March 2, 2012 — updated 15.9.2016
An Essay of Definition in Seven Parts
The Language of Redemption
Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (Heb 9:22)
Argument: Throughout the course of Christendom from the 1st-Century to the 21st-Century, very few Christians have been foreknown by the Father, predestined, called by Christ, justified, and glorified by receiving life from heaven thereby giving the inner self of the human person indwelling eternal life—life from heaven in the form of the breath of God [pneuma Theou] in the breath of Christ [pneuma Christou] in the spirit of the person [to pneuma tou ’anthropou]. Because so few Christians have truly received the Holy Spirit [pneuma ’agion] and indwelling eternal life, these few (the Elect or the chosen ones — ’eklektous) have not had a language of their own but have had to express their understandings of the mysteries of God in the language of their persecutors. The problem with doing so comes from the meanings [linguistic signifieds] that the accusers of the Elect have assigned to the words [linguistic signifiers] that the Elect have used to reveal what was previously concealed. Said otherwise, the language of Christianity has prevented unborn (of spirit) Christians and non-Christians from understanding the mysteries of God through the dominant Church twisting the gospels and epistles, calling unbelief faith and belief of God legalism.
Since the Tower of Babel, there has been no hard link between signifier and signified. Reading communities assign signifieds to signifiers. And one person does not constitute a “community”; nor do two or three.
There has been no reading community of the Elect since the end of the 1st-Century CE. There have been too few Elect at any location for the Elect to form a community. And for most of the 1900 years between the end of the 1st-Century and the beginning of the 21st-Century, there have been too few Christians drawn from this world for reading communities of disciples of like mind to develop even if these disciples could bridge distances and languages to communicate with one another.
In the ancient Near and Middle East, Aramaic was a shared language across cultures. In the late Middle Ages, French was a shared language, the lingua franca of merchants and tradesmen across Europe and North Africa. Today, English is a shared language, with more English speakers in India than there are in the British Isles and North America together. But today, it isn’t a shared language that permits one person to speak to another on the opposite side of the globe, but the binary code in which computers “speak” to each other, with their language translators concealed on motherboards.
But being able to deliver words, linguistic icons or signifiers, to the other side of the globe doesn’t resolve the problem of what linguistic objects or signified should be assigned to the words received or sent. That is not a problem of transmission but of matching anticipated meanings to realized meanings, an art not a science.
For a short while I was the dog catcher for Arimo, Idaho. I didn’t live in Arimo, but in a nearby town. And I received a telephone message asking me to pick up a dog behind the church. End of message. Which church? There was only one, the Latter Day Saint ward hall. For the small community of Arimo, “the church” had a definite meaning. Everyone knew the meaning of “the church”; knew their ward hall was “the church.” And I picked up the troublesome dog after I asked if the dog was still loose, asked in hopes I would be pointed to where the ward hall was. And I was.
Within the greater Sabbatarian Christian community, the most dynamic ministry for half a century was that of Herbert W. Armstrong, who emphatically denied that Christians were born of spirit prior to their resurrection from death … Armstrong could only imagine “resurrection from death” being like Jesus’ resurrection after Jesus was in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. He couldn’t imagine any other sort of resurrection from death; yet he knew that human persons are not born with indwelling eternal life [immortal souls]. He was, however, victimized by the language of the oppressor: Jesus was not born fully man, fully God as greater Christendom teaches. Jesus was born fully man, with no indwelling eternal life in Him. For what did Paul declare?
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing [Himself He poured out], taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil 2:5–8).
The Logos [’o Logos] poured Himself and became nothing but a man. He took the form of a slave [doulou]. And He did not again have indwelling heavenly or eternal life until the spirit/breath of God, in the bodily form of a dove, descended upon and entered into [eis — from Mark 1:10] Him, thereby resurrecting His inner self, His spirit [pneuma] in His soul [psuche], from being numbered among the dead ones.
The language of the oppressor would not permit Armstrong to realize that when the spirit (from the Latin word for “breath,” spīritus, used to represent the breath of a man or the breath of a god) of God entered into the man Jesus, this human man was then instantly born anew, born again, born of spirit, born from above. The man Jesus no longer had only one indwelling breath of life: He had two, one that kept His physical flesh alive and one that gave life to His inner self.
The Elect have been, even in the 20th-Century, so few in number that they were unable to pool their spiritual realizations. They were dependent upon the language of their oppressors; for most of the Elect have never met another person born of spirit. However, because the end of an era is at hand there are more individuals alive today who are born of spirit than at any one time in the nineteen preceding centuries—and this doesn’t mean there are many. But with the Internet, the scattered Elect are able to speak to one another in ways and at lengths that would have been impossible just fifty years ago. It is, therefore, time for a language of redemption—a language of the Elect—to emerge-from and to separate itself from the language of Christianity.
Thoughts are expressed in words, in language, and without a language (with equivocation causing this second use of the signifier language to have a different meaning from its first usage) in which to express thoughts, the mind will invent a language, with familiar words actually hindering this development; for when a word is encountered a meaning for the word instantly comes to mind or the word is dismissed as nonsensical. That meaning will be the familiar usage for the word, thereby limiting thoughts to the familiar and causing the unfamiliar to be concealed by the familiar.
The expressions <born of God> and <born again> will be example expressions discussed, as will be <the Second Passover> and the Tetragrammaton YHWH.
The words forming familiar expressions are, necessarily, “familiar,” with the familiarity of these words limiting thought … when a familiar first meaning for a word such as <born> comes to mind, the mind pushes other meanings out of conscious awareness and the person knows what born means as the Pharisee Nicodemus thought he knew what gennethe ’anothen meant when he asked Jesus how a man could be born [gennethenai] when he is old (John 3:3–4). Nicodemus never considered Adam’s creation as Adam being born. Nor did Nicodemus consider the breath of God [pneuma Theou] descending upon Jesus in the form of a dove causing Jesus to be born from above, or born of God, or born again. Nicodemus never considered receiving (as in inhaling) breath as birth. Yet that is what an infant does when born: the infant begins to breathe on his or her own.
When the English linguistic icon <born> is employed in a sentence, the familiarity of the icon truly causes auditors to place whatever is to be born in a mother … when a mother gives birth to a child, the person attending the birth checks to make sure the newborn’s air passages are clear, that lungs are clear—and often in times past, holding the infant upside down, the person attending the birth would slap the infant on the back and make the infant cry, thereby assuring all that the infant was breathing on his or her own.
But birth is not necessarily about exiting a womb; for poets give “birth” to poems. Rather, “birth” is about breathing, about aspiration, about receiving the breath of life, about receiving the breath of God, a holy spirit or breath.
During Armstrong’s ministry, Worldwide Church of God ministers used Nicodemus’ question about how can a man when he is old enter again his mother’s womb as “conclusive” evidence that when Jesus spoke of being born again, He meant a second birth like the person’s first birth. These ministers argued that Nicodemus understood the language Jesus used better than any modern scholar, but this assumption just isn’t true: Nicodemus thought of birth in its most familiar form, that of the infant passing from the mother’s womb. Nicodemus never thought of birth in any other context … being born again wasn’t within Nicodemus’ frame of references. Thus Jesus asks him, “‘Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony’” (John 3:10–11). Nicodemus’ familiarity with human birth prevented him from speaking about or understanding birth in any other context.
The “familiar” is the enemy that hinders development of a language of redemption that reveals the mind of God.
The Apostle Paul said that the invisible things of God were revealed by the visible things that have been made (Rom 1:20), and the physical things made precede the invisible things of heaven (1 Cor 15:46); thus, a human person will receive physical breath and become a breathing creature, a nephesh, before the human person can or will receive the heavenly breath of God [again, pneuma Theou] as a second breath of life; before the person can receive the Holy Spirit [pneuma ’agion].
Jesus told His disciples that He had spoken to them only in similitudes [paroimiais] (John 16:25), or in metaphorical language where the “thing named” is NOT the thing named but is like the thing named. Thus, for Jesus, “wheat” wasn’t a cereal grain but was people harvested from the Promised Land according to the plan of God. So the language of Christianity already has metaphorical and metonymic attributes that allow an expression such as <circumcision of the heart> not to mean a cutting of the heart sack, but to mean no longer being stubborn, willful.
A language of redemption will be a refinement of the indirect language of agrarian culture in the Promised Land; the language of harvesting the Promised Land is, foremost, an indirect language based upon metaphoric and metonymic expressions that use familiar words that name the things of this world to name unfamiliar and invisible things of heaven.
When familiar visible things of this world reveal unfamiliar invisible things of heaven, meaning cannot be taken from Scripture by reading the Bible literally; i.e., by applying common meanings to common words. Rather, meaning must be taken from Scripture through similitudes, or by typology based on chirality that will have the familiar forming the nonsymmetrical mirror image of the unfamiliar as the left hand forms the nonsymmetrical mirror image of the right hand, with the visible expression of this concept seen in man, made in the image of God, looking up at God who in turn is looking down at man.
A language based upon familiar words revealing unfamiliar meanings [signifieds] requires the reader or hearer [the auditor] to not assume he or she understands a word or an expression or a passage until the familiar usages of the words have been set aside and the unfamiliar examined and considered. Therefore, when there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood, forgiveness equates to the shedding of blood, with the amount and source of the blood being undefined. There is no qualifying amount of blood that must be shed for the forgiveness of sin. Additional language is required to established source and quantity if either has importance—
The writer of Hebrews asks, “For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ … purify our conscience from dead works” (9:13–14).
The life of goats and bulls was in their blood (Gen 9:4), and their lives when sacrificed on the altar of the temple would purify the flesh of ancient Israelites even if only temporarily. So purification of the flesh comes (or can come) from ritualistic shedding of blood, not a familiar concept to endtime Christians, and in fact such an unfamiliar concept that most Christians will feel uncomfortable even considering the concept.
The blood of Christ is the life of Christ, for again, the life is in the blood. Thus, forgiveness of sin that purifies consciences comes through shedding blood and corresponds to sanctification and purification of the flesh through the ritualistic sacrifice of goats and bulls as the left hand of a person corresponds to his or her right hand, with the blood of goats and bulls forming the shadow and type of the blood of Christ, and with the flesh forming the shadow and type of the conscience [i.e., the conscious awareness of the inner self].
If the flesh forms a shadow and type of the conscience (the awareness of right and wrong by the inner self), then the commandments that were written on two tablets of stone and that regulated the hands and bodies of outwardly circumcised Israel form the shadow and copy of the Law that is/will be written on hearts and placed in minds under the New Covenant (see Jer 31:31–34; Heb 8:8–12), and circumcision of the flesh with blood shed when the foreskin is pared away forms a shadow and copy of circumcision of the heart when the conscience is purified by the blood of Christ … a person’s conscience does not exist as a human appendage made from flesh and blood, and circumcision of the heart does not mean cutting the outer heart sack away, but is a metaphorical expression for cleansing or purifying the conscience by putting aside the ways of the old self or old nature and walking uprightly before God as a son of God.
Every human person is born of woman as a son of disobedience (Eph 2:2–3) consigned to disobedience (Rom 11:32) as a slave of the Adversary. And because the human person belongs to the Adversary, a ransom price must be paid to the Adversary for the freedom of the person, with this ransom price being the shedding of blood that represents the life of the person.
Circumcision of the flesh represented the redemption of Israel, almost; however, before Israel was free to leave Egypt, the geographical representation of Sin, the firstborns of Egypt were slain, their blood satisfying the Adversary’s asking price for the liberation of Israel.
The Adversary’s asking price for the liberation of greater Christendom from indwelling Sin and Death is much higher than the blood of Christ Jesus, shed at Calvary …
The blood of Christ paid the redemption price for the Elect, the chosen ones, with Matthew’s Jesus saying, “‘Many are called, but few are chosen’” (Matt 22:14). In the context of the Wedding Supper, many will be called—all of greater Christendom will have been filled with spirit; all flesh will have been baptized in spirit—but of these many, few will be chosen as the Elect were/are the chosen ones.
The Adversary’s asking price for the redemption of greater Christendom will be the lives and blood of all uncovered firstborns, biological and legal, since all firstborns belong to the Lord.
That “almost” following redemption of Israel pertains to what circumcision of the person actually “buys”: the person’s freedom to walk uprightly and be blameless before God, with circumcision of the heart that comes through purifying the conscience by the blood of Christ freeing or liberating the inner self of a human person from death, the wages of sin (Rom 6:23), the fruit of disobedience.
The language used by Christians when they speak of redemption emphasizes faith and belief and deemphasizes the shedding of blood as seen in circumcision of the flesh, or seen in the sacrifice of goats and bulls, rites that greater Christendom has abandoned through profession that Jesus is Lord and belief that the Father raised Jesus from death (Rom 10:9). Plus, without a physical temple where goats and bulls can be sacrificed, with the blood of these sacrifices purifying the flesh, the fleshly bodies [members] of disciples would continue to be defiled by indwelling sin and death as represented by the baptism of John the Baptist, who wore a camelhair coat and leather belt.
Permit me to take apart the preceding sentence: the language of the oppressor uses “faith” in a context far different from how the Apostle Paul used <pisteos>, translated as “faith” in English Bibles (Rom 14:23); for Paul used <pisteos> to represent unbelief … if a person doesn’t believe God, the person lacks lack; is without faith. Therefore, the Christian who will not keep the Commandments doesn’t believe God and is without faith, regardless of what the person thinks about his or her relationship with God.
In continuing to unpack the paragraph: the ancient Israelite who touched or handled an unclean animal [dogs and cats are unclean] was ceremonially unclean until sundown and until the person bathed … Muslims have picked up on this ceremonial uncleanness and have few pets, with almost none permitted in homes. Some Sabbatarian Christians are also reluctant to permit pets in their homes for they, too, seem to believe that petting a dog will defile the person.
But these same Sabbatarian Christians would line up to be baptized by John in his camelhair coat, but a camel is a ceremonially unclean animal. To touch camelhair will make the Israelite unclean for the day. So for John to have raised an Israelite from the waters of the Jordan, the Israelite would have been defiled, which now makes John’s baptism a counterculture statement, a statement that argues against the importance of the flesh and moves “defilement” to what comes from the inner person. And Christians don’t seem to place importance on John, adopting the garb of Elijah—a hair coat and leather belt—wearing a coat of wool spun from camel hair.
Again, the sign of Elijah the prophet was his hair coat and leather belt. John the Baptist as a type of Elijah also wore a hair coat, but a hair coat of an unclean animal. And the difference between Elijah’s hair coat and John’s hair coat is the difference between purifying the flesh with the blood of goats and bulls and the inability of the blood of goats and bulls to purify the conscience of believers.
Washing of fleshly members as in washing hands or as in baptism [total submersion of the body] will not remove indwelling sin and death. Only a cleansed conscience ruling over the tent of flesh in which this conscience dwells will remove presently indwelling sin and death. And whereas Christendom today can speak about purifying the consciences of believers, Christendom doesn’t have a language that adequately addresses the cleansing and purifying of the flesh that once came through the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer.
Grace doesn’t pay the death penalty for the fleshly body in which a son of God dwells; the death of the fleshly body does. Therefore, before the Son of Man returns as the Messiah, those who are alive physically and who will not see death but will be changed in the twinkling of an eye from physical to spiritual (1 Thess 4:16–17) must have their fleshly bodies purified by blood, but not by the blood of goats and bulls but by the blood of uncovered firstborns in heaven and on earth.
The language of Christianity has no words, no narrative for the shedding of blood that will purify the fleshly members of Christians immediately prior to the Affliction, the first 1260 days of the seven endtime years. Plus, the language of Christianity has no good narrative for the shedding of blood that will purify the fleshly members of the third part of humankind (from Zech 13:9) in the Second Woe, which precedes by thirty days or less the Endurance of Christ, the last 1260 days of the seven endtime years. Yet, already, the language of redemption spoken by the Elect is able to speak with considerable precision about these two times when blood is shed as seen in Zechariah 13:8.
(To be continued in Parts 2 through 7)
"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."