November 10, 2007 ©Homer
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Commentary — From the Margins
The Vision of Obadiah
For the day of the Lord is near
upon all nations. / As you have done, it shall be done to you; / your deeds
shall return on your own head. / For as you have drunk on my holy mountain, /
so all the nations shall drink continually; / they shall drink and swallow, /
and shall be as though they had never been. / But in
In 2004, four men jointly purchased real property at Port Austin, Michigan, in the name of a sacred purpose trust: Port Austin Sabbatarian Church Community (PASCC). These four all claimed belief in the necessity of keeping the commandments of God, but when one of the four found that he could not get along with the other three, he filed a revised Purchasing Agreement in a similar sounding name of a trust—Port Austin Sabbatarian Church Community Sacred Purpose Trust (PASCCSPT)—with himself as its sole trustee. With a few strokes of a pen, Norman Scott Edwards eliminated Terry Monte Williams, Paul Douglas Drieman, and Philip Daniel Frankford from any ownership position in the real property having a contracted value of $670,000.
Edwards’ blatant theft of the property—he filed the revised Purchasing Agreement that eliminated the other three on 17 September 2004, but neglected to tell the three until 29 October 2004—has served as a schism to divide the Sabbatarian community as little else has: Edwards has supporters who see nothing amiss in his elimination of Williams, Drieman, and Frankford. Apparently the position that Edwards’ supporters take is that if he could do so, why not? Others Sabbatarian disciples, though, have a problem with Edwards’ acts, and have marked Edwards as a person to be avoided; as a person with whom a genuine disciple shall not eat or have any fellowship.
The schism formed because of Edwards’ theft and subsequent marking is akin to the schism that caused Jacob Amens’ followers to separate from more liberal Mennonites in the late 17th-Century. And here is where understanding the vision of Obadiah begins.
The Apostle Paul writing to Gentile converts at
In his juxtaposition of Spirit and flesh, Paul writes, “Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise” (Gal 4:28). Paul further writes, “But just as at that time [in the days of Abraham] he who was born according to the flesh [Ishmael] persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit [Isaac], so also it is now. But what does the Scripture say? ‘Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.’ So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman” (vv. 29-31 emphasis added).
Ishmael as a teenager did not “persecute” the weaned child Isaac (Gen 21:8-10) as English speakers understand the word. Rather, Ishmael laughed at, or sported with Isaac, as a teenager might with a child, who could well have been five years old, thereby making Ishmael as old as nineteen. But the Jews of Paul’s day were not merely laughing at or sporting with converts to the sect of the Nazarenes; rather, they were killing them as Paul well knew. So Paul read the account of Ishmael laughing at Isaac not in a “literal” way, but as a metaphoric way that would having mocking equating to murdering a person.
According to Paul’s understanding of figurative language, disciples in the 1st-Century and since have been the spiritual reality foreshadowed by the patriarch Isaac. In this analogy, Ishmael, who dwelt in the wilderness of Paran, represents physically circumcised Israel; for it was in the wilderness of Paran where Israel believed the ten spies rather than God and thereby refused to enter the Promised Land when the promise of entering stood (Heb 4:1). So bondage and disbelief are linked in the person of Ishmael, and since God consigned all of humankind to disbelief, death, and disobedience (Rom 11:32) because of the transgression of the first Adam, Ishmael and the kingdom of the Midianites (descendants of Ishmael) also represent humankind prior to being born of Spirit.
Note the above: with the exception of Jesus of
Nazareth whose Father was Theos (John
3:16), all of humankind since Adam’s transgression has been born
consigned to disobedience and as such were born as sons of disobedience (Eph
2:2-3). This includes the natural nation of
There was, however, only one son of promise born to Abraham, not many: there is only one spiritual Body of Christ, a Body without division (1 Co 12:25), not many bodies or many divisions formed by schisms of the one Body. So as Jesus’ physical body, crucified at Calvary, died and was buried in the Garden Tomb only to be raised from the dead after three days, His spiritual Body, crucified with Him, also died and was buried in Eden and now awaits resurrection after the third day.
Resurrection from death is a continuation of life that is not a continuation, a seemingly contradictory statement that is seen in analogy through one generation of human beings producing another generation: Isaac as the single son of promise produces offspring by promise (Gen 25:21). Hence, Esau and Jacob are the continuation of Isaac as the son of promise.
A carnal son of disobedience who receives a second birth through receipt of the Holy Spirit becomes part of spiritual Isaac. This is what Paul taught. Thus, the new creature that is Spirit dwelling in a tent of flesh (together, the new creature and its tent of flesh) form a disciple of Christ Jesus. The new creature is born free to keep the commandments of God (Rom 8:1-2; 6:14), but the tent of flesh remains consigned to disobedience as Paul found out but did not like (Rom 7:21-25). Therefore, a war is created within the person with the law of God imbedded in the mind and written on the heart contesting for control of the tent of flesh in which the law of sin and death continues to reign. Not until this person is liberated from indwelling sin and death at the second Passover will the person truly be freed from sin (1 John 1:8-10).
The new creature that has been born of Spirit continues to dwell in a tent of flesh, but continues as Esau and Jacob are continuations of Isaac. This new creature has not yet been resurrected in glorify [i.e., the perishable flesh having put on imperishability] to become a spirit being that is a younger sibling of Christ Jesus (Rom 8:29). But an intermediary step between being part of spiritual Isaac and glorification exists for endtime disciples: since the spiritual Body of Christ died with the first disciples, who were personally taught by Jesus and had need of no other teacher, the need to restore all things by the last Elijah now exists (Matt 17:11), with John the Baptist being a type of this last Elijah. This restoration of all things includes resurrecting the Body to first empowered spiritual life in tents of flesh, then to glorification of the flesh.
When a disciple is “filled” with the
Holy Spirit, there is neither indwelling sin nor death within the disciple.
Literally, the disciple will not die from so-called natural causes, but must be
slain by another. And because the liberated disciple will no longer have sin
dwelling within him or herself, he or she must take on the sins of others to
die—the disciple becomes the Body of Christ, the Lamb of God sacrificed
Both the head and body of the paschal lamb dies when sacrificed.
If disciples truly form the Body of Christ, the Body of the Son of Man, the Body of the Lamb of God, then disciples can expect to be sacrificed as Jesus was, for the disciple is not above his or her teacher, nor a servant above his or her master (Matt 10:24). It is enough for a disciple to be like his or her teacher and a servant to be like his or her master (v. 25).
Hence, the person who has been liberated from indwelling sin and death no longer is within the womb of Grace, but has been revealed as the Body of the Son of Man (Luke 17:30). The garment of Christ’s righteousness has been stripped away by liberation from indwelling sin and death—and the disciple who was of spiritual Isaac a day before will become part of children Zion brings forth in a day.
Quoting the Lord, the prophet Isaiah writes, “‘Before she was in labor she gave birth; / before her pain came upon her she delivered a son. / Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such a thing? / Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? / For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her children’” (66:7-8) … the pain that will come upon Zion is the Tribulation, and the son Zion delivers is the son of promise that will become one with the glorified Christ through marriage.
In the womb of Rebekah were two sons of promise who would be born in a day: the Lord [YHWH] told Rebekah, “‘Two nations are in your womb, / and two people from within you [from birth] shall be divided; / the one shall be stronger than the other, / the older shall serve the younger’” (Gen 25:23).
The younger son, Jacob, wrestles with God and will
not let God go until he receives a blessing: “Then he said, ‘Let me
go, for the day has broken.’ But Jacob said, “I will not let you go
unless you bless me.’ And he said to him, ‘What is your
name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’ Then he said, ‘Your name shall no
longer be called Jacob, but
What’s seen is that a son of disobedience (akin to Abraham’s natural son Ishmael) receives a second birth through receipt of the Holy Spirit to become a disciple of Christ Jesus. This second birth makes the former son of disobedience like Abraham’s son of promise, Isaac. Thus, the disciple who died in the 1st-Century formed the living but nailed to the cross Body of Christ—this disciple should not have needed a teacher, for as John writes, “But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you have knowledge. I [John] write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth” (1 John 2:20-21). Under the new covenant, “‘[T]hey shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” / for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest’” (Heb 8:11). Therefore, if disciples are under the new covenant, then all have knowledge and there is no need for anyone to teach neighbor or brother to Know the Lord.
But the reality of the 1st-Century was that disciples were in need of instruction, and most of the instruction was contrary to the gospel that Paul taught; thus, while he still lived, all in Asia turned away from Paul (2 Tim 1:15). Paul wrote elsewhere, “For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things” (Phil 3:18-19).
The proof of anything is in the reality presented
by the thing: in the 1st-Century, within the womb of Grace were two
peoples, one of which was a people of the field or flesh, with their end being
destruction. The other was a people that had to wrestle with God and prevail
… the blessing Jacob received was in wrestling with God and living to
tell about the experience. The blessing those disciples who are of
The physical descendants of Esau became
Christendom is presently divided by the writings of
Moses. On one side of this schism is all who are Esau, hated by God but today
still covered by Grace. On the other side is all who are loved by God even
though covered by Grace. What is the difference? What separates the one who is
hated from the one who is loved—and this question should concern all of
spiritual Isaac, for all who are Isaac will become either spiritual Esau or
Jacob wrestles with God: how is a disciple to wrestle with God? Surely no one who is physical expects to prevail over what cannot be seen, or is not of these four unfurled dimensions. Therefore, wrestling with God can only be accomplished by wrestling with obedience to God; i.e., commandment keeping. And this is where Moses enters the fight.
Jesus said that if an Israelite believed Moses, the person would believe Him, for Moses wrote of Him. “‘But if you do not believe his [Moses’] writings, how will you believe my [Jesus’] words’” (John 5:47). Yet visible Christendom rejects Moses and actually uses rejection of Moses as the determiner of whom should be identified as a “Christian.” Thus, the disciple who wrestles with God will believe Jesus’ words by believing Moses’ writings, which puts this disciple at odds with the visible Church, thereby causing this disciple to fight against what is accepted as Christian while knowing within the person that he or she is genuine whereas those with whom he or she contends are not. Wrestling with God morphs into wrestling for God against disobedience and lawlessness.
Today, disciples compose spiritual Isaac, in whose womb (Rebekah’s womb is Isaac’s womb) are two sons, one hated and one loved, with the prophecies against the hated son having this son utterly destroyed to the person. Disciples will not enter the heavenly realm as they are today. The flesh will perish. The new creature that has been born of Spirit—this new creature being likened to the next generation of a human family—will receive a new body that is composed of spirit, a body that is like the person’s present body in form but not in substance. This new creature is today either hated by God or loved even though no sin is imputed to this new creature because it remains covered by Grace, or in the womb of Grace.
Sin separates man from God, and causes man to hide
from God as in the case of the first Adam hiding in the garden (Gen 3:10). Sin
does not separate God from man although sin causes God to hide His face from
man (Deut 32:20) so that man cannot find God, but sin per se does not separate God from man. If it did, then Theos would not have entered His creation
as His only Son to die at Calvary by taking on the sins of
The above should not pass by quickly: both the son that is loved as well as the son that is hated will, today, prior to liberation from indwelling sin and death, commit sin. All sin and come short of the glory [righteousness] of God. But the person who truly hates sin is loved by God; whereas the person who is not appalled by sin is hated by God.
Esau was born as the son of promise that bore his own
bloody hair coat (Gen 25:25); endtime Esau consists of those
“Christians” who do not strive with God through obedience, usually
outwardly discerned by keeping the commandments, especially the Sabbath
commandment. But the Pharisees outwardly kept the commandments; yet Jesus said
that not one of them actually kept the commandments (John 7:19). Thus, it is
not enough to attend services on the Sabbath, then to show no love—the
weightier manner of the law—to one’s brother. Rather, the person
who keeps what is truly important will “‘sigh and groan over all of
the abominations that are committed in [
Membership in spiritual Esau is determined not through when the Sabbath is observed, but through failure to sigh and cry aloud about the abominations committed within Christendom.
No one of endtime Esau, the hated son, shall be spared. God will not have pity on any, regardless of how well they sing praises to Him or create websites dripping of blood. If the disciple will not sigh and cry about the abominations committed within and without the Church, then the disciple is of the hated son.
It isn’t legalistic commandment-keeping that
causes the one son to be loved; it isn’t a matter of all Sabbatarian
Returning now to Port Austin: those who support Edwards do not sigh and cry about his wrong-doing. They are, or would like to believe that they are, in the sanctuary, where the slaying will begin (Ezek 9:6). It will be their turn to cry aloud when they are cast into the lake of fire.
The Lord [YHWH]
told Ezekiel, “‘The guilt of the house of
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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."