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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 16: The Sins of Esau: No Birthrights for Bastards

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 16: The Sins of Esau, No Birthrights for Bastards

Finishing his description of the faith of the Old Testament saints, Paul of Tarsus had referred to them as a “great a cloud of witnesses lying around us”, a reference to either the well-known past history of his Hebrew readers, or perhaps allegorically to the parchments upon which the accounts were written, lying around him as he wrote this epistle. In any event, Paul’s explanations were meant to describe how these Old Testament saints had acted upon their faith, and were therefore accredited for their actions.

Christians, even Identity Christians, sometimes see faith as some mystical substance which can rather magically save them regardless of what they may do in this world. They have it all wrong. While none of us are perfect, we must at least endeavor to keep the commandments of Yahweh our God and the expectations of Christ if we expect the favor of God. We can go back to our description of the Roman jailer in Acts chapter 16, which we had also discussed when we presented Hebrews chapter 4 here a couple of months ago. There we said, in part, that:

… as it is described in the Book of Acts, once the warden of the jail where Paul and Silas were kept realized the power of Yahweh, the God of Paul and Silas, when the earthquake had opened the doors of his jail, he went to Paul and inquired what it was that he must do to be “saved”. The jailer, who was about to slay himself fearing what would happen if any of the prisoners escaped, was a Roman pagan. Therefore he had no consciousness of the possibility of eternal life in Jesus. He only sought earthly salvation from the punishment he expected for which he nearly killed himself…. [But when he was about to do so Paul intervened and we read:] “28 But with a great voice Paul cried out saying ‘Do nothing evil to yourself! For we are all here!’ 29 And requesting a light he burst in and coming trembling fell before Paul and Silas, 30 and leading them outside he said ‘Masters, what is necessary for me to do that I be saved?’ 31 And they said ‘Believe in the Prince Yahshua and you and your house shall be saved.’”

When the jailer in Philippi was afraid that his prisoners escaped, Paul assured him that they were all present. The jailer must have been relieved, but feared his position and the Roman authorities above him, because of the circumstances, deciding that he should trust Paul he asked “what is necessary for me to do that I be saved?” When the jailer asked this, he had no concept of Jesus and he was ignorant of Christian concepts of salvation, being a pagan. He just didn’t want to lose his earthly hide. Paul’s perspective was different. Paul was confident the prisoners were not going to escape, so the jailer would not be punished, and he was indeed focused on the greater prospect of salvation in Christ. So Paul assured him that accepting the faith in Christ he and his whole house would be preserved, and Paul said this even though his house had not yet heard of Jesus, because keeping the commandments of Christ and loving one’s brother are the way to life in this world. Therefore speaking of the jailer of Acts chapter 16 we concluded:

The jailer being the head of his house, if he chose to keep the commandments of Christ then the household would follow by necessity. Turning to Christ, the jailer and his household would ostensibly keep the commandments of Christ, and that is the way to preservation in this life, by which the children of Israel can hope to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth….

Doing what Christ has commanded, Christians hope to be preserved in this world, and not only in the world which is to come. The jailer understood Paul’s words in practical terms, and not within the artificial paradigm which has been constructed by the denominational churches. Once again we can cite Paul’s words in Philippians chapter 2 where he said “14 Do all things apart from murmuring and disputing, 15 that you would be perfect and with unmixed blood, blameless children of Yahweh in the midst of a race crooked and perverted - among whom you appear as luminaries in the Society, 16 upholding the Word of Life for a boast with me in the day of Christ...”

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 15: Sons or Bastards

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 15: Sons or Bastards

As we have proceeded through Hebrews chapter 11, we have sought to understand Paul’s reasoning in his descriptions of the faith of the patriarchs from a historical perspective: that the Old Testament accounts describing the lives of the patriarchs and saints exhibit that their faith was a Christian faith long before the advent of Christ Himself. In that respect, the Old Testament saints were Christians before the time of Christ, and they were never Jews. Paul spoke in this same regard in 2 Corinthians chapter 3, where he was describing how it was that the ritual elements and ceremonies of the law were being left unemployed, and speaking of those who were disobedient in the past he said that “14 Yet their minds were hardened; even to this day today the same veil remains upon the reading of the old covenant, which not being uncovered is left unemployed in Christ. 15 Then until this day, whenever Moses is read a veil lies upon their hearts. 16 But when perhaps you should turn to the Prince, the veil is taken away.” So according to Paul of Tarsus, the Old Testament scriptures are only for Christians, their significance is only revealed to those who accept Christ, and therefore nobody else has any authority to even comment upon them.

We have also sought to clarify some obscure details of Scripture, while elucidating the historicity of the accounts themselves. Here, as we approach the close of Paul’s famous discourse on the faith, we shall continue in that same endeavor. The historicity of the Old Testament is constantly being attacked by critics of modern denominational Christianity, and especially by critics of the Jews as well as by Jews themselves. What those critics do not realize is that the denominational churches have never actually taught Christianity, the Jews can never possibly understand it, and the Jews are neither the subjects nor the true heirs of the Old Testament Scriptures. First century Christians themselves insisted that the so-called “Gentiles”, the people of the nations of the Greco-Roman οἰκουμένη, were indeed the true subjects and heirs of the Scriptures, who had been alienated from Yahweh God many centuries before Christ. They also attested that the Jews are Edomites, not Israelites, and the historians Josephus and Strabo fully support that attestation. The Scriptures themselves, in both Old Testament and New, also support all of these assertions.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 14: The Faith of History

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 14: The Faith of History

Throughout Hebrews chapter 11 Paul of Tarsus discusses the faith of some of the ancient patriarchs of the Adamic race, down through Abraham, and then continues in that manner with Jacob and some of the later experiences of the children of Israel. It is this second portion which we shall commence with here this evening.

Presenting the first part of the chapter, we hope to have better explained Paul’s definition of faith from our own translation and commentary, and also to have better elucidated what Paul had intended where he described the substance of that faith. The King James Version has Hebrews 11:1 to read that “… faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”, and we believe that this rather poor translation leaves a lot of room for error where people imagine that anything which they hope for may be labelled as “faith” in a Christian context. While Yahweh God indeed provides for His people, the faith of which Paul speaks in this chapter is a specific faith, and not what anyone imagines for themselves.

Rather, Paul says in Hebrews 11:1 that “faith is expecting an assurance, evidence of the facts not being seen.” So while other references to faith may have other implications in other contexts, here in this context Paul explains that faith is the expectation that the assurances, which are the promises which were made by Yahweh to the patriarchs, would indeed be kept. That is the faith which Paul describes here, and subsequently he writes about the deeds of the patriarchs which were predicated upon that faith. As the apostle James said in his single epistle, “faith without works is dead”, so claiming to have faith is useless unless one acts in accordance with one’s profession of faith. There may be fulfillments of faith in other aspects, such as Yahweh’s fulfillment of the wants and needs of His people, but that is a separate issue.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 13: The Substance of the Faith

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 13: The Substance of the Faith

Throughout the first 209 verses of this epistle to the Hebrews, Paul has argued that Yahshua Christ is the Son who was promised in the Psalms of David, and He is the Lord which David had anticipated, to whom also the Melchizedek priesthood was appointed forever. Paul also explained that His coming had marked the initiation of the new covenant for the children of Israel promised in Jeremiah chapter 31, which Paul had also cited. Because these things in the prophets had now come to pass, Paul had argued that the Levitical priesthood and the works of the law which it dispensed – which are the rituals, sacrifices and ceremonies – were eclipsed by this new practice of the faith in Christ, something which was actually the expectation of the prophets from the beginning. Doing this Paul also discussed some of the other implications of the coming of the new covenant in Christ, especially making point of the fact that apart from Christ, there is no other propitiation for sin, and for that reason, with Christ alone man has access to God.

Now here in Hebrews chapter 11 Paul discusses the faith of the ancients, and how they did the things which they were credited with because of this faith which had now come in the person of Christ. Paul, speaking to so-called “lost” Israelites of the Assyrian captivity, wrote in Galatians chapter 3 that “22 ... the writing has enclosed all under fault, in order that the promise, from the faith of Yahshua Christ, would be given to those who are believing. 23 But before the faith was to come we had been guarded under law, being enclosed to the faith destined to be revealed. 24 So the law has been our tutor for Christ, in order that from faith we would be deemed righteous. 25 But the faith having come, no longer are we under a tutor; 26 for you are all sons of Yahweh through the faith in Christ Yahshua.”

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 12: The Transcendent Christ

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 12: The Transcendent Christ

“On many occasions and in many ways in past times Yahweh had spoken to the fathers by the prophets. At the end of these days He speaks to us by a Son...” Writing this, Paul had opened this epistle to the Hebrews in a very poetic fashion, and we are not sure that our translation has given the overall poetic quality of the entire epistle sufficient merit. Then with this statement, throughout his epistle Paul had focused on the prophecies concerning that Son in the just-as-poetic Psalms, employing the words of David which concerned both a priesthood and a relationship between God and man that were not a part of the active religious paradigm at the time of David himself.

Doing this, Paul had demonstrated the fact that as he wrote these words, the time for the Levitical priesthood had come to pass, as the children of God have a new priesthood in Yahshua Christ, and that these things were indeed prophesied of by David. And as we had also seen in Paul’s explanation of the prophets, this new priesthood is actually an old priesthood, and therefore it transcends the Levitical priesthood which was destined to be both temporal and temporary from its very foundation. David prophesied of a coming Son who would rule forever under the auspices of an ancient priesthood that was superior even to Abraham, and connected that priesthood to the promise of a new covenant which is therefore superior to the Old Covenant maintained by the Levitical priesthood. Here Paul has finished his exposition of these things in the Psalms, employing also the prophecy of a new covenant found in the writings of Jeremiah, and now he is about to offer his final conclusion.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 11: Perpetual Propitiation in Christ

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The opening remarks to this program are found in the Christogenea forum under the topic Answering Anti-Christ Memes 

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 11: Perpetual Propitiation in Christ

In the earlier chapters of this epistle to the Hebrews Paul sought to persuade his readers of the temporary nature of the Levitical priesthood as opposed to the eternal priesthood of Melchizedek which is inherited by Yahshua Christ, as David had announced in the Psalms. Then with Hebrews chapter 8 Paul began comparing the temporary expiations for sin which were under the law to the eternal propitiation for sin which is in Christ. In Hebrews chapter 9 Paul connected the propitiation for sin in Christ directly to the promise of a new covenant which is found in the prophet Jeremiah, and we have seen that the children of Israel have an eternal inheritance which is not dependent upon any works or sacrifices made by men, but which is solely dependent upon the promises which Yahweh had made to Abraham. The keeping of the promises to Abraham being the ultimate reason for the making of a new covenant, we also see that only the children of Israel, those who were under the old covenant, could possibly have any part with Christ under the new covenant. Doing all of this, Paul has cited a fair portion of the Old Testament scriptures in order to confirm his assertions, and we hope to have elucidated many of the scriptures which he had not cited but which further support those assertions.

Here in Hebrews chapter 11, Paul continues to contrast the propitiation for sin which was under the law to that which is in Christ, but we must be careful to distinguish the fact that Paul never sought to set aside the commandments of the law. Rather, in Hebrews chapter 9 Paul made a reference to “dead works”, which is a reference to the rituals, sacrifices and ceremonies of the law and not to the commandments themselves. In fact, since Paul of Tarsus had written in Romans 4:15 that “where no law is, there is no transgression”, and in Romans 5:13 that “sin is not imputed when there is no law”, if the commandments of the law are done away with then Paul would never have had any further need to discuss or to describe either sin or forgiveness. Yet where Paul said in his first epistle to Timothy that “Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after”, we see that Paul believed that men can still sin, so the commandments of the law must still be in effect, and Paul never attempted to set them aside.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 10: The Eternal Inheritance

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 10: The Eternal Inheritance

Presenting the first part of Hebrews chapter 9 we felt that we should elaborate on the common nature of sphinxes and cherubs, the importance of which should not be understated. While the first sphinx-like creatures appeared in Egyptian monuments as early as the 4th dynasty, which is perceived to have begun around 2600 BC, by 1450 BC the sphinx was employed as the symbol by which the Israelites had signified the presence of Yahweh their God, in the inner chamber of the temple and on the ark of the covenant itself. Then after the Israelite settlement of Canaan, variations of the Hebrew cherub, or sphinx, began to appear throughout the lands surrounding the Mediterranean, as well as in the architecture of the Mesopotamian nation-states. So the spread of these cherubs, or sphinxes, seems to coincide with the spread of the early Israelites and their influence throughout the ancient world. The sphinx, or cherub, seems to be one of the oldest Aryan religious symbols, and it is no mistake or coincidence that it was used to represent the presence of the God of Israel. To us, the use and spread of the sphinx, or cherub, in this manner also seems to represent the promise that Yahweh would call His son out of Egypt, the primary reference being to the children of Israel, which is found in Hosea 11:1.

Where Paul mentions the ark of the covenant, we also made it a point to demonstrate that the ark was never present during the period of the second temple, and down to the time of Christ, or even to this very day. We did that to make another point. When presenting Hebrews chapter 8 we illustrated the fact that the kingdom of Judah, as well as Israel, was divorced from Yahweh God. So just because the few from Judah who returned to Jerusalem had built a new temple and continued in their traditions does not mean that the divorce from the kingdom itself did not occur. The people of second-temple Jerusalem had never properly constituted a kingdom, since they were ruled by Levites rather than the rightful kings of Judah, and for most of their history they were under the yoke of three of the different beast empires (Persian, Greek and Roman) of the prophecy of Daniel. Furthermore, since there was no ark of the covenant in the temple, then there was no mercy seat, and there were no tablets of testimony which represented the nuptial agreement between Yahweh and Israel recorded in the book of Exodus. So during the second temple period, the sacrifices could not have been effectual, according to the law which required those things for propitiation from sin. Therefore the people of Judaea, those of the circumcision, were actually existing under the same conditions that the Israelites of the dispersions were living under, which is alienation from God with no propitiation for sin. As we have said earlier in this series of presentations, the entire purpose of the 70-weeks Kingdom, as it is described in Daniel chapter 9, was to bring forth the Messiah, and in that same manner Paul explains here that the entire purpose of the Old Covenant itself was in preparation for the Messiah, Yahshua Christ, who would exhibit the true way to life.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 9: Departure from Earthly Trappings

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The comments in the beginning of the program are found in a post at the Christogenea Forum titled Geography Trannies.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 9: Departure from Earthly Trappings (and: Greek Cherubs, Hebrew Sphinxes)

In the earlier chapters of this epistle to the Hebrews, Paul of Tarsus had spent considerable time proving to his readers from Scripture that there is an eternal priesthood which both precedes and transcends the Levitical priesthood, and that the beloved king David in the Psalms had prophesied of such a coming priest, which is after the “order of Melchizedek”, and that this prophecy was fulfilled in the person of Yahshua Christ. Then in Hebrews chapter 8 Paul connected this prophesied priest to the promise of a new covenant which is found in Jeremiah chapter 31, which Paul had cited at length.

Presenting that last chapter of Hebrews, among the subjects which we had discussed we hope to have substantiated three things, and, in a digression, a fourth. Firstly, that the writings of the Old Testament announce a new covenant in prophecies other than the one in Jeremiah chapter 31 which Paul had quoted. So in that regard we cited Hosea and Ezekiel as second and third witnesses to Jeremiah’s prophecy. Secondly, that the old covenant was broken, first by the people and then by Yahweh God Himself, and therefore nobody can claim to still be under that covenant. In that regard we cited Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Zechariah. There is another witnesses in Scripture to the breaking of the old covenant, and the promise of a new, and that is Isaiah, whom we did not cite last week.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 8: The Distinction of Old and New Covenants

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 8: The Distinction of Old and New Covenants

Presenting the most recent chapters of Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews, which are chapters 6 and 7, through the Scriptures we hope to have established as fact that the Adamic patriarchs of the line of the first-born sons were charged with the responsibility of being preachers of righteousness, as the first-born sons are the natural priests of the Adamic family. In turn, we also hope to have elucidated how this helps to reveal for us the nature of the Melchizedek priesthood, and that the story of Melchizedek in the Genesis account was written in the manner that it was so that Melchizedek would serve as a prophetic type for the true and coming Melchizedek priest, which is Yahshua Christ. He is the heir of the Melchizedek priesthood because, being God incarnate, He is the ultimate first-born Son and He is the legitimate patriarch of the entire Adamic family.

So in Hebrews chapter 7 Paul of Tarsus had explained that the Levitical priesthood had passed, and that Christ was the high priest of an older order which was therefore of greater authority, which is the order of Melchizedek. To prove that this older priesthood was of greater authority, Paul illustrated the fact that Abraham, the ancestor of Levi, had made tithes to this Melchizedek, who was therefore greater than Abraham and who in turn had blessed Abraham. Doing this, Paul hoped to impress upon the Hebrews that their Levitical priesthood was never meant to perpetuate, as that was the original plan of God for the Melchizedek priesthood. The Melchizedek priesthood is eternal and transcends the Levitical priesthood which was only implemented for a more particular purpose: for the maintenance of the Old Testament kingdom which had also come to pass. So Paul had also explained that the Levitical priesthood and its continuous sacrifices were peculiar to the Old Covenant, and now they were eclipsed in Christ, who made one sacrifice which has an indefinite efficacy to absolve the sins of the people. Furthermore, Paul had also explained that while the Levitical high priests were temporal and they died, Christ is eternal and He lives, so there is absolutely no need for the people to have any other priest.

Fellowship of God's Covenant People - Scatterers and Gatherers

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This sermon was given at the Fellowship of God's Covenant People on Sunday, October 30th, 2016.

This visit to the Fellowship of God's Covenant People was decided on relatively short notice, and when I considered what I should present, I thought to speak on this subject of scattering and gathering upon being informed of certain events which took place recently here in this congregation. When I discussed my planned talk with Pastor Downey, he informed me that he himself had already said some of the same things which you may hear from me today. Mark even quoted from an essay on this topic which I had written a few years ago, and which I will incorporate into this discussion.

So when Mark asked me if I wanted to read what he had written, I politely declined, explaining that if I said the same things independently, that would better serve as a second witness to what he has already said here over the past few weeks. In my opinion, if we really do seek to please Christ and edify the body of Christ, we cannot entertain those who despise our core message. We cannot entertain those who in any way work contrary to our core message. None of the things which I say here today are for your admonishment. Rather, I would commend you for supporting Pastor Downey in his decision. Therefore I hope to say these things for your edification, that you have another assurance, knowing that you have made a necessary decision. I pray you continue to make such decisions in the future, because we should always expect that our faith may be tried in the fire.

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