September 19, 2003 ©Homer Kizer
Everlasting Life as the Gift of God—
WHICH IS IT?
An unassailable tenet of post-Nicene Christianity is humanity’s possession of an immortal soul. But unassailable tenets, especially tenets of great antiquity, tend to become sacred cows, barren heifers and castrated bulls fattened for slaughter. And the concept of humanity’s inherent possession of an immortal soul is a stalled ox now fit for the Japanese meat market. It is truly prime beef, tender, juicy, its flabby muscles ribboned and marbled with fat. So, if you are squeamish about seeing a beast butchered—vegetarians beware—close your eyes and cover your ears for you are about to witness considerable blood-letting.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, born as the man Jesus of Nazareth, enjoyed the smell of fat burned on the altar, with that sizzling fat now being the prayers of the saints. And the prayer of every saint should be that spiritually circumcised Israelites begin to believe the Apostle Paul that everlasting life is a gift from the Father. Jesus said, ‘“For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will’” (John 5:21). Everlasting life is received no other way than for the Father to make alive what was dead, then for the Son, to whom all judgment has been given, to glorify [a second making alive] human beings whom the Father has made spiritually alive. So changing lifeless clay into a son of God is the work of the godhead that began with Elohim [singular in usage] breathing into the nostrils of the man of mud, the first Adam, thereby transforming clay into a nephesh or breathing creature that was like other breathing creatures, the beasts of the field. This is why King Solomon writes that God tests men “that they may see that they themselves are but beasts” (Eccl 3:18), the one dying as the other dies, both coming from the dust of the earth and both returning to dust, that it is vanity to believe a man’s breath goes upward and a beast’s downward at death (vv. 19-21). Prior to Calvary, Jesus ascribed to His disciples’ physical or shallow breath [psuche] characteristics that would belong to His disciples’ second breath [pneuma] once His disciples received the Holy Spirit [Pneuma ’Agion]; for until His disciples were born of Spirit, they were only flesh [soma] and physical breath [psuche].
The wages for sin is death, not eternal life in a rotisserie, not eternal life separated from God, not eternal life in any form. The wages for sin is not life, but rather, death in the lake of fire which will utterly destroy a person’s body, physical life (received from the first Adam), and spiritual life (received from the Father through the last Adam). A person who has been born again has received the Holy Spirit [Pneuma ‘Agion or Breath Holy] and will, if the person remains in covenant, receive a glorified body that is not subject to death when the person reaches his or her spiritual majority. Receipt of the divine Breath of the Father gives spiritual life to physically living but spiritually dead flesh, in that the person who has received the Holy Spirit now has spiritual life dwelling in a tent of flesh; the person has been born of Spirit, or born from above, or born again, or born anew—all expressions for an actual unseen second birth, invisible because it occurred in the co-existing portion of the supra-dimensional heavenly realm. And to the spiritual life received through receipt of the divine breath of the Father must be added spiritual life given by the Son, this life being given to the tent of flesh in which the spiritual life given by the Father dwells. The spiritual life the glorified Jesus gives is what the Apostle Paul called the mortal putting on immortality, and the perishable becoming imperishable. If Jesus, when a born of Spirit disciple’s judgment is revealed, denies knowing the disciple, the spiritual life that the disciple received from the Father will dissipate in the lake of fire as physical breath dissipates when the fleshly body returns to dust.
The person who has been born of Spirit spends his or her spiritual childhood in a physical body that is the image of the spiritual. Born again disciples of Christ are as Jesus was after He received the Breath [Pneuma] of the Father (Matt 3:16) and before He was crucified, written with a caveat. Jesus’ three and a half year earthly ministry is a shadow and copy of the lives to be lived by liberated and empowered saints during the first three and half years of the seven endtime years of tribulation. Today, born anew disciples have sin and death dwelling in their flesh (Rom 7:21-25), a condition resulting from Adam and Eve believing the serpent. Following the first couple’s expulsion from the garden, God consigned all of humanity to disobedience (Rom 11:32), an act that removed the responsibility for sin from the descendants of Adam and placed that accountability onto the prince of this world, the Adversary, Satan the devil. Thus, humankind was under a form of natural grace, with its lawlessness not reckoned against it (Rom 5:13) even though the flesh of every person died because of indwelling sin, with this natural grace extending to even Israel from Adam to Moses. But Jesus’ father was not the first Adam, but Theos (John 3:16), the Logos (John 1:1-2), who was Yah to King David. Thus, Jesus was born without indwelling sin and death. His flesh was never consigned to disobedience, the status of the flesh of His disciples. And without indwelling sin and death, Jesus was from birth the acceptable sacrifice for sin “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in” His disciples (Rom 8:4). Therefore, for His disciples to be as He was, His disciples need liberated from indwelling sin and death just as physically circumcised Israel in Egypt needed liberated from physical bondage to Pharaoh. This liberation will occur through empowerment by the Holy Spirit on a Second Passover, the day that will begin the seven endtime years of tribulation—this empowerment by, or being filled with the Holy Spirit was foreshadowed by that day of Pentecost following Calvary (Acts 2). The ten day period between when Jesus was with His disciples and when the 120 were visibly filled with the Holy Spirit corresponds to the long night of watching Israel spent in Egypt while the nation roasted and ate Passover lambs and waited for the death angels to pass over the land, and corresponds to the nearly two millennia that the Church has taken the sacraments while waiting for Christ’s return, not realizing that death angels must again pass over the land (Isa 43:3-4).
The now glorified Jesus became the firstborn of many heirs when the divine Breath of the Father descended upon Him like a dove, not when He received an incorruptible body. Disciples have the word of the Father as assurance that the man Jesus was, with the receipt of the Breath of the Father, born anew as the beloved Son (Matt 3:17). And it is here where the Christological debates of the 4th-Century CE must be reopened.
Endtime Christians will be Unitarians, Binitarians, or Trinitarians—and yes, all three schisms within greater Christianity will have supporters, with the Unitarians and Trinitarians actually engaging in a real shooting war against each other throughout the Tribulation. The man of perdition will come as a Unitarian, and will be openly resisted by Trinitarians. But this man of sin will have the support of the false prophet, who will persuade the world’s largest contingent of Unitarians [Islam] to become Arian Christians. And the world, reeling from the Second Passover liberation of saints, will be plunged into turmoil and tribulation the likes of which has never previously been experienced by humankind.
The passages in the Gospel of John that suggest Jesus was the Son of God prior to His human birth (John 3:16-17) are not well translated. Theos as the Logos was with Theon in the beginning (again John 1:1-2). Both Theos and Theon were God—and it is here where earlier Christological debates must be joined: Elohim is the regular plural of Eloah, which is God (El) plus His Holy Breath (ah). Eloah and Allah are directly comparable linguistic icons. Both are singular. And whereas Judaism argues the Eloah is made into the plural Elohim for emphasis, what is in reality revealed in the plural icon is that the physical creation has concealed from Judaism and from most of Christianity spiritual things [the concept of Tzimtzum]; for the Tetragrammaton written YHWH, but prayed Adonai, deconstructs to /YH/ and /WH/, with the radical /YH/ being Yah, the only deity that ancient Israel and the Patriarchs knew, with the possible exception of King David, a man after God’s own heart. It was Yah whom Moses and the seventy elders of Israel saw on Mount Sinai (Exod 24:9-24), but no one human being had ever seen the Father, the deity represented by the radical /WH/ (John 1:18), whom Jesus came to reveal to His disciples (John 17:6-7, 25-26).
When the Seventy translated Hebraic Scripture into Greek [the Septuagint], the translators used the Greek icons Theos and Theon, depending upon grammatical case, to represent the Tetragrammaton. But these translators knew only the deity that Moses and the seventy saw atop Mount Sinai. They did not know the Father. Therefore, their use of the Greek icons is uninspired and is not to be trusted although Jesus did quote from the Septuagint when He entered Jerusalem as future high priest and Passover Lamb on the 10th day of the first month (Matt 21:16), and when He confronted the Sadducees two days later (Matt 22:32). Apparently, though, He did not quote from the Septuagint when he asked the Pharisees the question they could not, or did not want to answer (vv. 43-45); for if He had, Matthew badly mangled the citation. If Jesus had quoted Psalms 110:1 in Hebrew, He would have uttered the Tetragrammaton as Adonai—and Matthew would have transcribed both Adonai and Adoni as Kurios, as is the case.
So arguments from how the Septuagint uses the Greek icons Theos and Theon have no merit in understanding how the Apostle John uses these same two icons at the beginning of his gospel … all things physical were created by Theos (John 1:3), not Theon. It was Theos who was born as the man Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:14). And when John 3:16 is read in Greek, Theos comes as His only Son; Theos clones Himself as a physical human being. He can only do this once, for once he leaves the heavenly realm, He ceases to exist in that realm. From a human perspective, He is dead even though He lives in the form of His only Son. Thus, when Jesus is born of Mary, Jesus is not the Son of the Father, Theon, but the Son of Theos. Literally, He is His own Son.
The man Jesus of Nazareth was part of the physical creation, fully human, no longer Theos, no longer Yah, no longer God, but rather, the Son of God—and to say otherwise is to make oneself into an antichrist. Whereas Theos and Theon, like a man and his wife, had functioned as one entity in a manner directly analogous to how Aaron had served Moses, his brother, as spokesman, with Moses being as God to Aaron (Exod 4:16), the two (Theos and Theon) that were one in a side-by-side relationship (YHWH) concealed by the physical creation became one in the heavenly realm (the Father) and one in the physical world when Jesus was born of Mary. Thus, when the divine Breath of the Father descended as a dove and lit on Jesus, spiritual life in the heavenly realm was given to Jesus: the only Son of Theos then became the beloved Son of Theon, with both Son and Father having their own divine Breaths (the Pneuma of Christ [Rom 8:9] and the Pneuma of Him who raised Jesus from the dead [Rom 8:11]).
All of the physical creation, including the physical man Jesus of Nazareth, is the construction of Theos as the Logos—and this will extend to the transformation of the mortal bodies of disciples who put on immortality. Whereas the Father glorified the resurrected Jesus with the glory Theos formerly had, human beings are without any former life or glory in the heavenly realm. Their bodies will have to be created in the ultimate transformation of what is physical becoming spiritual. Whereas the Father initiates life, giving to spiritually lifeless human beings actual existence in the heavenly realm, the Son transforms tents of flesh into heavenly tents made of the glory Jesus now has so that the resurrected or changed son of God that had formerly dwelt in flesh should not be unclothed but further clothed (2 Cor 5).
Jesus’ life forms the pattern for future disciples. Through being born of the water of the womb, human beings live as the first Adam lived, breathing creatures composed of breath [psuche] and flesh [soma] until they receive the Breath [Pneuma] of the Father when He draws us from the world (John 6:44, 65). Then [not before then] a human being becomes a disciple of Christ Jesus; the human being becomes tripart in composition, with actual life in the heavenly realm. Literally, the disciple has received a second life, and has become subject to the second death. Disciples are not free to live however they please. They have been drawn or drafted by the Father; they have been placed in the eternal covenant. When drawn, their sins were covered by Christ’s shed blood, and their sins since that time are borne by Christ and given to Satan if they remain in covenant. The only way a disciple will not be glorified is if the disciple leaves the covenant, thereby grieving the Holy Spirit and the disciple’s life in the heavenly realm.
Humanity has entered the time of the end, defined by the visions of Daniel finally being understood, and by the good news that all who endure to the end will be saved (Mat 24:13) being proclaimed to the world as a witness. There isn’t time to play verbal patty-cake with Christians who have been born of Spirit but who live out of covenant with the Father and His Christ. This is the time for theological confrontation so that spiritual Israelites who will listen to Christ’s voice hear His words, even if the Word angers them. Those spiritual Israelites who won’t listen won’t heed a "make-nice" tone, either. They are the seven of ten servants of the nobleman who refused to be ruled by him (Luke 19:27). They will experience the second death.
A logic fault occurs when a multifaceted issue is presented in terms of linguistic absolutes. But some states or conditions are inclusive, or exclusive. A woman is either pregnant, or she isn’t. A person either possesses life, or the person doesn’t. There is no arguable position for being almost pregnant, or almost alive; or nearly pregnant, nearly alive; or even barely pregnant, barely alive. A person is either alive, or the person isn’t. A person has either been born of water (embryonic fluids), or the person hasn’t been. Likewise, a person has either been born of spirit (the Breath/Pneuma of the Father), or the person hasn’t been. There is no transitional state or condition. It is, literally, all or nothing. Thus, a person either possesses everlasting life (i.e., life in the heavenly realm), or the person doesn’t—and here we encounter our first difficulty: "everlasting" or "eternal" are modern English translators’ preferred signifiers (or linguistic icons) for the Greek signifier aionios, which might better be rendered "age-lasting." Greek thought was of age to age, thereby making the arrival of the Lord’s Day the conclusion of our present age and the beginning of a new age.
One age began with Adam and ended with Noah. One age will begin with Christ’s Millennium reign and will end with the arrival of the new heavens and the new earth. So the lake of fire which comes with Christ [the Second Advent] concludes when the earth is renewed with fire in preparation for the arrival of the Father. The lake of fire is, therefore, age-lasting fire which is translated into English as everlasting fire. And everlasting life is life in the spiritual realm, where time doesn’t exist; it is everlasting, but it can be lost, for again, it is age-lasting.
For English speakers, the signifiers everlasting and eternal do not have that assignment of an outer limit; i.e., the end of the age. Therefore, everlasting fire and everlasting life produce a differing linguistic signified in the minds of English speakers than the Greek expressions do when they are appropriately translated into English.
Further, time can be written as a function of gravity, making time part of the creation. Time doesn’t exist as humanity knows it outside of the creation. Therefore, the concept of "eternal" in the supra-dimensional realm usually identified as heaven equates most directly to our concept of a continuous linguistic present tense. I AM means, simply, that "I exist"—I exist today, tomorrow, yesterday, next week, whenever one can imagine. By implication, I AM precludes being human, or of the creation that exists inside the heavenly void that opened when lawlessness was found in an anointed cherub. I AM can only be of the spiritual realm or of that dimension. I AM cannot solely exist in the physical creature—once Theos entered His creation as His Son, the man Jesus of Nazareth, He ceased to exist in the heavenly realm and could only leave the physical realm through death. Likewise, when Satan is cast from heaven and to the earth (Rev 12:9-10), he cannot return to heaven. He can only leave the earth through death (Ezek 28:18-19). He will be destroyed; he will have fire come from his belly, and he will be consumed completely. He won’t be in charge of any lake of fire; he won’t be tormenting the souls of mankind forever; he won’t be, period. His judgment has been pronounced. It is certain. He will die for his lawlessness and for the sins of glorified saints, sins that Christ returned to Satan when Yom Kipporim becomes a reality, sins that Christ bore as our high priest.
If the heirs of God are to be like Christ when they are glorified, then they also will exist outside of time, unaffected by gravity or the laws of physics as humanly understand. Heirs of God will similarly be able to say that they exist in an age that has no outer limit, for it has no connection to time. However, as long as they are within the physical creation in life and in body, they are subject to a linguistic limitation: the end of the age. Eternal and forever means until the age ends. The problem is, neither signifier does. Neither English signifier effectively encapsulates the concepts of the Greek signifier.
How can "forever" not mean forever? How can my stepson look at a 1965 Ford Mustang, almost drool in desire to possess one, then say, "That’s BAD!" He can because people assign meaning to words. My stepson’s use of bad is 180 degrees off from my use of the same signifier. But a similar reassignment of signifieds to signifiers was seen in Cockney English at the close of the 19th-Century. Communication is more than precise word usage. It is, as Baktin reminds theorists, the entire context in which a signifier is encountered.
Augustine wrote, "This faith [Christianity] maintains, and it must be believed: neither the soul nor the human body may suffer complete annihilation, but the impious shall rise again into everlasting punishment, and the just into life everlasting" (On Christian Doctrine, Book One, section XXI, D.W. Robertson’s trans.). And in the centuries since Augustine, Christianity has rigorously maintained the theological posture that every human being receives an immortal soul upon conception. Fornication, therefore, produces immortal souls by Augustine’s must believe position. The wage for sin is not death (Rom 6:23), but everlasting life in punishment, regardless of whether the person knew God. By Augustine’s must believe polemic, neither a person’s soul or body will die, but both will experience "punishment," or will experience "life," making punishment rather than death the opposing condition to the linguistic absolute life.
However, Solomon writes, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die" (Eccl 3:1-2). For Solomon, life is enclosed within the quantity of space-time between its beginning and its end. Life doesn’t exist before its beginning, and it doesn’t exist past its end. Thus, "life" is not the converse of "punishment." Nor does "death" equate with punishment. The absence of life (i.e., death) is the converse of life; so Augustine’s must believe polemic creates a linguistic impossibility, since punishment cannot be synonymous with death as an absolute. Punishment requires life for its administration. When punishment continues past the cessation of life, it ceases to be punishment and becomes mutilation of a corpse. Again, punishment requires a body to possess life—and life must exist in a body in order for the flesh to be punished, as Augustine is aware. The disembodied essence of life (or breath of life) cannot receive punishment, for there is nothing upon which to inflict the punishment, which is why Augustine wants the human body not to suffer complete annihilation. However, when a person dies, it is the person’s breath of life [psuche] that returns to God, not the person’s body, which returns to dust. The person’s body is completely annihilated: dust to dust, ashes to ashes.
Paul, the Gospel writers, and the so-called Catholic writers used two Greek signifiers to convey the concepts of physical and spiritual life. Both signifiers refer to "breath": psuche, which suggests shallow breath; and pneuma, which suggests deeper breath. And this terraced duality of breathing signifiers is in agreement with the concept of a physical creation being followed by a spiritual creation. There is a first Adam, a man of flesh, and then there is the second Adam, a live-giving spirit being. There is a first Eve, that gives life to humanity, and there is a second Eve (i.e., the Church) that will bring forth two spiritual sons in a day. There is a physically circumcised nation of Israel that was holy to God (Exod 19:5-6) followed by a spiritually circumcised nation of Israel that is now holy to God (1 Peter 2:9). Circumcision of foreskins (physical circumcision) is followed by circumcision of hearts and minds (spiritual circumcision). And the list goes on, such is the typology of Scripture, which can only be understood through typological exegesis. Precept-upon-precept exegesis causes a person to stumble, become ensnared and be taken (it is the reading strategy of drunks in Isaiah’s day); and historical exegesis is the teaching of the doctrines of men. So the two Greek signifiers for how deeply a person breathes [psuche & pneuma] correspond nicely to the concept of a physical creation followed by a spiritual creation. Elohim [singular] breathed the breath of life into the nostrils of the first Adam (Gen 2:7), and Adam became a nephesh; that is, a breathing creature. God the Father’s Breath/Pneuma descended like a dove on the second Adam, imparting to Jesus spiritual life, just as Elohim’s breath imparted physical life to the first Adam. And when the glorified Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, ‘"Receive the Holy Spirit [Pneuma]’" (John 20:22), the second Eve was created at approximately the same time that the first Eve was created after a deep sleep fell over the first Adam. By receiving Jesus’ directly transferred Breath, the Church was created from the ten disciples gathered together the evening of Christ’s ascension. Without the Breath of God, Jesus’ disciples could not have understood the spiritual teachings He would give them for the next forty days (cf. Rom 8:7; 1 Cor 2:11). With the Breath of God, the disciples were spiritual creations, born of Spirit. They now had real life in the spiritual realm, not merely a promise of life … when both the lawyer asked Jesus what must he do to inherit eternal life (Luke 10:25) and the rich young ruler asked Jesus the same question (Luke 18:18), the offer of Scripture was one of inheriting, not immediately receiving eternal life, a distinction that has never been understood by the Sabbatarian Churches of God.
King David will inherit eternal life, as will Noah, Daniel, Abraham, and a small number of others. While they lived, they were never born of Spirit—if they had been, then one of them would have been the second Adam, not Christ Jesus. Thus, they were never able to sin in the heavenly realm, where they had no life. No sacrifice in the heavenly realm was, when Jesus was crucified, needed to cover in that realm the sins of human beings. All of Israel’s sins had been committed in this physical realm; so only the death of the flesh was necessary to cover the transgressions of Israel. But with Jesus’ disciples receiving life through the divine Breath of God, directly transferred when the glorified Jesus breathed on His disciples, disciples could sin in both this physical realm and in the heavenly realm, where Jesus would not die for their transgressions but would bear those transgressions until judgments were revealed. Then, when judgments are revealed, Jesus will give the spiritual transgressions of His disciples either back to the disciple, meaning that the disciple will die the second death in the lake of fire, or He will give these transgressions to Satan, who is ultimately responsible for them. But Satan will not die for a thousand years [not until he is loosed for a short while following the thousand years]. Therefore, as bulls and goats stood in for Jesus until He came to die at Calvary, spiritual bulls and goats will stand in for Satan until he dies from fire coming out from his belly. And just as physical bulls and goats did not take away the sins of Israel, spiritual beasts do not take away the sins of glorified disciples but die in lieu of the reality until the hour of renewal comes.
When Elohim [singular] took red clay and formed the man of mud, the first Adam would have appeared like a wax museum’s exhibit of a human male until he received the directly transferred breath of life. In the terraced nature of physical/spiritual creations, the second Adam would have appeared like a wax museum’s exhibit of the invisible God (John 14:8-9) until the Breath of the Father descended upon Jesus like a dove, thereby beginning Jesus’ ministry that has not yet concluded. As the first Adam looked like a human corpse prior to receiving the breath of life, the second Adam had life in the physical realm prior to receiving the Breath of the Father, but He had no life in the spiritual realm—life in this physical realm forms the shadow and copy of life in the heavenly realm (Rom 1:20), and precedes spiritual life (1 Cor 15:45). Thus, the creation both conceals and reveals the heavenly realm. To those who are spiritually blind, as has been natural Israel throughout its history, the creation conceals the things of God in a concept Kabbalists call Tzimtzum, a rupture in the fabric of heaven directly analogous to the fissure in the earth’s surface that opened to swallow Korah and his fellow rebels (Num 16). But to disciples, the creation reveals what cannot be seen with human eyes, nor heard with ears, nor measured with hands. For disciples, typology serves as a periscope to peer out of the void and see events in the heavenly realm that could not otherwise be known. And typology discloses the reality of this world passing away: as the earth’s fissure opened to swallow Korah, then closed again, the Tzimtzum opened to swallow rebelling angels and will close again. The light humans see in the universe is spiritually comparable to what Korah saw as he fell into the fissure, only to see the darkness of the fissure close around him. The rebelling angels have been cast into outer darkness—human beings are born into this place of spiritual darkness and call it beautiful.
The man Jesus was born in the same spiritual state as every other Israelite, but without the indwelling of sin. He had no life in the heavenly realm. To say otherwise is, again, to make oneself into an antichrist. And it was only after receiving spiritual life through receiving the divine Breath of the Father that Jesus confronts and defeats Satan, in a battle for control of the mental topography of humanity, the logic for the particular set of temptations and rebukes. The battle was fought in the spiritual realm even though the participants were here on earth. The battle was a type of David slaying Goliath. There will be another slaying of Philistines when Christ returns as a type of the mature King David who slew his tens of thousands.
Life and death as absolutes acquire an advocate in Jesus of Nazareth, who lived, died, and lives again in the supra-dimension of heaven. Christ links death with the grave [hades] (Rev 1:18) through possessing their keys: Yes, He died, yet lives. His use of death doesn’t convey any sense of punishment, but rather, conveys the sense that life had ceased to exist. Both death and the grave [hades] will be thrown into the lake of fire at the end of Christ’s Millennium reign (Rev 20:14). Their termination in the lake of fire is the second death (same verse). So Christ’s use of Death and Hades addresses first physical life—the death that Jesus experienced at Calvary—but it also addresses spiritual life: "And if anyone’s name was not found in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire" (v. 15).
An assumption needs here to be addressed: this assumption is that the lake of fire doesn’t affect spirit beings. It is based upon an understanding of fire being an oxidizing agent, and since spirit beings are not composed of the elements of the earth, they cannot be oxidized through any known process. But this assumption that fire must necessarily be an oxidizing agent is false. Moses, upon seeing the bush burning but not being consumed, said, ‘"I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned’" (Exod 3:3). Moses wasn’t in vision. He was really tending the flocks of his father-in-law. He was on a real mountain. And the fire coming from the bush was not an oxidizing agent, yet the fire appears real. So the assumption that fire originating in the spiritual realm must be an oxidizing agent needs to be jettisoned. Pitched out with this assumption should go teachings that spirit beings are not affected by fire. Ezekiel prophesies in an after-the-fact sense when he describes the judgment of Satan as the spiritual king of Tyre. He said, quoting the Lord, "By the multitude of your iniquities, / in the unrighteousness of your trade / you profaned your sanctuaries; / so I brought fire out from your midst; / it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth / in sight of all who saw you. / All who know you among the peoples / are appalled at you; / you have come to a dreadful end / and shall be no more forever" (28:18-19). God brings fire out from the belly of this king of Tyre to consume him. If this king of Tyre were human, Christ has revealed His judgment against a man before His return (1 Cor 4:5), which the Apostle Paul says He won’t do. But no human being has been "an anointed guardian cherub" (v. 14). This prophecy is widely recognized as being about Satan. And it isn’t interrupted to shift from Satan to a man just before its conclusion as taught by one of the more controversial religious teachers of the past century, Herbert Armstrong, who, with his son Garner Ted Armstrong, wrote in Did God Create A Devil? that Satan cannot be destroyed by fire (pp.18, 21, 24 — 1973 edition). But the Lord says otherwise: Satan will be completely destroyed here on earth, where he was cast (Rev 12:9-10) halfway through seven endtime years of tribulation. His destruction will come at the conclusion of Christ’s Millennium long reign as King of kings. Satan and his angels will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:10) that has been prepared for them (Matt 25:41). There, in the lake of fire, Satan will be tormented unto the aionas [age] of the aionon [age], or until the end of the ages, when the new heaven and the new earth appear, thereby concluding the plan of God as revealed in the abstract for Scripture (Gen 1:1-2:3). His torment will end at the conclusion of the ages with fire coming out from his belly and reducing him to ashes under the feet of saints. He will not be around to enter New Jerusalem (Rev 21:27), nor will be "the cowards, the faithless, the detestable…murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars" (v. 8). All whose names are not written in the book of life will experience the second death. Their fate will be akin to Satan’s (Rev 20:15).
Fire separates the dimensions, with the fiery furnace into which Nebuchadnezzar cast Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being a type of the flames through which saints will pass to cross dimensions (Isa 43:2). If a disciple’s mortal body does not put on immortality, the disciple will die in these flames; such is the second death.
Satan, at least, has a body upon which fire can inflict torment while in the process of being consumed. A tent of flesh will not last long in the fiery furnace into which “all causes of sin and all law-breakers” (Matt 13:41) are cast upon Jesus’ return. Disembodied breaths of life quickly dissipate. Jesus said, concerning spirit, that it is like wind, coming and going where it will (John 3:8). It is, therefore, foolish to think that a disciple’s physical breath of life [psuche], or that a disciple’s spiritual breath of life [pneuma] can be punished without being in a body. It would be easier for a person to enchain the wind, thereby stopping it from blowing where it will. So unless the human body does not return to dust, contrary to the testimony of Scripture, the lawless living and lawless dead will utterly perish upon Jesus’ return.
Jesus, like Paul in his epistle to converts at Rome, established a relationship of opposing absolutes: ‘"Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his [the Son of God’s] voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrect of judgment"’ (John 5:28-29). The opposing absolutes are: (1) those who have done good, versus (2) those who have done evil — "good" and "evil" equate to "life" and "judgment." Earlier in this same discourse, Jesus said, ‘"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my words and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life’" (v. 24). So for Jesus, death is the converse of life. Judgment now has to do with death, not punishment. Judgment leads to death in the lake of fire.
The assumption that fire must be an oxidizing agent causes scholars to do linguistic gymnastics to keep Satan from being destroyed as prophesied by Ezekiel—and not only Satan, but the beast and the false prophet (cf: Dan 7:11-12; Rev 19:20; 20:10). And if Satan has fire come out from his belly, thereby reducing him to ashes under the feet of the saints, who is in charge of an ever burning gehenna fire? And more linguistic calisthenics become necessary to keep the concept of an immortal soul from deflating and sailing wildly around the room as an escaping balloon.
The good/evil converse relationship that Jesus establishes concerning resurrection exists in the Lord’s day (Rev 1:10), that period beginning when the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of the Most High and His Messiah (Rev 11:15): "And he [the angel] said to me [John], ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 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 22:10-11). An implied caesura between the second "filthy" and "the righteous" divides this four-part list into contrary actions and states. What has been translated as "evildoer" can be translated as "the unrighteous," so the two qualities of action are unrighteousness and righteousness. The two states are filthy or unclean as the opposite of holy, as seen in clean and unclean animals (Acts 10:12-15, 28). So the person who isn’t holy or a part of spiritual Israel (1 Pet 2:9) does those things that are evil or unrighteous. The person who is holy does those things that are right or good. This person is clean (John 15:3) as in pruned to bear much fruit, with being holy equating to on-going actions not to an inherited condition.
Since the law that divided humanity into circumcised and uncircumcised was abolished (Eph 2:15) as Peter was told three times in his vision concerning unclean animals; and since humanity is liberated from bondage to sin (Rev 11:15) when Satan is cast from heaven 1260 days before Christ returns as the Messiah (Rev 12:9); and since all of humanity is called by God (Rev 18:4) and receives the Holy Spirit when called (Joel 2:28) and liberated from bondage to sin; and since the good news that all who endure to the end will be saved has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations, the only reason for a person still to be unclean or filthy in the Lord’s day is the person’s refusal to be ruled by Christ, as seen in the parable of the pounds:
A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas [pounds], and said to them, "Engage in business until I come." But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, "We do not want this man to reign over us." When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business…[only three come forward; as for the other seven, the nobleman says] But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me. (Luke 19:12-15, 27)
Slaughter might be construed as punishment, but slaughter doesn’t imply the continuation of life. Rather, slaughter sounds more like being cast into the lake of fire when the person’s judgment is revealed at Christ’s return.
All of humanity has been made clean or holy by virtue of Christ’s sacrifice, but not all of humanity has now been drawn by the Father (John 6:44, 65; Acts 2:39), the reality of predestination and of some vessels having been created for special use. However, that changes halfway through seven years of tribulation when the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of the Most High and His Messiah (Rev 11:15). All of humanity is then called (Rev 18:4). All have the Breath of God poured out upon them (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17). All know the Father by virtue of receiving His Breath. And the person who has received the Breath of God and then chooses not to be ruled by Christ will be slaughtered upon Christ’s orders, which will happen at the revealing of the person’s judgment (1 Cor 4:5) upon Christ’s return. And this agrees with what Jesus said, ‘"Do not fear those who kill the body [soma] but cannot kill the soul [psuche]. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell [Gehenna] (Matt 10:28).
When Jesus sent his disciples out as recorded in the tenth chapter of Matthew, his disciples had not yet received the Holy Spirit even though demons were subject to them, and they had the power to heal. They wouldn’t receive the Breath of God until the glorified Christ breathed on them the evening of His ascension to the Father. However, they were sent out to create the shadow and copy of endtime disciples who have the Breath of God going to the cities of the lost sheep of spiritual Israel. Therefore, Jesus assigns to the physical breath of His disciples [their psuche] the qualities that the Apostle Paul assigns to born again disciples’ psuche and pneuma (1 Thess 5:23). Jesus said not to fear those who can kill the body [soma], so the body can be killed. It can cease to live. Jesus said, rather, to fear the One who can kill both the body [soma] and the life [psuche] in the lake of fire.
Before proceeding, there is a textual inconsistency in the use of psuche and pneuma about which scholars know: the Apostle Paul, in his first epistle to the saints at Corinth, writes, "For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit [pneuma] of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit [Pneuma] of God" (1 Cor 2:11). The Pneuma of God is the Breath of God, a figurative expression for the creative power of God, for God does not live through the inhalation of oxygen molecules. Humanity lives through the oxidation of sugars at the cellular level. Fire for us is the oxidation of a combustible medium. A similar relationship exists between the Breath of God and fire in the spiritual realm as exists between the breath of humanity and fire in the physical realm. (This relationship is mirrored in the spiritual creation of the heirs of God and the physical creation of the children of Adam and Eve.) This is why Satan can have fire come out from his belly, thereby reducing him to ashes, creating a situation analogous to the combustion of a human body.
The Apostle Paul’s use of a person’s pneuma as the knowing of that person’s thoughts creates linguistic parallelism with the things or thoughts of God being only knowable through receiving the Holy Spirit/Pneuma. It also addresses a truism: I know my thoughts. No other physical being does. I know my thoughts through having physical life. The dead know nothing (Eccl 9:10); i.e., when dead, I will not know my thoughts. So while it can be said that Paul’s use of pneuma here better matches the physical breath of life [psuche] than how he will use pneuma elsewhere, the old creature formerly occupying the tent of flesh is dead; hopefully, only the new creature remains. So my thoughts are not [or should not be] those of the old creature, but those of the born of Spirit son of God—and this now agrees with Paul’s use pneuma.
Of course, reversing how Paul intended psuche and pneuma to be used does not affect the substance of this argument in the least. Before being called by the Father, a person has his or her physical breath, and physical body. Then after being born-from-above, the person is made a disciple through receiving a puff of the Breath of God. Disciples now have literal life in the spiritual realm. They are not begotten; they are born anew. They become physical life and spiritual life in a physical body: psuche, pneuma, and soma. And this is the mystery of God that has caused so many disciples to stumble for so long.
Fellowships of the splintered Churches of God use the above quoted passage from Paul’s epistle to the saints at Corinth to prove that humans have a different spirit or breath than have animals, that this differing spirit causes humans to be able to reason. To make the passage work as they desire, they insert a "by" between "except" and "the spirit [pneuma] of that person"; thus, a person knows the things of a person by having the spirit of man, thereby making the spirit of man a differing spirit than the spirit beasts have received. Then in the same context, these fellowships will cite Ecclesiastes 3:19, showing that man and beasts have the same breath, or spirit. Their arguments are logically inconsistent, and are rejected by the majority of the Christian Church for cause although the point they attempt to make concerning humanity not having an immortal soul is valid.
In Christian theology, Gehenna has becomes a location of punishment rather than a place of fire. Most scholarly articles concerning gehenna will identify the place as Jerusalem’s garbage dump. Located geographically just south of Jerusalem’s southwestern hill, the valley of Hinnom or the valley of Hinnom’s sons saw the debris of the city set fire there, the fire ever-burning in the sense that as long as the city brought garbage to the valley, the fire burned. This valley, then, becomes the metaphor for the spiritual location where the trash of spiritual Israel is burned when the judgment of the people of God is revealed. The Apostle James says of this location that though the tongue is a world of iniquity or lawlessness, it is, in turn, set on fire by gehenna (3:6), thereby making hell not the repository of punishment, but the causal factor leading to lawlessness or sin. In this famous passage, James personifies gehenna, ascribing to the location the ability to influence the wheel of life. Thus, hell is not a location in the netherworld, but the overhead broadcast tower of Satan as the prince of the power of the air, who deceives the whole world by reigning, for a season, over humanity’s mental topography.
In another equally cited passage concerning gehenna, Jesus said, ‘"But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother is liable to judgment; whoever insults [says Raca to] his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, "You fool!" will be liable to the hell [gehenna] of fire’" (Matt 5:22). In this passage, the council is a physical or civil authority [the Sanhedrin]. The person who insults a brother is civilly liable, as would be a person who slanders or libels another person in our court system. But the person who pushes past slander and kills with his or her mouth has become subject to the gehenna of fire, or the broadcast of the Accuser of humanity. The passage can be read equally well having the person influenced by Satan as having the person subject to fire—and if the person is subject to fire, why does anyone think that this person is not slain by fire?
Greater Christianity today holds the concept of a resurrection at Christ’s return in tension with possession of an immortal soul. But there is no logic for escaping to heaven at death, then returning to earth to receive an incorruptible body at Christ’s return. This makes "souls" disembodied life in the spirit realm, or as one major denomination teaches, preexisting life in the spirit realm returning to heaven. Either way, greater Christianity accepts the existence of life in the spiritual realm that doesn't possess bodily form or substance. Of course, Origen accepted Plato’s doctrine of nous falling from God to become psyche, but that is what happens when one looks earthward instead of upward—the person lacks or loses spiritual understanding.
When the Pharisee Nicodemus came to Jesus wanting to be taught, Jesus said, ‘"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God"’ (John 3:3), "see" used in the context of knowing the kingdom of God. This, then, agrees with what Paul writes, "To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 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 8:6-7). So, in very spare language, Jesus tells Nicodemus that without the indwelling of the Spirit (v. 9), a person cannot know the things of the kingdom of God. (This is the Apostle Paul’s point [1 Cor 2:11].) The person lacks spiritual understanding or discernment—and the teacher of spiritual Israel who teaches that a disciple born of spirit is merely begotten makes the same mistake that Nicodemus made about entering the womb a second time.
When Nicodemus asked about entering a mother’s womb a second time, he misunderstood what Jesus meant about being born again, or born-from-above, as evidenced by Jesus’ rebuke: ‘"Are you a teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?…If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?’" (John 3:10, 12). The answer is that no one can without being spiritually minded. Nicodemus couldn’t, nor could Jesus’ disciples until after they received the Breath of God (John 20:22). Only then could the glorified Christ teach His disciples the spiritual implications of what they had witnessed (Acts 1:4). Only then could Nicodemus understand what it meant to be born of spirit. And too many teachers of spiritual Israel have been as carnally minded as Nicodemus was when he asked about entering the womb a second time.
A digression is here in order: intertextuality and hypertexuality lead to typological exegesis, in that the entirety of canonical Scripture, when accepted literally, becomes a secession of shadows that ultimately reveals the endtime conversion of spiritual Israel followed closely by the harvest of humanity, for which God’s will is that none perish. The text reveals the text, with the Acts of the Apostles forming the shadow of the endtime conversion of the Church, composed today of spiritual juvenile delinquents that have fled from Eden, climbing over the walls that are the laws of God written on hearts and minds. Once the Church has been liberated at a second Passover from its bondage to sin, it will be the harvesters of humanity. Until then, only a remnant of the Church has returned to Eden. Even fewer have rebuilt the walls of its capital, spiritual Jerusalem, which has theological rather than geographical coordinates.
"The text reveals the text" forms an interesting concept that ultimately argues not for the infallibility of Scripture, but for the inadequacy of Scripture to reveal the thoughts of God. An additional text must be created through hearing the voice of Christ by spiritually minded disciples.
Intertextuality synthesizes Old and New Testaments, overlapping the new over the old to form a yet unwritten text, its shadow being the events of the New Testament; its reality to occur in the spiritual realm which humanity cannot bodily enter. Its reality is the hypertext Book of Life, in which every disciple is an epistle written on cleansed hearts with Spirit and delivered by the genuine teachers of Israel. Thus, the reason why Christ opens the door for the Church at Philadelphia during the Lord’s day (Rev 3:7-8) is that Philadelphians cannot see where that door is, for it is in the spiritual realm. That is correct, like the inhabitants of Plato’s Cave, seeing only shadows, Philadelphians will wrestle with spiritual entities that cannot be seen except by their shadows until Satan and his demons are cast to the earth. Then the terrain is leveled. Satan will have become another Goliath, a large uncircumcised dog, ripe for being slain by the Son of David, who will sit on David’s throne to reign as King of kings.
Because intertextuality connects the Old and the New Testaments in a terraced relationship, what is said concerning the "soul" or nephesh in the Law & the Prophets must be understood to pertain to humanity prior to receiving the Breath of God. Being born-from-above, or being born of spirit cannot be understood as a reentering of a womb, but as the inclusion or indwelling of the Spirit or Breath [Pneuma] of the Father in a person who was, until then, no different from a dog (Eccl 3:18-21). Eternal, or spiritual life is the gift of God (Rom 6:23), given when the Father draws a person from the world (cf. John 6:44, 65; Acts 2:39). A person’s natural mind is hostile to God (Rom 8:7), and is unable to understand spiritual things until the Father draws the person. He or she would never leave the world if the Father didn’t insert His Breath into the person.
I was baptized by ministers of a fellowship that used precept-upon-precept exegesis to produce logical arguments skewed toward being 20th-Century Pharisees. Even a year ago (2002) when I wrote about eternal life I was still unlearning doctrines that were wrong although the doctrines had been logically presented. I had moved past my teachers, but I was still confining my thinking to a horizontal plane. I didn’t then understand types as functions; I perceived types as earlier and later, both physical. It took Christ months to stretch my thinking so that I would look up rather than out—and not look up with preconceived ideas about what I would see. Therefore, a person can track my spiritual development through my works in print.
I wrote in Holiness, Righteousness & the New Covenant that if a teacher of Israel cannot admit that he or she is wrong, then the person has too much ego to be glorified. I knew that I would not be an exception when I wrote the passage; I am not an exception … I have told my Composition students that I’m probably the only one in the classroom who has had a spelling error cast in bronze. I didn’t see that Solomon’s wisdom was of this world, and still is good advice pertaining to this world. It doesn’t apply directly, though, to the spiritual realm. And precept-upon-precept exegesis will never produce spiritual understanding of Scripture. By the nature of its application, it causes heavenly passages to be read from an earthly perspective.
Humanity’s claim to physical primacy (i.e., dominion of the creation) is based upon humanity being created to look like Elohim (Gen 1:27) — yes, God has form, appearance (cf. Rev 1:13-15; Dan 7:9; Ezek 1:26-28; Exod 33:20, 23 & 24:9-11), and is composed of a substance about which we know nothing since that substance is not a property of this universe. Angels have form and appearance. So too will glorified human beings have form and appearance. The Apostle Paul writes, concerning glorified saints, "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.…Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven" (1 Cor 15:44, 49).
Adam as the first man was formed of clay, and was man-like in appearance but was lifeless until Elohim [singular] breathed the breath of life into him (Gen 2:7). Adam then became a nephesh, or breathing creature. There is no textual suggestion that Adam had the Holy Spirit; for he was placed in a geographical garden in Eden, and he was expelled from this garden before he could eat of the tree of life and live forever (3:22-23). So the first Adam exists in two states: flesh without the breath of life, and flesh with the breath of life. When he was flesh without the breath of life, he looked like a man just as a wax Elvis Presley in a museum’s exhibit looks like Elvis Presley. Only when Adam received the breath of life did Adam come alive as we know life. Receipt of physical breath changed the non-living physical Adam into the living man Adam. The lifeless Adam was not born through human conception, but he was born through divine construction. And it is his birth that serves as the physical model or shadow for spiritual birth.
Every person is born of Eve through the water of the womb. To be born of Adam now—or to be born anew, or born from above, or born again, all English expressions for when a spiritually lifeless human being receives the Holy Spirit—is to be individually constructed by the Father as a one of creation through receiving His divine Breath in a spiritually dead tent of flesh. Therefore, to be constructed in the image of Elohim, male and female [to be in the image of Elohim, the two must become one] (Gen 1:27), a person must be born of water and of Spirit, with “breath” received through each birth. When a spiritually lifeless but physically alive human receives the Holy Spirit [Pneuma ’Agion], this person becomes a spiritual creation. The person doesn’t yet have a glorified body—he or she doesn’t need one to be a child of God in this world. All the person needs is receipt of the Breath of the Father. And at this point, the person has real life in the heavenly realm. There are no spiritual mothers per se that ovulate. Spiritual beings are, again, all one-of creations by God the Father.
Christ as the second Adam existed in three states, as would be appropriate for the reality of a shadow that existed in two states (i.e., physically non-living and physically living). First, the man Jesus of Nazareth was like Adam in that He consists of flesh [soma] and the breath of life [psuche] prior to His baptism. When born of Mary, He had no spiritual life inherit within Him. He couldn’t have been tempted as we are if He had. But when He rose out of the water, the Breath/Pneuma of the Father descended upon Him like a dove (Matt 3:16), and Jesus was born-from-above. The Breath of the Father added spiritual life [pneuma] to His physical life [psuche] and to His body [soma]. He became tripart in construction, the state of disciples that the Apostle Paul addresses (1 Thess 5:23). And following His resurrection, He receives a spiritual or incorruptible body to go with His spiritual life, which, again, He received when He received the Breath of the Father. So Jesus was first psuche and soma; then psuche, pneuma, and soma; then Pneuma and an unnamed substance which will form an actual body. Our flesh, or soma, forms the shadow of whatever this substance is. Christ is not, today, disembodied life. Joseph Smith perhaps said it as well as anyone, life without a body is nothing. Life requires a body to be alive. Otherwise, life is a vapor that cannot be contained, and so dissipates until it is no more. It is, literally, breath, physical or spiritual.
Just as the first Adam received physical breath to become a breathing creature, a nephesh, the second Adam received spiritual Breath to become a spiritual creation embodied in a corruptible tabernacle. Jesus wasn’t born with a little angel inside Him. Nor did He have eternal life before He received it as a gift of the Father—for the third time, the person who denies that Christ came in the flesh as soma and psuche is an antichrist. And these little antichrists come from two perspectives: (1) they either assign spiritual life to the first Adam, or (2) they deny born-from-above disciples have actual spiritual life. Either position reflects carnal understanding of Scripture.
The above cannot be stressed too greatly, for it becomes a central precept in understanding all of Holy Writ. John writes, "This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life" (1 John 2:22-25). So a doctrine originating in the 3rd -Century that denies the uniqueness of the Father and of the Son is an antichrist doctrine, as is a doctrine that assigns eternal life to someone who denies the Father and the Son—and as is a doctrine that denies that whomever has the Father and the Son has eternal life. Thus, the concept of a triune godhead as taught by greater Christianity is an antichrist doctrine, for this concept denies the Father and the Son, substituting for the Father and the Son a closed triune godhead that includes the personification and deification of the Breath of the Father and of the Breath of the Son. Likewise, the concept of humanity inheriting eternal life through having received an immortal soul at conception is an antichrist doctrine, for the doctrine assigns eternal life to individuals who deny the Father and the Son. In addition, the concept that a disciple doesn’t receive eternal life until after judgment and resurrection to life (the position of Herbert Armstrong) is also an antichrist doctrine, for this doctrine denies that the person who abides in the Son and in the Father has eternal life. This doctrine holds that the person will, in the future, receive eternal life, that eternal life is glorification, that the saints will be glorified as baby gods [elohim], not as Christ is now. This doctrine denies that born-from-above disciples are, in this age, the actual children of God. This doctrine denies that disciples are actual sons of the Father, with whom the Father would not be well pleased if Christ were not bearing their sins. But because Christ does bear the sins of born of Spirit disciples, we, as children of the Father while we are still in the flesh [soma and psuche], appear today before the Father without sin. Therefore, the liberty we have as born-from-above disciples to do anything without any sin being imputed to us today must not be abused, but must be used to develop the habit for always doing that which is right. The death penalty for our sins hasn’t disappeared. If we leave the eternal covenant that has us living within the laws of God, and if we do not return to this covenant prior to death, we, as disciples, will have our sins reassigned to us. We will be resurrected to condemnation. We will lose eternal life, which was given to us when we were drawn by the Father.
A little more can be said about wearing the mantle of Christ Jesus’ righteousness: if a disciple presents his or her members to sin to be instruments of disobedience (Rom 6:13), the disciple is not under Grace, but remains under the Law; for only when a disciple presents his or her members to God as instruments of righteousness does the disciple come under Grace. Only then will sin have no dominion over the person. Sin has dominion over the disciple who presents him or herself to disobedience to be its servant (vv. 14-16). Therefore, the disciple who chooses to sin makes him or herself a bondservant to sin, and chooses death when the promise of entering into God’s rest was available to that person. Thus, Christ Jesus makes this person into a vessel of wrath to be endured for a season—and when a disciple chooses life or death, Christ sculpts the person into a vessel for honored or dishonorable usage. The choice of what Christ will make from the person is now His. The promise of entering into His rest has closed. The person is either in His rest, or isn’t, the reality of disciples being vessels and the workmanship of Christ Jesus.
Christian liberty is a tremendous gift. Without it, we are no match for Satan, who deceived angels and the whole world today (Rev 12:9). With it, we can choose to do that which is right, fail for any number of reasons, choose again to do what is right, again fail, then choose again to do what is right, until our habit becomes always choosing to do what is right which then sets our character to choose righteousness. The death penalty attached to each of our failures is borne by Christ and given to Satan when the reality of Yom Kipporim occurs. Our failures to live with our choices to do what is right slay Satan. But we are not free to reject the laws of God, for in doing so, we reject the spiritual life that we have received as born-from-above disciples—we have, when rejecting the laws of God, sinned against the Holy Spirit. We are then out of covenant, and we will die eternally for our sins. We will experience the second death, for we had a second birth and a second life even while a physical human being. But [and this but is beautiful] for the vessel intended for honored use, a vessel who chose life on his or her day of salvation, Jesus will not let the disciple long reject the laws of God. He will intervene to bring this vessel He intends for honored usage back into the covenant. He will lose no disciple who has not chosen to be a son of destruction.
Intertextuality and hypertexuality, descriptive terms for the concept of texts relating to other texts even to the creation of an unwritten derivative text, now allows us to look at what YHWH tells Ezekiel: ‘"Behold, all souls [nephesh] are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.…The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him’" (18:4. 20). If we use "breathing creature" for nephesh or soul as is appropriate, we see the typology. The first Adam is a physically breathing [psuche] creature, while the second Adam is a physically and spiritually breathing [psuche & pneuma] creature. The righteousness required is now in the physical and spiritual realms—and we have the Apostle Paul desiring that the saints at Thessalonika be found blameless in the psuche, pneuma, and soma (or body). Thus, Ezekiel’s the soul that sins shall die is applicable as a shadow of Jesus saying not to be surprised when some saints who have done right are resurrected to life while some saints who have done evil are resurrected to condemnation. Same mind, same voice, but the former is the two dimensional shadow of a three dimensional reality.
The physically breathing creature cannot sin or commit iniquity in the heavenly realm. He or she can only sin in the physical realm, where he or she will pay the death penalty for that sin or those sins. This penalty is the first death. No second life or second birth has occurred. The person is spiritually as Adam was physically prior to the man of mud receiving the breath of life. This person has been physically created in the image of Elohim, thus looks like Christ and the Father, but this person lacks the spiritual breath of life. Although physically living, the person is, indeed, like a wax museum exhibit.
When a person is drawn by the Father (John 6:44, 65), the person receives, right then, the Breath of the Father. The person would not separate him or herself from the world if the person hadn’t received the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:7). The person doesn’t need hands laid on him or her to receive the Holy Spirit. Since first circumcised Israelites were baptized with visible fire (Acts 2:2-4), then uncircumcised Israelites (i.e., Gentiles drawn by the Father) were baptized by fire (Acts10:44-47), the direct transfer of the Holy Spirit is not required. Receipt of the Holy Spirit precedes baptism in the name of Christ Jesus. Baptism brings judgment upon disciples. And what appears as an exception is the example of the twelve disciples in Ephesus who had not heard of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-7) — this example is to be understood typologically as the shadow of the conversion of physical Israelites (i.e., circumcised Israelites descended from the twelve tribes and today identifying themselves as Jews) during the Tribulation (Rev 7:4-8) when the broken off natural olive branches are grafted to the root of righteousness.
Thus, when a person is drawn by the Father, the person is born a second time just as Adam was born a first time through receiving the breath of Elohim [singular]. A person doesn’t enter a womb a second time, the mistake of Nicodemus (John 3:4) and the mistake continued by the many fellowships of the splintered churches of God descended from the former Radio Church of God. And since a born of Spirit disciple has actual life in the heavenly realm, this born-again disciple can sin in the heavenly realm, the penalty for which is the second death (i.e., the lake of fire). The man Jesus of Nazareth’s death at Calvary paid the penalty for all of the sins of all disciples in the physical realm. Grace is the glorified Christ bearing the sins of disciples in the spiritual realm. But Christ will not be crucified a second time. He will not pay the spiritual death penalty for sins committed in the heavenly realm. Rather, He will either give those sins to Satan if the disciple remains in covenant with the Father, or He will return those sins to the disciple if the disciple leaves the eternal covenant into which the disciple was placed when drawn. If He returns those sins to the disciple, the disciple will experience the second death; i.e., resurrection to condemnation. The disciple will pay in the heavenly realm for his or her own sins in that realm. Satan is already under the sentence of death (Ezek 28:18-19). So the penalty for every sin committed in the heavenly realm will be satisfied by the death of either the out-of-covenant disciple, or of Satan, with spiritual beasts substituting for Satan during the resurrection of firstfruits … a spiritual beast is simply a disciple who chose death when the promise of entering God’s rest was before him or her. The Master Potter has since formed this disciple into a vessel for dishonorable usage, a vessel of wrath, a son of destruction so that all Scripture would be fulfilled. And the Apostle Paul suggests that these sons of destruction can cleanse themselves from what is dishonorable and become vessels for honored use (2 Tim 2:21), but the reality of experience seems to be that once a disciple chooses death by rejecting keeping the law, the disciple is mentally unable to cleanse him or herself. The Master Potter has truly sculpted the person into an unchanging vessel of wrath, thereby making permanent the disciple’s choice of death over life. And these vessels of wrath loudly sing praises to Christ Jesus as if they were bleating goats and bellowing bulls penned near the altar, waiting being sacrificed.
Since one of two fates awaits born-from-above disciples—resurrection to life or resurrection to condemnation—then what about the remainder of humanity; i.e., all of those individuals who never knew Jesus or the Father? What is their fate? Most of Christendom has assigned them to everlasting life in a rotisserie, ever grilling, but never quite becoming done enough to be served to an angry God. Of course, Dante had the lowest level of hell cold as a Siberian winter, with two popes stuck in the ice. And extreme cold does burn as I experienced when antifreeze at forty below flowed over my forearm one winter in Fairbanks.
Christendom borrowed more from Plato than from Christ when it constructed its concepts of an afterlife. It acknowledged the Hebraic concept of a future resurrection at the end of the age (Dan 12:2 & John 5:28-29), but then sent the immortal souls of saints to heaven to await resurrection, or to hell from which there would be no escape. The Apostle Paul said that the judgment of disciples would not be revealed prior to when Christ returned (1 Cor 4:5); so for Platonic Christianity to be correct, Paul must be wrong about when a disciple’s judgment is revealed. But Paul isn’t wrong! Each disciple’s judgment will be revealed when Christ returns—and no saint has gone to heaven only to be sent to hell when his or her judgment is revealed. Likewise, no saint has been condemned to gehenna fire only to be glorified when his or her judgment is revealed. So the premise by which Platonists assign the souls of disciples upwards or downwards at death is contrary to Scripture, contrary to revelation, and contrary to the words of both the Father and the Son. A disciple’s judgment is not revealed prior to Christ’s return. And to teach that a person receives eternal life in the form of an immortal soul received through fornication in the backseat of a Chevy is mocking the Father and the Son. Does anyone really want to mock the only ones who can give the person eternal life? Is anyone that confident that Plato was correct about he or she having an immortal soul? Christ certainly didn’t teach that a person has one. Rather, He taught that disciples await judgment in the tomb (John 5:28).
If you were to play chess with Christ, you would quickly learn that you were checkmated before you moved your first piece. All of the moves necessary to place your king in check will have been made before you sit down to play; such is the quality of Christ’s mind. Human beings are not in His league, and while it might sound sacrilegious to even suggest playing chess with Christ, disciples are in effect playing chess with Him when they wonder why Christ allowed a heresy such as humanity having an immortal soul to creep into the doctrines of His Bride. He certainly could have prevented the heresy’s entrance into the theological canon. Why didn’t He? The heresy isn’t true. But the heresy really did little harm when His return was centuries in the future. The person who believes this lie dies thinking that he or she will go immediately to heaven; the person knows nothing in the grave. Then the person is resurrected either to glory or to shame. If to glory, then the person will feel rather foolish for having believed such nonsense, but the splendor and work before the glorified saint will expunge even the feeling of foolishness. And the person resurrected to condemnation has much more to worry about than not having gone to heaven.
However, during the Tribulation, when spiritual Israel has been liberated from mental bondage to the king of Babylon, believing in an immortal soul will cause a separation between saints who are genuine, and born of Spirit disciples who will not be ruled by Christ. Then in the middle of the Tribulation, when Satan is cast down to the earth and must recapture his former mental slaves through physical means (the logic for requiring all to have the mark of the beast to buy and sell), belief in an immortal soul will become a test of who stands with Satan as the ultimate Antichrist, and who stands with the saints living in spiritual Jerusalem. All of the moves necessary to defeat Satan have been made. All that is left is enacting those moves through the writing of a new text that is the terraced repetition of existing texts. In other words, Christ has already revealed the moves to be made. He knows the end from the beginning, and through typology, He has revealed to His friends the end and the moves that will be made to arrive at that end. Therefore, the heresy of humanity having an immortal soul didn’t enter Christendom through spiritual neglect. The heresy didn’t catch Christ by surprise. It actually seems that He set up its introduction as a 1st-Century test that becomes crucial for saints to pass in the 21st-Century.
As God gave to lawless and idolatrous natural Israelites statutes and rules by which the nation could not live (Ezek 20:25-26), statutes that caused Israel to burn in firstborns alive, God has given to spiritually circumcised Israel statutes and rules by which the Christian Church cannot live. The foremost of these statutes is Sunday or 8th-day observance. Perhaps next in importance is the belief that human beings possess immortal souls. So because of the Church’s lawlessness in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Centuries, God, not Satan, has placed within the Church the seeds of its destruction, the beliefs that will cause the Church to send its newly born infants into the lake of fire. And those teachers of spiritual Israel who have swallowed these poisonous statutes and rules are the most venomous advocates for the Church’s continued lawlessness.
But as Pharaoh ordered Hebrew midwives to kill off Moses’ generation of Hebrew males, and as Herod ordered the male children of Bethlehem of Jesus’ age to be killed, Satan has ordered his disguised ministers to kill off the sons of God that are or will be the age of the two witnesses—and his servants have done this through the Holiness Movement, a false dogma that has disciples rejecting any attempt to keep the laws of God because doing so is legalism; and through the Sacred Names Movement, an equally false dogma that has disciples worshiping a dead deity.
So as a born-from-above disciple, whom will you believe? Christ as the Word of God? Or teachers of spiritual Israel promulgating a human tradition that stretches back to the 2nd and 3rd Centuries CE? You have a choice. And Satan as the true Antichrist will remind you of what Augustine wrote—and Origen. Satan as the little horn possessing the man of perdition will, during the first half of the seven endtime years, ‘"think to change the times and the law"’ (Dan 7:25). Sabbath-keeping Christians have traditionally taught this clause means that the Antichrist will change the Sabbath to Sunday by law. For that to be true, the greater Christian Church will have returned to keeping the Sabbath, indicated by manna being received immediately after the date for the second Passover (Exod 16:1, 22-30). Spiritual Israel (i.e., the Christian Church) will be liberated from mental bondage to the spiritual king of Babylon (i.e., Satan) at the beginning of seven years of Tribulation; its liberation occurs on the second Passover, when firstborns not covered by the blood of the Lamb of God are slain. Immediately afterwards, spiritual Israel is fed spiritual food, part of which is knowledge of the Sabbath. Thus, through typology, disciples see Sabbath observance inserted into the practices of spiritual Israel when that holy nation is liberated from its bondage to lawlessness.
The Church is the unassembled temple of God, with each disciple being a miniature of this temple—and the temple shall be measured in the heavenly realm at the beginning of the Tribulation. Literally, the measure of the temple shall be taken through empowering disciples, liberating them from the sin and death indwelling in their fleshly members. Every disciple who truly desires to serve God will have the power to do so. And the disciple who returns to Sunday observance will measure himself or herself out of the temple, leaving the disciple poised to actively rebel against God when the man of perdition is revealed. For 220 days—from the Second Passover until about Christmas—the temple of God will be measured in the heavenly realm, with the measuring completed when the great falling away occurs (2 Thess 2:3). And when the measuring is complete, the two witnesses will be alone in their generation[s] in proclaiming Christ Jesus’ words of patient endurance.
Since all of humanity will receive the Spirit of God when Satan is cast to the earth and ceases being able to control the mental topography of humanity, Satan cannot count on again changing the times and seasons to lure spiritually alive humanity back into mental bondage to sin although he will invoke the past practice of greater Christianity worshiping on Sunday to lure many into accepting his slave mark. So what doctrine will be available to this true Antichrist to cause empowered, born of Spirit disciples to turn away from God and toward him, especially former Moslems? Humanity having an immortal soul would be such a doctrine … the man Jesus is the Shepherd who stood beside the Lord of hosts (cf. Zech 13:7; Matt 26:31). He was struck, and the sheep were scattered. And the two parts that shall be cut off are the two sons that today struggle in the womb of spiritual Isaac [Rebekah’s womb is Isaac’s womb] (cf. Gal 4:21-31; Rom 9:7-13; Gen 25:22-24; Isa 66:7-9), these two sons being a spiritual Esau and a spiritual Jacob, the first hated by God before being born, the second loved as Abel was loved. The hated son today, while still in the womb of Zion, practices lawlessness. And when this son is born, he will, as Cain did, slay his righteous brother, leaving that brother dead in the physical realm but alive in the heavenly realm. For slaying his brother, this firstborn son of the last Eve will die in the heavenly realm but live until Christ returns in this world. Except for a remnant (Rev 12:17), Christians alive today will be either physically or spiritually dead half way through the tribulation. Thus, when Satan is cast into time, the last Eve will give birth to a third son, a spiritual Seth, the third part of humanity (Zech 13:8-9). And most of this third part of humanity will come to Christ believing that human beings are born with immortal souls. So as Sunday observance worked to deceive today’s Christians when they are liberated from indwelling sin at the beginning of the Tribulation, belief in people having immortal souls will work to deceive those who today are not Christians when this third part of humanity is liberated from indwelling sin halfway through the Tribulation.
Christ as the man Jesus of Nazareth inserted into the end-of-the-age Tribulation the doctrinal gambit pawn that will separate the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the tares. He did it knowingly through telling a Cynic after-death-fortune-reversal narrative: the Lazarus and rich man parable (Luke 16:19-31). He used the mocking Pharisees’ education against them (v. 14); He used their education to call them Greek children. And He gave the textual opening necessary for Platonists to insert the Greek concept of an immortal soul into Hebraic Scripture.
The Platonists pounced on the gambit pawn Jesus played, and they have been spiritually checkmated ever since. They introduced Satan’s lie of humanity not dying into Christianity, which, as when the first Eve believed the serpent’s lie that she would not die, caused the second Eve (i.e., the greater Church) to be driven out of the spiritual garden of God and sent by God into Babylonian captivity. In order to live in heavenly Jerusalem, a disciple must believe God. When a person begins determining for him or herself what is good and true, the person rejects being ruled by Christ. The person becomes one of the seven servants of the nobleman who received a pound but sent a messenger after the nobleman saying that they would not be ruled by him (Luke 19:14, 27).
Spiritual life is the gift of the Father, and the wages of sin is death—you will either believe this, or you will believe a lie. And once you accept the Antichrist’s position that "you will not surely die" (Gen 3:4), then you have mentally returned to bondage to him. You will have accepted the mark of death in your forehead. You might as well stick out your hand and get the tattoo of the Cross and complete your captivity … again, Satan took the second Eve captive with the same lie that she would not surely die that the serpent used to cause the first Eve to fall. Satan will recycle this same lie to recapture liberated humanity in the Tribulation. From typology and intertextuality, disciples in The Philadelphia Church recognize three tiers of creation: the first occurred when the physical Adam received physical breath (Gen 2:7), this breath given by Yah. The second occurred when the second Adam received spiritual breath (Matt 3:16), this Breath given by the Father. The third will occur when all of humanity receives spiritual breath (Joel 2:28), this baptism of the world by Spirit (Matt 3:11; Joel 2:28) to occur halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation. Satan has used the lie of human immortality to deceive both the first and the second Eve. He will again use this lie of human immortality against all of humanity when he is cast to earth and claims to be the messiah. Thus, today, August 2003, the editor of Water & Fire warns all of spiritual Israel as well as the remainder of humanity about this gambit pawn that Christ played and Satan insists is true.
Saints are in a dynamically scored chess game, played with living players, and played against an Adversary determined to devour as many saints as possible. Unfortunately, too few saints will heed the above warning. Most will believe tradition rather than Christ, a reason why many are called but few are chosen (Matt 22:14).
When Satan is cast from heaven and loses the army he borrows from the king of the North, he then goes after the rest of the saints "who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus" (Rev 12:17), with the testimony of Jesus being the spirit of prophecy (Rev 19:10). These saints are assured that he will come after them leading with a lie—his favorite lie is, again, that you shall not surely die if you determine for yourself what is right and what is wrong. What is right for you might not be right for someone else! If you believe his lie, you just committed spiritual suicide.
Thus, with Satan knowing his fate but apparently believing that a stalemate is still possible, let us answer the question of whether you are condemned if you haven’t been drawn by the Father. If life in the heavenly realm comes with receiving the Breath of God, than not having received the Breath of God precludes the person from having eternal life, correct? But the writer of Hebrews says, "And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him" (9:27-28). If Christ doesn’t come a second time to deal with sin (all of humanity will have received the Holy Spirit three and a half years prior to His coming), what about the sins of those who weren’t drawn after He came the first time and who died before receiving the Holy Spirit at the end of the age? What about judgment following death? Are those individuals who never knew God slated to be thrown into the lake of fire, as a particular Texas televangelist teaches from San Antonio? Or is that televangelist doctrinally all hat and no boots?
The plan of God is even more poorly taught in the churches of spiritual Israel than is American Civics taught in the high schools of the nation. The plan begins in the spring of the year with the Passover, Wave Sheaf Offering and the Days of Unleavened Bread. Christ is the true Lamb of God, slain from the beginning so that humanity can be reconciled to the Father, who will abide no sin. Christ is the sin offering required of every person before the person can come to the Father. And the Wave Sheaf Offering is the acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice by the Father.
The Days of Unleavened Bread follow the Passover, and portray Israelites living sin-free for one week, with yeast representing sin or lawlessness. The first High Sabbath at the beginning of Unleavened Bread is the memorial to when God intervened to bring Israel out of bondage—physical bondage in Egypt, and mental or spiritual bondage to the king of Babylon—by slaying the firstborns of men and beasts in Egypt at the first Passover, and by slaying the spiritual and physical firstborns of humanity in spiritual Babylon at the second Passover (Isa 43:3-4).
Sadducees and Pharisees possessed a differing understanding as to when to wave the first sheaf of ripe barley before God. The Pharisees (and modern rabbinical Judaism) practiced waving the Sheaf on the morrow after the High Sabbath, the 15th of the Abib. Thus, the Feast of Weeks for rabbinical Judaism occurs on a fixed calendar date, not on a fixed day of the week. But the Sadducees and the Churches of God practiced/practices waving the first Sheaf on the morrow after the weekly Sabbath that occurs during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, making the Wave Sheaf Offering to always occur Sunday morning during Unleavened Bread. Jesus is the reality of the first sheaf of barley harvested. He was accepted by the Father about the hour when the Wave Sheaf Offering would have been made in 31 CE. And this hour was midweek during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Thus, Jesus’ acceptance and the liberation of humanity from indwelling sin both occur midweek, with the seven endtime years of tribulation equating to the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And only with this as background can disciples properly address what the last high Sabbath of Unleavened Bread represents.
The second high Sabbath of Unleavened Bread (the 22nd of Abib) represents the last year of the Tribulation, the year when God pours His wrath out on all who have taken the mark of the beast, with the resurrection of firstfruits to occur at the end of this day. The great endtime harvest of God includes the third part of humanity that endures to the end [without taking the mark of the beast]. This third part is the fields that are white, with the laborers being few (the remnant who keep the commandments — Rev 12:17).
Too many disciples in the first two parts of humanity (from Zech 13:7-8) look for a place of physical or spiritual safety from which they can “sit out” the Tribulation. Herbert Armstrong taught a generation of Sabbatarian disciples that they would go to a physical place of safety, perhaps Petra, Jordan’s top tourist destination. Evangelical prophets teach that born again disciples will be bodily Raptured to heaven to escape God’s wrath. But the only place of safety for today’s Christians during the Tribulation is the grave. None of today’s Christians are numbered among the magical 144,000. So brace yourself for the truth: if you are today a Christian and if you physically live into the seven endtime years of tribulation, you will, most likely, die a bloody death within the first three and a half years, or you will come under a great delusion that deprives you of spiritual life. Only a remnant of today’s Church—a remnant determined by two qualifiers, (1) keeping the commandments, and (2) having the spirit of prophecy—a remnant akin to Joshua and Caleb, will cross from the first half of the tribulation into the second half. The 144,000 will be Observant Jews who by faith during the Tribulation profess that Jesus is the Christ, and believe that the Father raised Him from the dead. These observant Jews will have no spiritual life [meaning they won’t have been born of Spirit] until after professing faith in Christ. Then under the terms of the second covenant mediated first by Moses, then by Christ, they will be born from above fully empowered by the Holy Spirit. They will be spiritual virgins in that they have no sin in the heavenly realm, none before they were born for they had no life in the heavenly realm, and none after they are born for by demonstrated obedience to the laws of God they received spiritual birth. And it is only these 144,000 that escape through the split Mount of Olives halfway through the seven endtime years.
Moses’ three days journey into the wilderness and Jesus three days in the heart of the earth bring first physical Israel and then spiritual Israel to the Wave Sheaf Offering, Resurrection Sunday, the memorial to when Israel escapes through the Red Sea physically, and through the split Mount of Olives for the 144,000 disciples from the twelve tribes of Israel. The sea swallowed the Egyptians pursuing the Israelites the first time. The earth swallows the armies pursing spiritual Israelites the second time.
After physical Israelites physically escape Egypt, Israel enters covenant with God on the third day of the third month when this holy nation is immersed or baptized in the spoken words of the law of God, uttered from atop Mt. Sinai, but only Moses enters into the cloud with God on the 10th day of the third month … God already knew that natural Israel under Aaron would rebel against Him ten times. God told Moses that He would make from him a great nation. Although Moses protested and God seemed to relent, nothing really changed: God intends to make from Moses a great nation, for the man Moses was selected on the 10th day of the third month to see God.
The Passover lamb is selected and penned on the 10th day of the first month. Natural Israel entered Judea on the 10th day of the first month. Jesus entered Jerusalem on the 10th day of the first month—Jesus was the Passover Lamb of God, sacrificed at Calvary. Natural Israel is also the firstborn son of God (Exod 4:22), and is the selected Passover lamb to be slain during the Tribulation, with Sabbath observance the marker that identifies all Israelites, naturally as well as spiritually born. But not all who have descended from Israel are Israel (Rom 9:6); not all who have been born of Spirit as sons of God are of God. Only those who are selected on the 10th day are of God.
Noah entered the ark on the 10th day of the second month. He alone of his generation was accepted by God (his sons were not of his generation).
And YHWH said to Moses, ‘“Now on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement [Yom Kipporim] … And you shall not do any work on that very day, for it is a Day of Atonement to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. For whoever is not afflicted on that very day shall be cut off from his people”’ (Lev 23:26-29).
What will be seen when the temple of God is measured at the beginning of the seven endtime years is the selection of who is of Israel, physical and spiritual, on the 10th day of the seventh month. Those Israelites who work, or who do not fast will be cut off even though their rebellion against God will not yet be sealed through the rebels attempting to enter God’s rest on the following day, the 8th day. And those Israelites who are accepted on the 10th day will spiritually live even if they physically die.
It is usually taught that the Law was given on Pentecost just as it is taught that the Holy Spirit was given on that day of Pentecost following Calvary. The teaching is tidy, all tied up in tradition. But as with most of what has been taught as “truth,” the teaching is riddled with moths that fly away when touched … the Holy Spirit was given when Jesus breathed on ten of His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22); the Holy Spirit was given the same day that Jesus was accepted as the reality of the Wave Sheaf Offering. The Christian Church began with the formation of the last Eve, born of Spirit when ten disciples received the physically transferred Breath of the Father, received through Jesus breathing on these ten.
God did not immediately consume Israel when the nation demanded that Aaron make for the nation gods to go before the nation. Because Moses implored God to relent of the violence He intended to do Israel, the nation lived to rebel again against God in the Wilderness of Paran … how many times shall God relent of the violence He intends to do to the lawless Church before He utterly rejects this latter holy nation? How many times shall God kill only a few spiritually circumcised Israelites before He slays the whole nation? How great is God’s patience before He slays Israel as he would a man? Judgment is today on baptized disciples, the household of God (1 Pet 4:17). It is not on those whom the Father has not yet made alive. They await their second birth in the dust of the earth. They will again be made alive in the great White Throne Judgment to receive reward or punishment for those things done while they were first alive. They are not now subject to the second death for they haven’t been born a second time.
A particular Texas televangelist who teaches a no love theology incorporates the great White Throne Judgment into a five-judgment scenario, focused on Christian escapism. He is correct in that the Church is under judgment today, but he is wrong about the world being judged. Judgment pertains to a determination being made in the spiritual realm about the fate of an individual, or of an angel. Therefore, a person must possess life in that realm before a determination can be made. Dogs are not subject to judgment. Life in the spiritual realm has never been offered to dogs, or cats, or livestock, or even chimpanzees that share 99.4 percent of the same genes humans have.
The person who believes God unto obedience, the person who by faith keeps the precepts of the Law, the person who loves God with heart and mind and loves his neighbor as himself—this person passes from death to life without experiencing judgment. Christ Jesus bears this disciple’s sins today, and will ultimately give those sins to Satan when Yom Kipporim becomes a reality. This disciple has no sin even imputed to him or her, so there is no reason for this person to experience judgment because this person entrusted his or her psuche "to a faithful Creator while doing good" (1 Pet 4:19 – emphasis added). Again, this person believed God unto obedience. It is those disciples "who have done good" (John 5:29) that will experience the resurrection to life. The righteous shall still do right (Rev 22:11) until Christ’s return. Doing good is required from all disciples; so real works are required, not the busy works of fiddling with beads or collecting relics or mumbling repetitious prayers. Doing good and doing what is right is more than giving to the poor, or casting out demons, or healing the sick in the name of Jesus. It is making the decision to do what is right in every situation the person faces until choosing to do what is right is a habit that has determined the person’s character. At this point, there is no reason for this person to come under judgment: the Master Potter has sculpted the habit of doing good into a vessel intended for honored usage. This person can be entrusted with a glorified body and all the power that goes with being an heir of the Father, and a younger sibling of Christ.
Since those individuals who were never given the Spirit/Pneuma of God in their physical lives have never had life in the spiritual realm--they are the main crop wheat harvest, not the early barley harvest—there is nothing awaiting them in the resurrection of firstfruits when Christ Jesus returns to become King of kings. Therefore, although these individuals have experienced death, their judgments wait (they know nothing and have no awareness of time having passed while they are in the grave — Eccl 9:10) until they are physically resurrected in the great White Throne Judgment, where their works will be judged by Scripture. They have, with their deaths, paid the physical penalty for their sins. But no other sacrifice remains for them. If they choose to sin while under judgment, they will go directly into the lake of fire.
How long is this period of judgment, the great White Throne Judgment? Scripture is mostly silent although at one time it was taught within the churches of God that the period was a hundred years in length. That teaching, like many others of that era, is errant. So however long this judgment period is, any sin by a person under judgment in this period will be permanently fatal.
Little Scripture addresses the great White Throne Judgment, for disciples today are the living antetype of what will occur during this period of judgment. For disciples, baptism is the antetype of real physical death. Being raised from the baptismal pool is the shadow of physical resurrection to life. Again, judgment is upon disciples today just as judgment will be on all who are resurrected to life during the great White Throne Judgment. One difference now exists: disciples today are subjected to Satan’s control of the mental topography of humanity as well as still having the indwelling of sin in their fleshly members. Therefore, Christ bears the sins of disciples who are in covenant with Him and the Father, and He will ultimately return those sins to Satan, with spiritual beasts paying with their lives for these sins when He begins His Millennium reign [the lives of these vessels of wrath serve only as a temporary covering]. During the great White Throne Judgment, Satan will have been destroyed. No one will be subject to his spiritual broadcast of rebellion. No one will have a reason to sin, which is the transgression of the laws of God (1 John 3:4). So anyone who does will go into the lake of fire since Christ won’t be sacrificed a second time. The resurrected individual will have received the Breath of God, so the individual will have life in the spiritual realm just as born again disciples today have. The resurrected individual in the great White Throne Judgment will be exactly as a born-from-above disciple is today, but without grace, which is needed today because Satan is still in heaven. God is not a respecter of persons. Every individual will have the same single chance to receive salvation, but not at the same time, the meaning of predestination. No one receives a second chance. The great White Throne Judgment will not be a second opportunity at salvation.
One point needs reinforced, since at least one major denomination with a highly educated ministry doesn’t believe in Christ coming as the Messiah. This denomination believes when Christ returns, the end of the age has come and there is no more physical earth; the new heaven and the new earth will come with Christ. They emphatically reject anything that even contains a whiff of humanity receiving a second chance for salvation, as they should. They are just wrong, though, about no Millennium reign of Christ as King of kings.
Because the majority of Christianity believes that the Holy Spirit was poured out on all humanity that day of Pentecost when Christ’s disciples were baptized with the Breath of God, thereby misreading what Peter said and ignoring the time qualifiers of Joel’s prophecy, Christendom has taught a doctrine of open salvation for the past two millennia. It has conveniently ignored the words of Jesus: ‘"No man can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him"’ (John 6:44, 65). Likewise, they ignore what Peter said on that day of Pentecost: ‘"[Y]ou will receive the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself’" (Acts 2:38-39 – emphasis added). Even though Peter cites Joel’s prophecy, Peter understands that God has to call the person before the person can become a disciple.
As an aside, Peter delivers his sermon citing Joel’s prophecy so that the event becomes the shadow of the endtime conversion of spiritual Israel, the story of which can be read through the application of intertextuality. Peter apparently thought Joel’s prophecy pertained to that day of Pentecost because the women present were also speaking in tongues.
The story of conversion in the spiritual realm is the reality of the creation of humankind, male and female, the afternoon of the sixth day in the creation narrative that forms the abstract for the plan of God. This needs repeating: the vast majority of spiritual Israelites alive today are in bondage to sin. They have misapplied the passage that disciples are not under the law but under grace to mean that they are free to transgress the law, that they are free to commit iniquity. Thus, these spiritual Israelites have fled the spiritual garden of God and are now as sheep without shepherds, sheep wandering in dry arroyos, stalked by coyotes, prey for cougars. These Christians unknowingly drift towards the lake of fire…a man and his son came into my studio this past weekend. Both wore T-shirts reading "So Many Right Wing Christians: So Few Lions." What this father and son didn’t realize was that lions aren’t needed to slay these Christians. Their pastors are slaying them by teaching them to ignore the fine print written on the hearts and minds of these disciples—the Father doesn’t write His laws on the hearts and minds of disciples when He draws them from the world for these disciples to live outside of His laws.
If the Father chooses not to call a person prior to the person's physical death, this person never had his or her chance to receive salvation. If a farmer chooses to send some calves to market, and to keep some for breeding, we don’t challenge the farmer’s right to manage his or her own property as the farmer sees fit. But we want to challenge God when He chooses to call some disciples out of season, hiring these individuals to do a particular job for Him, and offering to these individuals salvation if they believe Him unto obedience. We deny that God has a sovereign claim to all life that opens a womb; yet He reserved to Himself all firstborns to do with them whatever He pleases. If that whatever is slaying them, He has that right, regardless of whether we agree or even submit to Him. If the sins of firstborns are not covered by the Blood of the Lamb of God on a second Passover night, these firstborns will be slain. Humanity can protest, can declare God a murderer, can do whatever it wishes, even to fighting against Christ. But when the Father determines that the time has come for both physical and spiritual firstborns not covered by the Passover sacrifice to die, they will die. A third of humanity will be slain, and Christians will be hated for the sake of Christ’s name. There is nothing humanity can do to protect itself except to get into covenant with God. End of story. The world will drive Christians into a societal wilderness just as Pharaoh drove the physical Israelites out of Egypt and into the physical wilderness of Sin following the slaughter of Egyptian firstborns.
Humanity, with its self-awareness, values itself more than calves value themselves. We truly don’t object to a rancher culling his or her herd, but we want to create God in our image, defining by our standards what is or isn’t fair when it comes to His interaction with humanity. Collectively, we see ourselves as about equal with God. We cannot imagine that in abilities we are as far away from God as stuffed dolls are from us.
Since the person who was never drawn by the Father has never had a chance to receive salvation, regardless of whether the person lived next to the first Assembly of Holy Rollers and heard preaching every Sundays spill across the church’s parking lot and rattle window panes, this person’s chance for salvation awaits him or her in the future. This person will be resurrected during the great White Throne Judgment to receive the person’s first chance for salvation. Same goes for the Chinese peasant who died without ever hearing the name of Christ proclaimed. God has made provision in His plan for every single person who has ever drawn the breath of life to accept Christ as his or her Lord and Master (and older brother).
However, the person who started down the road to salvation, then decided to quit because the Way was too tough, or quit for any number of other reasons has had his or her chance for salvation. Christ will be the person’s judge—and will make from the person another vessel of wrath. But there are no second chances to receive salvation. If a person was drawn, then washes out for whatever reason (many are called, but few are chosen), the person has had his or her chance. If the person still lives, the person needs to return to Christ post haste. Unfortunately, the person probably will not because of that decision to choose death the person made on his or her day of salvation.
Throughout the centuries between when Christ came physically and the end of the age will come, the number of individuals drawn by the Father as a percentage of the world’s population has increased slowly but steadily. Just prior to the second Passover when spiritual Israel is liberated from bondage to sin, the holy nation will be about half of the world's population. But the great endtime harvest is the liberation of the other half of the population. When the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of the Most High and His Messiah (Rev 11:15), everyone will be liberated from mental bondage to Satan. Everyone will receive the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28). And everyone will be called by God (Rev 18:4). None of this generation will be resurrected in the great White Throne Judgment. All will have had their chance for salvation; for everyone who endures to the end shall be saved (Matt 24:13 & 10:22). And this is the good news that must be proclaimed to the world before the end of the age will come.
If you are interested enough to read this far into what I have written, you have probably been drawn—and this is your chance to receive salvation. You will not receive another, so you had better take advantage of this one. The great White Throne Judgment pertains to those individuals who have died and who will die without knowing God. It does not include anyone who has been drawn and called.
Again, so there is no mistake in San Antonio: the fate of all who have not yet been drawn by the Father is to be resurrected physically in the great White Throne Judgment. These individuals are not now under judgment; they are not now in an ever-burning hell, living life as meat on a rotisserie … if God is Love, why would He expend the energy necessary to stock and support the torment of souls in an ever-burning hell? That isn’t love in either this realm or in the heavenly realm. That is demonic, a hateful doctrine. And if you hold this doctrine, repent of the hardness of your heart. Scripture doesn’t support such a doctrine, regardless of what a Texas televangelist claims. And if you want to see someone tormented in flames, beware. With God, that someone will be you.
The great White Throne Judgment can be seen in context with the other memorials to Christ’s interventions in the plan to bring many heirs of God to glory. The last High Day of the seven annual Sabbaths: "[A]nd on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest" (Lev 23:39 – the last clause in the verse)
The Feast of Tabernacles is seven days long, beginning on the 15th of the seventh month (Lev 23:39, 41-42). After Tabernacles concludes, there is a single high Sabbath day, for which no explanation is offered in the Law. It has been traditionally taught that on this High Day, Jesus stood up to speak, ‘"If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink’" (John 7:37-38). However, there is now some debate about whether Jesus spoke on the High Day, or on the last (i.e., the seventh) day of Tabernacles. Regardless, this last High Day of the annual Sabbaths represents the offer of universal salvation to all who never knew God prior to their physical death. It is ironic that most of Christendom worships on the eighth day, the day representing the salvation of those who never received the Holy Spirit.
Thus, that unrepentant loved one who died without ever knowing Christ Jesus will have his or her chance for salvation in the future. That person isn’t now in hell, roasting away. That person awaits his or her resurrection in the grave, knowing nothing, unaware of the passing of time. And that is true godly Love.
What about passages that indicate a person goes to heaven to be with God? Don’t they prove that humans have immortal souls?
Perhaps the most widely known of these passages is in the fourteenth chapter of John:
Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms [monai]. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place [topon] for you? And if I go and prepare a place [topon] for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:1-3 – emphasis added)
Where will Christ be when He comes again? Here on earth, correct? And He will then take you to Himself. So where will you then be? Here on earth, correct?
Is there any suggestion in the above passage from Jesus’ last Passover discourse that His disciples will be going to heaven? There absolutely isn’t. The Greek signifier monia should be understood as a relationship, as a legal staying of a relationship, that relationship being adoption as heirs of the Father. And the Greek signifier topon can best be understood as a spot, a small geographical location, or a position such as a job on the construction crew. The case gender suggests that the signifier should be understood as a job working for the Father. So this passage could be validly translated as, In My Father’s house are many adoptions. If it were not so would I have told you that I go to prepare a position for you? And if I go and prepare this position (this adoption) for you, I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you will always be.
Only a poor reader of text will have a person going to heaven to be with Christ who is here on the earth. But didn’t Paul say that he was going to go be with Christ? Or did Paul? Let’s see: "My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith" (Phil 1:23-24). Paul is tired. He has fought a good fight, and he knows that a crown awaits him. If he were to quit the fight through being martyred, he would rest in the grave until his judgment was revealed:
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I don’t even judge myself. I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. (1 Cor 4:3-5 – emphasis added)
Paul’s judgment, as he knew, will be revealed when Christ comes as the Messiah. And this is what he tells Timothy: "Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing" (2 Tim 4:8).
No disciple’s judgment will be revealed until Christ comes as the Messiah although we know that the judgment of a few men of God will have these individuals glorified, King David being the prime example. The Apostle Paul is certain of his judgment—a crown of righteousness is laid up for him—but he tells us that this crown will not be awarded to him prior to Christ’s return. Therefore, unless Paul is badly mistaken (and Paul tells us that "[a]ll Scripture is breathed out by God" [2 Tim 3:16]), judgment will not be revealed or crowns awarded until Christ’s return. Saints await Christ’s return in the grave, knowing nothing, not aware of the passage of time, not aware of the prayers of those who would pray them into heaven if that were possible.
Now, let us look at the Lazarus-Dives parable. First, concerning how Jesus spoke to those who followed Him, Matthew writes, "All these things [the parable of the sower, of the weeds, of the mustard seed and of leaven] Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: ‘I will open my mouth in parables; / I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world’" (Matt 13:34-35).
Jesus revealed the mysteries of God in parables so that the crowds wouldn’t understand what He said: "Then the disciples came and said to him [Jesus], ‘Why do you speak to them [the crowds that followed Jesus] in parables?’ And he answered them, ‘To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given’" (Matt 13:10-11). To His friends, Jesus has revealed the secrets of the kingdom that even angels desired to know. But the vast majority of humanity isn’t to know these things at this time, for knowing the secrets will skew the desired results. Humanity’s self-conscious nature would cause individuals to become actors and actresses. People play to the camera, so if people know that they are today on stage, they will act false to who they are within themselves. Their mental character would not then be revealed through their physical actions. Eventually, though, if glorified their mental character would manifest itself. Christ and the Father are not in the business of creating additional Satans. Therefore, if any doubt exists about an individual, the individual will not be glorified. And Christ Jesus knows the contents of an individual’s mind. He does not want to send an individual into the lake of fire whose physical actions don’t warrant such a verdict because the individual successfully hid his or her mental character. By not revealing the mysteries of God to such an individual, the person’s true mental character will manifest itself in the individual’s actions: the evildoer will continue doing that which is evil (Rev 22:11). There is no reason for this person to do otherwise. There is no reason for this person to put on an act.
The great mystery of God is that the Father is reproducing Himself. Humanity was created in the likeness of Elohim just as Adam was created in the likeness of a man prior to receiving the breath of life. Adam came from no womb. His birth was through receiving the breath of life from Elohim [singular]. Being born again, or born anew, or born-from-above isn’t by entering a womb a second time, but by receiving the Breath of the Father. And if a born again individual doesn’t consciously choose to become godlike in character, eschewing evil and choosing to do that which is right and good by the inscribed standard of the Decalogue, going beyond the letter of the law and living by the spirit manifest in the letter, the person’s future is in doubt.
Because no one other than the man Jesus of Nazareth has been able to live by his or her decisions to do what is right and good, the person needs grace, needs Christ to bear the person’s failings. But to not choose to do what is right and good separates the person from God, from the covenant into which the person was placed when drawn by the Father, and from grace. The person who chooses not to do what is right and good after receiving spiritual life will be washed out, will be culled, and will go into the lake of fire.
Jesus had a number of Pharisees in the crowd following Him. When He told the parable of the dishonest manager, concluding with, ‘"You cannot serve God and money’" (Luke 16:13), these Pharisees present, who were lovers of money (v. 14), mocked Jesus, ridiculing Him. And in reading Scripture, one character trait of the Logos before and after His birth as the man Jesus of Nazareth is that He hates to be mocked. The day of His crucifixion was a real test of His character, for He was mocked all day long. Satan came after Him in the only area where He even might be vulnerable. And on that day of testing, He did not respond to being mocked.
However, when the money-loving Pharisees mocked Jesus, He did respond. First, He told them, ‘"You are those who justify yourselves before men…[but] what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God"’ (Luke 16:15). Then Jesus said that they were trying to force their way into the kingdom of God, but that they would be unsuccessful. He cites the reason why: they were married to the law, not dead to it (Rom 7:1-4). Their attempt to force their way into the kingdom preached since the waning of John the Baptist’s ministry was spiritual adultery (this is a largely unexplored concept that is ripe for explication).
Then after calling these mocking Pharisees abominations in the sight of God and spiritual adulterers, Jesus hammered them: He told them a Cynic after-death-fortune-reversal story, which the uneducated portion of the crowd would not recognize for what it was. But the Pharisees, by their education, would have recognized both the structure of the narrative and the implication behind Jesus having told these "Jews" a Greek story that first said Abraham wasn’t their father. Second, the Cynic narrative told these Pharisees that they wouldn’t believe Jesus even when He was resurrected and glorified. Third, by telling these Pharisees a parable in a classic Greek structure, Jesus called these Pharisees Gentiles without ever using the word. Jesus literally turned the mocking back on these Pharisees in such a subtle manner that these Pharisees couldn’t even accuse Jesus of stooping to their level. Apparently, Jesus’ disciples, except for Luke, the educated physician, didn’t even comprehend what Jesus did to these Pharisees.
Again, if a person were playing chess with Jesus, the Lazarus-Dives narrative would appear as a gambit pawn. A classic Cynic narrative told to a Hebrew audience ought to have aroused suspicions centuries ago, but greater Christianity swallowed the gambit. It believed Satan’s lie about humanity having an immortal soul, so the Lazarus-Dives narrative was accepted as factual rather than recognized for what it is, Greek fiction. Christianity pounced on the gambit pawn, thereby exposing itself to capture by the spiritual king of Babylon. And whether the greater Church was captured by Satan or sent into captivity by the Father is really a moot point: Christianity has been in mental bondage to sin for a very long time. Physical Israel was in physical slavery for only a portion of the years it resided in Egypt. Spiritual Israel has been in spiritual bondage for most of the years it has resided in Babylon. The work of the endtime remnant of spiritual Israel that reached spiritual Jerusalem and rebuilt the walls is to now command spiritual Israel to send a tithe of itself to live within those walls of living stones.
Peter said the writings of Paul were hard to understand. I have been told that my writing is at least equally hard to understand, and I don’t have a solution to the problem of textual difficulty. The writer of Hebrews tells the disciples to whom the letter was addressed that they ought to be ready for spiritual meat, but they are still in need of milk (5:12). The implication is that if these disciples would have been given meat, they have choked on it … all of Scripture is spiritual milk; thus, those disciples who pursue sola Scriptura are milk drinkers.
The human maturation process applies spiritually. When disciples are drawn by God the Father, they are spiritual infants; they are newly born sons of God. Thus, baptism corresponds to circumcision on the eighth day of life. And all human parents understand just how helpless an eight-day-old infant is. The babe would literally choke to death on a piece of meat, regardless of how thinly sliced the meat is. The same pertains to spiritual infants. They need milk. They will grow on milk. But most of them will not sleep all night until they start receiving a little cereal with their milk. And too many teachers of spiritual Israel have mistaken spiritual baby cereal for the meat of the Word.
I see no reason why a Cynic narrative was not recognized centuries ago. The premise of immortality behind the narrative was so alien to Hebraic thought that understanding what Jesus was doing and how He was using the narrative seems incredulously simple. Why would anyone think that the deity made flesh who sent the angel to Daniel to tell Daniel "what is inscribed in the book of truth" (Dan 10:21) would teach something contrary to: ‘"At that time [when the king of the North is destroyed] shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt"’ (Dan 12:1-2). They shall awake when Paul expected judgment to be revealed, the day of Christ’s return as the Messiah. Some shall awake in the resurrection to life, and some in the resurrection to condemnation, as Jesus said (John 5:28-29). And those who are not a part of the "many" shall awake in the great White Throne Judgment. None are now awake; none are in either heaven or hell. Jesus said, ‘"No one has ascended into heaven except him who descended from heaven, the Son of Man’" (John 3:13). Peter said, concerning David who will be resurrected to be the prince over Israel (Ezek 37:24), ‘"I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.…For David did not ascend into the heavens’" (Acts 2:29, 34).
If David hasn’t ascended into heaven, and if only Christ, who came down from heaven, has ascended, why would anyone think that he or she will be heavenbound at death? Jesus told His disciples that He would go to prepare a spot [topos] for them so that when He came again, they would be with Him. Even a milk-drinker should understand that when Jesus comes as the glorified Messiah, He will be here on earth. He will bring with Him the judgment of each spiritual Israelite. And we, as spiritual Israelites, aren’t to be surprised when some disciples receive life and some go into the lake of fire.
What returns to God at death is "breath": the physical breath [psuche] of everyone and the spiritual breath [pneuma] of born-from-above disciples. Physical breath was given to the physical Adam. Spiritual breath was given to the second, or spiritual Adam. We see both events recorded in Scripture (Gen 2:7 & Matt 3:16-17).
The body [soma] at death begins the process of returning to dust. It was created from red mud for the first Adam prior to the receipt of physical breath. Likewise, it was created for the second Adam prior to the receipt of spiritual breath. Initially corruptible, it put on incorruptibility through glorification. And this is the pattern for all disciples: the physical body with its physical breath becomes the corruptible spiritual body that will put on incorruptibility when the judgment of the disciple is revealed to be life. Disciples spend their spiritual childhood in corruptible tabernacles so that they might be chastened as children are chastened, so that they might be trained and schooled as children are taught. No one wants baby gods throwing temper tantrums, hurling lightening bolts around as they might hurl wood blocks.
Herbert Armstrong rejected the Platonic doctrine of human beings having immortal souls; yet he never understood what it meant to be born anew. He taught a false doctrine of saints not receiving everlasting life until glorified, which makes sense on a carnal level. As long as a person is subject to death, the person doesn’t have physically everlasting life. But because Armstrong failed to realize that when a disciple is drawn by the Father, the disciple receives a puff of the Breath of the Father, Armstrong never understood what the Apostle John wrote when quoting Jesus that as the Father gives life to the dead, so will He give life to whom He will (John 5:21). Jesus will only give life to those whom the Father has already made alive through receiving a puff of His divine Breath [’Agion Pneuma]. Until baptized, the disciple is as a Hebrew infant was between birth and the 8th day. The disciple has been spiritually born as a child of the Father even though the disciple still has a physical body.
Baptism is the ceremony that replaced physical circumcision. With baptism, a disciple becomes part of Israel, becomes part of God’s holy nation and royal priesthood. But at baptism, the disciple is, again, spiritually an eight-day-old infant in comparison to the maturing process of human beings. The disciple must experience his or her spiritual toddler stage, then pre-adolescent stage, then adolescent and teenage years. Finally, the disciple will reach his or her spiritual majority, which amounts to glorification.
Just as a baby or a toddler cannot eat meat by him or herself, the newly baptized disciple isn’t ready to handle the meat of the Word. But many of these toddlers decide they should become teachers of spiritual Israel [Herbert Armstrong made such a decision when still a spiritual infant]. They vomit partly digested milk on their pupils, belch sour burps, and attempt to teach either what they don’t understand, or what they poorly understand. They have made Christianity a byword for ignorance. The greater Church isn’t known for its love for one another, but for its schisms.
Disciples’ names are written in the Book of Life when judgment comes upon them. The disciple’s opportunity for spiritual growth begins with baptism regardless of when the disciple was drawn by the Father. If the disciple dallied thirty years before being baptized, the disciple’s spiritual growth can be quite rapid. But the disciple will experience every stage of childhood … the disciple was created as a spiritual Israelite when he or she received spiritual breath, but the disciple doesn’t "officially" become a part of spiritual Israel until baptism. Again, the typology of a Hebrew male’s physical birth then inclusion as an Israelite tribe member with circumcision on the eighth day reveals the essentials of the born-again experience. A spiritual Israelite is born of Spirit when spiritual breath is received. This spiritual Israelite had been a "common" or "ordinary" human being until spiritual breath was received. But with the receipt of spiritual breath, spiritual birth occurred: this individual was foreknown to the Father, and has been "predestined to conform to the image of [the Father’s] Son" (Rom 8:29). When this individual develops sufficiently to feel the need to be baptized, this spiritual Israelite asks for judgment to come upon him or her. The person becomes a part of the holy nation of Israel; the person has reached his or her eighth day of spiritual life. The person is not a mature Christian. The person is a fragile babe in whom Christ as the person’s older brother takes special interest. And anyone who hinders this child of God from coming to Christ is accursed. The fellowship that denies this individual is a child of God also hinders this spiritual Israelite from coming to Christ through devaluing the person’s experience of receiving the Holy Spirit. Therefore, with their denial of the born-again experience, the splinters of the former Radio Church of God do to newly born Israelites nearly as much damage as do those fellowships that teach this infant son of God that he can ignore the laws of God that have been written on his or her heart and mind.
To the saints at Corinth, the Apostle Paul writes, "But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh" (1 Cor 3:1-3). Again, the writer of Hebrews says, "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child" (Heb 5:12-13). And what Christians will find is that the epistles of Paul are milk for spiritual babes, those Israelites who are unskilled in the word of righteousness and who haven’t had their "powers of discernment trained by constant practice" of distinguishing "good from evil" (v. 13). Oh, these Israelites, like the saints at Corinth and the Hebrews to whom that epistle is addressed, will believe that they are mature Christians…my middle daughter when three and four years old went around saying that she was, "Kristel Sue Kizer, big girl." She, indeed, thought that she was a "big girl," for she had grown enough for her to realize how much bigger she was than her infant sister. But she could not then conceive how much additional growth was necessary before she reached maturity. Nor can a twelve-year-old conceive how much more mentally mature he or she will be when fourteen and sixteen and eighteen. An eighteen-year-old reflecting back to when he or she was sixteen appreciates the difference in mental maturity. And no sixteen-year-old will believe that a twelve-year-old is mature. Yet an adolescent Christian will insist that he or she is mature in that faith. If this person is mature, let the person read what I write. This person will understand what I say and even teach me what I don’t yet know. This person will not experience textual difficulties, and will not need the redundancy of expression I am using in my attempt to convey a relatively simple concept to disciples who should be ready for spiritual meat.
Belief in a person having an immortal soul would be analogous to believing that a person enters the womb a second time to receive from his or her mother spiritual breath. The Church as the second Eve can give no one spiritual life. Everlasting life comes only as the gift of God the Father.
Not until shortly before Jesus was taken did His disciples understand that He would return to heaven, but they didn’t believe they would ascend into heaven at death. They understood that when Jesus returned, they would be with Him. Of course, they thought His return would be in their lifetime. They never imagined that two millennia would pass.
Jesus will come in the future, and His disciples will be with Him here on earth in the future, a long time beyond the end of their natural lives if time were linear. But the passage of time probably isn’t linear, but probably like the opening of a flower bud that blooms, fades, then goes to seed.
Until a year and a half ago, I hadn’t sufficiently matured spiritually to understand that born again disciples have real life in the spiritual realm. I hadn’t matured enough to understand why Nicodemus was wrong about entering the womb a second time. I didn’t connect Adam’s birth with spiritual birth until recently. Yet I wrote about the typology between the first and the second Adam months ago. So the problem with textual inaccessibility because of its difficulty ultimately comes down to a lack of spiritual maturity on the part of the reader. This isn’t to say that the reader lacks intelligence, or lacks familiarity with Scripture. Rather, the reader is as I was not very long ago.
When I was spiritually drafted to explicate Scripture, I had been an active disciple for thirty years. I was reasonably familiar with the text. Yet I knew only basics. I was taught a tremendous amount of error by instructors who will now label me a heretic. And I am appalled by how long it took me to grasp some of the rudimentary elements of typology. So why is anyone surprised by the spiritual difficulty my writing presents its audience? And why are disciples surprised by recently revealed information when a second Elijah shall come to restore all things, this last Elijah being the glorified Jesus Himself?
How could disciples for centuries fail to recognize the Lazarus-Dives parable as a Cynic narrative, a Greek fictional feel-good story? I don’t know. I cannot explain why although I could hazard a guess.
All belief-systems are either tradition-based, or text-based. Tradition-based systems resolve textual difficulties by consulting how founding members or earlier pillars in the tradition read text. Thus, tradition-based systems necessarily develop from text-based systems. And these tradition-based systems resist change. They inevitably resort to citing Jude’s admonishment "to contend for the faith that was once delivered" (v. 3) when defending an otherwise indefensible theological position.
Text-based belief-systems deploy various means to initially resist becoming tradition-based. Brigham Young retained the office of prophet, which through various revelations should have prevented stagnation of belief. To some extent, the LDS Church has been successful is delaying becoming tradition-based, unlike the splintered Radio Church of God that have built their doctrines on the teachings of Herbert Armstrong. These splintered fellowships regard Herbert Armstrong as an endtime apostle, somewhat on the same level as the Apostle Paul. They teach that he had the gift of prophecy, meaning that they will continue to interpret biblical prophecy as he did even though Scripture precludes him from understanding the visions of Daniel. The long vision recorded in Daniel 11 was sealed and secret until the time of the end, which didn’t begin in 1927, or 1937, or 1947. In truly circular reasoning, the time of the end begins when the vision of Daniel can be understood. Therefore, every would-be prophecy expert thought he or she could understand Daniel. But the test of both the expert and of whether humanity has entered the time of the end is if the expert’s prophetic understanding comes to pass. If it doesn’t, as in the case of Herbert Armstrong and Ellen G. White and a host of other experts who find the Roman Empire in Scripture, the expert taught a prophetic understanding based on his or her own authority.
No one test of whether my prophetic and scriptural understanding is of Christ is possible until after Satan comes as the Antichrist 1260 days prior to Christ’s return. But one test will certainly rule in or rule out my prophetic understanding: the occurrence or non-occurrence of a second Passover slaughter of firstborns not covered by the Blood of Christ. The test is as simple as that, and every disciple holds the stakes of his or her bet concerning whether I am right or wrong. If a disciple refuses to cover the disciple’s and his or her household’s sins by taking the Passover as Jesus left us an example and as Paul taught the saints as Corinth, the disciple bets, knowingly or unknowingly, that I am wrong, that God wouldn’t again slay firstborns, that a third of humanity won’t be slain on a specific hour, day, month and year sometime in the future.
It doesn’t really matter whether my understanding today is of Christ. What matters is whether a person will be ruled by Christ. The disciple who will not be has made reservations for the resurrection to condemnation.
Every disciple who lives within the laws of God as the disciple understands those laws lives within the spiritual garden of God. The Tree of Life only grows in this garden; it grows nowhere else so all who live in the garden can eat the fruit of this Tree. By extension, disciples who leave the garden because they will not live within the laws of God (those who misapply no longer being under the Law, but under Grace) have voluntarily cut themselves off from eating the fruit of the Tree of Life. They will die for their sins in the spiritual realm, sins that Christ bore and would have given to Satan if these disciples had remained in the heavenly garden of God.
Jerusalem is the capital of spiritual Judea, the promised, mental or spiritual landscape of God. Through typology, we see that the majority of the remnant of Israel that returned from Babylon didn’t live within the walls of Jerusalem, but in surrounding cities and villages. However, "the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem" (Neh 11:1), and lots were cast to compel a tithe of the remnant of Israel that had returned from Babylon to live in Jerusalem (same verse). Likewise, the leaders of spiritual Israel in the 1st-Century lived in physical Jerusalem until prophecy came telling them to leave … at that time, physical Jerusalem was replaced by spiritual Jerusalem, a holy city with theological rather than geographical coordinates. And in the capital of spiritual Judea is the house of God, in which those who are of the Church in Philadelphia stand as pillars. This is where more spiritual meat than milk is consumed, where sacred cows are grilled in the local steakhouses, where the prayers of the saints rise like the aroma of sizzling fat on the altar, where the down-sized temple of God has been rebuilt by a fellowship of little strength. "And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered to live in Jerusalem" (v. 2). Christ says, in the day of the Lord, ‘"Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews and are not, but lie--behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you’" (Rev 3:9). So the capital of spiritual Judea will eventually receive acknowledgement. By then, however, the work will have been done. All that will remain to be done is hang on until the Messiah comes.
The work of declaring the good news that all who endure to the end will be saved shall be done by a fellowship of little strength, but by a fellowship with the maturity to digest spiritual meat. Maturity comes from continual exercise in a disciple’s mental landscape, from making the decision over and over again to do that which is right, from living with decisions to do what is right, from repenting of failures to do what is right, from forgiving oneself, from returning to make that same decision to do what is right so many times that making that decision shapes the person’s character. At the end of the age, the righteous will continue to do what is right, and the holy (those set apart by God for His use) will continue to be holy (Rev 22:11). The person who will not do what is right will continue to do evil (same verse). Those individuals who will not be ruled by Christ will continue to worship the works of their hands, demons, and idols. They will not repent of their murders, or of their fornication, or of their thievery (Rev 9:20-21). Rather, they will accept the mark of the beast; they will curse God (Rev 14:9-11 & 16:21) even though they have received the Holy Spirit and have been called by God. They will believe that they worship Christ—and they will worship the Antichrist who assures them that they have immortal souls and will live forever in either heaven or hell.
Unless a drawn disciple plans to die between now and the beginning of the Tribulation, the disciple needs to repent of having believed Satan’s lie that he or she has an immortal soul, for belief in this lie will cause the person to accept the mark of the beast (Chi xi stigma, or the tattoo [stigma] of Christ’s cross [Xx] – Rev 13:18). This disciple will seek that which is familiar in a very uncertain world during the Tribulation. When this disciple hears Satan, who has been cast to the earth (Rev 12:9), declare himself the newly arrived messiah, this disciple will be unable to identify Satan for who he is … Satan will come as a spirit being. The man of perdition, the type of the true Antichrist, will be a human being possessed by the little horn, an Arian Christian supported by the false prophet. But when Satan comes as the true Antichrist, he as a fallen archangel will have the power of a spirit being, will look like a spirit being, will probably look like the face in the paintings of Jesus, and will require that everyone accepts the tattoo of the Cross. Defeated Trinitarian Christians will welcome the Antichrist; they will know that he is the messiah for he will seemingly have put down the Arian man of perdition who was actually destroyed by Christ on a day of battle (Zech 14:3 – note the use of the indefinite article as opposed to the day of battle when Christ returns as the Messiah). Every remaining Trinitarian will breathe a sigh of relief when Satan comes claiming to be the messiah.
Michael fights against Satan on Day 1260 and casts Satan from heaven; Christ fights against the man of perdition on this same day and deals the demonic king of the North a death blow (cf. Dan 7:11-12; Rev 13:3; Zech 14:3-4). After this day of battle, on which the kingdom of the world becomes the king of the Most High and of His Messiah (Dan 7:9-14; Rev 11:15), the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all of humanity (Joel 2:28). Every person will be liberated from mental bondage to sin. But newly liberated humanity will either live by faith in God or will accept the mark of the beast to live by continuing to buy and sell and conduct commerce as before. Christ will have turned His hand against spiritual Israel, destroying two of three parts of humanity (Zech 13:7-9), with the remaining third part of humankind representing about a third of today’s humanity [approximately 2.2 billion], the endtime harvest of God, a substantial harvest.
The person believing Satan’s lie of humans receiving an immortal soul either at conception or at birth is primed for the lake of fire. You are a pawn in a chess game for your salvation. All of the moves have been made for you to win. You have to do nothing but believe God. That’s all! But believing God requires that you agree to be ruled by God. And if you are ruled by God, you will do what is right; you will live within the laws of God that have been written on your heart and mind.
Sounds simple? You bet. Easy? No. It is difficult today to count it all joy when faith is being tested; it will be more difficult during the seven endtime years when lives are being given for believing the words of the Father and the Son.
Disciples are literal sons of God. When glorified, they will be like Christ is now. They won’t have a higher power to help them; they will be a part of the higher power. Thus, disciples should not be surprised when Jesus seems to turn His back to them during the first half of the Tribulation. Disciples can complain, but it the Father who will have delivered them into the hand of the man of perdition. If the Father didn’t intend for these sons of His to be tried and tested, physically slain most likely, He wouldn’t have delivered them to the lawless one. Therefore, with empowerment by the Holy Spirit [i.e., liberation from indwelling sin and death], the disciple is ready to do as Jesus did, including dying by hands of lawless Israel employing the resources of the civil government. All the help they will have will come from other family members, so love will, indeed, become a big deal. Disciples will have to solve their own problems, or die trying to do so.
The difficulties first spiritual Israelites, then liberated humanity will face in the Tribulation will be God-given opportunities to exercise faith while resolving the immediate problems at hand. The easy way out will appear to be returning to slavery to sin. After all, a slave isn’t responsible for providing for him or herself. A slave’s concern is serving his or her master. And no person can please two masters. A person will either be ruled by Christ or by the Adversary, Satan himself. If a person is ruled by Christ, the person will live by faith, not by the ways of this world. If the person is ruled by the appetites of the flesh, the person can believe that he or she is a Christian but the person will not live by the laws of God. Rather, the person will live by the ways of this world: buying and selling, lying and believing lies.
Whom will you believe? The serpent who told Eve that she would not die, or Elohim [plural] who said, ‘"Behold, the man has become like one of us, in knowing good and evil. Now lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever--’ therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken" (Gen 3:22-23). Either Adam ate of the tree of life, or he didn’t. If he didn’t, then he surely died, at which time he went neither to heaven, nor to hell. Nor will you to either when you die prior to the Second Advent. Rather, you will enter timelessness as if you were sleeping, waiting to be awaken to life or to judgment.
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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."
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