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   Today, I want to write about “philadelphia.” I have a birth certificate, a legal document of the State of Pennsylvania, that says on February 8, 1948, John Michael Fisher was born at the Frankfort Hospital in Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania, to Jenina Constancia Biernacki, mother, and John Louis Fisher, father. It is embossed with the official seal of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It confirms and testifies of my citizenship in the State of Pennsylvania and in the United States of America for as long as I live. I am free to obtain an education and work, and I am kept safe by the armies which these authorities command. With that birth record comes privileges, responsibilities, rights and obligations. And, when I think about these things, I feel a sense of worth, empowerment, security, connectedness and hope in that document – which I keep in a locked metal box in a safe place in my house. It is very valuable to me, and I don’t want to lose the rights and privileges that come with its ownership. So, I am also willing to obey the laws, ordinances, judgments and statutes which tell me and remind me how to act as a citizen and member of this august and dignified body.
   When I die, this document will have no value to me. I will have lost the legal and lawful rights and privileges, the duties and obligations attached therein. The laws, statutes, ordinances and judgments will no longer be in effect, because ... well, I will be dead and not capable of benefiting from its privileges, nor will it be possible for me to demonstrate my loyalty to its edicts. I can’t obey, nor can I disobey; and they aren’t going to dig up my bones and throw me in jail until I finish paying off my legal debts to society.
   That’s all well and good, yet I hope to be born again in a different Philadelphia.

Brotherhood of Love
   Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent [zeontes, not zumee] in spirit, serving the Messiah; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality, Romans 12:10 -13 NKJV.
Now, about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by Elo- him to love each other, 1 Thessalonians 4:9 NIV.
   Let brotherly love continue, Hebrews 13:1 KJV.
   The concept of the importance of brotherhood is found in the Old Testament as well:
Thus saith Yahweh; For three transgressions of Tyrus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, and remembered not the brotherly covenant: [“brotherly” is the Hebrew word, “ach” #251, meaning brother, literally and metaphorically]. But I will send a fire on the wall of Tyrus, which shall devour the palaces thereof. Thus saith Yahweh; For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever, Amos 1:9 - 11 KJV.
   Apparently, Yahweh takes commitments to one’s brothers very seriously.
   Returning to the New Testament, “brotherly love” is the Greek word, Strong’s #5360 philadelphia (fil-ad-el-fee'-ah); from #5361, philadelphos; which means fraternal affection: also used in the KJV as “love of the brethren,” from the Greek word, Strong’s #5384, philos (fee'-los); meaning “dear,” i.e., a friend; or in an active sense, “fond,” i.e., “friendly,” and as a noun, an associate or neighbor. The other half of the word philadelphia comes from the Greek word, Strong’s #80, adelphos (ad-el-fos'); from delphus (the womb); a brother (literally or figuratively) near or remote. So, philadelphia means to show affection to, and care for, another as if you and they shared the same womb, as if we have the same father and mother. Is it not, therefore, a breaking of the Fifth Commandment to abandon or disrespect your brother? Honor your father and your mother – love your brother.

Born Again in Philadelphia
   Earlier, I said that I hope to be “born again” in philadelphia. Let’s read from John 3:1 - 3:
   Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Yahshua by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, [hra-bee’] we know that You have come from Elohim as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless Elohim is with him." Yahshua answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of Yahweh."
   [The word “born” is the Greek word, Strong’s #1080, gennao (ghen-nah'-o): to procreate, and to regenerate, from #1085, which means “kin.” The word “again” is the Greek word, Strong’s #509, anothen (an'-o-then); from #507, which means from above.]
   Continuing with verses 4 – 8:
   Nicodemus said to Him, "How canamanbebornwhenheis old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?" Yahshua answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of Yahweh. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
   Yahshua is saying you cannot enter the Kingdom of Yahweh if you are not “regenerated by Yaweh into kinship.” Let me speak frankly, here. If you leave the As-embly of Yahweh (and, I’m not saying this assembly, per se), if you leave those whom you have accepted as your brethren, you do not have the Spirit of Yahweh.
   Yahshua is using the words, “born again,” that we will become Spirit, in the same manner that He became Spirit – after He was raised from the grave. Of all who read our literature or listen/watch our dvds, none of us are yet “born again.” We are yet in the womb, adelphia, gestating. Our spiritual birth, if you will, occurs when we are raised from the grave at the time of the First Resurrection. It is then that we will be able to say, “I am born again. I am a Philadelphian.” And, not before.
   Now, “womb” is a key word, here. In Greek, it is, “Delphi,” meaning “brother.” Baptism is symbolic of this future event, being “born again.” Let us read Romans 6:4 -7 NASU:
   Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as the Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was impaled with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.

Freed From Sin?
   Are we freed from sin? No. No one is yet freed from sin.
O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank Yahweh through Yahshua the Messiah our Sovereign. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of Yahweh; but with the flesh the law of sin, Romans 7:24 - 25 KJV.
   Was Paul born again? Nope. Not yet.
So this I say, and affirm together with the Master, that you walk no longer just as the Geause of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn the Messiah in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Yahshua, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of Elousness and holiness of the truth, Ephesians 4:17 - 24 NASU.
   There is an English word that sounds exactly like the word, born. “Borne,” spelled B-O-R-N-E. It means to “bear” or to “endure.” Using that word, I hope to have another birth certificate recorded, and it, too, will say I was borne, or “I endured,” in philadelphia, in brotherly love. This certificate will also be embossed with a seal of Great Authority and confirms my citizenship in its Kingdom for as long as I live, eternally. It, too, will allow me to acquire knowledge and work; and I will be kept safe by the armies over which its King commands. With that record comes privileges, responsibilities, rights and obligations. When I meditate on these things, I feel a sense of worth, empowerment, security, connectedness and hope in that document – which I keep in a locked, safe place in my “house,” my heart. It is very valuable to me, and I don’t want to lose the rights and privileges that come with its ownership. So, I am also willing to obey the laws, ord
ore His angels, Revelation 3:5 NKJV.
   When this fleshly body dies, that record, called the Book of Life, will be of extreme value to me. I will NOT have lost the rights, privileges, duties and obltrate my obedience, and I WILL be held accountable for any debt I owe to this Great Authority, Yahweh Almighty. I will also receive, if qualified, the rights and privileges promised for my good citizenship while in this mortal body.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with Yahweh’s people and members of Yahweh’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Yahshua the Messiah Himself as the Chief Conerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in Yah-eh. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which Elohim lives by His Spirit, Ephesians 2:19 – 22.
   We are, here and now, in these fleshly bodies, to be citizens of “Philadelphia,” to act as one who is “born of love.” To love our Brethren, near and far. To nurture and care for those whom we call Brethren as well as those who may someday be called – to believe as we believe. T o be honest and not harbor resentment.

   In this regard, I now must say, to those who see my actions as demonstrating condemnation, judgment or threat, I humbly ask for your forgiveness. In those ways in which you have demonstrated condemnation, judgment or threat, I freely forgive you. To those who desire to be citizens of Yahweh’s People, or, “Philadelphians,” and are considering joining us here at our home office, either in person or through the media: Welcome! To those who have once made that decision to be a part of our gathering and have left, or are contemplating leaving, I say, “Reconsider, come, let us reason together.” Certainly, as members of this family, as brothers of the same womb, we can listen and share. We can humble ourselves and value others above ourselves. We can forgive as we have been forgiven. We can love as we have been loved, looking beyond our own needs to those of the body of Messiah. We can endure, if by the Spirit of Yahweh, we have a birth certificate of the state of philadelphia.
   May the Peace of Yahweh prevail in your minds and in your hearts, and may we someday be born in
philadelphia. Shalom!

-Elder John Fisher (deceased)

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