February 15, 2013 ©Homer Kizer
Commentary — From the Margins
Seeing is Believing?
Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, "Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? And here He is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to Him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where He comes from." So Jesus proclaimed, as He taught in the temple, "You know me, and you know where I come from? But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and Him you do not know. I know Him, for I come from Him, and He sent me." So they were seeking to arrest Him, but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. Yet many of the people believed in Him. They said, "When the Christ appears, will He do more signs than this man has done?" (John 7:25–31)
A century and a half ago, Seventh Day Adventists sent a colony to the then small town of Battle Creek, Michigan, to establish the Western Health Reform Institute (1866) to cure degenerate Americans of “hog guzzling,” dyspepsia and all sort of vices. John Harvey Kellogg turned this health institute into the Battle Creek Sanatorium, and Kellogg set about devising cures for so-called common ills of the day, two of which (constipation and masturbation) he believed were related to the same dietary deficiency: a lack of fiber in the diet — and that is why cold breakfast cereal is so important in the American diet.
What people individually and collectively will accept as “true” has kept conmen and hucksters eating well for centuries. What Christians will accept as true is even more fantastical. And I understand the desire to believe what isn’t logical and isn’t even in Scripture …
Pardon the interruption, but what exactly is hog guzzling? The consumption of pork? Eating a pork chop? Sausage and bacon for breakfast?
Dad moved the family from northern Indiana to Boring, Oregon, when I was nine years old. Pork went from being cheap to being expensive, as did sliced bread. So Mom began to bake all of our bread, and we ate beef instead of pork. Breakfasts were typically pancakes and eggs. And after Dad died two years later, Mom remarried, married Lyle Squier, a Seventh Day Adventist. That was the end of pork ever entering the house. We certainly were not guilty of hog guzzling, whatever that is.
Christians are to keep the Law inwardly, which will then have hands and body also keeping the Law. And when the person keeps the Law because it is what the person believes is the right thing to do, the person does not seek to cheat such as turning around quickly in the shower on Yom Kipporim to “accidently” get water in one’s mouth. … Christians are to be holy as God is holy (1 Pet 1:15–16), with the citation Peter quoted coming from Leviticus 11:45. Christians do not eat unclean meats because they will be defiled if they do so, the reason outwardly circumcised Israel doesn’t eat unclean meats. Christians of the Church of God do not eat unclean meats for “health” reasons, the reason Seventh Day Adventists do not eat clean meats. Rather, the Church of God doesn’t eat unclean meats so that individually and collectively, the Church will be holy as God is holy, with the shunning of unclean meats signifying that a mental and a physical separation exists between common humanity and those human persons who have been born of God and have living inner selves.
Christians—Seventh Day Adventists as an example—can do the right thing for the wrong reason, but when the right thing is done for the wrong reason, doing the thing whatever it is doesn’t benefit the person. It is the reason why a person does or doesn’t do whatever that is of importance to God.
Of itself, keeping the Law doesn’t benefit a person, the point Paul sought to make in his epistle to the Galatians. Why the person keeps the Law is what’s important—and if the person keeps the Law because the person feels an inner compulsion to do so, then the person had better be about keeping the Law.
Now, how does all of this relate to the previous sections of this Commentary: the homosexual individual will tell you that he or she feels compelled to be with someone of the same sex, this compulsion being one of many differing manifestations of having a debased mind, not exactly what homosexual individuals want to be told.
Christians are to have genuine love for the individual who feels drawn to be with a person of the same sex, and Christians need to have a better understanding of why Christian outreach ministries to the gay and lesbians communities are usually failures—and why gay individuals who have tried to go “straight” find it so difficult. … Unless the Father draws a person from this world by actually giving to the person the earnest of His spirit, His breath, thereby giving life to the inner self of the person, the person who struggles with a debased mind usually loses the struggle. The person doesn’t wrestle with God, but with the Adversary who controls the thoughts and desires of the person. At best, the person trades one manifestation of a debased mind for another, and usually no trade is made. Thus, the lesbian woman “marries” another woman, the two not becoming one flesh but remaining two persons who have received debased minds because the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob gave to humanity debased minds when the women’s ancestors chose to worship the creation (things that have been made) rather than the Creator. And these two women by marrying each other continue in the tradition of worshiping the flesh, their flesh, rather than the Father and the Son.
Christians are to love gay and lesbian individuals, but they are not to condone for even a moment the acts of debased minds. They are to understand these acts, and they are to have compassion on those individuals who have taken worship of the flesh into bedrooms and boardrooms, and they are to command these individuals to repent, to cease surrendering to their dishonorable passions, but they are also to understand that when the world is baptized into life when the holy spirit is poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28; Matt 3:11), no person who hasn’t or doesn’t mark him or herself for death through accepting the tattoo of the cross will have a debased mind. Thus, the probability that there will be repentant homosexual individuals included in the harvest of firstfruits is high—and equally true, the probability that Christians who today detest gays will be numbered among the firstfruits is not as high.
It is an intellectual copout to mumble the oft repeated, Love the sinner, hate the sin … does the Christian who hates the sin, hate attending worship services on Sunday morning? He or she should hate him or herself when attending Sunday services that are an affront to God. The Sabbath is not the day after the Sabbath. So with God, is there a hierarchy of sin, of unbelief? A hierarchy that holds transgression of the Commandments to be of less importance than defilement of the flesh? No, there is not. And while a homosexual individual today has little control over the dishonorable passions that drive the person into relationships that ought not be, the Christian who deliberately rests/worships on Sunday has effective control of his or her emotions, passions, and has made a conscious decision to rebel against God.
What Christian today cannot open his or her Bible to Romans and read,
For God shows no partiality. For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. (Rom 2:11–13 emphasis and double emphasis added)
And what does the Law say about the Sabbath:
Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as [YHWH] 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. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and [YHWH] your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore [YHWH] your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. (Deut 5:12–15)
The Sabbath is a weekly memorial commemorating Israel’s exodus from Egypt, with Christians representing the circumcised-of-heart nation of Israel and with Egypt serving as the shadow and copy of sin: the Sabbath is the weekly memorial of Christ Jesus delivering Christians from the shackles of sin, through “canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands” (Col 2:14), thereby setting us “free in Christ Jesus [not outside of Christ] from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:2). Christ hasn’t set anyone free from the Law Moses received from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but from the law of sin and death. He nailed this law of sin and death to the cross (Col 2:15), and disciples are not to let former friends, neighbors, family members “pass judgment on [us] in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or new moon or a Sabbath” that are shadows of Christ (vv. 16–17).
Nowhere in Scripture is the weekly Sabbath not the seventh day of a seven day cycle that goes back to when the Lord gave manna to Israel in the wilderness (Ex chap 16) … it doesn’t matter what Israel did in Egypt or what Abraham did or what Noah did. The Sabbath is a memorial to Israel’s exodus from Egypt and by extension to Christians’ exodus from sin if these Christians—set free from the law of sin and death—have not returned to sin and thereby begun to worship the creation [the sun] rather than the Creator; for when Christians either never leave sin (the reality seen within greater Christendom) or return to sin by worshiping the physical (such as how a name is pronounced), God gives to Christians who “knew God” (Rom 1:21) foolish hearts darkened by claiming to be wise. And when repentance doesn’t quickly occur, He returns them to having debased minds.
The gay or lesbian’s desire to be with a person of the same sex is not a production of the person’s biology, but the production of a debased mind. But so too is the good Christian’s propensity to gossip—
There are sins that seem worse than others, with sexual debasement heading this list, having taken over the top spot when Israel ceased burning with fire their firstborns. But the death penalty is attached to all transgressions of the commandments, with stealing to feed oneself or one’s family being a possible exception (the thief was to serve as a slave the one from whom he stole). The death penalty also pertains to having no love for neighbor and brother. And among the hierarchy of the Sabbatarian Churches of God, there is little love for those who are defiled; there is no tolerance of dissent; there is little understanding of the mysteries of God or of why they know to keep the commandments when their neighbors remain content to worship God on Sunday mornings.
What magnificent thing has the Sabbatarian disciple done that would cause God to choose him or her to be a son? Who is this disciple, or who is the person that pastors a Church of God fellowship of a half dozen in the shadow of the Tetons? What are his qualifications for stewardship? How does he serve the least in his fellowship? Does he split wood for the widow? Does he bring groceries to her door? Or does he judge falsely, condemning the widow who was once condemned by Nazi storm troopers? And does he differ in any way from the pastor of a Church of God fellowship in Seattle, or San Francisco, where gays have migrated to escape the silent condemnation of good Christians across America’s heartland, or in the Inland Empire, or perhaps along the Wasatch Front. Will not the pastor of a Church of God fellowship in San Francisco prevent a person from coming among them until the person demonstrates in some way that he or she is not a closet homosexual? Certainly he will. He will require the person to complete two years of directed study of Scripture before the person can cross the theshhold and enter the room where Sabbath services are held weekly. He will make Sabbath fellowship a thing to be earned, and he will keep figurative hold of the person’s throat with the threat of disfellowshiping, thereby forcing the person to toe the line if the person wants saved. Yet, the pastor can neither give the spirit of God to the person nor take the spirit from the person. All the pastor can do is condemn himself to the lake of fire by placing barriers in front of an infant son of God, barriers originating in a imputed hierarchy of sin that has some sins being apparently unforgiveable. And it is here where what Paul writes, where what is recorded in Scripture must be tested.
No person who openly practices homosexuality is of God or has any relationship with God or has any fellowship with the assembly of Christ Jesus. But then, no person who lives with another person as man and wife without the benefit of marriage has any fellowship with genuinely born-of-God disciples. This is not to say that when the live-in situation is corrected by marrying that full fellowship should not be immediately extended to the couple; this is to also say that the same criterion pertains to the person who had openly practiced homosexuality. When the defect is corrected outwardly, fellowship is to be extended. The defect will not be corrected inwardly until consider spiritual growth has occurred. The person will wrestle with his or her debased nature until this debased nature is overcome, defeated. And as deceitful Jacob wrestled with the Lord all night, the debased nature of a person drawn from this world by the Father will remain a formidable opponent until the Second Passover liberation of Israel (for the Christian), or until the world is baptized in spirit when the kingdom of this world is taken from the Adversary and given to the Son of Man (for the Gentile).
Jacob wrestled with the Lord until dawn. The person who has dishonorable passions but is not a Christian and who today loathes Christians will wrestle with these passions until dawn of the third day of the “P” creation account. Then, without the person’s permission, his or her present mindset (his or her passion for a person like themselves) will be taken from the person and a new nature, a new mind with new passions, new desire, will be given to the person that can remember what its was that he or she used to think and the person will be appalled by those things the person did in the flesh in the past.
But most Christians who today worship on Sunday will continue to worship on Sunday after the Affliction begins and will thereby take sin back inside the person when no sacrifice for sin remains, thus committing blasphemy against the holy spirit, an unpardonable offense. The Christian who should have been the first to enter the kingdom will be last if the Christian is even there. Most likely, the Christian will be part of the Apostasy (the great falling away) and will be spiritually as Israel was physically in the wilderness of Paran (Num chap 14).
In the hierarch of sin, those sins on top are the easiest for everyone to see their sinfulness, and in a way, are the easiest to defeat because their sinfulness is apparent. The sin that is the most difficult to overcome is the one that doesn’t seem to be a sin at all, such as worshiping God on Sunday.
Consider the visual image of a man who consciously adopts the appearance and role of a woman in society, or vice versa, of a woman who adopts the role and appearance of a man—neither does so for reasons of sexual gratification, which can be obtained through temporary role-playing, but does so because the person’s “nature” is at odds with the person’s biology, with the person’s biology standing in the way of the person’s nature which has been “received” at sometime in the person’s past … again, consider the appearance of the person: what does he or she see in a mirror? Doesn’t the person see the lie that is being portrayed? Of course the person does, a reason for gender reassignments. And while the male homosexual who insists that he was born the way he is, that he certainly wouldn’t choose to be “gay,” speaks what he believes to be true but what isn’t the truth. If this person had no “nature,” no inner spirit to give animation to the flesh, the person would have no physical life. But with receipt of the breath [spirit] of life comes a bundled package of spirits appropriate for the life given to the person. It is this “bundle” that causes a biologically male person to be attracted to a biologically female person; thus, damage to this bundle some time after receipt—regardless of whether this damage was intentional or unintentional—results in the person having a debased mind, that is a mind no longer based on the intentions of God to reproduce offspring for Himself.
Because the man who dresses as a woman and who has adopted the ways of a woman in this society can upset his hormone balance and can grow breasts and receive widened hips (likewise, a woman by taking male hormones can grow visible facial hair and greater muscle mass), the question of what shall the man do if called by God emerges … if a man is not to attempt to remove the evidence of circumcision, then should the man seek to undo what he has done to himself through hormone manipulation?
Pause and think for a moment outside of the traditional Christian box. A Christian is neither male nor female: the inner self is spirit as angels are. The fleshly body is not spirit and as such can never enter the kingdom (1 Cor 15:50); so how much importance should be placed on the fleshly body? The manipulation of hormones that now causes the male to appear as a female, or vice versa, was placing importance on the flesh, considerable importance. The male body builder who has gone in the opposite direction and has overly developed his body so as to be more attractive to other men has placed great importance on the flesh. And whereas the body builder could enter a Church of God fellowship by saying nothing about the dishonorable passions that he feels, the man who lives as a woman could not. But before God there is no distinction between them. It is the Christian ministry that places importance in the flesh that makes a distinction between them.
There is a trap that the Adversary will bring against Church of God fellowships (if he hasn’t already done so), and this trap pertains to attaching importance to things and to the flesh … most Christians understand that it is always wrong to judge a Christian by his or her acquisition of assets—although knowing it is wrong to do so, such judgments are made daily. It is equally wrong to judge by the appearance of the flesh. This means that it is always wrong to judge a person by skin color, by physique, by gender. It would be an affront to God to demand to see if a man was outwardly circumcised, something that was done when the temple stood. It would be equally wrong to demand to see the genitalia of a woman to see if she is really a woman before admitting her into fellowship. If she looks like a woman and acts like a woman, she is—for Christian purposes—a woman, with this being an issue that will come up when a person who has undergone gender reassignment seeks to enter a fellowship. She is to be accorded acceptance based on who he or she is when coming into fellowship. And her responsibility will be to maintain this gender role, which was a choice she made before God drew her from this world, or in the Endurance, before God poured out His spirit on all flesh.
This person would be guilty of fraud if he or she married another person; so the person is to remain celibate, able to be friends with the opposite gender but not marriage potential. But most importantly, no demand should be placed on the person to return to the gender the person was born with—to do so would be placing importance on the flesh that cannot be supported when the Law moves from being written on two tablets of stone to being written on hearts and placed in minds.
Those things Moses wrote that pertained to ancient Israel pertain today to the inner self that is neither male nor female. The sacrifices were added as part of Israel receiving a debased mind when Israel knew God but demanded that Aaron cast for Israel gold calves; so the killing of sheep or goats as a sin offering for Israel equates to the inner self of the circumcised-of-heart Israelite causing the body to pay a penalty for unbelief, not in a masochistic way, but through repentance of wrong doing that will hurt for a while without any physical action taken.
How much would it hurt for a person who has undergone gender reassignment to be called by God and wonder whether he or she would ever be really accepted by God as a son?
When God has given to people debased minds through consigning all to disobedience (the evidence of possessing a debased mind) as sons of disobedience, then God more so than human persons understands the inner turmoil that will occur in the person who isn’t how he or she was born when He calls the person—and when the spirit is poured out on all flesh, the person will be called if the person still lives.
How will we receive such a person? Will we even know? Should we know? Probably not.
What Paul writes about humanity being without excuse for its baseness because knowing God through the things that have been made (Rom 1:18–20) was the reality that all humanity experienced when initially created seemingly gives permission to Christians to categorize and stigmatize transgender persons when this was not Paul’s intention. The context for Paul’s introduction of God giving to those who claim to be wise debased minds is the introduction of inner and outer selves, with Israel being the nation circumcised of heart, not circumcised in the flesh (Rom 2:25–29). Paul sought to hammer home the point that if a person places importance on the things that have been made rather than on the invisible spiritual things, God will figuratively rub a person’s nose in the things of the flesh through giving these persons up to dishonorable passions. God does this, not the Adversary. God delivers human persons into the conclusion of futile thinking and foolish hearts, this conclusion having women lay with women and men with men.
Using a tangible example, the Sabbatarian Christian who believes that he or she has discovered new truth and who now uses bastardized Hebrew linguistic icons for the name of spiritual entities has become futile in his or her thinking. If this Christian does not immediately turn around and take importance away from physical utterances, God will—because the person made the flesh [the tongue] important—give to the person a mind focused only on physical things (not necessarily sexual things). And once God gives to this person a mind dedicated to the physical things of this world, this person can never again comprehend the spiritual things of God. This person does not and indeed cannot understand the things of God. This person will worship things that have been made, not the Father and the Son, even though the person will sincerely believe that he or she worships God.
Because humanity, when knowing God, did not worship the invisible deity (known through the things that have been made) but chose instead to worship what could be seen with eyes, heard with eyes, and felt with hands, God gave to human persons a debased mind, a mind no longer based upon one man and one woman forming one “person” that encompassed both individuals. God did not permit otherwise intelligent men and women to continue to know Him. Rather, He took that desire that should have been for worshiping Him and redirected them to cause these intelligent men and woman to desire sexual relations with a person like themselves. He delivered them over to defilement through nearly overwhelming desires of the flesh so that—for the sake of example—a man will put at risk wife, family, career, reputation for a few moments of perverted gratification, only to loath himself until the desire returns with its overwhelming urgency to again succumb to the perversion, again and again and again, taking increasing risks of exposure until finally he betrays himself and is figuratively able to come out of the closet, openly acknowledging the things the man has been practicing, thereby giving his approval to the things he has done and that others like himself do.
So the question for endtime Christendom is, which came first, the debased mind or the things of which the debased mind approves? For as long as a person seeks to hide his or her deviancy, the person knows and understands that the behavior is “wrong.” This person retains within him or herself the possibility of repentance. But once the person approves of the deeds of a debased mind, the possibility for repentance no longer exists until the Endurance of Jesus, when all of the world will be baptized into life. But there is a huge unknown that will be addressed shortly.
The question that would be asked by a person of the Rainbow Coalition is why shouldn’t a woman lay with another woman as she might lay with a man, and why shouldn’t a man lay with a man as he might lay with a woman—and the Christian answer is that in the beginning, the “nature” God instilled in Man was desire for the Woman, and vice versa, as the Man and the Woman collectively (two being “one”) represented the nature of YHWH, Israel’s Elohim, with the deity in the position of Helpmate [the Woman] having created all things physical (John 1:3) as all human life comes through the Woman called Eve. For a man to lay with another man is analogous to the man worshiping another God other than YHWH, the God of living ones as well as the God of dead ones. For a woman to lay with a woman is analogous to the woman worshiping another God other than the Father. And in this world, with its prince being the Adversary, there is no requirement (if the person has no interest in salvation) for a person, male or female, to worship the Father and the Son. The person is free to worship whomever or whatever he or she chooses, regardless of whether the object of worship is a thing or not-a-thing, such as the Adversary. But a man worshiping the Adversary is analogous to a man laying with another man, or a woman laying with another woman; for homosexuality is a “sign” of a debased mind, even when other signs such as murder, envy, strife, deceit, maliciousness are absent—or even when another tier of signs are absent: gossiping, slandering, hating God, being insolent, being haughty, being boastful, inventing evil, disobeying parents, being foolish, being faithless, being heartless, being ruthless.
The well dressed, respectful, apparently intelligent person who stands beside you in a conference room or in line with you as you wait to board an airliner, can easily conceal a debased mind through the appearance of respectability—and those who judge by appearances will never know the thoughts, the desires that occur in the person beside whom they stand.
The struggles of the still closeted homosexual are to this person a stumbling block; whereas the homosexual who has come out of the closet is a stumbling block for most of Christendom. Too often the Christian utters a thoughtless remark like, God hates gays, to the person who has the same potential to be a son of God as anyone else … why would God hate the person to whose ancestors He delivered debased minds? Why would He condemn the person He has consigned to disobedience so that He can have mercy on all (again Rom 11:32)? Is it not His intention to free sinners from their long consignment to unbelief? And who will be more appreciative of being liberated from a debased mind, the person who has wrestled with questions of sexual identity, or the self-righteous Christian?
Again, the Christian who refuses to keep the commandments of God also has a debased mind, with Sunday worship being a “sign” of the Christian’s defilement.
The unknown mentioned above is about what happens to gender bending males and females during the Affliction when wholesale recruitment from Islam into Arian Christendom occurs. Will Islam converts in a renewed zeal for God seek out and kill those whom they believe defile Christianity? This is a real possibility. There may not be any male persons who haven’t proved their manliness left when the single kingdom of this world is taken from the Adversary and given to the Son of Man.
In moving from physical to spiritual, “signs” are no longer earthquakes and eclipses and typhoons, but the things human persons do seemingly naturally, such as tune-in to the Super Bowl, with more viewers watching Beyonce strut her stuff during the halftime show than watched the game. … This endtime culture of technology flaunts Scripture, which, sadly, mocks God, not something I thought I would write when I was called to reread prophecy more than a decade ago. Yes, Scripture as received by endtime Christians actually mocks God through what has been included and what has been exluded—
How is it that a woman is to pray with her head covered; yet not speak? How is it that a woman is not to exercise authority over a man when among baptized Christians there is neither male nor female? What prevents a baptized woman as a son of God from speaking the words of Christ Jesus? Did the Father not draw this woman from the world as he drew male disciples? Did He not also give to the woman the earnest of His spirit? Does she not also have life in the heavenly realm? So doesn’t 1st Timothy mock the Father when its author, which wasn’t the Apostle Paul despite internal claims to the contrary, adds to the revelation Paul received and effectively alienated half of the human population by returning women to second-class status; to non-citizen status?
It is appropriate for a woman to have long hair and for a wife to cover her hair with fabric, but it isn’t fitting to silence a son of God by prohibiting her from speaking. This would be analogous to silencing the Creator of all things physical, telling Yah that He as the Helpmate to the God, the God of dead ones, cannot speak to Moses or to the prophets. How do you think that would go over with the Father, whose words Yah spoke?
An endtime Christian born of God through receiving a second breath of life needs to exercise the breath of life dwelling with the Christian—and using the Christian’s brain is part of exercising the spirit …
If a thing doesn’t make sense, the thing doesn’t make sense. If someone tells you the purple robe Roman soldiers draped around Jesus when mocking Him (Mark 15:17; John 19:2, 5) was really a scarlet [red] robe (Matt 27:28), you should have questions concerning what is going on. Even in the 1st-Century, purple, a royal color, could not be confused and said to be red. Purple was purple and red was red.
If God spoke to you about a third person, God’s discourse would be in third person, such as when the Father spoke to John the Baptist: “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately He went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on Him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased’” (Matt 3:16–17). But if God spoke directly to you, God’s discourse would be in second person such as when God spoke to Jesus: “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when He came up out of the water, immediately He saw the heavens being torn open and the spirit descending [into] Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased’” (Mark 1:9–11).
Same incident—Jesus wasn’t baptized many times—but different audiences. Why?
Well, I spent six months writing over a half million words in five books exploring discrepancies in canonical texts. However, I didn’t cite the works of others—there are no others except for Paul and John who have trekked as far toward heavenly Jerusalem as I have, not a boast, and not a claim I make lightly or without valid reason.
Spiritually dense but intellectually honest scholars have demonstrated that, in particular, canonical New Testament texts cannot be literally true, but must necessarily be the compositions of men, inspired or otherwise. For New Testament texts do not agree among themselves about much of anything if the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts are not first quarantined, and if the Gospel of Matthew is not read symbolically (as prophecy, not biography). Even the writings of Moses have been mutilated, with the foremost modification being the transformation of an always unpronounced plural linguistic determinative into being a singular noun. Hence, Scripture truly mocks God through inclusion of secular texts, modification of texts, omission of genealogies … as received by endtime disciples, Scripture is not the infallible word of God, but the reproduction of texts valued by 2nd and 3rd Century Jews and Christians. However, in John’s Gospel, Jesus says,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But He who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To Him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear His voice, and He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all His own, He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what He was saying to them. So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know My own and my own know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father." There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, "He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?" Others said, "These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?" (John 10:1–21 emphasis and double emphasis added)
Note, the Gatekeeper is not the Shepherd—and the Shepherd owns the sheep, not the Gatekeeper, not the one who opens the door for the Shepherd, with Christ Jesus being the Good Shepherd, the one who has laid His life down for His sheep.
Plus, the above quotation must be placed in the context of what Jesus said at Passover the year before He was crucified:
So the Jews grumbled about him, because He said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?" Jesus answered them, "Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—not that anyone has seen the Father except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. …” (John 6:41–45 emphasis added)
Thus, the context for Jesus saying that His sheep hear His voice is that only those who have heard and learned from the Father, the Gatekeeper, can come to Jesus. No one else can come to Jesus. Only those whom the Father has drawn from this world will hear the voice of Jesus; only those whom Jesus will raise up on the last day can come to Him; only those who are foreknown and predestined by the Father are able to hear the voice and believe the words of Christ Jesus, the prerequisite for being numbered among the Elect.
The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son (John 5:22); so the person drawn from this world by the Father and given the earnest of the spirit is raised from death (v. 21) through being foreknown and predestined, but not judged, thereby creating the context for Jesus saying, “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life’” (v. 24). This person will also be called, justified, and glorified, all without coming under judgment for this person judges him or herself, examining the person’s inner self (1 Cor 11:28) before eating the Passover, eating the broken bread of the Lamb of God’s body and drinking the blessed cup representing the Lamb’s blood, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sin (Matt 26:28).
The Passover covenant, mediated by Moses and made with the people of Israel on the day when Israel left Egypt, is made new on the night when Jesus was taken, the 14th day of the first month. But the blessed cup being poured out for the forgiveness of sin implies that there is a memory of the sins that have been forgiven; that the sins of Israel are still remembered but are “covered” by the blood of the Lamb of God; that this Passover covenant made new with Christ Jesus as its mediator instead of Moses IS NOT the New Covenant about which the prophet Jeremiah spoke (Jer 31:31–34), or the New Covenant that the author of Hebrews referenced (Heb 8:8–12), a covenant made with a people filled-with and empowered by the spirit of God, a covenant that moves “sin” from being transgression of the Law with hands or body (1 John 3:4) to being simple unbelief (Rom 14:32), with the English words <faith> and <belief> both coming from the Koine Greek word <pisteuo> (Strong’s #G4100/4102).
Until the Law [the Torah] is written on hearts and placed within the Israelite, the Law remains outside the person; remains inscribed on two tablets of stone, or in a scroll, or in a book. When outside of the person, the Law must be read with eyes or heard with ears—and the people of Israel were exceedingly dull of hearing and dim of sight, even in the days of Pharisaical zeal for the Law … keeping the Law requires Israel to love the stranger within the midst of the people of Israel, for Israel was a stranger in Egypt.
There are major decisions to be made as Scripture is reread, rethought, re-conceptualized. How the Church addresses women and the role women are to play in the Church needs to be rethought. How the Church receives individuals that manifest in their lives evidence of debased minds needs to be rethought. But perhaps of most importance is realizing that a new determination of what is and what isn’t canonical Scripture has to be made, but cannot be made until there is greater understanding of why obviously spurious texts such as the Book of Acts, a Sophist novel, were initially included.
Jesus said He had sheep in other folds … regardless of in which fold a disciple as a “sheep” dwells—as a disciple in the 1st-Century or as a disciple in the 21st-Century—the disciple will listen to Jesus’ voice, knowing or recognizing Jesus’ voice not through the hearing of ears but by the inner groaning of the spirit that cuts through the chatter of dissenting voices, each allegedly speaking for God when all speak each other’s words differently. The more honest of these many voices refuses to speak anything not found in Scripture. The dishonest give voice to the heresies of the past. And honest or dishonest, the din of these Christian voices drowns out the thin silence (from 1 Kings 19:12) that is the voice of the Lord.
The explication of Scripture prevents the words of Christ Jesus from being heard, what the Apostle Paul understood in his disputing with the Circumcision Factor that had Scripture on its side …
Find where an Israelite doesn’t have to be circumcised to eat of the Passover. Compare,
And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "This is the statute of the Passover: no foreigner shall eat of it, but every slave that is bought for money may eat of it after you have circumcised him. No foreigner or hired servant may eat of it. It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it. There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you." All the people of Israel did just as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron. And on that very day the Lord brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts. (Ex 12:43–51 emphasis added)
And say to the rebellious house, to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: O house of Israel, enough of all your abominations, in admitting foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, to be in my sanctuary, profaning my temple, when you offer to me my food, the fat and the blood. You have broken my covenant, in addition to all your abominations. … Thus says the Lord God: No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the people of Israel, shall enter my sanctuary. (Ezek 44:6–7, 9 emphasis added)
Did the Circumcision Factor not have Scripture on its side? Do Gentile converts not have to be circumcised to eat the Passover? Was not Paul wrong in his dispute with the Circumcision Faction?
Paul was not wrong; for the Circumcision Faction placed importance on the flesh, on the shadow and not on the substance.
If outwardly circumcised Israel was as an adulterous woman who had been put away by the Lord (Ezek chap 23); if the Lord promises destruction to all those circumcised merely in the flesh (Jer 9:25); if the house of Judah was uncircumcised (v. 26), then the rhetorical question Paul asked needs to be asked again: “What is the value of circumcision?” (Rom 3:1) … are the oracles of God today entrusted to Jews? No, they are not; for do not the oracles of God include the words of the man Christ Jesus? How have Jews preserved the words of Jesus? Have His words not been carried across centuries by the hands of Greeks, with these Greeks adding to His words a Trojan Horse, a false pony that seemed as harmless as a painted horse on a merry-go-round. So endtime disciples, returning to Paul’s question can ask, What advantage has the Greek? Much in every way. To begin with, the Greeks were entrusted with canonization of New Testament texts. So what if some were unfaithful … “There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek” (Rom 2:9) — unfaithfulness belongs to the Jew first, then to the Greek, the Gentile, the uncircumcised of heart, with the scribblings of the author of Luke’s Gospel and of the Book of Acts being a painted pony. Thus, it is here where a Christian today can see beforehand why and how most of Christendom will come to hate the two endtime witnesses, foreshadowed by Moses and Aaron.
Christ Jesus has two or more folds of sheep that will be merged into one fold, one flock through glorification. But before receiving glorified bodies from the Son at His return, these two flocks are NOT one fold: endtime disciples are not 1st-Century disciples. The 21st-Century is not the 1st-Century. What Paul writes that doesn’t withstand the test of time—such as, “For there is no authority except from God” (Rom 13:1)—separates the 1st-Century flock from the 21st-Century flock more so than the passing of two millennia.
Jesus’ disciples in the 1st-Century could not know of a 21st-Century flock; for Jesus’ first disciples expected His return as the Christ in their lifetimes …
However, endtime disciples cannot “not-know” about nuclear bombs and the possible species-extinction of Homo sapiens, whose large brains and bipedal locamotion have unlocked the mystery of atoms and freed hands to build bombs so that mad men have near god-like power, as well as the authority to kill beyond borders and from flying drones—authority that comes from the Adversary as the still-reigning prince of this world, with all authority in this present world coming through the Adversary, regardless of whether that authority is constitutionally elected or held by force of arms or by ordination within a theological hierarchy … the pastor whose intentions are honorable but whose paycheck comes from a denominational headquarters is under the authority of the Adversary and is not free to teach the mysteries of God to his or her parishioners, and permit the pastor who doubts this preach what Paul wrote: “There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek.” Neither Jew nor Greek will be going to heaven when either dies physically. Only the inner self [the soul, psuche] of the person truly born of God through receiving a second breath of life, the breath of God [pneuma Theou] in the breath of Christ [pneuma Christou], will sleep under the heavenly altar until the fullness of their brothers are killed (die) as they were.
In this age and prior to the Second Passover liberation of Israel, the nation to be circumcised of heart, genuine spiritual birth is rare. It occurs, but not often. For this present age belongs to the Adversary as his demonstration time to show that self-governance (that is, governance by the governed) is not only possible, but preferable to governance by God, what the elders of Israel had determined for themselves in the days of Samuel, the judge:
Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, "Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations." But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." And Samuel prayed to [YHWH]. And [YHWH] said to Samuel, "Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them." (1 Sam 8:4–9)
The people of Israel rejected not only the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as their king, but also the God of dead ones: the man Saul, born to a Benjaminite of wealth, and a man who towered in height over his peers, was anointed by Samuel as king of Israel. But wealth and physical stature doesn’t equate to integrity or courage—
The elders of Israel who rejected the Lord as their king, trading the Lord for a man like themselves, are analogous to the founding fathers of the United States of America, who rejected King George as their king, trading presumed royalty for a common man such as themselves. And as the elders of Israel were initially pleased with Saul as their king (see 1 Sam 11:12), the rebellious British Colonials were happy with George Washington as President.
After Samuel introduced the people of Israel to a reluctant King Saul, “Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the kingship, and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the Lord” (1 Sam 10:25) … the book Samuel wrote would have been analogous to the Constitution of the United States of America, both being documents limiting rights, leaving to the people un-enumerated rights (e.g., the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution). And the rights and duties of Israel’s kings made the king the representative of all Israel before the Lord: as the king went, so went Israel. When the king was righteous, Israel was counted as righteous. When the king was unrighteous, the people of Israel were defiled. Thus, the king of Israel functioned as the “head” of Israel, with the people of Israel functioning as the “body” of Israel, with this becoming apparent in the days of Nebuchadnezzar when the poorest of the people of Israel, left in the Land Beyond the River by the king of Babylon to tend its fields, went down into Egypt, where the women told Jeremiah:
Then all the men who knew that their wives had made offerings to other gods, and all the women who stood by, a great assembly, all the people who lived in Pathros in the land of Egypt, answered Jeremiah: "As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you. But we will do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we did, both we and our fathers, our kings and our officials, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no disaster. But since we left off making offerings to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine." And the women said, "When we made offerings to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, was it without our husbands' approval that we made cakes for her bearing her image and poured out drink offerings to her?" (Jer 44:15–19 emphasis added)
The women of Israel functioned as the bodies of their husbands, doing those things that their husbands desired as if they were the hands of their husbands, hands kneading the leavened dough of their spring-time offerings to the queen of heaven.
Today, self-identified Christians bake “hot cross” buns as their offering to the queen of heaven, with these little leavened breads usually made during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, thereby separating greater Christendom from Judaism and from the Church of God.
But it is the concept of Christ Jesus having two or more folds of sheep (of disciples) where my interests lay; for King Saul was ruled by the people of Israel, not the other way around—actually Saul was ruled by his fear of the people of Israel. Saul behaved as if he were running for reelection as president of the United States …
In the 1st-Century, there was no authority in the Church of God other than the Lord as the Head of the Church, analogous to the Lord being king of Israel in the days of the judges. But once the Second Passover occurs, there will be authority in the Church, that of the two witnesses who will be as Moses and Aaron were—and Moses had authority over Israel, with Moses functioning as the “head” of the people of Israel.
In his genuine epistles, the Apostle Paul exercised no claim of hierarchal authority over fellowships in Corinth, throughout Galatia, or at Thessalonica. He claimed no authority over the fellowship at Rome. His epistles answered questions and corrected errors being taught by words [Galatians] or by example [Peter at Antioch]. His epistle to the Romans is a theological treatise that lays the foundation for the movement of the circumcision of record from being physical [being of the flesh] to being spiritual [being of the heart, the inner self]. As such, Matthew’s Gospel could not have been written before Paul’s revelation was widely circulated and understood; for if the writing of Matthew’s Gospel had preceded Paul’s epistles, it wouldn’t have been Paul who had the revelation that the physical things of this world reveal and precede the spiritual things of God, with Mark’s Gospel disclosing the physical things that pertained to Jesus.
The New Testament is not a closed canon: it will not be a closed canon until Israel dwells in the Millennium. And right now, using history as a yardstick and honesty as a plumb bob, a work needs to be done that is greater than any that has gone before …
The one who condemns sin will be considered “old fashioned,” not with-it, while within our cultural midst and just beyond our shores lies an enemy that bides its time, an enemy that would return Americans to the 7th-Century, when women were non-persons and tribal warfare ruled, not fake television reality shows, the lives of every person.
The Super Bowl commercial featuring the late Paul Harvey’s tribute to farmers was a refreshing breath of sanity in a world gone mad.
Indeed, the world is mad, both insane and angry. But the psychology of the world reflects the mindset of the Adversary, whose time is short, who sees his grand demonstration of self-governance descending into chaos, with democracy having succumbed to gridlock of a type characterized by rebellion in the heavenly realm. America’s representational democracy is coming to an end as seen in the red/blue presidential election maps, where the majority isn’t a majority but a minority ruled by a Bosnewash elect and a double handful of cities that function as voter sows delivering litter after litter of gilts feeding at the troughs of social services … too harsh? No, not when American presidential elections are decided by a dozen states in which most Americans live in hives as colonies of workers and drones feeding breeding queens.
That Church of God pastor with a view of the Tetons might, if he takes care of his health, eating as Kellogg would have him eat, live long enough to realize just how deceived he has been. Then again, he might not live that long. Either way, he will not receive the reward he expects for he has no love for his brothers in Christ. And he typifies many pastors in Church of God fellowships as the first to reach heavenly Jerusalem shall be the last to enter.
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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."