November 8, 2008
Printable/viewable PDF format for browsers that do not support Greek or Hebrew characters
“Another Law Waging War”
The Apostle Paul wrote, “So I find it to be a law [<`:@<] that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand” (Rom 7:21). He adds, “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members” (vv. 22–23). And elsewhere he writes, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. … Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Cor 12:12, 27).
Individually and collectively, disciples are the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16–17; 2 Cor 6:16); individually and collectively, disciples are the Body of Christ. Jesus said, when He cleansed Herod’s temple at Passover in the first year of His ministry, “‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up’” (John 2:19). Three years later, when before Caiaphas and facing death, the only testimony made against Jesus that held a hint of truth was that of two men who said, “‘This man said, “I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days”’” (Matt 26:61). And after Jesus’ resurrection, His disciples remembered what Jesus had said about rebuilding the temple in three days, and they believed Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken (John 2:22); for they were then the temple of God, rebuilt when after three days in the grave the glorified Jesus breathed on ten of them and said, “‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld’” (John 20:22–23). The power to forgive sins and the power to withhold forgiveness is the power of the Christ, and of the temple.
The glorified Jesus is the Christ, but He is not without a body: individually, the glorified Jesus is the Christ and was throughout His earthly ministry the temple of God, the temple that could be destroyed when Jesus drove the moneychangers from Herod’s temple … here is a previously lacking awareness: the temple to which Jesus referred when answering the Jews at Passover was Himself as the temple of God. He was not referring to the templeness or temple-like quality of His body, or to the sanctity of His body, how modern English translators render John 2:21; rather, He referred to the sanctuary that was Him, or was His body. He was then the temple of God. The stone structure Herod ordered built housed neither the Ark of the Covenant nor the Mercy Seat nor the Urim and Thummim. Even on Yom Kipporim, God wasn’t present in Herod’s temple. But God-the-Father was in the man Jesus when the Father’s divine breath descended as a dove to light and remain on Jesus, thereby causing the man Jesus to form the fractal image of every disciple; i.e., the image of every person born of spirit and who walks as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6), or imitates Paul as he followed Jesus (1 Cor 11:1; Phil 3:17). The Christian who does not walk as Jesus walked, even if born of spirit, is not one with Christ and is not of Christ.
When Jesus, approximately six months after beginning His earthly ministry, entered Herod’s temple at Jerusalem, He was both the only Son of the Logos who was Theos and who was in the beginning with the Theon, and He was the firstborn Son of the Theon … in Greek Theos is the nominative case of the root /The/ and Theon is the accusative case of the same root /The/, so linguistically the Logos is not distinguishable from the One He was with in the beginning, the foremost argument made by Trinitarians for a triune deity. But the Logos is also not linguistically distinguishable from Zeus or from Hermes or from any male deity of the Greek pantheon: all are Theos when named in the nominative case and all are Theon when named in the accusative case. But neither the Most High nor the Logos is Zeus. Both are structurally separate from all of the gods of the pantheon, the point Paul makes on Mar’s Hill (Acts 17:22–31) when referring to the glorified Jesus. Therefore, the point John makes to begin his gospel is that as the Logos is structurally separate from the Greek pantheon, the Logos is structurally separate from the Theon (1:1–3), with this structural separateness coming from the Logos being with [µ< BDÎH — was with] the Theon, a juxtaposition that precludes the Logos being the one [as in numerical singleness] with whom He was with—and this separateness existed in the beginning and continues to exist, with the two being one in unity and being of one spirit as the first Adam and the first Eve were one flesh (Gen 2:24) and as a man and a woman were intended to be one in marriage (Matt 19:3–9).
· In marriage, a man is not the woman, nor is the woman the man even through both are to be one flesh as the first Adam and the first Eve were one flesh.
· A disciple is not the man Jesus even though the disciple is to be one with the Father and the Son as the Son is one with the Father (John 17:20–23).
· Jesus is not the Father even though to see Jesus was to see the Father (John 14:8–11), for Jesus formed a fractal image of the Father as disciples are to form fractal images of Jesus when disciples walk as Jesus walked, and utter Jesus’ words as He uttered the Father’s words.
When Jesus entered the temple to cleanse it that first time, He was the only Son of the Logos, the God who created everything physically made (John 3:16), and He was the firstborn Son of the Most High, who gives spiritual life or life in the heavenly realm to things made, whether these things made be angels or the sons of the first Adam, made by the Logos from red mud. So the temple of stone at Jerusalem was the house of the Logos, who was Theos and who was with the Theon in the beginning. It would have been lawful for Jesus, the only Son of the Logos, to drive the moneychangers from His [as in His father’s] house, something the Logos did when He took His glory from the temple in the days of the prophet Ezekiel (chap 10). So when Jesus told the Jews, “‘Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade’” (John 2:16), Herod’s temple was the house of the Logos, now born as the man Jesus, and Jesus was the temple of the Father, the Most High God and the Ancient of Days. So in this one scene is the duality that Israel, naturally circumcised and spiritually circumcised, has never well understand: the icon phrase, “my Father’s house” (v. 16) has as its foremost referent Herod’s temple, whereas the phrase, “this temple” (v. 19), has as its foremost referent Jesus’ body. And while “Jesus’ body” can be understood to also be a referent for my Father’s house, Herod’ temple cannot be understood to be a referent for this temple and still have the utterance believable.
It is Jesus who makes the association that has His body being the temple of God. This association does not originate with Paul, who apparently understood it better than did others. And the point Paul makes is that the disciple who walks as Jesus walked, who imitates Paul as he follows in Jesus’ steps looks like Jesus as He looked like the Father. This disciple is both the temple of God and the Body of Christ—is Christ—but when imitating Paul, the disciple will find that [disciple now used to describe the whole person and not just the new creature of new self] in the disciple’s mind the law of God reigns as Jesus as Head reigns over the Body of Christ. Like Paul, the disciple will find, however, a different law at work in the disciple’s fleshly members, this different law being the law of sin and death. Therefore, Paul in his person becomes a type of the temple and type of “Christ,” Head and Body, with perfection (hopefully) in the mind but with sin still in the body, causing the body/Body to do the very things that the mind/Head hates (Rom 7:15). Thus, individually, Paul represents Christ as an image or type of Christ, Head and Body, in this present era prior to the liberation of the flesh from indwelling sin and death. And each disciple [the word still used for the whole person] whose desire is to walk as Jesus walked looks like Paul, who desired to do right but found himself doing the very things he hated (vv. 18–19).
If a person has freewill, it would seem that when a person wants to do right, the person by exercise of his or her freewill would do right. But this isn’t what Paul finds at work within himself, with himself now forming a type and copy of “Christ,” Head and Body. Rather, he finds that he does what he doesn’t want to do. He finds an inability to control his flesh, and he finds his absence of control to be a law, nomos (nominative case), the same word he uses when he writes that “we know that a person is not justified by the works of the law [<`:@L]” (Gal 2:16), which gives to this “law” the quality of a covenant.
· When alive physically, the entirety of the kingdom of God resided in the personhood of Jesus of Nazareth.
· Within the personhood of the man Jesus was the then fullness of “Christ,” the anointed holy one of God who will reign over the kingdom of this earth.
· Within the head and body of the man Jesus was the fullness of the temple of God.
· But when the glorified Jesus, on the day He ascended to the Father, breathed on ten of His disciples and said, Receive the Holy Spirit, the fullness of “Christ” and the fullness of the temple included these ten disciples as the Body of Christ.
· But the relationship between the Head [the glorified Jesus] and the Body of Christ was now like the relationship between the law of God being in the mind of Paul, but the law of sin and death residing in Paul’s fleshly members.
While on earth and throughout His ministry until He was raised on the cross, Jesus’ earthly body was without sin. But once raised on the cross, Jesus took onto Himself the sins of Israel (and by extension, all of humankind which will eventually become Israel). He became, on the cross, like Paul was when Paul said he didn’t understand his own actions (Rom 7:15a). And it is this crucified image of Jesus on the cross that forms a shadow and type of the Church today: the laws of God are in the mind, but the flesh is in bondage to a covenant made with sin. The flesh needs liberated from this covenant of sin as Israel in Egypt needed physical liberation from a physical king in a physical land that formed a shadow and copy of sin. And as Israel in Egypt had to wait until the fullness of years was completed (Ex 12:40–41), spiritually circumcised Israel has to wait until the fullness of the Gentiles come to God (Rom 11:25), and until the fullness of the years have passed, with the 430 years that Israel was in Egypt being a type of the fullness of the years that must pass between Noah and baptism of the earth into death by water, and Christ and the baptism of the earth into life by the spirit being poured out on all flesh.
(Although multiplying the 430 years by 10 might give a time for the fullness of death to be completed, with this period bringing disciples into the first half of the 21st Century, there is no authority or justification yet found in Scripture for doing so; so how to read the example is not today determinable but will be once the second Passover liberation of Israel occurs, with the Church leaving sin on or about the 17th day of the second month.)
If Paul is unable to do what he is determined to do, his failure to rule over what he hates becomes the negation of freewill, which said more simply is nothing more than Paul’s inability to do right when Paul chooses to do right. And if a person cannot do right even when the person desires to do so, the person is in bondage to disobedience and is a slave to sin, with sin being lawlessness (1 John 3:4), and with this bondage coming via a “law” or covenant typified by the law of Moses (John 7:23).
Paul identifies disciples as former sons of disobedience created for good works:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:1–10)
Once the Father draws a person from this world (John 6:44, 65), this person having been a son of disobedience, consigned to disobedience (Rom 11:32) because of the sin of the first Adam (Rom 5:12), the person receives life through receipt of the divine breath of the Father: the person has now been born of spirit. But death continues to reign in the flesh—and death reigns because of indwelling sin. Without sin, there would be no death (Rom 6:23). So a person can be assured that a different law reigns over the fleshly body of a “Christian,” a body that will die, than reigns over or in the mind of the person who mentally walks as Jesus walked. And it is failure to understand this separation of the new self from the flesh that prevents Christendom from truly understanding what Paul writes in his epistles.
The fleshly body of Paul now forms a shadow and type of the Body of Christ, the Church, with sin and death reigning in the Church as sin and death reigned in Paul’s members, with the linguistic icon “members” referencing to Paul’s arms and hands, legs and feet, as well as to individual Christians within the Church.
Paul makes the above association:
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together (1 Cor 12:14–26).
And here is what genuine disciples have lacked understanding: sin reigns in the members of the Body of Christ as sin reigned in the members of Paul’s body, a mystery he did not understand … Paul could not imagine members of the Church living in sin and not desiring to leave sin, but rather, reveling in their sinfulness. Likewise, he couldn’t understand his own inability to rule over his fleshly members, thereby doing the things he hated and not doing what he knew was right. And Sabbatarian disciples have a difficult time imagining Sunday-observing Christians being of the Body of Christ because of the commitment to sin that every Sunday-observing Christian makes, sin being the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4), and by extension, of the Sabbath commandment.
What happened to Paul’s body in which sin continued to reign? It died, did it not? And what will happen to individual Christians in whom sin continues to reign? They will die the second death, will they not? And this is the reality visible Christendom doesn’t want to accept.
Today, the righteousness of the Head covers the Body so that the Body of Christ is also without sin just as the law of God in Paul’s mind covered those things Paul’s body did that he hated so that a disciple is to forgive another disciple (Paul) seven times seventy. This is not easy to accept when the majority of Christendom openly celebrates its transgressions of the law of God. Paul was not willing to accept those things he hated, but pronounced himself a wretched man, typologically representing what Jesus thinks of the Church. Jesus will not accept the sinfulness of the Body of Christ, but will deliver the Body into the hand of Death for the destruction of the flesh—and no Christian will have reasons to complain, for all have come short of the glory of God.
The essence of Judaism is that a person can do right by his or her exercise of freewill. Orthodox Christendom mostly agrees with Judaism, whereas Roman Christendom contends that there is nothing good within a human being, that every person is totally depraved, that Calvary is an absolute necessity. Evangelical Christianity accepts the truism of original sin, but shifts freewill onto a person making a decision for Christ, with this “decision theology” being a fairly recent theological development. So even within the Christian side of the overall tent called People of the Book that includes Judaism and Islam, Calvary exists in opposition to freewill, with visible Christendom displaying little understanding of what Paul writes about when he says, “Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law [<`:ĺ], that it is good” (Rom 7:16).
If the law is good; if “the law [<`:@H] is holy, and the commandment [against coveting] is holy and righteous and good” (Rom 7:12), it was not the law with its righteous commandments that brought death to Paul (vv. 13, 8), but rather, the “law” that negated freewill. It was not the law of Moses that brought death, but the law or covenant that saw Adam driven from the garden of God before he could eat from the Tree of Life. For Paul writes,
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin was indeed in the world before the law [<`:@L] was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgressions of Adam. (Rom 5:12–14)
It is the law of Moses that ends the reign of death over humankind, not Calvary; for on the plains of Moab, in the eternal covenant mediated by Moses (Deut 29:1), the Lord placed before the children of Israel life and death, with the admonishment to choose life (Deut 30:15–20). But choosing life required that Israel make a journey of faith while still in a far land by returning to the Lord, thereby walking in His ways and keeping His commandments and loving the Lord with hearts and minds. And it is failure to make this journey of faith that Paul addresses when he writes, “What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law [<`:@<]. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works” (Rom 9:30–32).
What does it mean to pursue a law by works rather than by faith? The same law is being pursued, but with two paths to the law which, if it must be “pursued,” seems elusive and not easily obtained and certainly not obtainable through “works,” whatever these works are.
Paul could have made endtime disciples’ Bible study easier if he had used other words besides nomos, with its various case endings, for the concepts under discussion are quite simple: by an implied covenant made with the first Adam because of his transgression and the sacrifice of animals to make for him (and for Eve) skin clothing, the Lord consigned all of humankind to disobedience so that He could have mercy upon all (Rom 11:32). The Lord delivered humankind into the hand of the prince of this world for the destruction of the flesh so that the spirit might be saved when judgments are revealed when Christ returns [for the firstfruits], or when judgments are made in the great White Throne Judgment [for the main crop “wheat” harvest of humanity]. And this delivery of humankind to the Adversary was via a covenant made with the Adversary that requires a ransom to be paid for those who are drawn from the world (John 6:44) before the kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of the Father and His Christ (Rev 11:15–18; Dan 7:9–14).
The prophet Isaiah writes,
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life. (43:3–4)
The lives of the firstborn of Egypt was the ransom price paid by the Lord (all firstborns belong to the Lord — Ex 13:1–2) for the liberation of Israel from bondage to a human king that was a type of the prince of this world; thus, the liberation of Israel, now a nation born of spirit, from the law or covenant that Paul finds at work in his fleshly members will require a ransom be paid that equates the lives of men to the lives of beasts in Egypt and the lives of visible Christendom to the lives of Egyptians.
· All firstborns belong to God, specifically to the Creator or to the glorified Jesus.
· The glorified Jesus can use or “spend” the lives of firstborns as He sees fit.
· The Lord used the lives of Egyptian firstborns to pay the ransom price of Israel in bondage in Egypt.
· The Creator used the life of His only Son, the man Jesus, to pay the ransom price of all humanity in this world, for His natural firstborn son, Israel (Ex 4:22), was never without sin except for the man Jesus.
· The “Christ” individually and collectively forms the firstborn son of the Father, with Jesus being the First of this firstborn son, and with His disciples forming the Body or members of Christ.
· When the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17:30), this Son of Man being the “Christ,” those disciples who do not look and act like the Head will not be one with the Head, and will not be of “Christ.”
· These disciples will voluntarily separate themselves from “Christ” by claiming that it is blasphemy for disciples to identify themselves as “Christ.”
Firstborns must be redeemed. Note: it wasn’t Egypt that voluntarily gave up its firstborns in the 10th plague, but God took the lives of these firstborns. Their lives belonged to Him to do with as He saw fit. Their lives did not belong to the prince of this world even though these firstborns did not dwell separately from other men (and women).
Today, firstborns still belong to the Father and the Son, with the Father having redeemed His firstborn son by giving the life of His firstborn Son, the First of the firstfruits, a declarative statement that makes no sense if only heard and not visibly seen. All human beings who have been born of spirit or born of the breath of the Father can be likened to the second son of Adam and to the second son of Abraham and to the second son of Isaac, with the angels now being likened to the eldest sons: Cain, Ishmael, and Esau. Righteous Abel now becomes a type of Jesus, killed by the prince of this world acting through his servants. Israel now becomes sons of Abraham, with the natural nation being likened by Paul to Ishmael and the Church likened to Isaac (Gal 4:21–31). The Church now becomes the two sons of Isaac, with the eldest son being likened to Esau and the younger son likened to Jacob.
The relationship between Ishmael and Isaac forms the type and shadow of the relationship between Judaism and the Church in the 1st-Century, but this relationship disappears after Rome sacks Jerusalem. The relationship that emerged can be likened to that of Esau and Jacob, but nearly twenty centuries will have to pass before Isaac brings forth an Esau and a Jacob. Just as centuries passed within the creation between when (previous to the creation and outside of the creation) the Father created the angels and between when the Father gave spiritual life to the man Jesus via receipt of His divine breath in the form of a dove, centuries have passed between Isaac’s birth and between when Isaac brings forth his two sons. Most of these centuries have passed: the birth of a spiritual Esau and a spiritual Jacob is not far off, but near at hand.
By extrapolation disciples can know a little about the covenant the Lord made with the prince of this world; they know that the Lord withheld from the Adversary, or held back for Himself the firstborns of man and beasts, with the firstborn of men being a type of the firstborn Son of God. The Lord also held back for Himself the lives of angels, so that He can do with them as He sees fit—He “owns” them and as such they are His servants, and they must be redeemed if they are used for any other use other than to serve Him … the firstborn of men and beasts must be redeemed from the Lord if they are to serve either men or the prince of this world; they belong to the Lord, and any use of these firstborn other than as agents of, or agents for God requires redeeming or paying a ransom for them. Those angels who have rebelled must also be redeemed, with the life of the first of these rebelling angels being given for them. So by covenant, the first horn or first king of the king of Greece will lose his life at the second Passover liberation of Israel, now a nation born of spirit. And there is nothing this angel or demonic king can do to alter the covenant or law made when humankind was delivered into the hand of the prince of this world for the destruction of the flesh. All this demonic king can do is hope to prolong the inevitable beyond the fullness of death.
A person does not have freewill. Many will argue otherwise, but they will not obey God; they will not keep the commandments—and they will say that it their choice not to obey God. No, it isn’t! They cannot obey God for they have been delivered to the Adversary and a law now resides within them that prevents obedience. However, when the new creature is born of spirit, it is not born under condemnation but born free to keep the commandments: it has freewill, and has life and death set before it. It is also under obligation to choose either life or death. And once this new creature chooses either life or death, the glorified Jesus sculpts the new creature into a vessel for honored usage or into a vessel of wrath endured for a season but intended for destruction. The Lord will honor the disciple’s choice to such an extent that the disciple loses freewill.
The flesh or tent of flesh in which every new creature dwells has not yet been freed from indwelling sin and death; hence the bodies of disciples have died in a fate common to all human beings. But this will come to an end shortly: when Israel is liberated from indwelling sin and death—when freed from the law Paul found within himself that caused Paul not to do what he desired but to do the things that he hated—every disciple will reign over the tent of flesh in which this son of God dwells. Until then, though, sin will continue to dwell within the flesh of every member of Christ, with “member” used individually and collectively. This is why all of Christendom will be liberated from indwelling sin and death at the second Passover; for the Church is not just those who keep the commandments, or just those who take the sacraments of bread and wine, or just those who take the sacraments at Passover, or just those who take the sacraments on the night Jesus was betrayed. The Church is all of Israel that identifies itself as Christians, and most of the Church will rebel against God 220 days after being liberated from indwelling sin and death. And that’s just the way it is. Nothing can stop this collective rebellion. But individual rebellion can be stopped by the disciple cleansing “himself from what is dishonorable” (2 Tim 2:21).
Since all firstborns belong to God, and since the new creature or new self is the firstborn son of the Father, the lives of these firstborns will be used by the Father to ransom natural Israel from the prince of this world before the kingdom of this world is given to the Most High and His Christ (Rev 11:15). With the exception of the remnant (Rev 12:17) who keep the commandments and hold the testimony of Jesus [i.e., the spirit of prophecy, from Rev 19:10], all of Christendom will either rebel against God or will give their physical lives to God within the first 1260 days of the seven endtime years; for once liberated from sin, every disciple will be an acceptable sacrifice to the Father. But this isn’t what Christendom wants to hear, and it certainly isn’t what those who rebel against God want to hear. It isn’t even what I want to write, but it is true.
Because sin dwells in the members of every disciple, and because every disciple will be as Paul was if the disciple follows Paul as Paul followed Christ Jesus, the second Passover liberation of Israel is an inescapable reality.
* * *
"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."
* * * * *