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The man with the drawn sword in his hand whom Joshua encountered outside of Jericho would not have been there had the first generation of Israelites under Moses obeyed God 40 years or so earlier and entered the promised land as instructed.  In fact, the book of Joshua as it is written would not have been written had that first generation believed and obeyed God.  And if the book of Joshua would not be as it is, then neither would the book of Judges, Chronicles, Kings and so on.  There would be no book of Esther or Daniel, Ezra or Nehemiah… for if Israel had obeyed and kept on obeying, there would have been no exile to Babylon.

This then is the truth, the unpleasant truth, and be reminded of it:  What we call scriptures are a record of the results of our disobedience, disbelief and unrepentance.  Genesis would only have chapters 1 and 2 as it is had Eve not been deceived and Adam not sinned.  There would have been no ark or flood needed for Noah.  So, elect, the true knowledge of the scriptures that is needed so that errors are eliminated is this:  What we have as scriptures now are not what we would have had if only we obeyed, believed and even repented.  Even Adam could have saved Genesis 4 from being written if only he repented instead of blaming Eve.

If that first generation of Israelites had humbled themselves, repented of their unbelief and disobedience, and in their repentance returned to the desert instead of presuming that the Lord had forgiven them just because they said, “We have sinned.  We will go up to the place the Lord promised.” They presumed that an acknowledgement of their sins allowed them to break the new command that God had given them instead:  “…turn back tomorrow and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.” For acknowledgement of the sin is not repentance… if repentance is done only to avoid the punishment.  Rather, repentance bears its fruit when the sentence for the disobedience is received and rejoiced with.  For God had declared to Moses, “I have forgiven them, as you asked.” As such, they were being sent out into the desert as those whom God had forgiven and not as ones whom God had not forgiven.  They may have been sent into the desert so that all their bodies would fall there, yes… but to fall as ones forgiven by God and not as ones whom God had not forgiven.  It was their second offence that sealed their fate… not their first.  For had they humbled themselves and obeyed… falling back into the desert humbly… who knows, perhaps God might have changed His mind and after a few years of military training to boost their confidence, allowed them back into Canaan a second time.

You must realise, elect, the Lord commands us to practise His word not because God needs His word to be proved true, but rather, that our confidence in Him might increase.  Jesus did so many miracles, repeating many of them not because He had to prove Himself, but so that His disciples might watch and learn so that when their time came, they would go forth as ones well practised.

Yes, God can use a donkey to speak if He has to, but see that He used a trained donkey, not a wild donkey, to speak to Balaam.  Yes, God can use anyone, even a group of slaves with no military training, but He can also use the same slaves after they have had a few years of training and practice.  Jesus can use anyone who believes in Him for the ministry, but see that He prefers to use a group He has discipled.  The signs that accompany a believer are signs that accompany any believer as they preach the gospel.  That is because it is the Lord who is confirming the word that is preached.  However, when it comes to doing the things that He has done and even greater things, it is to disciples that He spoke of the truth of John 14.12… “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing.”

A presumption that we acknowledge our sins and then do something to make up for it is the mistake of Peter who said to the Lord when he saw Him coming to the boat that night and replied to the Lord, “Lord, if it’s You, tell me to come to You on the water.” Jesus said, “Come,” and Peter still sank.  Could Jesus not have said to all twelve of them as they cried out in fear and repentance because they had disobeyed Him in not going to Bethsaida that all of them come to Him out on the water and walk back with Him to Bethsaida?

So then what is the unpleasant truth you need to be concerned about, elect?  It is this:  The truth that is written in most of what we call scriptures would not be the way it is if we had not disobeyed, and having disobeyed, repented and then accepted the due punishment for our disobedience instead of making up fanciful stories and devising our own schemes to make amends, like Adam blaming Eve, like Israel disobeying a second time and attacking Canaan, like Peter calling out to the Lord to walk on water, and like the Council of Jerusalem’s way of dealing with the error that had crept into the church at Acts 15.1 when Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers:  “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” Instead of allowing James to speak, instead of listening to James and approving his scheme of appeasing those who are zealous for Moses and for the law by reintroducing a few bits of the law into the teachings of Jesus to be practised together… had Peter who was there continued on to confess and repent of the disbelief and the disobedience of what they had done to Jesus’ teachings, and at the risk of losing all who were zealous for the law, spoke the truth that those who have practised the words of Jesus including eating His flesh and drinking His blood can no longer find salvation through the customs of Moses, not even by circumcision… how different it might have been.  Had Barnabas and Paul continued to dispute all reintroduction of the Mosaic Law into the practice of the disciples of Jesus, how different it would have been.

As such, elect, just as Genesis chapters 4 to 50 exist because of unrepentance, and the books of Joshua to Malachi exist because of unrepentance, so too the epistles of the apostles exist as they do in their current form and even the seven letters of Jesus to the seven churches exist because of disobedience, unbelief and unrepentance (D.U.U.), even hypocrisy (D.U.U.H.).  For the letters of the apostles were not written to churches that were doing the things that Jesus was doing, but rather, to churches that lived an existence that Jesus never had in mind… like Adam outside of the garden and like Israel in the desert.

The rules that governed the daily lives of the disobedient are very different to the rules that govern the lives of the obedient.  As an example for those who are still dull:  The daily routine for one who is practising the command of Jesus to love his enemies would involve him spending his day praying, blessing and doing good to those who insulted him, lied and therefore slandered him, and even to those who robbed or assaulted him.  Whereas the daily routine of a Christian who does not practise the command of Jesus, but prefers to devise his own ideas and rules, would be spent seeing lawyers, judges and policemen to see those who slandered him for libel being arrested and to imprison those who robbed from him and attacked him.

As such, the rules of conduct written in the epistles by the apostles are corrective instructions for churches that were not correctly founded in the words of Jesus alone, but had a mixed foundation based on faith in Christ with a practice of a mixture of the words of Moses and Jesus… not a foundation of solid rock but of rocks and clay.  The seven letters of Jesus to the seven churches are letters of correction to churches that were likewise in need of repentance.  Repentance is needed only if you have not listened and done what you were told to do.

Had Adam refused the fruit, rebuked Eve and attacked Satan, even killing the serpent, crushing its head with his heel, he would not have needed to repent of killing the snake.  If the twelve tribes rushed into Canaan without waiting for the return of the spies, they would not have had to repent of their hastiness.  If the twelve went to Bethsaida and did not send the boat back for Jesus, they would not have had to repent of their lack of consideration of the needs of the Lord.  If the twelve had rushed to Galilee without thanking Mary Magdalene, they would not have had to repent of their rudeness.  If we had stayed listening to Jesus and held onto His word, we would never have had to repent of ignoring the requirements of the Mosaic Law as we ate the food sacrificed to idols in the villages we were sent to and ate the meat of strangled animals.

For those who stay true to Jesus’ commands are those who are entrusted with the Kingdom of God.  For Peter may have been given the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven by Jesus because the Father showed Peter to say, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” to Jesus, but he was never given the keys of the Kingdom of God.  For no one who only phileos Jesus is given anything more than a shepherd’s duty, not a king’s duty.  Had Peter answered the real question when he was asked, “Simon son of John, do you truly love (agape) Me more than these?” and confessed, “No, Lord, my denial of You three times has shown I have not agaped You, only phileod You.  Forgive me,” he may have had a very different reply than “Feed My lambs” from Jesus.  Make no mistake, the apostle finally did agape Jesus more than these, but not that morning on the shore of Galilee.

So then, elect, what of you?  Like Paul you are like ones who are abnormally born.  As surely as Paul would not have been called and became the minister he was as a forebear of the elect of the Holy Spirit had the other eleven obeyed and kept obeying, so likewise you.  There would be no need for a ministry that expressively restores the command to listen to Jesus and a way of life that expressively teaches the practice of the words of Jesus to the forsaking of all other words if… if… if… those who went before us had believed, obeyed all specific teachings of Christ (B.O.A.S.T. of Christ) and Christ alone and left Moses and his generation where they belong.

This is the truth, elect, the unpleasant truth, like the man with the drawn sword was the unpleasant surprise for Joshua… to hear that the commander was neither on his side nor on the side of Jericho, but as the man said, “…but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”

As for what there is really to know about the scriptures that eliminates and prevents error…  scriptures record what should not and would not have been because we sinned.  As such, did the commander of the Lord’s army have need of Joshua’s help?  Did he face Joshua to make an alliance with him?  No.  So then likewise, elect, when you understand who you are, why you are here and the reason why the answer is “Neither,” then neither will you be concerned whether they listen or not listen, for they are a rebellious house.  Only be sure that you do the work assigned to you.

Then you can shout, “Come!  Lord Jesus, come!  I am ready.”

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