July 8, 2003 ©Homer Kizer
Scripture & Scholarship
When scholars in the 18th and 19th Centuries closely examined Hebraic Scriptures, they found what they perceived as narrative peculiarities that suggested Moses wasn't the author of the "five books of Moses," that the Pentateuch had in fact been written by mostly anonymous authors. Beginning with the creation account in Genesis, these scholars found first that two authors or groups of authors, then three ("J," "P," & "E") had written the Law portion of the Law & the Prophets. Thus, these scholars became critical of the received historical context of described events. The Genesis account of creation was rejected. The Flood became a regional catastrophe. The number of the Israelites that left Egypt in the exodus shrank from a couple of million to a few hundred. The size of the armies for both the house of Israel and the house of Judah decreased from hundreds of thousands to thousands or less. The nation of Israel became a backwater eddy in the flow of history that remained focused on Egypt, Greece, and Rome. David and Solomon became minor kings in an agricultural area that never developed the concept of a polis. And these many newly discovered narrative "difficulties" scholars found in Scripture caused cultural-wide epistemological problems. Western civilization would never again be as naïve as it had been; it would never again place faith in a received text.
Epistemological concerns became so great in Western nations that by the middle of the 19th-Century, Melville's Moby-Dick became an examination of whether text--any text--can be trusted to convey knowledge. For Melville the answer was apparently no. What a text gave it could negate with a simple "but." Words were not as trustworthy as experience. While a white whale could be described, its mystery and majesty was as a symbol that defied containment within words. Apparently for Melville, Christ Jesus' mystery and majesty was much greater than what the shrunken words of mid 19th-Century scholarship could convey.
Many mid 19th-Century theologians concluded that Scripture could no longer be trusted, because the evidence for Scripture's truthfulness was contained within the text. Whereas Puritans had little difficulty accepting paradoxes, Kant convinced scholars that Scripture could not validly testify to its own truthfulness. And Matthew Arnold writes in "Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse" that he had been educated unto unbelief. The problem for his generation, and for every generation since is that faith was lost when innocence fled--when these scholars realized that they could not know good & evil and remain innocent. These scholars agreed that humanity couldn't return to Eden once forbidden fruit had been eaten. Innocence could never be retrieved by the very nature of what constitutes "innocence." Education was the culprit. To know the difference between good and evil precludes the person from climbing back over the walls of the garden of God.
The tree of life, however, grows only inside of Eden. It has no suckers growing among the cedars of Lebanon, nor among the myrtles of Oregon. So until a person returns to Eden, the person is denied access to eternal life.
The Apostle Paul writes that everlasting life is the gift of God (Rom 6:23). Therefore, if the tree of life only grows within the walls of Eden, it must necessarily be possible to return to innocence.
Physically, the tree of life didn't survive the Flood, when the world was baptized into death. And while pre-Flood humanity lived long lives, all eventually died. Thus, it is physically impossible to return to Eden. Physical innocence cannot be recaptured as if it were an escaped canary. But spiritual or everlasting life isn't a part of the physical universe--and it is everlasting life that is the gift of God. Eden only now exists spiritually. Its geographic boundaries were the same as Israel's promised land. Likewise, its spiritual boundaries are the same.
In the spiritual realm, returning to Eden is not only possible but required.
Melville's Moby-Dick begins with a catalogue of everything known about whales. An implied argument is created pitting the encyclopedic "knowledge" of everything known against the experience of encountering the white whale. Again, for Melville knowledge received from a text can never be fully trusted, for meaning is assigned to words and to collections of words. And if meaning is assigned, the text ultimately has no meaning residing within itself. Every text is, then, depended upon its audience for the production of meaning. Without readers, a text exists as an artifact; it is as silent as a radio turned off.
Common radios require a source of electrical power to turn them on--they are powered either by batteries, or they are powered by electrical cords connected to outlets, which are in turn connected to transformers, high tension transmission lines, and the nation's power grid. They need physical power produced by physical means. They are silent without power; yet, the modulated frequencies of radio broadcasts vigorously vie with each other for territorial supremacy without humanity's awareness unless power flows through a receiver, thereby amplifying the minute modulations of air forming radio waves. When these minute modulations become strong enough through electromagnetic fields to excite a speaker, the on-going radio broadcast is finally heard. Rush Limbaugh shills for Capitalism, Democracy, and the application of common sense solutions to the world's problems. The weather forecast is again doubtful, and local news is about farmers being unable to plant due to wet fields.
Upon initial comparison, a text differs substantially from a radio broadcast. While meaning must be assigned to both the inscribed message of the text and to the oral message of a radio broadcast, the text is static. It requires the reader to supply movement across a field of signifiers before meaning can be assigned. The messages a text contains exist as potential knowledge in the same way that potential energy differs from kinetic energy.
The relationship between radio receivers and broadcasts is additionally problematic when applied to readers of ordinary texts, for neither readers nor texts can be, nor need to be turned on with batteries or electrical cords. Reading is a uniquely human activity. The basis for it is either in the six-tenths of one percent difference between the human genetic code and a chimpanzee's, or is in a non-physical element that cannot be scientifically isolated, an element that the Apostle Paul labels as the spirit of humankind.
When reading, a human mind must engage the structure of black signs (i.e., letters) in fields of white paper. Whereas the radio waves continuously beat against a stationary receiver as the surf pounds a beach, texts do not read themselves. Words neither move around as if alluding discovery, nor do they come knocking, asking to be let into a mind. Rather, the mind skips along over the accumulated signs, possibly stumbling over this one, or over that one, thereby requiring the reader to either ignore the particular collection of signs, or to engage a dictionary to make sense from the text. In all cases, it is the mind that moves as if the mind were a child on a beach, probing tidal pools and a windrow of driftwood, the flotsam of the world.
The analogy of reading a text and receiving a radio broadcast begins to work, though, when an additional element is introduced: when a text requires the need for an external power source. The Apostle Paul writes, "For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot" (Rom 8:7). In other words, the carnal or natural mind (i.e., the mind set on flesh) cannot submit to God's law, for it is not "excited" by the laws of God. It is actually hostile to God. It is as unable to receive the message conveyed by God as a turned-off radio is unable to receive Rush Limbaugh's broadcast.
Further, the Apostle John quotes Jesus saying, '"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him"' (6:44), and '"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe….This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father'" (vv. 63-65). So to understand Holy Scripture as a text, a reader must be connected to God by having been drawn, and by believing the words of Jesus. Believing "in Jesus," or "on Jesus" isn't that same as believing Jesus. And if the person hasn't received the Spirit of God, the person cannot understand the things of God--the test for whether a person has the Holy Spirit is whether the person submits to the laws of God.
The power grid necessary to activate a human mind so that a particular mind can understand spiritual matters is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the person. Without the Holy Spirit, a mind, regardless of how brilliant or how well educated, is like a radio turned off when it comes to receiving the spiritual broadcast contained within an otherwise static text. Without the Holy Spirit, that exceedingly brilliant mind contemplating spiritual matters is analogous to a bear tying to solve quadratic equations. And often, the possessor of that mind becomes bear-like when a disciple tells the person that he or she cannot understand what appear as mere words on a age. After all, aren't words words? No, they are not when those words are the Word of God, since meaning must be assigned to all words. Without the indwelling of the Breath of God, Holy Writ cannot be understood on a spiritual level--and it can only be poorly understood on a physical level.
The spiritually minded person will have been drawn by the Father, and must believe Jesus' words. This person will possess the Holy Spirit, and it is this person who can hear Christ's voice in the signifiers that compose Holy Writ. Another person without the Holy Spirit can read these same signifiers, can assign meaning to them, can produce well-reasoned arguments about why his or her selection of signifieds should be attached to the signifiers, and can have no clue to what message Jesus conveys with these signifiers to His disciples. In other words, Scripture is comprehendible only by individuals who have the Holy Spirit, its presence revealed by these individuals' willingness to submit to the laws of God. If you are unwilling to submit to the laws of God, you either do not have the Holy Spirit, or you are seriously grieving it. No exceptions.
Hebraic Scripture, as canonized, when coupled with the gospels and epistles of the Apostles--again, as canonized--differs from all other texts. It is not turned on, so to speak, by just any mind skipping over its accumulation of letters and words. Again, an additional element is needed: the person has to have been drawn by God the Father. The person must be "spiritually minded," a mental state occurring when someone has the Spirit of God. While many individuals claim to possess the Holy Spirit, the evidence of such possession is the person's willingness to submit to God's law. If a person is not willing to submit to the laws of God which as a condition of the new covenant are written on the hearts and minds of drawn disciples (Jer 31:33; Heb 8:10 & 10:16), the person might have a spirit, but the person's spirit isn't the Holy Spirit. The person who actually possesses the Holy Spirit will submit to the laws of God; and is someone who believes God, not just believes in the concept of God. And it is only this person who can understand Holy Writ when the person engages the text. For everyone else, Scripture is as a radio with its dial set between stations. Noise it heard. But meaning cannot truly to assigned to the noise, for the meaning is produced in the spiritual realm, that dimension in which our four physical dimensions exist as an unfurling ball. Born again, or born from above disciples have life in this heavenly realm. Thus, they are able to produce meaning in this dimension, then comprehend in their chemically produced thought processes that supra-dimensional meaning, at least to some extent. This is what it means to hear the voice of Christ (John 10:3-4, 16).
Again, the only test of whether a person has the Holy Spirit is the person's willingness to submit to the laws of God. If a person says that as a Christian he or she is not subject to the laws of God but is under grace, the person either poorly understands what grace is, or the person remains carnally minded. If the person poorly understands grace, then this person also doesn't understand the second covenant and is very likely to walk away from the covenant relationship with God into which he or she was placed when drawn.
A disciple isn't under the law because the laws of God have been written on his or her heart and mind. Literally, the person has become an ark of the [new] covenant, with the two tablets of stone on which the laws of God are written being the disciple's heart and mind, and with the jar of manna being belief in Jesus (John 6:35) and Aaron's budded staff being the promise of resurrection to eternal life (John 5:24). Grace (i.e., Christ bearing the person's sins) remains outside the person, for grace is the gift of God (Rom 3:24). If a disciple leaves the covenant relationship into which the disciples was placed, Christ will return the disciple's sins to him or her when the disciple's judgment is revealed (1 Cor 4:5). This disciple will go into the lake of life. However, if a disciple remains in the covenant relationship, the disciple remains under grace. No sin is even imputed to this person. No further judgment awaits this person, who will be resurrected to life (John 5:29).
Judgment is now on the house of God. The writer of Hebrews says that it is appointed unto all men to die once, then experience judgment (9:27). But Jesus said no further judgment awaits disciples--those who believe Him shall pass from death to life. Baptism is death as far as the Father is concerned. A baptized disciple is presently under judgment (1 Pet 4:17), since this person's old self died when submerged. God the Father and Christ accept a person's baptism as a real death. Thus, if a born again disciple erases the laws of God that have been written on his or her heart and mind, the person grieves the Holy Spirit. If the person refuses to submit to these laws of God, the person rejects the Holy Spirit. This person will go into the lake of fire. This person actually judged him or herself as being unworthy to receive spiritual life (Deu 30:19-20)--this is a little appreciated aspect of judgment. Each disciple prosecutes him- or herself based upon the person's actions versus the person's knowledge of the laws of God. Hypocrisy sends the person into the lake of fire, and the person will determine whether he or she has been a hypocrite. All the person's good works will not undo a person's conviction of being a hypocrite, for the Father and Christ will never be able to trust the person not to rebel if the person knew to keep a law of God and didn't. The Father isn't in the business of creating additional rebels. This is why many are called, but few are chosen; and why broad is the way that leads to destruction, and narrow is the way that leads to life.
The idea that the Holy Spirit is unavailable to someone who doesn't believe the words Jesus spoke, thereby precluding such individuals from understanding Scripture, is an alien concept to a multitude of theologians. Divinity schools seem to come replete with professors for whom the Bible has had an immeasurable influence on Judaism and Christianity (from the back cover of the dust jacket of The Oxford Companion to the BIBLE) and is not the inspired Word of God. These individuals, brilliant as they are, cannot understand Scripture if they are not willing to submit their lives to the laws of God, and believe the words of Christ. All qualifiers to such submission and belief cause Scripture to become historic noise to them.
Again, a person will believe what Jesus is recorded to have said, or the person remains naturally minded. All of the objections (e.g., how can Christians know that what the Bible records are Jesus' actual words) melt when examined in the light of faith, for the spiritually minded individual believes Jesus. Christ's death at Calvary abolished the law (i.e., the Sinai covenant) that physically separated circumcised Israel from the rest of the world (Eph 2:15). Two p e o p l e s -- c i r c u m c i s e d a n d uncircumcised--became one new humanity, physically or in a horizontal sense. But humanity was, with the Cross, divided spiritually between those whose hearts and minds have been circumcised (Deu 30:6), a euphemism for receiving the Holy Spirit, and those who remain carnally minded, not drawn by the Father, and still unable to submit to the laws of God. This division was and is vertical, and this division will end 1260 days prior to Christ's return as the Messiah (Rev 11:15); it will end when the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of the Father and of His Messiah. It will end when Satan is cast from heaven. He will come to earth as a roaring lion, for he will no longer be able to deceive humanity by controlling mental landscapes. He will come as the true antiChrist (the man of perdition possessed by the demonic king of the North was his physical type). And he will have been restricted to the same horizontal plane as humanity occupies. He will have to recapture his former mental slaves by physical means--by requiring his slaves to accept the mark of the beast (Chi xi stigma), a tattoo of the cross of Calvary.
David's slaying of Goliath is the shadow of disciples, who will sit on the throne of David with David when glorified, contesting with Satan during the last three and a half years of the Tribulation. Just as David had been anointed by Samuel, born again disciples have been anointed by God. Just as David was still a youth, born again disciples are the children of God--they have life in the spirit realm, but they have not yet reached their majority [glorification]. Just as David had killed a bear and a lion prior to engaging Goliath, disciples will have engaged the man of perdition, who was dealt a death blow when the split Mount of Olives (Zech 14:4) swallowed his armies (Rev 12:16 & Exod 15:12) on day 1260. And without faith, disciples will be like Saul's army: they will be intimidated by the antiChrist. With faith, Satan has no more chance against a disciple than Goliath had against David.
Joel's prophecies of open salvation, cited by the Apostle Peter on that day of Pentecost, will be fulfilled when the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of God the Father and of His Messiah. The heavenly qualifying signs the prophet Joel lists didn't occur on that day of Pentecost--except as. a shadow of the spiritual reality prophetically recorded in Daniel 7:9-14, and Revelation 11:15. The reality that casts a shadow is always one level higher than its shadow. Whereas the first Adam was a man of flesh, the second Adam (i.e., Christ Jesus) is a quickening spirit, transformed from flesh. Thus, the reality of the heavenly signs of Joel's prophecy occurs during the first half of the Tribulation. Therefore, the message the Apostle Peter preaches on that day of Pentecost following Christ's ascension becomes the shadow of the message that will be preached when humanity is liberated from bondage to sin.
Unless drawn by God, a person is under no obligation to believe Jesus. It isn't the person's time to be offered salvation. This individual won't go directly into the lake of fire--no ever-burning ell awaits this person upon his or her death. Rather, this person will go into the grave until the Great White Throne Judgment, when this person will be resurrected and judged. This person never received life in the spiritual realm, that supra-dimensional world identified as heaven. This person was never born from above, so no basis exists for determining whether this person is worthy of permanently receiving spiritual life in that supra-dimensional realm. This person was never under grace, for this person was never in jeopardy of the judgment. This person's time of salvation is not yet, the meaning of predestination.
The person's physical [psuche] life isn't continued past death, obviously. The person body [soma] returns to dust, or the elements of the earth, at death. But after death a disciple's spiritual life [pneuma] will be judged worthy or not worthy of being continued. Because Christ bears every sin of disciples in covenant with the Father, the disciple's pneuma will automatically be judged worthy of continuing forever when the person's judgment is revealed at Christ's Second Coming. This is what grace means. But the person who leaves the covenant relationship into which the disciple was placed when drawn leaves grace and will bear his or her own sins. This disciple will go into the lake of fire. So remaining in covenant with the Father and Christ is very serious business. And it is by this covenant that the laws of God are written on the hearts and minds of disciples. The walls of spiritual Eden are the laws of God. The tree of life is inside these walls. And disciples are to live inside the laws of God.
The physical shadow of spiritual Israel living inside the laws of God occurred when physical Israel entered the promised land:
Then Moses and the elders of Israel charged all the people as follows: Keep the entire commandment that I am commanding you today. On the day that you cross over the Jordan into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall set up large stones and cover them with plaster. You shall write on them all the words of this law when you have crossed over, to enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. (Deut 27:1-3)
Instead of those laws of God being written on plastered rocks at the boundaries of the promised land, they are written on the hearts and minds of disciples. Same laws. Spiritual Eden, or the spiritual promised land exists inside those laws. A spiritual Israelite outside of those laws is out of covenant, and separated from grace by those laws. This Israelite needs to return home as fast as his or her knees will bend.
Since eternal or spiritual life is the gift of God (Rom 6:23), a person doesn't naturally have everlasting life. A disciple receives pneuma (as the Apostle Paul uses the term) as the gift of God the Father. And there is a principle here that needs firmly established in the minds of disciples: a born-again disciple has actual life in the heavenly realm. The disciple is now a child of God. The disciple, when glorified, won't suddenly become a child of God, but will be an heir of God, like Christ in every way. The disciple will have reached his or her spiritual majority so that the person is able to inherit glorification and all that goes with it. This heir is presently, as a human being, developing spiritual maturity in the disciple's mental landscape. Remember, this earthly tabernacle in which disciples presently dwell won't be glorified. Disciples receive spiritual bodies to go with the spiritual life maturing within the person's character and thought processes. So unlike Adam who was psuche and soma, a bornagain disciple consists of psuche, pneuma, and soma (1 Thess 5:23): physical breath (psuche), spiritual breath (pneuma), and a body (soma). But all humans who have not been born a second time do not have spiritual breath (i.e., the Holy Spirit) indwelling in their bodies. They have no life but their physical breath. They do not have an immortal soul. Believing they have an immortal soul is the lie Eve believed--the serpent said, You shall surely not die, and both Eves (the mother of physical humanity and the spiritual mother of born-again disciples) believed the serpent. Both have and will experience pain in childbirth. And the desire of both has been for their physical and spiritual husbands.
Again, eternal life is the gift of God. It is only the gift of God. It comes no other way. A person doesn't receive eternal or spiritual life through fornication in the backseats of Fords. The wages of sin is death, not eternal life in hell.
However, because of lawlessness, or iniquity, God the Father sent spiritual Israel (the Church) into mental captivity in spiritual Babylon. Most of spiritual Israel remains in spiritual Babylon, and won't be released until firstborns not covered by the Blood of the Lamb of God are again slain at a second Passover. But the spiritual prince of Persia/Babylon released a few disciples from mental captivity so that the temple of God and the walls of the city could be rebuilt in spiritual Jerusalem (Ezra and Nehemiah were the physical shadow of this spiritual release from Babylon). Spiritual Israel was for seventy spiritual years completely in mental captivity to the King of Babylon (i.e., Satan).
The Sabbath-keeping churches that arose in the 19th and 20th Centuries follow in the tradition of the 15th and 16th Century reformers who started the long journey back to spiritual Jerusalem from Babylon. But these Sabbath-keeping churches have traditionally displayed no love for Christians observing Sunday as the Sabbath. This is a serious want on the part of these fellowships--without love for the spiritual Israelites still enslaved to sin, no disciple is pleasing to Christ, who as the good shepherd will liberate the greater Christian Church on that second Passover. Those disciples living within Eden need to be ready to welcome those who will be liberated. Plus, those disciples in Eden need to work at recovering as many enslaved spiritual Israelites as possible. The closer disciples mentally get to spiritual Jerusalem, the more anxious these disciples are to submit to the laws of God that have been written on their hearts and minds, and the more willing these disciples are to observe God's festivals, new moons, and Sabbaths. But the mental journey to spiritual Jerusalem hasn't been easy for any assembly of disciples. When the spiritual prince of Persia released the first of these disciples, he didn't send them out with a roadmap. Instead, he spun them in circles for a few centuries. Then dizzy, the reformers ventured forth, stumbling over pebbles as they strove to hear Christ's voice. And they came a long ways in a very few generations--then they were sent down this detour and that one because they couldn't shake off the mantle of Platonism that caused them to believe they had immortal souls. And it is this mantle of Platonism traditional Christianity wears that now causes Sabbath- observing fellowships to dismiss all Sunday-observing Christians as not knowing God. The problem is that Christ is great enough to bear every sin committed by Christians in covenant with God, but without love, no disciple can please Christ or the Father. The no-love positions of many Sabbath-keeping fellowships will cause too many disciples in these fellowships to not bring forth fruit worthy of repentance. They have taken the commandment that Jesus identified as the least of the Commandments (Matt 5:19) and made a test commandment from it. Yes, a disciple should observe the Sabbath and should not try to make another day holy. But if a disciple observes another day as the Sabbath in ignorance, this disciple has not sinned in the spiritual realm. Certainly this disciple has committed a sin in the physical world that Jesus will have to bear--and will give to Satan when Yom Kipporim becomes a reality if the disciple remains in covenant--but the Sabbath only affects a disciple's psuche and soma (physical life and body). A disciple's pneuma or spiritual breath remains spotless, which is why the gates of hell could not prevail against the Church. Intent and follow up on intent are everything. The Apostle Paul's desire for the Thessalonian saints is that all three--psuche, pneuma, and soma--be found blameless or sinless at Christ's coming.
Therefore, drawn disciples--regardless of which day they observe for the Sabbath, and regardless of what denomination they fellowship with, and regardless of the amount of knowledge they possess--have life in the spiritual realm. That life is in the embryonic stage until baptism, when the disciple knowingly or unknowingly asks for judgment to come upon him or her. No disciple will be glorified until after being judged, so a disciple needs to be baptized whenever the disciple understands the seriousness of judgment.
For far too many Sabbath-keepers, the idea that a Sunday-observing Christian could have a part in the first resurrection is anathema. For far too long, we have looked down our pious noses at those Christians who, in ignorance, try to make holy that which was never holy (and who break the second commandment by doing so). We have not considered that we would be with them if we hadn't been released from spiritual Babylon so that we could prepare spiritual Jerusalem for their arrival--and they will be coming. A third will arrive. That is will be one-sixth or a little more of all humanity.
Today, a problem exists: the theologians of lawlessness, both the ones who believe Jesus and the ones for whom the Bible is ancient wisdom, have such loud voices in & out of pulpits and in & out of classrooms that many genuine sheep cannot easily hear Christ's voice. The background noise is just too great. And many of these sheep will be needlessly slaughtered because they spurn the laws of God that are written on their hearts and minds as a condition of the new covenant. Too many theologians have the teeth of wolves, and too many pastors are hirelings. There are not enough of us willing to wage war with the king of Babylon for the recovery of the scattered sheep, but those disciples who have the mental strength of the youthful David when he slew Goliath will sit on David's throne with him. If a disciple doesn't now have the mental love necessary to fight to recovery the lost sheep of the spiritual house of Israel, the disciple will never enter spiritual Jerusalem prior to Christ's return. For the Church (i.e., spiritual Israel), the place of safety during the last half of the Tribulation is the mental landscape inside the walls of spiritual Jerusalem. It is not a geographical location.
The future King David had already rescued sheep from a lion and a bear when he took on Goliath, who was nothing more to him mentally than an uncircumcised dog. Physically, Goliath was just as tall in David's sight as he was in every other Israelite's. He was just as strong. But David didn't then look physically at Goliath (when King David numbered Israel, he did look physically at his support). In David's mental innocence, David saw that Goliath had no more size in the spiritual realm that a dog, or the lion and the bear he had already killed. The armies of the Israel were just additional sheep that needed rescued.
Disciples in the spiritual church in Philadelphia will have the same desire to rescue lost sheep that King David had--and you are now reading the literature of this spiritual fellowship.
If a born-again disciple cannot trust the biblical understandings of professors for whom the words of Jesus are good principles by which to live, then can this disciple actually find an inspired teacher? Or must this disciple muddle through Scripture as that child on a beach who has just discovered life in a tidal pool?
When Peter, James and his brother John witnessed, in vision, the transfiguration of Jesus, the disciples asked Jesus why the scribes said that Elijah must come again before the coming of the Son of Man. Jesus said, "'Elijah does come, and he will restore all things. But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands'" (Matt 17:11-12). Jesus' disciples understood that Jesus was speaking of John the Baptist--but did John the Baptist restore all things? He didn't. He baptized for the remission of sin. Jesus is the Passover Lamb of God. He is the sin offering for disciples, the fulfillment of the types that the two goats selected on Yom Kipporim represent. Additionally, He is the fulfillment of the types of the two rams sacrificed for Aaron's priestly robes. He is the fulfillment of the types of the daily morning and evening sacrifice of a lamb. And He has been sacrificed once for our sins, thereby allowing disciples to be reconciled to God the Father.
The "daily," or daily sacrifice that physical Israel was commanded to perform (Exod 29:38-42) called for two lambs of the first year to be offered day by day. The Hebraic day was divided into night and day, with night ending at daybreak, and with day ending at even--the order of sacrifice is morning and evening, which can confuse a person into thinking that the "hot" portion of a twenty-four hour day begins with the sacrifice of a lamb. That is not the case although it would be easy to conclude such. The night or dark or "turned away" portion of a day concluded with the sacrifice of a lamb, just as Christ's sacrifice abolished the covenant by which circumcised Israel had been made a holy nation (Eph 2:15). The blood of that lamb sacrificed at morning symbolized, or represented the blood of the Lamb of God that would be shed for physically circumcised Israel, a people in spiritual darkness (with a few exceptions) but able to leave such darkness by Christ's sacrifice (Rom 10:9 -- which pertains only to Israelites with circumcised hearts and minds as a result of obedience to God as a condition of the second covenant of Moses [Deu chptrs 29-31]). And the hot portion of day also concluded with the sacrifice of a lamb, its blood representing the Blood of the Lamb of God shed for spiritually enlightened Israel, a nation formed of the one new humanity created when the Cross abolished the covenant by which physically circumcised Israel had been made a holy nation (Exod 19:5-6 & 1 Pet 2:9).
Christ as the second Adam is the spiritual progenitor of humankind. He is the spiritual reality for which the first Adam was the type. Likewise, the Church (or the Body of Christ) created when the glorified Jesus breathed on ten of His disciples (John 20:22) and said, Receive the Holy Spirit, is the second Eve, the spiritual reality for which the first Eve was the type. And this second Eve will bring to life many heirs of God when she experiences the pain of childbirth during the Tribulation--all of the heirs of God are glorified at the same time. The second Eve doesn't bring a few saints into glory today, and a few more tomorrow. The dead in Christ will precede in glory those who are alive by only moments. And Satan is the spiritual reality for which the serpent in Eden was the type…note that the serpent as an animal differs from humankind in the manner that created angels, including Satan, differ from Elohim, and from Their future glorified heirs.
Born again, or born from above disciples have received spiritual life in the heavenly realm; they are not merely begotten by God. But they have not yet put on incorruption, in that they have not been glorified, obviously. Glorification is not being "born again"; glorification is putting on incorruption as a spiritually mature heir of God the Father. Glorified disciples won't be baby heirs of God, but like Christ is now. The Father isn't about to give the type of power that comes with glorification to an infant. He isn't in the business of creating additional rebels. So if the Father isn't certain that a disciple is mentally ready to control the power that comes with glorification and being like Christ is now, the person will not be glorified. Thus, born again disciples are not individually seen in the shadow that the first Eve represents. Their collective shadow only is visible. Their spiritual lives in that supra-dimensional realm humanity labels as heaven have not grown large enough to cast single shadows like Christ casts beginning when He received the Breath/Pneuma of God the Father, and the degree of shadowing represented in the Tmptation Incident is still too vague to see single children of God.
The structure of Scripture is the repeated description of the shadows cast in the birthing process of the heirs of God, with each description a zooming in so that more detail can be seen in the shadow. The history of circumcised Israel forms the shadow cast by spiritual Israel. Eventually, the Gospel of Matthew records the shadow cast by endtime born again saints during the first half of the Tribulation. And the history of the early Church recorded in the Book of Acts constitutes the shadow (or a type) of the spiritual lives of saints contesting with spirit beings (i.e., Satan and his allied demons) during the first half of the Tribulation.
Returning to the Yom Kipporim symbolism: Christ is represented by both goats, the slain goat signifying His death, and the azazel goat representing the risen Christ that today bears the sins of disciples in covenant with God. A precipice stands between death and life. Christ died, yet lives. As the reality of the azazel goat, Christ has crossed this precipice. Thus, grace is the risen Christ bearing those sins of spiritual Israel that are pronounced over His head just as the first Adam ate of the fruit Eve offered him without himself being deceived--Christ bears the sins of disciples who are under judgment and in covenant. When He returns, He will give those sins He presently carries to Satan, then bound in the bottomless pit, or He will give the sins of a disciple back to the disciple who was judged unworthy, who will be resurrected to condemnation (John 5:29).
To repeat the point: grace means Jesus today bares every sin that a disciple commits as long as the disciple remains in covenant with God the Father. The person is no longer under the law, for the laws of God have been written inside the disciple. The person is under grace, which remains outside the disciple. The person has become an ark of the covenant--and as the ark of the covenant was under the Mercy Seat, so too are disciples under grace, the spiritual reality of the physical Mercy Seat.
As arks of the covenant, disciples belong in the Holy of Holies. The veil was rent so they could enter. A drawn disciple is not to continue living as a Gentile. The teacher of spiritual Israel who labels keeping the laws of God as legalism would have his or her students become spiritual Gentiles, not spiritual Israelites. And the tree of life only grows in Eden; it doesn't grow west of the Nile or east of the Euphrates if physical geography were to become mental topography.
Too often, the person who desires to be a teacher of spiritual Israel is not spiritually minded. While this person might have great love for Christ and for humanity, the person must believe Jesus not Paul, or Justin Martyr, or Augustine, or Martin Luther, or John Calvin, or John Knox, or Herbert Armstrong, or me. Unless the person hears Jesus speaking through an individual, all humans teach from their individual level of knowledge, derived from their possession of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul's level of knowledge was very high. I am less impressed with the level of knowledge of some of the other men I named; yet all were teachers of spiritual Israel. All understood the mysteries of God in part. All participated in building on the foundation that is Christ the superstructure necessary to bring many heirs of God to glory. It is now necessary that those of us who will interface with the endtime harvesters of humanity better teach the mysteries of God than did our predecessors.
God has on several occasions and for long periods winked at the ignorance of Israel. But it is now time for the Bride of Christ to dress herself for her wedding feast.
As the shadow of the new or eternal covenant, the second covenant mediated by Moses was made with uncircumcised Israelites just prior to when they were baptized in the Jordan by crossing over dry shod. These uncircumcised Israelites were offered circumcised hearts and minds upon obedience to God (Deu 30:2, 6, 10). This circumcision of hearts and minds was receipt of the Holy Spirit, why King David had the Holy Spirit (Ps 51:11)--and why Abram received the Holy Spirit or Breath of God when his name was changed to Abraham with the insertion of exhaled breath in his name. Receipt of the Holy Spirit followed obedience to the laws of God. A person had to demonstrate his or her worthiness prior to when the Holy Spirit was received. But when the mediator of the second covenant changed from Moses to Christ, better promises were added (Heb 9:15). A disciple receives the Holy Spirit when drawn by the Father; this disciple receives the Holy Spirit prior to obedience, thereby enabling the disciple to obey. And with Christ bearing the sins of disciples who remain in covenant with the Father, disciples in covenant can only be judged worthy. No sin is even imputed to them. However, if a disciple decides to leave the covenant relationship, which calls for the disciple to observe what has been written in Deuteronomy, this disciple will bear his or her own sins in the resurrection to condemnation.
Now, returning to Elijah restoring all things: when going from physical to spiritual, types move up one step. Just as the man Moses was the mediator of the first covenant, the glorified Christ is the reality of the type--Christ is the mediator of the second covenant. Just as the man Joshua led uncircumcised Israelites across the Jordan and into the promised land, the glorified Jesus is the reality of the type--Jesus leads spiritual Israelites into the promised land. Just as the first Adam introduced death into the world, the man Jesus as the second Adam introduced life into the world, and the glorified Jesus is the reality of the type. As the second Adam, Jesus will bring many heirs to life eternal. Just as the first Adam named the animals, the second Adam named the animals (Matt chptr 23), thereby showing that the carnally minded Pharisees (none kept the laws of God [John 7:19]) were the physical reality for which the animals in Eden were the type. So the man Elijah, having the spirit of God, was the type or shadow of a reality that will be a spirit being. Same for the man John the Baptist, who was filled or empowered by the Holy Spirit from birth. And Jesus identified John the Baptist as a type of Himself. So carrying the relationships forward, the spiritual reality for Elijah and for John the Baptist will be the glorified Jesus. Disciples can expect the glorified Christ to restore all things, an easy statement to make. How, though, does He do this?
The man Noah is a type of the glorified Christ. Jesus, when answering His disciples' questions about when His return would occur, said, '"As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man'" (Matt 24:37-39). Eight, plus the animals, were saved from the flood. Of those eight, four names are not revealed in Scripture. And who will be saved when the Son of Man comes? The Firstfruit, and the firstfruits. Christ and the seven churches. Or better, Christ, the seven stars in His right hand, and the seven lampstands. The seven stars are the seven angels to the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches (Rev 1:20). Since the man Noah is a type of the glorified Christ, the seven other people are the types of the seven angels to the churches. And the animals, clean or holy and unclean are the types of those people who endure to the end (Matt 24:13 & 10:22) and who will be saved. The seven pairs of clean animals form the shadow of the seven churches. The single pair of each species of unclean animals indicates how few people outside the seven churches will actually endure to the end without taking the mark of the beast.
Therefore, since the sons, wife and daughters-in-law of Noah can be read as types of the angels to the seven churches, the prophet Elijah could also be read as a type of a spirit being such as one of the angels to the seven churches. And since Christ gives to each angel specific instructions for the perfecting of the saints of whom the angel is in charge, then it is possible that the angel of the church in Philadelphia supervises the restoration of all things. Christ says to this church through its angel, '"[Y]et you have kept my word and have not denied my name'" (Rev 3:8), language similar to the description of the saints given later in this vision of John's (12:17 & 14:12). Keeping Christ's word was a requirement imposed upon ancient Israel (Exod 19:5)--the word of God Israel was to keep were the spoken Commandments uttered from atop Mt. Sinai. Keeping these spoken Commandments is the first descriptive modifier of the saints identified in the above citations from Revelation chapters 12 and 14. Thus, Christ acknowledges to the angel of the church in Philadelphia and to this church that He knows they have kept the Commandments. In addition, the second portion of the descriptive modifying phrase concerning the church in Philadelphia has the fellowship not denying Christ's name. This closely matches having the testimony of Jesus, and having their faith in Jesus. So it can be reasonably inferred that the church in Philadelphia, inspired by Christ and instructed by the angel to the church, will restore all things.
Again, unless a person has been drawn by the Father and believes the words of Jesus, the person cannot understand Holy Scripture, for the person remains carnally minded as opposed to spiritually minded. If the person believes the words of Jesus, the person will keep and will teach keeping the Commandments of God, even the least of the Commandments (Matt 5:19), which is the Sabbath Command. So it isn't a man who will restore all things. Rather, a spirit being will work through several human beings, if necessary, to restore all things, one of which being why the Bible is constructed the way it is, and why typological exegesis is the only valid reading strategy.
Allegory is based on the similarity of ideas. Typology is based on the similarity of events. For many centuries, especially when the Roman Church was the primary fellowship within the greater Body of Christ, reading Scripture as allegory was the reigning paradigm. Even today, some Protestants believe the Genesis account of creation is an allegory, and that humanity is presently in the seventh day. But one of the features of Puritan belief was that Holy Writ presented true history. Thus, they believed that the universe was created in six days six thousand years ago. So, too, do many Evangelicals. And when heavy particle matter can be described, so will the scientific community.
Every theologian who teaches that the Genesis account of creation is merely an allegory proves him or herself an untrustworthy guide. And repeating the earlier qualifications, every theologian who teaches that the laws of God have been fulfilled and as such are no longer binding upon spiritual Israelites is an equally untrustworthy guide. It is Christ who will restore all things spiritual, not any human being. And Christ will work through a series of human beings to do this restoration. Some will start well, but will get sidelined by spiritual twigs. Some will not have love for disciples outside of the individual's fellowship. Their problems are described in the letters to the seven churches, the letters delivered half way through seven years of Tribulation. The seven churches are not eras of the Body of Christ. John is in vision on the Lord's day, that period of history beginning during the time of the end and continuing until the Father arrives with the New Jerusalem following the great White Throne Judgment. The letters are to spiritual fellowships for which the seven churches on the Asia Minor mail route were their shadows, or types.
More than one fellowship wants to be the church in Philadelphia, even though this fellowship is first identified by its weakness, not its strength, which is keeping the Commandments and having love for one another. Jesus said His disciples would be known for the love they have for one another. The name "Philadelphia" means brotherly love. The testimony of Jesus is an icon phrase emphasizing that Jesus' disciples have love for all other disciples, regardless of fellowship. So the church in Philadelphia keeps the Commandments and has love for other Christians--enough love to gather Christ's sheep regardless of where they have been scattered, and in spite of the predators that must be slain. Jesus said His servants would fight if His kingdom were of this world; His servants will fight in the spiritual realm against the prince of the power of the air. They are an army of children who engage Satan as David did Goliath. Therefore, a spiritual Philadelphian keeps the Commandments and has the courage of David when slaying the lion and the bear to recover lost sheep. That courage, based upon faith, is why nothing more will be required of the fellowship other than to keep on doing what the fellowship has been.
Too many Christians are unwilling to engage Satan. They read what Job experienced without realizing that Satan lost to Job. Elohim had to directly engage Job before the patriarch saw how great the gap was between himself and God.
This e-journal, this ministry, and The Philadelphia Church teach disciples to keep the commandments; i.e., the laws of God that have been written on the hearts and minds of drawn disciples as a condition of the new covenant. In addition, the expressed goal of this ministry is to recover the lost sheep of the spiritual house of Israel. The work of this ministry is akin to that of the American patriots that rebelled against Great Britain: it is to take an unwanted message to an apathetic public, while having no resources, and delivering this message against insurmountable odds and overwhelming power. The task is truly worthy of Christ--and He has entrusted this work to the "star" that is angel of the church in Philadelphia. While it would have appeared to an outside observer that David killed Goliath with one well-placed stone, David gave credit to God even before Goliath became a corpse. So too must those of us who teach as Philadelphians give credit to Christ for opening doors that cannot be shut. It will be through these doors that we engage spiritual Goliaths.
If you hear the voice of Christ in what this e-journal and ministry teaches, heed it--and join us in spiritual Jerusalem. We will leave a light on.
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