March 2, 2012— updated 15.9.2016
An Essay of Definition in Seven Parts
The Language of Redemption
The Familiar as the Enemy of the Unfamiliar
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)
In the evolving language of Christianity, the Holy Ghost of the King James Bible became the Holy Spirit in more modern translations of pneuma hagion with the letter /h/representing rough breathing or aspiration being placed on the vowel alpha — in writing the Greek characters in Latin script so that small-screen technology can deliver the message, I usually use the reversed apostrophe to denote rough breathing; hence the Holy Spirit is writing as pneuma ’agion, with pneuma having no sense of personhood, detached or otherwise; for the best translation of pneuma into Latin is <spīritus>, the Latin signifier used to represent <breath>, either of a person or of a god.
Again, for emphasis, the Greek signifier <pneuma> carries no sense of personhood or personage. Likewise, the Latin signifier <spīritus> carried no sense of personhood or personage prior to the 5th or even the 6th Century CE. For the breath of a person doesn’t represent the person even though the person will use his or her breath for communicating complex ideas and simple commands.
Pneumonia is a disease of the lungs, of the breath. A pneumatic tool uses moving air to do work. And pneuma ’agion is holy breath, “holy” because of whose breath it is … God doesn’t breathe air as humans do; so pneuma is used metaphorically to represent what sustains God’s existence; what energy force is employed to produce the inner “fire,” the bright fire that the prophet Ezekiel saw in vision:
And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire, and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it was gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around Him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. (Ezek 1:26–28)
Human life is sustained by the dark fire of cellular oxidation of simple carbohydrates. Apparently, the life of God is sustained by non-physical bright fire from an unknown energy source, with this energy source identified as <spirit> for it serves as the “glory” of deity.
In the Hebraic parallelism of thought-couplet verse and narration, the physical precedes and reveals the spiritual. The first Adam was a nephesh, a breathing creature, his life sustained by the oxygen molecules inhaled when he breathed in a breath of air, these molecules then transferred in his lungs to blood, hence his life was in his blood, what God tells Noah:
You shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of a man.
Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in His own image. (Gen 9:4–6)
indented line is the spiritual portion of the couplet
In the physical, man sheds blood of another man; in the spiritual, the blood of the killer is shed by other men—and this principle undergirds all ancient cultures, and most modern ones. However, as Western nations have turned their backs to God, lifetime imprisonment has become favored over execution of murderers. Imprisonment is today more cost-effective than execution; plus, the wrong person has been convicted of a crime too many times. Regardless, the person’s life is in the person’s blood, the biological delivery system for getting oxygen molecules where they are needed by individual cells to burn simple sugars to keep the person alive.
The spirit of God [pneuma Theou] in God is analogous to the oxygen-blood relationship in a person. Yet in the language of the oppressor, the Holy Spirit [again, pneuma ’agion] has personhood as part of a triune deity. Therefore, in any grammar of redemption, the spirit of God has to be understood as the life-force of deity, analogous to the breath of a person. So when a person receives the indwelling of the spirit of God in the spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou], the person receives the indwelling of divine life, or eternal life. Therefore, one step further, when the spirit of Christ enters into [penetrates as a man penetrates a woman in the act of procreation] the spirit of a person [to pneuma tou ’anthropou — from 1 Cor 2:11], the person is truly born of spirit as a son of God.
In the language of redemption, a person can be filled with holy spirit through the indwelling of the spirit of God and thereby liberated from indwelling Sin and Death, but not born of spirit, which requires the spirit of God in the spirit of Christ to penetrate the lifeless spirit of the person (that is analogous to an ovum in a woman) and by doing so, conceive a son of God in the non-physical soul of the person. The human procreation process forms the shadow and type of divine procreation, with the spirit of Christ serving as a vessel from heaven capable of holding or containing the spirit of God in a human person without the spirit of God utterly consuming the person. Hence, there is only salvation in Christ Jesus; for only by the indwelling of the spirit of Christ can a human person, descended from Adam, receive the spirit of God, or eternal (as in life outside of space-time) life.
The language of the oppressor will have all who profess that Jesus is the Lord being born of spirit, which is laughable on its surface. If a person is born of spirit as a son of God, ought not this person strive to walk in this world as Jesus walked?
Again, as a linguistic icon [signifier], the Latin word spīritus carries no sense of personhood, and it is from this Latin icon for breath that the word spirit entered the English language; so the English icon spirit should not be used for a personage, whether mortal or divine. Nevertheless, when a Christian speaks the language of Christianity, the Christian’s familiarity with the iconic phrase, the Holy Spirit, involuntarily causes the Christian to attach personhood to an icon that best represents the breath of God [pneuma Theou] that is a holy breath [pneuma ’agion].
Unfortunately, Trinitarian Christians speaking the language of Christianity are not able to read the capitalized words, Holy Spirit, without thinking of the breath of God as being the third personage of the Trinity. And their familiar assignment of personhood to the breath of God effectively prevents them from breaking the personhood-link for fear of committing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. In other words, Catholic orthodoxy going back to the 5th-Century CE has used fear of eternal damnation to prevent Christians from escaping idolatry as Pharaoh used fear to prevent Hebrews from escaping out of Egypt, the geographical representation of sin.
In the defining visual image of typological exegesis based upon chirality, how meaning should be taken from Scripture—the image of man looking up at God who in turn looks down at man, created in His image—the enslavement of Israel in Egypt by stealth forms the shadow and copy of the enslavement of greater Christendom in idolatry by the spiritual prince of this world, with Christendom’s desire to escape from this spiritual king of Babylon being even less than was Israel’s desire to escape from Pharaoh. Moses, however, did escape albeit only to save himself after he killed the Egyptian, but Moses was not reared as a slave but as a free Egyptian. He did not possess slave mentality, which afflicted his people Israel. Therefore, he fled to the land of Midian when his freedom was in jeopardy as some few Christians flee from idolatry when they realize that their freedom to worship the Lord as He commands is in jeopardy. But more of this later in the essay; for the Lord told Moses that He intended to make from Moses a great nation, a nation greater than Israel, and the Lord never changed His mind although He did defer to Moses’ request not to do so in the Wilderness.
Because the breath of God [pneuma Theou] has for Trinitarian Christians personhood as the third entity in the Trinity, this familiar but ungodly association of triune personage to God the Father, Christ Jesus the Son, and their respective breaths [pneuma Theou and pneuma Christou — from Rom 8:9, 11] actually prevents Christians speaking the language of Christianity from understanding that receiving the pneuma ’agion actually receiving a second breath of life, the breath of life that raises the inner self from death and thereby gives to the inner self of this human person indwelling eternal life—eternal because this life has come from heaven as Jesus came from heaven, and because this life has come from heaven, it will return to heaven; hence the inner self of the person is glorified through having indwelling life that is of the timeless heavenly realm. And in timelessness where the existing moment doesn’t decay into the next moment, the presence of life cannot coexist with the absence of life; so whatever has life will always have life, and whatever is without life in this unchanging moment will never have life in this moment. Thus, to enter this heavenly moment where the Father and the Son have life, the entity must also have life that exists in this moment, which is also why there is only salvation for human beings in Christ Jesus, who gives His breath [pneuma Christou] to His disciples, with the breath of God being in His breath through the breath of God [pneuma Theou] descending upon Him in the form of a dove, alighting and remaining on Him (Matt 3:16) by entering into [eis — from Mark 1:10] as witnessed by John the Baptist.
Without the breath of God being in the breath of Christ and the breath of Christ being inside the inner self of the human person [the spirit of the person], thereby raising the inner self from death in a resurrection like that of Christ Jesus (Rom 6:5–11), the human person could never enter the unchanging heavenly moment in which the Father and the Son have life, a moment that angels cannot enter for they are created beings within heaven, meaning that they exist in another unchanging moment from the one in which the Father and the Son have life and angels can never enter the moment that was before they came into existence. Therefore, man is presently a little lower than the angels, but when glorified, man will be above the angels as the summit of Mount McKinley is above the Susitna River plain.
The writer of Hebrews says,
For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you"? Or again, "I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son"? And again, when He brings the firstborn into the world, He says, "Let all God's angels worship him." Of the angels He says, "He makes his angels winds [pneumata], and his ministers a flame of fire." But of the Son He says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions." And, "You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end." And to which of the angels has He ever said, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet"? Are they not all ministering spirits [pneumata] sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? (Heb 1:5–14)
Angels are constructed, created, from invisible force that is like fire, with “fire” being defined as the oxidation of matter, and with oxidation coming from the free flow of oxygen [or chlorine] molecules available to support combustion. Again, human life comes from the cellular oxidation of simple carbohydrates. As such, human life is sustained by the dark fire of cellular oxidation whereas eternal or heavenly life is sustained by the inner bright fire that the prophet Ezekiel identifies as the glory of God.
Now, mentally take the image of man, created in the likeness of God, looking up at God who is looking down at man and apply this hierarchy of relationships to fire, with earthly fire that comes via the oxidation of matter being represented by the man and with inner heavenly fire that is the glory of the Lord being represented by God. This now is the same hierarchy of relationships that pertains to mostly invisible moving air that is represented by the Greek linguistic signifier <pneuma> as used in the English words pneumonia and pneumatic tools in relationship to the divine breath of God that is the glory, the life of God.
When the world that is and everything that has been created physical was spoken into existence by the Lord, everything that has been made originates from the breath of the Logos [pneuma tou Logou] … matter comes from the four unfurled elemental forces having a lock placed on them, which is to say that matter is composed of points of energy of zero radius that do not easily fly apart. But when the solidity of matter is produced by the energy that holds a structure of energy together, then it could be said that all-that-physically-exists is as wind, having no more permanency than a house made from wind. Therefore, as personhood would not be assigned to the rain that brings to life a seed buried in the soil, but as personhood would be assigned to a human person composed of the same atoms and elements, personhood should not be assigned to the breath of God except as this breath [pneuma] is used to construct a personage as was done in angels and has been done in human beings, both being sons of God when both have indwelling heavenly life.
The breath of God is now both the source of the construction material from which angels were created and the source of the construction material that forms the cosmos. But the breath of God also functions as human breath functions; for a word spoken comes from modulations of human breath formed in the mouth of the speaker. Not every breath breathed in and out by a human person vibrates the vocal cords a sufficient amount to produce modulations that can be heard by ears. Nor is every sound that a human person makes a word. Rather, specific modulations produce a vowel stream that is interrupted by where and how the person places his or her tongue in the mouth and shapes the person’s lips. These interruptions produce consonants, which tend toward silence. Intuitively, the speaker releases the consonant, allows the vowel stream to return, then forms another consonant that tends toward silence … speech is the enemy of silence of the sort manifested when God doesn’t seem to answer a prayer.
My speech can be heard by a person in another room; my voice will be recognized. And if from the living room I holler, GET DOWN! at the cat licking out the frying pan on the kitchen range, the cat jumps down, with some of the cats responding faster than others. And so it is with the voice of God as heard through modulations of His breath, with the principle example seen in Scripture being in the Sophist novel that is the book of Acts, to wit, 13:2.
When the breath of God [pneuma Theou] is both the construction material from which His sons are created and the life-force of His sons, then aspiration or rough breathing added to an inscribed word or name—this aspiration represented by the letter /h/or the radical /ah/—serves to represent the inclusion of a holy spirit [pneuma ’agion], either that of the God of the living or that of the God of the dead ones (two deities, the God of living ones stated, the God of dead ones implied in Matt 22:32). The breath of either would be a holy breath [again, pneuma ’agion]. And this separation of breaths is seen in Paul writing,
You, however, are not in flesh but in spirit [pneumati], if in fact spirit of God [pneuma Theou] dwells in you. Anyone who does not have spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou] does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit [pneuma] is life because of righteousness. If the spirit [pneuma] of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His spirit [pneumatos] dwellings in you. (Rom 8:9–11 emphasis added)
The spirit/breath of the One who raised Christ from death is not the spirit/breath of Christ: two separate and distinct breaths are present in Paul’s words, and both are holy spirits/breaths.
As my breath is like your breath—you, the reader’s breath—but is not your breath, so is Christ’s breath like the Father’s breath but is not the Father’s breath. Yet as my breath originated from Elohim [singular in usage] breathing life into the first Adam just as your breath originated from the same source, the breath of Christ and the breath of the Father originates in the same heavenly moment that is the source of their respective breaths, again used metaphorically. The indwelling breaths of angels do not originate in this same heavenly moment; therefore, angelic beings can never ascend to where God is, but human sons of God who receive indwelling heavenly life through the Father’s breath in Christ’s breath have life in the same moment as the Father and the Son have life so it can be said that human sons of God have been known from before the foundations of the earth were laid, or that a human son of God such as the Apostle Paul was known from the beginning and has life that precedes the life that angels have …
A language of redemption is able to explain the mysteries of God that the language of the oppressor cannot.
Think of a heavenly moment as a geographical location. The summit of Mount Sinai was off limits to Israel except for Moses and Aaron before the Law was given (Ex 19:24), and Moses alone after the Law was given. Likewise, the heavenly moment in which the Father and the Son have indwelling life is off limits to angels, and off limits to Christians except those who are represented by Moses. And it is the Elect, or the chosen ones, that form and will form the great nation that the Lord brings forth from Moses—Christians who believe the writings of Moses and hear the voice and words of Jesus.
Because the Greek linguistic signifier <pneuma ’agion> is habitually assigned personhood in the language of Christianity, the familiarity of this assignment of personhood has effectively prevented Christians from understanding that Jesus built His church [His assembly] on the movement of breath from the nostrils as represented by aspiration /ah/ preceding the nasal consonant /n/ to behind the nasal consonant, with this movement seen in the names <John> and <Jonah> … the spiritual application of the sign of Jonah is the movement of breath from physical breath to heavenly breath as being the foundation upon which Jesus constructed His assembly.
I have written all of the above many times over the past decade, so many times that I really have no desire to write any of the above again. Yet because the Elect have had no language of their own, every time I have wanted to simply refer to the Holy Spirit as the breath of God I have felt obligated to give a detailed explanation of why what I say is so. I have not wanted to permit my accusers—of whom I have almost none today a decade after beginning this work—to stand on legs I haven’t first hacked off through an Aristotelian argument. If my accusers can stand on stumps for legs, then let them stand. They will bleed out soon enough. Therefore, circling back to where I began this first section:
When a word that is familiar is used because of its familiarity to name and discuss unfamiliar heavenly things, the narrative in which the word appears cannot be read literally but must be read as a figurative passage containing one or more figures of speech — when what was once familiar to all Israelites (i.e., the things of Moses) has become unfamiliar because of non-usage, then the hearer or reader [auditor] needs to acquire or reacquire familiarity with, in particular, those things about which Moses spoke and wrote, with Jesus saying, “‘For if you [Pharisees] believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?’” (John 5:46–47).
When a Christian has little or no familiarity with Moses, the Christian cannot believe Jesus’ words even if the Christian clearly hears what Jesus says. The Christian simply cannot assign to Jesus’ words the meanings Jesus intended for His words to have.
According to what the Lord told Moses, all firstborns, biological and legal, belong to the Lord and must be redeemed (Ex 13:1–2, 12–13), with the reason for redemption linked to the liberation of Israel:
And when in time to come your son asks you, “What does this [redemption] mean?” you shall say to him, “By a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. For when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of animals. Therefore, I sacrifice to the LORD all the males that first open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.” It shall be as a mark on your hand or frontlets between your eyes, for by a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.’” (Ex 13:14–16)
Redemption is thus linked to Israel’s liberation from involuntary servitude.
The reason for endtime Israel to keep the Sabbath is also linked to Israel’s liberation from physical slavery to a physical king [Pharaoh] in a physical land [Egypt] representing sin:
You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore, the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. (Deut 5:15 emphasis added)
In fact, the reason for keeping every Sabbath is as a memorial to Israel’s liberation: the reason for endtime Israel to appear before the Lord three season a year is linked to Israel’s liberation,
Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. Today, in the month of Abib, you are going out. And when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall keep this service in this month. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD. Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you, and no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory. You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt. You shall therefore keep this statute at its appointed time from year to year. (Ex 13:3–10)
You shall count seven weeks. Begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the LORD your God blesses you. … You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt; and you shall be careful to observe these statutes. (Deut 16:9–10, 12)
On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD seven days. On the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. You shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It is a statute forever throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. (Lev 23:39–43)
Before going down into Egypt, Israel was not a physically enslaved people/nation; rather, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob dwelt as free sojourners in the geographical land that represented entering into God’s presence, which is what the Sabbaths represent. Thus, Israel had no need for memorials commemorating physical liberation. Israel also had no need for the Sabbaths of God when the nation dwelt in the geographical land that represented Sabbath observance. And knowledge of the Sabbaths was not given to Israel either before going into Egypt or while in Egypt. For every Sabbath observance is a memorial to liberation from death, a shortcutting of the movement from involuntary servitude to liberation through redemption by shedding blood … again, I have written the long form of this argument enough times that I feel justified in taking the linguistic shortcut here. External enslavement of the person who has been once born forms the shadow and type of enslavement of the inner self by the person’s inner self being consigned to disobedience (Rom 11:32) as a son of disobedience (Eph 2:2–3).
When Martin Luther said the Law couldn’t be kept, he was correct for every Christian not truly born of spirit and therefore still a son of disobedience. And while the language of the oppressor speaks of original sin; speaks of Adam’s transgression, the Christian needs to understand that it wasn’t until the days of Noah that God baptized the world in water and unto death; that the unbelief of Adam was addressed when the world was baptized in water; that Noah as a preacher of righteousness believed God, why he went to extraordinary lengths to construct an Ark of wood larger than any known ship until the 19th-Century CE. And in Noah’s belief of God, Noah fathered a line of humanity that returned humanity to righteousness although the generations descending from Noah quickly succumbed to the Adversary’s broadcast of rebellion and unbelief.
In a language of redemption, the possessive language of the Lord speaking to Moses is heard:
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them. These are the appointed Feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed Feasts. …” (Lev 23:1–2)
And the Lord begins the list of His Feasts with the weekly Sabbath, followed by the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, Wave Sheaf Offering, Feast of Weeks, Trumpets, Yom Kipporim, Succoth, and the Eighth Day or Last Great Day.
The weekly Sabbath and the annual high Sabbaths are not the feasts of Jews, but the Feasts of the Lord. It is the language of dominant Christendom that has the Sabbath and High Sabbaths being feasts of Jews; it is the language of the oppressor, of the Adversary who would if the Lord permitted, prevent any Christian from observing or celebrating the Feasts of the Lord.
Concerning Succoth, for outwardly circumcised Israel—native Israelites—the booths of tree branches during the Feast of Tabernacles were temporary dwellings analogous to the tents of flesh in which circumcised-of-heart Israel temporarily dwells while in this physical realm. And liberation for circumcised-of-heart Israel isn’t from physical slavery to a physical king in a physical land, but from indwelling sin and death in the disciple’s fleshly members, about which the Apostle Paul wrote,
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 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. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Rom 7:15–25)
The Apostle Paul was made alive in his inner self when he received a second breath of life, the breath of God in the breath of Christ, but he remained enslaved in his flesh by the sin that dwelt in his fleshly members, with his enslavement to sin and death [disobedience] being the equal of Israel’s enslavement in Egypt.
Actually, as a son of disobedience enslaved by Sin and Death, a human person is in greater peril than was Israel in Egypt; for Paul also wrote,
God shows no partiality. For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law. For it is not the hearers of the Law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the Law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the Law, by nature do what the Law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the Law. They show that the work of the Law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (Rom 2:11–16)
To reduce Paul’s gospel to its simplest wording, all people will be judged by what they have done when alive, with the person who manifested love for neighbor and brother faring well, but the person without love perishing.
The democratic liberty afforded by representational governance conceals from 21st-Century Americans an ugly reality that I first heard expressed more than forty years ago: I was working with a fellow who had served as part of America’s occupying force in post WWII Japan. And while he was in Japan, he had contracted with an elderly woodcarver to do some work for him. This woodcarver told him that Americans were all slaves, and the fellow with whom I was working said he had vehemently disagreed, saying, Americans are all free. But the old woodcarver said, No, not free. You all punch time clocks.
To the old Japanese woodcarver, freedom was about being able to do what he wanted to do when he wanted to do whatever. And some twenty-five years later, the fellow with whom I was working late on a stormy night when we both should have been home in bed was troubled by what the woodcarver had said. For the fellow with whom I was working, freedom from economic servitude was not an option. It was for me, and in a roundabout way, the boiler fireman with whom I was working in Georgia Pacific’s pulpmill on graveyard shift that night told me that I didn’t have to be like him, so deep in debt that he couldn’t quit, that he had to work rotating shiftwork, that he had to spend the remainder of his working life being sleep deprived, with indigestion, answering to a parade of foremen, superintendents, engineers experimenting to see if production could be increased by tweaking this or that. And I heard what the boiler fireman said: within two years I no longer worked for Georgia Pacific, and within another two years I was in rural Alaska struggling to keep a fledgling chainsaw, outboard dealership afloat—so I had heard but I hadn’t heard what that old Japanese woodcarver told George Wyscaver when he, George, had his life before him.
In this world, freedom is an illusion. If a person believes that he or she is free, the person is free enough even if not truly free; for again, every humanly born person is consigned to disobedience (Rom 11:32) as a son of disobedience (Eph 2:2–3) and is not truly free to serve righteousness as its obedient slave until God draws the person from this world to be His son.
The Apostle Paul wrote,
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. (Rom 6:16–19)
By his own admission, the Apostle Paul did not understand why, if Christ Jesus’ death at Calvary had set disciples free from sin thereby purifying their consciences, that he could not rule over his own body and do what he knew was right. He accurately observed that sin and death continued to rule over his flesh. Baptism had not liberated his fleshly members from the sin that dwelt in them. Thus, he concluded that it wasn’t sin in his fleshly members that died when he was baptized; rather, it was his old self, his old nature, his murderous nature that permitted him to persecute and kill first Believers.
Therein was one reason why Paul was called to know the will of God: Paul’s old nature was not filled with love, tolerance, goodness, but was filled with anger, rage, murderous intentions even though Paul had a zeal to serve the Lord. Therefore, when Paul was born of spirit and his conscience was purified by the blood of Christ, Paul could identify—actually had no problem identifying—the change that had occurred within himself. Paul well understood what it meant to be born of spirit for he knew, he felt, he understood the change in himself, a change that had not yet happened in his flesh which still did those things that he now hated.
When I was called (drafted into the Body of Christ) in 1972, my old self was not filled with love, nor was it a personage that God would have wanted in the kingdom. But with being drafted, a change occurred, subtle at first but quite dramatic by two years after being called: I was no longer the person I had been. And I understood what Paul wrote about doing in the flesh those things that the inner self hated; for in my mind I wanted to keep the commandments, to do those things that were pleasing to God, but I found that if I did not ride herd hard on the desires of the flesh, I would do what I hated. If I relaxed control for even a moment, those desires of the flesh roared to life … psychologists regard keeping the commandments as a repression of the inner self, but this is not so: it is repression of manifested disobedience that dwells in the flesh.
My father died when I was eleven: I received a .22 rifle when twelve, and I fed myself and family (siblings) from that time on by what I shot, irrespective of what game laws were—I lived in rural Oregon—or how much money I made once I started to work for Georgia Pacific when 18 years old. The Zeitgeist of rebellion against authority that gripped my generation didn’t cause me to smoke pot or do drugs or engage in promiscuous sex but did result in unrestricted hunting and fishing and a general flaunting of societal norms, including those of my peers.
But then I was drafted into the Body of Christ (1972)—I didn’t want to be religious so initially, I didn’t like what was occurring within me; for I then believed that Christians were mentally defective. But I didn’t think of myself as mentally defective. So not until I was actually born of God through receiving a second breath of life did I realize that a mindset could change within a very short while … I couldn’t imagine not hunting on the Sabbath until drafted into the Body. Then I couldn’t not keep the Sabbath, which is actually what ended working rotating shift work for me. And in 1974, without a job and without money I found myself in rural Alaska, surrounded by fish and game, and I mostly observed game laws as I became a somewhat respectable young businessman.
Once drafted into the Body of Christ, I changed suddenly, with even greater inner changes to occur over the next quarter of a century.
The language of freedom that Americans speak is actually the language of lawlessness: a language of freedom from law, and not a language that is well able to express sexual liberation as enslavement to disobedience, to unbelief, to an Adversary that is as real as is the person’s conscience.
The illusion of freedom that comes from open homosexuality, from gay marriage, from a female law student testifying before a House of Representative committee that she will spend $3,000. on contraception during her three years in law school—the illusion of freedom that comes from indulging the desires of the flesh comes with an attached price: the enslavement of the flesh to disobedience, to sin and death. The language of true liberty is, thus, a still unspoken language that represses all lawlessness, whether repressing all sexual relationships outside of marriage, or repressing the desires of the flesh until the flesh is liberated from indwelling sin and death through being filled with the breath of God. The language of true liberty is the language of believing God and walking in this world as Christ Jesus walked, not as Mohammed walked, not as Martin Luther King walked, not as George Washington walked, not as John Paul II walked, not as any man or woman has walked except for Jesus the Nazarene.
The sin that the Apostle Paul found dwelling in his fleshly members is the spiritual reality of the physical enslavement of ancient Israel by Pharaoh in the land of Egypt, the geographical representation of [metaphor for] Sin, the demonic king of the South that appears in Daniel’s visions as the four-headed, four-winged leopard.
The union member who is employed by a division of General Motors elects representatives that spends his or her dues in support of political Democrats that sponsor expansion of the federal state through erosion-of or repression of perceived political and social freedoms that permit sons of disobedience to continue in their involuntary rebellion against God. And this Socialist repression is opposed by TEA Party activists, with their mirror image seen in Occupy activists—and no one participating in democratic governance seems to realize that he or she remains a child of disobedience, a slave of the Adversary, and not free to do something as simple as keep the weekly Sabbath, which would preclude political gatherings on the Sabbath such as the State of Washington’s caucus that went for Romney when all who are truly free were restricting the thoughts of their minds and the desires of their hearts to those things that are pleasing to God.
In Scripture, the purest expression of democracy and representational democracy is found in Korah’s rebellion (Num chap 16) which didn’t turn out all that well for Korah and his supporters; for the self-rule principle imbedded in democratic thought is of the Adversary and has no place with God.
Liberty is not a right given to human beings by God, but is fully encapsulated in the Sabbaths that God has given to His firstborn sons, with the Adversary hindering keeping the Sabbaths of God in every way he can, even to (in the United States of America) making Sabbath observance subservient to union seniority when a case of conflict goes to the National Labor Relations Board … with God, there can be no conflict: His sons will serve righteousness, which includes keeping the Sabbaths as memorials to liberation from slavery.
(To be continued in Part Three)
"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."