March 25, 2016 ©Homer Kizer
Commentary — From the Margins
The Downhill Flow
And He who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also He said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death." (Rev 21:5–8 emphasis added)
The cowardly, the faithless are as murderers, idolaters: they shall not inherit the Kingdom of God, but rather, the cowardly shall perish in the lake of fire, according to John’s vision … now, what should be the concern of Christians within greater Christendom: how reliable is John’s vision? And yes, this is the question every Christian must ask him or herself; for if John’s vision is reliable—Lutherans and Roman Catholics have serious questions about whether the vision is—then the Christian who has not grown in grace and knowledge since the apostasy of the 4th-Century CE is spiritually a coward, a person unwilling to challenge Christians observing something as universally accepted as Easter, and as abominable to God as Easter.
None of the first disciples observed Easter. Paul didn’t observe Easter. Even pagan Greek converts to the Jesus Movement didn’t observe Easter in the 1st-Century—
At the Council of Nicea (ca 325 CE), Emperor Constantine, having little or no understanding of Scripture, said that Christ Jesus was not crucified two times so Christians shouldn’t observe the Jewish Passover, but needed a new day to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ; that the 300 assembled bishops of the then 1,800 Christian bishops (numbers are rounded) had the opportunity to establish a new tradition for Christians, a tradition of men, of these men, each a dog of the Emperor.
It is true that by the 4th-Century CE, Judaism, demonstrating its lack of spiritual understanding and its rebellion against Moses, was seemingly observing the Passover on the 15th and 16th days of the first month of a calculated calendar. The logic for twice observing the Passover each year was rooted in Pharisees keeping the Wave Sheaf Offering on the 16th day of the first month, thereby causing the Feast of Weeks [Shavuot] to be kept on a fixed calendar date: the 6th of Siven, the third month.
But by the 4th-Century CE, Judaism had lost knowledge of the significance of the two grain harvests of the Promised Land: they recognized one grain harvest, the wheat harvest, the language [Hebrew] used by Moses not specific enough to distinguish barley from wheat, both being grains planted about the same time in the fall of the year but ripened by separate rains, the early and the latter (Deut 11:14) and therefore harvested in differing months … the ignorance of Judaism stems from the exile of Jews to Babylon, then the loss of liberty in the Roman Empire under Hadrian: the people were driven from the land, ceased being farmers, and became city dwellers. Therefore, the people lost the distinction between the barley harvest ripened by the early rains, and the wheat harvest ripened by the later rains, these two grain harvests represented in the annual High Sabbath calendar which Jews during the period of the Great Assembly came to believe pertained to one earthly harvest of God, themselves, upon the coming of the Messiah. But there is and always has been (since Moses) one set of High Sabbaths that pertained-to, or focused on the early barley harvest [the harvest of firstfruits], and a latter set of High Sabbaths that focused on the main crop wheat harvest that was gathered into barns just before the Feast of Tabernacles, with these two foci [the barley and the wheat harvest] representing the complete harvest of the earth, sans those persons represented by oil and wine (cf. Rev 6:6; Deut 11:14); those persons “processed” before the Second Passover liberation of a second Israel and therefore born of spirit as fruit born out of season.
There is one harvest of humanity represented by the annual High Sabbaths as given by Moses, but this one “harvest” is composed of two harvests, an early and a late harvest—the first at the beginning of the Millennium, and the second at the end of the Millennium, with the Millennium represented by the Feast of Weeks in the holy day calendar. Therefore, the Last Great Day, the high Sabbath following the seven days of Sukkoth, represented the main crop [wheat] harvest of humanity whereas the Feast of Weeks (the high Sabbath that concludes the spring High Sabbaths) represents the harvest of firstfruits [the barley harvest], the Resurrection that occurs upon the coming of the Messiah and the beginning of the Millennium.
As I channel surfed while driving through North Dakota and Montana, I didn’t hear a single Christian broadcaster that knew any of the preceding paragraph—and I didn’t hear any that was interested in learning more than they thought they already knew. What I heard was a gaggle of cowards unwilling to confront the biblical text and wrestle it into submission; for again, the Bible isn’t the word of God: Christ Jesus is (John 1:1). And the disciple genuinely born of spirit needs to confront the text of the Bible, which wasn’t written by one author, but was redacted with one mindset, that of the Adversary.
Rush Limbaugh once referred to Senator Harry Reed as a “pit Yorkie,” the Yorkshire Terrier developed to catch and kill rats in woolen mills, with Harry Reed being a particularly vicious killer but a miniature of what an American Senator ought to be. … Where is the Christian pastor with the courage of a Yorkshire Terrier? Where is the Christian pastor that will chase the rats that crept into greater Christendom long before the Council of Nicea? Where is the Christian pastor that will stand up to Emperor Constantine, baptized by Eusebius of Nicomedia, an Arian Christian, shortly before his death? Where is the Christian pastor that will take on Constantine, a dead man? Who among all Christian theologians has courage enough to wrestle with ghosts? Certainly none that had FM broadcasts I heard; for I heard a succession of cowards as theologically vile as the rats in the dump at Dutch Harbor were in 1979, 1980.
Someone needs to wind-up Harry Reed, reprogram him, and sic him on Christian cowards. Then maybe he would have a legacy other than having lied about Mitt Romney’s taxes from the Senate floor.
Although 4th-Century CE Judaism knew that Pentecost [Christendom’s naming of the Feast of Weeks] had dual significance spiritually, the elders of Judaism didn’t know what the High Day symbol [Shavuot] represented. Therefore, Judaism, even today, perceives the symbol as a referent for the wheat harvest in the Land of Israel as well as the giving of the Torah … but the Torah wasn’t given on the 6th day of the third month: there is no scriptural connection between the giving of the Torah and the Feast of Weeks.
Moses ascended the Mountain of God when Israel came to the wilderness of Sinai on the 1st-day of the third month—and this mountain of God couldn’t have been so high that Moses, an old man who needed help keeping his hands raised in Israel’s defeat of Amalek (Ex chap 17), had difficulty scaling the mountain, around which Israel camped. The narrative has Moses seemingly on this same day being told by the Lord,
Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel. (Ex 19:3–6)
Moses returned down the mountain, told the elders of the people what the Lord said, and the elders agreed on behalf of the people to do all that the Lord commanded (Ex 19:8). And Moses went back up the mountain and told the Lord what the elders said. All of this on one narrative day.
And Moses reported the words of the people to the LORD. And the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever." When Moses told the words of the people to the LORD, the LORD said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, 'Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. No hand shall touch him, but he shall be stoned or shot; whether beast or man, he shall not live.' When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain." (Ex 19:8–13)
Regardless of how high the Mountain of the Lord was/is, Moses had to be tired when he “went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people; and they washed their garments. And he said to the people, ‘Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman’” (Ex 19-14–15).
The received narrative doesn’t permit enough precision to say with certainty which day of the third month, the Lord spoke the Ten Living words to Moses in a voice loud enough for the people to overhear and to be intimidated …
Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, "You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die." Moses said to the people, "Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin." The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was. (Ex 20:18–21)
Apparently, the people of Israel were not as fearful of the Lord as they claimed … in less than fifty days, the people broke this first Sinai Covenant that was to be an everlasting covenant, with the ending of this covenant coming with the shedding of blood as had its ratification (cf. Ex 24:3-8; 32:15–28) been by the shedding of blood.
Linguistically, an earthly covenant extends from one cutting or shedding to blood, to the next cutting or shedding of blood, with the blood that ends the covenant being of greater symbolic worth than the blood that ratified the covenant. Hence this first Sinai Covenant was ratified by the blood of oxen (Ex 24:4), but ended with the shedding of Israelite, specifically, Levite blood:
[Moses] said to them, "Thus says the LORD God of Israel, 'Put your sword on your side each of you, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill his brother and his companion and his neighbor.'" And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell. And Moses said, "Today you have been ordained for the service of the LORD, each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that He might bestow a blessing upon you this day." (Ex 32:27–29)
Rabbinical Judaism today as a Pharisee did in the days of the Second Temple teaches that the First Sinai Covenant (Ex chap 20–24) remains in effect when this is simply not the case. What remains in effect is the Second Sinai Covenant (Ex chap 34) that was ratified by a better promise than the shedding of blood; that was ratified by Moses entering into the presence of God, signified by the glory that shone from Moses’ face for the remainder of his life.
The author of Hebrews writes,
Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you." And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. (Heb 9:18–23 emphasis added)
The First Sinai Covenant was a copy of a heavenly thing, with this “heavenly thing” being the Second Sinai Covenant that would have those keeping this second covenant entering into the presence of God as Moses entered into the presence of the Lord … the Second Sinai Covenant pertains to a second nation of Israel that “grows” from Moses, the nation of Israel that the Lord told Moses that He would make from him, Moses:
And the LORD said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you." (Ex 32:9–10)
And the LORD said to Moses, "How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they." (Num 14:11-12)
Moses as a symbol forms a type of Christ Jesus, as did Abraham. Thus, the nation that the Lord said He would make from Moses, who entered into the presence of the Lord (albeit seeing only the backside of the Lord), will also enter into the presence of the Most High God, meaning that this nation will be truly born of spirit through the indwelling of the spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou] in the spirit of the person [to pneuma tou ’anthropou]. This now represents this second nation of Israel’s separation from natural Israel that cannot have life in the presence of the Most High, the meaning of not kindling a fire on the Sabbath [fire representing life; the Sabbath representing the presence of God] (Ex 35:3).
In order for Moses to have received the first Sinai Covenant on the 6th day of the third month, time would have to be inserted into the biblical narrative—not an unreasonable amount of time, but not “time” included in the text. The giving of the Law as expressed in the Torah would have necessarily remained in effect even after the First Sinai Covenant ceased to exist with Israel’s rebellion against the Lord in the gold calf rebellion (Ex chap 32). Therefore, for rabbinical Judaism to teach today, as Pharisees of the Second Temple did, that the Feast of Weeks represents jointly the wheat harvest of Judea and the giving of the Law, the actual teaching of Judaism discloses the spiritual separation of natural Israel from God, with this separation producing the aberrant practice of observing the Passover on two days, the 15th and 16th of the first month.
Emperor Constantine, presiding over 300 bishops—all that responded to his invitation to come at his expense to the seaside town—needed to end Christendom’s internal schisms … his solution, abandon Moses which will symbolically be abandoning Christ Jesus; abandoning Christ Jesus by not keeping the Passover, not observing the Wave Sheaf Offering, not realizing that with the giving of the spirit on the day of the Wave Sheaf Offering the harvest of divine firstfruits began, with this harvest to conclude by the Feast of Weeks [Pentecost]. Therefore, the entirety of greater Christendom’s teaching about Easter and the Resurrection is flawed.
More needs to be said about Easter; so there will be a fourth part to this Commentary.
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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."