End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Laodicea

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our seventh and final letter is to the Church of Laodicea

John reaches back into the last days of Israel for this church. At the risk of being too specific, this may refer to that last generation prior to the fall of Israel in 70 AD.

Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 3:14-22

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.
“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'”

Consider the following

  • Wealth and self sufficiency was a fitting description for pharisaical Israel of the last days. (Luke 18:9-14)
  • The nation of Israel was about to be “spewed out” of the land in fulfillment of the curse (Lev 18:24-28, Luke 21:24)
  • Israel is urged to repent and accept Jesus as Messiah.
  • Overcomers are promised the blessing of ruling with the Messiah, as the New Covenant promise was originally given to the people of Israel

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you.


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Philadelphia

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our sixth letter is to the Church of Philadelphia

John reaches back into the return from exile under Ezra and Nehemiah for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 3:7-13.

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.
“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie–behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you.
Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.
I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.
The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Consider the following

  • An imagery of a synagogue / temple is given in this passage
  • The Jews of this period had a “little power”, as the church is described.
  • The open door speaks of the opportunity granted the exilic Jews to follow, along with this churches opportunity.
  • The synagogue of Satan may speak of parallels with the false Jews referred to during the time of Nehemiah’s rebuilding program. (Nehemiah 4, 6 and 13)
  • A coming time of testing, to test those who dwell on the land, may speak of Daniel 8 and 11, and of the tribulation of Antiochus Epiphanes
  • The overcomer will be made a pillar in the temple
  • The overcomer will share the blessings of the New Jerusalem

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Sardis

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our fifth letter is to the Church of Sardis

John reaches back into the later prophetic period of Israel’s history for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 3:1-6

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.
Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.
Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.
The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Consider the following

  • The Angel speaks of the seven spirits and seven stars, reaching back to a witness by the prophets speaking by the Spirit of God
  • A remnant is referred to often in the prophets writing during this time (Isaiah 1:5-23, 6:9-13, 65:8-16, Jeremiah 7:1-7, 8:11-12)
  • Imminent judgement on this church is declared, as with the pre-exilic prophets message (Isaiah 1:24-31, 2:12-21, 26:20-21, Jeremiah 4:5-31, 7:12-15, 11:9-13.)

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you.


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Thyatira

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our fourth letter is to the Church of Thyatira

John reaches back into period of Israelite monarchy for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 2:18-29

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
“‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.
But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.
I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.
Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works,
and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.
But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden.
Only hold fast what you have until I come.
The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,
and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.
And I will give him the morning star.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Consider the following

  • Christ is introduced as the Son of God (Ps 2:7, 89:19-37, Jer 30:9, Ezek 34:23-24, 37:24-28, Hos 3:5)
  • Jezebel is referred to and rebuked in both this period and this church (1 Kings 16:29-34, 21:25-26)
  • Tribulation is threated upon both Jezebels (1 Kings 17:1, James 5:17)
  • Both will loose their lives and their offspring (2 Kings 9:22-37)
  • Overcomers, like David, will be granted authority over nations (2 Sam 7:19, 8:14)
  • The final promise for overcomers reaches back to Ps 2:9

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you.


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Pergamum

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our third letter is to the Church of Pergamum

John reaches back into the travails of Israel in the wilderness for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 2:12-17
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.
“‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.
So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

Consider the following

  • Pergamum dwells amongst demons, reminding us of Israel’s travels passing through the abode of demons (Lev. 16:10, 17:7, Deut 8:15)
  • Pergamum’s enemies are described as Balak and Balaam. (Num 25:1-3, 31:16)
  • Christ will make war against Balaamites with a sword in like manner as the angel of the Lord and Phineas (Numbers 22:31, 24:7-8)
  • To the overcomers, a promise of hidden manna (Heb 9:4) and a new name on a white stone, speaking of the redeemed people represented on the High Priest clothing (Ex 28:9-12). Note the stone for Pergamum is white, speaking of purity.

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Smyrna

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our second letter is to the Church of Smyrna

John reaches back into the patriarchs (Abraham – Joseph and the children of Israel) for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 2:8-11

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.
“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’

Consider the following

  • Jesus is as one who was dead and is alive, with the foreshadowing of a number of stories
    • Isaac’s picture of the resurrection (Gen 22:1-14)
    • Joseph’s picture of the resurrection (Gen 37:18-36, 39:20 – 41:45, 45:4-8, 50:20, Heb 11:17-19)
    • Israel’s salvation from bondage of Egypt
  • The church is described as poor yet being rich is similar to Abraham and his family as they lived as aliens in the land of promise
  • Persecution of true Jews by false Jews as Isaac was persecuted by Ismael (Gen 21:9)
  • The threat of imprisonment via slander mirrors Joseph’s experience in the house of Potiphar (Gen 39:13-20)
  • The blessing of the crown of life for the faithful is pictured (Gen 41:40-44)
  • Aaron wore a crown of life, (Ex 28:36-38) picturing the fully redeemed man
  • Israel’s victory through ten plagues echoes the tribulation of ten days before Israel’s deliverance

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Ephesus

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our first letter is to the Church of the Ephesians.

John reaches back into the garden for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 2:1-7

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.
“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.
I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

Consider the following

  • Christ is announced as the Creator.
  • Adam was granted privilege of labor in the garden, and this church has an emphasis on labor in its description
  • Christ walked amongst the lampstands to judge the church, as God had walked amongst His original creation in judgement (Gen 3:8).
  • The angel was commanded to guard the church, in similar fashion to Adam guarding the garden (Gen 2:15)
  • Both Adam and the angel of the church had fallen, failing in their duties.
  • Both Adam and the angel of the church left their first love
  • Christ threatens to remove the lamp from the church, even as God removed the Tree of Life from Adam and Eve’s through restricting their access to the garden
  • The Tree of Life was available to Adam, and now available to all who overcome.

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Introduction

The book of Revelation in a surprising book.

For the first 20 yrs of my life, I shied away from it due to my upbringing and the mind numbing fears I lived through as a child and young adult. (Check out My Testimony for an explanation)

After I became a believer, I hunted and pecked through the book for key verses that would comfort me. But still the memories haunted me and I generally steered away from it. To my loss!

Occasionally I would hear some preaching on the letters to the churches of Revelation, and was introduced to the teaching that each church in the second and third chapter of the book represented a church age. Some teachers split the ages up into specific dates, identifying each age with a predominant characteristic. Initially this appealed to me, since it was presented in a spreadsheet, and most anything in a spreadsheet is super cool for me!

But after thinking about the breakout, I began to struggle with accepting it. It didn’t ring true, at least in this last few hundred years, where the teaching is that we are in the period of the church of Laodicea. I don’t know if those believers in persecuted lands would identify with this designation of being a lukewarm church.

There may be some general truth to this teaching. After all, it is the book of Revelation, and such a mysterious book, full of layers and meanings.

Ok, with that said, let’s move forward many years in my pilgrimage, and stop at a time during a different study topic.

I have found, much to my utter shock, that the book of Revelation depends on Old Testament teaching more than any other book of the New Testament. This floored me. And it opened up an interest in the Book that I hadn’t expected.

Combining both of these topics never occurred to me until I picked up a book by David Chilton.

You see, he has suggested that the letters to the churches are historical, and represent ages of believers, but not from the standpoint of the apostle John’s future, but of Israel’s past.

Yes – of Israel’s past!

Get out!

Join me as I seek to explain an additional viewpoint of the letters to the churches, and of the wonders of this incredible book.


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Doctrinal · End Times · Hell · Judge

Judge Judge Judge – δίκη – Verse List for Study 10

Because of the Cross

This word is found 3 times in 3 verses within the New Testament. 

The previous study dealt with each occurrence of this word in the New Testament.

 

I look forward to comments and discussion.

May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Doctrinal · End Times · Hell · Judge

Judge Judge Judge – δίκη – Study 10

Because of the Cross

Thanks for returning to this series on “Judge Judge Judge” and my feeble attempt to understand a believers responsibility and right to make judgments.

Another purpose of this series hopefully is to understand the believers restriction on judgement. 

What can a Christian judge?  How is he to judge?  What is prohibited in the Christian life to judge.  So many questions and concerns. 

Our tenth greek word related to judging is…

dikē

δίκη – dikē – vengeance, judgment, punish

This word is found 3 times in 3 verses within the New Testament.  A full listing of all verses will be included in this study.  

This word (along with some of our following studies) carries the meaning that most in our society associate with the term judge.  Synonyms for this word include vengeance, judgment and punish.

Acts 28:4

When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.”

This verse is a recounting of the natives of Malta, as Paul and Barnabas were seeking to minister to the people.  The Maltan’s were a kind people, having begun a fire for Paul and Barnabas.  As Paul helped with the fire, a venomous snake bit him.

First he was a murderer, deserving the justice of death at the teeth of a venomous snake.  Moments later, he was considered a god, escaping the death of the snake bite!

Each of these responses showed the Maltans understanding of the rightful demands of justice.  These folk, like us, had an innate sense of justice, that this is a world that cries out for justice.  Yet how often are injustices and wrongs allowed to exist in this world, causing us a yearning for a world of righteousness and truth.  And yet…

James 2:13

For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Since God has judged us with mercy, we also, following the character of the Master, should also express mercy to those we meet and associate with.  Let us display the mercy of God in our relationships, walking humbly, seeking to be a blessing and not a curse.

2 Thessalonians 1:9

They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

Who will suffer? Who is Paul referring to in this passage, that will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction?

I am going to leave this as a self study for the reader, but will assist by directing you to Acts 17:1-9, and 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16.  Let me know what you find out, or if there are additional passages that bring light to this particular topic.

The punishment of eternal destruction.  Justice that results in eternal destruction.  It is interesting that my initial assumption of this judgement is the lake of fire, the burning of hell.  I am not arguing for or against the teaching of eternal torment in this study, but regarding this verse, the passage does not say

“They will suffer the punishment of eternal suffering

So what is this verse trying to say?  In regards to the term we are studying, the justice declared results in an eternal condition.  I have supplied a post on the Greek term Apollumi, sometimes translated as “perish” in the New Testament, and may assist you in considering the intent of the Apostle Paul’s message in 1 Thessalonians.

Jude 1:7

just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

This verse also defines an eternal state of judgment / punishment.

When Jude wrote this passage, I assume the actual physical(?) fires of Sodom and Gomorrah, along with the surrounding cities had been extinguished.  The question I have is with the term “eternal” fire.

Since the punishment is eternal, does that imply eternal suffering? Or might the effects of this judgement be eternal.  Notice that the phrase is “punishment of eternal fire”, not “eternal punishing/suffering in fire”.

As may be obvious by now for those paying attention, I am unsure how to understand the New Testament teaching on hell.  One thing is for sure – Judgment and a day of reckoning is coming, and we all need to prepare.

Flee to the Savior for He is the only place of refuge available.

Thanks for joining me in this study.  Hope to visit with you in our next post as we look at the Greek term κρίμα which is commonly translated judgment, damnation, condemnation, be condemned, go to law, avenge in the New Testament.

Be Blessed.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Doctrinal · End Times · Hell · Judge

Judge Judge Judge – δικαστής – Verse List for Study 9

Because of the Cross

This word is found 2 times in 2 verses within the New Testament. 

Please refer to previous post for complete listing

 

Thanks

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Doctrinal · End Times · Hell · Judge

Judge Judge Judge – δικαστής – Study 9

Because of the Cross

Thanks for returning to this series on “Judge Judge Judge” and my feeble attempt to understand a believers responsibility and right to make judgments.

Another purpose of this series hopefully is to understand the believers restriction on judgement. 

What can a Christian judge?  How is he to judge?  What is prohibited in the Christian life to judge.  So many questions and concerns. 

Our ninth greek word related to judging is…

dikastēs

δικαστής – dikastēs – judge

This word is found 2 times in 2 verses within the New Testament.  A full listing of all verses will be included in this study.  

This greek word is synonymous with arbitrator, or even an umpire.  It is the more dignified and official term to be used.  Someone who makes a decision based on information, facts or counsel from (trusted) sources.

Luke 12:14

And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?

 

Jesus was asked by one in the crowd – Master speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.

First off, I believe that is the duty of the Jewish courts, to uphold the law in relation to the inheritance codes of Israel.  It is obvious, by the way the Master continued his teaching, that this fellow was looking for some quick cash, some influence from the Master in order to gain some coin.

He will have none of that.

His question to the covetous man – who made me a judge or a divider over you? speaks volumes.  If the man realized who he was talking to, he would understand that Jesus is a Judge and a Divider over him, and not that of his brother.

But the question is to be focused on who made Jesus the judge?

Mr Covetous – get your head right.  God has made Jesus judge over you, and that question you spat out reveals your (my) foolish covetous heart.

Psalm 119:36

Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!

Mr Covetous at least had the backbone to reveal himself.  So often, I fear we as Christians wrap our covetousness, that is our idolatry, in religious terms, even claiming that God wants us to be rich, that He died in order for us to be rich.

What utter nonsense.

Twist the scriptures in order to satisfy the flesh.  The modern church has teaching that feeds the desires of the flesh, lying to us and feeding our covetous hearts.  He wants you to have a new Cadillac, or Rolls Royce.  After all, you are a Kings kid, and you should live as royalty.

I am no one’s judge, and I have much to answer for in many areas.  I love the Lord and His free gift of life that leads us to Him.

But I have to tell you that this prosperity teaching, so prevalent in the church, scares me.  It is like a cancer that gnaws on the inner man, filling him with doubt, causing him to loose focus on the Master and look only to “things”.  As the faithful fall into this teaching, they give to get, and when the getting isn’t happening, they give more and more.

What a scheme!

For the wages of prosperity teaching is poverty, not only financially, but more importantly spiritually, since the “promise” of God to supply ($$) bountifully was not kept.  How can I trust Him with my soul, if He can’t even double my givings.

Alas, the prosperity adherent is filled with doubt, eventually becoming hardened to the real message of God’s love and forgiveness, His sustaining in times of trial and trouble, His mercy in the midst of struggles and disappointments.

He is good.  Life can be hard.  Trust in Him.  (Not his gifts!)

Acts 7:27

But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?

Acts 7:35

“This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’—this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush.

These last two sets of verses speak of the same message that Steven preached to the hardened Jews, just before they threw him to his death, hurling rocks and boulders on his body to kill this saint.

Lets compare what the Israeli described Moses as, and what the Christian Steven actually defined him as.

Both said he was a ruler.

The Israeli called Moses a judge, and in Moses ministry to the fledgling nation of Israel, he certainly became a judge, and to the nation of Israel as a whole, the greatest judge to have lived.

Steven though, changed the term judge to redeemer.  What?  Did Steven try to push some revisionist history?  Was he trying to rewrite the books, making Moses something the Israelis did not believe?

Steven emphasized a greater, more positive aspect of Moses ministry.
He was a judge that is true.  I don’t think Steven is arguing that.  I think Steven is declaring a greater truth, a truth that emphasizes Moses ministry as a redeemer of the nation from the clutches of Egypt.

Moses was a judge, a revered man of God who was elevated to the highest of honors.  As a judge of Israel, he had no peer, until the Greater One appeared.

And the Greater One is not only the ultimate Judge, deserving of all respect and honor, but the Deliverer and Redeemer, without Whom we would have no hope.

Thanks for joining me in this study.  Hope to visit with you in our next post as we look at the Greek term δίκη which is commonly translated vengeance, judgment, punish in the New Testament.

Be Blessed.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Doctrinal · End Times · Hell · Judge

Judge Judge Judge – δικαίωμα – Verse List for Study 8

Because of the CrossFind the full list of verses for the word dikaiōma below


Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.

Romans 1:32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Romans 2:26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?

Romans 5:16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.

Romans 5:18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

Romans 8:4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Hebrews 9:1 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness.

Hebrews 9:10 but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.

Revelation 15:4 Who will not fear, O Lord,
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Revelation 19:8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

Thanks for joining me in this study.  Hope to visit with you in our next post as we look at the Greek term δικαστής which is commonly translated judge in the New Testament.

Be Blessed.

 

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Doctrinal · End Times · Hell · Judge

Judge Judge Judge – δικαίωμα – Study 8-B

Because of the CrossThanks for returning to this series on “Judge Judge Judge” and my feeble attempt to understand a believers responsibility and right to make judgments.

Another purpose of this series hopefully is to understand the believers restriction on judgement. 

What can a Christian judge?  How is he to judge?  What is prohibited in the Christian life to judge.  So many questions and concerns. 

Our eighth Greek word related to judging is…

dikaiōma

δικαίωμα – dikaiōma – righteousness, ordinance, judgment, justification

This word is found 10 times in 10 verses within the New Testament.  A full listing of all verses may be found in a post to follow for your self study.  I will consider the verses that are not clear, that create questions in my mind, with the remaining verses left for the reader to ponder.

Our next verse is Romans 8:4

Romans 8:4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
In our next verse, I promise no extended rabbit trails as in Romans 5.  Wow Carl – that was a bit much, don’t ya know.
Romans 8:4 is using the same greek word as in Romans 5, and is speaking of the purpose of sending the Messiah in the flesh, and of condemning King Sin in the believers life.
King Sin hasn’t been condemned to no purpose.  God has purpose!
The purpose is that the righteous judgments of the law may be fulfilled in us.
Okay – Questions
  1. What law?
    • Law of sin and death – No – read Romans 8:1
    • Law of the Spirit of life – Yes – This is the law that is to be fulfilled in us
  2. How is the law described?
    • Law of freedom and liberty, joy and love and peace and hope and … No
      • These descriptors are of the FRUIT of a life subject to the rigteous requirement of this law
    • Law of righteous requirements – Yes
      • Take a few moments to consider the moral aspects of the Ten Commandments in the believers life.  See Commandments for Christians as a starting point.

My point is that the Christian Spirit filled/controlled life is a life that reflects the character of God, and that character is defined throughout the Word, but cogently in the Ten Commandments (Okay – only nine if you have read the posts above!)

Please do not consider the requirements of the law and the fruit of the Christian life to be identical.

Keep a clear head when reading the Word, depend on the Spirit of God for a clear head and open ear, and struggle with the Word.  Argue and test it.  Wrestle like Isaac did with the angle of God.

His name (life) was changed.  Our lives will change as we understand more and obey

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.   
*The idea of “might reign” will be addressed in a future post, dealing with “The Conditional Security of the Believer”

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Doctrinal · End Times · Hell · Judge

Judge Judge Judge – δικαίωμα – Study 8-A

Because of the CrossThanks for returning to this series on “Judge Judge Judge” and my feeble attempt to understand a believers responsibility and right to make judgments.

Another purpose of this series hopefully is to understand the believers restriction on judgement. 

What can a Christian judge?  How is he to judge?  What is prohibited in the Christian life to judge.  So many questions and concerns. 

Our eighth Greek word related to judging is…

dikaiōma

δικαίωμα – dikaiōma – righteousness, ordinance, judgment, justification

This word is found 10 times in 10 verses within the New Testament.  A full listing of all verses may be found in a post to follow for your self study.  I will consider the verses that are not clear, that create questions in my mind, with the remaining verses left for the reader to ponder

Romans 5:16. 18

And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

Let’s visit on this verse for a wee spell, since Romans 5 has always been a difficult passage for me.

Romans 5  is a passage that Paul is writing to explain the imputation of sin on the human race due to the sinful action of one (Adam) and the imputation of righteousness on the human race due to the righteous act of One (the second Adam – Jesus).

But that can’t be right, since the sinful act of Adam effected all of humanity.  The righteous act of Jesus effected only those who are disciples.

So now I am confused still.

I suppose I need to find beyond our subject verses the qualifying verse within the context where Paul defines the subjects of forgiveness.

Romans 5:17

For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

That was easy!
But Paul speaks of justification and life for all men in verse 18.  I could take the seemingly easy way out and state that in this context “all men” refers only to believers.
Ya that makes it easy!
Kinda like when Paul used the same term in verse 12 when speaking of every individual who has ever walked on the earth!
Dang – Maybe not…
So lets try to figger this out

Many & Much More

Paul begins to use the terms “many” and “much more” in the following passage.  But I definitely need some clarification so…
Definition time!
Use much if the noun is non-countable (e.g., water, sand).
Use many if the noun is countable (e.g., oranges, children).  (
(Check out this site for help with grammar related issues)
The choice between much and many depends on the noun it is describing. …
When using much, the noun will always be singular; it cannot be plural.
Many is used to describe nouns or nouns that can be counted like books, ideas, leaves, and shoes.
When using many, the noun will always be plural.
(Check out this site for help with dictionary needs)
That helps somewhat.
Many describes something that is countable, but not definitive – I’m gonna use “multitudes” as a synonym to help me get some clarity
Much describes something that is not countable, and is singular.  I’m gonna use “a great quantity” as a synonym to help me get some clarity
Lets get context for this.

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many (multitudes) died through one man’s trespass, much more (a greater quantity) have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many (multitudes).

So many died through a single act of disobedience!  This statement seems clear.  Verse 12 of the same chapter states the same.

Could the “much more” be referring to the effect of the act of obedience when compared with the act of disobedience. The free gift will have eternal effect on the ones who receive it, and depending on your view of hell, it will have an effect on those who do not receive the free gift.  It is possible.

Could the “much more” refer to the power/authority of the act of obedience compared with the power/authority of the act of disobedience?  I kinda think this makes sense, especially when we consider the topic of reigning that comes up in the next few verses.

16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.

This verse contains our study word – please don’t think I have abandoned the original purpose of the study.  I will get back to it!  I just wanna figger this thought process out!

17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

Okay – I think I am getting some clarity – I hope I can communicate it to y’all.

Notice the term “reign” in our passage.  Paul begins this thought here and continues in Romans 5:21 and 6:12.  Paul personifies sin and grace.

Think of it this way.  In the past, King Sin ruled over all the people, holding them under the grip of death.  Jesus enters the scene, deposes King Sin and offers the new Kingdom to all who receive it.

We are in the transition time right now.

I think it is like when David was anointed King of Israel by Samuel.  In God’s sight David was the King, but Israel didn’t recognize him as such.  Just like the world does not recognize the Messiah as it’s true King.  Come to think of it, we are like the band of men that followed David while he was being persecuted by King Saul.

But I digress into discussing the Kingdom of God.  Paul is describing a kingdom where Sin reigned for a time, but now Grace can (and should) reign in a believers life.

Sin or Grace?  It is somewhat surprising that Paul is not comparing sin with obedience, or sin with righteousness.  No – he contrasts Sin with Grace.

So – vs 17 gives the two possibilities.

  • Because of one disobedience – death reigned upon all through Adam.
  • Because of one obedience – life reigns upon all through Jesus, (who receive the abundance of grace).

18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

This is the verse that started my inner turmoil this morning, where Paul speaks of “all men” being justified.

19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

Again, Paul seems to be equating “the many” sinners with “the many” that will be made righteous.  There are some who look to this verse (and passage) and teach of a universal (eventual) salvation for all men.

Oh my heart wishes for this, and yet at this point in my pilgrimage, I haven’t found enough in the Word to advance, or even defend the position.

20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

This verse could support my current thinking that the trespass had power/authority (through the law) but grace (through the life of Christ) had greater power/authority

21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • Sin reigned in death
  • Grace might reign* through righteousness, leading to eternal life.

Two possibilities for the human race, for you.

So, although a bit of a detour, I needed to resolve some of these issues for my own sake.  If you followed along, let me know of your thoughts on Romans 5.  It is difficult in its initial reading, and only got worse as I dug, but to reduce the words of this post, I will refrain from further discussion on it.

Regarding the original reason for the post, this word for judgement is translated as justification.  It is the declaration of a judicial sentence by the Judge of all, a statement or sentence that, per context is favorable for us.

His free gift has provided the basis of this judicial decision (judgement) a legal decision and declaration to all who receive this gift.

The courts are an awe invoking environment.  Even the kangaroo courts I was associated with in my youth, inspired a sense of dominance and authority over my life.  Alas, that is the purpose of the courts.  At least one purpose, and that is to declare the condition of my life in the future.  A judgement from an outside source will effect my life; I have no power to avoid the consequence.

But in this grace filled judicial sentence, I am invited to enter into cooperation with the Judge, to become one who is involved and led into a life of righteousness.

Where grace reigns and following God is a duty and a pleasure.


 

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Doctrinal · End Times · Hell · Judge

Judge Judge Judge – δικαιοκρισία – Verse List for Study 7

Because of the Cross

This word is found 1 time in 1 verse within the New Testament. 

See previous study for entire list.

Still kinda anal about order in the series naming – Thanks for understanding!

 

 

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Doctrinal · End Times · Hell · Judge

Judge Judge Judge – δικαιοκρισία –Study 7

Because of the Cross

Thanks for returning to this series on “Judge Judge Judge” and my feeble attempt to understand a believers responsibility and right to make judgments.

Another purpose of this series hopefully is to understand the believers restriction on judgement. 

What can a Christian judge?  How is he to judge?  What is prohibited in the Christian life to judge.  So many questions and concerns. 

Our seventh greek word related to judging is…

dikaiokrisia

δικαιοκρισία – dikaiokrisia – righteous judgment

This word is found 1 time in 1 verse within the New Testament.  A full listing of all verses may be found below for your self study – ha one verse!

Romans 2:5

But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

Ok – so this verse is an interesting verse since context lets me think of a couple scenarios.

Let me explain.

The issue in my mind is the identification of the “O man” in verse 1.

Most of my Christian life, I have considered the one Paul refers to as “O man” in Romans 2:1 to be that of the lost person- the one who has no knowledge of God, alienated from God in his works and thoughts.

Consider Paul’s larger context of the book of Roman’s.  This is a church that is split down the middle with the Jew  and the Gentile being at odds with one another.  Consider Chapter 14, for an extended discussion on the two groups and Paul’s concern over their co-existence.  The church was experiencing turf wars over food and holidays!

It seems to be a bit of a thing for Paul, a topic that could destroy the work of God, and allow for condemnation to be introduced into the discussion.

Rom 14:20

Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. 

Rom 14:23

But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats,

Is Paul writing Romans as a full blown description of the gospel in order to give an argument for “One Church” with no division?
Is Paul’s message to the Romans the destructive nature of two bodies with a “church”?
Does Paul supply a teaching that extends the full breath of the gospel in order to make an argument for unity within a body?
Consider the following structure for the opening chapters.
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Condemnation on “them”
This “them” within the first chapter is usually considered to be referring to the lost.  The passage under consideration begins with verse 18, describing “them” as suppressing the truth.
Who is suppressing the truth? The lost?  Is this accurate?  Consider
  • Vs 21-23 states
    • “They” knew God, but did not honor Him
      • Could this be the lost being referred to?
        • When did the lost ever know God?
    • “They” became futile in his thinking
      • Could this be the lost being referred to?
        • When did the lost “become” futile – they have always lived in futility until salvation is recieved
    • “Their” foolish heart became darkened
      • The heart of the lost is darkened, not became darkened?
    • “They” claimed to be wise
      • I see this as applicable to the lost.  Claiming wisdom seems to be a favorite past time of the lost!
    • “They” exchanged the glory of God for images
      • This is what got me thinking.  When have the “lost” had the glory of God in their possession to exchange?  The lost are under condemnation.
  • Vs 24-27 – Paul uses the pronoun “them” through out this passage.  Is Paul describing the lost when referring to “them”?
    • This is very possible, and yet it could be describing any group of people since the fall also.
  • Vs 32 is interesting though
    • “They” know God righteous decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die
      • Adam performed one act of sin and died.  He didn’t practice sin, resulting in death.  He experienced death upon his first sin.
      • Could the one command “not to eat” be considered God’s righteous decree?
    • They give approval to those who practice sin.

Who is the “they”, the apostle is describing?

Chapter 2 begins with a summary statement about judging.  Remember there are no chapter divisions in the original text!

The conclusion of the previous verses is that “they” and “O man”, perform the same sinful actions.  So who are the “they”?

Let me ask you a general question.  Considering Paul’s audience…

  • Who liked to judge others?
  • Who knew the judgement of God best?
  • Who claimed the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience?
  • Who would have the hardest and most impenitent heart in Paul’s thinking?

Check out the following.  Paul continues with a passage describing a level playing field.  Judgement and glory will not be based on ethnicity!  (There may have been some in the church that relied on this thinking!)

The passage describes the factor of judgement as works, not ethnicity.

Rom 2:6 – 11

He will render to each one according to his works:

to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;

but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,

but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.

For God shows no partiality.

As an aside, Jesus and John the Baptist spent oodles of time comparing the dirty gentiles with the self righteous Jews, always lifting those filthy gentiles up, in comparison to the good good Jews.

So, if I am following Paul’s thoughts, “they” are the historic Jewish nation, and “O man” is the Jew in the Roman church.

The Jewish nation knew the righteous decree of God.  They exchanged the glory of God for idols.  Reread the first chapter, starting in verse 18, and consider.

So why not just say it Paul?

He did a Nathan!

Nathan set King David up by describing an event, and asking for judgement, little knowing that David would be judging himself.

2 Samuel 12:1-7

And the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor.

The rich man had very many flocks and herds,

but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him.

Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”

Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die,

and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”

Nathan said to David, “You are the man! 

David would never have judged himself as harshly as he did that stranger.

The Jewish population within the church, while this passage is being read, are condemning these awful folks, not unlike David, until it is too late and then they realize they are guilty.

Who needed to realize they were sinners like the rest of the church population?  Sure they had privilege (chapter 9 – 11) but their heart was in worse shape than their brothers in the Lord.

So long story short, I think “O man” in chapter 2 verse 1 is the Jewish folk in the church,  If so, then Paul’s use of the strengthened term for judgement makes sense, since the group that would know the commands, deserved the greatest / most righteous judgement.

Wow – that was a long post.

Judgement shows up a lot in Romans 2, with various Greek words being used.  We shall return to this passage in the near future, but for now (or in the near future) when you read Romans, take a fresh look at the first three chapters.

Thanks for joining me in this study.  Hope to visit with you in our next post as we look at the Greek term δικαίωμα which is commonly translated righteousness, ordinance, judgment, justification in the New Testament.

Be Blessed.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Doctrinal · End Times · Hell · Judge

Judge Judge Judge – διάκρισις – Verse List for Study 6

Because of the Cross

Find below the list of verses containing the greek word diakrisis


Romans 14:1

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.
1 Corinthians 12:10
to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

 

Hebrews 5:14

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

 


 

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Judge Judge Judge – διάκρισις – Study 6-C

Because of the CrossThanks for returning to this series on “Judge Judge Judge” and my feeble attempt to understand a believers responsibility and right to make judgments.

Another purpose of this series hopefully is to understand the believers restriction on judgement. 

What can a Christian judge?  How is he to judge?  What is prohibited in the Christian life to judge.  So many questions and concerns. 

Our sixth greek word related to judging is…

diakrisis

διάκρισις – diakrisis – discerning, discern, disputation

This word is found only 3x in the New Testament.

Hebrews 5:14
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

What is the author trying to get at here?  Is he saying that if the believer does not exercise obedience in the early part of their life, their will be an inability to accept solid food?

And what constitutes solid food?

The author addresses an example of solid food earlier – the topic of Melchizedek.  The topic is only found 2 or 3 times in the Old Testament.  Yet he pulls so much teaching out of the short snippets of information available.    The author wants to teach them a truth of Christ, but they can’t receive it.  They just can’t receive it!

Consider this.

All the Word speaks of the Christ.  The Word is Christ centric.  The author exhibits this understanding by expanding an Old Testament personality into teaching that elevates the Christ.  But they can’t receive it!

hobby horseLet me ask my dear readers – Are you a believer in a hobby horse?  That is, have you settled into a teaching, defended it to the death, and refused to consider alternate views?

Are you in, what I call a Christian ghetto, where you only hang with those who think, talk and act like you?  Group think permeates your existence, and if someone comes along with an alternate viewpoint, the term heresy is ever so light on your lips?

I find it to be the height of pride to think that as a believer, the first teaching you received is the only good teaching available.  I lived this type of boastful arrogance for years!

But I think the author also has something more difficult to consider.

Christian maturity is not simply dependent on the knowledge of the Bible, the doctrines that are clearly taught in the Scripture.  Knowledge is the first step.  Don’t make it the last step.  And don’t let it puff you up!

1 Corinthians 8:1

Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.

As I said, the author is seeking for more out of these believers.  He is looking for all of them to be teachers, skilled in the word of righteousness.
Wait – what?
SS ClassroomThat is impossible.  Teachers need classrooms in the church, and each classroom fits 10 -100(?).  How can all believers be teachers, if each teacher requires an audience?
Alas, I have fallen into the modern church concept of Christian service and life.
Waiting for Sunday to teach a group of believers was something I loved and every Sunday was a high for me.   But the author is looking for believers that teach by way of life, not only by voice.

Back to the topic of Discernment

There are some in Christendom that claim to have powers of discernment and yet whose lives are moral ship wrecks, with open sin in their lives (covetousness, adultery, deceit…)  The author cannot be describing what these are claiming, since this discernment is a result of constantly distinguishing good from evil.
Golly – they can’t do it for themselves.  (They need to make their own bed!)
How is your training coming along?  Training is difficult and causes weariness at times.  Weakness and pain are associated with training, along with periods of failure and loss.
The author reminds us that our powers of discernment (judgement) grows as we are trained to identify good and evil.  (If you don’t judge, there will come a day when you can’t).

Thanks for joining me in this study.  Hope to visit with you in our next post as we look at the Greek term δικαιοκρισία.

Be Blessed.


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Doctrinal · End Times · Hell · Judge

Judge Judge Judge – διάκρισις – Study 6-B

Because of the CrossThanks for returning to this series on “Judge Judge Judge” and my feeble attempt to understand a believers responsibility and right to make judgments.

Another purpose of this series hopefully is to understand the believers restriction on judgement. 

What can a Christian judge?  How is he to judge?  What is prohibited in the Christian life to judge.  So many questions and concerns. 

Our sixth greek word related to judging is…

diakrisis

διάκρισις – diakrisis – discerning, discern, disputation

This word is found only 3x in the New Testament.

 

1 Corinthians 12:10
to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

The Corinthian Church

Bema Seat at Corinth
Bema Seat at Corinth

Paul is speaking to believers who have been granted all the gifts of the Spirit (check out the beginning of the book).  Paul informs us that the Corinthian church is fully equipped to minister to both the believers within and the lost without.  The Corinthian church actually had saints in it that could discern / judge / distinguish between spirits.

Is Paul discussing the ability to judge between an unclean spirit and the Holy Spirit?  (I’m thinking so)  Is he speaking of discerning between a haughty spirit and a humble spirit? (This may be also his intent.)  Either way, judging spirits was available for the first century believer in Corinth
How did that work out for the Corinthian church?   I mean practically, in their everyday life.  Golly – not so good, wouldn’t you know.
A man sleeping with his daughter in law, brothers going to court with each other, believers abandoning the apostle (and to their Lord), by listening to those super apostles.
It seems that the church had believers who had the gift of discernment, but a lot of good it was doing them.  The discernment of spirits is given to believers in order to make judgments on the spirits within the church.  This didn’t seem to be happening effectively in this church.

The Modern Church

How about nowadays?
Is it a fair statement to consider the modern church to be weak and without any power?  Regarding the topic at hand, does the modern church have the ability to distinguish between spirits?
Consider a preacher that boasts of his accomplishments.  Is that appealing to you?
When you see a preacher that is dressed to the nines, has multiple skeletons in his closet, is a photo op junkie, or seeks to build his/her ministry at the expense of the poor and weak, do you see one who is honoring God?
When you see a Christian seeking to gain blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might (check rev 7:12) from his or her underlings, consider your perspective.  I am afraid there are many in the modern church who see this as a valid, even preferred line of “ministry” and we as the laity seem to love it to be so. (2 Corinthians 11:4)

An Aside

As an aside, you may think I have a grudge or some axe to grind over the “professional” christian, but alas I think not.  You see, I am of the judgment that we are all brothers in the Lord and that a “professional” christian is setting him/herself up for a lifetime of loneliness, cutting themselves off from the benefit of the fellowship of the saints.
Oh to actually be open with one another and not have some artificial man made barrier between believers.

Back to Discerning

Golly Carl, you seem to be implying that you are discerning of spirits within the church.  Am I exercising a gift of discernment of spirits?  Not likely.  I make no claim to such a gift.
Is the gift of judging spirits still granted by the Lord in today’s church?
I am sure of it.
Is it active in the modern church.
I’m not too sure of it, and with that I am saddened.
Am I too judgmental?
I have an obligation to judge (or decide) my surroundings, for without sound judgment, I am sure to accept any foolishness.
Judge for yourselves, without a plea to emotion, but on the deeds of those you look up to, and make a fair and honest evaluation of the ones you look to for spiritual guidance and teaching.
If they are not reflecting the gentle and humble heart of the Master (Matthew 11:29), it may be time to reconsider some life choices.
A few years ago, I heard a brother say that a preacher should make less coin than the average parishioner.  Interesting thought.  This one concept may assist in bringing the professional Christian into a more relatable condition with the unwashed.

Both Churches

Paul was writing to the Corinthian church, the church, when I think of them, most closely replicates the modern church.
Today’s modern church seems to be filled with both professional and lay Christians who tout of great ministries, of visions that the apostles would be shaken by, of prophecies that none will not be held accountable of, of a “tolerance” that is weakening the church, allowing sin to fester within.
Where is the sorrow, the repentance, the heartbreak for the lives we live?

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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.