does in the name of Jesus.
If someone has been born of Spirit for a considerable length of time and still does not keep the precepts of the law—usually apparent by the day upon which the person attempts to enter God’s rest—the assumption has to be made that the person is a vessel of wrath to be endured for a while. The Apostle Paul writes Timothy and says that if this person cleanses himself from what is dishonorable (2 Tim 2:21), he will be a vessel for honorable use. Most often, though, the person on his or her day of salvation chose death rather than life (Deu 30:15) and now cannot repent from those things that are dishonorable, including worshiping on the 8th-day. Thus, this person is a vessel of destruction, made to be broken when the house of God is revealed. This person chose to be made into a spiritual bull or goat to be sacrificed as physical bulls and goats were sacrificed when Solomon dedicated the physical temple.
If it remains possible for a long time disciple born of Spirit to turn from worshiping on the 8th-day, or to turn from other dishonorable practices, then the person will become a vessel for honored usage. Exactly how difficult this is can be seen by how few are able to begin keeping the precepts of the law if they do not begin when newly born of Spirit. Spiritual circumcision occurs to spiritual infants, and the person who has become content being a spiritual infant of less than eight days old isn’t likely to change after even a short while has passed. The spiritual maturation process has been thwarted; the person will be a perpetual infant prepared for destruction … compare the mental processing of a cow with the mental processing of a newly born human infant; there is some basis for comparison. Thus, the disciple whose spiritual processing of the things of God remains beastlike even after a few years in the Church will, most likely, be sacrificed as a vessel of wrath, devoted to destruction, when the judgment of firstfruits is revealed. Growing in Grace and knowledge begins with cleansing the heart and spiritual circumcision. It doesn’t begin with continued lawlessness and bondage to sin.
The person who neglects to, by faith, keep the precepts of the law neglects salvation (Heb 2:3); for if God cast rebelling angels into outer darkness because of their transgressions, why would disciples think that they will escape a similar fate when they willfully transgress the commandments of God? Again, the person who has not been born of Spirit is not free to keep the commandments of God, but must serve disobedience to which he or she has been consigned. It is only the person that has been born of Spirit who is truly free to keep the precepts of the law. Thus, when this person chooses not to do so, this person neglects salvation. This person neglects to make a spiritual journey as Abraham made a physical journey.
The Logos as Theos, whom David knew as Yah, did not enter His creation as His Son, His only, to die so that the descendants of Abraham could continue in the disobedience to which they had been consigned when Adam was driven from the garden of God. He came to liberate these descendants of the patriarch so that they could keep the commandments, which none of the Pharisees did or could do (John 7:19). He did not come to liberate disciples from the law, but from sin and death summed up in one word: disobedience.
All of humankind sinned; no one was without sin prior to the coming of the Logos as His only Son. Thus, all were under penalty of death. All had died, or would die because of the indwelling of sin in their mortal members, this indwelling sin defined who they were and what they would become. The man Jesus of Nazareth, however, was born not of the first Adam but of Yah. He was not born consigned to sin as its bondservant, but was born free to keep the commandments uttered by His literal father from atop Mount Sinai prior to when the divine Breath of God the Father descended upon Him as a visible dove, making Him the spiritual Son of the Most High. Literally, Jesus was born free to keep the commandments, something no person since the first Adam could do—and He kept the commandments throughout His years on earth. He had to be made sin through taking on the sins of Israel before death had any power over Him.
Pause and consider the ramifications of that concept: until Jesus took on the sins of Israel as the reality of the two goats chosen as the sin offering for Israel on Yom Kipporim, He could not die; He could not be killed. He would not drown. No one could slay Him with stones or a sword. He was absolutely unworthy of death so He had to voluntarily die—and to die, He had to be made sin.
Because Jesus died by voluntarily taking on the sins of Israel, the nation of Israel was finally freed from being bondservants to disobedience. The nation of Israel was suddenly free to keep the commandments … Israel wasn’t liberated from keeping the commandments, but from death that came from breaking the commandments. Israel no longer had to break the commandments through being bondservants to disobedience, what the Apostle Paul writes in his epistle to the Romans: “For sin will have no dominion over you” (Rom 6:14) means literally what the words seem to represent. The person whom the Father has drawn from the world to be part of the early harvest of Firstfruits has, from the moment the new creature was born of Spirit within the tent of flesh, been set free from bondage to sin and death. The person, finally, is free to keep the commandments of God.
But this is not what ministers of Satan—and there are many more false apostles, deceitful workmen who have disguised themselves as apostles of Christ, than genuine servants of righteousness—have taught disciples whom the Father has drawn from this world. Rather, these false teachers have taught infant sons of God that they were freed from keeping the laws of God; thus, these spiritual infants journey nowhere. They do not cleanse their hearts by faith, and they never have their hearts circumcised. They were given real life in the heavenly realm, and for the most part, they squander this life through transforming themselves into vessels of wrath, the spiritual reality of the thousands of bulls and goats sacrificed when Solomon’s temple was dedicated.
Most Christians, unfortunately, do not have the laws of God written on their hearts and or placed in their minds; they are not under the Second Covenant even though they firmly believe that they are. They don’t even know what the Second Covenant is; they have never read its terms, its obligations. They are, in actuality, as spiritually illiterate as bulls and goats. But they feel good about who they are.
The disciple is mentally set free from sin when the new creature is born of Spirit when the Father draws the disciple from the world, but the tent of flesh in which this infant son of God dwells remains subject to sin and death. Thus, the new creature born of Spirit, born free to keep the commandments of God, must rule over the tent of flesh in which this infant son of God dwells. Paul writes, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions” (Rom 6:12), for the indwelling sin in the disciple’s mortal body can reign over the infant son of God, especially when this indwelling sin is reinforced by false apostles, ministers of Satan himself.
Paul writes, “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are the slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to life” (Rom 6:16). Again, Grace isn’t permission to sin, but is Christ covering sin through His righteousness for the infant son of God who has presented himself to God by making his members instruments for righteousness. Grace is Christ covering the sins of the person born of Spirit who strives to perfectly keep the precepts of the law, but is unable to do so because the tent of flesh in which this infant son of God dwells also still houses indwelling sin. And all who teach that Grace frees disciples from having to strive to keep the precepts of the law is a false minister, a teacher of lawlessness, a servant of Satan.
It is in the short period of time represented by the eight days between when a Hebrew infant was born of woman and when this male was physically circumcised that each disciple’s day of salvation occurs … on the infant son of God’s day of salvation, this son of God will choose life or death. This son of God will choose to mentally journey to Judea where he will live as a spiritual Judean, or this son of God will stay close to home, venturing no farther than the Church services of his nativity. To journey to Judea is to choose life, for this journey will be the spiritual equivalent of the physical journey Abraham made while still uncircumcised. To stay close to home is to choose death, regardless of how close home is to heavenly Jerusalem.
The disciple who by faith journeys from the mental landscape of his or her nativity toward the heavenly city of Jerusalem—even if this disciple doesn’t arrive in the heavenly city during his or her physical lifetime—will cleanse the heart and receive spiritual circumcision. Thus, the Greek who quit living as a Greek [i.e., practicing sexual immorality, offering meats to idols, eating meats strangled and eating blood] has made a mental journey from the landscape of his or her nativity toward the heavenly city of Jerusalem, a journey of sufficient distance to cleanse the heart (Acts 15:7-11) so that it can be circumcised. Likewise, the Native American who begins to live as, say, a Tlingit Jew (one Alaskan woman was asked by tribal members if she was a Tlingit Jew when she quit eating seal and shellfish) has mentally journeyed far enough to cleanse the heart even if this person doesn’t arrive at the foundation the Apostle Paul laid in the heavenly city. And the same can be said for any person leaving any aboriginal mental landscape by faith and beginning the long mental trek to spiritual Judea.
But the disciple who begins no journey during the short period of time represented by the eight days chooses death by failing to begin when commanded to go. This born of Spirit son of God—today covered by Grace, but covered as the hated son of spiritual Isaac—retains the spiritual processing capability equivalent to a human infant’s mental processing capability in the first eight days of life. And this infant son of God that has chosen death by failing to begin a journey of faith will never spiritually mature beyond this infant status; for this son of God will be made into a vessel of wrath that must be endured until sacrificed as ancient Israel sacrificed bulls and goats at the dedication of the living temple, the house of God built with living stones, each shaped offsite through the circumcision of hearts and minds.
It had been assumed that spiritual circumcision came with receipt of the Holy Spirit, but this is not the case: spiritual circumcision follows the cleansing of the hearts by faith. Spiritual circumcision, like physical circumcision for the children of Israel born in the wilderness (Josh 5:2-7), occurs after the infant son of God crosses the spiritual Jordan River and enters into God’s rest on the seventh day (cf. Heb 3:16-4:11; Ps 95:10-11; Num 14:11-41). No one can enter God’s rest on the following day. Spiritual circumcision doesn’t occur in the wilderness of Sin, but only in the Promised Land. The Second Covenant is not made with Israel when the nation left Egypt, but when it was ready to enter into God’s rest.
As disciples approach the time of year when more of the population’s thoughts turn toward Christ Jesus through the poorly taught story of His birth, disciples need to understand that Caleb was of Esau, the hated son. Yet it is only Joshua and Caleb of the men numbered in the census taken when Israel left Egypt who entered into God’s rest—Joshua and Caleb, together, represent the remnant (Rev 12:17) that will lead the third part of humanity into the kingdom of God as the great harvest of Firstfruits. But Caleb had about him a different spirit (Num 14:24), one that caused him to first leave the land of his nativity and journey to Egypt where he lived with the Israelites, then leave Egypt and by faith believe that God would deliver to Israel what He had promised (Num 13:30).
A few disciples who are today of the hated son spiritual Esau will be like Caleb. Let those few turn from what is dishonorable and become vessels intended for honored usage by keeping the precepts of the law. They have been liberated from bondage to disobedience so that they can, truly, keep the commandments.
To not even attempt to keep the commandments is today blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It is this blasphemy that foreshadows the blasphemy of the great falling away 220 days into the seven endtime years of tribulation. It is this blasphemy that was foreshadowed by Israel refusing to enter the promise land when commanded to go, and attempting to enter on the following day. It is no wonder that the firstborn son of spiritual Isaac is hated by God.
The four days between when Jesus was crucified and when He breathed on the ten disciples would have seen the Comforter hovering over the disciples in the image represented in Genesis 1:2. The disciples would not have realized that the Comforter had been sent until they received spiritual birth through receipt of the divine Breath of God. Likewise, we, today, speak of the Comforter having been sent, but we really do not understand what it is that we say; for we are spiritual orphans between when we are born of Spirit and when we journey to God’s rest and cross into Judea where we are spiritually circumcised. We are orphans in the same sense that Abraham, a mature man, was an orphan when he left Haran and completed the journey from Ur to Canaan begun with his father. We wouldn’t journey unless we were seeking to reinvent ourselves in the image of the Son of God. We wouldn’t reinvent ourselves if we were not obliged to do so.
Every American is in the unique position of dwelling in a culture that encourages separation from the world; that supports forsaking and losing the past. Unfortunately, too few Americans will do that for which God socially and psychologically prepared them. Too few will look upward instead of outward. Thus, many will perish when leaving this world was only one step away.
The claim that I was called to reread prophecy can only be supported in this era by the work of rereading that I have done. That work is the redeployment of typological exegesis, a reading strategy anyone can use, making my rereading of Scripture not a private interpretation but a public process for extracting meaning from previously sealed prophecies. Take a look at typology. Those who will teach the third part of humankind, born of Spirit halfway through the seven endtime years, will all employ typology as the means by which they take meaning from Scripture.
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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."