THE CLOCK OF GOD, Part 3, RECONCILIATION

Goodnews Christian Ministry

"I will bring your offspring from the east, and gather you from the west. To the north I will say, 'Give them up' and to the south, 'Do not hold them'. Bring back my sons from far away, my daughters from the end of the earth, all those who bear my name, whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, whom I have made." ---Isaiah 43:5-7

CHAPTER 10

The Peace Treaty

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"Listen; the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem; he carried away the king and the princes, and took them to where he lives in Babylon. He took a member of the royal family and made a treaty with him...so that the kingdom would remain modest and without ambition and so maintain his treaty faithfully."
Ez.17:12-14

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The reign of the Church -- the age of the Millenium -- was made possible by a treaty of peace structured between God and this world -- a treaty sealed in the blood of God's only Son, Jesus Christ.

When Jesus went to the cross in our name, his action initiated a formal treaty of peace between the world and God -- a treaty designed to give life to the world by holding back the wrath long enough for those who want to escape, to do so in safety.

The treaty does two things. First, it offers eternal life to anyone who desires it, and second, it holds back the vengeance of the last days. In both of these actions the treaty has lengthened the term of life.

Delaying the wrath, it has offered the world a short period of reprieve from disaster -- a reprieve which has given each of us time to escape the catastrophe of the Law's decree.

The crucifixion of Jesus, then, can be seen in two ways. Traditionally, as the mechanism creating a new everlasting contract to be manifested in heaven between God and those who accept His Son as their savior, and second, as a temporary reprieve for this world from the ultimate consequences of sin.

Because it has a dual purpose, this treaty has two distinct parts. We can see in the elements of the Law that each of these two parts has its own priesthood and its own form of worship. One is spiritual and the other physical (liturgical) -- and each are structured in one of the two natures of Jesus -- true man and true God.

One aspect of Christ's treaty is manifested in the physical ministry of the church, and the other in ourselves -- in the spiritual ministry we carry out inside our own hearts.

Both perpetuate the treaty in their own way. This may all sound very theological and to a large degree it is because it relates to a treaty of peace between God and this world which is very legal -- a treaty which offers life through baptism because Jesus went to a physical cross in our name.

Just as the life of the world is tied up in this agreement, so is its death. This is why the liturgical elements of the treaty (especially the perpetual sacrifice) play such an important role in Daniel's prophecies about the last days.

If the treaty is rejected, it's offer will be withdrawn -- an event Daniel darkly foresees for our future. This will terminate the power that holds back the Wrath and allow sin to bring the world to the End that Jesus predicted for it.

By examining the liturgical elements of Christ's offer of peace to the world the hidden meaning behind Daniel's description's of what is to come can be better understood.

The symbol of Christ's treaty is the cross, and while our liturgical acceptance of the cross is baptism, the sacrifice that makes it all possible is perpetuated by holy communion. Because it perpetuates the offer of the cross to the world, communion perpetuates the treaty.

That is why it is evident in Daniel's words that when the Rebel of the last days decides to attack the altar of the communion sacrifice, he will at the same time terminate God's offer of peace to the world.

Pulling down the cross, he will erect in its place above the altar something that has power only to bring death.

For those unable to understand the liturgical mysteries, the words of Daniel still remain an enigma -- one that seems somehow Jewish. But Daniel's words relate to Jesus, not Moses.

Christ's treaty is offered, not from Jerusalem, but from Babylon. "Writhe, cry out daughter of Zion...for now you have to leave the city and live in the open country. To Babylon you must go and there you will be rescued; There God will ransom you out of the power of your enemies." (Micah 4:10).

Our rescue can only take place in the wilderness of Babylon. This means that it can only take place outside the covenant and community of Moses.

God has created the path that leads to heaven in the wild countries that lie outside of Jerusalem. "No need to recall the past, no need to think about what was done before. See, I am doing a new deed, even now it comes to light; can you not see it? Yes, I am making a road in the wilderness, paths in the wilds."

"The wild beasts will honor me...because I am putting water in the wilderness (rivers in the wild) to give my chosen people drink. The people I have formed for myself will sing my praises."
(Is.43:18-21).

Heralding this foreign distribution of salvation, Ezekiel prophesied that the king of Babylon would come down to Jerusalem and carry away the king of the Jews, together with all of the leading princes, and take them to where he lived in Babylon. (Ez.17:12-14). "All Judah has been deported, deported wholesale." (Jer.13:19).

Since, as we have already seen, the final dispersion of the people of God to Babylon occurred just after the crucifixion of Christ, the king of the Jews in Ezekiel's prophecy had to be Jesus.

It was Herod (an Idumaen Arab who had no Jewish blood in him at all) who was king over the Jews when Jesus first appeared. Herod's appointment as 'king of the Jews' came, not from his genetic lineage, but from Rome -- by imperial decree.

This showed that a decree by Rome was more important in determining the monarchy of Judea in the first century than either family background or genetic lineage.

That is why Pilate's action with respect to Jesus was so important. Jesus became a member of the Jewish royal family in the same way that Herod did. The same kind of Roman authority that gave Herod his royal appointment over the Jews ordered the inscription, 'This is the King of the Jews' written on top of the cross upon which Jesus was crucified. (Jn.19:19).

Instinctively realizing what this meant, the Jewish leaders ran to Pilate and begged him to change the inscription to read that this was Jesus' opinion rather than an imperial decree, but Pilate refused to change it. God locked on, and it was done.

As king of the Jews, Jesus had full authority, both in heaven and on earth to enter into the treaty between God and Babylon in the name of the House of Israel.

The treaty bound the Israelites into the servitude of their worldly captors -- a servitude in which Paul said, "We have to give up everything that does not lead to God, and all our worldly ambitions." (Tit.2:11-12).

This is a servitude which has lasted now for almost 2000 years and has involved all 12 tribes of Israel: "Look, the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem...he took a member of the royal family and made a treaty with him...so that the kingdom would remain modest and without ambition and so maintain his treaty faithfully." (Ez.17:12-14).

In ratifying this treaty -- an action taken by Constantine when he came to the throne -- the king of Babylon "pardoned the king of the Jews and released him from prison" thereby completing the prophecy.

This royal Roman 'pardon' is the essence of the Edict of Milan. "He treated him kindly and allotted him a seat above those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. And his upkeep was permanently insured by the king of Babylon for the rest of his life, day after day until his dying day." (Jer.52:31-34).

For Babylon's part, the treaty which binds the people of God into its perpetual captivity offers a temporary reprieve from death.

For the Lord's part, however, the treaty exists solely for the purpose of the reconciliation of mankind with God -- a reconciliation that dates back to a separation which occurred at the time of the Garden of Eden. Jesus went to the cross to offer his body in atonement for the sentence of death that Satan imposed on each of us when he corrupted Adam and Eve.

Because the dispersion of God's people into Babylon is such an essential feature in the prophecies -- hints of it stemming all the way back to Moses -- it is clear that sin was leading us to this second exile from the beginning.

Sinfulness could not be cured by the Mosaic covenant. For this reason, the rescue of the Lord's people from this world could only come through the direct and personal involvement of God Himself in the process.

Man alone had no power to effect divine redemption. "But man could never redeem himself or pay his ransom to God: it costs so much to redeem his life, it is beyond him; how then could he live on forever and never see the Pit -- ?" (Ps.49:7-9).

The Law of Moses had decreed that redemption was essential for the forgiveness of sin, yet it also decreed that such redemption was beyond the means of mortal priests to accomplish.

The Law and the Prophets made it clear that no sacrificial animal on earth in its defective mortality was perfect enough to satisfy the terms of the Hebrew covenant in such a way that it could cleanse the human race of sin.

This is why God sent us Jesus Christ -- His own perfect son. "We thought of him as someone punished, struck by God, and brought low. Yet he was pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins. On him lies a punishment that brings us peace, and through his wounds we are healed." (Is.53:4-5).

When Jesus went to the cross on our behalf, it was more than one man (Jesus) making atonement for the sins of another (Adam). Jesus on the cross was God on the cross. This was attested to by the Law.

"The rite of atonement must be performed by the priest who has been anointed and installed to officiate in place of his father." (Lv.16:32). This means that when Jesus became the atonement sacrifice demanded by the Law, he took the cross in God's place.

In this perfection, Christ's sacrifice initiated a treaty of peace between mankind and God. "When that day comes I will make a treaty on her behalf with the wild animals..." (Hos.2:20).

The wild animals in this prophecy, of course, represent the pagan kings of Babylon. In a wider sense, however, when we are born into Babylon's captivity we are all born into some aspect of this 'wildness'.

On earth God has imprisoned our souls in the bodies of wild animals, and the war that burns within us when we are baptised in His name is the conflict that rages inside our hearts once the Holy Spirit enters us and attempts to throw the wildness of Babylon out of us. "I will break bow, sword and battle in the country, and make her sleep secure." (Hos.2:20).

In His treaty of peace, God has offered salvation and reconciliation from the exile in return for mankind's repentance and conversion. "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand". (Mt.4:17).

The Bible says that Jesus preached 'a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.' (Mt.4:17).

Scripture shows that repentance is the mechanism that activates the power of the cross, proving that contrition is an essential aspect of the covenant. "At last I admitted to you that I had sinned; no longer concealing my guilt, I said, 'I will go to the Lord and confess my fault'. And you God, you have forgiven the wrong I did, have pardoned my sin." (Ps.32:5).

Jesus did not change the basic rules specified for cleansing in the old covenant. (1 Kings 8:30-51). Confession and repentance are still essential elements of redemption (Mk.1:4-5), but these elements work now only because Jesus initiated a sacrifice that could give them meaning.

The reign of the Gospel in the world is the period of time that God has structured for people to repent of their sins and be forgiven in Jesus' name. And it all works because of the treaty.

Since scripture teaches that there is no forgiveness outside of Jesus (Jn.3:36), the reign of Christ in this world is the only time that divine forgiveness is possible. It is only possible while the treaty remains in effect.

Because Daniel's words apply to a time when the treaty itself will be violated, his book describes the way in which the world will finally turn God's offer down and thereby open the floodgates to all the unfortunate things this treaty has blocked.

As we showed earlier, a fundamental purpose of God's treaty is to hold back the tribulations of the last days. These terrors constitute the wrath of the Law -- a wrath which is described throughout the scriptures and which now threatens to put an end to the world we know.

Essentially, this wrath precursors Armageddon and all the events which are associated with it. Jesus confirmed the condemnation of this world by the Law because of sin, but with his death on the cross, he was able to hold back the execution of that sentence for a time and thus offer a moratorium to the decree in order to give the people a way to escape its sentence.

This moratorium constitutes a stay of execution -- a stay Jesus had to die on the cross in order to initiate. The world continues to live today only because it is in place. "Creation is maintained by your rulings." (Ps. 119:91).

As long as the terms of the treaty are maintained, human life can continue on earth. If the treaty is transgressed, the stay of execution will be reversed and the earth will come to an end in the blaze of fire decreed.

This correlates with the words of Daniel which stipulate that the final end will come as a result of the 'abomination of desolation' erected by the beast in the name of the world and placed in the cathedral of God in place of the treaty of peace -- an abomination which cancels the offer of Christ's treaty and voids it's protective shield.

In order to understand this, we need to examine the elements of this treaty in detail. We have already seen that the Church has established a type of sacrifice on earth which manifests and perpetuates Christ's treaty of peace in liturgical terms.

This is the offering of communion by the Church to the world. It is an offer of reconciliation made freely to everyone in the world who wants to come and join in the feast offered by God.

While the feast of heaven is the Gospel Jesus preached, communion symbolizes this meal liturgically.

Christ's sacrifice on the cross was authorized by God Himself, and the perpetuation of the memory of His sacrifice is structured by the Church according to Christ's own directives at the Last Supper. (1 Cor.11:23-34).

Thus we have two elements closely related and both a part of the peace treaty. Violation of either one can precipitate disaster. Paul proved this when he showed that the feast of communion has a special kind of power all its own -- a power to kill or physically make sick anyone who does not treat this meal with proper respect. (1 Cor.11:28-32).

As Pharaoh discovered at the time of Moses, anything that tries to stand in the way of God's feast will come against the full wrath of heaven. To show this more clearly, we will briefly explore the liturgy that surrounds communion itself.

Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Hebrew Law constructed by Moses was a template upon which all the rules governing the relationship between God and man were structured.

God gave Moses full authority to make the template. This is why Jesus kept the rules and words of the Old Testament so carefully. Yet the Mosaic liturgy was a copy -- not the finished product. Moses had created the Law as a model of what God had shown him on the holy mountain. Therefore the Law of Moses was a reflection of God's truth, not perfection itself.

We see Jesus as having fulfilled the Law metaphorically, because he kept these scriptures according to God's design and not according to the popular interpretation of the Sanhedrin. But in fact, the actual metaphor was Moses. The Law of Moses was the model, and Jesus was the reality behind that model.

All the animal sacrifices and bloodletting for atonement in the Hebrew Law related to the single sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

God did not want those animals killed. "When I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I said nothing to them, gave them no orders about sacrifice. These were my orders: Listen to my voice, then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Follow right to the end the way that I mark out for you, and you will prosper." (Jer.7:22-23).

According to the prophets, the Israelites sacrificed no animals at all during their entire forty year journey across Sinai during the life of Moses: "Did you bring me sacrifice and oblation in the wilderness for all those forty years, House of Israel?" (Amos 5:25).

They couldn't. They had no animals to sacrifice. The desert had no grazing land and food was so scarce they had to depend on God to send manna down from heaven in order for them to eat.

It was the priest's interpretation of Moses' vision on the holy mountain that would later lead to the great ritual of animal sacrifices in the Jewish temple. What Moses saw, but did not comprehend, was Jesus crucified.

The sin offering in Moses' Law pointed directly to God's peace treaty with the world that would later be made manifest through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

This is why when Jesus, as the high priest of the atonement chosen by God, offered Himself as the ultimate sin-offering, he brought the world a treaty of peace in God's name. (Hos.2:20). By its terms, his death on the cross takes sin away for all who believe in him and are baptised in his offer.

Communion perpetuates the offer and keeps the treaty alive. It also structures the model for Daniel's 'perpetual sacrifice', allowing the ministers of the church to make a perpetual offering of the crucified flesh of Jesus to the people of the world on a regular basis.

In Greek and Latin churches, whose combined membership constitutes more than 2/3rd of the Christian Body on earth, this offering is conducted continuously.

In these churches communion is celebrated several times a day in every time zone, so that at any hour of the day or night, it is continuously being offered at some place on earth. And it is this fact that makes its offering truly perpetual.

Because this aspect of the treaty is legal, it must be recapitulated in a legal way. The perpetual offering of communion in the churches fulfills that necessity.

Christ's offering epitomizes those found in the Law of Moses where the whole meaning of temple worship was the sacrifice of food to God.

In the Mosaic offerings, the animals were made holy through consecration on the altar by the priest and then offered up to God in sacrifice. This sacred conversion of animals to holy food was the entire function of the Jewish temple.

But God changed the Lamb. Every one of these ancient Jewish sacrifices was re-focused into one single feast in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Instead of mankind sacrificing food to God, God sacrificed Himself for us in the person of Jesus, and offered us His body and blood as the holy food of heaven. In this way, Jesus reversed the temple offering.

Instead of us offering food to God, God offered food to us. That food is God's Gospel.

All the sacrifices in the Hebrew liturgy (collectively called the feast of Moses) were only metaphors of the one true feast that God had prepared for the world from the beginning.

In its spiritual form (word) it gives us eternal life, but in its physical form this meal perpetuates the peace treaty that now exists between the world and God.

That is why an understanding of this Christian mystery is so essential in order to comprehend the processes which are soon going to occur -- processes directly related to the blasphemy of this feast. (Dn.9:27).

And it goes even deeper than that. The fire of the last days is itself, in fact, a legal response structured in the Law of Moses. The directives of the Law of Moses specify that the liturgical 'sin-offering' has to be eaten, or it has to be consumed by fire. "It is because it had not been eaten that the sin-offering was burnt up." (Lv.10:16-17).

The sin-offering is the body of the crucified Christ. This is the perpetual sacrifice -- the sacrifice offered in Church in the form of communion.

The final fire of the end-time, then, will be a part of the Law. It will come in response to the desecration of the altar of communion. The divine purpose of the fire from heaven at the end of the Wrath will be to burn up the uneaten (rejected) sin-offering in accordance with the specifications of the Law.

Communion and the treaty it perpetuates is international. Every nation on earth belongs to God, not just Judah. "No nation is excluded from God's ownership." (Ps.82:8).

The offer of communion is an offer made by God to the whole world, a fact which shows that all the nations of the earth are bound by the terms of Christ's treaty of peace, not just the House of Israel; that is why the entire planet must suffer the penalty of the treaty's rejection.

Because Jesus stood in place of God when he was crucified (Lev.16:32), the body he gave us to eat was not just his own body, but God's. This is the essential meaning behind communion -- God's bread of life is God's own flesh.

Because Jesus came to us in two natures -- true man and true God -- this bread exists in two forms. As true man, one form of this bread is physical and represents Christ's crucified flesh (the sin-offering). This is the part of Jesus that is offered in liturgical communion.

As true God, the other part of the bread of Jesus is spiritual and exists as the Gospel he preached (the peace-offering). "My food is to do the will of the one who sent me, and to complete his work." (Jn.4:34). This is the part of Jesus we take into us when we obey His word.

God gave us not one, but two foods in Jesus Christ. In both natures he is God, but one nature is for the life of this world while the other is for life in heaven.

In His crucified body we die to sin and in His spiritual body we are born into an eternal life of peace.

Scripture tells us that God is word. This means that the Gospel (spiritual communion) is an even greater meal than the Eucharist (liturgical communion). In fact, the Gospel is the whole meaning of the Eucharist.

The fact that communion is offered in two forms (as bread and wine) confirms the dual nature of God's holy meal.

In the Law of Moses there were two priesthoods. One for the inner chamber of the temple and the other for its outer chamber.

The Holy Spirit inspired the formation of these two priesthoods so that they could point to the twin offerings of the holy food of Jesus Christ -- two priesthoods to consecrate the two natures of the food Jesus offered us.

One form of this sacrificial food of God is consecrated by the ministers in church when they offer us the bread and wine of communion; and the other is consecrated by ourselves when we live the Gospel.

Thus Christianity holds again to the Mosaic template. The highest priesthood is internal and encompasses us all (1 Peter 2:9), while the lower priesthood is liturgical and can be seen in the services of the various churches.

Together, these two foods constitute the complete feast of heaven.

The bread and wine of communion perpetuates the treaty and protects the world from the wrath, while the consecration of the Gospel into our daily lives, is the spiritual food that builds our invisible bodies in heaven.

The sacrifice of Jesus, then, is manifested in a different way by each of the two priesthoods. The lower priesthood -- the ministers and priests of the law -- offer communion in church, while the rest of us -- the higher priesthood -- process the words of Jesus into eternal life by hearing and obeying the Gospel.

The outer chamber of the temple is the physical church, but its inner chamber (the Holy of Holies) can only exist inside the people themselves -- in the hearts of those with faith. The high priesthood, therefore, can only exist inside each person who has faith in Christ.

We have two ministries here, and two foods. The Jews had two priesthoods, but they only had one food. We now know that the food the Jewish high priests had was the lower food. It was the food of the outer chamber. The food of the inner chamber did not arrive until Jesus brought it.

And when He did, he transformed the liturgy. He conferred the higher priesthood on those who transubstanced His Gospel into action in their lives -- sending the Holy of Holies into the hearts of every believer. This is the priesthood of Peter and it is the fulfillment of the priesthood of Aaron.

In the book of Hebrews it is written that "no one has the right to go into the sanctuary as long as the outer tent remains standing because none of the gifts and sacrifices offered under these regulations can possibly bring any worshipper to perfection in his inner self; they are rules about the outward life, connected with foods and drinks and washing at various times, intended to be in force only until it should be time to reform them." (Heb.9:8-10).

Christ has clearly shown us that the church service, despite its immense holiness, saves no one. It can offer a reprieve, but it cannot save. It is only our own personal relationship with Jesus and his word which determines our salvation.

When Moses set up the priesthood, it's specific function was to transform food from one substance into another. This is also why God has made us a part of His royal priesthood -- so that we are able to transform the holy food of heaven (the Gospel) into new eternal bodies so that we can live in heaven.

This is a transubstance of body. The spiritual food we eat transforms itself within us in a way identical to the transubstance of the food of communion in the outer chamber which goes from bread and wine to the body and blood of Jesus.

But in our case (in the inner chamber of our soul) it is transubstanced through faith into our new body in Christ. God's food for this purpose is the Gospel and when we obey it, we are transformed.

Flesh and blood cannot live in heaven. So the transformation is essential. But it can only take place inside ourselves. God has made each one of us a part of His royal priesthood just for this purpose -- so that we can transubstance the Gospel into spiritual flesh by living our lives in it's directives.

That is why the Holy Spirit had divine food occupy such a prominent position in the Mosaic liturgy and that is also why it was recapitulated in Christianity by Jesus at the Last Supper. (Lk.22:19-20).

How does all this relate to the end of the world? The world lives because this feast is being offered and accepted, and the world will continue to live until the feast is rejected.

"The Levites are to pitch their tents around the tabernacle of the Testimony. In this way the wrath will be kept from falling on the whole community of the sons of Israel." (Nm.1:53).

In Hebrew law, the Levites were the administrators of the lower priesthood. They were responsible for the physical artifacts of the temple and saw to the temple's upkeep, but they could not offer the food of the sacrifice or enter the Holy of Holies.

In Christianity, this lower priesthood constitutes the ministers and priests of the Church. The Testimony' is the Gospel and its 'tabernacle' is the Bible. The tents pitched around it are the churches of Christianity formed during Babylon's conversion to Jesus.

As long as the churches remain faithful to Christ's word and as long as the world allows communion to be offered, the treaty -- God's reprieve -- will stay in place and the world will continue to exist: The treaty it represents, holding back the final judgment, and thus allowing the world time to repent and come to the Gospel which imparts eternal life.

The continuation of a living planet is structured in liturgical communion because this is the part of the treaty that is legal according to world terms. Liturgy means Law. The Law cannot save us (we are saved by the word of God), but Law does hold back the wrath from the world through the terms of the treaty.

That is because the treaty itself is legal and so is the wrath. Christ's death on the cross was a legal act. As such, it takes away our sins legally. It is a legal treaty of peace between God and Babylon. Therefore, as long as it remains in place, it blocks the legal sentence of the wrath.

And it remains in place through the actions of the ministers who offer Christ's crucified body in the church services.

When Moses, speaking for God, warned Pharaoh to "let my people go, so that they may keep a feast in the wilderness in honor of me" (Ex.5:1-2), it was a warning to all the kings of this world that the feast of God cannot be transgressed. The plagues that came against him and his nation when Pharaoh tried to block this feast from taking place are proof of this.

Transgression of the feast will void the treaty and bring the world to destruction. When pharaoh refused to let God's people leave to have their feast (Ex.5:1-2), God sent a series of plagues against him until he changed his mind.

When his own son became a victim of the plagues that followed his refusal, Pharaoh relented, allowing Moses to lead the Israelites off to have the feast that God had prepared for them. (Ex.12:31-34).

At the end of the exodus, however, the spirit of Satan entered pharaoh and he changed his mind, and set off to attack the rear column of the departing Israelites. Because of this, God caused the waters of the sea to crash down on him and his army, destroying them all.

This occurred so that God could bring to light what is destined to come in the future. It will happen the same way at the end of time when the Great Rebel copies the attack of Pharaoh by gathering the kings of the earth against the rearguard of those who are being ingathered by Christ from the dispersion to Babylon.

By attacking both the offering of communion and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Rebel and his forces will place themselves directly between the people and the feast of God, thereby duplicating the action of Pharaoh.

But instead of being met by the crashing waters of the Red Sea, these armies will come under the full intensity of God's wrath of fire. (Rev.20:9).

This brings us to the significance of Daniel's prophecy. According to Daniel, the wrath of the End is intimately related to the transgression of the liturgical sacrifice -- to the desecration of the communion offering -- a liturgy he called the 'perpetual sacrifice'.

Quoting Daniel, Jesus said that when Antiochus put iniquity on the sacrifice in Jerusalem by installing the desolating sacrilege above the altar in the temple, he initiated an allegory of the end times so momentous that it has no parallel in scripture.

"So when you see the disastrous abomination, of which the prophet Daniel spoke, set up in the Holy Place, then those in Judea must escape to the mountains...for then there will be great distress such as, until now, since the world began, there never has been, nor ever will be again." (Mt.24:15-22).

When the beast who is the focus of this allegory appears and puts his iniquity on God's sacrifice it will bring the harvest to an abrupt end and precipitate the horrifying apocalypse because it will break the treaty of peace Christ made with the world at Calvary Hill.

Isaiah wrote: "The earth is defiled under its inhabitants' feet, for they have transgressed the law, violated the precept, broken the everlasting covenant. So a curse consumes the earth and its inhabitants suffer the penalty, that is why the inhabitants of the earth are burnt up and few men are left." (Is.24:5-6).

The Church's offering of communion to the people and the wrath it holds back are intimately related to one another. Paul confirmed this when he wrote, "Everyone is to recollect himself before eating this bread and drinking this cup; because a person who eats and drinks without recognizing the Body is eating and drinking his own condemnation. In fact that is why many of you are weak and ill and some of you have died." (1 Cor.11:28-31).

Because the priest who stands at the center of the perpetuation of this sacrifice is the pivotal figure in the legal (liturgical) offer to the world of Christ's treaty of peace, he stands as a divinely placed figurehead of God's rule over Babylon.

His unseating will manifest the coming of the Prince of Persia and herald the unthinkable sacrilege that desolates the Church and dooms the world in fulfillment of the scriptures.

About three-quarters of the world's Christians believe that during the prayers of the communion liturgy, the bread and wine become the real body and blood of the crucified Christ. This includes Greeks, Coptics, Catholics, Episcopalians, and Anglicans.

Most Protestants on the other hand, see communion in a different way. They believe that the bread and wine remains bread and wine and merely represents the body and blood of Jesus in a symbolic way.

This division has created great hostility within the Church. But the argument it poses skirts the real issue. That issue is salvation, and salvation itself is not at stake here. That is because no one can be saved by anything that goes into the mouth, just as no one can be lost by such a food. "Can you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes through the stomach and is discharged into the sewer?" (Mt.15:17).

While communion in church is important -- even critical as far as world survival is concerned -- the type of communion that saves us personally is a food of the heart -- the righteous behavior commanded by the Gospel.

This is a food we can only eat in a spiritual way -- through repentance and conversion into the words and ways of Jesus Christ.

As far as the physical food of church is concerned (the bread and wine of communion), it can be transformed any way we want it to be.

Jesus said that whatever we ask God for in prayer, we will receive if we have sufficient faith. He did not exclude Christian prayers regarding communion from this decree. "I tell you most solemnly, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven." (Mt.18:19).

'Anything at all' he said. Prayer alone, then, has the power to make the Eucharist the real body and blood of Jesus Christ -- especially when so many Christians are praying together at the same time for it to be so.

Likewise, those who believe that their communion is just a symbol will be similarly rewarded. By the power of the Holy Spirit the faith of both will make it for each just as they believe.

Therefore this issue does not stand between anyone and God. Both sides will go to heaven the same because we are saved by faith and not by law.

Because neither food has the power to impart eternal life without the spiritual ingestion of the Gospel (Lk.13:26-27), the issue does not warrant the hatred it has engendered -- since the hostility created by the intensity of the argument between these believers damages the whole Church.

It brings God into disrepute among the pagans who see only the resentment. As a result, neither side can sit down and break the bread of Christ together. The fighting simply proves again that Paul was right when He said that we live by Law and not by faith.

This is not to say that there is no substance to the controversy however. The very fact that the beast at the end will have the power to bring about the Apocalypse simply by putting iniquity on this sacrifice demonstrates the tremendous substance behind this feast. And it shows that there is far more to communion than symbolism. The life of the whole world is tied to it.

NEXT
Clock of God, Chapter 11,
"The Bread of Life"

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