September 13, 2016
“The Lesson of the Fig Tree”
From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and put out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things [the sun darken and stars fall], you know that He [Christ] is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation [the generation that sees the sun darken and the moon not give off light] will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Matt 24:32–35)
I was across Ugak Bay, Kodiak Island, in May 1983, when green-up occurred—one day the alders and cottonwoods were without signs of life, the next day green tips showed on branches, and within a week alders and salmonberries and a couple of isolated black birch were fully clothed in new leaves, the suddenness of that spring’s arrival taking me by surprise … the lesson of the fig tree has much to do with how suddenly summer will come once leaves arrive on seemingly dormant deciduous trees; how suddenly all of humanity will be thrust into a time of turmoil and trial unlike anything humanity has previously experienced.
In John’s vision, he sees a great sign appear in heaven. He sees a woman “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet” (Rev 12:1), with this woman usually read as Israel. And after the woman gave birth to a male child “who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron” (v. 5), the child was caught up to God and His throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared by God, “in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days” (v. 6) … this wilderness will be here on earth as the physical type and shadow of a second, spiritual wilderness.
If this woman is Israel and if clothed with the sun, there is no place for this woman to hide on earth or under the earth; for the moon will reflect her light so day or night she will be seen. However, if the sun darkens and the moon does not give off its light (Matt 24:29), this woman will be cloaked in darkness and will have become invisible …
When the Adversary is cast from heaven (Rev 12:7–12) and appears on earth as the true Antichrist, this former spiritual king of Babylon will have been given the mind of a man. The woman, with the wings of an eagle, will fly from the Adversary—and he will be unable to capture her; for the wilderness where she will reside is in the heavenly realm … the Adversary will pursue the woman who will, for a second time, be nourished in the wilderness for a time, times, and half a time [another 1,260 days] (Rev 12:14).
In order for Israel to enter the wilderness that is heaven—as the male child, the reality of Israel’s Azazel, entered heaven after being born of spirit—Israel must be born of spirit and must be martyred as the souls [psuchas] that sleep under the alter were killed … the woman isn’t all of Israel, but is “the number of their [the souls’] fellow servants and their brothers” made complete by being “killed as they themselves had been” (Rev 6:11).
The woman is the Elect, the chosen ones. And her offspring are those disciples “who keep the Commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus [that is, that have “the spirit of prophecy” — from Rev 19:10] (Rev 12:17). Her offspring have chosen God, Father and Son, rather than God having first drawn them from this world. Hence, the offspring of the woman are those faithful Israelites who come out of the Affliction as spiritual virgins, regardless of whether they were “Christians” or Jews at the Second Passover.
The death of the flesh does not mean the death of the son of God, born of spirit. This son of God has life in heaven that cannot be lost … life on earth will be lost. So for the born of spirit Elect, there is already a place prepared for them in heaven, this place where their “brothers” sleep under the altar.
Once greater Christendom turns its back to God, and as a duelist, counts its steps away from God, thirty steps, thirty days (the days between Passover and the Second Passover), the “shot” truly heard around the world will be fired by God. Sin will be kneecapped, thus separating Sin from Death. Never again will Sin be able to rundown Christians; rather, Christians will have to go to Sin if they want to commit blasphemy against the spirit of God. And unfortunately, Christians will beat a path to Sin’s door.
But greater Christendom will have a ready excuse for its return to Sin; will excuse its blasphemy against the spirit for its return to Sin will be a return to the traditions of fathers and grandfathers; a return to the faith once delivered; a return of Christ to Christmas, a return to filling pews on Sunday morning. Following the Second Passover liberation of all Christians from indwelling Sin and Death, Christians across the spectrum of greater Christendom will want to get “right” with God, and they will sincerely believe that by returning to the faith once delivered, they will again be in God’s good graces—and that is sad for a return to lawlessness will cost the Christian his or her salvation.
The Apostle Paul wrote (by the hand of Tertius),
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal men and birds and animals and reptiles. (Rom 1:18–23 emphasis added)
God is Light, not a statue, not a corner icon, not the sun, and certainly not a winged bull. But “Light” has no substance, and cannot be nailed to the front of a pulpit. Light cannot even be put in a jar and carried home as if light were lightning bugs. About all that can be done with light is “see” by it.
John’s Gospel says of the Logos [’o Logos], “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4–5).
From a human perspective, darkness seems to have overcome “the light and life of men” by the quantity of time that has passed since Calvary—the one long spiritual night that began at Calvary when the Passover Lamb of God was sacrificed seems to be without end; for humanity has not yet arrived at the midnight hour when all uncovered firstborns, legal and natural, will be suddenly slain to pay the ransom price for greater Christendom. For as the physical death of Christ Jesus, the firstborn Son of God the Father, paid the ransom price for the Elect [those who are the “chosen”], not for all of humanity, not even for all who profess with mouths to be Christians (this is what greater Christendom has never understood), the physical death of all unredeemed firstborns will pay for greater Christendom’s liberation from indwelling Sin and Death, a “buying” of freedom more previous than Christians will understand.
Once free from bondage to Sin and Death, every Christian will be able to walk uprightly before God; will be free to walk in this world as Christ Jesus walked (1 John 2:6). For today, only those who are the Elect (i.e., born of spirit as sons of God and younger siblings of Christ Jesus) are free to walk as Jesus walked, and even then, those who are the Elect still need to be cloaked in the mantle of Christ Jesus’ righteousness as they “practice” walking as Jesus walked.
What Christians within the greater Church have never understood is concealed in what Paul wrote about the Passover—
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night He was betrayed [the dark portion of the 14th day of the first month] took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, “This is my body which is [broken] for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also He took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For everyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. (1 Cor 11:23–30 emphasis added)
Jesus was betrayed on the First Unleavened, the Preparation Day for the great Sabbath of the Sabbath (Unleavened Bread, when leavening represents sin). He was betrayed after He ate the Passover with His disciples—and the Passover isn’t eaten every day, or every Sabbath, or every quarter, or even twice a year. For each Israelite, the Passover is eaten once a year. If not ceremonially “common” or unclean, this was on the dark portion of the 14th day of the first month [Aviv]. If “common” on the 14th day of the first month, then the Passover was eaten on the dark portion of the 14th day of the second month. Either way, it was eaten on only one day a year; for on every other day of the year, bread and wine are the fruit of the earth, Cain’s sacrifice that was not accepted by the Lord. Only on the Passover does bread and wine represent the body and blood of the Lamb of God.
The Christian who eats the Passover sacraments on any day but the Passover HAS NOT DISCERNED THE BODY and profanes the body and blood of Christ Jesus. This Christian eats and drinks judgement onto him or herself.
So does it matter whether a Christian takes the sacraments weekly as Latter Day Saints do, or quarterly as Seven Day Adventists do, or annually on Maundy Thursday? No! In each case, the Christian has profaned the body and blood of Christ. The Christian has mocked Christ, making the sacrifice of His life during the light portion of the First Unleavened of no importance to the Christian. And how do you suspect the Father feels about this mocking of His Firstborn Son? You really don’t want to find out, but most likely you will.
The plan of God is fully incorporated in a year, a harvest year. Sacrifices don’t “roll over” to the next year. Therefore, the Elect take again the symbols of redemption [eating the broken Bread and drinking from the Cup] annually at the Passover. Greater Christendom, however, carries its mocking of Christ over to the next year, year after year. Whereas a Christian could get right with God by examining him or herself and then eating and drinking the Passover sacraments on the Passover regardless of what the Christian did last year, it is the extremely rare Christian that will leave his or her past practices and strive to walk in this world as Jesus walked.
So while the death of unredeemed firstborns will pay the liberation price of greater Christendom so that all Christians will be free to walk in this world as Jesus walked—and Jesus walked as an Observant Jew—this ransom price will not prevent Christians from returning to their present “owner” and slave-master … with very few exceptions, all Christians are bondservants of the Adversary, regardless of how nice or how upright they seem; for they remain unredeemed—they figuratively hide from God when it comes time for them to be redeemed.
What did the Lord command Israel through Moses: “‘Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God at the place that He will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread [Passover], at the Feast of Weeks [Pentecost], and at the Feast of Booths [Succoth]’” (Deut 16:16).
When was the last time greater Christendom appeared before the Lord at Passover? Sometime before the Council of Nicea (ca. 325 CE); for Emperor Constantine told the approximately 300 assembled bishops (out of then 1800 Christian bishops) that Jesus was not crucified twice so Christians shouldn’t keep the Passover but should adopt a new day to celebrate His death and resurrection: Easter [hardly a new holy day].
First, Constantine had bad information about the Passover: he assumed the Jewish descendants of the Pharisees were keeping the Passover the way Moses commanded, and they were not. To this day, rabbinical Judaism doesn’t keep the Passover and Wave Sheaf Offering as Moses commanded.
Matthew’s Jesus tells His disciples to beware of the leaven [teachings] of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matt 16:6). Why? Because of the falseness of the oral Torah, falseness exposed in the days of King Josiah when the lost Book of the Covenant was found in the dilapidated temple, found and read, and the Passover kept the way Moses commanded for the first time in centuries: “And the king commanded all the people, ‘Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.’ For no such Passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, or during the days of the kings of Israel, or the kings of Judah” (2 Kings 23:21–22).
But Josiah’s return to Moses did not outlast him. Immediately after his death, his sons and the House of Judah returned to business as usual; returned to how the Law had been understood during the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah; returned to using the oral Torah; returned to the leavening about which Matthew’s Jesus warned His disciples.
Pharisees and rabbinical Judaism today observe the Passover on the dark portion of the 15th day of the first month, not on the dark portion of the 14th day as was done by Israel in Egypt. Then because of how Pharisees read Joshua, they observed the Wave Sheaf Offering the following day, on the 16th day of the first month, a “fixed” calendar date rather than a “fixed” day of the week. In other words, the dispute between Pharisees and Sadducees that extended from the 2nd-Century BCE to early into the 1st-Century CE had been resolved by the time the author of Matthew’s Gospel wrote, and resolved in the Pharisees’ favor. For when Jesus lived, Sadducees (who didn’t have control of the temple) killed their paschal lambs at the beginning of the 14th day, and then observed the Wave Sheaf Offering on the first day after the weekly Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Therefore, the Wave Sheaf offering and the Feast of Weeks [Pentecost], both, were always on the first day of the week, for us, Sunday. And the Passover was always sacrificed on the First Unleavened (from Matt 26:17 in Greek, without extra words added), the day preceding the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, thereby causing Unleavened Bread to form the mirror image of Succoth, an eight-day observance [the seven days of the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles, plus the Last Great Day] … Unleavened Bread will consist of the First Unleavened followed by the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Again, Emperor Constantine was simply the victim of bad intel. The Passover isn’t about killing two lambs, one on the 15th and one on the 16th (or taking the Seder twice), but about paying the ransom price for Israel on the night of the 14th day of the first month, and about celebrating Israel leaving Egypt, the geographical representation of Sin, on the night of the 15th day, the great Sabbath of the Sabbath (this icon phrase from John 19:31 will have all of Unleavened Bread being “Sabbath”). Within the Church of God, the celebration of leaving sin on the dark portion of the 15th day of the first month has been known for nearly a century as “The Night to be Much Observed.”
If Constantine would have understood the Passover symbolism, he might not have been so quick to jettison Passover observance. But there was greater symbolism in play: as Jesus’ earthly body hung dead on the cross from approximately 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, a period of nearly three hours, the spiritual Body of Christ physically died with the death of John (ca 100–102 CE), who probably died 70 years after Calvary (God quit calling new disciples 40 years after Calvary, a declaration that has been proved in other writings). But as Jesus’ physical body hung dead for all to see, Jesus’ spiritual Body had hung around the Near East, spiritually dead for all to see, for a couple of centuries … it was time to bury the spiritual Body of Christ, and the only effective way to “bury” this spiritual Body was for greater Christendom to cease observing the Passover; to cease taking the Passover sacraments of Bread and the Cup on the Passover. So in Constantine spurring his 300 obedient bishops into abandoning the Passover and adopting Easter, Constantine “buried” the Body of Christ. No one for centuries would have to gaze on this dead corpse.
The spiritual Body of Christ will remain dead until the Second Passover liberation of a second Israel from Sin and Death. The Elect, today, are not part of the Body of the slain Lamb of God, but grow as horns on the Head of this Lamb (Rev 5:6). Seven of them. One for each of the seven named churches.
I have recently argued that there are fewer “chosen ones” than previously believed, this argument based on observation … there is no need for God to draw a person from this world and give this person to Christ Jesus to call, justify, and glorify if the person has no work to do at the moment, or even in the foreseeable future. It will be more efficient, more fair to the person, if God waits to call the person until nearer the Second Passover. And what has been seen this summer is that a few, a handful, maybe a double handful, have continued to support the delivery of the endtime good news that all who endure to the end shall be saved. Most who read do so out of intellectual or theological curiosity, not because they have been drawn from this world by the Father and feel an obligation to help support the delivery of this good news.
There are many Christians attempting to deliver an endtime gospel to greater Christendom. Every one of them will claim that they have been called to do so. But even a cursory examination of what these Christians proclaim will find that what they say isn’t unique, but has been said very many times before. Even the wrinkles that have caused these Christians to believe their message is of God are old and tired. So returning to a bone a Norwegian threw my way years ago: if I am right in what I proclaim, then everyone else in the world is wrong although now a few others are proclaiming what I have proclaimed for 14 plus years. These few others also grow from the Head of the slain Lamb.
If all of humankind knew the Lord before the Flood, and if as Paul declared, this all worshiped the creation rather than the Creator. And if the Lord gave to this all debased minds of the sort on display in the Western World today—on display in Washington D.C., during this present election cycle—would the Lord not be justified in again baptizing the world in water, something He promised Noah He would not do? He would be. So why would He fill all Christians with spirit? Does He intend to use Christendom as a battering ram against the Adversary and the asexual broadcast of his nature?
The most reasonable explanation for why the Lord will not again baptize the world in water is that water baptism didn’t work. Although Noah was a preacher of righteousness and his sons were “sons of righteousness,” their righteousness didn’t last long. Hence, Abraham became the chosen human cultivar from which God intended to “grow” His sons, with Christ Jesus being His Firstborn.
The language of agriculture seems inappropriate when applied to humanity, but the difference between wheat or weeds and humanity is less than the difference between humankind and God, Father and Son … chlorophyll serves as the blood of plants, and chlorophyll is surprisingly similar in chemical structure to hemoglobin. There is difference between plants and animals, but not great difference. Likewise, the difference between a human son of God—this person differing from his or her neighbors through this person’s inner self, soul, having received spiritual life via the indwelling of the pneuma of Christ—and God is structurally small. So the language of agriculture really is appropriately applied to humanity, especially prior to spiritual birth. For men grow to be harvested, either as wheat or weeds, the figurative wheat seed heads gathered to God whereas the weeds, tares, are delivered to the lake of fire. And when men are grown to be harvested, the “harvesting” is necessarily violent—the cutting of the stem, gathering of stalks, and in combines, the “beating” of the grain heads as these heads are broken apart into single kernels. So can humanity be harvested without undergoing a period of great tribulation such as the world has never before known; for the world has never before been “harvested.”
It is this concept of humanity being harvested that must be kept in mind as humanity enters the time of the end, with humankind as far from God as it can get and with the measure of how far each Christian is from God serving to separate lightweight seed heads from heavyweight in the centrifuge of tribulation.
The following pertains to the Endurance in Jesus, not to the 1260 days of the Affliction:
Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped. Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe. So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle for 1,600 stadia [184 miles]. (Rev 14:14–20)
In John’s vision, “an hour” equates to about seven months, six hours equaling forty-two months … the six hours from midnight to dawn—from the Second Passover to when the Kingdom is delivered to the Son of Man—encompass all of the Affliction, with silence in heaven for about a half hour (Rev 8:1) equaling 105 days (use of the preceding is found in earlier writings). Therefore, staying inside the Endurance of Jesus, the harvest of humanity will be fully ripe when “the hour to reap” arrives. And the hour to reap will occur before the return of the Messiah, suggesting that most of the last year of the Endurance will be devoted to harvesting figurative grain and grapes, with the “grapes” not faring well in the winepress of wrath.
If all of greater Christendom knows God but does not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but has turned from worshiping Him to worshiping figments of their imaginations; to worshiping demons and the works of their hands, then would not God be again justified in bringing His wrath upon all Christians? Certainly He would be justified even by human logic. And what is said of humanity at the end of the sixth Trumpet Plague (the last of the Affliction):
The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk., nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. (Rev 9:20–21).
The question remains, does humanity know that it, today, worships demons and the works of hands?
Returning to Paul and humanity being without excuse for its lawlessness,
Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature, and their men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not be done. (Rom 1:24–28)
How is a gay-rights parade not a public display of debased minds?
Christians today, before harsh summer heat arrives, need to use the winter to examine themselves, asking themselves why they spurn taking the Passover sacraments on the Passover. There must be a reason; there has to be a reason. For the symbolism of the darkness of night and the light of day also pertains to the cold and dreariness of winter versus the heat and light of summer; thus, Matthew’s Jesus telling Pharisees and Sadducees that one sign, that of a red sky, had two opposing meanings, its meaning dependent upon the context in which the sign appeared, carries over to the sign of Jonah. Going into the darkness, the winter, the sign of Jonah, like the sign of a red sky, suggests tranquility, a period when Christians can practice walking uprightly before God without being murdered for doing so. But the sign of Jonah at dawn (that is, going into the light, into summer) suggests that Christians will face trial and turmoil, tribulation and martyrdom … if in the days of antediluvian patriarchs, all of humanity knew God, what Paul claims, and if these patriarchs did not honor God as God or give thanks to Him, but turned from worshiping the Creator to worshiping the creation, then the wrath of God in the form of Him baptizing these patriarchs in water and unto death was a reasonable and justifiable act on His part. Likewise, delivering humanity, all of which will know the Lord through being filled with spirit, to the winepress of His wrath will also be a reasonable and justifiable act.
I tend to push a writing farther than most readers want to read, especially today in the age of small screens and tablets. Therefore, I’ll break this piece here, leaving the remainder of it for the next End Note.
"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."
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