Into the Promised Land
From Chittim, Joshua, the successor of Moses, sent two men across the Jordan River and into the promised land of God. His instructions to these two spies were, ‘"Go view the land, especially Jericho’" (Jos 2:1). How much viewing the two spies did before they arrived at the house of a prostitute named Rahab isn’t recorded. Why they lodged with the prostitute isn’t recorded. But their stay wasn’t long, for "it was told to the king of Jericho, ‘Behold, men of Israel have come tonight to search out the land’" (v. 2). So their arrival in Jericho was noticed. Where they went was remembered. And the king was informed of their presence and purpose within hours.
The two men sent by Joshua rank high on the list of all-time worst spies. Jonah entered Nineveh with more stealth--and the city believed Jonah and repented en masse. If the two spies had announced their purpose for being in Jericho as Jonah had for why he went to Nineveh, the king of Jericho would not have known of their presence and purpose any sooner.
Forty years earlier, Moses had sent Joshua, Caleb, and ten others across the Jordan to view the land and report back on whether the land was good or bad. These twelve men spent forty days in the promised land. They saw the descendants of Anak there. Presumably, the descendants of Anak saw them, as did Amalekites, Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, and the Canaanies. But these twelve men didn’t have to fight their way out of the country. They passed through without attracting attention to themselves while carrying a single cluster of grapes on a pole.
Numerous biblical commentators have noticed that Joshua is a type of Christ figure; even their names (Joshua’s name was changed from "Hoshea" – Num 13:8) suggests an antetype/type relationship. In all things, the physical precedes the spiritual. The physical Joshua leads physical Israel as God’s holy nation into a physical promised land. The spiritual Joshua (i.e., the glorified man Jesus) leads spiritual Israel as God’s holy nation into a spiritual promised land: glorification. The former is the shadow of the latter…"shadow" is used in the same sense that sunlight causes a living three-dimensional human being to cast a lifeless two-dimensional image of him or herself. And assigning this meaning [signified] to shadow introduces an unintended concept.
A physical shadow of an event occurring in the timeless spiritual realm (time is part of the physical creation) doesn’t need to be connected to its reality by "time" in the same way a two dimensional shadow is attached to its reality. However, the event will need to have occurred before its shadow is cast. Therefore, if Joshua leading Israel into the promised land is the actual shadow of Christ leading spiritual Israel to glorification and not the foreshadow of the latter, then in the supra-dimensional realm usually identified as heaven, saints have already been glorified. They were glorified at the end of the sixth day of creation week, which is why the elect have been known since the foundations of the universe were laid. The Apostle Paul writes,
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Rom 8:29-30 emphasis added)
Paul writes that those individuals whom God the Father foreknew have already been glorified, a concept subject to terrific abuse by those individuals who understand time to be a linear construction and not as a low-viscosity fluid. Paul’s statements about predestination come after Paul writes that the carnal or natural mind cannot understand the spiritual things of God, and is actually hostile to God (Rom 8:7). So being predestined is not something a natural mind can understand, nor is it something the spiritually immature mind can grasp (1 Cor 3:1-2 & Heb 5:11-14). It might not be all that easy for spiritually mature disciples to understand.
Put simply, time is a fluid revealed by narrative. Only living beings inside the fluid are effected by it. Thus, God is omnipresent, knowing the end from the beginning, because He sees both from His heavenly perspective without needing time to pass to reveal the conclusion of an event. Because humanity is inside time as a fish is in water, we must wait until space-time expands to experience the conclusion of an event. (The passage of time equates to the expansion of space as evidenced by heavy mass particle decay producing a uniform background temperature of three degrees Kelvin; the passage of time occurs at the rate of heavy mass particle decay.) And for the glorification of saints to cast a physical shadow, well, the event has occurred in a section of time that has not been revealed to humanity through historical narrative. It has only been revealed through prophetic narrative. Therefore, prophecy, like history, is a narrative of what is not being experienced by the individual.
It would be easy to say that Joshua leading uncircumcised Israelites (Jos 5:2-7) across the Jordan and into the promised land "foreshadows" Christ bringing many heirs of God to glory. Such a statement would be true. Such a statement will satisfy the spiritual needs of most disciples. Such a statement would be made by someone looking to acquire disciples for him or herself. Such a statement also leaves unexplained a revealed mystery of God. Just as Peter, James and John (the sons of thunder) were privileged to see the glorified Christ in vision, and just as Paul was privileged to be caught up to the third heaven (in body or out, he doesn’t know), Christ has today revealed the relationship of the supra-dimension called heaven to the four unfurled dimensions of the physical creation. Christ’s revelation, though, is not by the experience of vision, but through the conceptual understanding of cultural knowledge. The only problem is that the human mind exists as part of the creation; so for someone to grasp what is beyond the creation requires a person to be spiritually minded (Rom 8:5-17).
From inside the creation, very good carnal minds have approximated the math necessary to resolve how the universe is constructed. Other minds have experimentally observed light mass particle behavior. These minds have collided light mass particles with antimatter particles to plot the paths of elemental particle decay. But so far, these minds have not ventured far beyond the confines of time, a fluid required for the maintenance of physical life. Too often, they reject divine revelation because of how badly the intertextual story of the future is told; they reject the source text itself. And they spend lifetimes working to produce base knowledge that already exists in another narrative.
The concept of an individual only being able to experience the past and the future through narrative can be demonstrated using a person’s memories. I wrote essays about experiences of my daughters while they matured. They read the essays, then said that I got the stories all wrong. Their retained memories of phenomena produced in their minds differing narratives of the same experiences. I know the phenomena through the narratives retained in my mind; they know the phenomena through similar but not identical narratives. Neither I nor they can return to the phenomena except through individually retained narratives.
Culturally, western civilization has chosen to retain narratives of historic phenomena through the production of texts. Scholars return to these primary source texts to establish the "truth" about a particular phenomenon. I have just spent three years teaching Composition to students who experienced the shooting at Heath High School in Paducah, Kentucky. Without exception, every one of these students (including one who was wounded) said that newspaper and television reporters didn’t get the facts correct, let alone the subjective details. Therefore, these students retain a differing narrative of a historic phenomenon from the narrative future scholars will use as their primary source texts.
Virtually everyone who has been featured in a news story will complain that reporters didn’t get the story correct. Yet the narratives produced by reporters become "fact" for future generations. In order for someone to go back to the future, the person would have to leave the creation, at least momentarily. In vision, this happened to John when he wrote the book of Revelation: John was transported forward in time until the events he witnessed and recorded must shortly occur (Rev 1:1 & 22:10). In other words, from the perspective of being in the distant future, John saw the occurrence of yet future events. John didn’t experience his vision from his 1st-Century perspective, but from a 21st-Century perspective, said with the qualifier that humanity has finally entered the time of the end. While the recording of John’s vision has never been supernaturally sealed as was Daniel’s long vision, Revelation was sealed through the use of the literary trope of "narrative perspective," of the vision not occurring until the Lord’s day, a pool of time represented by the seventh day of creation week. Until humanity reaches that pool of time that actually begins in the middle of seven years of tribulation, the prophecies of Revelation will be futuristic narratives from which secondary sources have produced many yellow-journalistic texts.
The Apostle Paul writes that as there was a first Adam, there was a second. The first was physical; the second was spiritual. And taking the concept of the physical preceding the spiritual beyond spiritual milk, we see the physical forming the actual shadow of the spiritual. Adam was created as a corpse, then received the breath of life and became a breathing creature [naphesh] (Gen 2:7). The man Jesus of Nazareth was born as a human being created in the likeness of Elohim (Gen 1:27) just as Adam was created as a corpse in the likeness of Elohim. Just as Adam was a physical corpse, the man Jesus was a spiritual corpse until He received the Breath/Pneuma of the Father (Matt 3:16). Jesus then became the born-from-above Son of the Father…John 3:16 is mistranslated, for Jesus isn’t physically born as the son of the Father/Theon but as the son of the Logos/Theos, His only. This mistranslation has historic roots in Arian Christianity, which holds that Christ Jesus was a created being. Scripture nowhere states that the Logos/Theos was created by the Father, either upon Jesus’ human birth, or prior to His human birth, or prior to the creation of the universe, the position of Latter Day Saints, a sect of Arian Christianity. The theological warring between 4th-Century Alexandrian allegorists and Arian literalists continues in the denigration of Mormons by Southern Baptists, with both sects in spiritual bondage to the king of Babylon. Both sects will be liberated at a future second Passover when firstborns not covered by the blood of the Lamb of God will again be slain. The animosity between the two schools of errant theology will then end for saints who will be glorified. Saints who won’t make peace will make for themselves reservations in the resurrection to condemnation (John 5:29).
But those saints who were called have been justified and glorified (Rom 8:30). Unfortunately, those saints don’t know that their end has already been determined. They cannot know, for they cannot move around in time. They live only in the linguistic present tense. The past is a story. The future is prophecy. So those saints, myself included, must live out a narrative that has already been recorded in the book of truth (Dan 10:21). And will realizing that our end has already been determined effect how we live today and tomorrow? It should, but more about this in a later essay.
The first Adam was created prior to the creation of physical Eden (Gen 2:8), where the tree of life grew. Today, the tree of life grows within the confines of the eternal covenant, which has as a condition of a person being placed in the covenant the laws of God written on his or her heart and mind (Jer 31:33; Heb 8:10 & 10:16). Thus, the laws of God form the walls of spiritual Eden. Jesus told the Pharisees that none of them kept the laws of God (John 7:19)--and if the Pharisees weren’t keeping the laws of God given to them by Moses, then who in Israel was? And who outside of Israel might have been? The answer is that the man Jesus was as alone in spiritual Eden as Adam was in physical Eden prior to the creation of Eve.
After Adam was placed in Eden, animals were created and brought to Adam for him to name. From these animals, no helpmate was found. Likewise, spiritual animals were created within the laws of God as given by Moses--the man Jesus names the animals from which no helpmate was found: He calls the scribes and Pharisees Hypocrites and Vipers, blind guides, blind fools, blind men (Matt 23:1-36).
When no helpmate was found for Adam, Elohim caused a deep sleep to come over him. And from a wound in Adam’s side, Eve was created. Likewise, the second Eve was created from a wound in the man Jesus’ side at Calvary. Death is, indeed, a spiritual deep sleep (John 11:11-13). And the physical death of a disciple equating to spiritual sleep mirrors the precipice between physical life and spiritual life.
Elohim [singular in usage] presents Eve to Adam when he awakens. Eve’s name reflects the concept that she will give life to future human beings created in the image of Elohim. Likewise, when the now glorified Jesus returns to earth the day of His Ascension, ten of His disciples are gathered together behind locked doors. Christ came and stood among them, showed them His hands and His side, then breathed on them just as Elohim had breathed on Adam. When Christ breathed on them, He said, ‘"Receive the Holy Spirit [Pneuma "Agion or the Breath of the Father]’" (John 20:22). At that moment, the ten disciples come spiritually alive and become the second Eve, the Church, which will mother all who are drawn by the Father.
The birth analogy will have each ovum within physical Eve’s ovaries representing spiritually a living, breathing human being who has not yet received the Breath of the Father. The receipt of the Breath of the Father equates to fertilization of an ovum. The birth analogy here, though, deviates spiritually from physical, the reason for Nicodemus’ question about entering the womb a second time. No physical pre-birth incubation needs to occur for a disciple drawn by the Father to have spiritual life. The disciple has it when drawn. The disciple would not leave the world if the disciple’s mind remained carnal. So the spiritual birth analogy is represented by the birth of Adam, who entered physical life as a physically mature though naïve individual. Since baptized by the Holy Spirit on that day of Pentecost, physical Israelites drawn by the Father no longer needed the direct transfer of the Breath of the Father. Same for physical Gentiles after Cornelius’ household was baptized by the Holy Spirit.
Baptism now represents asking for spiritual judgment to be upon the disciple (1 Pet 4:17), and equates to physical circumcision of physical Israelites on the eighth day. Baptism makes a drawn disciple a spiritual Israelite whose fate will either be the resurrection to life or to condemnation (John 5:29), that fate revealed upon Christ’s return (1 Cor 4:5). Regardless of how many years a drawn disciple has the Holy Spirit, the disciple is spiritually as a physical Israelite infant of less than eight days of age until the disciple is baptized. Yes, receipt of the Holy Spirit is the circumcision of the heart and mind; and yes, a person can physically mature and become filled with physical knowledge and wisdom while still less than eight days old spiritually; but spiritual growth occurs in the heavenly realm. It isn’t of this world, and cannot be seen by this world except as it causes an individual to desire to live by the laws of God. The holy ones of old received circumcision of hearts and minds following obedience (Deu 30:1-6). The better promise of the eternal covenant is receipt of the Breath of God prior to obedience.
Spiritual corpses receive spiritual life instantly when drawn. They are not begotten with need of pre-birth incubation in the second Eve’s womb, the position of Alexandrian allegorists adopted by the bishop of Rome, a position that justifies the theology of the Roman Church. This was also the position of Herbert Armstrong (he held or at least it was taught within his fellowships that unless a person were of his fellowships, which exclusively represented the true Church, the person was not of Christ). But Adam was not incubated in the womb of Eve. The second Adam was not incubated in the womb of the second Eve. And no first-generation disciple since has been incubated in the womb of spiritual Eve, whose task is to mother or disciple [used as a verb] individuals who have been born from above by the act of being drawn by God the Father.
The first Adam stands by while the serpent tempts his wife (Gen 3:6), telling her that she surely will not die (v. 4). The second Adam also allows the second Eve to be tempted by the lie that she shall surely not die, that human beings are born with immortal souls, that everlasting life is not the gift of the Father given to disciples when drawn but received whenever a sperm fertilizes an ovum, that the wages of sin aren’t death but everlasting life separated from God in an everburning hell. The second Adam allowed Platonists to tempt the Church and to mock Him. Just as the first Adam could have stopped Eve from eating forbidden fruit, the second Adam could have prevented doctrinal error from entering the Church. He didn’t for at least one endtime reason that I have addressed in other essays and articles. And if a person wonders why the first Adam didn’t prevent Eve from eating when he wasn’t deceived, the person should realize that the first Adam was the actual spiritually-lifeless shadow of the second Adam who uses that deception to separate sheep from goats.
The first Adam had free-will within parameters limited by him being the actual shadow of Christ, a hard concept for Western culture to accept. Both Luther and Milton (along with a host of other philosophers) have addressed the issue of human free-will, especially in free-will’s relationship to predestination. But the limitations of cultural knowledge have always hampered understanding how Satan is the prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2). Time has been perceived to be linear. Prophecy was divine prediction of events rather than a narrative similar to history.
Prophecy is the history written in the book of truth (Dan 10:21) that hasn’t yet occurred inside our location in time. Prophecy is history told from God’s perspective. Prophecy is part of the same narrative that constitutes history. And human free-will has qualifiers that depend upon whether a person is a vessel created for special use, or for ordinary use. Those vessels created for special use God predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. Where Calvin and others have erred is in restricting salvation to those whom God foreknew. The great White Throne Judgment is where vessels created for ordinary use receive their chance for salvation. Their chance for salvation occurs on the eighth day following the seven days of creation week. They will get the opportunity to view the blossoming or unfurling of the plan of God prior to choosing whether to be ruled by Christ and the Father.
Western culture has developed within a mindset that humanity has unrestricted free-will, but western culture has also developed on mental topography ruled by Satan as the prince of the power of the air. Thus, consider for a moment Pharaoh whose heart had to be supernaturally hardened so that he would serve as the shadow of Satan not wanting to release spiritual Israelites from mental bondage. Pharaoh wasn’t interested in seeing Egypt destroyed; he would’ve let Israel go early. But Satan is the spiritual king of Babylon (Isa 14:4-21). He is the reality of what Pharaoh was the shadow. Spiritual Babylon is the reality of physical Egypt. And Babylon will fall before Satan releases all of humanity presently in mental bondage to him. There will be less left of the world’s economic system than there was of Egypt when Satan, cast from heaven half way through seven years of tribulation, tries to recapture his former mental slaves by requiring everyone to accept the mark of the beast (Chi xi stigma or the tattoo of Xx) before they can do business. Therefore, YHWH restricted Pharaoh’s freewill. All of Pharaoh’s thoughts were his. But the thoughts which were able to sprout, take root, grow and mature were restricted by the soil, used figuratively, of Pharaoh’s mental landscape. He could think about releasing Israel, but that thought wouldn’t mature for God had hardened his heart, a euphemistic expression for God controlling Pharaoh’s mental topography from the heavenly realm.
From within time, the mental topography of humanity is unassailable. But from the perspective of the supra-dimensional realm of heaven, mental landscapes are territories over which wars can be fought; they are real landscapes. And just as YHWH sent first the house of Israel, then the house of Judah into physical captivity because these holy nations would not walk in His laws and keep His Sabbaths, He sent the two houses of spiritual Israel into mental captivity. When He sent the physical houses of Israel into captivity, He had their captors physically remove the nation from the promised land. The house of Israel was taken northward toward the Black Sea, and the house of Judah was taken to Babylon. He did, however, leave a remnant of Judah in Judea. This remnant, though, went to Egypt despite Jeremiah telling them not to leave. So all of Judah was either forcefully or voluntarily removed physically from the promised land. Likewise, all of spiritual Israel was removed from the mental topography of spiritual Eden, walled by the laws of God. And the easiest place to see spiritual Israel’s removal from the mental topography of Eden is in the holy nation’s observance of the weekly Sabbath. Sunday is not the Sabbath, never has been the Sabbath, and never will be the Sabbath. But the vast majority of spiritual Israelites believe that Sunday is the Sabbath. Their mental topography is controlled by Satan as the prince of the power of the air. They are in mental captivity just as the physical house of Israel was taken physically captive by Assyria, and the house of Judah was removed to Babylon. They were born into their mental captivity. They are spiritual slaves, and they cannot escape unless God frees them. But God has freed only those He foreknew. Even then, most of those God freed remained living in spiritual Babylon just as Daniel and his friends lived righteously in physical Babylon.
There probably isn’t any concept more difficult for Western civilization to accept than realizing that it has a restriction on its free-will. Americans, especially, believe we are masters of our destinies. But our mental topography is, in fact, ruled by the spiritual king of Greece, who today is at war with the prince of Persia. The war will end with what the world considers American ideals briefly prevailing worldwide.
If there is a concept more difficult to accept than mental servitude, it would be that those individuals whom God foreknew have already been glorified…the narrative of history recorded in God’s book of truth was written during creation week (Gen 1:1-2:3). When Elohim rested on the seventh day from all of His/Their work, He/They truly rested for the work of creating heirs was done. When Elohim rested, Christ was "the firstborn among many brothers" (Rom 8:29). The narrative of history was as a rose bud. All of the petals were there. All the flower needed to do was reveal itself by maturing. What God sees is the flower of His plan opening up to reveal itself. Humanity, however, lives in, or is confined to petals of time.
Again, all of humanity is mentally ruled by Satan as the spiritual king of Babylon (compare Isa 14:4-21 with Dan 2:37-38 – Nebuchadnezzar never ruled the children of man in China; Satan, however, does). Satan rules by being the prince of the power of the air; he rules by controlling humanity’s mental topography from heaven. But he will be cast from heaven (Rev 12:9) halfway through seven years of tribulation. All of his mental slaves will be liberated. He then, from inside time, attempts to recapture his former slaves by requiring them to accept the mark of the beast, the tattoo of the Cross (Chi xi stigma), to do business. He attempts to recreate fallen Babylon by posing as the messiah beginning his millennium reign. He comes as the spiritual antiChrist, and he will deceive many by recycling his lie that eternal life isn’t the gift of God but comes with physical breath through humanity having an immortal soul. This lie worked with the first Eve, and with the second Eve. Why shouldn’t he believe that it will work again? And the problem is that it will work with far too many saints. It will actually be easier for those individuals who scoffed at the idea of heaven and hell to endure to the end and be saved than it will be for many spiritual Israelites.
Mental landscapes are as real as geographic landscapes over which wars are fought. And again, we see this in Pharaoh’s mental landscape being incapable of sustaining thoughts of releasing Israel from bondage; God had hardened Pharaoh’s heart. So while Pharaoh could think whatever he wanted, the only thoughts that developed were those of keeping Israel in bondage. All thoughts of releasing Israel withered and died in the caustic soil of his mental landscape once God had hardened his heart.
Grace is the second Adam toiling among thorns and thistles, bearing the sins of drawn disciples just as the Azazel goat had the sins of Israel read over its head before being lead into the wilderness by the hand of a fit man. But Christ, upon glorification, has sat down at the right hand of the Father. He not longer labors. He hasn’t since the seventh day of creation week began, another difficult concept to accept. But again, consider the rose bud: how many additional petals are created while the blossom matures? None, correct? So what work of creating occurs? None. And so it is with the plan of God. Those individuals whom God foreknew rest with Christ as His brethren. The remainder of humanity awaits the maturing of the bloom, which has those individuals whom God foreknew being the salt and light of the world. The only problem is that those individuals whom God foreknew don’t know their destiny except through having faith in the Word of God.
All of the above is a long ways from where I started: the two spies Joshua sent across the Jordan are the actual shadow of the two witnesses of Revelation. Jericho is the shadow of spiritual Babylon. Rahab’s house is the shadow of spiritual Jerusalem. The red cord is the shadow of the Passover, or of having sins covered by the blood of the Lamb of God. And the walls of Jericho fall as the walls of spiritual Babylon will fall, with the timing of Jericho’s fall closely matching the timing of Babylon’s fall after the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all of humanity (Joel 2:28). Physical Israelites under Joshua have to fight to occupy the promised land. Likewise, spiritual Israelites under Christ will have to fight (by living by faith for three and a half years) to occupy the spiritual promised land: glorification. The good news is that they have already won; they cannot be defeated. The end of the matter has already been determined.
Shadows are not exact replications of their realities, but they are close enough replications that considerable knowledge about their realities can be gleaned.
Individually, as saints our destinies have been determined, which doesn’t mean that we cannot change our destiny by changing our behavior today if we are out of covenant with God, or vice versa. We determine what our end will be, or better, has been. Christ bears our sins. No sin is imputed to us as long as we remain in the covenant in which we were placed when drawn by the Father as an individual He foreknew. We will be glorified; we have been glorified. Our reward has been determined by what we did with the knowledge of the mysteries of God that we received. So on a moment by moment basis, we effect our fate which we cannot know until our judgment is revealed to us. God, though, knows today what that judgment is.
Until Einstein introduced the concept of space-time into Western thought, the mysteries of God could not possibly be understood. We could not culturally remove ourselves from time and perceive the past and the future as quantifiable objects. Divine revelation was by visions. And when the age of visions seemed to end, the Church concluded that the age of revelation also ended. In actuality, the Church was in a transition period between when revelation would come by vision, and when it would come through understanding the relationship between the physical and spiritual realms. Christ had to wait for the flower of humanity to intellectually mature enough that drawn saints could digest spiritual meat when it was offered.
The above serves as a prelude for understanding endtime revelations from God. By tilling and fertilizing the mental landscapes of drawn saints, Christ and the Father are able to reveal more to endtime saints than they were able to reveal to earlier holy ones through visions. Literally, endtime saints are able to become spiritually minded adolescents, fully capable of chewing solid food.
The age of revelation hasn’t ended; it has only begun. Shortly, sons and daughters will prophesy (Joel 2:28 & Acts 2:17). They will prophesy because they have spiritual understanding. Seeing visions and dreaming dreams will seem passé.
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"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."