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Nowhere in the Bible does the word ‘apprenticeship’ appear.  There is ‘fellowship,’ ‘discipleship,’ ‘friendship,’ ‘worship’ and ‘sonship’ that are used to describe our relationship and purpose in the things of God.  Indeed, Jesus’ commands to the disciples were “…preach the good news…  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved…” and “…make disciples…” so that what is written is that we are to make believers and disciples, and as they grow, they would develop into friends of Jesus and sons of God.  However, anyone joining us at this time of our journey, seeking to sincerely enquire or seeking to criticise, is correct in quoting this warning of Paul to the Corinthian church, “Do not go beyond what is written” to this book of apprenticeship.  The word is not written or inferred anywhere in Scripture, and truly, I have and am taking you beyond what is written, thus this is indeed dangerous for all concerned, especially the author.  For if this is sin, then as Jesus said, “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come,” that is, sin.  As such, be assured that the author knows full well the risk and responsibility of going beyond what is written, against Paul’s advice.

However, remember that Paul’s advice was to a church that was out of order.  You should know the faults of the Corinthians well enough.  And as such, anyone who belongs to a church like the Corinthians of 1 Corinthians should stop now and proceed no further in accordance to sound apostolic advice from a true apostle.  One who has his own gospel that he did not receive from men, who has seen the Lord, who has a ministry of signs, wonders and miracles done with great perseverance, and who is familiar with coming and walking last in the procession like a man condemned to the arena.  Indeed, if this book should fall into the hands of those who claim to be apostles but are not, for they have no gospel of their own, and that which they preach they have learned from men, they would agree that no one should go beyond this point.  So be warned, many things from here on will be beyond what is written.  Turn back and do not follow and return to the safety of the church that stops behind the line and warning of, “Do not go beyond what is written.”

So to those who still want to proceed, here is the reason why you are being led beyond what is written.

The purpose of your apprenticeship is so that you will fulfill your election by the Holy Spirit when, like Saul and Barnabas, you are set apart for the work to which He has called you.  That work being to assist Him to fulfill His word to Jesus when He and the bride said to Jesus, “Come!”  All that is written in Revelation 20-22 cannot be fulfilled unless the church of Christ fulfills its commission of not only preaching the Gospel to all nations, but also being witnesses of Christ that He is the Truth and His words are truth.  Witnesses before whom?  The world?  No, witnesses before Satan who stands condemned on the testimony of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. 

If the words of Jesus can be proved false or if any of the words of Jesus fail to have witnesses who can testify to their truth, then Satan has legal grounds of appeal concerning his judgment, on the grounds that Jesus is not the absolute Truth and His words are not all absolutely true.  And if the Holy Spirit cannot fulfill His word to Jesus, which He said 2000 years ago as it is written, then likewise, He is not the Spirit of Truth.  So, the purpose of your election is not a joke, not a game, and not about your gain, nor about your salvation, satisfaction, justification, sonship, or your glory, holiness, reputation or ministry.  It is not about Heaven or Hell, or about kingdoms.  It is about defending, fulfilling and persecuting the decision and judgment of God on Satan that has been based on the testimony of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to its fullness.  There is no question of failure or success here.  There is no option.  This is the realm of the absolute.  And only those who are resolute can enter.

Of all the words of Jesus, one verse remains unwitnessed – John 11.26 – “and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.  Do you believe this?”  There are no living witnesses in the church who can testify to the life that is lived by one who will never die and has never died.  There are no 200 years old, 300, 400, 500 or 1000 years old Christians.  There is not even a 150 years old Christian who can stand up and testify that he is the living proof that John 11.26 is true.  We need at least two of them.  The grounds of the Earth are filled with those who have fulfilled two thirds of John 11.25.  That is, they have believed and are now dead, waiting to live again.  Lazarus died and lived again, but he died again, as has every single person who has ever been raised from the dead.  The resurrection has not yet happened and not one of them, that is, not one of the resurrections will happen until the great commission is fulfilled. 

So you see, even John 11.25 is not certified as being testified to yet, and it remains uncertified until Jesus arrives back with the martyrs.  The members of the first resurrection are witnesses of John 11.25, but they are not witnesses of John 11.26 in its literal sense.  No, do not get into an argument about Jesus meaning ‘spiritual’ death or what it really means in the Greek because Satan’s defense will be this:  “That which is written has not been proved.  Where are Your witnesses, Jesus?”

So, who can be the Teacher for those who want to prove John 11.26 to be true?  Can the current church, which prepares all its people to die to go to Heaven and await the resurrection, teach anyone who wants to live and never die?  Of course not.  You can teach what you know.  You can preach what you believe.  You see the way?  All those who want to testify John 11.25 cannot do so until someone, at least two, can testify to John 11.26.

I hear someone say, “But there is Enoch and Elijah!”  Yes, Enoch walked with God 300 years… then he was no more, because God took him away.  And Elijah went up to Heaven in a whirlwind.  That is true, those two may have lived and never died to a person sympathetic to the faith.  But as the devil’s advocate, one can argue that firstly, neither one of them is Jesus’ believer or disciple.  Jesus said, “and whoever lives and believes in Me…” not whoever walks with God or works for God.  Enoch and Elijah may have lived and never died, but they are NOT witnesses of John 11.26.  They are like witnesses who have witnessed murders, but they are not witnesses of a particular murder.  The testimonies of those two are inadmissible for the trial of John 11.26!  Secondly, see the wording of 2 Kings 2.11:  Elijah went up to Heaven in a whirlwind.  That is a tornado.  There are hundreds of people who have been caught up in tornadoes in the USA.  Few have survived and those who did survive were found again.  Elijah was never found again, therefore, presumed dead!

So, forget Enoch and Elijah.  To prove John 11.26 we need at least two disciples of Christ who lived and never died.  And you can forget the two witnesses, the two prophets of Revelation 11.  They both died first before being raised three and a half days later with Jesus’ arrival.  They are witnesses of John 11.25 to those watching them.  The reason the inhabitants of the Earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts is not because they died!  No, their death means that they are not able to witness John 11.26 despite their obvious power and ability to devour their enemies with fire from their mouths.  By the way, see now that the inhabitants of the Earth are not just mankind, but also Satan and his demons who inhabit the Earth, and it is they who gloat and celebrate, thinking there are no witnesses for John 11.26.  The killing of all who refuse the mark of the beast is so as to search out those who have the potential to fulfill John 11.26.  It is the false prophet and Satan’s case against Jesus, and the wholesale slaughter of hundreds of millions of Christians who refuse the mark will embolden them until they are convinced that there is no one who can testify to John 11.26.  Although the details are not yet revealed, however, it is safe to say that this boldness will give them the madness to gather the armies of the world to fight Jesus on His arrival and to destroy the Mount of Olives.  What the author is not clear on yet is whether the destruction of the Mount of Olives is the primary objective, or whether it becomes the secondary objective when they realize too late that there are living witnesses of John 11.26 and the only option remaining for the beast and the false prophet is to destroy the Mount of Olives to prevent the fulfillment of Zechariah 14.4 and Acts 1.11.  Such details are irrelevant at this point, but will be revealed when the battle is joined.

So then, where does that leave the church with its 2000 years of history and traditions as well as all its ups and downs?  In Christ of course, but incapable of teaching anyone how to fulfill John 11.26, except to have faith.  If the church cannot teach us, then surely Jesus can, and the words of Jesus as they are written are sufficient, and therefore, the author’s attempt to justify going beyond what is written is superfluous at best, and incorrect and blasphemous at worst.

So, can Jesus teach us by His words to live and never die?  He who lived and died on the Roman cross to be raised on the third day by the Holy Spirit?  (You may still leave before it is too late.)  Unfortunately, no, for He who lived, died and lived again cannot teach you how to live and never die.  But yet, did He not say, “…whoever lives and believes in Me will never die”?  Surely then Jesus can teach us by His words.  No.  If Jesus could, then there would be no need for Him to “…ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of Truth.”

The real reason the Holy Spirit had to be sent, apart from all the other reasons (born again, power, etc.), the real reason another Counselor is needed is because Jesus cannot teach us to live and never die for He died.  Only He, who lives and can never die, has never died, can teach us how to live and never die!  Only the Holy Spirit can teach us and only His power can sustain us!  To live and never die so that there will be at least two witnesses who will be revealed after the two prophets are killed, standing on the Mount of Olives, that no power of men or Satan or the false prophet can kill.  And so the end will come.  And it will come in a grand finale when witnesses of Jesus of both John 11.25 and John 11.26 will meet in the clouds with the Lord, and the Holy Spirit can move on to fulfill His word to Jesus, “Come!” for the Holy Spirit said that with the bride, New Jerusalem.

As Jesus said, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.  But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.”  And so, you who have listened to Jesus diligently and preached His words obsessively have come to the place where you must choose whom you will follow. 

Parable of the Unknown Disciple

Welcome to the path of the unknown disciple.  The one who was there that day when Jesus told them to go immediately to Bethsaida, but was horrified to see the others wait until dusk before leaving for Capernaum at someone’s well meaning suggestion.  The one who refused to get into the boat for Capernaum in the first place, but stayed behind to wait until Jesus returned so that Jesus could be informed where the disciples had chosen to go.  So, standing on that shore, the lone disciple watched as the others set sail across the lake, and waited alone until dark.  Never leaving where Jesus last spoke to them, the unknown disciple waited, and out of the darkness came Jesus.  There was no need for this disciple to say, “Lord, if it’s You, tell me to come to You on the water.”  With tears streaking down the  face, the lone disciple could only repent and asked the Lord’s forgiveness.  And before a word could be spoken, the Lord hushed the disciple and sent that disciple across to Bethsaida by walking on the water whilst He went onto the lake after the others.  And in Bethsaida, the unknown disciple waited for Jesus to return with the others.

You see, you who listened intently to Jesus will not take the boat.  You cannot get into the boat with the others, no matter what they say.  Neither did that lone disciple follow Jesus onto the lake, for the gospels only recorded Jesus walking on the lake alone.  For the disciple who listens to Jesus and does what He says will be sent elsewhere, even as the Lord seeks out the disobedient.

So then, if you were that unknown disciple that day, on the shore of the lake, you would come to the place where you will not walk with Jesus, but you will be sent across the river and you will walk across it with the Holy Spirit and in His power.  And while you waited for Jesus to return, it will be the Holy Spirit who will be with you.

Likewise, elect, this is the crossroads.  Those who are the disciples who chose Capernaum are getting into the boat and heading for a place that is destined for the depths, as Christ said, And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies?  No, you will go down to the depths.”  Now you must choose whether to join them or to stay behind and wait for Jesus.  And like that unknown disciple, you will find that Jesus will send you on a different path.  One He has not walked and neither has the church, but  one that can only be walked with the power of the Holy Spirit.

That is why, elect, you are apprentices and you have been called into apprenticeship with the Holy Spirit.  Apprentices of He who lives and has never died, He who is the Father of your spirit and who is the Spirit of Life, whose law sets you free forever from the law of sin and death.  For though Christ set you free from sin by His death, to go with Christ is to die on the cross with Him.

Yes, you are also crucified with Him on the cross as Paul said.  But you are not to die on the cross as He died, there is no need, for His death… He died to sin once for all.  There is therefore no need for you to die on your cross… His cross, the cross that He commanded all disciples to carry when He said, “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple.”  You see, elect, Christ commanded us all to carry our own cross to follow Him so that we would all come to the place where, like Him, we will be crucified (literally for some, figuratively for others), but it was never His intention that we would all die like Him.  There is no need.  But what there is a need of, is justice for Him and vengeance for His Father.

What there is a need of is for someone, another son of God, who can answer the mockers who cried, “Come down from the cross, if You are the Son of God!”  It is time for there to be sons of God who will come off that cross and do what Jesus did not do and silence the mockers.

It is time for sons of God to turn stones to bread, to take all the wealth of the all the kings of the world in worship of God and to cast themselves down from the tops of temples and live without any assistance from any angels.  It is time to shut the tempter up!  It is time to follow the Holy Spirit as He leads us across the river to be where Jesus always intended us to be in the first place, and open the eyes of the blind before He arrives!  Amen.

Footnote:  And who might the unknown disciple be, you ask.  Is it not obvious?  One who was healed that day amongst the 5000, who received back the sanity to hear what Jesus said.  One who from the day of their deliverance had begun to listen and always listened.  Whoever it was, the unknown disciple was not one of the 12, or one whom the 12 took any notice of.  And when they saw Jesus walking towards them alone, they assumed that the disciple who listened had not waited for Jesus either.  Who is that unknown disciple?  God knows, and you know, if you had listened.

Let’s go join her and wait for Jesus.  Amen!  

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