Prophecy and the Passover
Will God as love again kill firstborns, as did the God of the Old Testament who slew Egyptian firstborns? Can a repeat of that first Passover even be contemplated? If it can be, who are the spiritual firstborns of the world? of spiritual Israel?
Many Christians who by conscience keep the weekly Sabbath do not observe the High Sabbaths because they are shadows of Christ (Col 2:16-17), and because they are Jewish (Lev 23:all). When I hear these two objections, I question the depth of the objectors' reasoning. My shadow reveals that I have two arms, an overweight torso, atop of which is a head. If Christ's shadow reveals festivals [the high sabbaths], new moons, and sabbaths, then all three categories of holy convocations are parts of His Body. The weekly Sabbath isn't any more or any less a part of His Body than are the high sabbaths or the new moons, clean meats and temperate drinking. The Apostle Paul writes to Gentile converts at Colossae, who never prior to conversion did anything Jewish but mock Judeans, that they were not to let anyone judge them concerning food, drink, festivals, new moons, and sabbaths (2:16). Who would be judging them? Jews, whom they never knew nor had any contact with prior to conversion? Or their former associates friends and neighbors who thought they had been moon-struck for beginning to live like Judeans? If Jews in the synagogue were judging them, then that judging pertained to them not being physically circumcised; for to those Jews, keeping the festivals and sabbaths would have been admirable. However, if their former friends were judging them, that judging would most likely be because of what they were now eating and drinking, and because of what religious days they now observed. So the logic of what Paul writes has these Gentile converts being taught by Epaphras to live like Judeans. We know, from what Paul writes to the Galatians, that the Apostle Peter taught Gentile converts to live like Judeans (2:14). We also know that Paul's gospel was the same as the original Apostles (2:2), that Paul taught what Peter did, that Peter taught Gentile converts to live like Judeans. Therefore, it wasn't the Jews were who judging and troubling Gentile converts about festivals, new moons, and sabbaths, but about circumcision, the point about which Paul resisted them. It was other Gentiles who were troubling converts about what they now ate and about what days they now kept.
We see that it is, indeed, those who are still in the world that troubled the Gentile converts at Colossae when Paul writes, "If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, 'Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch'? All these regulations refer to things that perish with use; they are simply human commands and teachings" (Col 2:20-22). These Gentile converts, prior to their conversion, belonged to a Hellenistic Greek world, not to the Judaic world of Judea and Jerusalem. They were still living as if they were Hellenistic Greeks, submitting to human (i.e., Greek) commands about handling, tasting, and touching. The laws, decrees, ordinances, and statutes of God are not simple human commands and teachings; they wouldn't be the laws of God if they were human teachings. So these converts weren't observing Mosaic commands and teachings, but Hellenist commands and teachings. Thus, the judging that had caused them to leave the festivals, new moons, and sabbaths of God had caused them to return to Hellenism. They were to have only been judged by the Body of Christ (one reading of the text), or better, they were to not let anyone judge them about the festivals, new moons, and sabbaths they observed because these holy convocations are shadows of living in Christ, with "Christ" being a euphemism for salvation, or the spiritual promised land.
A shadow is a two-dimensional reflection of a three-dimensional reality, or in the case of the Bible, a physical reflection of a spiritual reality. The number of dimensions of the shadow plus one equals the number of dimensions of the reality, usually. But with God, the additional dimension that has been inserted reveals how trapped humanity is in a linear construct of time. The spiritual realm is outside of time, so the shadow of a reality in this realm doesn't necessarily occur at a conjoined moment in a linear progression of time, meaning that the physical shadow of a spiritual phenomenon can precede the recording of the phenomenon in the historical record compiled by the shadow. In simpler English, the history of physical Israel is the shadow of the history of spiritual Israel. The laws of God, the High Days, the new moons, the weekly Sabbaths are the physical shadow of the spiritual Christ. Humanity cannot enter the spiritual realm to make observations and measurements anymore than your shadow can enter you. Without light, your shadow wouldn't exist. Likewise, without light—God is light (1 John 1:5)—the physical creation would not exist. Because we cannot see or measure the reality of which we are the shadow, we acquire an inflated sense of self-worth. So when we encounter the shadow of Christ cast into the physical world in the form of His laws, His commandments, His decrees, His holy days, new moons, and sabbaths, we don't immediately recognize the reality that cast the shadow. We encounter one shadow laid over another. Too often, a war occurs between the shadows rather than a wedding.
Humanity, today, cannot look directly upon the glorified Christ, but can only encounter its Savior through the shadow Christ casts in our physical world. The shadow of the festivals, new moons, and sabbaths allows us to see what would otherwise be invisible to us; for Christ doesn't stand for examination by us as Paul did before the senior Apostles. Christ doesn't present to us His gospel to see if He has run in vain, as if we were His judges. Rather, He presents His gospel to see if we will be ruled by Him. And His gospel has Gentile converts living like Judeans. His gospel has Him teaching, "'Do not think that I have come to abolish the law [the books of Moses] or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished" (Matt 5:17-18).
What constitutes "all"? Is Christ's return part of "all"? Has the plan of God been accomplished? Isn't Christ's Millennium reign part of His plan? It is, isn't it? Then "all" hasn't been accomplished, has it? So when Jesus says, "'Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of the commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven'" (v. 19), Christ isn't restricting commandments to the Decalogue, but to all of the law, which was and remains the preferred euphemism for the writings of Moses, with the Old Testament composed of the law, the prophets, and the writings. Thus, when we find Paul's law of faith (Rom 3:27) expressing the righteousness that comes from faith (10:6-8), that righteousness being the second covenant (Deu chapters 29-31) which has those with circumcised hearts and minds (30:6) observing everything written in the Book of Deuteronomy, then we can see Christ's gospel—what Jesus taught His disciples to teach (Matt 28:20) — and we can see why both the Apostles Paul and Peter taught Gentile converts to live like Judeans.
When the shadow of the glorified Christ is cast into our physical realm, that shadow is of a spiritual Judean who loves his neighbor as himself, and loves God, believing Him unto obedience by observing His commandments and decrees. By faith, this spiritual Judean keeps the laws of God out of his or her love for God.
Again, because this concept is vitally important to properly understanding prophecy, the spiritual realm exists outside of space/time. The shadow of a phenomenon (or event) in this realm can be cast anywhere in the created universe, depending upon where the light source is in relationship to the phenomenon. Within the universe, the passage of time is the expansion of space, with this passage grafted as a linear construction by those who experience the expansion. Therefore, the physical shadow of a spiritual phenomenon that seems to occur in AD 2003 isn't restricted to also occurring in the same year. The spiritual phenomenon occurs in a different realm, in a different dimension than the one in which its shadow exists. As disciples of Christ, we still have physical bodies, but we are new creations, in that we store up treasure in heaven as we do business in the spiritual realm. Our bodies can only exist in the shadowy world of the physical creation, but our thoughts, our minds, impregnated by the Breath of God, do enter (barely) the spiritual realm, where we are also actors, or players. What we do as spiritual Israelites in the spiritual realm casts shadows in the physical world. And it takes mentally entering that spiritual realm to understand that what I do today in that realm can have cast a shadow thousands of years ago on our grafted construction of time. . . . I write this as debris is still being found from the loss of the space shuttle Colombia. I can know what will happen next in the spiritual realm, with a high degree of reliability, by locating the shadow of myself and others in the recorded history of ancient Israel. By taking a segment of the recent history of spiritual Israel and looking for its matching shadow in the history of physical Israel, I can then move forward in the recorded history of Israel and project what will occur in the spiritual realm pertaining to spiritual Israel. Likewise, I can take a prophecy, look at its physical fulfillment by the ancient houses of Israel and Judah, then extrapolate that fulfillment into the spiritual realm. Just as a circle is a two-dimensional image of a three-dimensional sphere, circumcised Israel is the physical image of spiritual Israel—and as a circle doesn't convey everything there is to be known about the cylinder, shadows and fulfilled prophecies don't convey all that needs to be known by spiritual Israelites. Therefore, endtime prophecies were given, and were sealed until the time of the end. Those prophecies are now unsealed.
The second objection many Christians have for not keeping the High Sabbaths is that they are Jewish, and as such, they have been abolished; for the law and its commandments have been abolished (Eph 2:15). Their argument goes something like, on the cross Jesus said, "'It is finished'" (John 19:30), meaning that all has been accomplished, so when Paul writes to the Ephesians that the law has been abolished, Paul means Christians are not under the laws of Moses, but are only under the laws of God, which predated Moses and which Abraham kept (Gen 26:5). The weekly Sabbath was created by Elohim [singular in usage] by resting on the seventh day of the creation week, so it remains in effect but the High Sabbaths which were added when physical Israel left Egypt have been abolished, fulfilled in Christ coming as God made flesh.
Have I been fair with the position of these Christians, many of whom are Seventh Day Adventists? I believe I have. So let's look at what law Paul says has been abolished:
So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called "the uncircumcised" by those who are called "the circumcised" — a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands — remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. (Eph 2:11-16)
First, we see that these Gentiles are no longer Gentiles, what Paul writes to the Corinthians (12:2). These Gentiles have been made Israelites, not through a clipping of foreskins the process by which physical Israelites are made, but through the circumcision of their hearts and minds, a euphemism for the equally euphemistic expression of writing the laws of God on hearts and minds (Jer 31:33; Heb 8:10 & 10:16; Deu 30:6). These former Gentiles are no longer aliens to the commonwealth of Israel; they have been made spiritual Israelites by the cross. They haven't been made spiritual Gentiles, to live as they did before. They have been made Israelites, because the law [covenant] which had excluded them from becoming part of the commonwealth of Israel has been abolished. That law is the one which separated the world into two division, the first being those who are physically circumcised, and the second being those who are not. That law is the covenant made at Sinai, by which the nation of Israel became a holy people, a chosen priesthood (Exod 19:5-6). But this nation of Israel broke that covenant, was put away as an adulterous woman, then killed her husband on the cross, thereby abolishing her marriage covenant. She was free to remarry if any deity would have her. Likewise, her resurrected and glorified ex-husband was also free to marry again.
Circumcision signifies a separation. Physical circumcision, performed by human hands, separated the physical descendants of Abram/Abraham from all other peoples of the world. Within that larger separation of peoples, a further separation existed: the descendants of Isaac through Jacob were liberated from Egyptian slavery as first a type of the liberation of humanity from bondage to sin, and second as a shadow of the liberation of spiritual Israel from slavery to the spiritual king of Babylon. So the Ephesian world knew of two peoples, the circumcised and the uncircumcised, with considerable hostility having developed between these two divisions. What Paul writes is that the law which established these two divisions and which caused this hostility has been abolished. Circumcision is now of the heart and mind. Yes, a division of the world still exists, and will continue to exist until the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of the Most High and His Messiah (Rev 11:15). Jesus said, "'No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me'" (John 6:44), and "'For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father'" (v. 65). Thus, for Christ, the world is presently separated into those who have been drawn by God the Father and those who have not yet been drawn. Eventually, everyone will have his or her opportunity to come to Christ and to the Father. However, for most of humanity, that time is during the great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11-15).
When a person is drawn from the world by God the Father, this person is made a party to the new covenant: this person has the laws of God written on his or her heart and minds, which is receiving the Holy Spirit. Because this disciple has the laws of God inside the person, he or she now knows the Lord, and has his or her sins forgiven. All three linguistic absolutes—circumcision of the heart, knowing God, and having sins forgiven—occur at the same time. The person is made a spiritual Israelite. Regardless of whether the person was a Gentile or a physical Israelite, the person has become a new creation, a spiritual Israelite, who desires to obey God, to love God and Christ, to love his or her neighbor by observing all of the commandments of God. Pause for a moment and consider: why would God write His laws on a disciple's heart and mind if He didn't intend that the disciple observe those laws? Would He write them on hearts and minds if those laws were abolished? He wouldn't, would He? So a spiritual Israelite is a spiritual Judean. And we see the converse of this in, "'I [Christ] will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but are lying—I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you'" (Rev 3:9). The juxtaposition is, the synagogue of Satan who claim to be Jews (they do not claim to be Gentiles) but lie versus the saints of the church in Philadelphia who "'have kept [Christ's] word and have not denied [his] name'" (v. 8). So it is reasonable to conclude that a genuine spiritual Israelite keeps Christ's words and doesn't deny His name while a false spiritual Israelite—someone who is of the synagogue of Satan—doesn't keep Christ's words, and/or denies Christ's name. This juxtaposition is also seen in, "Then the dragon [Satan] was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus" (Rev 12:17 —similar phrasing occurs in 14:12).
Spiritual Israelites are spiritual Judeans, in that they live like Judeans, just as the Apostle Peter taught Gentile converts to do. There are not physically circumcised, because that covenant has been abolished by the covenantee murdering the Covenantor. Rather, their circumcision is of hearts and minds.
Under the second covenant when Moses was its mediator, obedience preceded receiving a circumcised heart and mind [naphesh — "mind" is here a better translation than "soul"] (Deu 30:6). When the mediator of this second covenant was changed from Moses to the glorified Christ, this second covenant becomes the new covenant through the addition of the better promise of circumcision of hearts and minds preceding obedience. The key of David is understanding why David will be in the resurrection of firstfruits. He had the Holy Spirit/Pneuma (Ps 51:11) as Jesus confirmed (Mark 12:36). He professed that the Lord would come as a man (Ps 110:1 — the second "lord" is adoni, used only for humans, not adonai, a substitute name for God). And he believed that God would raise Him from the dead (Ps 16:10 & Acts 2:31). So under the second covenant as mediated by Moses receiving the Holy Spirit and receiving eternal life were possible by obedience through faith, which is why David and a few other men and women of God who lived prior to when YHWH came as the man Jesus Christ will be in the resurrection of firstfruits.
It is always wrong to say that salvation was not offered to physical Israel. The key of David is understanding that salvation was offered, but only after an Israelite by faith obeyed YHWH. Noah obeyed, building the ark by faith. Abraham obeyed, getting up and leaving his inheritance by faith. Moses obeyed, shepherding Israel by faith. David obeyed, killing Goliath by faith. All were imperfect men. All came short of perfect obedience, but by faith, they were counted as worthy. And by their faith, they received circumcised hearts and minds; they received the Holy Breath of God, which then caused their names to be written in the Book of Life. This is why both the lawyer and the rich young ruler asked Jesus what each must do to receive eternal life. The would be-righteous of physical Israel knew that receiving eternal life was possible, but they had lost means for obtaining that life. They strove for it on the basis of their works and not on the basis of faith (Rom 9:32 & 10:3).
Under Christ as the mediator of the new covenant, disciples drawn from the world receive circumcised hearts and minds. They do nothing to receive the Holy Breath of God. They are exactly like the physical Israelites in Egypt, who did nothing to liberate themselves other than to whine. They are also like the children born in the wilderness, in that they were placed in covenant with God without being asked whether they really wanted to be made a party to the covenant. Under the new covenant, disciples are liberated from Satan and sin not through any works of theirs, but through having the laws of God written on their hearts and minds. Disciples have no works to do. They are made into spiritual Judeans through the Father drawing them from the world. They are placed into a covenant relationship with the Father, that covenant mediated by Christ and found in its written form in the Book of Deuteronomy. And they are expected to stay in the covenant relationship in which they were placed. They are expected to live as Judeans, not as Gentiles. They are no longer Gentiles. Again, they haven't been made into spiritual Gentiles. They have been grafted into spiritual Israel. They are new creations known as spiritual Israelites.
Under the better promises of the new covenant, a disciple is made into a spiritual Israelite without being asked whether he or she really wants to be one, the meaning of predestination, the flip side of receiving the Holy Spirit prior to obedience. In the spiritual realm, the natural mind is hostile to God; "it does not submit to God's law — indeed it cannot" (Rom 8:7). Thus, in order to draw a person who is firmly entrenched in the world, God the Father must first spiritually modify the person. Linguistically, the person is made a disciple by receiving a small portion of the Holy Spirit, which isn't a singularity, but the Breath of Elohim. This is what we see when Jesus' disciples received the Holy Spirit: "Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.' When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit [Pneuma]'" (John 20:21-22 emphasis mine). They received the Holy Spirit/Pneuma when the glorified Jesus breathed on them; the Holy Spirit/Pneuma is His breath. Jesus, Himself, said the Holy Spirit was like wind (John 3:8). It is the breath of the Elohim kind. And all who have it upon whom judgment has come have their names written in the Book of Life, which doesn't mean once saved, always saved since a disciple must endure in covenant with God to his or her end. If the disciple doesn't endure, his or her name will be blotted out, what Jesus meant when he said not to be surprised that those who have done good will be resurrected to life and those who have done evil will be resurrected to condemnation (John 5:29).
Spiritual Israelites keep the High Sabbaths because that is what Judeans in covenant with God do. Likewise, they keep the new moons because that is what Judeans do; they eat clean meats because that is what Judeans do; they pay tithes because that is what Judeans do; they fear God and walk in all His ways because that is what Judeans do; they love God will all of their hearts and with all of their mind because that is what Judeans do; they love their neighbors as themselves because that is what Judeans do. They do not sacrifice animals because the covenant (i.e., the Sinai covenant) by which animals sacrifices were mandated has been abolished. They are not under the first covenant, but under the second covenant, which has no animal sacrifices attached. So spiritual Israelites live as Judeans under the second covenant, which, with its added better promises, is the new covenant (Jer 31:33), and is the righteousness that comes from faith (Rom 10:6-8).
That is correct: Paul's law of faith is the second covenant made at Moab with the uncircumcised descendants of the Israelites who had been slaves in Egypt. These slave descendants were not physically circumcised until after they crossed into the promised land (Josh 5:2-9), symbolic of the return of circumcision (Ezek 44:7) and of animal sacrifices in the Millennium (40:38-43). These slave descendants' entry into the promised land is the shadow of spiritual Israel entering the spiritual promised land, which is Christ's Millennium reign, and which is also living in Christ today. As such, these slave descendants in Moab didn't need to be circumcised to be made a party to the second covenant. Spiritual Israelites today do not need to be physically circumcised. Their circumcision is of their hearts and minds, as was offered to the uncircumcised (spiritually or physically) descendants of the Egyptian slaves, who, because of unbelief (Heb 3:19) which became disobedience (Heb 4:6), could not enter the promised land.
On the spiritual plane, physical circumcision is today analogous to baptism. The physical and spiritual creations began approximately four thousand years apart. They do not merge until the demonic king of the North possessing the man of perdition declares himself the messiah 1290 days before Christ returns as the all powerful Messiah. Except for the remnant of spiritual Israel that has returned and will continue to return to spiritual Jerusalem, the two creations stay merged throughout the Day of the Lord, that period beginning when the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of the Father and His Christ (Rev 11:15) and continuing to the arrival of the new heavens and earth. Again, except for the remnant of spiritual Israel in spiritual Jerusalem, the newly liberated saints will have to deal with the beast as the antetype antiChrist and with Satan as the antitype antiChrist on both a physical and on a spiritual plane. Prophetically, it appears that the remnant of spiritual Israel in spiritual Jerusalem only has to deal with the beast on the physical plane. On the spiritual plane, they have already defeated both the beast and Satan, through faith in Christ. However, Jesus defeated Satan at the beginning of His ministry. But He didn't defeat his flesh until the end of His ministry—He didn't lose any battles along the way, as we do, but until death, the possibility of Him losing a battle (especially considering how much He hated to be mocked) existed. He was tempted in all things as we are. Again, He just didn't lose any of those battles. And we, as the remnant of spiritual Israel living in spiritual Jerusalem, really have defeated Satan, but we must have faith that Christ will supply our physical necessities as stomachs grumble, and our flesh doubts God, when the physical forces of the man of perdition come against us. We will have that faith.
To repeat, the covenant that made physical Israel a holy nation (Exod 19:6) and the laws of God Jewish has been abolished (Eph 2:15), not that the laws of God were ever Jewish, since Abraham kept them (Gen 26:5). The High Days of God, as the shadow of Christ, were given as binding statutes upon physical Israel; their observance was as compulsory as was keeping the weekly Sabbath. When certain elders of Israel came to consult with Ezekiel, whom they recognized as a prophet, YHWH said He would not hear those elders (Ezek 20:1-3). He told Ezekiel to "let them know the abominations of their ancestors, and say to them" (vs. 4-5) that Israel had been faithless from the beginning, that He told them to follow His statutes and hallow His "sabbaths that they may be a sign" (v. 20) between Him and Israel so that Israel would know that He, YHWH, was their God. But Israel profaned His sabbaths (vs. 16, 21, 24) along with doing a host of other idolatrous offenses. So the first thing that needs understood is that to profane or to not observe God's sabbaths is to practice idolatry; for the person covets time that rightfully belongs to God, and substitutes the worship of other gods on these sabbath days.
If the High Sabbaths are part of the shadow of Christ, and were obligatory for physical Israel; and if their observance is commanded by the second covenant made with the uncircumcised descendants of the slaves who left Egypt (Deu 16:1-17), then the observance of the High Sabbaths is equally obligatory for spiritual Israel today. A spiritual Israelite who does not observe them practices idolatry. Harsh words? Consider a moment: if you elect to wash and wax your car on a sabbath day, are your thoughts on the Creator of the universe or on your car, a thing created? But what if you didn't know it was a sabbath day? That is a legitimate defense as far as Christ is concerned. You are responsible for doing what you know is right. You are not responsible for what you don't know to do. However, if you don't know, your teachers are held accountable for not having taught you the basics of how to worship God. And you have mental awareness of what you know. Christ knows your thoughts, so you aren't going to con Him by telling Him you didn't know what you actually knew. You cannot lie to Christ and expect to receive eternal life. Liars don't make it to glorification. So if you know to keep the Sabbath, you are under obligation to keep the Sabbath. If you know the Sabbath is the seventh day, and not the eighth, then you are under obligation to keep it on the seventh day, regardless of what your neighbors think, or of how inconvenient it is, or of whether it will cost you a job. If you know to keep the High Sabbaths, you are under obligation to keep them. If you know you should keep the new moons, you are under equal obligation to keep them. After all, what is more important to you than obeying God? And you should be able to see how profaning the sabbaths is actually idolatry.
How many sabbaths are there? One a week makes 52 a year. That seems like a lot. Now add seven additional High Days, one of which is a new moon, and we are up to 59 sabbaths a year. Now to these 59 sabbaths, add eleven more new moons. We have 70 sabbath days a year, most years. That seems like giving an awfully lot of time to God each year, doesn't it? Except, we are giving Him nothing to which He doesn't already have prior title.
I once looked at a Russian Orthodox Old Believers' calendar, and there were so many celebrations I was surprised that they got any work done. I realized then just how much of a product I am of the American culture that sent the Columbia into orbit, men to the moon, and bathyspheres to the bottoms of the deepest ocean trenches. As a culture, we live to work. More so than most cultures, we resent stopping work for any reason although we make and buy an incredible number of toys, then work hard at playing—and if you don't think casting a plug all day to catch and release a few bass isn't work, let me take you fishing.
I find it difficult to just relax, to do nothing, to quietly contemplate God and His creation. I am much happier now that I have been drafted to write the literature of this endtime church. I can engage God on the sabbaths with the same level or even greater intensity than I do during the week; for on sabbaths, I'm not distracted by the mundane chores necessary to pay bills and keep the house warm and the lights on.
So with the sabbaths of God listed in Leviticus, let us go there to find the Passover: "[YHWH] spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: These are the appointed festivals of [YHWH] that you shall proclaim as holy convocation, my festivals" (23:1-2). The language seems relatively free from ambiguity. The following listed sabbaths aren't the festivals of Israel, physical or spiritual, but of YHWH, the God of physical Israel (Exod 20:1-2), and the Savior of spiritual Israel.
Much disputing about observing the sabbaths of YHWH can be eliminated by realizing who YHWH is, since both the error of Trinitarians and the error of Bishop Arius cloud spiritual understanding, leaving Israel to grope for God in theological darkness. The Apostle John writes, "In the beginning was the [Logos], and the [Logos] was with [Theon], and the [Logos] was [Theos]. He was in the beginning with [Theon]. All things came into being through him" (1:1-3); plus, John writes, "He was in world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him" (vs. 10-11), and, "the [Logos] became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son" (v. 14). It was Elohim [singular in usage] who created all things in the beginning. This Elohim is Theos. Where Elohim is plural in usage (e.g., Gen 1:26; 11:7), Theos is with Theon. But the world never knew Theon until Jesus, as Theos created in flesh, revealed Him (John 17:6, 25-26). It is Elohim [singular in usage] who became the man Jesus, and who was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel (Gen 32:28-30 & Exod 3:6-7); YHWH became the man Jesus. And the sabbaths listed in Leviticus chapter 23 are the festivals of YHWH, or Jesus, or now the glorified Christ. So those festivals are of Christ. Indeed, they are the shadow of Christ as Paul writes to the Colossians, just as the first Adam was the shadow of the second Adam. The second Adam (i.e., Christ) doesn't abolish the first Adam, but abolishes the death penalty that came with the first Adam's sin. Likewise, Christ doesn't abolish His sabbaths, but raises their observance into the spiritual realm. Livestock no longer needs to be slaughtered on these days. He was sacrificed. And to partake of His sacrifice, spiritual Israelites assemble together in holy convocations on all of these sabbaths.
Within the walls of spiritual Jerusalem, Israelites understand that Elohim is best described as a species, to the likes of which no other species compares. As far as is revealed, it presently has two members, the Father and His Son. But when the plan of Elohim, encapsulated in the High Day calendar, becomes a reality, the Father will have many more sons and daughters. How many is open to speculation. But if a person, as a son of God who has only the promise of eternal life, refuses to obey his Father, refuses to heed the instructions of his Firstborn Brother, then that son will not receive the better promise of the new covenant, which is life eternal. That son will go into the lake of fire as a self-aborted fetus.
If a son of God refuses to keep the festivals of his Firstborn Brother because those festivals are Jewish, how willing, do you suppose, is this Firstborn Brother to bear His younger sibling's sins? When will this Firstborn Brother, into whose hands all judgment has been given, decide that His younger sibling is incorrigible—that because of this younger sibling's rebellion, the wouldbe son or daughter will just cause disruption in the family of God? Certainly at His younger sibling's physical death, the Firstborn Son will have to be make a decision. That decision, though, will not be revealed under Christ returns as the all-powerful Messiah.
Now, knowing that the High Days are festivals of Christ, festivals by which Christ reveals Elohim's plan for how humanity will become members of Elohim, who out there really needs convinced to observe them? Who wants to keep them because they are Christ's festivals? Who rejects them for the same reason? And what other reason is there to reject them?
The sabbaths listed in Leviticus are the festivals of Christ, but only a portion of spiritual Israel will ever observe them prior to this nation's liberation from spiritual bondage to Satan. In the parable of the pounds, seven of ten servants of Christ will not have Him rule over them, and are slaughtered when He returns. In Zechariah's prophecy, Christ turns His hand against two-thirds of the holy ones (13:7-8). The suggestion is that only a third or thirty percent of greater spiritual Israel will be ruled by Christ, meaning that very few saints will now observe the High Sabbaths, with only a third of spiritual Israel willing to observe them even after being liberated from bondage to Satan, the spiritual Pharaoh and spiritual king of Babylon.
To put the Passover in its proper perspective, let us look first at the weekly Sabbath—the first of the Holy Days listed in Leviticus 23 which is the weekly Sabbath: "Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation; you shall do no work: it is a sabbath to [YHWH] throughout your settlements" (v. 3). Now, let's reason together: if the seventh day is the sabbath to YHWH, or the glorified Christ, who was the Elohim [singular in usage] who created the universe as well as humanity, then wouldn't it be logical that the person who chooses to worship Christ and God the Father would observe the seventh day Sabbath as a memorial to Creation, and to the plan of God, which has the Messiah reigning in the seventh millennium from Creation, the era when all of humanity worships God? Sure would be, wouldn't it? The weekly Sabbath, then, becomes the reminder that Jesus will return as the Messiah. It becomes hard to forget that Christ will return when our weekly focus is on that return. Fifty-two times a year, we celebrate the Creation that begins the reproduction of the Elohim kind, a two-step process that requires the initial creation of a mutable being who develops, by habit, the mental character to always choose to do what is right. This creation continues through the reign of Christ as the Millennium Sovereign of this world, thereby affording humanity the opportunity to compare what obedience to God and to His laws will produce versus what all of the schemes Satan used to deceive a third of the angels produced during the six thousand years that Satan reigned.
A student needs to remember that there are two on-going creations, the physical creation that began with the first Adam, and the spiritual creation that began with the second Adam (1 Corth 44-49). Physical Israel and its history serve as the shadow of spiritual Israel and his history. These two creations merge for thirty days (between 1290 and 1260 days before Christ returns as the all powerful Messiah) when the demonic king of the North possesses the man of perdition, but until then, they both fulfill the Holy Day plan of God, as well as endtime prophecies. These fulfillments, though, are on differing planes. So we should expect to see a physical fulfillment, followed by a spiritual fulfillment. By keeping each of these fulfillments on their respective plane, we can know what will happen in the future, both physically and spiritually, which makes walking by faith easy. The Apostle Paul's accursed gospel is tilting these planes so that which is spiritual slides down into that which is physical. As spiritual Israelites, we play in a three-dimensional chess game, but we can only win if we keep our focus on the single dimension of what is spiritual.
Following the weekly Sabbath are the annual Sabbaths, those High Days and festivals that come one time a year. As with the weekly Sabbath, these "are the appointed festivals of [YHWH], the holy convocations" (Lev 23:4) that shall be celebrated at their appointed times. And the first listed is the Passover, "In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, there shall be a passover offering to [YHWH]" (v. 5). First notice that this holy convocation is not a day in length, but occurs at twilight, or at even, or between the evenings. Second, in its physical application, physical Israel, still in slavery in Egypt, was commanded to take a lamb "without blemish, a year-old male" (Exod 12:5) on the tenth day of the first month, and "keep it until the fourteenth day" (v. 6) when "the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight" (v. 6), then they "shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it" (v. 7).
The spiritual reality of this physical shadow is two part, so rather than continuing the Exodus narrative, I will break the text here and return to it within a few paragraphs. When Elohim [singular in usage] created the first Adam, He said, "'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.' So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name" (Gen 2:18-19). The creation of the second Adam began not with Theos entering His creation as the man Jesus, but with the Breath of Theon descending like a dove and alighting on the just-baptized Jesus. At this moment, "a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased'" (Matt 3:17). This moment is the spiritual phenomenon that conforms exactly to when, in the shadow that is the physical creation, "the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostril the breath of life; and the man became a living being" (Gen 2:7). Again, the Holy Spirit is the Breath of the Elohim kind. It is the Breath of both Theos and Theon, in the analogy that has humanity having the same breath that Adam had. So the spiritual creation begins with receiving breath. It begins when that which is of the ground (i.e., of flesh and blood) receives the Breath of God. At that moment, Jesus becomes the Son of the Father. Prior to that, Jesus had come as His own Son, His only; i.e., the Son of Theos (John 3:16-17 & Luke 1:31-35).
The spiritual reality of the first Adam naming the animals while looking for a helpmate is Jesus as the second Adam naming the animals: hypocrites, blind guides, blind fools, hypocrites, hypocrites, hypocrites, snakes, brood of vipers (Matt 23:13-33). Judging by the number of hypocrites Jesus named, Fish and Game ought to open a season on them. By now, I suspect, the world is overpopulated with them.
After causing a deep sleep to come over the first Adam and from a wound in his side, Elohim [singular] creates the first Eve as Adam's helpmate. A qualitative difference exists between Eve and animals of the field and birds of the air, even though they all have the same breath. Likewise, after Jesus was in the heart of the earth three days and three nights, the resurrected Jesus ascends to the Father, then returns to create the second Eve when He breathed on His disciples and said to receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22). These disciples now have both the breath of the first Adam and the Breath of the second Adam in them. And there should be a qualitative difference between the second Eve—the Body of Christ—and the religious establishments of this world that haven't received the Breath of Elohim. If there isn't, then perhaps the fellowship isn't of the Body.
With very few exceptions, the descendants of the first Adam did not know YHWH/Theos even though He was in the world (John 1:10). Noah, though, knew Him, as did Abram—and from Abram's seed, YHWH/Theos took the descendants of Israel to be His firstborn son (Exod 4:22).
As the mediator of the first covenant, Moses was to be like god to physical Israel and to Pharaoh (Exod 4:17; 7:1). The glorified Christ as the mediator of the new covenant is like God, in that He is like His Father and His God. The glorified Christ is also the Wave Sheaf offering, by which spiritual Israel finds acceptance (Lev 23:11) by having its sins forgiven. The glorified Christ is, then, the spiritual reality for which Moses was the shadow. Thus, physical Israel as YHWH's firstborn son is the shadow for spiritual Israel being God the Father's firstborn son, even though the glorified Christ is the actual firstfruit that was waved. Spiritual Israel represents the harvest of firstfruits.
To shadow the spiritual phenomenon that would happen, physical Israel is instructed to take a lamb on the tenth day of the first month, and to keep it penned until the evening of the fourteenth day. At this time, physical Israel hadn't entered into a covenant relationship with YHWH, so there was no marriage nor divorce talk, no covenant to be broken, no hint of what would become the spiritual reality. Nevertheless, the tenth day to fourteen day timing reflects exactly when Jesus entered Jerusalem that last time, and when He was crucified, dying when the Passover lamb would have been killed.
Also, on the tenth day of the first month, physically uncircumcised Israel crossed the Jordan and entered the promised land (Josh 4:19). These Israelites were in a covenant relationship by which their hearts and minds were to have been circumcised through their obedience (Deu chapters 29-31).
Those Bible students who have been taught a Good Friday crucifixion and Easter sunrise resurrection need to understand that they have been falsely shepherded. When Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus by asking Him for a sign from heaven, Jesus said, "'An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah'" (Matt 16:4). Jesus staked His reputation of being the Son of Man on one sign, the sign of Jonah (which wasn't a midday eclipse as some wouldbe scholars have contended). Jesus identifies what this sign of Jonah is: "'For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth'" (Matt 12:40).
Much has been made of the Greek expressions translated as three days and three nights, so let's look at what the Book of Jonah says: "Now had appointed YHWH a great fish to swallow Jonah and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three [sheloshaw] days [yomyom — plural of the hot portion of a twenty four hour period] and three [sheloshaw] nights [lahyelaw — that is what turns or twists away from the light]" (1:17 direct translation).
The only sign of Jesus' claim to be from heaven was that He would be in the heart of the earth as Jonah was in the belly of the fish. Jonah spent three hot portions of days in the belly of the fish, and he spent three turns away from the light, a figurative expression for nighttime, in the belly of the fish. That is 72 hours. If Jesus were less than 72 hours in the grave, He wouldn't be like Jonah. Regardless of the ambiguity of the Greek expressions, the Hebrew in which Jonah wrote is unambiguous. Three days and three nights mean three days, not one, and means three nights, not two. If Jesus died Friday afternoon and was resurrected Sunday morning, He did not satisfy the only sign He gave that He was from heaven. So, based on accepting what Jesus said as being true and everything that contradicts His words as being false, Jesus was not crucified on a Friday. The Good Friday/Easter sunrise tradition isn't of Christ, and cannot be supported from the Bible. It is as it seems, a holdover from Chaldeans fertility festivals during which the Queen of Heaven was worshiped.
Since the Resurrection-Ascension story has been mistaught for nearly two millennia, let's look at what is written, beginning, though, with the idea that Jesus is the reality of the sacrificial Passover lamb. And we need a timeline: the Apostle John writes, "Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus" (12:1). John's use of the icon "Passover" actually addresses the first High Day of Unleavened Bread—we see this in, "Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover" (19:14). At least one wouldbe scholar, in his A Harmony of The Gospels, counts the six days backwards from when Jesus instituted the new covenant Passover on the evening between days thirteen and fourteen, and thus, he has Jesus arriving in Jerusalem on Thursday of the week preceding the first High Day of Unleavened Bread. The Harmony's author doesn't understand how John used the icon "Passover," thereby revealing his lack of biblical understanding.
Jesus was crucified "the day of Preparation" (John 19:31) for this first High Day of Unleavened Bread: "(for that Sabbath was an high day)" (same verse KJV). This High Day began at even on the fifteen of the first month (Lev 23:6). In other words, it began when the sun set on the fourteenth. The Passover lamb was to be killed on the fourteenth at even. Jesus died after three o'clock (Matt 27:46) on the fourteenth, which was the Preparation Day for the High Day. He died within a short while of when ancient Israel would have killed the Passover lamb on the fourteenth at even.
If He had lived longer (i.e., farther into the late afternoon), His legs would have been broken to hasten His death. The Passover lamb was not to have a broken bone, so Jesus lived as close to the actual time of when the Passover lamb was to be killed as possible without having a broken bone. He was, though, taken off the cross and placed in the heart of the earth at even, when the Passover lamb would have been killed.
Jesus was gone from His tomb before sunrise of the first day of the week following the weekly Sabbath (John 20:1); so we can say for certain that Jesus had been resurrected before Sunday daybreak. Now accepting Scripture as authoritative, Jesus would have been in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. So one day and one night preceding daybreak Sunday would be Sabbath before daybreak. Two days, Friday before daybreak. Three days, Thursday before daybreak. But Jesus actually died on the Preparation Day, approximately twelve hours before daybreak. This will put Jesus’ death on Wednesday near even, and would put His resurrection on the Sabbath near even. And what He was doing for those twelve hours can only be speculation, since even His disciples didn't then believe He would be resurrected to glory, and weren't looking for Him to reappear.
Now running the timeline from the other direction: Jesus left Lazarus' five days before the High Day on Thursday. That day would have been the 10th of the first month: Thursday would be the 15th, Wednesday the 14th, Tuesday the 13th, Monday the 12th, Sunday the 11th, Sabbath the 10th. The events that are traditionally assigned to Palm Sunday actually occur on the Sabbath, the 10th of the first month. YHWH's instructions to ancient Israel while they were still slaves in Egypt were for them to take a lamb or a kid on the 10th of the first month, hold the lamb or kid until the 14th, then sacrifice the kid as the Passover lamb at even on the 14th. Jesus died very near when the traditional Passover lamb would have been sacrificed. The High Day calendar shows that the first High Day of Unleavened Bread occurred on Thursday in the years AD 30, and 31. From other evidence, we can state with considerable accuracy that Jesus was crucified AD 31, when ancient Israel would have traditionally killed the Passover lamb. And Jesus had to have Israel kill Him. By killing Him, physical Israel, themselves, ended the covenant by which they were made a holy people (Exod 19:5-6). YHWH puts Israel away as a divorced woman (Ezek chapters 16 & 23), but He doesn't break covenant with the nation. They actually break the covenant permanently by killing the Covenantor, the other party to the covenant by which they were made a holy people.
A second analogy is also at work: "The people [the uncircumcised descendants of physical Israel] came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho" (Josh 4:19). Unlike their parents who left Egypt as circumcised Israelites who were not yet in a covenant relationship with YHWH, these uncircumcised Israelites were (or should have been) in a second covenant relationship with YHWH/Theos. Through obedience, their hearts and minds could have been circumcised. Physical circumcision was a non-issue until they crossed into the promised land. Likewise, physical circumcision today is meaningless, if not actually counterproductive. The hearts and minds of drawn disciples have been circumcised according to the better promise of the new covenant. Drawn disciples are placed in a second covenant relationship with God the Father and Christ. They are the reality of what these uncircumcised Israelites are the shadow.
Because this analogy works differently than when Israel leaves slavery—in this analogy, Israel is in a spiritual wilderness because God placed her there—disciples figuratively cross the Jordan shortly after they have been drawn and placed in the second covenant relationship which has them receiving circumcised hearts and minds. After being drawn, disciples need to proceed directly into the promised land, crossing the Jordan to begin to live as spiritual Judeans. Passover, now, symbolizes their baptism, at which time they lay down their lives as Christ did—His. Judgment is now upon them (1 Peter 4:17). So in this analogy, a drawn and spiritually modified disciple is made an Israelite by being baptized into Christ, just as the descendants of the slaves who left Egypt were made physical Israelites through physical circumcision prior to them being able to take the Passover in the promised land. A drawn disciple must begin living as an Israelite would prior to taking the new covenant Passover, or the person takes the Passover unworthily.
The crucifixion narrative only allows for Jesus to have been killed Wednesday near even. Mary and the other women hadn't expected Jesus to be killed, so they had made no preparation for burial. Only after Jesus dies do they obtain the burial spices. Those spices would not have been for sale on the weekly Sabbath. So the only way the narrative works is for the women to have rested on the High Day, Thursday, then to have gone out Friday to buy and then to prepare the spices, then to rest on the weekly Sabbath, then to come early Sunday morning to prepare the body.
The reason Evangelical Christianity gives for worshiping on Sunday dissipates as river canyon fog does when the sun rises over the canyon's rim. The Roman Church has a reason for worshiping on Sunday—they claim the authority to change the day. But Evangelical Christianity denies the Roman Church that authority. As a result, the Evangelical Church has to grope for reasons not to observe the weekly Sabbath, but to worship on the eighth day, with the Resurrection having occurred on Sunday morning as their best reason. The Resurrection wasn't Sunday morning. The Ascension, though, occurred Sunday morning, as Jesus appeared before His Father as the Wave Sheaf offering, the first of the firstfruits. He would have appeared before the Father at approximately 9:00 a.m., when the Wave Sheaf offering was traditionally offered. So Evangelical Christianity needs to repent of breaking the Sabbath, admit to Christ that they have not wanted to be ruled by Him, and begin observing the laws of God that have been written on their hearts and minds. They need to quit grieving the Holy Spirit.
Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a colt on the Sabbath before He was crucified, thereby fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. And once He entered the city, He was as a penned lamb, the Lamb of God. He had come to die. He wouldn't leave Jerusalem alive physically.
Now, returning to Exodus to pick up the remainder of the Passover narrative: YHWH, through Moses and Aaron, instructs Israel, "This is how you shall eat it [the Passover lamb]: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment" (12:11-12).
Israel kills the Passover lamb, but in those houses not under a lamb's blood, the firstborn of man and beast was killed. This physical slaughter of firstborns is the shadow of the spiritual reality. And it is this spiritual reality that matters prophetically.
On that day of Pentecost when the second Eve was filled with the Holy Spirit as a wife is filled by her husband, Peter preached two things, the first being the open-salvation prophecies of Joel, and the second being the key of David. The second explains personal salvation, thereby establishing the requirements to receive it (i.e., David, with the Holy Spirit, does by faith what Paul says an Israelite with a circumcised heart and mind must do to receive salvation [Romans 10:9]). Peter preaching the prophecies of Joel seems a mistake, for the heavenly signs Joel references must occur prior to when open salvation becomes available to humanity. Peter doesn't have the Book of Revelation, so he doesn't know that those heaven signs are real portents that will occur during first half of the Tribulation. But Peter's sermon was as much for the endtime Church as it was for those three thousand born again children conceived that day, the firstborn of spiritual Eve; for it is the endtime Church in Philadelphia that again has the key of David. Thus, Peter's use of Joel's prophecies is also for this endtime Church, which understands and teaches that halfway through the Tribulation, all of humanity is freed from slavery to Satan (Rev 11:15), the reason Satan as the antiChrist requires humanity to accept the mark of the Beast to buy and sell. A person must, once freed, voluntarily accept Satan's slave mark to remain a slave to him.
The physical plagues Egypt experienced prior to Pharaoh letting those ancient Israelites leave form the shadow of the spiritual plagues humanity and its spiritual leaders (human and demonic) will experience prior to Satan letting spiritual Israel leave spiritual Egypt/Babylon a little less than halfway through seven years of Tribulation. All of the heavenly signs of Joel's prophecies occur during the first five trumpet plagues. After that, open salvation can occur. Spiritual Israel will be the harvesters of the fields of humanity, but right now, spiritual Israel is still a slave people, not exactly what they want to hear. But they will be liberated in time to harvest the ripened fields.
All of the preceding has been a fairly dense presentation, so allow me to back off and let my text breathe for a moment. Greater spiritual Israel knows who it is. Some of the sects of the remnant of Israel that left spiritual Babylon don't recognize greater spiritual Israel as genuine. They label those individuals whom Christ identifies as being of the synagogue of Satan as nominal Christians in Churchianity. They have a little more truth than does greater Israel, and they tend to pat themselves on their backs for keeping the Sabbath, little realizing they are still far from where they need to be theologically. Inevitably, they adopt a no-love position towards greater Israel, who, in turn, dismisses the criticism of these remnants as legalism. Little or no communication occurs between these remnant sects and greater Israel, with each dismissing the other as error-ridden apostates.
Greater spiritual Israel has within it many, many genuine saints who have been poorly taught the basic doctrines of Christ. They have more love than most Sabbath-keepers—and far less truth. And how will Christ judge both? I don't know, and cannot know. But someone from the remnant of spiritual Israel that has reached spiritual Jerusalem has to return to Babylon and tell all of the Israelites who have grown comfortable as slaves to Satan that they will be liberated when the theological great horn of the king of Greece is broken 1335 days before Christ returns as the all powerful Messiah. Apparently, I'm that someone, not a job I would've chosen for myself.
A person in spiritual bondage to Satan has been deceived by him (Rev 12:9), and a deceived person, by the very definition of the icon phrase, doesn't realize that he or she is deceived. So as a type of a Johnny Appleseed, I sow seeds of the doctrine of Jesus wherever my prose travels throughout spiritual Babylon. A few disciples will attempt to prove me wrong, and in doing so, they will be convicted of the truth of what I write. From prophecy, I see that enough broadly cast seeds will sprout that an uncountable multitude will arrive in spiritual Jerusalem before the city's gates are shut and barred. But twice as many will perish, losing the salvation that came with their calling because they couldn't accept the idea that a spiritual Israelite would live like an Israelite. Their hatred of authority renders them useless to God. Life and spiritual prosperity was set before them, but they chose death and adversity.
The choice of life and death is before each of us. We decide whether we will, by faith, believe God unto obedience. All of Christianity is just this simple. Choose life and live. When Jesus was asked what a person must do to inherit eternal life, He answered with a question, "'What is written in the law? What do you read there?'" (Luke 10:26). Christ is not a respecter of persons. How the lawyer answered Jesus is still the answer for what must a person do to inherit eternal life. Why would Jesus make an exception for you, just because you don't want to be legalistic and keep the law? — He won't. Believe me, He won't. You are under the same obligation to love God and love your neighbor as was the lawyer, who gave the right answer but didn't want to do what he knew was right. Likewise, if you don't want to do what you know is right, you don't need to spend time wondering what you will do for all of eternity. You won't be there.
So, spiritual Israel, when you are liberated from bondage to the spiritual king of Babylon, remember what you have read. You are to become a Judean in lifestyle. Don't use your newfound liberty to continue in rebellion against God. Rather, if you can, get yourself to spiritual Jerusalem, where we will leave the light on for you, for as long as we can.
Returning to the plagues that decimated Egypt, I don't know what the seven thunders said. I'm not now claiming to know. But from the shadow, I can say with certainty that one of the things to happen is the killing of the world's firstborn who aren't under the blood of Christ. YHWH tells Moses that Israel is His firstborn son (Exod 4:22). God the Father will tell the glorified Jesus that spiritual Israel is His firstborn son. When Satan refuses to let spiritual Israel go worship the Father, all that happened to the Egyptians will happen to the world. In the spiritual creation prior to when the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of the Most High and His Messiah (Rev 11:15), Satan occupies the same position as Pharaoh, and spiritual Israel is in theological bondage to Satan, as is all of the world. Pharaoh tells Moses that there are more of you than there are of us (Exod 5:5). So just prior to when spiritual Israel is liberated, more that half the world are self-identified Christians. But they are not a free people. Rather, they are in bondage to Satan, believing in immortal souls and going to either heaven or hell. A remnant of spiritual Israel has returned to spiritual Jerusalem, and you are right now reading some of the literature of that remnant. But most spiritual Israelites are still living comfortably in Babylon, content to worship idols and demons while sincerely believing they are worshiping God the Father and His Messiah.
The easiest way to demonstrate that most of spiritual Israel remains enslaved by Satan is to ask the nation if it must keep the laws of God that have been written on its hearts and minds. Satan's position is one of lawlessness, one that says keeping the laws of God is the great apostasy. A spiritual slave, unlike a physical slave, is deceived and doesn't realize that he or she has been enslaved. As a result, it takes a little more to get a spiritual slave to want to leave his or her master than it does to get a physical slave to runaway. A spiritual slave will parrot his or her master's insistence that keeping the laws of God is legalism, and is the great apostasy; the spiritual slave doesn't understand, and indeed cannot understand (Rom 8:7), what it is like to be mentally free. Yet, as anyone who is deceived fails to realize (and repeating myself), a deceived individual doesn't realize that he or she has been deceived. Look at someone with a sexual deviancy: does this person not argue that to label a particular sexual orientation as deviant is akin to racism, since the person can do nothing about how he or she was born, that the person wouldn't have chosen to be different if the choice had been available? And the person has some truth to what he or she says, but it isn't true that the person was born with a particular orientation. Damage was done to the child before the child became aware of his or her sexuality; thus, it only seems that the individual was born with a certain orientation, which absolutely determines who the person is. Can this damage be reversed? Yes, with difficulty, often with more difficulty than the person wants to experience. Likewise, can a person who self-identifies him or herself as a Christian, but who remains in psychological bondage to Satan, overcome the person's spiritual orientation? Yes, but again with difficulty, unless the Father empowers the person with His Breath, which is also needed to reverse a particular sexual orientation. The delusions seen in Ezekiel 20:25-26, Romans 1:18-32, and 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12 are three faces of God psychologically giving individuals over to Satan, just as He physically gave the house of Israel and Jerusalem over to Nebuchadnezzar. He gave the spiritual houses of Israel and Judah over to Satan in the same manner because of the lawlessness then rampant within the Body of Christ. This didn't happen yesterday, but centuries ago. The time of the Gentiles didn't begin in my lifetime, but began when YHWH divorced the house of Judah and gave His firstborn son Israel over to Nebuchadnezzar. YHWH divorcing the physical house of Judah was the shadow of the Father sending spiritual Israel into psychologically captivity to Satan, because His firstfruits would not be ruled by Christ, but had borrowed so many concepts from Greek paganism that church leaders were disfellowshipping genuine saints. The Body of Christ has largely remained in spiritual captivity, not realizing that it has been as spiritually repulsive to God as is the person having sexual relations with a dog repulsive to spiritual Israel.
Can I write this more tactfully? Could Ezekiel have been more tactful with the elders of Israel? The possibility exists, but the reality is that I don't know how to gently say that you, spiritual Israel, worship demons and idols. You are not alone in your worship of demons (Rev 9:20), and nearly a billion of you will repent approximately halfway through the Tribulation, and will help harvest the other half of the world. But more of you won't repent than will. You like believing the lie Eve swallowed; it's comforting to believe you have an immortal soul, that you won't die, that your enemies will roast in hell for all of eternity. It is also no-love theology.
Part of this ministry's work is to warn spiritual Israel to put that blood of Christ as the spiritual Lamb of God on its doorposts and lintels, which is the framing to the doors into minds. If it doesn't (and two-thirds of spiritual Israel won't), then its spiritual firstborns will be killed just as will be the firstborns of the world.
I don't like contemplating how God will kill spiritual firstborns; for every scenario has disciples losing their promise of eternal life because of being mistaught. If you as a pastor bring a disciple into fellowship, that disciple is like a son or daughter to you. You now will have a spiritual firstborn, who, if he or she is not covered by Christ's blood either because you didn’t teach them to keep the Passover or because the disciple chose not to keep the Passover, will lose his or her salvation. The disciple's name is blotted out of the Book of Life, a high price to pay because you thought keeping the Passover was legalistic.
How can spiritual Israel put Christ's blood on their doorposts and lintels? The nation can return to the new covenant, which is Paul's law of faith, and do all of those things written in the Book of Deuteronomy. The Book exists as a witness against Israel, physical and spiritual (Deu 31:26). Each spiritual Israelite is an individual ark of the covenant, in which are the two tablets on which the laws of God have been written (i.e., your heart and mind), and the jar of manna (Christ is the bread of life, so eternal life resides in each spiritual Israelite), and Aaron's budded staff (symbolic of being chosen).
It is imperative that you, spiritual Israel, repent and return to Christ before you are liberated from Satan's slavery. To not partake of the Passover, to not observe the Passover as Jesus changed the symbolism and the time from the even between the 14th and 15th to the even between the 13th and 14th, will cause you, spiritual Israel, to experience the loss of your spiritual firstborns, along with the world losing its firstborns. So ignoring the Passover is serious business—and the Passover doesn't occur as often as you want to take communion. It is once a year on the 14th of Nissan at even, just as the glorified Christ taught the Apostle Paul.
Again, I do not know what the seven Thunders said, but from the revelation that has been given to this remnant of spiritual Israel now living within the walls of spiritual Jerusalem, all of spiritual Israel will be liberated from deception prior to the destruction of the man of perdition halfway through seven years of Tribulation. However, the last thing to happen before the world lets spiritual Israel go is the killing of all firstborns not covered by the blood of Christ. Jesus, as YHWH/Theos made flesh, was sacrificed one time; He won't be sacrificed a second time. That sacrifice is commemorated by Passover observance. If you, spiritual Israel, want the protection of being covered by His shed blood, you must observe the Passover as Jesus commanded, when He commanded it to be observed. You must revisit the Quarto-deciman Controversy, and adopt the position rejected by historical exegesis. And it might be that when the seven Thunders are heard, this will be a part of what you are told to do. If it is, then remember that you were forewarned.
It seems that this liberation of spiritual Israel occurs 1335 days before Christ returns as the all powerful Messiah, and 45 days before the man of perdition declares himself God. Because this Passover and killing of the firstborns occurs in the spiritual realm, we can expect the first horn of the demonic king of Greece to be broken at this time, thereby giving rise to the four horns in, again, the spiritual realm, with one of those horns being the king of the North and one being the king of the South. The king of the South, a four headed demon, has been bound at the river Euphrates until a certain hour, day, month and year to kill a third of humanity (Rev 9:15). That hour is when the spiritual first horn (not the physical first horn, who was Alexander the Great) of the spiritual king of Greece is broken. I can say with some confidence that beginning on day 1335, this killing of a third of humanity commences, that to prevail against the ten nation coalition fronting in the physical realm for this spiritual king of the South, the spiritual king of the North possesses a man and declares himself God on day 1290, when his ten nation coalition finally retakes physical Jerusalem. This war is so fierce and this man of perdition is so ruthless that unless these days are shortened, no flesh would survive. So a lot of history gets jammed into those days between 1335 and 1260 days before the Messiah comes conquering.
Nehemiah asked YHWH to remember his work, and the good that he did. I know that God the Father and His Christ are recording and have recorded the work that this fellowship has done and will do; so it’s you, spiritual Israel, that I ask to remember our work and the good we will do among you. If you will remember, those houses within spiritual Jerusalem that remain vacant and awaiting your arrival can still be claimed, even into the Tribulation. But at some point, Christ will lock the gates to the spiritual city. You will have to deal with the man of perdition and the antiChrist without having the protection of the walled city. Come, before those gates are locked, claim a house. There are many awaiting you.
After the Passover comes the first High Day of Unleavened Bread:
[A]nd on the fifteenth day of the same month is the festival of unleavened bread to [YHWH]; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not work at your occupations. For seven days you shall present [YHWH] offerings by fire; on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation; you shall not work at your occupations. (Lev 23:6-8)
Remember, what was physical has been made spiritual, which doesn't give anyone license to do physical work on a spiritual sabbath. Rather, the offerings made by fire have been replaced by Jesus' sacrifice of Himself. No works of sacrifice are now needed other than remaining in the covenant relationship in which God the Father placed each disciple when He drew the disciple from the world.
When we look at what happened following the Passover, we see that at midnight YHWH struck down all of the firstborn in the land of Egypt—remember, there were more Israelites in slavery than there were Egyptians (Exod 5:5). So when the spiritual reality occurs that this physical slaying of Egyptian firstborns shadows, more than half of the world's population will identify itself as being of spiritual Israel, not realizing that it is deceived, that it is in slavery to demons, that it is in spiritual Egypt/Babylon. And again, the frightening aspect of this is that even after a third of humanity is killed when the king of the South is loosed, humanity will still not quit worshiping idols and demons (Rev 9:20). Only a third of spiritual Israel will turn to Christ and accept His reign in their lives. The other two-thirds will think Christ reigns in their lives, but they will practice lawlessness, thereby rejecting Him and grieving the Holy Spirit, the very Breath of God. This two-thirds will believe the sermons they have been preaching as Satan's ministers of righteousness. They have swallowed a lie, and their vanity will not allow them to admit they have been deceived. As a result, they are actually dangerous to genuine spiritual Israelites. They will brandish their tattoo of the cross [Chi xi stigma] as their authority for persecuting those who believe Christ unto obedience. They will preach about being anointed, but their anointing isn't from Christ but from their slave master, Satan, himself, as the spiritual antiChrist.
Three analogies are in play. One analogy has the entire history of physical Israel being the shadow of spiritual Israel. The second analogy has physical Israel leaving Egypt as the shadow of an individual Christian leaving sin and reaching glorification. The third analogy has physical Israel leaving Egypt as the shadow of spiritual Israel leaving spiritual captivity. All three shadows are simultaneously valid, where applicable. The remnant of spiritual Israel that left the spiritual nation's Babylonian captivity is the reality of the return of a remnant of the house of Judah to Jerusalem. From that escaped physical remnant came the nation to which Jesus came; from that escaped spiritual remnant comes the nation to which the glorified Christ will come. And what happened to the majority of the house of Judah—those Jews who stayed in Babylon—isn't part of inspired Scripture, for what has been inspired is those events that pertain to the history of spiritual Israel, since only a few marginalized sects of Christianity have returned to the doctrines taught by Jesus, John, James, Peter, and Paul. These are those sects who have theologically slipped behind the doctrines taught by denominations using traditional historical exegesis to establish beliefs; these are those sects that have dared to be legalistic, as Jesus was and the original disciples were. Repeating myself, Paul says that his gospel was the same as was taught by the other leading apostles (Gal 2:1-2), and in his same argument, he says that Peter was teaching Gentile converts to live like Judeans (v. 14). Paul doesn't condemn Peter for what Peter was teaching Gentiles, but rather, he condemns Peter for not having the courage to stay with these Gentile converts when the circumcision faction showed up from Jerusalem. And these Gentile converts were no longer Gentiles (1 Corth 12:2), but had been grafted into Christ, thereby becoming spiritual Israelites. They were not physical Israelites after the manner of the flesh, nor were they of the world. They were not spiritual Gentiles. Rather, they were a new creation, a people who had not formerly existed, a people without geographical borders or physically identifying characteristics, a people who had been made into a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people (1 Peter 2:9). They were, they are spiritual Israel. And the first disciples taught this new nation to live like Judeans, to keep the laws of God that had been written on their hearts and minds when they received the Holy Spirit, to do all that is written in the Book of Deuteronomy. The physical sacrifices pertained to physical Israel. The Levitical priesthood was for physical Israel, which had been made into a holy nation when it agreed to keep the living words of YHWH spoken from atop Sinai, and to keep the covenant given to them by Moses. This covenant had no sacrifices, and they broke this covenant forty days later. Sacrifices were then added in lieu of YHWH wiping out the nation and starting over with Moses.
God doesn't break covenant, but He will put you in the position where you take yourself out of the covenant. When physical Israel broke covenant with Him, He eventually put the nation away as a husband puts an adulterous wife away. But the covenant remained in effect, and those Israelites who would obey Him by faith received life (i.e., eternal life). However, that covenant had to end so a new covenant could be made. YHWH was the Covenantor. He came as the man Jesus to physical Israel, spoke in parables so He wouldn't be understood, didn't come as how Israel expected its Messiah to come—and Israel killed the Covenantor, thereby ending the covenant, which it had broken from the beginning. Jesus couldn't come as a man until He knew the nation would kill Him.
Concerning the third of the three analogies, let us see what else we can determine about what will happen when the spiritual firstborns are killed:
Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his officials and all the Egyptians; and there was a loud cry in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead. Then he summoned Moses and Aaron in the night, and said, "Rise up, go away from my people, both you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord, as you said. Take your flocks and your herds, as you said, and be gone. And bring a blessing on me too!" (Exod 12:29-32).
Was physical Israel worshiping YHWH prior to when Moses and Aaron, analogous to the two witnesses of Revelation 11, began to interact with Pharaoh? Certainly they prayed to YHWH, for He says, "'I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians'" (Exod 3:7-8). There isn't, though, any indication that these physical Israelites knew how to worship YHWH in truth and sincerity. They had lost knowledge of the Sabbath and of the calendar, of the High Days and of the new moons. They knew nothing about all of those things that we identify as pertaining to Judah except circumcision. Everything had to be taught to them. All they had retained from the patriarch Israel was knowledge that there was a God who heard their prayers. And this about summarizes the knowledge spiritual Israel has, today, retained of God the Father and His Messiah.
Yes, spiritual Israel has lost knowledge of the Sabbath and of the calendar, of the High Days and new moons. Even though they read what Jesus said about keeping the commandments (Matt 5:19); even though they know what day the Sabbath is and that the High Day are the festivals of the Lord; even though they have the recorded example of Paul keeping the Fast and preaching on the Sabbath; even though they read that those who know God keep the commandments (1 John 2:4); even though they know that the definition of sin is not keeping the laws of God (1 John 3:4); even though they know that because of an increase in lawlessness the love of many will grow cold (Matt 24:11); even though they know that the saints are those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the faith/testimony of Jesus (Rev 14:21 & 12:17) — spiritual Israel, today, with very few exceptions, is as ignorant of God and of His covenant as were the enslaved Israelites in Egypt. Spiritual Israel is growing rapidly in numbers and will shortly include more than half of the world's population; again, physical Israel outnumbered the Egyptians before the nation was liberated (Exod 5:5). Physical Israel worked very hard for its slave masters. Likewise, spiritual Israel works very hard for its slave master, especially in doing the good works of rescuing the physically needy, thereby making every social schema of demons appear more successful than it intrinsically is. Spiritual Israel does do physical good works. Mother Theresa did good works, actually, very good works. But these works are on the physical plane, where I, too, need to do good works. On the spiritual plane, spiritual Israel shills for Satan. Its works are of straw and will be burned up. A person needs to understand that on the spiritual plane, the person doesn't accumulate much treasure in heaven when the person keeps planting Russian thistle and red-rooted pigweed in Christ's wheat fields. It is good that the person feeds the hungry. But when bellies are full, why do these ministers of righteousness then spiritually poison, with doctrines of lawlessness, those whom they have fed? What is this need on their part to save the world physically while poisoning it spiritually?
So all of this can be properly set in sequence, after the spiritual firstborn are killed, which, again, includes the first great horn of the spiritual king of Greece, spiritual Israel will be cast out of the world, and the nation will come out with a high hand until the man of perdition comes after the nation, as Pharaoh came after Moses and the ancient Israelites. Timewise, we are (said with the caveat that this is our best understanding at this time, February 2003) addressing the period between 1335 and 1260 days before Christ returns as the all powerful Messiah, with the man of perdition declaring himself God on day 1290. There will be so much killing that death becomes a sanitation problem as the kings of the North and South square off. Christ will have turned His hand against two-thirds of spiritual Israel (Zech 13:7-8). With the king of the South killing a third of humanity, and with half of the world identifying itself as Christian, and with Christ turning His hand against two-thirds of the holy ones, the majority of all those killed in this period could be self-identified Christians. So not believing God, not returning to the covenant relationship disciples were placed in when drawn, not keeping the laws of God that have been written on hearts and minds is very serious business. God intends to use spiritual Israel to harvest humanity, but the Body of Christ has to learn the basics, lost these many centuries that spiritual Israel has been enslaved by Satan. And until liberated, the majority of spiritual Israel will label keeping the basics as being legalistic. Well, guess what, each spiritual Israelite will become legalistic, or he or she will perish.
The Father didn't write His laws on your heart and mind for you to ignore them. I cannot say this too loudly, too often, or too strongly. You must, by faith, believe God unto obedience by observing His laws and decrees. If you want eternal life, you must do what you know is right—and if you are a drawn disciple, you must keep the commandments to the best of your knowledge. Hypocrisy will keep you out of the kingdom of God. Besides, who are you going to fool when God knows your thoughts?
During the night of what was the 15th of the first month, Pharaoh sent Israel away so Israel could worship God. The first High Day or holy convocation of Unleavened Bread is a memorial to God bringing Israel out of slavery. It is also a memorial to when Christ will lead all of spiritual Israel out of bondage to Satan and to sin. Again, two creations commenced in Gen 1:26, but only one actually began at that time (1:27). The other began when the Breath of the Father descended upon Jesus after His baptism. So the High Days are memorials to when God intervened in first the physical creation, then in the spiritual creation. This duality is easiest seen with Pentecost, which I will address shortly. But it will be widely seen and understood when spiritual Israel is liberated from bondage to Satan.
There is a second High Day and holy convocation at the end of the week of Unleavened Bread, but before an Israelite arrives at what that High Day memorializes, the Israelite must live sin free. Leavening or yeast represents the insidious nature of sin. The Apostle Paul writes, "Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, as you really are unleavened. For our paschal [Passover] lamb, Christ has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Corth 5:6-8). Before I proceed, someone will say that eating unleavened bread for a week isn't necessary since all we need to do is keep the festival with sincerity and truth. First, a person cannot keep the festival—Paul commanded these spiritual Israelites at Corinth to keep the festival—and eat leavened breads of any kind. What constitutes keeping the festival is not eating leavened products. A physical Israelite only had to abstain from eating leavened bread, but, according to Paul, a spiritual Israelite must add sincerity and truth to not eating that which represents malice and evil. So, with Paul's unambiguous command to keep the festival, there should be no argument about whether the festival is kept.
If a spiritual Israelite doesn't keep Unleavened Bread, the person makes Paul a liar, and Christ a tyrant. The person refuses to be ruled by Christ, and this person will be slain by Christ when He returns.
Spiritual Israelites are sin free, or unleavened, because Christ has been sacrificed; Christ is our Passover lamb, killed when the paschal lamb would have been killed. Spiritual Israelites are made sin free without consultation. They aren't asked whether they want to be drawn by the Father. No one, at this time, comes to Christ without being drawn by the Father (John 6:44, 65). Rather, a person is selected by the Father from the world and spiritually modified by having the laws of God written on his or her heart and mind, which causes the person to know God and to have his or her sins forgiven. The person is selected to have an out-of-season relationship with God the Father; the person is hired to do the job of proclaiming the mighty deeds of Christ to the world (1 Peter 2:9). The person is made part of a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people—and the person still hasn't been asked what the person thinks about receiving a seed of the Holy Spirit. The person has experienced the spiritual meaning of predestination.
The physical and spiritual creations began four millennia or so apart, but the spiritual will catch up with the physical 1290 days before Christ returns as the all powerful Messiah. It is then when the demonic king of the North possesses a man and declares himself God. He might well have possessed this man for some period of time, but he waits until he occupies physical Jerusalem before he makes his declaration of divinity. This is 45 days after spiritual Israel has been liberated from spiritual Egypt, and 30 days before those counted worthy will be protected, physically and spiritually, because both creations are again in play.
In the physical creation, the last High Day of Unleavened Bread is the memorial to the escape of the 144,000 saints, of the splitting of the Mount of Olives as pictured in Zechariah 14 when the saints "shall flee by the valley of the Lord's Mountain" (v. 5). It memorializes the conclusion of the time of the Gentiles, when the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of the Most High and His Messiah (Rev 11:15).
For most of the thirty years since I was baptized into the Body of Christ, the place of safety has been the object of more prophetic speculation than anything else. When Herbert Armstrong identified Britain and the United States as being the endtime descendants of Joseph, it seemed probable that the 144,000 represented real numbers from real tribes, especially when he had only a few thousand followers. For him, then, the place of safety was Petra, the ancient rock city in the Jordanian desert. But when the number of his disciples began to approach 144,000, as with other marginalized sects, some modifications to his teachings needed to be made. These modification resulted in the sect's leadership saying that it didn't know where the place of safety was, nor did it know if the 144,000 is a real number.
Well, the 144,000 is a real number, and it represents the number of Israelites who will be physically protected on, or in Mt. Zion. The number of spiritual Israelites who will be protected are "a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages" (Rev 7:9); and they will be protected "before the throne and before the Lamb" (same verse). And here, wisdom is required.
In the first Exodus, Egypt or sin was swallowed by the Red Sea. This event is remembered in the Song of Moses: "Pharaoh's chariots and his army he cast into the sea;/ his picked officers were sunk in the Red Sea./ The floods covered them;/ they went down into the depths like a stone./ Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power—/ your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy" (Ex 15:4-6).
In the future exodus, the flood that Satan sends after the woman or church will be swallowed by the earth: "Then from his mouth the serpent poured water like a river after the woman, to sweep her away with the flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman; it opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth" (Rev 12:15-16). This event is also prophesied in the Song of Moses: "You stretched out your right hand,/ the earth swallowed them./ In your steadfast love you led the people whom you redeemed;/ you guided them by your strength to your holy abode./ . . . You brought them in and planted them on the mountain of your own possession,/ the place, O Lord, that you made your abode,/ the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands have established" (Ex 15:12-13 & 17).
In Zechariah 14, physical people shall flee "as [they] fled from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah" (v. 5). This is not Christ returning with a heavenly host when the saints in glorified bodies are to meet Him in the air. Rather, this is Christ fighting "on a day of battle" (v. 3 — note, the indefinite article is used) to take the saints to the place of safety He has prepared for them.
Everything about this scenario is physical. Remember, the physical and spiritual creations are joined for 30 days. If those days were not shortened, no flesh would be saved alive. But those days will be shortened by Christ coming to fight as on a day of battle. Michael stands up against Satan (Rev 12:7-9; Dan 12:1). Satan is cast out of heaven. He sends the armies of the man of perdition against the saints, and Christ deals this man of perdition a deadly wound by splitting the Mount of Olives, then causing the mountain to swallow those armies when they follow the escaping saints into the wide valley that has formed. These saints are Israelites exiting physical Jerusalem. Their tribal identify is stated. They are not Gentile converts who have become spiritual Israelites. Rather they are physical Israelites who have been grafted onto the true vine. They are not the remnant of spiritual Israel who have been living in spiritual Jerusalem, nor are they the majority of spiritual Israel that have been liberated for ten weeks or so.
Two places of safety: one with the geographical coordinates of Mt. Zion. The other with the theological coordinates of the Church in Philadelphia. In the first, physical Israelites learn to follow Christ, learn the theological coordinates of Christ. In the second, saints are protected in situ and live physically by faith. Satan will go after those spiritual Israelites who aren't in spiritual Jerusalem. There will be many martyrs as Satan tries, through intimidation, to recapture his former slaves. But those Israelites who are counted worthy by living sin or leaven free for that symbolic week will have safety in Christ. They will be, daily, before the throne of God with praises.
To rehash all of the above, there are two groups of Israelites who will go into places of safety. One group consists of 144,000 physical Israelites who become spiritual Israelites and who will be on or in Mt. Zion; their place of safety has geographical coordinates. The other and by far larger group will consist of spiritual Israelites who doctrinally live in and around spiritual Jerusalem, a city without geographical coordinates. These Israelites will be protected in situ. But distance here is a problem: the farther away theologically spiritual Israelites are from spiritual Jerusalem, the more difficulties these Israelites will have enduring until Christ returns. Christ comes to spiritual Jerusalem, why He will literally circle the world on His return, before He comes to physical Jerusalem and Armageddon to do a whole lot of killing.
Satan, who has been cast down from heaven, thinks of Jerusalem only in the terms of a city with geographical coordinates. Too many spiritual Israelites will also think of Jerusalem only in a geographical sense. These spiritual Israelites will find themselves in direct conflict with Satan, who has come as the true antiChrist. That conflict will be unequal, and could have been avoided. They will most likely be killed, whereas they could have received protection in spiritual Jerusalem, not that the second half of Tribulation will be easy for anyone to endure here on earth. God the Father will pour out His wrath on the world, with those individuals whom He liberated and who then chose to return to slavery by accepting the mark of the beast receiving special torment.
So the first High Day of Unleavened Bread memorializes the first and second Exodus of Israel (physical and spiritual) from slavery, and the second High Day of Unleavened Bread memorializes Christ taking these saints to a place of safety after the saints have lived sin free for a week. Again, there is a physical place of safety, and a spiritual place of safety, both of which are at or near their respective Jerusalems. Many of the Psalms address these places of safety, and this subject is one worthy of further exploration as its approach nears. And these saints must live sin free for some period of time before they arrive at that second High Day. If these liberated saints continue to practice lawlessness, they will experience the same wrath of God the Father that the world experiences.
All of the world will be liberated from slavery to sin when Christ comes to fight on a day of battle, when the time of the Gentiles ends. The open salvation about which Joel prophesied now occurs 1260 days before Christ returns as the all-powerful Messiah. Humanity is now called in, "'Come out of her, my people'" (Rev 18:4). All peoples finally belong to Christ. All of humanity can come to Christ. That large portion of spiritual Israel who have themselves just been liberated will be their teachers, with a ratio of one teacher to two or three students. The shame will be that many newly liberated spiritual Israelites will return to slavery by accepting the mark of the beast (Chi xi stigma, or the tattoo of Xx, or the tattoo of Christ's cross), and will become agents of Satan in persecuting those liberated individuals whom they should be teaching.
Bear with me one more time: saints are those individuals who "keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus" (Rev 12:17 & Rev 14:12). Saints are told to pray that they are worthy to escape the things to come. Some will be. These saints will have, through their spiritual modification of having the law of God written on their hearts, put sin out of their lives for long enough that they are accounted worthy to escape to a place of safety. The week of living without leaven is the shadow of living sin free, so the High Day at the beginning of the week portrays leaving sin or Egypt behind and the High Day at the end of the week portrays being accounted worthy to enter the place of rest, a place prepared by Christ, with the then immediate example of 144,000 escaping to Mt. Zion. During Unleavened Bread, days two through six are the shadow of my life today: sin is lawlessness. I cannot ignore the law and live sin free. Neither can you. Saying, Lord, Lord, doesn't make me sin-free. So don't make the mistake of thinking you have nothing to do because Christ did it all. That is a bad mistake; that is eating yeast breads during Unleavened Bread. After we take the New Testament Passover, Unleavened Bread shadows us living sin-free as Christ did. Because we can't, grace is necessary to blot out our transgressions. But to deliberately sin places one in peril.
Allow me to back up and take the other approach, and show the other analogy: Joshua wrote, "Now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of the [spring barley] harvest" (3:15); and, "The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month" (4:19), when the Passover lamb would have been selected and penned. Then, between when the lamb was selected and when it was sacrificed, Joshua was commanded to circumcise all of the Israelites who had been born those forty years the nation had wandered in the wilderness; for, though "all the people who had come out [of Egypt] had been circumcised, yet all the people born on the journey through the wilderness after they had come out of Egypt had not been circumcised" (5:5). And after the people were circumcised, symbolic of being made into Israelites, they kept the Passover: "While the Israelites were camped at Gilgal they kept the passover in the evening on the fourteenth day of the month in the plains of Jericho" (5:10).
Under the new covenant, physical circumcision is of no value, and spiritual Israelites would have received circumcised hearts and minds before they crossed the Jordan, before entering the promised land or Christ. Thus, the flint knife circumcision of Joshua is the shadow of spiritual Israelites living as Judeans in Christ.
In the analogy of Israel leaving Egypt, crossing the Red Sea dryshod was analogous to baptism (1 Corth 10:1-2), but in the analogy of spiritual Israel being made a party to the second covenant and receiving circumcised hearts and minds prior to crossing the Jordan, crossing dryshod doesn't symbolize baptism. Taking the Passover in the promised land symbolizes baptism. Christ is spiritual Israel's Passover lamb. He is penned in Jerusalem on the 10th day of the first month, and sacrificed on the 14th day. Life in Christ, then, is the reality of living in the promised land, but this life isn't merely inviting Christ to live in a disciple's heart and mind. It is laying down a person's life just as Christ laid down His. Baptism represents actual physical death, with being raised from the baptismal waters representing the physical resurrection that will occur in the great White Throne Judgment. Judgment is now upon the disciple (1 Peter 4:17), who will live as if he or she were a circumcised Judean, as if his foreskin had been clipped by a flint knife between day 10 and day 14 of the first month.
The circumcision in the promised land of those physical Israelites born in the wilderness directly shadows how spiritual Israelites will live in Christ. These are Israelites who had previously identified themselves as being the people of God, and who had been placed in second covenant relationships with God, but who were not living in Christ as Israelites but living as spiritual Gentiles. They are those who claimed they were Jews, but lied (Rev 3:9). But they will be made into true Israelites by beginning to live in Christ as Christ lived just prior to when that liberating Passover occurs 1335 days before Christ returns as the all powerful Messiah. Ezekiel's forehead was made harder than flint (Ezek 3:9). His forehead, my forehead has been set against the house of Israel. Ezekiel was not sent to a people of obscure speech, but to the house of Israel. Physical Israel didn't listen to him because the nation would not listen to God—and you, spiritual Israel, will not listen to me today because you will not listen to God. But that will all change as we approach the middle of seven years of tribulation. So remember my words, and remember that houses await you in spiritual Jerusalem.
I wrote the sentence, "My reading of Scripture has Pentecost as the memorial of called-out Body of Christ receiving the Holy Spirit" (A Philadelphia Apologetic), a year ago. The sentence reflected what I had been taught, and what is taught to most disciples. Pentecost is the High Day recognized by many new covenant fellowships of faith. It is understandable because meaning can be assigned to it. And I dare venture that I could ask two hundred pastors of various churches the question, When did Jesus' disciples receive the Holy Spirit, and all two hundred would say, on Pentecost. But all of spiritual Israel has been mistaught.
Moses instructed Israel,
And from he day after the sabbath, from the day on which you bring the sheaf of the elevation offering, you shall count off seven weeks; they shall be complete. You shall count until the day after the seventh sabbath, fifty days; then you shall present an offering of new grain to the Lord. . . . On that same day you shall make a proclamation; you shall hold a holy convocation; you shall not work at your occupations. (Lev 23:15-16, 21)
Some controversy exists within physical Israel about from which sabbath counting should begin. The Pharisees (and rabbinical Jews today) began counting from the first High Day, while the Sadducees began counting from the weekly Sabbath that occurred during Unleavened Bread. But spiritual Israel has the reality of the resurrected Jesus being the Wave Sheaf offering, so no such controversy should exist for disciples. Jesus was accepted on the first day of the week, the day after the weekly Sabbath. So Pentecost [meaning fifty] occurs seven weeks later, on the first day of the week.
When I realized that physical/spiritual shadowing existed, I could see the fullness of what the Apostle Paul writes, "Thus it is written, 'The first man, Adam, became a living being'; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual" (1 Corth 15:45-46). Elohim (singular in usage) created Adam, listened as Adam named the animals, then when no helpmate was found for Adam, caused a deep sleep to fall over Adam; and from a wound in his aide, Elohim made Eve and presented Eve to Adam. God the Father sent His Breath [Pneuma] down in the form of a dove to rest on Jesus when Jesus rose out of His watery baptismal grave as if resurrected physically. At this moment, Jesus is born from above as a new creature, just as Adam was dust made into a new creature. Jesus then names the animals: He calls the Pharisees some unflattering names. No helpmate is found for this newly created spiritual Jesus. A deep sleep—three days in the grave—falls over Him. He awakens, and I would expect the second Eve to be here presented. So with fresh eyes, I returned to Scripture, and I found, "When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week [Ascension], and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them . . . he breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'" (John 20:19-22). The Holy Spirit/Pneuma is the Breath of God. When the glorified Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, Receive the Holy Pneuma, that is exactly what happened. It is here where the second Eve is created. What happened at that day of Pentecost is that the second Eve was filled with the Holy Spirit as a wife is filled by her husband. She conceived three thousand disciples that day. The fifty days is the time of spiritual purification. And the shadow of YHWH speaking living words from atop Sinai on that first day of Pentecost becomes the reality of the disciples speaking living words to those who would become spiritual Israel.
So Pentecost is not the memorial of receiving the Holy Spirit, but the memorial of firstfruits, exactly how it was portrayed by Moses. Just as physical Israel was to become the first of many nations when Israel heard YHWH's living words, the three thousand were to become the fist of many heirs when they heard the living words spoken by the disciples. This analogy makes the spirit-filled disciples the equivalent to YHWH, which is the reality of what sonship through adoption is about. Glorified saints are adopted into the family of God, hereby becoming Elohim themselves.
Let us back up a minute and look at what YHWH said from atop Sinai: He gave the Ten Commandments. When physical Israelites heard these spoken commandments uttered by the Breath of YHWH, sound entered their minds and hearts through their ears. Literally, the commandments of God had been placed inside them. Unfortunately, Israel didn't like what the nation heard, and asked that YHWH not speak to the nation again. Israel ran away from the commandments of YHWH as fast as they could.
Under the new covenant, the laws of God are written on hearts and minds (Jer 31:33; Heb 8:10 & 10:16), which is, again, another expression for saying that drawn disciples receive the Holy Spirit—the Holy Spirit in a person causes the person's heart and mind to become circumcised through the writing of God's laws on that heart and that mind; plus, it causes the person to know God, and to have the person's sins forgiven, necessary before a person can be reconciled to God the Father. Again, in the spiritual reality of the shadow, the Breath of God inside a person causes the laws of God to be written on hearts and minds. Just as the uttered commandments of God entered physical Israelites through their ears, the Breath of God enters spiritual Israelites and causes hearts and minds to become circumcised. A disciple cannot practice lawlessness and not grieve the Holy Spirit. Lawlessness is, in actuality, the purging of the Holy Spirit from the person. God didn't put His laws, His Breath, inside a person to have the person tell Him that the person doesn't have to keep the commandments, and all of the Book of Deuteronomy. And what we see is spiritual Israel running away from God, and from keeping the commandments of God almost as fast as physical Israel ran away from God. Lawlessness was already a serious problem in the Body of Christ before the Apostle John wrote his epistles. The forty days between when YHWH spoke the commandments from atop Sinai and the gold calf sort of cast itself (what Aaron told Moses) become forty years between the original disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and when the theology of lawlessness swept through spiritual Israel.
You, spiritual Israel, will be liberated from slavery to Satan, from deception (Rev 12:9), when the second Exodus begins after the spiritual reality of the Passover occurs. You will be taught, just as physical Israel was through receiving manna, what day is the Sabbath, and how to set up the calendar, and when the High Days are. You will be delivered from Pharaoh when Christ comes to fight on a day of battle, when the earth swallows the armies of the beast. But you don't have to wait until then to escape from Satan. You can escape today, if you will begin to observe the laws of God that are written on your hearts and minds.
Ignorance of the law will seldom excuse you from a traffic ticket—and how can you plead ignorance when the laws of God are within you, when you carry with you in the Bible the Book of Deuteronomy, which is the witness against you (Deu 31:26)? Really, you cannot plead ignorance, can you? You can plead unbelief, the reason the generation of physically liberated Israelites didn't enter the promised land (Heb 3:19). You can plead disobedience (Heb 4:6), what unbelief becomes. But you cannot plead ignorance, when the law is not far from you (Rom 10:6-8; Deu 30:11-14). You can argue that you really didn't understand the choices that were being presented to you (Deu 30:15, 19), but that will be a hard case to make when God told Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and you have seen the results of Adam believing his eyes, Eve, and the serpent over his Creator. So, why wait for the spiritual Passover and the killing of firstborns before you leave Babylon? Why wait when you can leave spiritual Babylon today? It's not too late to repent, and return to the covenant agreement in which you were placed when you were drawn from the world. If I were you, I'd run toward Christ; I wouldn't walk. And I wouldn't stop until you bring enough others back into covenant with God that your sins are covered. Then judgment won't be something to fear.
Judgment is now upon all of spiritual Israel, not the world. Osama bin Laden isn't today under judgment, but the leaders of spiritual Israel are under judgment, with what Jesus said about "'whoever breaks one of the least of the commandments and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven'" (Matt 5:19) being the basis for the judgment of these leaders. And with that as the judging criteria, the teachers and leaders of spiritual Israel can see how they will fare in their judgment.
You know where you stand, correct? You aren't part of the first who will be last, or least, are you? If you are, come, let us reason together.
* * * *