December 28, 2011 ©Homer Kizer
Commentary — From the Margins
The Unknown God
Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, "What does this babbler wish to say?" Others said, "He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities"—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean." Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: "Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To the unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."
Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, "We will hear you again about this." (Acts 17:16–32 emphasis added)
The Apostle Paul, not simply answering questions about the hope that lay within him, reasoned in the synagogue at Athens with Jews and reasoned in the public marketplace with whomever would speak to him. Paul argued his case, preaching to both Jew and Greek a God that neither knew; for Paul preached Jesus and the resurrection (Acts 17:18). Paul preached in arguments an unknown God to both Jew and Greek. And today, Philadelphia preaches in arguments—not in spiritual sounding platitudes—an unknown Jesus to Christians and non-Christians … it can generally be said of Christians what Paul told the men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious (v. 22), but as with the men of Athens, Christians worship what they do not know and do not worship the Father and the Son as they should.
The initial intent of this Commentary was to demonstrate Greek equivocation, showing in Holy Writ how Paul shifted referents within a context, a thing thought to be clever by Greeks, but a thing loathed by Romans; for in identifying and describing the unknown god to whom the men of Athens had constructed an altar (Acts 17:23), Paul begins with the attributes of the Logos [O Logos — from John 1:1, 3] (vv. 24–29) and concludes with the deed central to Christendom, the Father raising Jesus from death (vv. 30–31). What Paul does is give a practical demonstration of what has been recently declared within the Sabbath Readings, that for the person [in this case, the men of Athens] not yet born of spirit, God is one, whereas for the person who has been born of God [for the person who has been twice born], God is presently two deities that function as one deity. And this mystery of God was explored throughout the ministry of Herbert W. Armstrong (dod January 1986), but was not developed by his ministry for Armstrong never understood that being born of God was actual resurrection of the inner self from death through receipt of a second breath of life.
God is and always has been the God of the living [i.e., the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob] and the God of the dead [i.e., the Father who raises the dead — John 5:21], two deities that function as one entity.
God was Yah, the <YH> radical from the Tetragrammaton YHWH, as well as the God [ton Theon] whom the Logos as God [theos] was with in the beginning (again, John 1:1). This latter deity is the <WH> radical of the Tetragrammaton.
God is presently the glorified Jesus as the God of the living, the God to whom all judgment has been given, as well as the Father, who will raise spiritually lifeless humankind from death by giving to all of humankind a second breath of life at a time of His choosing.
In constructing his argument made to the spiritually lifeless men of Athens, Paul used the altar to the unknown god as the base from which he could preach Christ and the resurrection. Perhaps if there had been altars to two unknown gods, Paul would have separated the Son from the Father even though two-being-one would not have been a concept the men of Athens could have comprehended. Hence, the unknown god as reasoned by Paul would be the Creator of all that has been made as well as being the Father who raised Jesus from death—and spiritually lifeless Christians will go to what Paul told the men of Athens to prove what John wrote is wrong, not realizing that Paul, in speaking to Greek philosophers, practiced equivocation in a manner that is easily discerned by born-of-spirit sons of God … to Jews, Paul did the same thing when it came to the Law, shifting referents within a context, substituting the qualified covenant by which Israel was made the holy nation of God (Ex 19:5–6) for the commands of God. And lawless Christians have neither seen nor appreciated Paul’s use of equivocation, which in the Hellenistic Near East of the 1st-Century would have been thought extremely clever.
Ever since the Tower of Babel, meaning [linguistic objects, or signifieds] has been separated from words [linguistic icons, or signifiers] … the bricks being used to construct the tower to heaven remained unchanged. What was changed when languages were confused was what various peoples called these bricks. Hence, the hard link between icon and object was broken and replaced by a temporary, soft link, and the peoples of this world were divided by languages into reading communities, a concept that has been explored by linguists for a little over a century.
The bane of every reading community, though, is equivocation; for if a language user shifts referents for a word within a context—and because no hard link exists between icon and object, shifting referents can easily be done—the reader [auditor] must comprehend the shift that has occurred or communication will be lost. In order for equivocation to be appreciated as clever, the reader or hearer must be figuratively on the same wave-length as the speaker or writer; for equivocation negates or makes nonsensical any literal reading of a text as in the following syllogism: A feather is light, and what is light cannot be dark; therefore a feather cannot be dark.
Of course a feather can be dark for North American ravens have black feathers. The fallacy in the syllogism lies in the number of referents, with light having two referents: not-heavy, and not-bright. Whereas only three referents should be present to make the syllogism true, a fourth is present, thereby negating the validity of the logical presentation. And the Apostle Paul’s repeated use of equivocation makes his epistles difficult to read and comprehend for non, first-language Koine Greek readers; hence Peter says of Paul,
And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. (2 Pet 3:15–17)
Most likely, Peter’s first language wasn’t Koine Greek, but Judean Aramaic; so it would have been difficult for Peter to understand Paul’s epistles. But because Peter was born of God, the indwelling of the parakletos, the spirit of truth, would have made evident the shift of referents as they occurred, shifts that would conceal meaning from Christians not truly born of God, which explains why so many disciples left Paul … they left because they were never of the Body of Christ (see 1 John 2:19); they were never truly born of God as foreknown sons.
Philadelphia’s Sabbath Readings are theological commentaries rooted in typological exegesis: they are arguments, some long held, some formed from recent revelation, all intended for disciples born of God through receipt of a second breath of life, the breath of God [pneuma Theon] in the breath of Christ [pneuma Christos] that is the indwelling of Christ in the disciple. And the difficulty in addressing any argument based upon revelation is in the nature of revelation …
Did revelation truly occur? Did Paul receive revelation? If he did, why did the Circumcision Faction resist him? For in resisting or preaching against what Paul received via revelation, the Circumcision Faction would have resisted God. Therefore, the Circumcision Faction must necessarily have concluded that Paul was preaching error, that no revelation had occurred and that Paul must be resisted.
If no revelation has truly been received, then any argument based on that revelation can be dismissed out of hand. However, if revelation has occurred, then is the revelation from Christ Jesus, or from the Adversary? If the revelation is from Christ, then there is no argument against the revelation: the revelation must be accepted. If the revelation is of the Adversary, then the revelation must be rejected … the Circumcision Faction either didn’t believe that Paul had received any revelation, or believed that the revelation Paul received was from the Adversary; for the Circumcision Faction certainly did not believe that they erred in teaching that Gentile converts must become physical Israelites before they could become spiritual Israel. Even Paul said that the physical precedes the spiritual and does not follow the spiritual (1 Cor 15:46); so why is this not also true when it came to being of Israel, the firstborn son of God (Ex 4:22)? Was not Jesus born as a man of Israel, circumcised on the eighth day? If a person was to outwardly walk as Jesus walked, the person would walk as an outwardly circumcised male. And no woman could be a Christian, which means that it wasn’t Jesus’ outward walk that has significance but His inner walk.
The Circumcision Faction had both Scripture and logic on its side, but the Circumcision Faction was wrong! None of the Circumcision Faction understood the things of God—they could not understand the mysteries of God and remain a part of the Circumcision Faction. Therefore, today when encountering well researched arguments based on historical-grammatical exegesis, the spiritual infant will be as easily deceived by the Adversary as were Christians in the 1st-Century. They will be deceived because they have not been truly foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified, all in the past tense (Rom 8:29–30),
But a truly deceived person doesn’t know that he or she has been deceived—and Satan, the devil, has deceived the whole world (Rev 12:9) … to the inverse of the extent that a person has the mind of Christ Jesus, the person is deceived, no exceptions. Thus, until the Christian is truly filled-with and empowered by the spirit/breath of God, some amount of deception will continue to lurk in the person’s mind. It is the task of every Christian to search his or her mind, to quarantine questionable thoughts, and to treat these thoughts as computer viruses once they have been identified as being of the Adversary.
Now, to the above add what Peter said when Jesus, after telling His disciples that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood and many of His disciples having left Him, asked the Twelve if they, too, would leave: “Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God’” (John 6:68–69 emphasis added).
For Philadelphians, Peter’s question remains germane: to whom shall we go if not to the man Jesus the Nazarene that is revealed in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and especially John, who didn’t write to make disciples in the 1st-Century, but wrote to set matters straight for endtime disciples, his brothers and partners in the Affliction and Kingdom and Endurance in Jesus (from Rev 1:9). As Peter went to natural Israelites and as Paul went to Gentiles [Greeks], John reaches across time to Christians at the end of the age … the Arian Christian, Sabbatarian or otherwise, who dismisses the writings of John, claiming they are in some manner spurious, denies that Christ Jesus was the God of the living before the Logos entered His creation as His only Son, and denies now that Christ Jesus, yesterday and today the same and forever the same (Heb 13:8), is the God of the living.
Death reigned over humankind from Adam to Moses (Rom 5:14); i.e., from when Adam was driven from the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:23–4) to when Moses entered into the presence of the God of the living (Ex 33:14, 18–23). Through the indwelling of Christ Jesus, a Christian enters into the presence of the God of the living and is of Moses … the second Sinai covenant is made with Moses and with the people of Israel (Ex 34:27); so if the people of Israel proved to be unfaithful as was the case, the eternal second Sinai covenant would remain in effect with Moses, and with whomever is of Moses through having entered into the presence of the God of the living. The eternal second Sinai covenant was ratified by Moses having entered into the glory of God, with this glory lingering on Moses’ face, concealed from Israel by a veil (Ex 34:29–33).
Eternal life was hidden from outwardly circumcised Israel because of the nation’s unbelief.
Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. (2 Cor 3:7–16 emphasis added)
Physical fire [oxidization] at the cellular level sustains human life; non-oxidizing heavenly fire sustains eternal life, or life in the timeless heavenly realm. Thus life is sustained by fire, regardless of whether that fire is external as in a heating or cooking fire, or internal as in cellular oxidization of simple carbohydrates, or deeper inside the person as in the Christian’s heart where the bright fire that is the glory of God (see Ezek 1:26–8) is held in the spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou].
As the veil over Moses’ face concealed the glory of the God-of-the-living from dead Israel [that is, from the spiritually lifeless nation of Israel], absence of spiritual birth through receipt of a second breath of life, the breath of God [pneuma Theon] in the vessel that is the breath of Christ [pneuma Christou], functions as a veil to conceal the glory of the Father from dead Christendom:
· Movement from a game of chess played on a two-dimensional board to chess played on a three-dimensional board roughly equates to the movement seen when going from the veil over Moses’ face that hid the glory of the Lord from outwardly circumcised Israel to absence of indwelling spiritual life that conceals the glory of God from greater Christendom;
· An experienced chess player calculates the movement of chess pieces on the two-dimensional board before a piece is touched;
· An experienced three-dimensional player sees the movement of pieces in the vertical dimension as well as horizontally and laterally, with the vertical dimension initially defying the imagination of the two-dimensional player;
· However, as experienced is gained in addressing the vertical dimension [columns that are in addition to ranks and files], three-dimensional chess is not significantly more difficult than two-dimensional chess.
Use of a physically alive but spiritually dead human being as the lifeless shadow of a human son of God requires that an element outside of the fleshly person functions to denote the presence or absence of indwelling heavenly life, which cannot be seen or measured in this world. Slavery is such an outside element: spiritually lifeless Israel as a slave people in Egypt (and again in Babylon) serves as the shadow and copy of a Christian who has not yet been born of God. The veil over Moses’ face is also such an element: as spiritually lifeless Israel could not bear looking upon Moses’ shining face, Christians not yet born of God cannot bear walking as Jesus walked; cannot keep the commands of God by faith (see Rom 8:7).
When Moses commanded Israel not to kindle a fire on the Sabbath (Ex 35:3), Moses conveyed to Israel that because of the nation’s rebellion in the matter of the golden calf, indwelling eternal life was not available to the nation, with fire representing life, and with the Sabbath representing entering into God’s presence. Indwelling eternal life is only available to humankind through the indwelling of Christ Jesus; thus, by no other name [authority] can a person be saved (Acts 4:10–12), with the Greek linguistic icon <onoma> used either figuratively [as in authority or character] or literally [as in an identifying signifier]. And Peter’s use of equivocation in moving <onoma> from being an identifying signifier [Jesus Christ the Nazarene] in v.10 to a figurative usage [authority] in v.12 has caused numerous Sabbatarian Christians to deny Christ and thereby have Christ Jesus deny them before angels.
A Christian born of God should expect to see movement of meaning for a linguistic icon within a passage; for in Greek, equivocation functions as thought-couplets function in Hebraic poetry. The first presentation or use of a word is physical [e.g., as an identifying signifier] and the second presentation is spiritual [e.g., an expression of Jesus’ authority to rule the living].
The vast majority of Christendom has not been raised from death through receipt of a second breath of life. If this vast majority had been truly born of God, this majority would not make a practice of sinning (see 1 John 3:4–10), with weekly transgression of the Sabbath commandment forming the most obvious practice of Christendom’s sinning.
When John wrote very late in the 1st-Century CE, all of the other first disciples had died. It would have seemed as if John would remain alive until Christ Jesus returned as the Messiah: once John saw his vision [the Book of Revelation] he would have realized that, indeed, he had remained until he saw the coming of the Lord. He would have also realized that considerable time would pass before the context for his vision would be in place so that the end could come. Therefore, John’s concern would not have been that of making disciples—if after the sixth Trumpet Plague and a third part of humankind is destroyed yet the survivors will not cease worshiping demons and the works of their hands (Rev 9:20–21), then making disciples even in the endtime era would be a fruitless activity—but that of making straight the way of the Lord as an-end-of-the century John the Baptist.
Understand the above: when John saw the coming of the Lord in vision, he would have seen the slaughter of the Lord that Isaiah saw (cf. Isa 66:15–17; Rev 19:11–21). John would have known that even after the world is baptized in spirit (Joel 2:28) and all peoples have the mind of Christ, the majority of humanity will not cease their evil ways. John would have believed the angel who told him in vision, “‘Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy’” (Rev 22:11). … The person who will believe God and will by faith do what is right will not, in the Affliction or in the Endurance, need a teacher; for the Law will be written on this person’s heart and placed within the person (Jer 31:33; Heb 8:10). And the person who will not believe God cannot be saved. Thus, John would have realized that his task wasn’t to make disciples, but to function for endtime disciples as John the Baptist functioned of 1st-Century Israelites:
Jesus said of His cousin,
What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.” Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. (Matt 11:7–15 emphasis added)
There is a problem imbedded in what Jesus said about John who still lived even though he was in prison … from the days of John the Baptist until now—when is “now”? The days of John the Baptist remained when Jesus spoke to the crowds concerning John the Baptist. John was imprisoned but very much alive. So if “now” was when Jesus spoke, then Jesus prematurely announced John’s death. And John the Baptist did not do all that the Elijah to come would do; for John did not turn the hearts of the children to their fathers (Mal 4:6), the physical expression of turning the disobedient to the wisdom of the just as the angel Gabriel had declared (Luke 1:17). To make ready for the Lord a people prepared was beyond the ability of John the Baptist; thus, John the Baptist could only be a type of the Elijah to come.
The Apostle John was a type of the Elijah to come, the reality of whom is the glorified Christ Jesus — the Apostle John was a type of Christ Jesus as a fractal image is one image consisting of itself replicated many times. The Son of Man is a fractal, with Christ Jesus being the image that is repeated in every disciple who walks as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6). Christ is a fractal, with the man Jesus being the image that is replicated. And the man Jesus told Sadducees that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was the God of the living, not the God of the dead. Therefore, the disciple who is a fractal image of Christ, of the Son of Man, has been born from above and has indwelling eternal life, and knows the only true God and knows Christ Jesus whom the only true God sent into this world for eternal life is knowing the Father and the Son (John 17:3).
No truly born of God Christian in this present era would make the mistake of believing that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the God that raised Jesus from death … for the Christian or Jew or Muslim who has not been born of God through receiving a second breath of life, God is numerically one, albeit in the form of an unexplainable triune singularity, or in the form of the sole Creator of everything that has been made, with this Creator being the God of Abraham. For the Christian who has received a second breath of life that is metonymically described as the indwelling of Christ Jesus, God is presently two [the Father and the Son] that function as one entity. And the person who is of the book can know whether he or she has truly been born of God by whether God is for the person one or two, with the movement from one to two coming through receipt of a second breath of life which permits the one person to intellectually comprehend two functioning as one.
For two to be one, equivocation must occur: a third referent must be present for the two signifiers, <two> and <one>. This third referent can be perceived as unity assigned to <one> rather than numerical singleness …
The person for whom God is two comes to know this reality in a manner analogous to how Peter came to know that Jesus was the Christ. This person will not be able to persuade friends or family who are not also born of God that Elohim is a plural noun, or that the Tetragrammaton YHWH represents two deities that function in this world as one deity. Therefore, wisdom would have the person keeping to him or herself the knowledge that has come to the person through the indwelling of Christ Jesus: there will be a time to speak, but that time will be after the Second Passover liberation of Israel when all Christians will have been born of God, and born filled-with and empowered by the spirit of God. And even then, speaking will be questionable: for if the person filled with spirit will not believe what he or she now inwardly knows is true, the Christian will not believe another person.
Having come to know a thing such as Jesus is the Holy One of God is revelation via realization … Jesus told Peter that the Father had revealed to Peter that Jesus was the Christ, the son of the living God (Matt 16:16–17); yet Peter told Jesus that this knowledge was something that the Twelve had come know through being with Jesus. Thus, in Peter’s case, revelation coming from the Father came to Peter via realization and not through a vision, how the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had communicated with the prophets of old.
Understand the above which will be twice repeated for emphasis: the Father, the God of the dead, does not communicate with His sons through visions, but directly through the groaning of the spirit; i.e., through the parakletos, the spirit of truth. It was the God of Abraham before and the Son today that communicates through visions.
Taking into account Jesus telling Sadducees that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was the God of the living and not the God of the dead (Matt 22:31–32), it was then the God of the living that gave visions to the prophets of old, the major premise of a syllogism [a logical chain of reasoning]. It was the glorified Christ Jesus, the present God of the living, that gave to the Apostle John his vision (cf. Rev 1:1–2, 10), recorded as the Book of Revelation … the Father reveals knowledge of the mysteries of God through the parakletos, the spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father alone (John 15:26). The Son as the God of the living reveals knowledge to disciples via visions, which will be many when the world is baptized in spirit (see Joel 2:28).
If the God of Abraham is the God of the living, not of the dead, and since Abraham is today numbered among the dead, the God that Abraham worshiped while he lived is not now his God, the minor premise of the syllogism. If Abraham looked forward, while he lived, to the coming of a city whose designer and builder is God (Heb 11:10) and since Abraham did not see this city while he lived, the designer and builder of this city is not the God of Abraham, the God of the living, the conclusion of the syllogism.
The preceding seems logical and is logical, but the preceding created in the Sadducees astonishment (Matt 22:33); for if the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the God of the living and not the God of the dead and not the designer and builder of the city for which dead Abraham awaits, then there must be a God of the dead who is the designer and builder of heavenly Jerusalem, the city of God for which Abraham awaited while alive [while living as a sojourner in the Promised Land].
If there is a God of the living who is not or was not the God of the dead, and if the living die and return to dust even though the prophet Malachi recorded,
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him” (Mal 3:16–18),
then there must necessarily be a God of the dead that resurrects the dead to life so that a distinction can be made between the one who serves God and the one who does not serve Him; for in the dust of this earth, there is no distinction between the righteous and the wicked.
According to John’s gospel, the man Jesus the Nazarene told Jews seeking to kill Him,
Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. (John 5:19–23 emphasis added)
If the Son, Christ Jesus, can do nothing of His own accord, but does what He sees the Father doing—and if the Father raises the dead, and the Son gives life to whom He will of the living [of those whom the Father has raised from death], then the Father is the God of the dead and the Son is the God of the living, the one to whom all judgment has been given, the one who will cause perishable flesh to put on immortality if the person’s name is written in the book of remembrance mentioned by Malachi.
The God of Abraham will spare Abraham as a man spares the son that serves him, but the God of Abraham did not spare Abraham from experiencing death while Abraham lived. Rather, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob listened to these three men and wrote their names in the book of remembrance of those who feared the Lord and esteemed His name while the fleshly bodies of these three patriarchs returned to the dust from which they were taken—
King Solomon wrote,
Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. (Eccl 3:16–20 emphasis added)
Solomon was not born of God; i.e., born of spirit, the divine breath of God [pneuma Theon]. Hence, Solomon did not know what the Apostle John, who was born of spirit, knew—and that is all judgment has been given to the Son … the God of the living will judge the living, not the dead. The Son will judge the living, not the dead; for Jesus also said, “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life’” (John 5:24).
The above should concern greater Christendom: all judgment is of the living, either today or in the great White Throne Judgment. If the human person has indwelling eternal life (i.e., has been raised from death by the Father), then the person has been given authority to righteously judge him or herself: this person needs no other judge for this person has the indwelling of Christ Jesus. This person has entered into the presence of the God of the living through the indwelling of Christ. And as Moses erred in the matter of striking the rock, the faults of this person will be addressed by Christ so that this person will be glorified because the Father wants this to be the case—and no one, not even the person, can snatch the person from the Father’s hand (John 10:29).
To be born of God in this present, pre-Second-Passover era is to be foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified … yes, glorified; for the souls that sleep under the altar (Rev 6:9–11) are not bodiless. John does not use the Greek icon <pneuma> to describe these souls. Rather, he uses the icon <psuche>. And John well understands the difference; for it is John who gives endtime disciples Jesus’ discourse with Nicodemus (John chap 3).
There is a difference between being born of God in this present era and being born of God at the Second Passover liberation of Israel … any person in the world could be, in this present era, foreknown and predestined by the Father. This foreknown and predestined person will come to know [will realize] that Jesus is the Christ and that the Father raised Jesus from death regardless of where the person resides or whether the person hears the preaching of others. Because the Father will have delivered this person to the Son for development and safe-keeping, this person will not be lost even if the person takes a lifetime to find Christ.
Usually the foreknown and predestined person will come from within the pool of greater Christendom, but being a Christian prior to being called by God is not necessary and might actually be a hindrance—for Christians come to the Father and the Son with a great deal of baggage developed from centuries of false teachings and false teachers, baggage that must be discarded if the Christian is to walk upright before God.
It is that pool of Christians that forms visible Christendom that must be drained before the end comes—and the tool used by the Father for draining this pool is the Second Passover liberation of Israel, the event that begins the seven endtime years of tribulation. In filling every self-identified Christian with His breath, the Father figuratively makes invisible the fleshly bodies of the Christian so that whatever is in the heart and mind of the Christian will be manifested in the deeds and actions of the Christian.
Again, at the Second Passover liberation of Israel every Christian will be born of the Father and born filled-with and empowered by the divine breath of the Father, but the difference between sons born of the Father pre-Second-Passover and sons born post-Second-Passover is the difference between Moses and Israel in Egypt and in the Wilderness—
Moses was individually chosen for the job given him whereas Israel was not individually chosen as the firstborn son of the Lord (Ex 4:22), but collectively chosen … for Israel, as opposed to Moses, salvation was collective. For Israel, salvation was represented by collectively entering into the Promised Land that represented God’s rest. For Moses, salvation was represented by entering into God’s presence, into His rest, atop Mount Sinai (Ex 33:14).
The difference between Moses and Israel is most easily seen at Mount Sinai where the height and the boundaries of the mountain separated Moses from Israel: truly born of God Christians in this era are of Moses whereas Christians born of God following the Second Passover will be of Israel. And the separation of the height and boundaries of Mount Sinai is the separation between being foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified, and being simply foreknown through professing that Jesus is Lord and believing that the Father raised Jesus from death. Therefore, following the Second Passover liberation of Israel, some of those who have indwelling eternal life will be resurrected to condemnation (John 5:28–29) … being born of God in the Affliction is not an assurance of salvation.
The difference between pre-Second-Passover sons of God and post-Second-Passover sons of God comes from who pays the redemption price for these sons: Christ Jesus at Calvary paid the redemption price for sons of God born in this present era. The uncovered [by the blood of Jesus] firstborns of man and God, biological and legal, will pay the redemption price for the Second Passover liberation of Christendom from indwelling sin and death. And because of who pays the redemption price, Christians born of God in the Affliction and in the Endurance will not be born one with Christ, but must be made one at the Wedding Feast when the Bridegroom marries His Bride.
Because of how the redemption price is paid for sons of God born in the Affliction or in the Endurance, these sons of God can be lost, can be made into vessels of wrath (Rom 9:22) to fulfill all Scripture (see John 17:12): Scriptures pertaining to brother betraying brother (e.g., Matt 24:10–12) are dated to the Affliction, when it is greater Christendom that is born of God.
The Father who raises the dead to life by giving to the dead a second breath of life, His divine breath, does not judge the dead but has given all judgment to the Son, the God of the living, the God of those human persons who have received a second breath of life—
· Abraham did not receive a second breath of life while he lived physically;
· John received a second breath of life when the glorified Son breathed on the ten disciples and said, Receive the Holy Spirit [hagios pneuma] (John 20:22).
· But both Abraham and John died physically and must again be given life.
When Abraham is resurrected from death, he will be resurrected from inclusion in the book of remembrance that records the names of those who served God before the spirit was given. When John is resurrected from death, he will be awakened from under the altar where the souls of those who have borne witness of the Word of God (Rev 6:9) presently sleep, knowing nothing more than a man knows when sleeping soundly.
The righteous person who has not been born of the Father has no indwelling eternal life and will only be remembered in the resurrection of firstfruits if the person’s name is included in the book of remembrance, with inclusion in this book of remembrance making a distinction between the righteous and the wicked, with the righteous to be returned to life when Christ Jesus comes as the Messiah.
But the person foreknown by God, predestined, called, justified, and glorified (Rom 8:29–30) already has indwelling eternal life, and when this person dies physically, he or she is spiritually as Lazarus was physically when Jesus called Lazarus forth from the grave:
So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" She said to him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world." When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, "The Teacher is here and is calling for you." And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." Jesus wept. So the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?" Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days." Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?" So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me." When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out."
The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go." (John 11:20–44 emphasis added)
Jesus told Martha that He was the resurrection that she knew would occur on the last day … when Jesus called Lazarus forth from sleep/death, Lazarus was not born of spirit for the spirit had not yet been given, and would not be given until Jesus breathed on ten of His first disciples (again, see John 20:22). So the sleep that Lazarus slept—sleep that was physical death—formed the shadow and copy of the sleep that born-of-God disciples will sleep under the altar until Jesus, as the resurrection and life, calls them forth as glorified sons of God, younger siblings to Himself.
What Paul wrote about the holy ones of God being, in this era, foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified (again Rom 8:29–30) is in past tense … it wasn’t the dead, invisible inner self of Lazarus that Jesus called forth from death, but the dead body [flesh] of Lazarus. It isn’t bodiless living inner selves that sleep under the altar: without a body (a tent or house), the essence of life has no container in which to dwell—
Paul also wrote,
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Cor 5:1–10 emphasis added)
Paul’s <we> is not the bodies of disciples, but living inner selves that are clothed by flesh, and that are to be further clothed by immortality/life.
Once again, the souls that sleep under the altar are not named with the Greek linguistic icon <pneuma> but with the icon <psuche> that is used to metonymically represent physical breath and physical life, the life that animated Lazarus before he died and after he was returned to physical life; i.e., the life of the flesh.
Equivocation is the use in a syllogism of a term/word multiple times, but with the term/word having different meanings within the syllogism, with a common English example being the question, Do women need to fear man-eating sharks, where the word <man> can mean any member of the species Homo sapiens, or the male members of the species Homo sapiens … although even children understand that a man-eating shark will attack women as well as men, infant sons of God have historically not been able to distinguish between God [Theos] and the God [ton Theon — John 1:1]; between the God of the living and the God of the dead despite Jesus, when before the tomb in which Lazarus was interred, lifting up His eyes and saying, “‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around’” (John 11:41–42).
When Jesus commanded Lazarus to come forth from the dead, it was the Father (as the God of the dead) that heard Jesus and that returned Lazarus to physical life. Even though Jesus called Lazarus forth, it was the Father who returned Lazarus to life at the request of Jesus and as the shadow and copy of the glorified Jesus calling forth His faithful disciples when judgments are revealed at His return (1 Cor 4:5).
When the crucified Jesus died, Matthew records, “And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many” (Matt 27:51–53 emphasis added). It wasn’t Jesus that temporarily returned life to these holy ones so that they could enter the city of Jerusalem and appear to many. Rather, the Father returned life to these holy ones as a shadow and copy of what would occur when the holy ones are born of spirit through receipt of a second breath of life, His breath [pneuma Theon].
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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."