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I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.
Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play." We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents. And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.
This is the Epistle selection that will be read aloud on the third Sunday in Lent, Year C, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. It will follow an Old Testament reading from Exodus, where Moses “looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.”’ That will precede a singing of Psalm 63, where David wrote: “For you have been my helper, and under the shadow of your wings I will rejoice.” All will accompany the Gospel selection from Luke, where Jesus said, “Those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them--do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did."
Please note that I have stricken through the modern pandering to women that has translation services act as hired hands for profit, who are told by the purchasers of the Bibles they produce, “Add ‘and sisters’ wherever Scripture says only ‘brothers,’ because we make more money off our widows than we do off the men that still attend our churches.” Paul wrote “adelphoi” for a purpose; and, the motivation for that purpose was he was divinely led to write precisely what he wrote. The purpose was to make the panderers see the truth behind the meaning of only addressing “brothers,” which means that is a word that states a relationship to one another, through a common Father. It has nothing to do with sexuality, because souls are asexual. To be misled by these modern hired hands and false shepherds means to never venture to the realm of truth, where understanding the meaning of “brothers” comes. I have stricken it out, but the words are still visible; so, read as you want. My interpretation of the meaning of this reading will not dwell on this point of address.
In the first five verses there are only three capitalized words. A capitalized word is divinely elevated in meaning, which makes it be relative to Yahweh. The second and third capitalized words as “Christos” and “Theos,” which translate as “Christ” and “God.” Those two words are easily recognized as divinely elevated in meaning, being relative to Yahweh. The first capitalized word begins these five verses; and, it is “Ou,” translating as “Not,” which makes it difficult to see how that is divinely elevated and relative to Yahweh. For that reason, the NRSV has changed that word to a simple third word, in the lower case, transforming verse one to begin, “I do not.” That (like adding “and sisters”) is not what is written. A capitalized “Not” beginning these verses becomes divinely elevated and relative to Yahweh as Him speaking through Paul, telling true Christians what “Not” mistakes to make … if one wants to be a “Christ” and please “God.”
The first thing Paul was led to lead true Christians to “Not” be was “ignorant.” In his use of the Greek word “agnoein,” which translates as “to be ignorant” or “to not know,” To multiply a “Not” times a “not” means two negatives yield a positive; so, Paul is making true Christians “know” what should be “known.” This makes the word “ignorant” be less about being unknowledgeable (because of stupidity, illiteracy, brain disease, etc. biological excuse) and more about pointing out a basic fact that people choose to "ignore.”
Now, the use of “brothers” (like I said prior) has little to do with picking out all the male folk in a social gathering, ignoring all their wives. Like I said, it is a divine statement of relationship where all true Christians are Spiritually married to Yahweh and thereby reborn as His Son. Because all souls become Jesus reborn (guys and gals alike), all are “brothers” … as all are souls made Sons by the soul of Jesus being resurrected within. That is then why Paul used “brothers,” before speaking about “the fathers of us all” [literal translation into English] or “our ancestors” [as the NRSV translates]. All of the following verbiage about a “cloud,” going through “the sea,” and being “baptized” by Moses makes those who are ignorant of what “brothers” means think Paul was writing a letter to only male Jews in Corinth. He was not; and, that demands one understand why.
Paul’s legacy was his evangelism to both Gentiles and Jews. Thus, for the truth to be written in a letter, the ancestors that were “the children of Israel” has to be seen as the truth of the meaning behind the name “Israel.” Paul was making it known (to not be ignorant to this history) that the “cloud, sea, and baptism” references were not simply a large group of blood relatives walking where all that was. Instead, their souls had all be led to marry Yahweh (the Covenant agreement) and become Spiritually elevated like Moses. The ‘lineage’ that connects all true Christians to that history written down is that which lets one know those references were spiritual, not physical. That means “brothers” is a word of spiritual relationship, not physical.
When Paul wrote that this spiritual connection to the past was the same as the true Christians in Corinth had experienced, he was saying that was because they “all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.” [NRSV] The “same spiritual food” is the insight of Yahweh’s teachings [transcribed later onto scrolls as orated by Moses]. The “same spiritual drink” is the encompassing presence of Yahweh’s Spirit – His everlasting waters. To “drink from the spiritual rock,” which “was Christ,” says all the ancient true Israelites were filled in the same way, each with the soul of Yahweh’s Son [Adam] within, due to their “Anointment” by Yahweh [becoming a “Christ”]. Here, it is vital that one ceases reading “Christ” as if it is the last name of Jesus; because that will only make the “ignorant” scratch their heads and wonder, “How did Jesus get back that far in history?”
When Paul then reminded those who were recently transfigured into true Christians the stories of the Israelites following Moses in the “wilderness,” the reminder focused on telling them, “God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down.” [NRSV] In that, Paul wrote the word “katestrōthēsan,” which better translates as “they were overthrown,” implying “they had laid low.” This is not a statement that Yahweh went about killing wayward Israelites willy-nilly, as much as it is a statement that says (unlike physical bloodlines) spiritual brothers are not born from sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. This says it was the ministry of the first true Israelites to teach their children to eat the same spiritual food, drink the same spiritual water, and welcome into their souls the same spiritual drink that is the rock of the Christ. Feeding them physical food, giving them physical water, and showing them where water springs from a rock in the ground is not a guarantee of a Spiritual transformation. Thus, true Israelites gave birth to human beings that were not true Israelites, but those who “had laid low.”
Verse six then begins with the capitalized word “Tauta,” which is the plural word stating “These.” That is divinely elevated as a continuation of those who had not pleased Yahweh in the wilderness, because “they were laid low.” That means Paul’s word “These” is a reflection of “Those” who claim ancestry to Yahweh, as ‘children of Israel,’ through bloodline, not Spirituality. Paul then followed that word with “now,” to point to the fact that the failures of the past have not been corrected. Following a comma mark, Paul wrote: “models of us have been born,” saying the bloodline of sin leads to brothers and sister of sinful ancestors being a legacy of sinners always being born and reborn.
In verse seven, Paul wrote: “Do not become idolaters as some of them did”. [NRSV] In that, the Greek word “eidōlolatrai” means “image worshipers,” implying “those who serve idols.” This is most important lesson to learn, as modern Christians read “idol worshipers” and think of the Hindu praying before large statues of multi-armed creatures. This is then seen in Paul referring to Exodus 32, where the fearful Israelites cast a golden calf as an idol and worshiped it. All of that certainly fits the terminology of “idol worshiper,” but when one ponders the truth of “image worshipers,” it does not take much to see how most people claiming to be Christians ‘worship’ sports stars, actors, musicians and singers, politicians and social culture leaders (to name just a few of the “images” commonly mass-“worshiped.”)
A greater problem (after denial is easily an excuse to reduce the terminology from “worshiper” to fan or enthusiast or partisan) is self-worship, where many industries make huge profits by pandering to the lusts of brothers and sisters to look forever younger (than actual), through cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, clothing, medical procedures … on and on and on. This is the same root cause of the fallen Israelites in the wilderness behind Moses, as well as the root cause all those fallen, when Paul lived, who called themselves Jews. AND, let us not forget to project into their future, to all people today (and forever) who call themselves “Christian,” when being a “Christ”ian means eating spiritual food, drinking spiritual drink and being filled with the rock of a “Christ” (Jesus reborn).
When Paul quoted Exodus 32:6, which he began with a capitalized “Ekathisen,” meaning “[They] Sat down,” the divinely elevated meaning of that word says the Israelites “had been Appointed” to be true Israelites, with the teachings providing the plan for eating and drinking spiritually, so their souls could rise up and rejoice servitude to Yahweh [like all angels do]. However, that “Appointment” or “Seating” was from a position of having “laid low,” so they ate physical food, drank physical drink, and then went about their normal sinful business, “playing.” There, the word “paizein” means “to play,” inferring “as a child.” Being childish is then a negative usage, saying the serious nature of faith should not be taken as a game or sport. That is being “ignorant” of the truth.
Back on the last Sunday after the Epiphany, the reading for the Old Testament came from Exodus 34, which was telling of Moses coming down from the mountain a second time, bringing replacement tablets for the one he broke in disgust because he saw the ways of the Israelites. At that time, I wrote my feeling that this “second “Law” was not a reality to Moses and Aaron, but a prophecy of coming times, when Jesus would come down with the New Testament. By then all Laws had been broken, with all 'Promised Land' given up in that divorce. When that concept is seen, then Paul writing “These now” is his saying the fulfillment of that prophecy commanded to be written by Moses is seen forever, when people pretend to worship Yahweh, but really worship self-pleasures.
People tend to love Halloween and Mardi Gras, more than the boring stuff that leads to eternal salvation. Carpe diem! I think that is called.
In verse seven, Paul is shown to have written: “We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.” A literal translation better presents the truth of this verse. The verse literally states: “but not should we commit sexual immorality [fornicate] , according to the manner in which certain ones of the same committed sexual immorality [fornicated] , kai fell down to one day twenty three thousand .” In this, the number “twenty-three thousand” becomes an erroneous figure, as there is nothing in the times of Moses when that specific number of fallen Israelites died. Because that segment of words is led by the word “kai,” giving importance to the truth contained to follow, the figures “twenty” and “three” become the truth of two episodes, both telling when a failure to follow the Laws of Moses led to deaths. That historical text needs to be reviewed.
In Exodus 32, after the quote stated by Paul, verse 28 then tells: “and fell from the people day that , about three thousand men .” That accommodates the “three” to which Paul referred. However, In Numbers 25, after telling of the immorality of the people with the women of Moab, verse nine tells of the punishment that came by plague: “and were those who died in the plague four and twenty thousand .” This can justify the use of “twenty” by Paul, as the number relative to both “twenty” and “three” is “thousands” dying “in one day.”
This mixture of Israelite history says “idolatry” is more than worshiping some external image. The external image becomes the lure of the flesh, tempting it to break free of self-will that restrains physical lusts, leading the soul to give-in to external influences and sin. That becomes a statement of “[They] Sat down” as proposed worshipers of Yahweh, but “rose to play” like wayward children. The word translating as “to play” can mean to make “revelry.” Both “revelries” that come from eating fat and drinking wine [drunkenness] and being enticed to fornicate when foreign women flaunt their physicality in one’s face, says “nakedness” is to be avoided; and, nakedness is how Noah became after getting drunk once.
When a passed out drunk Noah was in his tent naked, two of his three sons refused to look upon his “nakedness,” while son Ham looked. Ham was cursed simply for looking upon his father's “nakedness,” thereby Ham’s lineage “fell down” and was insignificant as far as the Biblical history is developed after that. In Exodus 32:25, when Moses came down the mountain to see the wickedness of the people, it is written: “and saw Moses the people , that unrestrained were ; for had not restrained them Aaron , to derision arisen their enemies .” The words translated as “unrestrained” and “not restrained” means “make naked.” Thus, Exodus 32 says when the people “arose” or “made revelry,” they were so drunk on wine that they began dancing naked … and nakedness has a natural way of leading to sexual immorality.
In verse nine, Paul wrote, “but not should we test this Christ , according to the manner in which certain ones the same tested , kai under this of serpents were destroyed .” This is another example of “testing the Christ” that makes one’s soul be related to others of the same “Christ” "Appointment" made by Yahweh. In the Exodus 32 story of the Israelites falling and going to a fallen Aaron (none of that really happened then), we read of Yahweh somehow finding out about all that was going on at the base of the mountain. Of course, that story is written for childish minds, as Yahweh knows all, at all times; but the point of that notification should be realized as it came as a voice that said, “Hey Dad, there is some sexual immorality going on down below that you should know of.” The one taking that message to Yahweh was the “Christ,” which is Yahweh’s extension into a soul in human flesh [i.e.: Adam-Jesus].
While the “test” of Moses and Yahweh led certain Israelites to rebel, so they got bitten by poisonous serpents and died, the metaphor of the “serpents” are the “Christ” being fallen in those who were only pretending to be Yahweh’s wives. The “serpents” are then metaphor for the demon spirits that love to invade a soul and turn it away from Yahweh. These are then the bridesmaids who could not keep oil in their lamps. They are like the goats that thought they were doing good by claiming to believe in God and Jesus, but never came to know Yahweh in marriage, nor give birth to His Son within their own souls. The “test” of the “Christ” is what Lent is about, because Yahweh knows the hearts of all who say, “I love you God.” Many are still in love with themselves and are only pretending to give up self-worship. They love the nakedness of human flesh and how it tingles when drunk on wine.
In verse ten, Paul then wrote, “and not are you to grumble , even as certain ones the same grumbled , kai perished by the destroyer .” In Numbers 16 is told the story of Korah and two hundred fifty supporters of his, who felt their duties in the Tabernacle denied Korah an equal status with Aaron, as High Priest. They mounted a rebellion burning incense in censers, which led to Yahweh opening the earth and swallowing them all (burning them to death). This led to mass revolution, where the people “grumbled” mightily. That contempt led to 14,700 dying by plague [Numbers 16:49 says: “and were those who died in the plague four ten thousand and seven hundred”]. When Paul wrote about this, the high priest and his Sanhedrin had rebelled and were no longer of the Levitical lineage [Herodians]; so, Numbers 16 reflects a future rebellion that can then be seen as a prophecy of the earth opening up and swallowing the Second Temple.
Verse eleven then repeats the use of a capitalized “Tauta,” again meaning a divinely elevated “These” – of Israelite history. Paul also repeated the following, “These now models having come to pass to others , [those stories] were written now advantageous for a warning of ourselves , into which these ends of those spans ages of time are these arrived .” This says, “If it has happened before, it can happen again.” The punishments for past mistakes become the promise of punishments for all subsequent similar mistakes. It says Scripture is not to read to figure out how to pretend to act, because pretenders will always be tested by Satan and proved to be failures in their souls’ commitment to Yahweh. There can be zero souls allowed eternal life, when they bow down before the altar of self-worship. The span of “ages” says one’s commitment to Yahweh includes “now,” and one is uncommitted if "now" is like it was for "Those."
In verse twelve, Paul then began with a capitalized “Hōste,” which translates as “Therefore,” which is a divinely elevated statement about the cause and effect relative to a soul. This word continues Paul’s saying the times of the past had then “arrived” and the future of one’s soul is based on one’s past actions, relative to the present. If one’s past includes revelry in nakedness, fornication against the Law, and grumbling about being restricted in any way (as if Yahweh is forcing one’s soul to seek eternal life, not damnation), then it is foolish to expect anything other than a plague to befall one. That will be the mortality of death promised. Death without salvation means reincarnation (to start from scratch again) or worse (self-sold into eternal slavery to Satan … not fun).
The rest of verse twelve then says, “Therefore this appearing to stand upright , let him [or her] take heed , lest it [a soul] falls .” In that, the use of “dokōn,” which I have translated as “appearing,” can also mean “thinking” or “having an opinion.” That usage boils this down to using a ‘Big Brain’ to pretend how to act Christian, when there is no “Christ” poured out upon one’s soul. One “thinks” what would Jesus say that will grant me a conditional favor to do as I please; and, as a return favor to Jesus, I will then give some money to the Church that condones my indulgences. That is what Paul is writing this letter for – to warn the pretenders that like to ‘hang out’ with true Christians, following them around, pretending they will be able to get through the gate to heaven when their time comes, as tag-alongs. They fall into the category that says, “The best laid plans of mice and men go astray.” Brains are the gateway to demonic possession.
Verse thirteen then has Paul writing, “testing yourself not has taken hold of ¸ if not human ; faithful now this God , who not will permit yourself to be tested beyond what ability you possess , except will make , together with this trial , kai this outcome , this to be able to endure .” This says that a soul (“yourself” = your soul) is tested to see if it is “not” one that “has taken hold” of Yahweh’s Spirit [His “Christ”] in divine union. If the result of a test is “not taken hold of,” then one is “human,” and humans only possess a soul for animating their flesh. When one passes the test of “faithfulness” (commitment in divine marriage), then “this God” will prove to be one’s strength in a test. It is the presence of “God,” through His Son (the “Christ”) that will prevent any test from exceeding the power of the Spirit one’s soul “has taken hold of.” Anything beyond that “ability” [such as casting out Satanic spirits in others] will be a special talent allowed by the Father to the Son, so any damage collateral done by Satan will be “endured.” Thus, Stephen was able to forgive his murderers, because the Spirit made his suffering temporary.
As a reading selection for the third Sunday in Lent, it obviously focuses on the purpose of testing. When it should be clear that all liturgical seasons are making Scripture be oneself looking within oneself for spiritual strength; so, one should see Lent is not about Jesus spending forty days in the wilderness. Lent is about oneself being tested for faithfulness to Yahweh. It is not a test of one’s brain. It is a test of whether or not one has been blessed by Yahweh’s Anointment, so one truly is a Christian. This reading makes it clear that being “human” means doing everything that one can to satisfy self-concerns, rather than fully submit one’s soul into service to Yahweh.
Paul’s reminder of the sins of the Israelites says, “If they did it, it can happen to your soul as well.” There can be no pretenders pass the test of faith. That is a very loud message that holds its value today, when the sexual immorality of homosexuality, adultery, grumbling, and anything else human is condoned in pulpits throughout the Episcopal Church. This lesson points out with clarity that one does not sit down in the Episcopal section of Heaven (en masse). Proving one can wait out forty days as a group supporting sins together, each watching the back of another, is one of those games children play. Groups are not given entrance into eternal salvation … which is the lesson Paul reminded the “brothers” not to be “ignorant” of.