May 17, 2010 ©Homer Kizer
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Commentary — From the Margins
The Endtime Gospel: The Good News to be Proclaimed Part VII
Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” / As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. / Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this [touto] gospel [euaggelion — the good news] of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt 24:1–14 emphasis added)
This is the seventh of seven instalments.
Jesus’ first disciples didn’t initially grasp they were the reality of Jesus’ earthly body, that what happened to the fleshly body of Jesus would also happen to the Church. They didn’t grasp until after His death that when He spoke of rebuilding the temple in three days, He was speaking about His body (John 2:21–22).
To the first disciples, the reality of Jesus’ body was His fleshly body; i.e., the body they saw. They didn’t think metaphorically, which was why Thomas said, “‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way’” (John 14:5), and why Philip said, “‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us’” (v. 8). They didn’t understand being born again, or born from above, or that the inner self would be crucified with Christ Jesus and resurrected by the Father as Jesus was resurrected from death (Rom 6:3–10) … perhaps the reason Paul was called to know the will of God (Acts 22:14) stems from the difficulty the first disciples had in comprehending that every person is humanly born with an inner self that is metonymically represented by a person’s physical breath which in Greek is psuche, the linguistic icon usually translated into English as “soul.” But this translation of psuche as “soul” leaves behind the concept that a person’s physical breath sustains physical life through supplying the oxygen molecules needed for the dark fire of cellular oxidation, the process by which the human body is fueled so that thought can occur. And even worse, the translation of psuche as “soul” promotes continuance of Greek paganism’s assumption that human beings are born with immortal souls that as shades go into an afterlife where it would be better to be a slave in this world than a prince in Hades. Of course, late pagan philosophers, borrowing heavily from Egyptians, started to have shades with high morals slip upward into heaven where they, like Pharaohs, would be stars, but these philosophers were stymied by what troubles Islam today, or even the Amish: how does a living person know if he (or she) is good enough to get into heaven after death? What criteria determine whether the shade goes up or goes down? So the arrival of Christian theology in the Greek world introduced the solution to paganism’s dilemma: grace was the answer.
But what was meant when Paul wrote, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under the law but under grace [charis/n]” (Rom 6:14), or when he wrote that the Lord told him, “‘My grace [mou charis — the grace of me] is sufficient for you’” (2 Cor 12:9)? In this juxtaposition, grace represents a healing from death, for the context of the Lord telling Paul that His grace was sufficient was Paul three times pleading with the Lord about the thorn in the flesh given him that was a messenger from Satan (vv. 7–8). And forgiveness of sin will certainly heal a person from death, but it was Abram’s belief of God that was counted to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6), with Paul citing this belief as the antithesis of the works of the law … therein lies what has been concealed from Christendom: the person who grows to maturity in a culture that bows five times a day toward Mecca, or the person who grows to maturity in a culture that spurns the use of electricity does these things not because the person believes God but because the person has always done these things. And so it was for the rich younger ruler who asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life (Luke 18:18): Jesus answered the ruler and cited five of the Ten Commandments. The ruler said, “‘All these I have kept from my youth’” (v. 21). And whether he had or had not isn’t the issue: his reason for keeping the commandments wasn’t because he believed God, but because keeping the commandments was the expectation of his culture. There was no faith, no belief of God involved in his keeping the commandments. Rather, he was doing what the law required because that was what the law required.
Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all he had—an act of faith, for he had great possessions which were to him proof of God blessing his righteousness—and follow Jesus, the completion of the young ruler’s act of faith. But the young ruler couldn’t do what Jesus asked. The strength of his belief was not great enough to overcome his doubts. It was just too easy to trust in the bird in hand. There was too much of a chance that Jesus could be who the Pharisees said He was.
How much of a chance will a Christian take in this present world? Will a Christian believe God enough to actually walk as a Judean, keeping the commandments, especially the Sabbaths of God, and spurning those things that defile a son of God? And for most Christians, the answer is a resounding, NO!
When a person continues in the expectations of the culture or of the house in which the person was reared, the person doesn’t necessarily believe those expectations … if children of Israel had truly believed Moses, there would have been no worship of the idols of Egypt or of the idols of the land when the children of Israel entered into the Promised Land. But despite the miracles, neither the fathers nor the children believed the Lord. And how can that be? How can it be that Christians so quickly turned their backs to Christ Jesus in the 1st-Century CE? And the answer is simple but not popular: the Church as the Body of Christ had to die as Jesus’ physical body died when crucified.
But Jesus said that the gates of Hades would not prevail against His Church (Matt 16:18) … did the gates of Hades, did death prevail against Jesus’ earthly body? Paul writes about what the righteousness based on faith says (Rom 10:6)—and he goes on to cite from the Moab covenant, Deuteronomy 30:11–14. Then Paul said that “if you confess [this coming after returning to God by faith — Deut 30:1–10] with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9). Thus, salvation requires that the person believes the gates of Hades did not prevail against the body of Christ. And as disciples are crucified with Christ Jesus and united with Him in a death like His (Rom 6:5), how can the Church, the collective of the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27), escape being united with Christ Jesus in a death like His? It cannot! Therefore, the Church as the Body of Christ had to die as Jesus’ earthly body had to die. And the Church has to be resurrected from death as Jesus’ earthly body was resurrected from death, with this resurrection from death coming at the Second Passover when the entirety of the Christian Church is liberated from indwelling sin and death through being filled-with and empowered by the spirit of God.
Will a Christian believe that the Church as the Body of Christ had to die as Jesus’ earthly body died? If the Christian will accept what is true then for this Christian, the Church that comes down through the centuries to the time of the end is the Corpse of Christ—and no one expects a corpse to give birth to a nation in a day. The Church must be resurrected to life before the last Eve gives birth.
No one would expect a corpse to hear and believe Jesus’ words, and the greater Christian Church doesn’t either hear or believe. If it could hear and believe, it would keep the Passover at its appointed time, the dark portion of the 14th of Abib, and all Christians would appear before the Lord in their appointed seasons as angelic sons of God appear on their appointed day (Job 1:6; 2:1). But a corpse is dead and knows nothing (Eccl 9:5). The Church has no reward. Even memory of the Church between the end of the 1st-Century (ca 100 CE to 102 CE) and the beginning of the 21st-Century (ca 2002 CE) will be forgotten … when John wrote that he was the brother and partner of endtime disciples in the Affliction and Kingdom and Endurance of Jesus (Rev 1:9), he reached across 1900 years to embrace those of us who have picked up his vision and read it for what it says.
When Jesus sat with his disciples on the Mount of Olives, Jesus answered His disciples’ questions about what will be the sign of His coming and of the close of the age: “this, the good news of the kingdom,” is part of His answer about the sign of His coming and the end of the age. It isn’t all of His answer, but it is a crucial part of the sign of His coming when the last Eve would be saved in childbirth.
Jesus didn’t deliver to His disciples a summary discourse about world events from the 1st-Century until the 20th-Century as was taught by Sabbatarian pastors throughout the last three-quarters of the 20th-Century … we are now in the 21st-Century, and those things these Sabbatarian pastors said would happen in a few short years from 1934, or 1947, or 1957, 1967, 1975 have not happened and will never happen as claimed—these Sabbatarian pastors were without prophetic understanding, for they read (and some continue to read) Scripture as William Miller read Daniel’s prophecies when he claimed Jesus would return in 1843/1844. They are/were without understanding; for Daniel’s visions remained sealed and kept secret by God (cf. Dan 12:4, 9; 8:17, 26) until early in the 21st-Century when the call went out to assign meaning to the words of Scripture via typological exegesis. The errant reading strategy introduced by Zurich Reformer Huldrych Zwingli in the early 16th-Century was finally jettisoned; for how are disciples to assign valid literal meanings to words that Jesus said He used figuratively?
Jesus used the words of this world to discus the things of heaven. The human words He used to speak the words of the Father could only be used metaphorically or used metonymically where an aspect of a thing is used to name the thing. Jesus’ words were not used mimetically as His disciples came to understand; e.g., Jesus told His disciples, “‘Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees’” (Matt 16:6), and after discussion, His disciples “understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (v. 12). But even when leavening is assigned the meaning usually associated with teaching, the passage is still used metaphorically for the Pharisees and the Sadducees are metaphors for endtime Sabbatarian teachers of Israel (i.e., the Christian Church that is circumcised-of-heart Israel) … endtime Christians are to beware of the teachings/leavening of Sabbatarians who seek purity in their worship of God as the Pharisees sought purity in their worship of the Lord, binding onto those who are of Israel burdens that cannot be borne for long, tithing mint leaves but leaving undone the weightier matters of the law such as love for Christians who will be suddenly born of God and born filled with spirit following the Second Passover liberation of Israel.
In Scripture, the word slavery functions as the word leavening functioned in Jesus’ warning to His disciples.
· Leavening is to teaching as circumcision of the flesh is to circumcision of the heart;
· Slavery in Egypt is the physical expression that equates spiritually to a Christian not yet born of God;
· Israel in Egypt is the physical expression that equates spiritually to the Church prior to the Second Passover;
· The Passover liberation of Israel from slavery in Egypt forms the shadow and type—the comprehendible metaphoric image—of the greater Christian Church suddenly being filled with and empowered by the breath of God [pneuma Theon] at a near-in-time second Passover day;
· Included in the Passover liberation of Israel from slavery was the death of the firstborns of Egypt, Cush and Seba in exchange for the lives of Israel, the firstborn son of the Lord.
· Because Israel is precious in the eyes of the Lord, the lives of men will again be given for the liberation of Israel (Isa 43:3–4), or said more straightforwardly, given for every Christian regardless of denomination so that Christians can suddenly be filled with and empowered by a second breath of life resulting in no sin or death dwelling within their fleshly bodies.
Following the Second Passover liberation of Israel, the Christian Church will once again be one living Body of Christ, composed of many members as Paul writes (see 1 Cor chap 12). The question then will be, how long can this one Body remain as one living entity before it tears itself apart because of unresolved theological differences and a serious lack of love for one another—and the answer is 220 days, or until the great falling away occurs when the man of perdition is revealed (2 Thess 2:3) on or about Christmas of the year of the Second Passover liberation of Israel, with this lawless one even now visibly gaining worldly credibility.
When Christians are liberated from indwelling sin and death, the Torah will be written on hearts and placed in minds so that every person Knows the Lord … there should then be no theological differences, but that will not be the case.
How can the Christian who truly believes the Father and the Son differ from the Christian who also truly believes the Father and the Son unless, of course, one or both does not truly believe?
The coming of the lawless one [the man of perdition] is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess 2:9–12)
When Jesus answered His disciples’ question about the sign of His coming, He warned His disciples against deceiving anyone and leading the person astray (Matt 24:4 — read this in Greek without translators’ added words). He answered their questions that sprang from Him saying that there would not be one stone of the temple left atop another, that all of the stones of the temple would be thrown down. And His disciples understood that throwing down the stones of the temple was an end of the age event, but what His disciples did not then understand was that the Church, the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27), was the temple of God (John 2:18–22; 1 Cor 3:16–17; 2 Cor 6:16–18). They were not yet thinking metaphorically (see John 16:25). They did not yet realize that when He took bread and broke it a short while earlier and said, “‘Take eat; this is my body’” (Matt 26:26), they would be eating His living Body a year later, with them being that living Body … it is Jesus’ living Body that disciples eat at Passover. The broken unleavened bread represents the temple. And when no disciple eats the Passover (i.e., takes the Passover sacraments of bread and wine) on the dark portion of the 14th of Abib, the night when Jesus was betrayed, then all of the living stones (1 Pet 2:4–5) of the temple have been cast down. No stone remains attached to the cornerstone that is Christ Jesus regardless of how many Christians profess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord.
Herod’s temple was razed by Roman soldiers in 70 CE, and the temple started under Emperor Hadrian was destroyed after Simon Bar Kokhba’s rebellion; so it would seem that the dead stones of the temple were cast down long ago, how Zwingli would read the passage … it is only living stones that can be cast down at the end of the age, and then, it is only those disciples who have in past years taken the Passover on the 14th of Abib who can be cast down through their neglect of the sacraments, with this neglect most commonly seen in 2010 by Sabbatarian disciples not adding the month of Adar II (Veadar) into the year ending in the spring of the common year 2010 — the month of Abib must begin with the first sighted, new-moon crescent following the spring equinox. For the purpose of taking the Passover sacraments after the example Jesus left with His disciples, the month of Abib cannot begin before the equinox. To begin the month before the equinox is to eat of the Pharisees’ leavening. And rabbinical Judaism’s calculated calendar did not have these modern descendants of the Pharisees adding the month of Veadar to year 5770, but adding the extra month to year 5771. So Judaism and those Christians who eat the leavening of Judaism will observe all of the high Sabbaths a month before their season in 2010, a reoccurring anomaly that has caused the repeated casting down of the living stones that are the temple of God.
The weekly Sabbath is not observed on either Friday or Sunday. The leavening of Jews causes those who eat their poisoned bread to do to the high Sabbaths in 2010 what Islam does to the weekly Sabbath—and if God will accept Islam’s worship on Friday, He might also accept the worship of Sabbatarian Christians who use Judaism’s calendar …
How many Sabbatarians believe that God will accept the Friday worship of Muslims? Most don’t believe that He will, or they wouldn’t keep the Sabbath in a world oriented around another day.
Whether God will accept the worship of Islam is His prerogative, as is whether He will accept the worship of Sabbatarian Christians who use Judaism’s calendar. But why eat any of Judaism’s leavening? Have some Christians simply acquired a taste for sin? I know from when commercial fishing in the Bering Sea that a person can acquire a taste for bile, or at least an acceptance of bile’s taste. Is this what has happened to Sabbatarian disciples who in 2009 took the Passover sacraments on the night Jesus was betrayed? Have they choked down so much of the Pharisees’ leavening that they don’t mind the taste of sin, and this when they should be covering their sin not taking more onto themselves?
Since Jesus did not return late in the 1st-Century when His first disciples apparently expected His return [“For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep” — 1 Thess 4:15, also v. 17], nor at any time after the destruction of the physical temple, logic would have it that this, the good news of the kingdom, has not been proclaimed to the world if there is any connection between proclamation of this good news and the Second Advent.
There is no mistake in what Matthew records: this, the good news of the kingdom, will be proclaimed before the end comes, before Jesus will return. Therefore, this, the good news of the kingdom, was not the message the first disciples proclaimed when they took knowledge of Jesus to the world. If it had been the message they proclaimed, it would not logically be part of the sign of Jesus’ coming at the end of the age.
This good news is not a message about the person Jesus of Nazareth although any message about the kingdom will also be about Jesus, and this good news is not the witnessing message that will be proclaimed once the kingdom is given to the Son of Man but before Christ Jesus returns as the Messiah … for 1260 days after the kingdom is given to the Son of Man, saints must endure in Jesus before the Messiah comes to slay all of humankind that will not believe the Father and the Son even though the Torah has been written on hearts and placed within minds so that all Know the Lord.
Knowing the Lord will apparently not be enough to cause some Christians to “believe the Lord” when belief is essential for salvation: unbelief is the root of sin, the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). When a disciple’s sins are remembered no more (Jer 31:34; Heb 8:12), it is not the acts of the flesh or even the thoughts of the mind that condemns a person. It is simple unbelief, the reason Israel (i.e., the nation counted in the census of the second year) could not enter into God’s rest (Heb 3:19), a euphemism for God’s presence as metaphorically represented by the land of Canaan (Ps 95:10–11).
Knowledge about the end of the antediluvian age was given only to Noah; knowledge of a great conflict involving Israel at the time of the end was given to Daniel because he was greatly loved; knowledge of the 1260 days of the Endurance in Jesus was given only to John, and then given in a manner that only those who were brothers and partners with John would understand.
Because the importance of the good news of the kingdom is great, proclamation of this, the good news of the kingdom, is not a minor aspect of endtime events, but central to the arrival of the end of the age. The “end” simply will not come until this, the good news of the kingdom, is proclaimed to the world; however, this proclamation cannot be prevented by man or angel so this proclamation is not dependent upon the work of men but upon the work of Christ Jesus. Individuals will be used to do the proclaiming, but if the ones initially selected fail to deliver this, the good news of the kingdom, other individuals will be called to do this proclaiming. And that seems to be the case—however, failure of the one[s] called to partner with John in proclaiming this, the good news of the kingdom, was foreknown since the beginning.
Disciples will be called to fulfill Scripture; they will be called even to fail to proclaim this, the good news of the kingdom. For the shadow and copy of disciples’ failure to proclaim the good news of the kingdom is seen in the first Elijah lying over the dead son of the widow of Zarephath three times before the lad again breathed on his own. The last Elijah will lay over the dead Body of Christ three times before the greater Christian Church again breathes on its own (i.e., has “life” through possession of a second breath of life).
Again, the work of God isn’t a work of human beings, but a work done by human beings as extensions of Christ—as fractal images of Christ Jesus, with all who walk as Jesus walked being Christ—for the sign of Jesus’ coming and of the end of the age is the Affliction and the Endurance.
The Endurance in Jesus, the mirror image of the Affliction, is not seen in Scripture by those “Christians” who reject or question as doubtful the revelation of John … were there not twelve first disciples? Why is it that Mary, finding the tomb empty, went to Peter and John, who together, raced to the tomb? Why were Peter and John going together up to the temple at the hour of prayer when they both looked at the beggar to heal him? Why were Peter and John, together, called before the Council? Why were Peter and John, together, sent to Samaria so that those there might receive the spirit? Why did Jesus take Peter, James and John his brother with Him when He was transfigured?
After Jesus said for a second time that He would only give one sign, the sign of Jonah, to establish that He was from heaven, Jesus warned His disciples to beware of the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matt 16:6, 12), a warning not heeded by the Sabbatarian churches of God that today use Judaism’s calendar for determining when to eat the Passover. Then when He and His disciples came into the district of Caesarea Philippi [a name of future significance], Jesus asked His disciples who do people say the Son of Man is (v. 13). His disciples couldn’t really say; so Jesus rephrased His question, “‘But who do you say that I am?’” (v. 15), and Peter answered, “‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’” (v. 16). And Jesus told Peter that “‘flesh and blood has not revealed’” the knowledge that Jesus was the Christ to Peter, “‘but my Father who is in heaven’” (v 17) revealed this knowledge to Peter.
The Father chooses to whom He will reveal specific knowledge, and Peter and John were chosen to receive knowledge that others did not have until they revealed that knowledge … John begins the account of his vision with the words, “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His servants the things that must soon take place” (Rev 1:1).
As the Father revealed knowledge to Peter in a revelation made through realization (John 6:69), the Father through the glorified Jesus revealed to John knowledge of the Affliction and the Endurance so that Daniel’s visions could be unsealed at the end of the age.
This is not a small or minor point: both Peter and John received revelation from the Father so that through each specific knowledge became available to Christians who spurned the leavening of the Pharisees and Sadducees, the teachings of theological stones that would be thrown down; for the Body of Christ is the temple of God. It isn’t the stones of Herod’s temple that will be cast down at the end of the age, but Christian religious leaders, the 21st-Century reality of 1st-Century Pharisees and Sadducees.
John is the brother and partner of those endtime disciples who proclaim the Affliction, the Kingdom, and the Endurance in Jesus (Rev 1:9); he is not the brother and partner of those Christians who refuse to walk as Jesus walked (the greater Christian Church refuses to walk as Jesus walked) or who eat the bread of the Pharisees and Sadducees as Sabbatarian Adventists or Sabbatarians of the Church of God do. … When Jesus said that this, the good news of the kingdom, will be proclaimed throughout the world as a testimony to all nations, He did not preface His declaration with any dismissive qualifiers. Rather, He said what this good news of the kingdom was: “‘But the one who endures to the end shall be saved’” (Matt 24:13). And John explains why this good news must be proclaimed before the Kingdom and the Endurance in Jesus comes upon humankind.
In general terms, Jesus described the Affliction—“‘they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake, and then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another, and many false prophets will arise and lead many astray, and because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold’” (vv. 9–12)—then delivers to His disciples the good news of the Endurance, when the kingdom will have been given to the Son of Man and all of humankind will be born of God, with the law written on hearts and put in minds so that every person Knows the Lord.
The Sabbatarian churches of God have for seven decades proclaimed that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 10:7) is the endtime good news that must be taken to the world, but disciples long ago learned the lesson of the fig tree (Matt 24:32). When world events disclose that time is short, disciples know that the end is near; disciples should not be in darkness so that Jesus’ return takes them by surprise.
What is the need to declare an endtime message to all nations as a witness if the signs of Jesus’ pending return are as the branches of a fig tree becoming tender and putting out leaves? All know that the world cannot continue as it is going, that a fiscal collapse is at hand, that from this fiscal collapse world governance will look different than it presently does. So declaring that the kingdom is at hand when it is not at hand is a false declaration, and declaring that the kingdom is at hand when it is at hand is a self-evident message and hardly the sign of the end of the age.
The good news that the kingdom is at hand pertains to when the kingdom of this world being given to the Son of Man is near or has happened. In other words, this good news pertains to the Endurance; for the kingdom of heaven is not at hand until Jesus is again with human beings. To proclaim that the kingdom is at hand when it remains in the future makes the person a false prophet. Proclaiming that the kingdom of the heavens is at hand before it is at hand is shouting a lie from housetops, causing the faithful to believe what is not true and besmirching God before unbelievers.
The kingdom will be at hand when the world has reached the end of the age, and the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man. The kingdom will not be at hand until then. So truthful proclamation that the kingdom is at hand only occurs in the Endurance, after the world has been baptized in spirit and every person has the Torah written on hearts and placed in minds so that all Know the Lord. If a person proclaimed that the kingdom is at hand only to Christians (i.e., to the greater Christian Church) during the Affliction, what the person proclaims would be true for Christians, but not true to the rest of the world. That limited proclamation, however, would also be a time-specific message.
The gospel that the Sabbatarian churches of God have proclaimed to the America since 1934, and to the world since 1953, is an extension of William Miller’s errant message that Jesus would return in 1843 (recalculated to 1844) … yes, it is! When Miller’s timeline did not accurately reveal Jesus’ return, a new industry was created, that of making excuses for why Jesus tarried. Some of these excuses were fantastic, from near-misses to the one used by the Sabbatarian churches of God, the good news message that the kingdom of heaven was at hand had to be proclaimed to all the world before the end would come; i.e., before Jesus would return.
According to the Sabbatarian churches of God, it was the fault of disciples that Jesus had not already returned: the good news that the kingdom of heaven was at hand had not been proclaimed to the world for 1900 years. When it was properly proclaimed, Jesus would return. Therefore, it was the sacred duty of every true Christian to sacrifice, to borrow money against homes, to do whatever was necessary so that this true Christian had tithes and offerings—all he or she could afford, and more than afford—to send to one man and to one ministry for the proclamation of the good news that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. If these Sabbatarian fellowships were believed, Christ’s return was dependant upon this one man and one ministry proclaiming to the world the good news that the kingdom of heaven was at hand when it wasn’t at hand, and won’t be at hand for at least a few more years.
This one man, Herbert W. Armstrong, financially wore out the saints. Although his intensions were apparently sincere, his understanding of biblical prophecy was horribly flawed—
The good news that the kingdom of God is at hand cannot be the good news to which Jesus referred in His Olivet Discourse; for the good news to which He referred would be proclaimed to all nations as a witness before the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man. The Sabbatarian churches of God got the cart before the horse: these now miniscule assemblies have continued to proclaim a message about the soon coming kingdom of God when they know nothing about what they proclaim
What won’t be known or be self-evident prior to the end of the age, prior to the kingdom of this world being given to the Son of Man, is that all—and this means everyone—who endures to the end shall be saved, for life itself will seem in doubt as wars continue despite the coming of the one who claims to be the Messiah. A third of remaining humankind will have been suddenly slain, with this second slaying of a third of humanity not being of biological firstborns and not being proclaimed in advance by accepted Christian prophets. It will seem as if God intends to utterly and painfully annihilate all human beings, even those who have become “Christians” before the end comes.
Earlier in His ministry, Jesus told His disciples when He sent out the Twelve, “‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tunics nor scandals nor a staff, for the laborer deserves his food’” (Matt 10:5–10).
Jesus’ command not to go to Gentiles or Samaritans is curious: plausible explanations have been advanced, but none of those explanations are true … when the kingdom of heaven is at hard, there will be no Gentiles, no Samaritans. There will only be the lost sheep of the house of Israel; for when the kingdom of heaven is at hand, the kingdom of this world will soon be or has already just been given to the Son of Man. All of humanity will claim to be Christians, the circumcised-of-heart nation of Israel, even though most of these self-professed Christians are lost sheep, scattered from flocks today’s Sabbatarians know nothing about (John 10:16).
Before proceeding, the reader needs to orient him or herself on a timeline that has a third of humankind being physically killed three times so that the person whose focus is the things of the flesh will not live. The first time is at the Second Passover, the liberation of the Christian Church from indwelling sin and death: in the Abyss and on earth, the firstborn of man and God not covered by the blood of Christ will be suddenly killed as the firstborn of man and beast were suddenly killed in Egypt in the days of Moses.
The second time a third of humankind will suddenly die is in the Sixth Trumpet Plague … assuming that approximately 7 billion people live on this earth at the time of the Second Passover, 4.7 billion will remain alive after the liberation of Israel. Of this 4.7 billion, 25% will be given to Death, the fourth beast, the fourth horseman, to kill by various means. This will leave alive about 3.5 billion when the four angels bound at the river Euphrates are loosed to kill a third part of this 3.5 billion, leaving about 2.3 billion humans alive when the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man 1260 days after the Second Passover liberation of Israel. And it will truly seem as if all men will be killed, especially when wars continue even though the one who claims to be Christ has come when the man of perdition was destroyed.
The third time when a third of humankind dies suddenly is at Armageddon, when the glorified Jesus truly does come as the all powerful Messiah, with this third time leaving approximately 1.6 billion people still alive. Of this number, all of whom will be spiritual virgins, half will enter into the Wedding Supper and will be glorified. Half do not. And though this second half of these spiritual virgins will be without sin, this half will live into the Millennium and wait a thousand years for their time to be glorified.
In round numbers, the harvest of the earth will included the 800 million that come out of the Endurance, plus all those who died in faith from Adam to when the kingdom is given to the Son of Man at the beginning of the Endurance, the time for humankind to bear fruit.
Today, when 200,000 are killed as in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami the world seems barely able to psychologically handle the tragedy. The loss of ten thousand times more people will shock human beings into numbness. So when it is realized that all of the dead are firstborns; that all who died were not randomly killed but selected by the person’s birth order, even the most ardent skeptic will believe that God is real—and will want to get right with God.
Sabbatarian Christians who today summarily dismiss the possibility of a second Passover liberation of Israel patterned after the Exodus because Ellen G. White or Herbert W. Armstrong said nothing about this liberation will immediately identify the mass slaughter of firstborns as the Sixth Trumpet Plague. They will transform themselves from biblical novices into genuine false prophets. Presently, they wander in circles around theological mountains, never going anywhere, never arriving anywhere, but believing that if they persist in what they do long enough, God will reward them handsomely. They have deceived themselves.
Jesus said He would give one sign that He was from heaven, the sign of Jonah (Matt 12:39–40 et al), but Jonah has not been well read: Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh because he knew the Lord would not wipe out the city if the people repented of their evil ways (Jonah 4:2–3). Jonah had no love for Assyrians, the people who would make slaves of the house of Israel. And the Lord demonstrated to Jonah what it was to have love:
Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh” (Jonah 4:6–11).
Two-thirds of the world’s population, all descendants of Adam, are not today Christians, nor want to be Christians. Their firstborns are not covered by the blood of Christ Jesus. But every person within this majority of humankind has the potential to be a son of God, glorified when Christ Jesus returns as the Messiah. However, if any within this majority become sons of God it will not be because Christian pastors have labored on their behalf: it will be in spite of the best efforts of today’s Christendom that they become sons of the Most High.
Every human being is of more value to God than the plant was to Jonah, who was angry enough to die when it perished.
How angry was the Logos when He entered His creation as His only Son, the man Jesus of Nazareth, so that He might save some descendants of Adam? Israel couldn’t “read” Jesus’ anger on His face, but the nation saw a glimpse of it when He thrice cleansed the temple.
The good news that must be proclaimed to all nations is that when the kingdom of heaven is at hand, all who endure to the end shall be saved. When the world is baptized in the breath of God through this breath being poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28), everyone will be under the New Covenant. Everyone will be born of God and born filled with spirit, thereby liberated from indwelling sin and death. Then, when there is no distinction between Jew or Gentile, the person who endures to the end shall be saved. The law of God [the Torah] will be written on hearts and placed in minds so that all Know the Lord. There will be no need for Christian ministry, no need to teach anyone the principles of God. Every person will know God, will know what is right and what is wrong, and salvation becomes the simple matter of enduring to the end—but enduring without being able to buy or sell, enduring by faith, by belief, by trusting God to provide day by day a person’s needs.
This seventh installment with its six previous installments completes what is a book-length Commentary about the endtime gospel that will be delivered to all nations as a witness to them before the end comes. The good news that must be delivered is simple: all who endure to the end shall be saved. They will be saved by belief, by faith, because they will have the Torah written on hearts and placed in minds so that all Know the Lord. This good news is an easy message to proclaim, and apparently an even easier message to dismiss. If this good news were believed, all Christians would take the Passover at its appointed time; for contained in this easy message to deliver is the entirety of the gospel.
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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."