January 25, 2011 ©Homer Kizer
Printable/viewable PDF format to display Greek or Hebrew characters
Commentary — From the Margins
An Obligation to Bear the Weak
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. / For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, / and sing to your name.”
And again it is said,
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, / and let all the peoples extol him.”
And again Isaiah says,
“The root of Jesse will come, / even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; / in him will the Gentiles hope.”
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. / I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. (Rom 15:1–16 emphasis added)
Today, in Christendom, to speak with one voice requires that only one person speaks—
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another … there are so many who claim to have a word of knowledge, to understand prophecy, to grasp the mysteries of God—each contradicting the other—that Christendom is awash in schisms, denominations, sects, heresies, lesser divisions and greater divisions, with God being one, two, or three as one, with some Christians placing great significance on Hebrew pronunciations that they themselves cannot utter and other Christians placing equal significance on not keeping the commandments of the Lord. Christianity is divided against itself and cannot of itself ever return to speaking with one voice or live in harmony with one another. Greater Christendom is a theological marble cake baked in muffin tins, with each muffin claiming that only it is true, not seeing that it isn’t even “true” within itself.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction—Paul’s argumentative claim is that Scripture should be read as pertaining to Christendom, with the natural descendants of the patriarchs serving merely as illustrative models so that Christians would not desire to do the evil things that natural Israel did (see 1 Cor 10:6, 11). But the example is actually the shadow, with the invisible things of God revealed by the things that were created by [Fr: la Parole], the One who was God [Gr: Theos— Fr: Dieu] and who was with the God [ton Theon] in the beginning (John 1:1, 3) … French uses linguistic gender as most Indo-European languages do, with English being the exception stemming from interaction by Old Norse and Old English speakers for the three centuries when English was not officially written (the period beginning with William the Bastard’s defeat of Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings). And in French translation, female gender is appropriately assigned to Ò Logos— the Logos — of John 1:1, with this one [Theos] who was with the God in the beginning being translated as elle (v. 2), the female pronoun. The assignment of gender in French does not agree with the Greek assignment of gender, but based on the role of the Logos, the French assignment is technically correct and agrees with the model established by Adam and Eve being “one.” Hence, schisms are created when moving from language to language and from generation to generation, with these schisms forming the core for why Christendom is not today divided between those strong in faith/belief and those who are “not strong” [from Rom 15:1], but rather divided by those who are obedient and those who are not obedient, with there being those who are strong and weak in their obedience of God and there being those who are strong and weak in their disobedience. For in reality, those things that were written in former days for our instruction form the shadow and copy [the left hand enantiomer] of those things that Christians have done in the era beginning with Christ Jesus’ earthly ministry. Those things that Israel did in Egypt pertain to those things that Christians do today, and those things that Israel and the children of Israel did in the wilderness pertain to those things that Christians will do in the Affliction and those things that the third part of humankind will do as the “reality” of the children of Israel during the Endurance and on into the Millennium. Those things about which the prophet Ezekiel wrote in his latter chapters pertain to Israel in the Millennium.
The glorified Christ Jesus is not unaware of the marbled mess that presently passes itself off as the true church of God, hating its brothers, denying that its brothers are of Christ, claiming that its brothers are spiritual derelicts fit only to fry forever in the lake of fire, angry that just maybe its brothers might repent and turn to God and thereby be saved. And because the glorified Jesus understands the problem—that only one voice can speak for Him at a time without there being confusion and mingled messages—the glorified Jesus will, throughout the Affliction, speak to Christendom only through the two witnesses, who speak with one voice as Aaron spoke the words of Moses, words that Moses received from the Lord. The glorified Jesus will not speak through many prophets until the ministry of the two witnesses draws to an end with their physical deaths three days before the kingdom of this world is taken from the four kings and the little horn and given to the Son of Man (Dan 7:9–14; Rev 11:15–18).
The significance of the change that occurs when the kingdom of this world is taken from the four kings and the little horn and given to the Son of Man has never been well appreciated by Christendom … the Adversary has reigned over the mental typology of humankind since Adam and Eve were driven from the garden of God (Gen 3:24), and the Adversary will continue to reign until the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man on the doubled day 1260 of the seven endtime years of tribulation. On the first day of this doubled day 1260, the Adversary as the little horn possessing the man of perdition will continue in power even though his kingdom of spiritual Babylon has fallen down and is falling down around him, but on the second day of this doubled day 1260, the kingdom of this world will have been given to the Son of Man and the Adversary, that old dragon Satan the devil, will be cast into time where he will come claiming to be the Messiah; i.e., will come as the true Antichrist. Whereas every human being not ransomed by the Lamb will have been a slave of the Adversary through the first day of the doubled day 1260, every human being who does not bear the mark of death—the tattoo of the cross (chi xi stigma)—will become the people of God on the second day of the doubled day 1260.
To not be the outward slave of the Adversary from Adam through Moses required that the person by faith believe the Lord, with this belief being evidenced by demonstrated obedience. Thus, Job and Noah revealed their faith by their obedience, and both had their faith counted to them as righteousness as the prophet Ezekiel records (Ezek 14:12–23). Likewise, Abraham had his belief of God counted to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6), but with the demonstrated obedience that came from his belief coming when he sacrificed Isaac (Gen 22:1–3) … in no case, including that of Christ Jesus who was “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:8), does a servant of God dwelling in the kingdom of this world while the kingdom belongs to the Adversary not have to demonstrate obedience to God. Even when greater Christendom is liberated from indwelling sin and death at the Second Passover liberation of Israel, every Christian will still need to demonstrate obedience to God, with this demonstrated obedience causing Christians to keep the commandments of God and thereby mark themselves through Sabbath observance.
To mark is to show difference. When every person is the bondservant [slave] of the Adversary because the Adversary remains the prince of this world, the person who remains a slave needs no marking. The person who is not a slave needs to be marked, with inner liberation causing the now-living inner self to compel the fleshly body in which this son of God dwells to strive to keep the commandments, with perhaps the easiest commandment to initially keep being the Sabbath commandment. Even a spiritual infant can keep the Sabbath. Whereas the spiritual infant might not understand those things that are “solid food,” even a spiritual milk drinker knows to keep the Sabbath and can outwardly keep the Sabbath.
Once all Christians are liberated from indwelling sin and death through being filled-with and empowered by the divine breath of God (i.e., through being baptized in spirit), every Christian will have the Law [Torah] of God written on hearts and placed in minds so that every Christian will Know the Lord. No one will have to teach Christians the commandments of God. But the kingdom of this world will remain the kingdom of the Adversary. Therefore, every “liberated” Christian will mark him or herself through Sabbath observance—or the liberated Christian will willingly return to being the slave of the Adversary.
The Affliction begins with the Second Passover liberation of Israel: for the next 1260 days (i.e., from the Second Passover until the kingdom of this world is taken from the four kings and the little horn), Christians will be illegal aliens in the kingdom of this world … “illegal” because they will not take within themselves sin, the unbelief that causes a person to transgress the commandments of God. Thus, every Christian will mark him or herself by Sabbath observance. And every unmarked person will continue as a slave of the Adversary, who continues as the prince of this world. Hence, the Christian—the disciple who has been liberated from indwelling sin and death at the Second Passover—who continues to transgress the commandments, or who returns to transgressing the commandments discloses inner unbelief that is rebellion against God.
Following the Second Passover liberation of Israel, the Christian who continues in Sunday observance never leaves sin and is in open rebellion against God. This Christian likes being the serf of the Adversary, and has chosen to follow the Adversary into the lake of fire, and actually precedes the Adversary into the flames.
However, when the kingdom of this world is taken from the four kings and the little horn and given to the Son of Man, the Adversary and his angels are cast from heaven. The Adversary will then have no dominion, no authority to rule over living things any longer. And the great authority that the Adversary will claim (see Rev 13:2, 4) comes from usurping the authority that has been given to the Lamb of God; i.e., comes from claiming to be the returning Messiah. Therefore, the Adversary will require all who would buy and sell to bear the tattoo of the cross, the mark of death—
Beginning 1261 days after the Second Passover, the Adversary, cast to earth and coming as a roaring lion to devour whomever he can, will represent in reality the merchants and money lenders in Herod’s temple, with all who come to the Adversary to buy and sell taking upon themselves the spiritually lifeless state of natural Israelites of the second temple … once the temple as the earthly body of Christ (from John 2:21) was destroyed and raised up after three days as the still-earthly Body of Christ [the Christian Church in this world — 1 Cor 3:16–17; 2 Cor 6:16], Herod’s temple ceased to be of significance to Christendom. Unfortunately, the first disciples did not well understand that they, as the Body of Christ, were the temple of God. This was a revelation that Paul received, but even Paul did not comprehend the significance of the revelation.
When the holy ones are the temple of God, the temple moves with the holy ones. Wherever two or three are assembled in the name of Christ, Christ Jesus is there (Matt 18:20). And that is where the temple of God is geographically located. Thus, when Peter and John entered Herod’s temple, they as the temple of God took the temple inside the temple, which was an uncomfortable fit and good cause for the arrest of the apostles, who should have stayed away from Herod’s temple as John the Baptist apparently understood. The Apostles should also have preached Christ in the wilderness, but they desperately wanted their earthly brethren to be saved so they went where their brothers-according-to-the-flesh assembled to hear the word of the Lord read.
And James, the brother of John, was killed with the sword (Acts 12:2) … to live by the sword is to die by the sword: Jesus said to Peter after Peter had lopped off the ear of the servant of the high priest, “‘Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword’” (Matt 26:52).
Will the person who doesn’t pick up the sword also die by the sword?
In the 16th-Century, Catholic Christians and Reform Christians drowned Anabaptists, who had taken up adult baptism, or Believers’ baptism, in a cruel application of, to live by the sword is to die by the sword.
If James, the brother of John, had not been preaching Christ Jesus in the temple of the unbelievers in Judea (from Rom 15:31), most likely he would not have been slain; nor would Peter have been arrested (Acts 12:3) although John the Baptist was arrested and beheaded while preaching repentance in the wilderness. But when the unbelievers in Judea sought to kill Jesus for healing the man on the Sabbath day, Jesus went about in Galilee and would not return to Judea (John 7:1) except to provoke the unbelievers so that they would kill Him as the selected Passover Lamb of God.
To enter into an idol’s temple and proclaim the kingdom of God is a surefire means to get oneself killed. Today, to enter into a synagogue or a mosque and preach Christ Jesus is a certain means of getting oneself thrown out. Likewise, to enter into a Catholic church or an Evangelical church and preach obedience to God will get oneself evicted. But there is no love in entering an idol’s temple and proclaiming the mysteries of God. There is no love in entering the assembly of a deviant Sabbatarian sect and preaching the things of God.
The Sabbatarian Christian who enters a synagogue of rabbinical Judaism and opens his or her mouth deserves whatever befalls the Christian; for the Sabbatarian Christian took privileged knowledge into the synagogue and cast that privileged knowledge at the feet of unbelievers. Likewise, the Sabbatarian Christian who understands the mysteries of God has no business entering the fellowships of other Sabbatarians who do not yet understand the mysteries of God … what can a Believer learn from an unbeliever about the mysteries of God? Or what can a Sabbatarian with understanding learn from Sabbatarians that continue in the ignorance of Ellen G. White or Andrew Dugger or Herbert W. Armstrong?
Those Christians who are strong in their obedience to God need to bear those who are not strong, meaning that the Sabbatarian Christian who is not strong should be welcomed into the fellowships of those who are strong, but the Sabbatarian who is strong should stay out of the congregations of those Christians who are not strong: the strong who are to bear the failings of those who are not strong cannot bear these failings in failed fellowships, but in their own fellowships. Therefore the strong are to welcome Gentile converts, with these converts most often coming from denominations within greater Christendom.
The strong are not be become the weak through adoption of the heresies of the weak, but are to remain strong in obedience, strong in belief/faith, strong in dedication, strong in understanding. They are to employ wisdom when entering the temples of idols or the congregations of unbelieving Christians, and they are to respect but not condone the unbelief of the pious, meaning that to avoid disputes they need to separate themselves from unbelievers, even from unbelieving Christians as well as from Sabbatarians without spiritual understanding.
It really is easy to preach repentance, to condemn what should be condemned, to condemn unbelief; but it is not so easy to welcome unbelievers into the fellowships of those who are strong in belief. A gulf exists between unbelieving Christians and believing Christians, with this gulf narrow in width but as deep as the Abyss … when I logged on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula in the mid 1970s, we joked about Alaskan creeks that were one inch wide and twelve feet deep, a physical impossibility. What we joked about was breaking through the matted tangle of roots that floated on a nearly bottomless layer of muskeg: we could operate a Cat or a skidder on this vegetative mat as long as we didn’t spin a tire or a track. There was no mud, no creek visible. But once we broke through, the piece of equipment would seem to drop into a muddy hole from which extraction was usually exceedingly difficult.
The gulf that separates believing Christians from unbelieving Christians is hidden by a thin mat of shared doctrines. A believing Christian can tread carefully across this thin mat, but cannot figuratively pull a turn of logs across. Unbelieving Christians have to, of their own accord, cross to the solid ground upon which believing Christians stand in their fellowships.
For as long as the Adversary remains the prince of this world—for as long as spiritual Babylon stands—those disciples who are of God will be marked by obedience, with this marking most often seen in Sabbath observance. But when the reality of the temple curtain being rent from top to bottom occurs, which happened when Jesus died (Matt 27:51), the way into the Holy of holies will be open to everyone, meaning that the Holy Spirit [pneuma hagion] will be poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28). Every person alive will be filled-with and empowered by the divine breath of God [pneuma Theon]. All of humankind will be the firstborn sons of God. A person will then only have to endure to the end to be saved (Matt 24;13), but “enduring” will mean not taking upon the person the mark of the beast, which in turn will mean that the person cannot buy and sell (Rev 13:16–18). So enduring to the end means living as the temple of God without buying and selling. For today’s Christians, enduring means standing on the foundation Paul laid and as a pillar reaching up to support the endtime harvest of God.
Today, there are not many voices speaking the words of Christ Jesus—
When the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man and the Holy Spirit is poured out on all flesh (again, Joel 2:28), then—not before then—the sons and daughters of Israel shall prophesy, old men shall dream dreams and young men shall see visions. Then, many will speak for God. No difference will exist between those who speak for God and those who are of the Son of Man, the ruler of this world. Those who speak for God will need no mark; for all who do not take upon themselves the tattoo of the cross will be of God.
When the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man, then and not before then, every person can speak the words of the Most High God—and the Remnant (from Rev 12:17) shall be witnesses to the third part of humankind (from Zech 13:9) as the two witnesses were to Israel into the Affliction.
Many Christians want to now speak for the Father and the Son, but these “many” have not been called to speak and should, therefore, remain silent, learning from the Bridegroom that they will never marry if they do not remain silent.
The Father and the Son are certainly able to speak to humankind through more than one person at a time, as evidenced by the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and by the epistles of James, Peter, John, Paul. But the Father and the Son waited until all of the other first apostles were long dead before giving to John the “revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him to show to His servants” (Rev 1:1), with John then being the brother and partner of endtime disciples in the Affliction, the Kingdom, and the Endurance (v. 9), thereby having the Father and the Son “speak” to endtime disciple through only one man, one voice, not through many.
The Apostle Paul laid the foundation for the house of God (1 Cor 3:10–11), the temple that will be measured in heavenly Jerusalem when the Affliction begins (see Rev 11:1–2). This foundation is Christ Jesus, and no other foundation can be laid. Thus, it is Christ that is measured at the Second Passover liberation of Israel, with outer courts of Christ being given over to spiritual Gentiles for forty-two months, the 1260 days of the two witnesses’ ministry, with the time unit “forty-two months” disclosing that this temple is in heaven [i.e., that portion of heaven that is in the Abyss] and not here on earth where the time unit “1260 days” pertains to the same period. The holy city of Jerusalem is not the dusty and dirty city of earthly Jerusalem, where buildings remain pockmarked by bullets, but the glorious [after resurrection of the saints] Bride of Christ (Rev 21:2, 9–10).
Today, engaging theological rabble with their many words of knowledge does no good: all of those things that typify Christian evangelism—when no apparent authority exists within Christianity—is too much like attempting to engage a corpse in conversation, the epitome of folly …
The strong in obedience are also the strong in faith, in belief. They have an obligation not to go to the weak, but to bear the failings of the weak when those disciples who are not strong come to them. And those Sabbatarian Christians today who believe that they are strong in faith yet who will not bear the failings of other Sabbatarian Christians who come to them delude themselves: they are to welcome one another as Christ Jesus welcomed them (Rom 15:7). If they will not, then those things that happened to 1st-Century disciples in Jerusalem will happen to them.
* * *
"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."