July 17, 2006 ©Homer Kizer
The Foundation Laid
According to the grace of God given to me [Paul], like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Co 3:10-11)
The foundation that the Apostle Paul laid now long ago was his "insight into the mystery of Christ" (Eph 3:4) that in Christ there is "neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female" (Gal 3:28), for "circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter" (Rom 2:29). This foundation is simple; it is solid, plain, unadorned, and the underpinning constructs upon which the modern temple of God is built. But upon this foundation have also been built every sort of damnable structure known to humankind, not the least of which is the house of slivers known as the Churches of God.
Following the Flood, when the world was baptized into death, a new age began, with nations descending from the three sons of Noah. From Shem descended Arpachshad, Shelah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah, and the patriarch Abraham, the first man the Lord selected to become a cultivated variety [i.e., a cultivar] of human being, pleasing to the Lord. Before Abraham and to either side of him, the descendants of Noah lived as seedlings olives (or apples) bearing wild fruit, small, bitter, mostly pit. But the faith of Abraham was the fruit which the Lord desired; for by this faith, Abraham left the land of his nativity and the land of his father and walked uprightly before the Lord, obeying His voice, keeping His charge [ordinances], His commandments, His statutes, and His laws (Gen 26:5). Thus, the Lord propagated the fruit of faith that leads to righteousness by giving to Abraham a son of promise, not a son from a natural means that would bear wild fruit, but a son from a dry womb, barren throughout the years when it would have been naturally productive. And when this son of promise grew to maturity, the Lord again propagated the fruit of faith that He desired as He again caused a barren womb (Gen 25:21) to bring forth two sons of promise, one hated, one loved. And in the loved son, the cultivar was named: Israel, one who prevails with God.
Israel became a single nation that was also a commonwealth of nations. It was the selected human cultivar from which the harvest of God would come, this harvest being righteousness. But before a crop could be taken from this cultivar, fruiting spurs must develop on new growth, then these spurs must set flower buds that would overwinter in dormancy, bloom the following spring, be pollinated, and develop the fruit of righteousness that comes from faith, from belief in the Lord, from obedience manifest by the person leaving home and kin to journey to Judea, a physical land and a mental landscape, both a type of God's rest. Without making this journey of faith, no one can please God; thus, the natural branches of the cultivar Israel must, by faith, love neighbors and enemies as themselves, thereby breaking down by deeds the barrier made by circumcision, for one law would pertain to both the citizen and the stranger in the land of promise.
All the while the Lord waited for His human cultivar to grow the branches on which fruiting spurs would develop, the nations continued to bear the wild fruit of disobedience to which the Lord had consigned humankind (Rom 11:32). But as a patient orchardist, the Lord ignored the seedlings He had not selected, and He waited for His cultivar to mature sufficiently to be transplanted to its permanent location, the hill country of Judea, a good land, a land of milk and honey, a land that would support a harvest of righteousness based upon faith, a land that wasn't flood irrigated but dependant upon the early and latter rains which came at the pleasure of the Lord.
The orchardist prunes away a cultivar's erratic growth before transplanting the named variety into the orchard—often the tree that is transplanted appears like a stick whereas it had been a leafy tree before being pruned, dug and balled. In pruning away Israel's erratic growth, the men of war [i.e., adult males] that left Egypt, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, were denied entrance into the Promised Land (Num 14:22-23 — these men are a type of the teachers of lawlessness whom Jesus will deny in their resurrection, Matt 7:21-23). Repentance was denied them (vv. 40-41). They were literally to be pruned away, collectively slain as if they were a man. For only in Caleb did the Lord find a different spirit (v. 24), find the faith to follow the Lord fully, the faith necessary to bring forth the fruit of righteousness based upon faith.
The righteousness pleasing to the Lord comes from faith, this faith producing obedience to His laws, statutes, commandments, and rules (again, Gen 26:5). For the Lord doesn't, today, impose upon the nations an expectation of obedience that, when pursued by faith, will produce righteousness. However, all men will be judged by what the laws of God require, with the wild seedlings that do by nature what the law requires receiving in their judgments the mercy that comes with righteousness, whereas the branches of the commonwealth of Israel that have neglected the righteous requirements of the law will receive in their judgments that condemnation reserved for the enemies of the Lord. So it isn't whether a person has been born as part of the cultivar Israel that matters, but whether the person produces in his or her life the works of righteousness either naturally or by inclusion into the commonwealth, with the cultivar Israel being entrusted with the oracles of God (Rom 3:2), these oracles producing knowledge of sin (Rom 7:7).
The Lord has no desire or taste for the wild fruit of the nations, nor is He interested in the faith that brings forth wild fruit, which is not faith at all but the rebellion of the prince of this world working through his servants. Thus, when the new growth on His cultivar Israel in Judea produced the same weak crotches and suckering branches bearing no fruit that He had pruned away in the wilderness of Paran, the Lord delivered to His cultivar statutes by which the nation could not live, and rules that caused His cultivar to burn its firstborns (Ezek chap 20, especially vv. 25-26) as the Lord again pruned away the barren leafy branches of His cultivar, using the cultivar's own lawlessness to do the actual pruning … if a cultivar bears no fruit, the cultivar is worse than the wild seedling that consistently bears small, bitter, mostly pit fruit that the Lord detests.
On the plains of Moab, after the Lord had pruned away all of the dead wood and erratic growth on His cultivar Israel, He made a second covenant (Deu 29:1) with the new growth that never put away the idols of Egypt, but hid these idols in their hearts and in their tents. This covenant, made with an uncircumcised nation (Jos 5:2-7) as the Lord made His covenant with Abraham when still uncircumcised (Gen 17:1-14), is covenant with Abraham when yet uncircumcised. His covenant was a covenant made in addition to the covenant made at Horeb. And the terms of this covenant required a national act of faith (Deu 30:1-2) on the part of the Lord's cultivar, this act being that Israel when sent into captivity in a far land return to the Lord and begin again to obey His voice in all He commanded on that particular day when the uncircumcised cultivar stood on the plains of Moab, separated from God's rest by baptism in the Jordan River. The second covenant requires from an uncircumcised nation obedience through faith that leads to spiritual circumcision (Deu 30:6), and Moses said that this law or covenant was not too hard to keep, nor was it far from the cultivar. The Apostle Paul called this law the righteousness that comes from faith (Rom 10:6-8). And it is to this covenant or law that Jesus added better promises when He replaced Moses as the mediator of this second covenant.
The second covenant is a real contract between God and His cultivar, with the terms of the contract delineated in significant detail in the Book of Deuteronomy, which isn't the second giving of the law, but the Second Law, the law that would have lead to righteousness if pursued by faith (Rom 9:31-32). But the cultivar Israel pursued this law as if righteousness depended upon the actions of hands and bodies, upon the deeds of the flesh, upon the blood of bulls and goats, whereas those things that hands and bodies do are as filthy [bloody] rags to the Lord, who doesn't desire more dead livestock, but obedience based upon faith. Therefore, the second covenant as mediated by Moses stands as the accuser of every Israelite (John 5:47, with Deu 31:26-27), physical or spiritual.
On the plains of Moab, for a second time the Lord selected the cultivar Israel because of the faith of one man, Caleb, who wasn't an Israelite by birth but by adoption. An Edomite descended from Kenaz, Caleb twice manifest his faith, with the first occasion outside of Scripture, this first occasion causing Caleb to leave home and kin and to join with the holy cultivar in bondage in Egypt. The second occasion had him urging Israel to move quickly to take the Promised Land. His faith was the antidote to the unbelief of the nation that left Egypt. And in Caleb disciples see why the second covenant as mediated by Christ Jesus is now made with called men and women from all nations, who, through adoption, are made branches of the cultivar Israel. The faith required for a person estranged from God to turn to God, to believe God, and to begin living as an Israelite is the faith needed for righteousness. Thus, natural branches were broken off to allow room for wild scions to be grafted to the rootstock of righteousness (Rom 11:17-24), these wild scions bearing by nature wild fruit that, because of the scions' faith, is counted to them as righteousness.
But these wild scions, once grafted onto the commonwealth of Israel will no longer live as Gentiles or as Edomites, but as Israelites. By faith, these wild scions will keep the precepts of the law (Rom 2:26), and in doing so, these scions becomes Jews inwardly, with their circumcision being of the heart (although Caleb would have been physically circumcised since he was descended from the hated son of promise).
The foundation that the Apostle Paul laid on the cornerstone Christ Jesus is a work made from living stones: since the commandments and ordinances separating the nations from the cultivar Israel were abolished by the blood of Christ (Eph 2:13-14), there is no distinction between Gentile or Jew, bond or free woman or man. Therefore, the person, circumcised or uncircumcised, who keeps the laws of God by faith shall be named among the commonwealth of Israel. The circumcised will be justified by faith, and the uncircumcised through faith (Rom 3:30). In both cases, the person will do those things that inwardly identify the person as an Israelite, with the outer expression of this inner circumcision causing the person to observably keep the commandments, all of them, especially the Sabbath commandment.
The cultivar Israel cannot and would not enter God's rest on the following day (again Num 14:40-41). A person from the nations who, by faith, begins to live as a member of the commonwealth of Israel also cannot enter God's rest on the following day, the 8th-day. No one can enter into God's rest on the following day, and all who try are knowingly or unknowingly enemies of the Lord.
No Mennonite, no Brethren, no Baptist who continues to rest on the 8th-day has fully left spiritual Babylon; for not until these spiritual descendants of the remnant sent to rebuild the house of God on the foundation Paul laid cross the Jordan and enter into God's rest by observing the Sabbath will the Lord recognize them and the work they do for Him. They are to His cultivar Israel as Caleb was before Caleb left his father's house and kin on Mount Seir. They are not today spiritual Israelites, but part of the hated son which they, too, deny knowing. Therefore, they must mentally resume the journey begun by their ancestors from spiritual Babylon to Judea; they must leave the plains of Moab and enter into keeping the rest of God (Ps 95:10-11, with Heb 3:16-4:10). For the present generation, continuing the mental journey begun by their ancestors [by my ancestors] from Babylon to Jerusalem will amount to the manifestation of faith that is counted to them as righteousness—and continuing this journey requires keeping the Sabbaths of God.
I am descended [my father's side] from Dirck Keyser, a Menist, who arrived in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1688 CE, and [mother's side] from John Howland, the thirteenth signer of the Mayflower Compact, "a godly man and an ancient professor in the ways of Christ," according to Governor Bradford of the Plymouth Colony. They, by faith, journeyed to a new land to worship God in purity. And by faith, I resumed the mental journey begun by my ancestors, thereby picking up the stake that tethered me in the plains of Moab and carrying it across the Jordan where it is now firmly planted in the Sabbath [the small rest of God that remains for every disciple to keep], having entered into this rest before the midnight hour of the long night that began at Calvary.
Now if anyone builds on the foundation [that Paul laid] with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. (1 Co 3:12-14)
Since the Apostle Paul, in the middle of the 1st-Century CE laid the foundation that there is neither Jew nor Greek before God, many theologians have attempted to build on this foundation that is Christ Jesus. But few of these would-be teachers of Israel located where Paul laid that foundation. Most began their construction across the Jordan, on the Babylonian side of the river. Most mistook the ruins of ancient temples dedicated to Baal for the foundation that the Apostle laid. Hence, most of the building of the Church is constructed so far away from God's rest that not even with binoculars can these constructs be seen.
I jest, but not really; for the work of the disciple who builds on the foundation Paul laid will be tested by fire. If the work is of gold, silver, or precious stone, the disciple will receive a reward. But if the work is in Babylon after a remnant of spiritual Israel left to rebuild the house of God in the Land Beyond the River, then the worker will not only suffer loss of an intended reward, but loss of life, for the worker, too, will be tried by fire (1 Co 3:15).
The journey from Babylon to Jerusalem through the wilderness of sin is for the Body of the Lamb what the forty days of temptation were for the Head. When spiritually hungry after nearly five centuries of fasting, of being in the wilderness without a house of God, the Body must defeat the Adversary by faith, with the Head supplying the words of the Father that will rebuke the Adversary for the Body also. Disciples do not live by Bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matt 4:4)—professing faith in Jesus, the Bread of life, is not enough. The disciple must live by every word of God, and these many words will have the disciple living as a Judean, holy as God is holy (1 Pet 1:14-16, with Lev 11:45 et al).
The Body is not to put the Lord to the test (Matt 4:7), looking for signs as an evil and adulterous generation of the natural nation did. The Body is to worship the Lord and serve Him only (v. 10). The Body is to leave Babylon, and to never return. And today, every disciple born of spirit who also picks up his or her cross and wades across the river Jordan will, by this act of faith, have righteousness reckoned to him or her. However, if the disciple remains in Babylon, the disciple will never enter the heavenly rest of God, but will be like the generation that died in the wilderness, a generation that tested God ten times (Num 14:22). That generation was not given an eleventh time before an irrevocable death sentence was pronounced against the generation — and how many generations have passed since the Radical Reformers left spiritual Babylon in the 16th-Century [ca 1527 CE]? Eight? Nine? Ten? The Body of the Lamb, today, descends from the Anabaptist remnant that left spiritual Babylon as Swiss Radical Reformers. This remnant has tested the Lord in its every generation from then till now.And its tenth generation will either enter into God's rest on the day when God says to enter, or this generation will attempt to enter on the following day after an irrevocable death sentence has been passed on it [a Scriptural generation is a little less than fifty years; a generation passes from jubilee to jubilee].
The work of everyone who builds on the foundation Paul laid shall be tested, with precious work producing a reward, Therefore, it behooves every disciple to build, but only on the foundation that the Apostle laid, this foundation being on the Judean side of the Jordan, meaning that keeping the commandments, especially the Sabbath commandment, by faith, forms the footers upon which all construction must take place. If the disciple relaxes the least of the commandments (and the Sabbath commandment is least) and teaches others to do so, the disciple will be called least in the kingdom of God, whereas the disciple who keeps the commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called great (Matt 5:19). Thus, the disciples who builds on lawlessness builds in Babylon, with the foremost example of Christian lawlessness being attempting to enter God's rest on the 8th-day. This attempt alone locates the construction to being far from of God, not of God, and hostile to God (Rom 8:7).
Building on the foundation Paul laid allows analogies that the Apostle introduced to be extended, with Paul's tour de force comparison of the Church to Isaac taken to its logical conclusion that the two sons in the womb of Isaac (Rebekah's womb is Isaac's) are a shadow and type of the children of Zion that are to be born in a day (Isa 66:7-8), one son hated, one son loved (Rom 9:10-13) even though both sons are still in the womb, with no sin imputed to either son. The moment of birth, thus, changes the condition of no sin being imputed to either — birth comes when the spiritual cultivar Israel is liberated from the sin that continues to dwell in this holy nation's flesh. Spiritual birth occurs on a Second Passover through empowerment [i.e., being filled with] by the Holy Spirit.
The hated son was Esau, who neglected his birthright and his inheritance. The hated spiritual son will be that portion of the Christian Church that rebels against God in the great falling away when the lawless one is revealed (2Thess 2:3); will be the portion of the Church that attempts to enter God's rest on the following day. This hated son will be a spiritual Cain, who persecutes his righteous brother.
The loved son will be the Body of the Lamb, sacrificed as an acceptable sin offering for the lawlessness of the flesh, in which sin has now been condemned [or confined] (Rom 8:3) … when a lamb is sacrificed, both the head and the body are sacrificed, are they not? Why would the Lamb of God be different? It will not be; for it is enough for disciples to be like their Teacher and Master, who was sacrificed at Calvary.
Endtime disciples do not want to believe that they will have to undergo the horrors of the Tribulation. They look for a place of safety, on earth or in heaven, but the only place of safety is being covered by the blood of the Lamb, Head and Body…they have been, until this last generation, "living sacrifices" (Rom 12:1), allegedly dying in faith as is their spiritually worshipful duty. Many of their ancestors died at the hands of the Reformed Church, or at the hands of the Roman Church; their faith was counted as their righteousness. And at the end of this age, both the natural branches that have long been broken off the rootstock of righteousness, and the Body of the Lamb will be covered by blood; for the observant natural branch that professes that Jesus is Lord shall be saved (Rom 10:9) as will be the wild scion that by faith lives as a Judean. They are the wine and the oil of the Promised Land, but they will be mostly poured out as a drink offering to God, with only a few [the 144,000 & the remnant] remaining alive.
Again, as in the 16th-Century, only a remnant shall remain of the Body halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation (Rev 12:17). But this time, the kingdom of the world will have become the kingdom of the Most High and of His Christ (Rev 11:15, with Dan 7:9-14). The Holy Spirit will be poured out upon all flesh (Joel 2:28) in a manner foreshadowed by that day of Pentecost recorded in Acts chapter 2, and a third son, a spiritual Seth, will be born to the last Eve. And as the chosen cultivar of God descended from the first Seth, God's chosen cultivar Israel will descend from this last Seth, who only has to endure to the end to be saved, the good news that must be proclaimed to the world as a witness to all nations before the end comes (Matt 24:13-14).
The remnant that Satan seeks to devour when he is cast from heaven (Rev 12:9-10) is to the Church as Joshua and Caleb were to natural Israel, and as the seven pairs of clean animals [representing the seven endtime churches] and single pair of every other species were to Noah, who crossed from one age to the next. (Noah and the seven with him on the Ark are analogous to Jesus and the angels to the seven named churches.) The faith of the person separated from Israel will deliver the person if that faith causes the person to walk upright before God, doing those things required by the law, thereby revealing that a natural law exists within the person.
To the Mennonite, to the disciple in a Church of the Brethren fellowship, to the Baptist — your ancestors left both the Roman Church and the Reformers who attempted to repair that old church, and shaking the dust of Babylon from their shoes, they literally as well as symbolically journeyed west, toward the Jerusalem above. But the journey was long, the distance far, the way lost because of the twelve centuries of spiritual captivity (325 CE through 1525 CE). A few disciples trekked on ahead of the majority of this remnant, marked the way, crossed the Jordan, and climbed towards the Jerusalem above. And in the dark of this single long spiritual night that began at Calvary, their lights flicker from this lofty city.
Come, join with us who build on the foundation that Paul laid. Leave off working on those ruins of long dead temples dedicated to the Baals. You have tested God for nine or so generations. On the tenth generation, a great delusion (2Thess 2:11-12) will come over you if you remain where you presently build. Your day of salvation will end with you outside the gates of the heavenly city — and great will be the gnashing of teeth, for you have been warned, and you have been invited into the city where those who went ahead wait. Come, while it is still before midnight, still before death angels pass throughout the land to slay all firstborns not covered by the blood of the Lamb of God. You will cover yourself with either His blood, or with your blood. Come, while the promise of entering into God's rest still stands (Heb 4:1). Come, all of you. Celebrate Jesus' resurrection as the reality of the Wave Sheaf Offering, an annual observance (Lev 23:10-11); do not celebrate it on a day when no one can enter into God's rest.
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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."