May 10, 2008 ©Homer
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Commentary — From the Margins
Chapter Four: A New War Scroll
In February 2004, in the Shaffer
As long as disciples put on Christ in the privacy of prayer, the environment in which the disciples live cannot, or should not prevent the disciples from worshiping God in truth and sincerity. Certainly disciples will be inconvenienced and occasionally persecuted for their beliefs, but in Western Europe and North America especially, martyrdom is rare. Disciples are not really ‘“hated by all for [Jesus’] name’s sake’” (Matt 10:22). Rather, disciples are ridiculed, or grudgingly tolerated, but disciples are not hated (John 15:18–21). This, however, doesn’t apply to Arab nations where disciples are hated by many Muslims, and yes, Chinese dissenters are persecuted by that nation’s government. But Jesus’ use of hated is more inclusive than simply being hated in so-called non-Christian nations. His use of the signifier will have disciples being hated wherever they live, with no exception being made for so-called Christian nations. So something happens between today and the end of the age. This something is the Passover liberation of the Church from bondage to sin.
For a moment imagine the morning after scenario in a typical American suburb, in your neighborhood. An unexplainable worldwide catastrophe has occurred. The nation is in national grieving. The President, a firstborn, is dead. Many Congressmen are dead. Businessmen and civic leaders are dead. Every house along your cul-de-sac has lost a loved one. Some houses lost both parents and a child. Yet, you lost no one. And for a little while it is hard to make the connection between when you took the Passover a month ago and what happened during the night. Your neighbors know you are odd, but nice, the expression most often used to describe Sabbath-keeping Christians. However, when they find out that you experienced no deaths in your household, they become enraged— and they will. The nation is in shambles. The city is devastated. The neighborhood in is mourning. And everything is as normal as it can be with you. Now ask yourself, will you suddenly be hated for Christ’s name sake when your neighbors realize why you haven’t experienced a lost loved one? Will you be hated because you openly keep the Sabbath? Will you be hated because you are different? You know you will be. And this is the scenario that is sure to happen. There will be no bodily rapture of loveless Evangelicals to heaven. All of the Church left alive will be left behind. But a third of the Church will have died, but locally the number is higher because the Christians in your neighborhood refused to cover their lawlessness by taking the Cup when and how Jesus established the example. They determined for themselves when they would take the sacraments. And as spiritual Gentiles, they left themselves uncovered when the death angels passed through spiritual Babylon.
But you have been liberated from sin. You find that you can truthfully answer questions you would have fudged on before. Physical addictions are gone. Whatever you want to do, you can. You are free— and so is your neighbor who lost a wife and a son, and so is another neighbor who lost a daughter, and another neighbor who lost a husband and her son, and another neighbor who lives alone with thirteen cats. They want to know why all of the death, why did so many die, why would God allow this to happened. And you have the answers to their questions. So while some of your neighbors want to burn you out for being a witch, others want you to teach them— or at least, want you to answer questions for them.
What will you teach them? What will you say to them? Can you answer their questions about what will happen next? The answers are in Scripture.
You as an endtime son of light might not today realize that this is who you are, but the morning after the second Passover liberation of Israel, you will be thrust suddenly into the local, regional, national spotlight. And for seven months, amid the chaos and carnage following the death of a third of humanity, you and other sons of light will teach all who will listen to live within the laws of God. And Christians of all denominational flavors will agree with you. Then come the emissaries of the lawless one, ministers of righteousness, demanding to know by what authority do you and the other sons of light teach the word of God. Who ordained you? Who gave you the right to teach? And the Acts of the Apostles — the Book of Acts — forms the visible shadow of the endtime ministry of the sons of light during the first three and half years of the Tribulation.
The endtime course of history was sealed and held secret in the visions of Daniel. The unsealing of these prophecies doesn’t occur, didn’t occur until knowledge increased— and the unsealing occurs because of the increase in knowledge. The prophecies were sealed by their shadows. This sealing occurred through the prophecies being given prior to the occurrence of their visible, physical shadows, which then appeared as the fulfillment of the prophecies. The unsealing occurred when the Father through His Breath caused disciples to realize how the prophecies of Daniel were sealed. The prophecies, themselves, are about invisible phenomena in the timeless supra-dimensional realm of heaven, phenomena impossible for humans to realize or observe. An example of such a phenomenon is recorded in the beginning of the Book of Job. Neither Job nor his friends could know that Satan had brought the calamity upon Job, and that YHWH had allowed the calamity to happen as a test of Job. As a result Job protests his innocence, and demands an accounting— and finally realizes that for all of his obedience, he had never really known YHWH.
Endtime prophecies are given by Christ Jesus to His friends so they will be aware of why events are occurring, and what will happen next. His friends cannot yet observe Satan appearing before the Most High, but Christ Jesus can tell His friends about Satan’s judgment, and about the breaking of Satan’s federation of fallen angels. These phenomena cast shadows across the mental topography of humanity, and they have filtering-down effects, which, taken together, will seem to be earlier and latter physical fulfillment of the prophecies.
Shakespeare in King Lear links the tempest or storm occurring outside in the natural world with the tempest or madness occurring in the old king’s mind. So the concept of a mental landscape similar to the physical landscape is not a novel idea, but one dating back at least to the English Renaissance. And the Apostle Paul wrote that the prince of the power of the air is the spirit at work in the sons of disobedience (Eph 2:2). This prince of the power of the air is Satan, who is the spiritual king of Babylon (Isa 14:4–21) and who reigns over the mental landscape of the children of wrath. These children live by the passions of the flesh in which dwells the law of sin and death. The desires of the body and of the mind are united in these children of wrath (Eph 2:3) rather than at war with each other.
Human nature is governed by the price of the power of the air— and in the sons of disobedience or lawlessness, a person sees Satan’s nature. And what a person sees in these sons of disobedience isn’t usually outward evil, but a reigning self-interest that does good some of the time while always being hostile to God (Rom 8:7). And it is over this broken topography of lawlessness and self-interest that the shadows of phenomena in the supra-dimensional realm of heaven are cast. These shadows animate the mental landscape of the human beings upon whom the shadows lie. Instead of the madness in old King Lear’s mind appearing as a frightful thunderstorm over physical hills, the warring between the spiritual king of Greece and the spiritual princes of Persia in the supernal realm casts a shadow that causes Alexander to counterattack Xerxes. And comprehending the relationship between heavenly events and a physical world, or better said, how events in the timeless realm of heaven effect spiritually lifeless creatures inside time is the spiritual wisdom required to unseal the prophecies of Daniel. The abiding characteristics of shadows are that they exist in one less dimension than their reality, and that they are lifeless. Inside of time, shadows are linked to their reality, for both have to exist at the same moment, but not so when the reality is in a timeless supra-dimensional realm. Time is a fluid, and the passage of time is like the slow flow of a stream. A shadow of a spiritual reality lies across the mental topography of the sons of disobedience as the shadow of a fisherman lies on the surface of a stream. This shadow of the spiritual reality imparts motivation or action to the spiritually lifeless sons of disobedience in a manner akin to the Breath of God empowering born-from-above disciples. Although this comparison isn’t perfect, it is close enough for a disciple to understand, when the disciple considers how his or her mindset has physically changed with spiritual growth in grace and knowledge, how the shadow of the spiritual princes of Persia could cause Xerxes to attack Greece. Or how the shadow of the king of Greece flying out of the west to attack the spiritual sar of the kingdom of Persia caused Alexander to carry his fight against Persia into Afghanistan and beyond.
Again, on the occurrence of Adam’s disobedience, human beings were placed in bondage to the law of sin and death (Rom 5:12 & 7:25). This law dwells in the minds and bodies (Eph 2:3) of every person until the person receives spiritual birth. Human beings were created in the image and likeness of Elohim, but they are spiritually as Adam was physically prior to receiving the breath of life. They are spiritual corpses awaiting spiritual animation through receipt of the Breath of God. And just as a physical corpse will twitch and kick when muscles are stimulated with electrical impulses, so too will a spiritual corpse twitch and launch wars against other spiritual corpses when stimulated by the shadows of spiritual realities. These spiritual corpses remain spiritually lifeless: they only have physical life through physical breath. Yet all of the synapses are in place awaiting birth from above which will occur either prior to their physical deaths or after resurrection from physical death. The person will remain in a body of flesh, and will remain subject to destruction in the lake of fire even though the person has received spiritual life; for spiritual birth remains the two-level procedure modeled by Christ Jesus. Again, the two-level procedure is physical birth, then spiritual birth through the Holy Spirit (Matt 3:16), followed by physical death, resurrection and glorification, or receipt of a spiritual body to go with the spiritual life acquired through having the Breath of God.
The prophetic comparison of physical and spiritual is seen throughout the Bible. When God sets His hand to recover Israel a second time, He brings His holy nation out of the north country (Isa 11:11–16 & Jer 16:15), but this holy nation is no longer circumcised Israel. It is spiritual Israel, the uncircumcised children of physical Israel who have received spiritual birth. Physical Israel is a rejected nation, this rejection initially seen in the Wilderness of Sin. When all but Joshua and Caleb of the circumcised nation that left physical bondage in Egypt died in the wilderness for refusing to enter the promised land when commanded (Num 14:1–4), the circumcised nation was replaced by their uncircumcised children (Josh 5:2–7).
Circumcision returned after Israel crossed the Jordan. For the journey of Israel from Egypt to Judea through the wilderness of Sin formed the shadow of spiritual Israel’s journey from bondage to sin to glorification during the Tribulation, with the rejection of the circumcised nation that left Egypt foreshadowing the rejection of Church following the great falling away. The newly circumcised nation in the promised land, beginning with Joshua and going through Jesus’ earthly ministry, formed/forms the shadow of spiritual Israel from its inception to the yet future second Passover slaughter of uncovered firstborns. For once across the Jordan and in the promised land, the uncircumcised nation of Israel used flint knives to literally cut away foreskins. This act of circumcision foreshadowed the spiritual circumcision of hearts and minds of born again disciples. Beginning on the morrow after the weekly Sabbath during Unleavened Bread— when Jesus breathed on the ten, and when Israel under Joshua could eat the grain of the land they entered— manna ceased. Jesus identified Himself as the true bread that came down from heaven. He wasn’t again eaten (used figuratively as Jesus used the concept) by Israel until His disciples ate the bread and drank from the cup with Him at the Passover before He was taken.
The geographical promised land, through captivity, was reduced in size to the acreage of the temple mount, with born-from-above disciples now being the temple of God. So the scribes and Pharisees who tried to force their way into the kingdom of God (Luke 16:16) were foreshadowed by the circumcised nation trying to enter the promised land the day following their rejection (Num 14:39–45). They were physically turned back, as will be the endtime circumcised nation spiritually turned back. This endtime circumcised nation— rabbinical Judaism— is one of two rejected nations. It was initially rejected in the Wilderness of Sin when they were the firstborn son of YHWH (Exod 4:22), then rejected a second time when it was represented by the Pharisees. Jesus of Nazareth became the spiritual firstborn Son of the Father (Matt 2:15 & 3:17). And the circumcised nation will be rejected yet again (Rom 8:29) if they resist being grafted onto the true vine.
But the rejected scribes and Pharisees foreshadowed endtime spiritual Israel, which will also be rejected when it rebels against the Father and the Son following its liberation from bondage to sin, from the king of the South.
Circumcised Israel is the woman who gave birth to the man child who will rule the world (Rev 12:5). The physically uncircumcised children of this circumcised nation is the woman who gives birth to offspring who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus (v. 17). One woman: Israel. But the visible physical nation was unable to obtain righteousness for this nation sought its own righteousness; it sought righteousness through spiritual ignorance. It sought righteousness through the law, as if the laws of God were a lever with which this rejected nation could pry open salvation. It never perceived the relationship between physical and spiritual, a relationship that has compliance with the physical commandments being the result of desiring to live by the inner laws of God written on hearts and mind through receipt of the Holy Spirit and spiritual birth. When seeking the righteousness of God, keeping the commandments is the result of seeking this righteousness by faith. Keeping the commandments can never be the cause of righteousness. Rather, keeping the commandments produces self-righteousness. Yet every disciple pleasing to God will keep the commandments, but keep them from being ruled from the inside out rather than from the outside in.
Spiritually, north is not a compass direction. North doesn’t reference a magnetic North Pole, or the North Star, but rather, darkness. It signifies an absence of light. North is the realm of death, and Assyria is an unenlightened mental landscape within this realm. Salvation isn’t of the corruptible body. Flesh and blood will not enter heaven. And spiritual Israelites are not defined or determined by physical circumcision. Therefore, when Jesus gave the sign of Jonah as the only proof that he was the Son of Man, Jesus established another juxtaposition between physical and spiritual other than the two Commandments murder and adultery. The sign of Jonah was the three days and three nights Jonah spent in the belly of the great fish. Nineveh worshiped Dagon, the fish god. So after the great fish spewed Jonah ashore, he became the visible physical spokesman for their god, regardless of whether anyone saw him being cast ashore. And Nineveh, upon hearing the preaching of Jonah, repented.
After saying that He would give only one sign that He was the Son of Man, that sign being the sign of Jonah, Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees, ‘“The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, someone greater than Jonah is here’” (Matt 12:41). Both the men of Nineveh and the men of Judea were spiritual corpses; both would receive spiritual birth in the great White Throne Judgment, so both nations would rise up together. Thus, with Jesus’ juxtaposition of both nations, Jesus establishes a link between the men of Nineveh in Assyria and the scribes and Pharisees of Jerusalem, or more specifically, of the temple. This link allows Jonah’s three days in the belly of the fish to be the shadow of Jesus’ three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Jonah being spewed out of the belly of the fish becomes the shadow of Jesus being resurrected from death. Jonah is then told a second time to go to Nineveh, and to call out against it the message YHWH gave Jonah, this message being, ‘“Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown’” (Jon 3:4).
The language is interesting: Jonah’s warning contains no caveat. After forty days, Nineveh is sure to be overthrown. But this no-caveat message wasn’t initially delivered by Jonah. Only after being spewed out and when told a second time did Jonah deliver this no-caveat message. And since Jesus established the juxtaposition between Jonah and Himself, disciples should find the story of Jonah foreshadowing the reality that is Christ Jesus.
Before being crucified, Jesus told His disciples, ‘“I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will not longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father’” (John 16:25). His disciples thought Jesus was then speaking plainly, but this isn’t what Jesus said. That hour remained in the future. That hour had not yet come. And that hour would not come until after His disciples had received the Holy Spirit (John 20:22). Therefore, when, after being resurrected, the glorified Jesus presented Himself alive to “the apostles whom he had chosen… appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:2–3), the hour of speaking plainly came. During these forty days, Jesus speaks plainly to His disciples, just as Jonah spoke plainly to the men of Nineveh after being spewed forth. These men of Nineveh repented, and the city wasn’t overthrown for a century and a half. But after forty days of Jesus appearing to His disciples, spiritual Nineveh was overthrown. The no-caveat message was fulfilled just as Jonah prophesied. The scribes and Pharisees— the men of Judah— did not repent, and it is this nation that then represented the spiritual darkness of Assyria.
Again, the woman of Revelation chapter 12 is Israel, who goes from being the physical nation that gave birth to the man child who will rule the world to being the spiritual nation whose offspring keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. This spiritual nation was created when Jesus, the evening following His Ascension, breathed on ten of His disciples and said, “‘Receive the Holy Spirit”’ (John 20:22). But spiritual Nineveh was not yet overthrown. The weeks were being counted away. The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost is fifty days after the Wave Sheaf offering. Jesus’ Ascension to the Father is the reality of the Wave Sheaf offering, an observance that should be kept by disciples. And with the Ascension, a countdown began for the two harvests of the earth. Christ Jesus is the firstborn of the firstfruits, and the firstfruits of the maincrop harvest. The disciples who form the early barley harvest live without sin beginning with Israel’s liberation from spiritual bondage. Their crossing into the promised land, or crossing Jordan is represented by the last High Sabbath of the feast of Unleavened Bread. Then comes the countdown to the ripening of the maincrop wheat harvest, represented in the fall High Sabbaths by the Great Last Day and represented in the spring High Sabbaths by the Feast of Weeks. Again, two harvests of the earth. Both harvests are twice represented by the annual High Sabbaths: Trumpets and the Last Great Day— the second High Day of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Weeks. The details of the early barley harvest are in the spring High Sabbaths. The details of the maincrop wheat harvest are in the fall High Sabbaths. And the annual High Sabbaths taken together represents the entirety of the plan of God.
This has not been taught before in the Churches of God: the spring Holy Day season mirrors the fall Holy Day season, as revealed through the sacrifices made during the Millennium. Christ comes. The firstfruits live without sin. The firstfruits enter the promised land of glorification. Then the remainder of humanity receives the Holy Spirit and comes into judgment. The Passover corresponds to Trumpets. The first High Day of Unleavened Bread corresponds to Yom Kipporim. The second High Day of Unleavened Bread corresponds to the High Day beginning Tabernacles. Pentecost corresponds to the Last Great Day. And the early barley harvest corresponds to the maincrop wheat harvest in the same manner as the spring High Days correspond to the fall High Days. So not a large amount of Scripture is needed for much to be realized about the great White Throne Judgment.
Spiritual Nineveh’s overthrow after forty days places this overthrow of spiritual darkness in the late afternoon of the sixth day, if each week between the Ascension and Pentecost were a creation day. Christ Jesus has been sacrificed from the foundation of the earth, so the spiritual creation does, indeed, consist of seven one-thousand-year-long days. Adam was created the afternoon of the sixth physical day of creation, and he is placed in the Garden of Eden at the equivalent of forty days if the spiritual harvest of the earth were seven weeks long, from the Wave Sheaf Offering to the Feast of Weeks. Therefore the significance of the number forty is its importance in conveying the overthrow of death. Spiritual Assyria is overthrown when the last Adam, Christ Jesus, is placed in spiritual Eden, the temple of God in the form of the minds of disciples being that spiritual temple or promised land.
Spiritual Nineveh, then, becomes the spiritual darkness of the men of Judea who had the law that none of them kept (John 7:19). Nineveh was the capital of Assyria; therefore, spiritual Assyria doesn’t have geographical coordinates, but becomes the spiritually unenlightened mental topography of greater Israel, first circumcised then uncircumcised. Eventually, when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all flesh, humanity becomes the holy nation of Israel, the single great nation promised to the patriarch Abraham (Gen 12:2). So salvation is offered to the circumcised Jew first, then to the uncircumcised children, then finally to the Greek. Salvation was first offered to physically uncircumcised Israel through the second covenant mediated by Moses at Moab (Deu 29:1). It was next offered to the spiritually uncircumcised children of the physical Israelites that crossed the Jordan and were circumcised in the promised land. Ten years, approximately, passed between that first Pentecost and the baptism of Cornelius, when the model for receiving the Holy Spirit changed. But with the baptism by fire of Cornelius and his household, salvation was finally offered to uncircumcised Greeks. And in each case, the nation did not, or could not take advantage of the offer of salvation, with few exceptions.
With each offer of salvation, the timing for when a person received spiritual birth changed. Under the second covenant mediated by Moses, captivity and demonstrated obedience by a physically circumcised Israelite preceded spiritual circumcision. Baptism wasn’t needed. Obedience was. So obedience determined when this Israelite received the Holy Spirit. Judgment only came upon this Israelite after he or she, like Abraham and Sarah earlier, proved to God the person’s faithfulness.
Under the second covenant mediated by Christ Jesus, spiritual circumcision was initially offered to physically circumcised Israelites prior to demonstrated obedience. But baptism preceded this offer of the Holy Spirit, thereby making baptism the marker within circumcised Israel between who had asked for judgment by receiving the Holy Spirit and who had not.
But with the calling of Cornelius, spiritual circumcision was offered without the necessity of physical circumcision. A person no longer needed to previously be an Israelite. A person was made a spiritual Israelite through receipt of the Holy Spirit— and the only distinction between the uncircumcised disciple and his unconverted brother was possession of the Holy Spirit. Baptism now followed the person being made a spiritual Israelite; baptism occurred when the spiritual Israelite knew to ask for judgment to come upon him or herself.
However, without a physical marker to separate a spiritual Israelite from his Gentile brother, both ended up in fellowship. And the early Church did what Nineveh did following the city’s repentance.
After a century and a half, physical Nineveh no longer believed Jonah. The men of Nineveh returned to their evil ways. As a result Assyria was defeated and captured by Babylon. However, spiritual Nineveh [physical Jerusalem] and by extension spiritual Assyria never repented, but became the lost tribes of Israel. They have disappeared into the spiritual flotsam of history. They only exist physically.
The above needs repeating for many Sabbath-keepers place considerable importance upon the modern nation of Israel having a large nuclear arsenal. Circumcised Israel — the modern nation of Israel — ceased being the holy nation of God when the men of Judea killed on Calvary the Covenantor of the covenant by which they were made that holy nation. The Sinai Covenant was utterly abolished (Eph 2:15) with the death of the Covenantor (Rom 7:1–4). So when Christ Jesus was resurrected and ascended to the Father, He was free to marry another. And this is what is seen in both Jonah’s prophecy and in the narrative detail of Christ appearing to his disciples for forty days. He married the second Eve, with the wedding ceremony to be celebrated upon His return as the Messiah. And by marrying the second Eve, He overthrew spiritual darkness. So all endtime prophecies about Israel do not pertain to the circumcised nation, but pertain to the greater Christian Church. There is only one woman in Revelation chapter 12; there is only one Israel. And it isn’t the endtime circumcised nation. Therefore, every prophecy pundit that looks for endtime prophecies to be fulfilled by the modern nation of Israel will be disappointed, as they should be. These pundits are spiritual novices.
But Jesus in His earthly ministry does send the Twelve to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. In His endtime ministry immediately prior to the second Passover, He will again send His disciples to the lost sheep of spiritual Israel. So these sheep are primarily Christian denominations, but the physically lost sheep is rabbinical Judaism. He will also send disciples to these lost sheep, and from these sheep come the 144,000.
After the glorified Jesus appeared to His disciples for forty days, spiritual Nineveh was overthrown. Jesus didn’t go to a geographical location to overthrow spiritual Nineveh. He commanded His disciples to remain in Jerusalem. And again is seen the juxtaposition of Jerusalem with Nineveh, for He appeared to His disciples in the city. The overthrow of spiritual darkness was occurring under the noses of the scribes and Pharisees. The second Eve or spiritual Israel was being enlightened, but enlightenment was only in the Church. The remainder of Jerusalem remained in spiritual darkness as the scribes and the Pharisees were being invisibly overthrown.
In the historic shadow, physical Assyria was overthrown by Babylon. Jerusalem was overthrown by Roman legions. So by Jesus linking the men of Nineveh with the men of Judea, Jesus established the juxtaposition of Rome being Babylon, a connection frequently expressed in the 1st-Century Church. Therefore, when the Church, as the second Eve, swallowed the serpent’s lie that she would not die just as the first Eve had swallowed the same lie, the Church joined the men of Israel in Babylonian captivity. But this invisible spiritual captivity doesn’t become readily apparent until the Roman Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicea ca. 325 C.E. determined what sound doctrine for the Church would be.
The greater Christian Church at Nicea formally surrendered to the king of Babylon. She became a captive nation, a vassal nation of spiritual Babylon. As a spiritually captive nation, she has worked for the king of Babylon as his servant ever since. The Church needs long overdue release from spiritual bondage, but she has grown comfortable in her lofty position of being the favored concubine of the king.
When God sets His hand to recover endtime Israel from Assyria, He brings a spiritual nation out of a spiritual land, which is a mindset or a mental landscape. This mindset is lawlessness, or sin, the wages of which is death. So the physical nation of Assyria forms the visible shadow of spiritual death. And a thread within the biblical tapestry needs pulled. Beginning a trail of circuitous logic, the historic nation of Assyria took the northern kingdom of the house of Israel (Samaria) captive. They displaced Samaria, and replanted these peoples along the southern shore of the Caspian Sea, from where they migrated east and west. This northern kingdom of Israel becomes the lost ten tribes, which were never truly lost, but these tribes disappear from visible history because they gave up the Sabbath. And this northern kingdom’s disappearance into history foreshadowed the disappearance of Arian Christianity into history.
When the Church as spiritual Israel wandered away from God, neglecting His laws and profaning His Sabbaths as the circumcised nation had (Ezek chptr 20), a schism developed that can be roughly summarized as Ephesus and typology versus Alexandria and allegory. Unfortunately schisms are seldom over one issue, and this one wasn’t. These issues have been kept alive for nearly two millennia as the Church divided into a northern house and a southern house. These two houses became the spiritual reality of Oholah and Oholibah (Ezek chptr 23), for the Church, or the Body of Christ becomes the endtime covering for saints after liberation from sin. Both names incorporate the concept of covering, or tent, with the received Breath or Spirit of God in their names’ / ah / radicals.
Oholah and Oholibah played the prostitute until they were worn out by their whoring— the word that came to Ezekiel concerning Oholah and Oholibah was explanation for why the house of Israel and the house of Judah went into national captivity. But that explanation had already been given in chapter 16. The repetition of explanation coupled with deconstruction of these two female names have the unfaithfulness of these two ancient houses of circumcised Israel foreshadowing a north/south division of the Church, a division that resulted in Arian Christians sacking trinitarian Rome.
Historic Babylon took the southern kingdom of Israel captive, and spiritual Babylon formally took the Church captive at the Council of Nicea. But all that remained of the Church was a remnant of spiritual Israel, for as the Church grew geographically, it shrank spiritually— and it is spiritual growth that matters, not geographical or physical. And spiritual growth had peaked when spiritual Nineveh was overthrown. Spiritual growth didn’t peak with the writings of Paul, who says of his writings that they are milk (1 Cor 3:1–3).
As long as there exist jealousy and strife and disciples behaving in a human way, the Church is not ready for solid food. And how does the Church behave today? It is filled with jealousy and strife and disciples behaving in a human way as evidenced by the animosity that exists between the Universal and Orthodox churches, between the Universal church and her protesting daughters, and between the Universal, Orthodox and Protestant churches and the Arian churches, especially the Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons. Each denies that the others are of Christ. Each spends more time and resources attempting to convert disciples in another church than it spends trying to convert the unchurched. Each, by its actions and its expenditures, demonstrates that it is not ready for spiritual meat. So what is seen when surveying the panorama of mental landscapes within the greater Church is great expanse, but a dry, barren flat land of no depth, no peaks, and little worth. And this is the landscape of Babylon.
After the house of Samaria was taken captive by Assyria, and after Nebuchadnezzar takes most of the house of Judah to Babylon, the prophet Ezekiel identifies Jerusalem as Israel (Ezek 12:9–10, 19, 24, 27), for Jerusalem was really all that was left of Israel in the promised land. Jesus then limits the men of Judea to the scribes and the Pharisees; thus, the geography of the former Garden of Eden had shrunk to the confines of the Jerusalem temple. The moneychangers represent the economic system of the world, or spiritual Babylon. Therefore, when Jesus drives the moneychangers out of the temple, He casts Babylon out of the promised land. And when spiritual Israel became the holy nation of God, the individual disciple became the temple of God.
Returning now to the Church as covering, Christians of every flavor do not entertain the idea that they could look to God like Oholah and Oholibah. The idea is truly inconceivable. For, as in the case of the Evangelical Church, the saints perceive themselves to be truly saintly, so righteous that God couldn’t possibly subject them to the woes of the Tribulation. As a blanket statement to which exceptions exist, Christians do not see themselves as the Father and the Son see them. They do not see themselves because they do not take the Passover as Jesus established the example; they do not examine themselves before taking the Passover. Therefore, the liberation of saints from bondage to sin is absolutely essential in the ripening of the firstfruits. When the inner person is no longer in subjection to the law of sin that dwells in the disciple’s flesh, the inner person will be fully visible through the actions of the person. Who the person is spiritually will become who the person is physically. The invisible laws of God written on the heart and minds of disciples will become visible through how the person lives— and what will be seen is Ohalah and Oholibah. The Arian sects and denominations are Oholah; the trinitarian denominations are Oholibah. And protest today will do no good. Time will be the verifier of the disciple’s identification— God, through Ezekiel, has already described what will be seen when the mental landscapes of greater Israel become observable by the saints themselves.
Following liberation from bondage to lawlessness, both God and angels will easily see how many of His laws the disciple has erased from the disciple’s heart and mind. God and angels will also see if the disciple quickly writes in the erased commandment[s]. And the most insidious doctrine that exists in the greater Church today is the teaching that makes the most sense physically.
After forty days, the glorified Jesus overturned spiritual Nineveh, but spiritual darkness has a way of not staying overturned as ancient Samaria learned. Historic Assyria took the northern kingdom captive, and spiritual Assyria took Arian Christianity captive. When Christ sets His hand to recover Israel a second time, He brings Israel out from Assyria— and the innocence of the language conveys the effectiveness of the most insidious doctrine, the storage of one year’s supply of food.
The leading Arian denomination today is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints… once, when teaching a Composition course in Paducah, Kentucky, I was asked by a student if I thought Mormons were Christians. The question took me by surprise, for there was no context from which the question might logically emerge. And the immediacy of my answer also surprised me. I said, “Southern Baptists might not recognize Mormons as Christians, but the Apostle Paul wouldn’t recognize Southern Baptists as Christians.” I then spent the remainder of the class discussing hypocrisy, and relating the example of inadvertently leaving an opened tool box sitting overnight on the endgate of my pickup along a city street in a small L.D.S. town in southeast Idaho, and having nobody take anything. I asked if that could be done in Paducah. The universal answer was, No. The follow-up question was, “Then who is living by the laws of God?”
The question remains, Who lives by the laws of God? When disciples are liberated from bondage to lawlessness, who among all disciples will live by the laws of God? And one of the laws pertains to the Sabbath— the Apostle Paul kept the Sabbath every week of his life, and he taught converts to live as spiritual Judeans, not as spiritual Greeks. To say otherwise is to misunderstand or misteach Paul.
The lawless one, or man of perdition will attempt to change times and the law (Dan 7:25). This lawless one comes by the activity of Satan, with lying signs and wonders. And the coming of this lawless one is closely linked to the great rebellion of the Church (2 Thess 2:3); he is the catalyst for the great rebellion. And what will be seen is the endtime ascendancy of Arian Christianity as the king of the North wars with the king of the South in an actual return of bloodshed between Arian and trinitarian Christianity.
Because the Prophet said to store food, the L.D.S. Church will be in a good position to physically survive the chaotic conditions immediately following the second Passover liberation of Israel. They will not see themselves as Oholah, but will find their belief in the office of the Prophet validated. Therefore, they will retain their dogma at a time when Evangelicals are disillusioned. The entire Evangelical Church that is left alive will be left behind— and will be left hungry, as will be the Roman Church. Food can now be leveraged into discipleship. So when the lawless one, an Arian Christian, comes, the northern house of spiritual Israel will lead the way into lawlessness, all the while appearing righteous. A person will be able to leave an open toolbox overnight alongside a city street. But the Sabbath will be officially changed to Sunday, as the Church decides for itself what is good and what is evil. It will fail the test commandment. Thus, Christ will have to recover Israel from Assyria upon His return.
The good news that must be proclaimed to the world as a witness to all nations before the end of the age comes is that all who endure to the end shall be saved (Matt 24:13–14). The good news isn’t a message about the soon-coming millennial reign of Christ Jesus, nor is it a message about the miracles Jesus performed. It is Jesus’ words about patient endurance. And the sons of light will take these words about patient endurance to a physically hungry and spiritually broken Church, with the exception of the sect that has stored enough food to ride out the uncertainty. It will be difficult to tell a person who has lost loved ones and is now hungry that salvation will come from enduring, from having faith in God, not from accepting a bowl of soup and a copy of the Book of Mormon. And God and angels will, indeed, see the faith of the saints as the firstfruits ripen under mental pressure and physical pain.
From the comfort of regular meals and a heated office, it is easy to write that the endtime gospel is Jesus’ words about patient endurance— but the words are virtually meaningless today. Delivery of these same words when the context changes will be exceedingly difficult. When the son of light is him or herself hungry, and when food is available by just a little surrendering of principles, telling a friend or a neighbor not to accept the bait on this most effective mousetrap will take conviction, will take faith put into practice. So the importance of today delivering Jesus’ words about patient endurance exceeds any work hereunto done by saints. Yet few saints are interested in delivering these glamourless words. The reasoning seems that, surely, there must be more glory in casting out demons and prophesying about nations against nations than in repeatedly saying that all who endure to the end shall be saved. Yet when it comes down to what message will cause more liberated saints to openly live within the laws of God, the hands down winner is Jesus’ words about patient endurance.
Should the sons of light keep and maintain a stockpile of foodstuffs? This certainly seems prudent, but the danger is the tendency to trust in what is observable rather than to have faith in God. With that caveat, yes, disciples should maintain the type of food supply that would be appropriate in an agrarian economy. Additional discussion of what this means will be developed on the web site 7 Lean Years and The Endurance.
Continued in Chapter Five.
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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."